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Ask HN: 5th grader seeking science mentor in California
54 points by doubleyou  3 hours ago   18 comments top 7
ada1981 2 hours ago 2 replies      
The key to effective mentorship is 1) finding someone who has something that you want 2) helping them, for free, get something they want. As a result, you gain access to the mindset that has the thing you want.

Perhaps you could ask the kids who they really admire, or what products or things from their own lives are impacting them. I'll bet there are unknown engineers and scientists behind just about every single man made thing they come into contact with on a daily basis.

Reach out to those companies and see if they will put you in touch. Try the PR department possibly for the intro. This will give the kids a real connection to the people.

If these are products where the kid is the end user, the engineers might love to spend an hour a month on skype with them just to gain insight into their lives to make better products.

Some people might agree to help kids because they want to, and that is great, but you will 10x the value for BOTH the kid and the scientist if you find a way for them to really help each other (and it's massively possible).

I've mentored high school / college kids into pro athletes, wildly successful entrepreneurs, activists and non-profit leaders and it's always been rewarding.

Finally, the process of finding a mentor is a skill that most people lack -- what a great chance for you to involve them in finding their own mentors and letting them reach out, send emails, and otherwise discover the power of their own voice and agency.

Fun Fact: When I was in 5th grade back in the late 80s I had a secret pen pal / mentor I found in the back of 2600 Magazine who was in federal prison for hacking ;)

theideasmith 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm a college freshman now and I wish my middle and elementary school teachers were as devoted to their students as you seem to be. I would suggest going to ResearchGate.com where a lot of scientists and grad students hang out. It's likely you'll be able to find one there who would be interested in helping them out.
qwrusz 59 minutes ago 0 replies      

Firstly, cheers and congrats, it sounds like you are already doing good work.

My 2 cents: Hold off just a second before finding an ongoing mentor. By 5th grade students can start to get a feel (might be this year or maybe next year) if they like computers or engineering or space exploration or biology or fast cars or another field/type of science work etc...

Finding a mentor in area of science that a student loves, after sampling different areas of science can make a huge difference in terms of sticking power. And it minimizes the potential issue of too many mentors coming in and out of their lives as you find nice scientists who want to help but they don't click with the students.

It sounds like you are already able to teach science and programming and introduce the students to various scientists and companies and labs. I would continue doing this, as sort of a "middle man and a teacher" until an area of science or type of scientific work grabs the student's attention and he/she connects with it and thirsts to learn more about that thing (for me it was astronomy).

Then work on finding a mentor in that area of science.

If you haven't heard it, Malcolm Gladwell's interviewed Eric Eisner (who started YES Scholars in LA and deal with similar issues regularly) recently and it might of interest: http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/04-carlos-doesnt-reme...

I am in LA and have been a volunteer math tutor for over a decade. Happy to help in other ways if I can.

schoen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It might be interesting and helpful to try to narrow down what areas of science or engineering would be most interesting to them (if you know, and if the kids know!).
euyyn 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd be interested. Send me a private message via reddit and we can talk: https://www.reddit.com/user/euyyn
mrdmnd 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Great thought. Where in California? If in San Francisco (or the Bay Area in general) I can think of a number of places and people who would be happy to talk in person.
digitalsushi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I think you should somewhat anonymously chronicle this if you're successful, because you could amplify that 2 by some factor.
Ask HN: What are the best dev shops in New York?
8 points by shawndimantha  4 hours ago   5 comments top 4
EMRo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi Shawn, check out Rose Digital or shoot me an email at evan@rosedigital.co Have done work for Zoetis but usually focused on building revenue generating web and mobile products for F500 cos.
tmaly 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been working with a dev at thoughtbot in NYC, and the results have been fantastic.
mcsweenb 2 hours ago 0 replies      
brian@flexhire.com. NYC based. Hardcore tech experts
ShaneCurran 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Shoot me an email, shane@curran.pw :)
Ask HN: Why have OS updates become so aggressive?
15 points by hitgeek  4 hours ago   24 comments top 8
aphextron 2 minutes ago 0 replies      
Because hackers have become so aggressive. It's no longer just clandestine groups of anonymous people working through the internet. There are industrial scale state-sponsored hacking efforts across the world now, actively focused on exploiting every single release of every single OS, and it's only getting worse. Also, with the wide scale adoption of broadband internet it's become possible to adopt an "evergreen" model for OS updates now, much like browsers have been doing for years.
emp_zealoth 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Last night Windows 10 popped up a notification while i was gaming "Windows 10 is going to restart in 3 minutes with options "Now" and "Cancel". I clicked cancel and 15 minutes later it just restarted in my face, while i was ACTIVELY using it, no notification, no popup, just blam, 1,5h of updates.

I might have been doing a project and lost half a day of my work just as well.

Now I have to go and take all permisions away from Reboot service in Windows 10

Also it keeps adding fucking Edge and Store to my quickbar every single update

Is Microsoft retarded? How can this be a good idea

jandrese 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Because if you don't push users to update they won't. And then they'll be owned by a 6 month old security vulnerability in a random drive by malware advertisement or internet worm or whatever and their machine will join yet another botnet.

It's designed to make not updating as difficult as updating so neglectful users don't default to not updating.

twunde 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Two highly correlated reasons. 1) It speeds up the pace of innovation and change as these companies can now receive rapid feedback and see what works and what doesn't. 2) It heavily reduces the maintenance requirements as Apple is only supporting a relatively small number of platforms. By reducing the number of platforms supported, the companies can then reallocate those resources that would have been doing bug fixes on adding brand new features to the latest version. These all allow the marketing arms of these companies to crow about the new features they've added.

Think about it this way. Chrome's major innovation was being the first browser to rapidly update itself. That allowed it to quickly leapfrog over IE and Mozilla since they could push out many more changes over the same period of time AND those changes would be more likely to be stable. It also eliminated the need to support old versions like IE 6 with security fixes

subway 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Users are lazy and if you don't force them to update, they won't. Then they get owned. Then they talk shit about you.

Why not make the world a better place, push the updates hard, and just jump to the shit talking? ;)

runjake 4 hours ago 0 replies      
(This is meant to be a serious, non-snarky answer.)

Because the "move fast and break things" of app development has hit the mainstream and crossed over into the OS.

It allows for faster iteration at the expense of some stability and familiarity.

rman666 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Uh, security?
therealidiot 4 hours ago 0 replies      
User choice has gone out of fashion
Ask HN: Back-end team does not document their APIs. How do I convince them?
6 points by ameesdotme  5 hours ago   15 comments top 8
whataretensors 3 hours ago 1 reply      
One of the hardest things to do is choosing the right battles. Ask, is this worth it? If it's an API integration point primarily for internal use I wouldn't insist on it. If the API is changing too much right now that documentation would quickly become obsolete, I wouldn't worry about it. It might be easier and cheaper to get a backend engineer to answer your questions.

If you are expecting clients to integrate with your backend without documentation, and you do not have an enterprise-level agreement, then it would be a deterrent for integration on most teams. Making that case should be straightforward. More documentation would mean more adoption, which means more value for the company.

tedmiston 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Besides convincing your backend team that sharing how to communicate with the API in a structured way is important, one bit of advice in general is to make it easy.

One way to make API documentation easy is to generate it from code rather than write a doc manually. This can pull from class and method comments to add description to your endpoints (if those comments exist and are relevant), but even if they aren't there you'll still have access to the endpoints and the input/output.

I'm not sure what your tech stack is but here's an example using Django w/ Django Rest Framework. You can use Swagger [1] for docs / a browsable interface to the API. Then you can use an integration like Django Rest Swagger [2] to automate most of the work.

[1]: http://swagger.io

[2]: http://marcgibbons.github.io/django-rest-swagger/

HillRat 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Everything comes down to time and budget. Assuming you have a project budgeting model, make sure that for every project you add in estimates for analyzing, documenting, and integrating the backend layer, and call it out specifically as a result of insufficient documentation. What you're trying to do is get someone up the managerial food chain to ask, "Why are we paying developers to do this for every project, when we could document this once and be done with it?"

To put it another way, you'll never have enough leverage to talk another business unit into spending their time and money to solve your problems. You need to make your problem someone else's -- someone with the ability to force the solution.

afarrell 1 hour ago 0 replies      
/r/whataretensors is correct that you have to pick your battles. However, if you're asking us then I'm going to assume that the lack of documentation is slowing you down enough that it is in your company's interest for docs to get written. Lack of docs puts timely product delivery at risk.

What are the product-owner's overall goals? You should tie documentation to that. In a healthy organisation, the product-owner's goals will either be already pretty clear or they'll be actively working on making them clear. If they aren't clear to you then do a quick check through emails/minutes/retrospectives to see if you've missed something and ask for a half hour on their calendar to seek clarity. Take the bulk of that time to listen[1] to what their priorities and stressors are. Pay particular attention to where your work fits into that. If your work actually doesn't fit into that then you've got a bit of an organisational incentives problem. Assuming it does, then make your case that documentation in a canonical place (even if it is those same json files and some comments) is not a nice-to-have but a need-to-have for frontend to deliver what the product owner needs.

For all of this, I've assumed that the product owner for the backend and frontend is the same person. If it is two different people, then you might have a conflict of incentives that needs to be fixed: The backend team has little/no incentive to help the frontend team. If that is the case, then you should have a chat with the product owner of the frontend team because that is an organisation-level problem and some incentives will need to get re-aligned.

[1] https://hbr.org/2016/07/what-great-listeners-actually-do

iddogino 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd argue that this should go the other way around. Your developers should be creating the 'docs' - the API design and boilerplate, before programing it.If they actually sit down and design the API before setting of to write the code you'll end up with:(a) the documentation you want.(b) an API that this designed consistently and consciously.Would you let your front end developers build something without at least a wire frame / functional design?
cdnsteve 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I've often found if you lead the effort yourself, and then ask for their input, this usually works well. If you wait for someone else to take the first step, it's usually not going to happen.

Start by creating a Github wiki for documentation for both front-end and back-end API's. Add them as collaborators, or create them right inside each existing repo if you can. Populate the back-end one as best you can to your knowledge, then ask for them to validate.

I always think of documentation as a note to my future self. In X months, what won't I remember?

new_hackers 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I would think long and hard about the following questions:

What are your expectations?

What is the minimum possible that could be done to meet your expectations?

What deficiencies currently exist that are blocking you?

Once you have this written down, only then should you approach the other party. Remember YOU think it is "messy" "lacks docs", however others may think it is fine. You will not win any friends by demanding someone does more work that they don't consider to be worthwhile.

If you have no leverage, then you are asking for a favor.

Be nice, be friendly and courteous. Try to see the other person's viewpoint.

Good luck in your negotiation.

samblr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
what is the language & middleware/framework used in backend ?
Ask HN: What do you eat/drink during the workday?
9 points by kzisme  6 hours ago   9 comments top 9
throw7 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The main things I stock are fruits (apples/bananas/oranges/pears/etc.), nuts, various crisp/flatbreads (wasa), hard candies, various teas/coffee, and a big water filled nalgene bottle. I keep a rotation of yogurt/greek/cottagecheese in the frig and then some type of lunch.

lunch varies a lot and it's whatever... sandwich, leftovers, soup. Main thing is I cut out the processed pre-prepared foods, but I do go out to eat maybe once or twice a week. I enjoy a burger and beer if I want to.

eiriklv 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Nothing, as I fast during the workday usually (either 18/6 or 20/4). I drink lots of water though. Eat the equivalent of 2 dinners in the late evening (70-80energy% of fat is the target). It's pretty liberating not to think about food the entire workday. The only awkwardness is the social part - so I sometimes eat lunch just to join in if I'm working with a team, or for other social reasons.

Edit:Another benefit is that you don't get the after lunch crash.

theGREENsuit 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Breakfast: salt-free cottage cheese with granola, fruit and kefir all nicely mixed together.

Mid-morning: fruit

Lunch: Left overs from last night's dinner, or sandwich. I try to avoid lunches that are carb heavy or a on the greasy side. Today is salmon and beets with a bit of rice.

Mid-afternoon: fruit, nuts or a treat like cookies

Drinks: Just water

bbcbasic 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Way too much coffee and cereal bars. Plus a normal lunch e.g. meat and veg.

For your needs the closest thing I found is a food delivery service for frozen home made meals. Some are.Veg only, but very tasty and filling.

endswapper 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In order of volume and priority...Coffee, leafy greens(in all forms, especially cabbage - all types, kale, napa, green, etc.) and protein in all forms, diversity is important, animal and vegetable sources.

I mix in other fruits and vegetables for flavoring and variety. Also, I eliminated salt and that relieved my stress in a significant, noticeable way.

I start my day at 4am, if I eat heavier, carb-based items, I notice a crash somewhere around 3 or 4 pm and the last few hours of my day are a struggle. If I stick to what I listed above, I power through the afternoon and feel more balanced when I end my day.

basseq 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Breakfast is typically a granola bar (I like the old-school crunchy Nature's Valley ones) and a cup of coffee. 30% of the time the coffee will be a latte from Starbucks or the local coffee shop.

Mid-morning I'll probably have another cup of coffee, and will start trying to remember to drink water. I have a big plastic cup on my desk.

Lunch totally depends. I try to bring lunch. Often that's a sandwich or wrap (with fruit and yogurt)--it so happens that's what I have today. Sometimes it's leftovers. Otherwise I'll grab something nearby. We often have food trucks in front of the building, or I'll get a sandwich from the cafteria in the building (OK) or one of the couple nearby places (Peruvian chicken: heavy).

Mid-afternoon, I'll drink water, tea, or--if I'm having a bad day--coke. If I'm hungry, I keep a pile of Clif Bars in my desk drawer.

I'm usually out by 6:30, so will go home and make dinner.

eswat 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Breakfast - I skip breakfast so usually just tea or coffee if Im at a cafe

Lunch - Bowl of mashed sweet potatoes, avocado, apple, chicken or beef and all of it mixed with coconut oil, cinnamon and garlic. Takes less than 5 minutes to prep, most time spent after is just waiting to steam the potatoes and cooking the protein source. Can be made ahead of time and put in containers (I usually work from home so I make this during the day as a break). Not exactly a light meal but can be really filling.

Throughout the Day - Water most of the time, usually cut out caffeine past noon unless Im at a coffee meeting.

CssPaulrowlyk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Breakfast - Scrambled eggsElevenses - Croissant and coffeeLunch - Local Burger or PizzaMid-afternoon - sandwichDinner - yogurt with banana
Mz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I blog about what I eat and why:


Ask HN: Is it ok for a company to treat me as a contractor during trial period?
3 points by joshwcomeau  5 hours ago   1 comment top
sharemywin 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not usual that they didn't bring it up until the end. Usually, on some kind of corp to corp type employment the rate is higher to cover benefits. If it's short term I personally would worry about it(if unemployed) working for yourself can screw up unemployment if they decide to not move forward with you(at least in US). The biggest issue would be they continue to try and keep you as a contractor with out upping the rate.
Ask HN: Those making over $1K/month on side projects, what did you make?
323 points by kashifzaidi1  2 days ago   200 comments top 48
danschuller 2 days ago 7 replies      
I am but I don't know how long it will continue!

My side project is: "How to Make an RPG" (http://howtomakeanrpg.com/) which I released in June.

It's a collection of code samples, art and digital book that shows the reader how to make an old-school, Japanese-style RPG. So, it's super niche! I wrote a little about my process here:


There was supposed to be a second part to this article but I haven't written it yet.

It's been over $1000/month very comfortably so far but it is trending down. This isn't uncommon for this type of project - there's often a spike followed by a slow decline.

Still, for the last three months I haven't actively worked on it and it's still sold well. I've moved country and been finding a job (all sorted now), so I haven't had much free time.

I'm not really sure where is good to go after this project. For now I'm building on the base the book introduces, just for fun.

trcollinson 1 day ago 3 replies      
I've been working on a side project for the last 3 months and it has finally gotten to the point where I am making more than $1000/month with more than 25 active customers 100% through word of mouth. I am working on a Show HN with some of my learning from the process so I won't get too deep into it here but here are a couple of highlights:

 * You do have time. I work a time consuming job, have a wife and kids, and still found 1 hour per day to work on it, and that was enough. * Automate everything that you can. Early on I automated the deployment, the creation of new accounts, the management of the sales, and soon the marketing. * Have a plan and stick to it. I planned to use 1 hour per day and I did. I have a backlog and I work against that always. * Pick a market you understand. I help a lot with my kids schools and this is software to help with that. * Drop bad ideas when needed. I have started more side projects than I can think of. Sometimes in the past I have felt bad because I didn't want to give up on an idea. So I worked on a bad idea for way too long. Don't do that.
It turns out that when you have the right idea and are scratching an itch that real people have, it's not that hard to get people to pay you to solve their problem.

matthewmueller 2 days ago 9 replies      
https://standupjack.com is a side project I started earlier this year on my own. It's making more than $1k/mo now :-)
julianshapiro 2 days ago 5 replies      
Wrote a guide that summarizes the science of building muscle: https://julian.com/learn/muscle/intro.

It made a few thousand in Amazon referral fees after being at the top of HN, Product Hunt, and Designer News for 4 days. As these traffic spikes wear off, I expect it to continue at at least $1k/mo.

To maximize referral fees, I use this clever service called A-fwd, which geo-redirects visitors to their appropriate Amazon.tld so that they can make a seamless purchase without switching regions. This also allows for my affiliate codes to stay intact, and for me to collect worldwide Amazon affiliate revenue.

I also had to learn the ins and outs of Amazon Associates policies, which are incredibly finicky (no Amazon links in emails, no showing product pricing on your homepage, etc.) and frequently results in unannounced account closure that requires you to pester their support team to get things back online.

Shank 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you haven't already seen IndieHackers, it's worth taking a look -- lots of stories about side projects and their associated incomes: https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses
csallen 1 day ago 1 reply      
https://IndieHackers.com is a side project of mine that recently hit $1k/mo. I launched it here on HN a couple months ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12269425).

It's pretty meta to be posting this here, because Indie Hackers is basically a huge collection of interviews with developers who are making money from their apps and side projects. I only include interviews with people who are willing to share revenue numbers, employee count, etc. There's also a forum/comments section where you can ask your own questions to the interviewees if you find my questions lacking :)

qwertyuiop924 2 days ago 4 replies      
You guys are making cash off your side projects? Jeez. I usually just release them for free. I should get in on this.

...Assuming that I ever finish a side project.

...And that I ever come up with a side project somebody would pay for.

Neither is very likely.

eLobato 2 days ago 1 reply      
I no longer make that kind of money through any side project but I did during ~ a year of college. It was one of the worst projects (coding wise) I made, and I made it all through ads.

It was just an Android soundboard app for a very popular TV show in Spain. You could tap a button and it'd play some funny sentence from a character from this show. Long press, you could share that sound.

Revenue model: a little ad bar on the bottom of the screen.

It grew from 60$/month to > 1000$ in around 6 months, only through word of mouth. That lasted another 6 months or so until the show became less trendy.

Probably not very sustainable as I was piggybacking on the popularity of the show, but it taught me that making money was 100% not about writing 'the bestest codes'.

erikrothoff 2 days ago 2 replies      
I made http://feeder.co, a Chrome extension to simulate Firefox's RSS live bookmarks back in 2010. Now it has 500,000 active installs on Chrome and our cloud hosted service is netting around 1500 USD each month after costs (1700 subscriptions).

Me and my twin brother have had it as a passive income thingie for years. After a failed attempt at selling it (SaaS metrics are NOT easy) we met a guy who saw some potential and we're finalizing paperwork with our lawyer to create a Swedish limited company right now with him as co-founder. We will try to take the plunge and get it running as a full time company within a couple of years!

Achieving a lifestyle passive income project is surprisingly hard...

caser 2 days ago 4 replies      
I started Hacker Paradise as a side project in 2014, and now we're a full-time team of 3.

We organize trips around the world for developers, designers, and entrepreneurs who want to work remotely while traveling. People pay us to organize housing, accommodations, and community events wherever we go (past speakers have been CIO of Estonia in Tallin, Matz in Tokyo, etc.).

Happy; to answer questions about running more of an ops business that still is related to tech.

ekwogefee 2 days ago 3 replies      
Feem (http://www.feem.io) is making over $1K/month online; and I'm from Cameroon, Africa.

Feem is a great cross-platform way to share files within your LAN.

mutatio 2 days ago 2 replies      
Created http://encycolorpedia.com a few years ago, kind of neglected it until recently (it's looking very dated), a version implemented in Rust is 90% complete - cheaper to run (more beer money, thanks Rust team!) & more features than the node.js implementation it will hopefully replace in the coming weeks.
suhastech 2 days ago 1 reply      
I started basically when I stumbled upon a problem myself. https://thehorcrux.com/why-i-built-horcrux-app/TL;DR: Google disabled my account. So, built an email backup app to not get into this situation again.

I started building the app 4 years ago. I put it on Hacker News and it blew up a tiny bit. That was enough to keep it going until now.

There is still a lot of work I can put into it marketing or coding wise. So far, it's been going well ($800ish). I recently rolled out a UI/UX improvement.

Its 4 year anniversary is in 2 days. :)

rsoto 2 days ago 2 replies      
Here in Mexico, you get an XML for your invoices, which you must keep in order to be tax deductable. However, it gets messy very quickly, as it must have your Tax ID, it has to exist in the tax office's database and then you must keep it for 5 year. It is a chore.

I run http://www.boxfactura.com, an email service for your digital invoices. It has been quite a journey because everyone I speak to has some kind of trouble with their invoices, but they don't know there's a product for that, so first you have to market the idea of it, and then the product.

Schweigi 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.ganttplanner.com is one of my side projects. It turns your Google Calendar into a gantt chart. The project is making a bit more than 1k/month and is currently on auto pilot.

I created this project for learning purposes and because it was a lot of fun. I open sourced the actual gantt component: https://www.angular-gantt.com

wturner 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I just wanted to say that I really like these kinds of posts an enjoy seeing people ask them every few weeks. Its exciting to read business ideas that people like myself can pull from. Curious if anyone would be interested in doing video cast where some of these respondents are interviewed for ten to 15 minutes about their business. I know sites like Mixergy exists but I think something more raw and down to earth would be cool. :)

edited for clarity

kyloren 2 days ago 1 reply      
I saw the previous post as well. I know how it feels having a good idea is not easy. Even people say talk to people and find pain points in their work is easier said than done.

I guess it's partly because we are used to these pain points for a long period of time we don't feel it as a pain point anymore or even though we have a good idea it's not easy to build it as we need lot of capital to do so.

Also even if we have a good idea monetizing is a whole new ball game altogether. Like the chrome extension I'm hacking together on weekends which allows people to search for restaurants around them. I have no idea how I can monetize it and just build it for the challenge of making it.

I think one option is to keep on making cool things. Do something challenging and keep pushing out new things whenever you can. And finally one will stick. I don't think it's easy but if one keep persistent in shipping new things definitely one will become a success.

Like in a similar post I have made like this in the past I remember one commenting, we as HN users believe that everything that we make should be like Airbnb or Uber due to the illusion of success in many startups. But that is not the case and it all comes down to being persistent and enjoying the journey along the way.

RyanOD 2 days ago 0 replies      
Years ago, I created an affiliate site advertising the Snuggie. A couple months after I created the site, the Snuggie craze took off and I was making several hundreds of dollars per day. Then, consumers realized how absurd this fad was and the money dried up nearly as quickly.

Loads of fun while it lasted! Gave me a nice income bump for 3 holiday seasons.

thearn4 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not a "side project" in the usual sense, but I teach as an adjunct professor (mathematics) every so often, and at a rate of about $1000 - 1200 per credit hour (depending on the institution) I can make a little under a grand a month after taxes. Teaching can be fun for many people, and I think it keeps me grounded in the fundamentals, where my day job is entirely application oriented.

The trick is that after a few times around, the courses require a bit less preparation.

Adjuncting is an absolute nightmare if you are trying to do it as a full-time job. But as a side thing for beer money when there is a staffing need? It's pretty light on stress. Since I am not gunning for tenure track (or even a full time position), there are little to no stakes involved.

Weirdly, I think the folks in my position (teaching as an adjunct as a side gig) along with the tenured full-professors on the opposite end of the academic spectrum are actually very similar in that regard.

swiftisthebest 2 days ago 1 reply      
Digital magazine company. I have thousands of subscribers that pay me $2 / month. I pay royalties to content providers. I work about 10 hours a month on the project.
zachlatta 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Without sharing too much info, I'm making ~$1.2k/monthly right now off of a Bitcoin arbitrage bot I made.

I'd share more, but the arbitrage only exists because of a market inefficiency and I'm sure that if anyone here started competing with me, the market would become too efficient to easily profit :-).

nycdotnet 2 days ago 2 replies      
I made two TypeScript videos for Pluralsight ("ES6 with TypeScript" and "Practical TypeScript Migration"). I put them together in the evenings and weekends using the knowledge I got at my day job and from working on TypeScript open source projects like grunt-ts (and a lot of research).

It was a lot of work, but it's a great passive income now that they're done, and I'm quite proud of how they turned out. The Pluralsight authors are a great professional network to be plugged-in with, and being an author is a pretty unique differentiator on your resume.

I'm going to put together a third course soon.

They're always looking for new authors. https://www.pluralsight.com/teach

NateG 2 days ago 1 reply      
I created an online game called Pit of War (http://www.pitofwar.com). It's a strategy/management game that puts you in charge of a stable of gladiators. You train your gladiators, outfit them in armour and weapons and give them a set of strategies to use during the fights against other players. Strategies start off simple and grow in detail and complexity as gladiators gain levels, skills and better equipment.
maxsavin 2 days ago 3 replies      
I created Meteor Toys, available at http://meteor.toys

It's been very good to me, but also trending down as people seem to be diversifying from Meteor. Certainly not what I expected when I got into it.

The story for it is a simple one: I solved some of the annoyances during development for myself with by making a devtool, and then open sourced it.

The reaction was very positive and encouraging. Between the opportunity to make more tools, and the downside of having to maintain them, I decided to create paid tier for the tools.

_asciiker_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've launched Sentopia (https://www.sentopia.net) as a side project and it is still easily making over 1K with just 2 medium sized clients but it is not passive income, requires some maintenance & customer support but still very much worth it.

This year we're launching new features and a simple API: (https://sentopia.net/apidoc/)

equalarrow 2 days ago 0 replies      
Indie Hackers (http://indiehackers.com) also has some great projects earning over $1k/mo on it. It's been on the front page of HN multiple times.
khuknows 2 days ago 1 reply      
I run https://uimovement.com/ and it makes just over $1,000 a month from sponsorships and ads most months.

The majority of that is from sponsorships for the weekly newsletter, which has almost 13,000 subscribers now. Currently doing cust dev and what not to see if there are income opportunities that don't involve ads.

sunnynagra 2 days ago 1 reply      
I tried releasing an iOS sticker pack app that had an actual use case (allowing you to markup and annotate iMessage conversations). I was hoping would give some passive income. Had a good first day and then dropped off a cliff.

Link: https://appsto.re/us/zMHnfb.i?app=messages

marmot777 2 days ago 1 reply      
What do side projects that make income tend to have in common? When I hear about people's side projects or read them here, I'm not certain what the lessons are. I personally do side projects just for fun but heck if interest/passion could somehow be directed toward money making side projects that were good for the world then i'd direct my energy toward those. Possibly. It's a good thought exercise everyone should at least consider, can a hobby be monetized without fucking up the reason you loved it in the first place? Can it be done in a way that makes it less like your day job, so to speak?
docsapp_io 2 days ago 1 reply      
I built my side project "Documentation Hub for Developers" DocsApp.io (https://www.docsapp.io/). I spent 1 year+ to build it. Current revenue around $800 per month. Now I still spending night time and weekends to enhance it. HTTPS for custom domain powered by LetsEncrypt is on roadmap.

The project started because there is always need for documentation for software projects (in my career), and a lot companies are not used to have one. At the same time, I want to learn Scala so I pick up Play! framework to play and build real world app.

Happy to answer any questions!

streptomycin 2 days ago 2 replies      
https://basketball-gm.com/ is a basketball management sim video game (sorta like football manager), and it makes more than that from ads.
soheil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Radio show archive website, it's been running for about 10 years now.
jhylau 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made https://www.switchup.org - all the revenue is from advertising. I spend around 10 hours a week on it and have another full-time job/startup. The website is run by two freelancers and a full-time hire.
ArturT 2 days ago 0 replies      
I created pro version of my ruby gem for test suite parallelisation https://knapsackpro.com I released it last year but started validating it by charging users since July this year. $1K/month is my goal by the end of this year, so far I'm halfway there.
double_h 2 days ago 1 reply      
My app makes roughly around $1K/month. A simple utility to backup(free) and restore(paid, in-app purchase) mobile phone contacts. Check it out: http://c2x.eastros.com/
williamle8300 1 day ago 1 reply      
I started a (strictly e-book) publishing company. We publish public domain titles on Amazon, and Apple's iBookstore. GooglePlay has gone by the wayside just like all of their "cool projects."

We don't just copy-pasta public domain titles. We actually go through it, and create a really nice table of contents, include flourishing images to chapter headings, link any footnotes, and re-typeset so there's pleasant vertical rhythm to the paragraphs. We really pride ourselves on creating a great user experience rivaling titles from major book publishing companies that have delved into the foray of e-book publishing. CSS for e-books is a repeat of browser compatibility problems reminiscent of the 90s unfortunately.

Our average price is usually $0.99. Our genre is theology, so we publish books from Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and John Calvin to name a few.

We make over $1K/month, but sales are on a downward trend. The hype of e-readers has faded in the past 2 years. It's not that e-reading isn't cool. It totally is. Just like the mp3 player was a great successor to the Walkman. The problem is that there isn't One Great Device for e-reading (like the iPod was).

A review of e-reading devices:

iPad: No person with eyeballs can read on an LCD screen for more than 2hrs, but I can read a physical paper book as long as I want. Dead-on-arrival in my opinion. Sales from this market never overtook sales from the Kindle store for my company.

Kindle: Better than the iPad. That's not saying all that much because they're only better because they use e-ink. That's it. Navigating and whatnot is still really janky. The worst thing about the Kindle is that all text is justified. There aren't any settings to change it to left alignment. It's nuts. You have to see a screenshot of some text to see how absurd this design decision is.

Kobo: These guys make the best e-readers. They are e-ink like Kindle, but they have this revolutionary technology called "left alignment of text" instead of justified-only text on the Kindle. You don't have the sophisticated backend infrastructure like Apple/Amazon for synchronizing your books/bookmarks/highlights/blabla. But it's not that important really. Just sideload your e-books, and dupe your e-book library on your computer. That's an end-to-end backup plan. You may not have heard about Kobo because they don't have the marketing budget like their competitors.

My company is called Fig, because I started the company on Fig St in Escondido, CA while I was in seminary. Here's some of our titles on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dd...

Footnote: I probably went too far with this off-handed hardware review, but I'm drinking wine and felt loquacious.

DaveChild 1 day ago 0 replies      
I made https://readability-score.com/ - a site for measuring the readability of text. It's been a bit of an accidental success, but it's proving to be a great project.
tchadwick 1 day ago 0 replies      
My side project is http://codeposters.io. Revenue is hit or miss. I'll occasionally get big bumps in traffic. Conversion rate sits at almost exactly 1%.
googlereject 2 days ago 1 reply      
I make well over $10,000 / month operating several mobile games.
johndandison 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://getlivead.com and http://chattorney.com. They're different front ends to the same backend. Makes everything from aubscriptions. Not enough to live on as primary income but not shabby either. It has been a long four year road, with a couple of pivots and rewrites, 3 years of attorney's fees for patents but hugely personally rewarding and self-sufficient now.
plantain 2 days ago 0 replies      
I run https://skysight.io/ , which does weather forecasting for aviation.
soheil 2 days ago 0 replies      
iPhone apps combined revenue ~$1k/mo, most popular unlocks a Mac using iPhone bluetooth mac address when it's in range.
pcunite 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a website that largely runs itself right now. C++ based desktop products for the Windows environment.


jusob 1 day ago 0 replies      
Browshot (https://browshot.com/), a screenshot service.
icehac 2 days ago 1 reply      
High frequency trading algorithms.
soufron 2 days ago 1 reply      
I created a political news aggregator in France, with a nice community...
jcslzr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Website to learn to type faster: http://learn-2-type.com (I am getting close to $1K/month, just $998 usd more to go....)
imaginenore 2 days ago 5 replies      
I have a project making $200/month, 100% passively (I just renew the domain every couple of years). But I think it would be so dumb to just tell what it is here. Why would you invite more competition to your niche?
Ask HN: Getting payed internationally as a freelancer
7 points by 0xsven  10 hours ago   7 comments top 5
mtmail 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm very happy with https://transferwise.com/
eswat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ive used Stripe or TransferWise with my US clients Im in Canada with the former usually being less hassle for me and the client if were dealing with small amounts.

A few clients also wanted to send me cheques. But you can convince them that these other options are better for your working relationship. As their trusted contractor youre expected to deliver results and not skimp on details or make compromises. You should expect the same from your client, including their accounting department, and working with cheques cross-border is a compromise in the working relationship.

jakobegger 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I just invoice US clients in USD, and tell them to wire the money. My bank account is in Euro, so my bank converts the USD payment to Euro. Conversion + fees are usually around 1%.
wkubiak 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"Somehow the Americans don't like wire transfer in Euros"

I'm really not surprised. It's the same with EU countries having to wire money to some non-euro currency.

Why not setup a US dollar account? After receiving payment in your client's currency, you can rather cheaply convert it to your own currency.

In my experience, US companies are interested in PayPal or TransferWise or other such methods only when for some reason wire transfer is not an option. I don't think you are in such a situation. Depending on the amount, using those services could be more expensive than handling a US dollar wire transfer with SHA (shared costs).

wayn3 3 hours ago 0 replies      
get a multi currency account from a singaporean bank.
Ask HN: What do you use for Log Management?
81 points by shubhamjain  11 hours ago   62 comments top 36
dz0ny 9 hours ago 5 replies      
Papertrail, super friendly and insightful support.

So let me elaborate. Mostly what will you get from support is: "We are fixing problem", but in our case they were specific, "We have problems with Heroku logspout connection, 'heroku log' should still work." And the other time we went a bit over limit so they upped plan for free for a short period, se we could figure about what the problem was. Alerts are also what we use the most (no limits, no delays) which cannot say for the other providers.

Good work Papertrail, if you are reading this.

tkfx 8 hours ago 2 replies      
We covered this topic quite extensively on the Takipi blog. Grepping through huge unstructured text is quite frustrating.

Sumo Logic, Graylog, Loggly, PaperTrail, Logentries, Stackify:http://blog.takipi.com/how-to-choose-the-right-log-managemen...

ELK vs Splunk:http://blog.takipi.com/splunk-vs-elk-the-log-management-tool...

Hosted ELK tools:http://blog.takipi.com/hosted-elasticsearch-the-future-of-yo...

We're actually building (and using) a log alternative called OverOps (https://www.overops.com), it's a native JVM agent that adds links to each log warning / error / exception that lead to the actual variable state and code that caused them, across the entire call stack. Disclaimer: I work there, would be happy to answer any question.

markpapadakis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
We build our own. All events are published on Tank( https://github.com/phaistos-networks/TANK ) , and we have a bunch of consumers that consume from various Tank topics. They process the data and either publish to other Tank topics(to be consumed by other services), or they update state on various services.

- For data exploration, we use memSQL. We keep the last days worth of data there(we DELETE rows to keep the memory footprint down), and because most of the time its about understanding something that has happened recently, its almost always sufficient. Each row contains the events representation as JSON, and we also have a few more columns for faster lookup. memSQLs JSON support is great(we used mySQL for that but it was too slow), so we can take advantage of joins, aggregations, windowing etc.

- For data visualisation, we use ELK (but its pretty slow), a tool our ops folks built (otinanai: https://github.com/phaistos-networks/otinanai) and we have a few smaller systems that generate graphs and reports.

- For alerts and tickets, our ops folk built another tool that monitors all those events, filters them and executes domain-specific logic that deals with outliers, notifications routing, and more.

This solves most of our needs, but we plan to improve this setup further, by monitoring even more resources and introducing more tools(Tank consumers) to get more out of our data.

jorrizza 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Graylog is working quite well for us so far. https://www.graylog.org/
pbowyer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm using http://logentries.com

The one I really wanted to use/like was http://scalyr.com. However even after their redesign, I still can't use their query language. With LogEntries, it's pretty natural.

TeeWEE 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I was used to Google Cloud logs (comes for free with Appengine).. Now I"m working with an AWS based system with an ELK stack... Its ui is horrible. Finding the right log entries is a hell. And it often breaks and somebody has to update it.. I hope we can move to some log cloud provider soon.
crummy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Logentries. Not sure if I'd say I'm satisfied, but I haven't found anything better.


* Decent Java logging integration (some services treat things line-by-line, this is a deal breaker for things like multi-line Java exceptions)

* Reasonably priced

* Alerts are kinda nice

* Hosted


* Sometimes UI maxes my Chrome CPU

* Live mode not stable at all

* UI is clunky to say the least. It's not always clear what the context of a search is, the autocomplete is obnoxious. I heard they have a new UI coming out sometime, who knows when

wodow 8 hours ago 1 reply      
LogDNA: powerful, easy to get started and still improving. Using in parallel with Papertrail and instead of Logentries (which we had horrific problems with earlier in the year).
k33n 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Rsyslog+ELK all day. Every aspect can be scaled, and cost can be easily controlled by managing our own deployments.
kevinshinobi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Been using LogDNA for 4 months now with no complaints. Previously using logentries, I found the search speed to be faster.
xbryanx 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Moving several systems over to the ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana).
janvdberg 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We use Splunk, which is pretty great but costly. We are now also in the process of checking out Elasticsearch.
jordanthoms 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Previously used logentries and papertrail, but they became expensive as our log volumes got larger and flexibility was missing.

Now we use self-hosted ELK (elasticsearch, logstash, & kibana) and I'm not itching to go back to any of the hosted services. It's not as good as something like papertrail for tailing log streams live (although that isn't very useful at larger scale) and the UI of Kibana does take a bit of getting used to though.

joeyspn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Happy Papertrail customer here...

We use https://github.com/gliderlabs/logspout to forward all our docker logs to Papertrail... it's like you are watching your nodejs services running in your terminal. Seamless experience.

FooBarWidget 8 hours ago 1 reply      
We use plain old syslog, configured to log to a remote log host. The connection is secured with TLS and old log files are compressed with LZMA.

Our analysis frontend is plain old SSH, bash, grep and less.

zer0gravity 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Whatever solution you use to store your logs, I would suggest to generate them as events. This will help you to reconcile two important aspects that have been separated for too long, with no real reason : logging and analytics. It may require a little bit more effort but I believe it's worth it.

I've expanded on this idea here [1]

[1] - https://github.com/acionescu/event-bus#why

jakozaur 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Sumo Logic: https://www.sumologic.com/

Disclaimer: I work there :-), happy to answer any of your questions.

hbz 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Self hosted ELK stack, not HA at the moment. Will move the ES nodes to AWS's managed service once I'm ready to make it more resilient.
xyz-x 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Logary https://github.com/logary/logary with F#, InfluxDB and ELK.
scanr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Internally hosted ASP.NET application:


scrollaway 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We're hosted on AWS and used Papertrail. Found it super useful but it got really expensive. Since the new cloudwatch UI improvements, we're down to only using Cloudwatch logs. The UI still sucks quite a lot, but not enough to justify tripling logging costs.
thesorrow 7 hours ago 0 replies      
We use ELK + etsy/411 (https://github.com/etsy/411) for alerting.
throwaway2016a 6 hours ago 0 replies      
We use AWS Cloudwatch Logs for aggregation. For reporting we are still trying to find a solution.
d33 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Couldn't help but say "toilet":


alienjr 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Elasticsearch+Flunetd+Kibana for logs and KairosDB+Fluentd+Grafana for metrics.
exceptione 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of solutions. What do you recommend for setups with 1 to 3 small servers?
zp-j 7 hours ago 0 replies      
No one mentioned Flume + Kafka? This sounds to be a mature solution.
cbismuth 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Java / Logback / Filebeat 5.0.0 / Elasticsearch 2.3 / Kibana 4
mohanlal1803 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi all,The stack which we used in our organisation is, 1) Fluentd - for log line transporting 2) Elastic search - for indexing3) Kibana - for viewing (remote log viewer)
toddkazakov 8 hours ago 0 replies      
ELK with AWS hosted Elastic Search. Works like a charm with Kubernetes.
eloycoto 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I use to work with cloudwatch + awslogs and works like a charm.
mohanlal 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi All,

The stack which we used in our organisation is,

1)Fluentd - for log line transporting2)Elastic search - for indexing3)Kibana - for viewing (remote log viewer)

somedanishguy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
We're currently looking into using Humio.
vacri 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Papertrail is beautiful for watching loglines roll in.

ELK (logstash, self-hosted) is... consuming. The software is free, but it takes a lot of compute resources, and isn't trivial to come to grips with (setup or daily use). If you can spare the staff-hours, ELK can be pretty powerful, though.

sairamkunala 9 hours ago 1 reply      
missed splunk?
mohanlal1803 7 hours ago 1 reply      
How do YOU survive during tough times?
37 points by rrtigga  23 hours ago   23 comments top 14
jasonkester 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is the wrong question. A better question is "would 'tough times' affect you at all?"

Never couple spending to income. That's a recipe for always feeling poor. Instead, find a baseline where you can live and make sure that it lies at such a tiny fraction of your normal income that you never need to think about thinks like "budgeting" or "saving".

So if you're fresh out of school with your first $50k/year job, make sure you can fit your entire life into $20k/year.

When you take that $120k/year job a few years later, live on $20k/year.

When you crack the $300k/year barrier with your RSUs from Google, live on $20k/year.

That is how I've always approached things, and it makes life a lot less stressful (since it removes the number one worry that everybody else has from the equation). There were several years when I was traveling and consulting where I'd only take one little $10k gig a year (or nothing at all), and there was never a question of running out of money because it naturally went out the door so slowly.

If you do what everybody else does and ramp your lifestyle up to meet your income, you're just ensuring that you'll be in trouble if things go south. But once you have a dozen years of accidentally saving (n-20) per year, you can survive for years at a time with no income at all, so bumps in the road don't feel bumpy at all.

Fix that and you'll stop needing to ask questions like this one.

tiredwired 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Get a job at a lame startup with lots of processes and code reviews - things that leave you with a lot of free time waiting for others to approve the minutiae. The more designers they have the better - especially if they work remote. That company will fail horribly but, you will have the time and funds to work on your project.
cylinder 20 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're building a company in SF without OPM (Other People's Money), you are making a big mistake.
eswat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If I didnt prepare a buffer before reaching a point where I had to think about staying afloat then Id just be more aggressive in taking on contract work (Im a consultant but favour my discretionary time over filling every day with work). Id pause my main project until I had a buffer again or do the new work around my project.

That aggressiveness comes from reaching out to my existing network more, stretching that network to more people and also removing things that compromise in the contract work search (bonus if theyre also sapping money). So things like Netflix, eating out regularly, or anything else thats definitely a Want but not a Need, are put on pause as well.

But this would be a lot easier if a buffer was created first so you wouldnt reach this situation in the first place. Or if you did then youre prepared better for weathering it out. You build a buffer to help you financially and also mentally: build up a war chest with either savings or investment money and do things that make you uncomfortable while you have the room to do so, so they dont make a mess of you later.

zachlatta 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Easy answer: leave SF and get to a lower rent situation if you truly cannot afford rent.

When I wanted to cut down costs, I built some software to take advantage of referral programs from startups and used that to get free food for a few months. But if I found myself in a situation where I truly feared my ability to pay rent, I'd start contracting and look into moving elsewhere.

usgroup 10 hours ago 0 replies      
i forward project my buffer (savings) to 2 years to cover living relatively modestly. I think it's important to not feel desperate to take whatever the next thing is.

I fish for contract work when it's available and try to generate passive income where possible. If you're living on $20k, the 3-4K you get from your asset portfolio goes a long way.

If I had no assets at all, I wouldn't be willing to enter the start up game . I'd look to ratchet up the ladder to a bigger buffer first then role the dice.

If I had to ... I'd consider taking s part-time job doing whatever and finding a living situation that the part time job could afford (e.g. Sharing an apartment uncomfortably). I'd spend the rest of the time on my start up or trying to ratchet up a better living situation.

What's that saying about logistics winning wars?

ww520 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Join a company that pays good salary. Save up enough to have a cushion for the startup's tough time.

Startup is high risk business.

newscracker 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Mods, please add the "Ask HN" prefix for this one. It's not a link to another site/article.
imauld 21 hours ago 0 replies      
How long have the tough times been going on and how much longer do they look to continue? If this is a rough patch, getting a second job, selling some belongings or renting out an extra room/space could be feasible (even renting out your apt and staying in the office if you have one).

If the tough times look to be continuing indefinitely they aren't tough times they are life and you have made some bad decisions about where you could afford to live..

newsat13 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Not joking: Get your spouse to sponsor your startup. Give them some ownership of the company.
chrisseaton 22 hours ago 1 reply      
> sell cereal

Huh? Breakfast cereal? Is this something people do in SF to earn money on the side? Or is it a joke I don't get?

ruler88 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Freelance, or live in a car + buy gym membership to shower.
babesh 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Go back to school by taking advantage of student loans.
evadne 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Access to a locale with a vastly cheaper cost of living.
Ask HN: What technologies are you guys excited about?
14 points by 7ero  22 hours ago   17 comments top 10
csixty4 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been on a Functional Programming kick lately. Wrote an FP library for PHP. Done a little in JavaScript. Kicking the tires on a couple functional-first languages. Looks like Scala may be a good place to settle down & get comfy.

Aside from that, I'm thinking it might be time to start the discussion about digital identity & reputation ecosystems again.

usgroup 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Haxe : because it can target web, desktop and mobile with the same code for apps and games , and allows for declarative UI building.

eXist-DB : XML DB with baked in app framework. Server side code is in XQuery. Magic for data aggregation API building.

PicoLisp : Lisp + declarative Web UI + prolog + distributed DB in one tightly coupled package. Build your next crawler in this to appreciate the magic.

BWStearns 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I know it's not really new but I've been playing with Erlang (really the whole BEAM family including Elixer and LFE) a little and it seems very interesting. The idea that future performance gains will be achieved through parallelism has been around for a bit but at least from my perspective it seems like the tools to achieve those gains have become significantly more available (not just the technology itself, but the community, books/tutorials, and the lessons learned).

Given the amount of logic being offloaded to the client in webapps and the increase in app stores (package manager GUIs with price tags) I'm wondering if there won't be a return of more dedicated desktop apps. I think Spotify, Slack, and other electron/react native style apps may be the opening salvo. They seem to be mostly geared towards allowing offline operation as opposed to enabling distributed applications, but it'd be interesting to see if/how that arises out of people becoming used to native apps again. I could imagine Slack in particular cutting down on its requests to their servers by figuring out a way to make teams opportunistically p2p and updating the server with diffs in larger chunks.

jotux 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Rust for bare metal firmware, specifically on ARM, as a replacement for C/C++ with static analyzers.
randelramirez 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Been coding in C# for several years now, I played with F# and it's fun. question though....do you guys think it will be as a popular as C# or Java? you know "first-class" citizen(if I may say so) when it comes to writing business apps(desktop/web/mobile(xamarin-already supported)). :D
davidjnelson 12 hours ago 0 replies      
React, lambda, dynamodb, functional programming.
flukus 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Docker (and similar), because I think simplifying server admin will be the end of the cloud hype.
fitzwatermellow 20 hours ago 0 replies      
WebRTC / QUIC. Apps like Google Allo and Duo are just the tip of the spear ;)
gt565k 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Programming on the go with google glass / digital contact lenses and a virtual keyboard.

I think the nanotech will need another decade or 2, and perhaps a break through in battery tech ;), but I can see us getting there in 2-3 decades.

miguelrochefort 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The Semantic Web
Ask HN: Where should I host my startup?
88 points by akos  2 days ago   94 comments top 36
tjpd 2 days ago 4 replies      
Reading a lot of these comments make me think that everyone on HN is a cynic of the Oscar Wilde/Lady Windermere variety: "A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" [1].

IMHO you should go with Heroku and ignore anyone who's suggesting dedicated servers, VPSes, AWS, Docker or containers. Every moment you spend maintaining a server or doing devops is wasted because it's time not spent building or marketing your _app_.

New startups' biggest expense is founders' time. It seems a lot of people, even on HN, don't realise it because it's a hidden cost. But if you think that a decent developer is worth at least $50/hr and it might take you an 1hr to set up and 1hr/yr to manage a server (e.g. apply patches, update security) then you're better off not spending those 2hrs and paying an extra $100 hosting your app.

Worrying about the future infrastructure cost is also wrong-headed. It's a kind of premature optimisation. To get the real, expected future cost, the projected infrastructure cost has to be multiplied by the probability that you'll actually get big, which for start-ups, is very low.

[1]: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/790/790-h/790-h.htm

seanwilson 2 days ago 1 reply      
This highly depends on if your site is dynamic or static. If static, I would go with GitHub Pages or Netlify as they're free/cheap and easy to use. Static sites with this kind of hosting is also great in that they require practically zero maintenance.

If you have to run a dynamic site (less potential headaches if you avoid this), I would try to use something like Heroku. It's easily one of the simplest way to host a robust site that needs to scale without having to spend much time on admin and DevOps.

For the people recommending a VPS, DigitalOcean etc., you're talking about using a huge amount of your own time to make such a setup as robust, easy to use and low maintenance as Heroku. What about backups? Scripting server creation? Adding a load balancer and more servers? Security updates? Server security?

The more parts and scripts you have to put together yourself, the more things that can go wrong and the more time of yours it's going to consume. If you consider how much your own time is worth and how important your startup is to you, trying to save anything in the realm of $10 a month on a core part of your startup doesn't make any sense if this is going to cost you multiple hours of time a month.

andrewl-hn 2 days ago 2 replies      
No one has mentioned Heroku yet. Starting at $7 they are a bit more expensive than DigitalOcean, but with that extra $2 you'll get their platform, their tooling for deploying the app, their database backups. Adding other services later on is also easy with their addons. By choosing Heroku you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in ops costs over a course of a few months.

The hosting cost may go up quickly, but if your business is successful you can either absorb it, or spend time and money to migrate away. They run on AWS, so picking the same location means you can run mixed infrastructure (part on Heroku, and part on AWS) without a latency hit. Thus, a hybrid configuration is very viable.

chias 2 days ago 3 replies      
If "$10 / month" counts as cheap in your book, check out a Linode VPS. I've been using them for a couple years now, and I have been extremely satisfied (although I've upgraded to a beefier VPS as my project has grown in popularity).

Another good VPS option is DigitalOcean, which offers a smaller (and cheaper) plan for $5 / month.

There are also a lot of shared hosting providers out there that will sell you cheaper space, but I would not recommend this for anything non-trivial, as most of the time, you'll be limited to using PHP. Still, if you're looking for the best bang for your buck and you're willing to settle for shared hosting, check out Nearly Free Speech -- they are head and shoulders above any other shared hosting provider that I have ever tried.

jhylau 2 days ago 0 replies      
For any non-static website - Heroku FOR SURE. It's not even a question - I have two companies that both run on Heroku - both startups are profitable and both will remain on Heroku for the next couple of years. (https://www.switchup.org and https://www.trycarriage.com) - I know massive scale billion dollar companies that are on Heroku (e.g. Deliveroo, Macy's)

The cost/benefit analysis is ALWAYS positive in favor of Heroku until you hit super massive scale (minimum 2-3 years out for most startups, if ever). It's super easy to use. Their feature set is increasing monthly and they can handle a lot of different types of setups.

hbcondo714 2 days ago 1 reply      
Microsoft's BizSpark program gives startups $150/month in Azure credits for 3 years


iraklism 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hetzner is another option. But you don't really specify your requirements (geographical region, scalability , etc) so I don't know if this suits you.
grif-fin 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I can comment on AWS, EC2 (ECS where docker kicks in if you want it). To set it up via UX Amazon Console was absolutely confusing and continues poor user experience until we moved to AWS-cli which was very time consuming and then the setting up of docker which just ate a big chunk of our time.

Strongly recommend to go for something simpler and lightweight to reduce the time waste as lots of other comments suggest.

At the end of the day you don't even know if anyone wants your product or what first user's opinion is, why waste time on shiny host set-up?

biot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since you've provided no details at all for your requirements (does your startup need a flotilla of beefy servers to do real-time facial recognition across thousands of live 4K video feeds?) I'm assuming you have a static HTML site with zero backend required. In that case, a Jekyll/Hugo generated site hosted on Amazon S3 will be really cheap. Throw CloudFlare in front of it for even more cheapness if you expect loads of traffic. Your hosting bill will be measured in pennies per month.
nodesocket 2 days ago 0 replies      
Depending on your application and stack, you may want to consider Google Cloud or AWS. While I really like DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, etc they lack production features like a centralized firewall and IAM security. Additionally AWS and Google have a slew of complimentary services so maybe you don't need raw physical machines. For example, instead you may be able to use Elasticache, RDS, and Elastic Container Service and don't have to manage any servers.
ggregoire 2 days ago 0 replies      
AWS has a free plan during 12 months: https://aws.amazon.com/free
jimmywanger 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd go with GCE. They have a wide suite of services, and because they're the number three player right now, will probably give you a bunch of free credit to play with.
VertexRed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm going to have to be the boring guy and say: depends completely on how much resources you need.

In most cases though (brace yourself for an unpopular opinion) it's enough to setup a simple dedicated server for about $20-$60 per month.

Now I did read the comments that mentioned how getting a dedicated server is a waste of valuable time, but honestly you'll most probably be able to get it setup in a day, you'll also learn how web servers work along the way and you won't have to depend on third-party cloud services (yet).

Here's a great guide from DigitalOcean on how to setup a modern dedicated HTTP server with MYSQL: https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-inst...

ing33k 2 days ago 1 reply      
you should check out free tier offered by Amazon


Also do apply for things like BizSparkhttps://bizspark.microsoft.com/

if you have a static marketing page, you can also host it for free ( almost ? ) on https://firebase.google.com/docs/hosting/

erikb 2 days ago 1 reply      
Don't trust anybody who doesn't start with "it depends". For nothing in this world there is one perfect answer. Context means a lot. What have you coded? Why do you think you are done if it is not running anywhere (I would say you are 20% done if it runs on your laptop)? How many people need to use it to be viable (e.g. a diary service needs only one user who writes texts for himself, a shop needs at least make its hosting and transportation fees, a social network needs thousands of people before it can even start to be successful)?

Good general advice is this: The simplest solution is often the best, but in some cases that means taking your old desktop pc, install ubuntu, configure your router to publicly share http and https from that computer. In other cases it means using a toolset like Heroku.

Please don't be mad about this, but the way you phrase your question it is very very likely you have so little skill that you don't even know how little. Please consider to pay a freelancer to support you. He likely has more skill and has experienced more "this can never happen in real life" F-Ups than you, and therefore can handle a lot.

imaginenore 2 days ago 3 replies      
Cheap: browse through the listings on lowendbox.com, you will find some amazing deals for both VPS and dedicated servers.

Reliable: AWS / Rackspace / DigitalOcean / Google cloud / basically any famous one.

When you're starting, it's probably better to rent a cheap VPS server. If you start growing fast, you can always move to the cloud. But modern cheap VPSs are quite powerful. I have 7 websites running on one that costs me $6/month.

ddorian43 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out webfaction https://www.webfaction.com/?aid=9281. It's cheaper/better than shared/heroku/dedicated/vps/ec2 up until a certain point (48GB ram).
PetahNZ 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are willing to shell out a little more ($40), you can get a pretty powerful DS for a fraction of the cost of what the major cloud providers would cost: https://www.delimiter.com
adjohn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Check out Digital Ocean Hatch[1]. If you're an eligible startup, you can get 100K of free credits for 12 months.

[1] - https://www.digitalocean.com/hatch/

trcollinson 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can you give us an idea of what your site is built in? Personally I have a side project I am working on which I am just hosting on the free allocation of AWS. Even if it weren't in the free tier, it would be extremely inexpensive. With that, I have a lot of experience deploying to AWS and I have scripted most of the process (in fact, other than some monitoring, at this point, the deployment process is entirely automated). This would work for just about any architecture. But, the difficulty of setup will cause your mileage to vary a bit.
pier25 1 day ago 0 replies      
We are super happy with Firebase. Even if you just use the static hosting you get CDN + HTTPS for free. And you can even use the free tier as long as you want which is awesome for low traffic.
wtvanhest 2 days ago 0 replies      
It depends on how much you want to do yourself.

Heroku is easiest and relatively cheap until you scale. (Great problem)

Lots of people seem to use AWS. My limited understanding is that it is marginally more difficult to implement than heroku.

You could also go with someone like Linode. I would only go that route if you have implemented before. There is a learning curve and if you are trying to get the site up quick, I would go with a different option.

smoyer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Redhat offers free services (you pick which ones) via their OpenShift [0] platform. Under the covers it's Docker and Kubernetes.

[0] https://developers.openshift.com/getting-started/index.html?...

boulos 2 days ago 0 replies      
As people asked, what do you need "today" (host website apparently) and what do you need "tomorrow"? If you just need a simple static-ish web app, and everything else is your offline iOS game that's pretty different from building say a Snapchat competitor.

Full disclosure: I work on Google Cloud, but it's unclear you need a cloud provider.

epynonymous 1 day ago 0 replies      
why can't you use just aws micro free t1? they give you a micro machine for 1 year free. what loads do you anticipate, what hw requirements do you need for your machine? i think hosting a simple website with sqlite database works great on an aws micro, if you need something more glorified like postgresql or mysql and multi-tier, then perhaps you should go for something like digital ocean or paid aws, this all depends on your requirements which you haven't specified.

currently i'm hosting a golang web + restful api + websocket server + sqlite3 db + redis + nginx all on a single micro AWS server, but my marketing hasn't really started yet, we're talking about <100 hits thus far per day.

shanecleveland 2 days ago 0 replies      
Webfaction. I don't do anything with heavy traffic, but very happy with reliability, performance and features.
pimterry 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you're talking about hosting your startup's landing page, stick with Github Pages: https://pages.github.com/. Free, super quick & easy, with custom domains to boot.

Personally, for almost any product I start here. Even if you do need server-side infrastructure for the product, hosting all your marketing pages on GH pages is probably the right choice - they're going to be better at reliably hosting and serving static content than you are. Focus on your product instead.

When I do need server-side logic I then usually go for Digital Ocean, because they're very cheap, pretty great, and far less complicated to manage than EC2. It's also pretty easy to set up Dokku: https://medium.com/@pimterry/host-your-node-app-on-dokku-dig.... With that on top you then get a quick & effective Heroku-style deployment experience, at a fraction of the price.

nwilkens 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do you have any special requirements -- such as location, high memory, io performance, or storage capacity?

At https://mnx.io (my company) we offer various options with reliability, and performance at our foundation.

flaie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Clever cloud is a good option, they're very good at what they're doing. Plans start low, and you can scale easily when needed. They do have plenty of options, and support is top notch.
acarrera 2 days ago 2 replies      
if looking into digitalocean, vultr.com is slightly better in terms of pricing and processors, though it takes much longer (~2-3mins) to spin up a vm instead of <60s in digitalocean
borplk 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who wasted time and money with AWS I'd say start with something simple like DigitalOcean and worry about problems as you face them.
jtcond13 1 day ago 0 replies      
Amazon's PaaS offering (Elastic Beanstalk) isn't too difficult to use and may be less expensive than Heroku.
DeBraid 2 days ago 0 replies      
now.sh https://zeit.co/now/ and surge.sh https://surge.sh are some lesser-known options that I've used recently with ease and success (on free plan, for small projects).
coupdejarnac 2 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't seen it mentioned yet, but Redhat's Openshift provides an alternative to Heroku. I've used it for a few years and been happy with it. They have a startup program that gives you access to a paid tier for a year. I've used Openshift to host Node and Flask apps.

Edit: a bunch of downvotes for trying to be helpful, how nice.

d0m 2 days ago 0 replies      
Personally had bad experience with linode.. I'd go with aws.
catalinbraescu 1 day ago 0 replies      
It looks like you're confusing your startup (which is a company) with your web site.
Ask HN: What tech problems do your parents have?
9 points by neilsharma  1 day ago   19 comments top 8
dorfuss 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I would simply say: there are too many changes in the interfaces.

And I agree with that - every new device and operating system changes things, and most often those changes are not necessary. I am not talking about functionalities, but UI.

I am not sure there is any value added in the UI changes between Win 95 and Win10. I am still using the good old WinAmp and TotalCommander which still have not changed by pixel in the last 10-15 years. Once you get used to certain technology, even if it is uncomfortable at the beginning, should not be re-designed and forcefully imposed on users.

billconan 3 hours ago 1 reply      
guiding my parents remotely on how to use software is so difficult.

I have to be very specific, like I have to say click the button about 2 centimeters to the right board of the monitor.

I understand the design pattern of an ui. even I'm new to a software I know where to find what I need. but to them, every new ui is completely new.

For example, they still can't tell when to double click on a button/icon, when to single click.

I gave up on educating them, all I hope is a simpler way to provide remote support.

there used to be a remote desktop app called crossloop, which shut down after its company got purchased.

it's very easy to use, once run, it generates a code and just enter the code on my side, I can take over their desktop.

the closest solution now is chrome remote desktop, but guiding my parents through app store to install it is a long pain process and they can't remember where to find the app next time.

I thought about recreating crossloop myself for people with the same need. But I talked to my friends, they don't seem to share the same pain. And I thought the market for this will shrink as the newer generations are more familiar with computers.

fern12 20 hours ago 0 replies      
My dad is an overly-enthusiastic Waze user. He is nearly 70, and the last thing he needs is a distraction. I have nagged him endlessly about how dangerous it is. I would love to hear any tips or suggestions on what others have said to their senior citizen parents on this topic.
neilsharma 1 day ago 1 reply      
My mom has had her own successful small fashion business for the past 25 years, and it frustrates me watching her do anything on the computer -- her business doesn't even have a website. The ironic thing is that she spends all day on it managing her thousands of photos, sending out sales emails, etc. Here are some concepts I've repeatedly helped her with:


- Navigating the file system is confusing, esp on a PC with a lot of default folders that don't need to be touched

- Drag + Drop relocates local files, but copies if you're uploading to the web/external device. Same action but different results.

- Setting up a new device with the essential software

- Debugging printer and wifi problems.


- Password recovery/management (she can't use skype anymore)

- Figuring out google drive (finally migrated her business on this)

- the concept of shared files vs attaching everything in emails

- to her, the internet is youtube, gmail, and google search.

- tabs are like browsers in browsers. How do you remember what page is opened in each tab?

- product names are non descriptive. Why aren't they called "Chrome Browser" and "Firefox Browser"?


- discovering her mobile number (i taped a sticker on the back of her phone with her #)

- making text larger (if she needs glasses to read, she won't read)

- managing push notifications and clearing voicemail (notification overload --> ignores all messages)

- She confuses the concepts of apps, icons, links, buttons, and thumbnails.

atmosx 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My dad had his IT revolution moment when he encountered the iPad. To me it was just a device with limited capabilities, for him is the predeferred medium of content consumption.

That said he still prefers sending his emails with his 12 year old Window XP laptop running Thunderbird.

ruler88 1 day ago 2 replies      
I found that 'tech education' has rarely been successful with my parents and some of their tech-less peers. What was interesting is that mobile technology changed the game for them. I used to set up skype, screenshare, etc on their latest computer but they would not even use them 'cause it is still too complicated. These days, they can easily use the latest communication tools on mobile apps. It is quite amazing how mobile app design has penetrated and entirely new segment of the population.
lsiebert 20 hours ago 1 reply      
]How to switch the tv over to watch netflix is currently saved in a google docs file for my mom, but really, there should totally be a macro based remote that could handle delays for device power up and switching that would be useful.
eecks 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Understanding wifi vs data
Ask HN: Learning to code, without a computer?
202 points by givinguflac  3 days ago   181 comments top 89
informatimago 3 days ago 12 replies      
Learning to code without a computer is what we all did, 40 years ago!

He may write programs on paper, and send them to you to type them in, compile them, and print out a listing with the errors. You then send back the listing, and he will correct his program and repeat.

He'll become a great programmer, since he will have to be extra careful to avoid losing one week on some typo.

Now, it's been a few years since gcc has been able to produce a real listing of the compiled source. You would have to write some script to combine the error output with the source file to produce a classic listing. Similarly for other common modern programming language implementations.

On the other hand, without direct access to a computer, he would not attempt to write any interactive or GUI application, only batch programs, unless the interaction is performed only by an external tester for him.

Another idea: some progress has been made on optical character recognition, so if he can write well enough, it may be possible that you may be able to scan his written programs, and convert them to source file easily, without having to transcribe them. So the process could be smooth enough.

If writing ustensils include typewriter, then even better for the OCR!

llamaz 3 days ago 4 replies      
I'd recommend he read the "structure and interpretation of computer programs". It's written for audience who would, at the time, have found programming novel, but would be at home with math. Hence it's written in a language that allows you to expand out the program by pencil and paper, much the same way you would simplify an equation, to see if it works.

Also the following books, which I've copied and pasted from somewhere, to learn theory:

Mano, M.Digital Design, 3rd ed.Prentice Hall, 2002

Mano, M and Kime, CLogic and Computer Design Fundamentals, 2nd edPrentice Hall, 2001

Gajski, DPrinciples of Digital DesignPrentice Hall, 1997

Tanenbaum, AStructured Computer Organization, 5th edPrentice Hall, 2006

Patt, Y and Patel, SIntroduction to Computing Systems: From Bits and Gates to C and Beyond, 2nd ed.McGraw Hill, 2004

Null, L and Lobur, JThe Essentials of Computer Organization and Architecture, 2nd edJones and Bartlett Publishers, 2006

mbertschler 3 days ago 4 replies      
What is the most capable programmable device, that would not be considered a computer by the rules? How about a graphical calculator like a TI-83?

While I was stuck in school and did not have access to a computer, I wanted to challenge myself during classes. The most interesting distraction by far was to play around with the programming functions of my TI-82 calculator that was required for math classes. Even with almost no idea about programming I could soon do interesting things with it, because it is programmed using a version of BASIC. In the end I even created a clone of snake. It worked, but moving one block ahead would take 2 seconds.

hn_felon 2 days ago 1 reply      
I did 6 years in Texas, but I was already a developer before I went in. That said, I had some books sent to me to try to keep my mind fresh. I also helped someone else who was released a few years after me get going and now they're a junior dev.

Emphasize learning that will serve freelancing, since someone with a criminal record will run into issues with traditional employment. (I've been out since 2009 and done very well) Ruby, PHP, Javascript are some of the best bets.

I'd recommend O'Reilly's Head First books. Even if they're a few years old, really doesn't matter, given the situation. I think Sandi Metz's Practical Objected Oriented Design in Ruby is great - she does an awesome job of explaining OO principles even if you don't end up writing Ruby. The Manga Guide to Databases is another good read that explains concepts well.

I'd also consider a book that shows a quick way to build web apps, like Agile Development in Rails or maybe a book on ColdFusion. Without the ability to write and run code, it can help plant seeds for those "aha!" moments for understanding the code -> web request lifecycle without getting bogged down in ceremony.

In Texas, the books had to come from a bona fide bookseller, so don't go to B&N and try to mail the books yourself.

Stratoscope 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want to echo the suggestion that several others have made, to start with a good book on just about any programming language that has a lot of sample programs in it, and learn to read that code and execute it with pencil and paper.

This will be much more productive than trying to learn to write code from scratch while also learning a language and learning how to execute the code with pencil and paper.

I would start by going through the exercise yourself: pick out a book and use one of the first sample programs, and set up a "debugger" on a pad of paper.

I used to do this kind of debugging myself: when I first learned BASIC back around 1969, I spent some time in my grandmother's basement with two pads of paper, one with my code and one for the debugger. The debugger pad had columns across the top:

 Line number One variable Another variable Another one
Then I would step through my code, adding a row on the debugger for each line I executed, with the current line number in the first column and each new variable value in the other columns.

After going through this exercise with one program, send your friend the "debugger" pad along with the book, so he has a place to start with this idea. He can then go through the same example and follow along with your debugging steps.

That way he has a solid place to start when exploring the other sample programs in the book.

Please feel free to email me if you'd like to kick this idea around - address is in my profile. And I strongly suspect that everyone else in this thread would be happy to extend you the same offer.

I also heartily endorse the suggestion to read Charles Petzold's _Code_. It's a wonderful book!

mannykannot 3 days ago 2 replies      
Bell Lab's cardboard computer ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CARDboard_Illustrative_Aid_to_... ) came to mind, but you are probably right that studying algorithms (and at least something about hardware) is probably the best starting point. As it is some time since I was in school, I am not sure what counts as a good introductory text these days.

This does not give any experience in debugging, which is not taught in books, AFAIK. I am not sure what to do about that...

SiVal 3 days ago 1 reply      
I had to learn to program with pencil and paper, but I had occasional access to a computer, so I have to ask for more info. How long until your friend gets out? Will he have zero access to a computer while inside? Will he have someone on the outside who can take handwritten code, enter it, run it, and send back the results? If so, what will the turnaround time be? What does he want to do when he gets out?

-- If he'll be in for a year or two with essentially zero access (no computer inside, no computer buddy outside), he should learn something related to programming (math, web design with CSS, etc.), basically re-ordering a typical multi-year learning sequence to put the coding later

-- If he'll be in for ten or more years, he should learn something else. His learning will be so slow and the field changes so quickly that he might learn a few timeless fundamentals, but that's all. He could accomplish much more in some other challenging field that didn't require tools he wouldn't have (ex: math, physics, accounting, ...)

-- If he'll be in for less than five years with access to a computer (via friend outside, for example) every couple of weeks, it could work. It would be like my situation when I was a kid and kids didn't have computers (but I was able to sneak some access). I would do it differently now from what I did then. I would read programming books and get my hands on lots of small example programs. You read the lesson, do the exercise on paper, run it on paper, and only when you are SURE it works (or you're SURE you don't know how to make it work), you read the "answer" (code written by a pro) and study it. Use worked examples as feedback when you can't get it from an actual computer. As you do this, write simple things and send them to the partner on the outside as you continue to work examples on the inside. The turnaround time won't delay you as much if you have other things to do while you wait.

Now, take his real situation, consider the above scenarios, and craft one that will work for him.

downandout 2 days ago 0 replies      
A word of caution: "Learning to code" is a pretty broad subject. You should have him think about what he actually wants to accomplish with code when he gets out and have him study topics related to that. He can pickup ancillary things when he gets out; for now he likely wants to be working on something that will help him hit the ground running. If he wants to develop web pages, you should send him some books on JavaScript. If he wants to create mobile apps, there are specific books on this subject for iOS and Android. Most programming languages share concepts like OOP etc anyway, so by learning one he is laying the groundwork to much more easily pickup others.

Also, you should give him realistic expectations. Learning to code isn't the panacea that many think it is. There are many broke but talented programmers out there, and most don't have the extra baggage associated with a felony conviction. If he doesn't truly have a passion to create software, and is just looking for a way to make money, there are more efficient things he can learn about - like the psychology behind viral marketing (The Tipping Point by Malcom Gladwell and Purple Cow by Seth Godin might be good for example). I know someone that couldn't write a line of code to save his life, but makes 6 figures per month creating Facebook pages around ridiculous topics and using them to drive traffic to affiliate offers and his own Adsense pages. Your friend can always hire coders when needed if creating software isn't what he actually wants to do.

ajamesm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a great opportunity to learn set theory, abstract algebra, number theory, linear algebra. You could get a working comprehension of cryptography or computer graphics. You could get a handle on category theory.

Those are topics that one could make progress on with only a pencil, paper, and the occasional phone call to a mentor.

I cannot imagine submitting punch cards and reading JavaScript stack traces by mail.

groundCode 3 days ago 3 replies      
I came across CS unplugged a while ago. Looks like it might be useful http://csunplugged.org/
exDM69 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have no idea about prison security and how things work, but are there programmable gadgets that are allowed inside? Ie. something that is really a computer inside but doesn't qualify as a proper computer when it comes to the rules. Some pocket tetris or similar game that could be hacked to run some kind of programming environment? Some old computing gadget that runs a basic interpreter? Edit: TI calculator mentioned by someone is an excellent idea if it passes the rules.

Apart from that... reading books and solving programming puzzles might be a good way. Something that has a feedback loop, which you won't have in the normal way without a computer at hand.

I must take my hat off for this kind of determination! I hope it provides your friend with a way out and they have a better life ahead of them.

jeffmould 2 days ago 1 reply      
Depends on where he is incarcerated there may be options available and if not he should find ways to bring them to the prison.

1) Edovo is a tablet learning solution that is in many jails (https://edovo.com/)

2) Another group The Last Mile, while they got their start in San Quentin, is working to bring their program/model to more prisons. https://thelastmile.org/

Regardless, I would encourage reaching out to either program to explore their options further. The people behind each are incredibly helpful and may be able to assist you with additional details.

techplex 1 day ago 0 replies      
Neil Fraser wrote about getting a letter from a an inmate wanting to learn to program. He sent two books and a problem to solve.

CS Unplugged: Computer Science without a computer and Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers. I've also posed a problem for him to ponder:

"You have five fingers on your hand (usually -- a few people have more, many have fewer). Each finger can be either extended, or curled up. So a fist would be all fingers curled up, a high-five would be all fingers extended, and many other combinations exist (including the obscene middle-finger gesture, and probably a whole lot of gang signs). What is the total number of possible combinations that can be produced using five fingers? Can you do them all? What is the total number of possible combinations that can be produced using ten fingers? Can you figure out a pattern so that you could calculate how many possible combinations there would be if you had 16 fingers?"


VertexRed 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't understand why they don't give inmates access to a computer for a few hours per day.

When they're out the hard working ones will have programming skills which will help with the job hunt.

usgroup 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Instruct him to learn system design and UML.

Maybe work on a conceptual project. E.g build a complete UML solution for a HN clone for example.

That'll take care of the analysis part.

If he's enough time then move into discrete maths and algorithms.

That'll sandwich the actual coding , after which it'll be a short effort once he's got access to a computer

jrochkind1 2 days ago 0 replies      
I loved The Little Lisper/Little Schemer. The edition I used, at least, would work well to teach certain kinds of programmatic/computational thinking without a computer.

But I feel like I saw an actual curriculum without a computer recently, but now I can't remember what it was, curious to see if it shows up in this thread. Great idea for the incarcerated! I'm going to see if I can figure out what I'm thinking of.

Ah, I think I was thinking of the CS Unplugged that others have mentioned, sweet!

Thanks for this post, I think I'm going to buy a few copies of Little Schemer and CS Unplugged and ship them directly to a Books to Prisoners program I know that sends books to prisoners in response to topical requests.

S4M 3 days ago 0 replies      
If your friend plays chess - or any 1 vs 1 board game - he can implement a chess program and execute the algorithm by hand to see how his program performs. I haven't done that myself, I am sure it's tedious, but at least he will be able to see his algorithm running.
toomanybeersies 2 days ago 0 replies      
Professor Tim Bell (University of Canterbury) is real big into this. He made CS Unplugged (http://csunplugged.org/), a program for teaching CS at school without using computers.

It is aimed at school children, but it's a place to start.

arikr 3 days ago 2 replies      
I remember reading an articulation that it is odd that we are taught to program differently to how we are taught to play music.

With music, we are taught to read before we write.

With programming, we start out writing.

This seems like a great chance for your friend to try out the music learning approach. Send them books of excellently written programs, and allow them to read before they write.

[As a side note: What is their goal? To program to become a software engineer? To program to build web applications for fun? To program to learn how to build products to produce a profit for themselves? The goals will inform the process.]

daver0_0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe the best use of his time would be to develop math skills. Probability, Statistics, Calculus, Logic, perhaps a focus on algorithms (as you suggest) will give a leg up in important areas of computer science and make it much easier to jump in and do meaningful work when your friend gets out. Also all those skills do not require a computer to develop - although they are challenging. I hope there is some sort of support available in his current institution.
samblr 3 days ago 0 replies      
Writing pseudo-code on paper by making use of data-structures would set his aptitude levels. Its like building right muscles and reflexes for a sport. Books like this will help (Cracking coding interview) - https://goo.gl/jSUylb

One of the key things to also understand here is - what is missed out in this type of training. Tools. Tools. Tools.

As developers we have come far away from limited IDEs. We rely on so many tools that knowing-they-exist or sometimes mastering them is difference between good-or-bad devs. I would recommend to read printed material about IDEs, screen shots of tools.

Couple of other things I have found really helpful:* I had underestimated Medium as a platform to rely for tech news till lately. There is so much of latest developer/platform news and articles. Print outs of these definitely help. * Stackshare posts (http://stackshare.io/featured-posts) on what stacks/tools companies use (and how) are eye opening to say the least. Print outs of this.

x0x0 3 days ago 1 reply      
If your friend has free time, he may also enjoy _Code_ by Charles Petzold. It's a layman-oriented explanation of how computers work.

Is he in state or federal prison? Are there no classes available that could give him access to a computer?

robert_tweed 2 days ago 1 reply      
In addition to the CS books already recommended by others, do not underestimate the value of flowcharts.

You can draw a program on paper and follow it with a finger to "run" it. With a bit of practise, it'll be possible to run such mental models without even writing them down. At that point you're thinking like a programmer.

This skill is transferrable to any programming language.

on_and_off 2 days ago 0 replies      
My first programming courses were all done with pen and paper.

Understanding how variables, loops, stacks and so on work was all done by writing the algorithms, and our first contact with a computer was in order to write some assembly code, after something like 2 months.

That's not ideal but you can already learn a lot without actually writing code to a computer.

Having access to a programmable calculator or even better to a smartphone would obviously be better.

Would he be able to get some kind of no-name android portable media player and write code on that ?

A simple google search leads me to QPython, I am sure there are tons of other IDEs running on Android. That might be the best option if he has access to such a device.

tzs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would he be allowed to have a calculator? If so, then maybe you could get him a programmable calculator. Something like an HP-48gx, perhaps.
vargavince91 3 days ago 0 replies      
Agree with all the CS Basics book (would add the Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, great book and if he has time, I'd go for it). I'd also consider giving him a couple of books, like: A) Clean Code by Bob Martin, B) Soft Skills by Jon Sonmez. Books that doesn't require a computer, yet teach the reader how a good developer should think while writing code and working in a team. It's also less likely he gets stuck while reading this kind of literature.

Would help if you shared the end goal. Get hired anywhere? Get hired by Top 4 Tech Company or Hot Startup of the Year? Start a business? Don't get bored? How long is he going to be incarcerated?

I would greatly appreciate if you shared your experience.

sAuronas 2 days ago 1 reply      
Be like Malcolm X and read every programming book he can get. Send him PDF copies. I'm self-taught. I obviously had a computer but I spent a ton of time just reading and studying other people's code. There was a time as a kid when I wanted to play the Sax but my mom made me wait a year. I bought a book and learned the fingerings and played by air for a whole year and took first chair the next. If he is really motivated, he can do it. In fact... I'll contribute and send him books as well as advise on how to get there. Send me a message and I'll help you help him.
hanakoWasNOCent 1 day ago 0 replies      
He needs to take it in stages, first learn the vocab of whta constitutes whatever the syntax is of his preferred language.

I recommend C++ as it is useful for a LOT of different types of electronics, embedded, pc, servers, you name it.

Also UNIX scripting is very useful.

Then he should write very small programs that he can use to build into little functions for larger ones. Something like adding two numbers at first, really simple, like almost blindingly simple, just to get comfortable with the architecture of the language.

Then write something that is more complex, something like how to make a little calculator that does all sorts of functions.

He'll need at least one reference book (which I heard you said he has, but you didn't specify what type of book, so look into it... it's a bit of a tedious process to get decent textbooks into the squares, but if you buy it new and send it to them FROM THE PUBLISHER, he can get it, you probably know this, but someone else might be reading and they might wanna help someone learn as well, so they need to know)

Additional texts of note:

Data structures

Math books, especially linear algebra

Web Programming

Wireless Communications / Bluetooth

That'll last him at least a couple of years to really master. Beyond that, he needs to get a system of writing so that he's not having to use English constantly, as it will take a ton of time. I've seen people use something akin to semaphore, but it's not _extremely_ important unless he's older, and has used his hands a lot. Cramping sucks, and losing your ability to write is nicht gut.

Alright well, I hope this helps. Best of luck to your friend, and if he mentions a thank you, please tell him he's welcome.

God Bless.

uola 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would consider if focusing learning CS or fundamentals is the right approach. What is the plan when he gets out? I'm not sure there's a lot of beginner CS or C jobs around without credentials. Is he going to try and go to school afterward and is that actually feasible?

Otherwise I would suggest combining CS with more applied programming with smaller scope (like a web stack), developer methodologies (designing, methodology, testing) or design (interaction, interfaces, experience). Those would be things that he could more easily be practice as he gets out, aren't as focused on credentials and would more likely land him some sort of job.

veddox 3 days ago 3 replies      
Learning programming without a computer is going to be really tough, but if he's dedicated enough, he should be able to make some good progress. (Although he shouldn't expect to be employable as soon as he gets out.)

CS theory probably makes a good starting point, as a lot of it doesn't require actual coding, but still lays a solid foundation for future work. I would recommend SICP (Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, by Abelson and Sussman) as a good starting point. It uses Scheme, which isn't exactly a language he's likely to end up working in, but it will teach him a whole lot about thinking like a programmer.

SixSigma 3 days ago 0 replies      
Try Bell Labs Cardiac the cardboard computer


sramam 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't seem to find the reference to it, but there was a link on HN a couple of years ago of a dad who taught kids (9 year olds IIRC) to program a robot by creating a real world obstacle course, giving them a basic set of "commands" that they could put together on post-it notes and a parent or another kid being the "robot" that "ran these instructions".

I have used this to introduce my son to the basics - and call it "post-it" programming. We built a few obstacle courses around the house. The most advanced we got was to "unload the dish washer", that resulted in him "inventing" functions.

It typically works better when some one else "executes" the program, since bugs are easier to surface and debugging is a lot more fun.

That said, my son has since learnt to read and write. There is greater enthusiasm to "type" on a computer than use post-it notes.

Hopefully this can be adapted to your friend's circumstance. Best wishes to him.

amorphid 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey! This is a topic I'm interested in, too. If you'd like brainstorming on the idea, drop me a line. My email is in profile.

My first thoughts:

- iterate more quickly by experimenting with non-computer users who aren't in prison, as letters/email to a prisoner will have a slower feedback loop

- learn what people consider to be more fun, and and try to structure lessons within that

- see if there are some existing resources that are close to, but not exactly like, programming without a computer

- set up an open source curriculum on GitHub, so people besides yourself can contribute

jasim 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think Richard Bird's Thinking Functionally with Haskell will be an excellent book to learn programming without having access to a computer. It'll teach him how to think about programs as a set of simple equations, and also clearly demonstrates that Data Structure + Algorithms = Programs, a notion that easily gets forgotten to great detriment in imperative programming.

It is very much an introductory text to programming, something that can be picked by someone who has an inclination to the craft but with no prior experience. It doesn't even get into Haskell's powerful type system and sticks to primitives and lists. The intention is to teach the building blocks of programming through small, pure functions.

The text is very conversational, chapters are short and sweet, and have a lot of bite-sized exercises along with their answers which will greatly help a self-learner. It will also be easy to evaluate since functional code don't tend to get very verbose.

Jugurtha 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, we used to do that in college in... 2005, 2006, etc. We had a lab once a week, but we wrote and debugged programs in Pascal, C, x86 ASM, Microchip ASM by hand. We wrote stuff for the Intel 8251, 8253, 8255, 8257, 8259 (to handle interruptions and do serial communication, etc).

We'd go line by line and change the relevant registers, arrays, pointers, counters, etc. Exams consisted of doing that, too. Sometimes you're given a piece of code and asked about the state at a certain break point. Sometimes you're given a succession of register values an asked what the program is doing. A missing semicolon had a direct influence on your grade, not on stdout.

It's not guaranteed that it produces excellent programmers, but one can learn a lot and it was almost a meditation to focus like that and ask yourself "Why isn't it running?". It was cool (at least for me, I disassembled programs as a teenager and I had a computer, but I still think this was useful).

bra-ket 3 days ago 1 reply      
I learned programming without a computer in the 90s with Kernigan & Ritchie "C Programming Language", one of the best coding books ever written:


I'd also learn SICP: https://www.amazon.com/Structure-Interpretation-Computer-Pro...

and algorithms from either CLRS https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Algorithms-3rd-MIT-Press... or Skiena Algorithm Design https://www.amazon.com/Algorithm-Design-Manual-Steven-Skiena...

LouisSayers 2 days ago 0 replies      
You could give him a pack of cards, and a book on data structures and algorithms.

He can learn the algorithms and apply them to the cards in order to check his understanding. He just needs to make sure that he acts like a computer would - only ever comparing two cards at once.

He can simulate this by having all cards placed face down apart from the two that he's currently doing the comparisons with. At the end he can flip all the cards over to make sure he got the intended result.

I'm sure by doing this he could learn all sorts of algorithms this way, and learn to code in the same way.

He may not have a computer, but don't they say that the greatest computers are the ones in our heads?! He just needs to dumb it down a bit for the sake of the exercise.

joatmon-snoo 3 days ago 1 reply      
On a CS-theory level, there's a fair amount of stuff he can learn in terms of just "thinking", but it won't come very close to being able to putz around with code and watch it fail.

Suggestions for absolutely no computers:

* CLRS, the classic. (I just skimmed the intro, though, and if he has no background in uni-level maths, it might be a little tough to digest.)

* (maybe) the Head First series (as someone else suggested). I'm wary of suggesting it not just because I have no experience with the books (I only even mention it because I know they're ubiquitous), but also because bad habits are formed early, and this could do that.

* Patterson and Hennessy - Computer Organization and Design (5d.)

* Sebesta - Concepts of Programming Languages (11d.) (but only after finishing some of CLRS, and even then I don't know how appropriate this is)


What kind of experience did he have with computers before he went in?

Depending, you may be able to make recommendations about stuff relevant to what he's used.


Can you get him something like a TI-84? Because even that will at least allow him to go in and write TI-BASIC.

phes 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember reading this here a while back - wonder what happened:https://neil.fraser.name/news/2015/04/13/

But like others in this post I would recommend CS unplugged.

And depending on how long he is in there for he might want to look at:

How to Design Programs - This is a good book, and although it's in Scheme, it teaches how to create appropriate levels of abstraction, which seems to be something many programmers struggle with.

Concepts, Techniques & Models of Computer Programs - Discusses the different paradigms and how they are inter-related.

Also something a bit more vocational like The Pragmatic Programmer or Clean Code / Clean Coder probably wouldn't hurt either.

If he can read all of those he will be very well prepared to do some actual programming when he gets out.

SICP not a bad shout either, although I've not got past the first chapter.

rshm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I had few months of GWBASIC experience from high school. Relative living in US mailed me Java the complete reference, i think the first editition with peter naughton still as co-editor. It was not a dedicated effort but read the book several times for two years during free hours without computer (could not afford one). Finally after getting used pentium, the transition to real programming was easy and fast. I remember having aha! moment of oop after year and half but by the end of two years i had pretty much mastered the core java.

I was driven by courisity, no pressure of completion and had all the time in the world. The book was thick with complete programs with outputs instead of snippets. Book also had list of all core packages, class and their members. It helped to grasp the core libs before hand.

I would suggest a comphrensive book. I have not checked any Osborne reference series since then, but check if there are similar ones for python.

txutxu 2 days ago 0 replies      
I did a LOGO programming course before having a computer, but we did have computers in the course. That did help.

One thing that did help me a lot when I didn't have computer or fast internet connection, were: the computing and programming paper magazines.

Maybe you can research for your friend programming magazines (on paper) which are available nowadays; and he can subscribe to them. Maybe he can even redistribute or perform as internal reseller once done with the chapters.

They use to treat diverse topics on monthly steps, and is a convenient way to assimilate knowledge. Ones are better than others and introduce less partial views... you must view on your own.

I can't help, because I'm many years without buying one.

sanjamia 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can suggest a simple approach that worked for me. I learned to code without a computer by reading interesting coding books and writing my programs on graph paper. I did not worry about my approach because I did this for fun. I made each decision about my learning based on whether it was interesting and that it expanded and exercised my knowledge. Save written programs. Carefully play the role of the computer and execute your own programs and use graph paper for pixels. Copy and modify code from books. Know that you're building a foundation and going to the great lengths that only a great coder would attempt.
blintz 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd strongly recommend The Little Schemer (Friedman and Felleisen). It's written without the expectation that you have access to a computer. It's also written in a very approachable way - it assumes no prior familiarity with programming or even math, and it's in a simple question and response format.
schoen 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought of several books, but they've all been mentioned in the thread already, so I'd just like to congratulate everyone on the wide range of interesting suggestions.

OK, I guess I'll also mention Hillis's The Pattern on the Stone, which I feel has mostly been superseded by Petzold's Code. It's less technical and less detailed than Code and would be a much quicker read, where Code gives a more detailed understanding of these ideas.

Theodores 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is a good question for old timers that learned to code by rote with a home computer back in the day when you could learn a language and all of it from a couple of manuals. But times have changed and nowadays I do not have any books directly relevant to my current programming skill set - Stack Overflow is my friend.

So what books do I have?

Books on usability and web accessibility are good reads, however no obvious title springs to mind ('Don't Make Me Think!' would last your friend all of a morning).

One thing though, chess. Chess is played in prisons and some prisoners get rather good at it. Maybe encourage your friend to form a chess league if there isn't one already. Perhaps get him a really good book on chess that can be used by this chess league to be.

fallous 2 days ago 1 reply      
Start with learning symbolic logic. I'd then suggest learning something like 6502 assembler on a simple machine that existed (in order to attain predictable results and in order to have reference materials based on the programming results and tricks that real coders of that machine achieved).

I'd then suggest moving to something like SICP and/or NANDtoTetris.

If you learn the abstract fundamentals first, you will understand how they apply in every increasingly complex system you encounter... and none of that is syntax or frameworks but instead an ability to see and extract the underlying problem domain, which will then guide you in the solution.

natewalck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whenever I approach a new language, I read a book on it and go through the code in my head. I am a very visual person, so I practice visualizing what is happening as I read it. Once I have a proper mental model, I find I have a much easier time writing it on a computer. Perhaps one gets faster at visualizing code, but I've always found that I tend to be slower to learn new languages, but have a solid grasp once a good mental model is made.

I'll definitely take a look at some of the languages mentioned in this thread that are made to be done on paper. Sounds like a great exercise.

codingdave 2 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to all the other answers, doing some procedural thought exercises may help. He can practice breaking down complex actions into more basic instructions. For example, thinking through what steps he takes to walk to a meal. He can start at a high level of just the turns and distances to walk, then think through what he actually does to take a step, or make a turn, or sit down or stand. It may not seem like much, but it will train him to think about how to build out instructions at different levels of abstraction, which will make a significant dent in the learning curve once he does gain access to a computer.
heisenbit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Adding one aspect to this already comprehensive list of good advice: Read good code.

There is a lot to be learned from writing code as it forces you to make decisions. This can be done in part on paper and in batch programming mode. There is also a lot to be learned from reading not just snippets and algorithms but from studying complete works. Software is a lot about architecture and integration. A stack of printed code and a #2 pencil is all it takes.

runjake 1 day ago 0 replies      
Send him the book "Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software", by Charles Petzold. It's often available used on Amazon for cheap.
caconym_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
I remember that the book "Feynman's Lectures on Computation" has some excellent descriptions of basic computing models (FSMs, Turing machines, ...) as well as interesting exercises in constructing "programs" using those models. It may not be as practical as he/you are looking for, but I think it might be a great choice because it does an amazing job explaining the basic theory of computation and the "programs" called for in the exercises can be easily run by hand, on paper.

It might be a good place to start, at the very least. But it will only appeal to a certain sort of person.

api_or_ipa 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most, if not all of introductory discrete math, logic gates, basic CPU logic, data structures* and algorithms can be mastered without a computer.

Most (all?) CS students learn this early on in university anyways, so it's natural to study if your friend is interested in computer science.

He can also spend the time to master math, especially linear algebra. Getting a firm understanding on math never hurt any budding programmers and opens a ton of doors.

* Once released, he can play with different DSs and experience their asymptotic performances for himself.

dragandj 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is an excellent book from the pen and paper era, that is more than modern (functional programming is popular now): https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Functional-Programming-C...
hackermailman 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Schemer's Guide was designed for paper and penhttps://www.amazon.com/Schemers-Guide-Iain-Ferguson/dp/09628...

D is for Digital is a good survey and has some Javascript programming info, Amazon has the second version draft already http://kernighan.com/

franze 2 days ago 0 replies      
Google & Print or buy "The C Programming Language"Let him study every letter. It simply is the best "start from zero" programming guidebook.

Then buy him a RasPi (+with instal guide).

yarou 2 days ago 0 replies      
Try to teach him the lambda calculus. Church-Turing thesis still holds today, so if he's able to learn the lambda calculus he will understand what functions are indeed computable, and what functions are impossible to compute, regardless of hardware, software, etc.

You don't need to have a computer (Von-Neumann et al didn't have one!) to invent a brilliant algorithm.

ceterum_censeo 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to say exactly at what point it would be an appropriate read, but perhaps Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming should be on the reading list.
bladedtoys 2 days ago 0 replies      
A light introductory college text on "Symbolic Logic" with exercises and answers if possible.

The way of thinking that such a text gives is nearly identical to the thinking needed for coding.

Just one example: We coders sometimes forget that a conditional like "if (not (A and B)) or C then..." is utterly incomprehensible to the bulk of humanity. Go through a logic book and that stuff will be second nature.

Also it helps lifelong with clarity of thinking which is nice too.

chvid 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are some good theoretical computer science (sciency) books out there. I would recommend two of my favourites:

Gary William Flake: Computational Beauty of Nature

Douglas Hofstadter: Godel Escher Bach

They won't make you a programmer ready for a job at Facebook; but they will entertain the part of your head that makes you a good programmer.

The two books are also very well written and quite entertaining which give you the motivation you miss if you cannot try things out on your own.

Other than that: Study math at any level.

smegel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does he have pen and paper? Get him to design user interfaces for programs, and art to go with them. WAY harder than coding, at least for me.
sleepychu 3 days ago 0 replies      

We used to frequently emulate a machine by hand on paper I think it was 16-bit but it might have been even smaller (not touched it since my first year of undergrad) and you could/can write a lot of cool programs for it.

Retr0spectrum 2 days ago 2 replies      
I used to write BASIC programs on paper as a child before I had access to a computer.

There are plenty of algorithms you can learn without a computer too, and carry out on paper.

I have no idea what kind of things are allowed in prisons - would a microcontroller running a simple interpreter coupled with a small LCD and keypad be allowed? If so, something like that would be really great for applying programming concepts.

solotronics 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are you not allowed a computer when incarcerated?
sfifs 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I was 11, I learned to code BASIC by reading a programming language manual that came with IBM PCs by writing out programs in a notebook. It was many months before I actually touched a real computer (which was a learning experience in itself, but didn't change what I had picked up too much).

So definitely possible.

wordpressdev 2 days ago 0 replies      
My first coding language was GW-BASIC and, as the computer time was limited, I did most of the coding on paper - it was called Dry Run. Used to write up to 200 lines of code on paper, test it on paper and then type in the computer when I get into the lab.
samfisher83 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember having to write assembly code (6800 series) for some of my tests. That was no fun. At least we got to use cheat sheets with all the op codes. I don't think its that unique having to write code without a computer.
z3t4 3 days ago 0 replies      
Computer science. While most self thought programmers started from the other end, theres nothing wrong with learning theory first.
lifeisstillgood 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm, so uk rules seem different- allowing even non-internet enabled games consoles.

At which point the possibilities expand ...


rezashirazian 2 days ago 1 reply      
That's like learning astronomy without a telescope: not as fun, much more difficult but very possible.
glibgil 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, it is probably better for him to become a computer engineer than a software engineer. This might be a fun place to start https://sites.google.com/site/kotukotuzimiti/Paper_Processor
the_watcher 3 days ago 0 replies      
Learning to code will be tough, although there are some great resources in here that I might pick up myself. Doesn't mean he shouldn't try though, but my recommendation would be to start with design, as there are a lot more offline resources for learning the principles of design, which apply across a lot of different disciplines.
protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would go with the unplugged books that were mentioned by many, or help him learn introduction to digital electronics. When I went to school in 88 we didn't use a computer for designing our circuits. Designing a vending machine controller was the final project.
35bge57dtjku 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can you mail him books? There are plenty of interesting, free programming books online one could print out.
wepple 2 days ago 0 replies      
Different angle: Possibly a great opportunity to start low with CPU architecture, memory layout, and basic concepts in OS design. It'll really help further down the line and doesn't require any computer to execute code on.
K_REY_C 2 days ago 0 replies      
Computer science unplugged is great. Aimed at kids, but if starting out it may provide a good framework. http://csunplugged.org/
abledon 3 days ago 1 reply      
As cheesy as this sounds...

the HEAD First book series,they have fill in the blanks programming exercises.

neilsharma 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask him for a list of concepts he doesn't understand well and post them here. Maybe the crowd can find some good blogposts online that you can print out and give it to him.
leekh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I had to teach CS in Africa with very few resources e.g. electricity and working pc's.

The best thing I found http://csunplugged.org/

houml 2 days ago 0 replies      
Study a language and algorithms. Recite those functions and algorithms from memory, and then compare what he writes and those in books.
bikamonki 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you can get us a list of personal items that he's allowed inside, maybe we can help you figure it out if it's possible to build a tiny computer ;)
rhlala 2 days ago 0 replies      
Suggest him to invent his own language!
caffinatedmonk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would recommend to start with the basics: logic, assembly, algorithms and data structures.
houml 2 days ago 0 replies      
Study a program language and recite codes from memory.
williamle8300 2 days ago 0 replies      
A programmer is someone who puts himself above phenomena that he observes around him. So programming isn't intrinsically related to a computer.

He needs to find interesting things around him, and just make plans. Write it down. Without a computer he can use a paper and pencil.

Pulce 2 days ago 1 reply      
Me :)

I'm 'fighting' ('working' is a better definition) for civil rights in my city, so I think I will be incarcerated in the future...

I think I will organize a 'paper' version of Scratch, with me as an interpreter of lines of code.

edit: I'll miss Stallman's videos...

EdwardMSmith 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any possibility of a higher-end TI or an old HP calculator?
cheez 2 days ago 0 replies      
Send him the turtle game to play
damptowel 2 days ago 0 replies      
He could build a mechanical computer :) you can build adders out of marble tracks, use hydrolics or legos, etc.
icantdrive55 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would go through Hacker news past posts, and comments.

Print out the better ones.

Get him familiar with the lingo.

My biggest stumbling block was learning the ever changing language of all aspects of computing.

Then buy him Learn to Program by Chris Pine. I would also want him very comfortable with UNIX, and the command line.

When he gets out,if he has some support; he will do just fine.

Ask HN: How do you back up your site hosted on a VPS such as Digital Ocean?
120 points by joeclef  2 days ago   84 comments top 40
dangrossman 2 days ago 5 replies      
Write a little program in your favorite shell or scripting language that

* rsyncs the directories containing the files you want to back up

* mysqldumps/pg_dumps your databases

* zips/gzips everything up into a dated archive file

* deletes the oldest backup (the one with X days ago's date)

Put this program on a VPS at a different provider, on a spare computer in your house, or both. Create a cron job that runs it every night. Run it manually once or twice, then actually restore your backups somewhere to ensure you've made them correctly.

yvan 2 days ago 2 replies      
The simplest way for us it's to use rsync, there is this service decade old (even more) that is just perfect for the offsite backup. http://rsync.net/index.html

We basically create a backup folder (our assets and MySQL Dump, then rsync it to rsync.net). Our source code is already on git, so basically backuped on Github, and all developers computer.

On top of it, rsynch has a very clear and simple documentation to implement it very quickly with any Linux distrib.

Kjeldahl 1 day ago 2 replies      
DigitalOcean has a droplet backup solution priced at 20% of the monthly cost of your droplet. Doesn't get much easier than that, if you can afford it. For a small droplet ($10/month) that's a full backup of everything for a buck a month. https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/understandi...
no_protocol 1 day ago 1 reply      
Whatever strategy you use, make sure you test the process of recreating the server from a backup to make sure you will actually be able to recover. You'll also have an idea how long it will take, and you can create scripts to automate the entire flow so you don't have to figure it all out while you're frantic.

I use tarsnap, as many others in this thread have shared. I also have the Digital Ocean backups option enabled, but I don't necessarily trust it. For the handful of servers I run, the small cost is worth it. Tarsnap is incredibly cheap if most of your data doesn't change from day to day.

stevekemp 1 day ago 0 replies      
I see a lot of people mentioning different tools, but one thing you'll discover if you need to restore in the future is that it is crucial to distinguish between your "site" and your "data".

My main site runs a complex series of workers, CGI-scripts, and deamons. I can deploy them from scratch onto a remote node via fabric & ansible.

That means that I don't need to backup the whole server "/" (although I do!). If I can setup a new instance immediately the only data that needs to be backed up is the contents of some databases, and to do that I run an offsite backup once an hour.

kumaraman 2 days ago 3 replies      
I use AWS S3 for this as the storage prices are so cheap, at $0.03 per GB.I recommend using a utility called s3cmd, which is a similar to rsync, in that you can backup directories.I just have this setup with a batch of cron jobs which dump my databases and then sync the directories to s3 weekly.
rsync 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some of our customers have already recommended rsync.net to you - let me remind folks that there is a "HN Readers Discount" - just email us[1] and ask for it.

[1] info@rsync.net

AdamGibbins 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use config management to build the system (Puppet in my case, purely due to experience rather than strong preference) so it's fully reproducible.I push my data with borg (https://github.com/borgbackup/borg) to rsync.net (http://rsync.net/products/attic.html) for offsite backup.
xachen 2 days ago 1 reply      
www.tarsnap.com - it's pay as you go, encrypted and super simple to use and script using cron
touch_o_goof 1 day ago 0 replies      
All automated, with one copy to AWS, one copy to Azure, and an scp local that goes on my home server. Rolling 10, put every 10th backup in cold storage. And I use a different tool for each, just in case.
bretpiatt 2 days ago 0 replies      
For a static site put it in version control and keep as copy of your full site and deployment code.

For a database driven dynamic site or a site with content uploads you can also use your version control via cron job to upload that content. Have the database journal out the tables you need to backup before syncing to your DVCS host over choice.

If you're looking for a backup service to manage multiple servers with reporting, encryption, dedupelication, etc. I'd love your feedback on our server product: https://www.jungledisk.com/products/server (starts at $5 per month).

jenkstom 1 day ago 1 reply      
Backup ninja. It handles backing up to remote servers via rdiff, so I have snapshots back as far as I need them. The remote server is on another provider. As long as I have SSH login via key to the remote server enabled, ninja backup will install the dependencies on the remote server for me.
darkst4r 1 day ago 0 replies      
http://tarsnap.com + bash scripts for mysqldump and removing old dumps + cron
billhathaway 1 day ago 1 reply      
Remember to have automated restore testing that validates restores are successful and the data "freshness" is within a reasonable period of time, such as last updated record in a database.

Lots of people only do a full test of their backup solution when first installing it. Without constant validation of the backup->restore pipeline, it is easy to get into a bad situation and not realize it until it is too late.

pmontra 1 day ago 0 replies      
On OVH I rsync to another VPS in a different data center. I pick the lowest priced VPS with enough space. I also rsync to a local disk at my home. I would do the same with DO.

OVH has a backup by FTP premium service but the FTP server is accessible only by the VPS it backups. Pretty useless because in my experience if an OVH VPS fails the technical support has never been able to take it back online.

Osiris 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use attic backup (there's a fork called borg backup). It runs daily to make incremental backups to a server at my home.

For database, I use a second VPS running as a read only slave. A script runs daily to create database backups on the VPS.

stephenr 1 day ago 0 replies      
How is this at 70+ comments without a mention of rsync.net?

Collect your files, rsync/scp/sftp them over.

Read only snapshots on the rsync.net side means even an attacker can't just delete all your previous backups.

kevinsimper 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the same question I had [1], but just asked in "how can I outsource this cheap" instead of "how can I do this cheap". I also use docker, so I would only need to get a hosted database.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12659437

2bluesc 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use a daily systemd timer on my home machine to remotely back-up the data on my VPS. From there, my home machine backs-up a handful of data from different places to a remote server.

Make sure you check the status of backups, I send journald and syslog stuff to papertrail[0] and have email alerts on failures.

I manually verify the back-ups at least once a year, typically on World Back-up Day [1]

[0] https://papertrailapp.com/[1] http://www.worldbackupday.com/en/

spoiledtechie 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use https://www.sosonlinebackup.com.

Stupid simple and stupid cheap. Install, select directories you want backed up, set it and forget it.

All for $7.00 a month.

aeharding 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because I use Docker Cloud, I use Dockup to back up a certain directory daily to S3 from my DO VPS. https://github.com/tutumcloud/dockup

I just use a simple scheduled AWS lambda to PUT to the redeploy webhook URL.

I use an IAM role with put-only permissions to a certain bucket. Then, if your box is compromised, the backups cannot be deleted or read. S3 can also be setup to automatically remove files older than X days... Also very useful.

geocrasher 2 days ago 0 replies      
I run a couple of virtualmin web servers which do virtualmin based backups (backs up each website with all its files/email/db's/zones etc into a single file, very much like how cPanel does its account backups), and those are rsynced (cron job) to my home server than runs two mirrored 1tb disks. A simple bash script keeps a few days of backups, plus a weekly backup that I keep two copies of. Overall pretty simple, and it's free since I'm not paying for cloud storage.
colinbartlett 1 day ago 0 replies      
The sites I host on DigitalOcean are all very simple Rails sites deployed with Dokku. The source code is in GitHub and the databases I backup hourly to S3 with a very simple cron job.
dotancohen 1 day ago 1 reply      
I see lots of great suggestions for backup hosts and methods, but I don't see anybody addressing encrypting said backups. I'm uncomfortable with rsync.net / Backblaze / etc having access to my data. What are some good ways to encrypt these multiple-GB backups before uploading them to a third-party backup server?
mike503 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bash script to dump all DBs local and tar up any config files.

Then the script sends it to s3 using aws s3 sync. If versioning is enabled you get versioning applied for free and can ship your actual data and webdocs type stuff up extremely fast and it's browsable via the console or tools. Set a retention policy how you desire. Industry's best durability, nearly the cheapest too.

moreentropy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use restic[1] to make encrypted backups to S3 (self hosted minio service in my case).

I can't praise restic enough. It's fast, secure, easy to use and set up (golang) and the developer(s) are awesome!

[1] https://restic.github.io/

bedros 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I use borg backup to a backup-drive formatted as btrfs, then I use btrfs snapshot feature, to create a snapshot after every backup,
extesy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I currently use https://github.com/backup/backup on my Digital Ocean instances, but https://github.com/bup/bup also looks nice.
wtbob 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have duplicity set up, sending encrypted backups to S3. It works pretty well, and is pretty cheap.
benbristow 2 days ago 1 reply      
What type of site is it?
voycey 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really rate Jungledisk, you can choose S3 or Rackspace Cloudfiles as your storage medium, very much set it and forget it!
educar 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you use docker to deploy, see cloudron.io. You can install custom apps and it takes care of encrypted backups to s3. And automates lets encrypt as well.
00deadbeef 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have BackupPC running on another system


ausjke 1 day ago 0 replies      
Many ways to backup, but I always encrypt them other than just copying them to somewhere.
yakamok 1 day ago 0 replies      
i run a python/shell program to rsync and collect what i want backed up into one folder i then compress it and gpg encrypt it and send it to my backup server
edoceo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I make archives and put them in S3.

Use pg_dump and tar then just s3cp

chatterbeak 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's how we do it:

All the databases and other data are backed up to s3. For mysql, we use the python mysql-to-s3 backup scripts.

But the machines themselves are "backed up" by virtue of being able to be rebuilt with saltstack. We verify through nightly builds that we can bring a fresh instance up, with the latest dataset restored from s3, from scratch.

This makes it simple for us to switch providers, and can run our "production" instances locally on virtual machines running the exact same version of CentOS or FreeBSD we use in production.

X86BSD 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't know what the OP is running OS wise but if it's any modern Unix variant it uses ZFS. And a simple ZFS send/receive would be perfect. There are tons of scripts for that and replication.

If you're not using a modern Unix variant with ZFS... well there isn't a good reason why you would be.

nwilkens 2 days ago 0 replies      
We have cheap reliable storage servers at https://mnx.io/pricing -- $15/TB. Couple our storage server with R1soft CDP (r1soft.com), Attic, Rsync, or Innobackupex, etc..

You can also use https://r1softstorage.com/ and receive storage + R1soft license (block based incremental backups) -- or just purchase the $5/month license from them and use storage where you want.

Ask HN: How to fill holes in my knowledge
13 points by LostProgrammer  1 day ago   14 comments top 8
eswat 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> I am trying with some tutorials, and books, but not sure how successful I am being.

What tutorials and books? First off I totally get you. For several years after graduating I felt a hole in the pyramid of knowledge I felt university should have provided me. Our program leaned heavily on how to use Java and Microsoft technologies to fix problems big companies had. There was little room to stretch our foundation and dive deeper into algorithms or understanding programming without a language or framework attached to the material.

Ive been fixing this by reading books and doing simple projects to fill in that base layer of knowledge in that pyramid. These dont really dive into frameworks or even languages, but the basic building blocks of what we do.

Being effective with languages like Java or frameworks like the Android SDK is nice. But I know for myself and many people that feel a tinge of imposter syndrome that its due to lacking foundational knowledge. We either rushed through this period or skipped it entirely. But its this through this period where we develop on confidence with our craft.

Theres plenty of Ask HN threads on what to read to develop a good baseline of programming knowledge (SICP, Code Complete 2 and Pragmatic Programmer will be mentioned a lot). What I think is important is also to have a clear goal or reason for wanting to read a tutorial or book and only follow through on material that actually helps you accomplish your goals. Assume most tutorials and books are fluff that will not actually move the needle for you.

jason_slack 1 day ago 1 reply      
Well, perhaps you can find a mentor to help you understand your holes and how to fill them.

Do it slow and methodically. Don't try to cram to fill all the holes at once. Go slow. Identify one hold and learn how it is filled. Do examples, write a small program to get practice. Ask someone to review your code.

Programming now-a-days is a marathon, not a sprint. Programmers need a pretty deep understanding of their language of choice along with how to use it correctly. I think the last piece lacks in a uni education alone.

Practice, practice, practice. I don't know java or I would offer to help. If you get around to C or C++, email is in my profile.

gt565k 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you're trying to fill holes in your android development skills, you should consider doing the android nanodegree on udacity.

It was developed by Google, so you know it'll cover almost everything and give you best practices approach to developing android apps. It's also well structured and can be done in your free time.


If you don't want to pay for the nanodegree, you can also take the courses individually for free (without getting credit).

eecks 23 hours ago 1 reply      
You could run your code through a code analysis tool and then fix and understand the mistakes. It should point out bad programming practices.

The best thing you can do is keep programming and aim for best practises. Ask questions on stackoverflow, programmers stackexchange and codereview.stackexchange.com

joeclef 1 day ago 1 reply      
I currently work as a Junior Developer--straight out of uni-- and I find it really helpful to have someone more experienced review my code and give me feedback. So in your case I would say try to work on open-source projects or just join a team environment.
horacio_colbert 1 day ago 0 replies      
I haven't finished uni yet, but I feel just the same. I've come to the conclusion (at least in CS) that uni isn't enough to become a programmer. Experience in a job and coding together with more skilled programmers are more important than passing exams. Uni gives us a general understanding on the subject, while specific skills we need to develop by ourselves. This is just my point of view, sorry if it doesn't help much.
samblr 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Open source projects seems to help if you know what to look for (like search for top 10 android project/plugins/whatever) - breakdown each part you would like to learn (architecture/codeStyle/asyncTasks/compatibility/images/UI/tests/perf). Concentrate one at a time.
_RPM 1 day ago 1 reply      
Practice Hacker Rank challenges until you can't anymore.
Ask HN: Any recommendations on resources for learning one algorithm a day?
198 points by alphanumeric0  2 days ago   39 comments top 29
gaus 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a good resource we used in a university course I took on algorithm design and analysis...


I would probably recommend studying individual classes of algorithms, and to only move on when you feel ready, as opposed to learning algorithms in ascending difficulty (at the risk of learning them in a haphazard fashion).

VisuAlgo is another cool site that has lots of algorithm visualizations...http://visualgo.net

And, if you can handle the dude's voice, I recommend checking out Xoax.net's algorithm videos...http://xoax.net/comp_sci/crs/algorithms/index.php

What you will probably find is that it's more valuable to gain experience designing your own algorithms using tried-and-true techniques such as dynamic programming, greediness, divide-and-conqur, linear programming, etc. Also keep in mind that data structures are closely linked to algorithms, and vice versa. If you are not familiar with big-O notation I suggest you begin there as it can be used as a measure of both an algorithm's time complexity and its data complexity.

ilaksh 2 days ago 0 replies      
One algorithm a day -- the short answer is if you were going to really learn them and not just forget them then you would have to cheat and constantly review previously 'learned' algorithms as you go. Otherwise you will learn X algorithms and likely forget nearly X algorithms.

I have to question the value of only focusing on learning algorithms and on the idea of optimizing the quantity.

In terms of learning lots of them, it might be more useful to focus on learning more fundamental algorithms _better_ rather than tons of them. Or you might want to carefully select the most generally useful algorithms or ones in a specific field relevant to current projects.

Also, now that we have such powerful general purpose languages and efficient module versioning and distribution, learning to take advantage of those probably has more practical use.

For example, you could spend several weeks or years learning various statistical methods and algorithms for machine learning in a particular area. But then you realize that all of the algorithms are already implemented in python code libraries so you start learning how to apply the libraries in real code for applications rather than reimplementing the libraries.

But then you find out that deep learning techniques far outperform all of those algorithms you learned to implement and then apply via those libraries.

So then you train yourself on sophisticated deep learning techniques and start to implement LSTM in python. Then you realize you never quite got the fundamental understanding of neural networks so go back to work on learning that better.

Then you implement some core neural network algorithms in python and start to build back up to your LSTM implementation. Now you find out that TensorFlow exists but lacks good support for AMD which your university has (perhaps erroneously) made a large investment in.

So then you decide the best thing to do would actually be to try to fix some basic bugs that occur on your platform with the latest TensorFlow/OpenCl/AMD code (or whatever).

You manage to fix one of the minor issues and now several geniuses have their day improved by a bit or two.

The point is, trying to learn a ton of random algorithms in a short period probably isn't the best use of your time.

ChoHag 2 days ago 1 reply      
I suggest a dose of reality:

You can't. You may be able to consume the knowledge underpinning an algorithm and parrot it back but any attempt to learn it in one day is doomed to failure. Parrot knowledge has zero retention.

LeonardA-L 2 days ago 0 replies      
Last year was Advent of Code ( http://adventofcode.com/ ) and while they did not name them, each exercise was based on a known algorithmic problem (knapsack, traveling salesman, ...), and it was a fun way to engage people in a "1 exercise a day" pattern.

I guess you can also try your hand at CodinGame's puzzles ( https://www.codingame.com/training ) as they also involve known algorithms and they are realy fun to play.

But ultimately, both of these resources won't teach you how to implement algorithms.

ClayFerguson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Taking up a new algorithm each day is the best way I can think of to be sure you don't know any algorithms well. Learn what the various algorithms are, what problems they solve, and what the general classifications of them are, then move on. You are then empowered to dig deeper into the correct one once you have the actual need for one, you know if it exists or not, and how to begin.
keeperofdakeys 2 days ago 1 reply      
You might try The Algorithm Design Manual, the second half of the book is a giant index of algorithms. The first part is a guide on what algorithms you should pick depending on what you're doing.
simonhorlick 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just read The Art Of Computer Programming by Knuth very slowly. There's basically a different algorithm every other page. Of course, it will still take you years.
gravypod 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd say you'd be far better off deriving your own algorithm every day.

Make something to solve a real problem every day of your life and you'll be far better at solving problems then other people. I'd rather be able to do that then just parrot back sorts, graph traversals, and what not.

mindviews 2 days ago 2 replies      
https://projecteuler.net/ is an excellent tool for developing algorithmic thinking. From the project description:

The problems range in difficulty and for many the experience is inductive chain learning. That is, by solving one problem it will expose you to a new concept that allows you to undertake a previously inaccessible problem. So the determined participant will slowly but surely work his/her way through every problem.

codepie 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can try competitive programming course by ITMO on edx (https://www.edx.org/course/how-win-coding-competitions-secre...). It's going to start on 17th October.
leventov 2 days ago 0 replies      

Pretty much in the beginning of translation to English, but the original resource in Russian is a trove of information on algorithms. Suits well for the "one also a day" learning format.

throwaway2016a 1 day ago 0 replies      
Aside from agreeing with other answers (you can't... and probably wouldn't get a good return from it)...

https://www.hackerrank.com/ has a lot of great algorithm challenges. They won't teach you how to do it but you need to learn the algorithms to solve the problems.

bsznjyewgd 2 days ago 0 replies      
You might be interested in Programming Praxis https://programmingpraxis.com/, a blog that posts a few exercises per week, with solutions. Some of them are more interesting, some of them less so.
yonidej 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hackerrank! I am currently taking an Algorithms course at Uni and I have found HackerRank's questions to be a great way to practice your coding skills. It can also help you out for recruiting.
amberj 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would recommend "The New Turing Omnibus" book by A.K. Dewdney:http://amzn.to/2dGetic

Jeff Atwood aka CodingHorror (of Stackoverflow and Discourse fame) recommended this book strongly in this post titled "Practicing the Fundamentals: The New Turing Omnibus": https://blog.codinghorror.com/practicing-the-fundamentals-th...

0xCMP 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.interviewcake.com/ is a great site. Eventually you need to pay, but he send out a question almost every day you can try out.
kalimatas 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.geeksforgeeks.org/ has a collection of algorithms and puzzles split by topics.
fsloth 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to learn an algorithm I suggest implementing it as well. Since this question does not state any prerequisites I can only suggest the hands down best practical datastructure and algorithm study and reference book I've come accross: http://infolab.stanford.edu/~ullman/focs.html

It's old but concise and very much to the point. All of the material is highly practical.

infodroid 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found a relevant app Algorithms: Explained & Animated [1] that was just posted as a new HN story [2].

[1] http://algorithm.wiki/[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12670674

splatcollision 2 days ago 0 replies      
Code Wars is my favorite. The earlier ranks are pretty simple but there's a broad depth of challenging problems at the higher levels. Online editor and test runner verifies your solution and the community aspects are a big win.


jefflombardjr 2 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.hackerrank.com/ Has an algorithm section, might be worth a look!
Gammarays 2 days ago 0 replies      
We've been working on a project with a small community of developers that helps rank various tools and recommendations:


Would love to hear if this is helpful to you.

drobert 2 days ago 0 replies      
rusrushal13 2 days ago 0 replies      
Go for http://www.spoj.com/, every question there needed an algorithm and doing one question per day will help you in getting better and better in algorithms per day.
alexisnorman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Highly recommend Grokking Algorithms for beginners and refreshes.
haffi112 2 days ago 0 replies      
todd8 2 days ago 0 replies      
Depending on your level of programming ability, one algorithm a day, IMHO, is completely doable. A number of comments and suggestions say that one per day is an unrealistic goal (yes, maybe it is) but the idea of setting a goal and working through a list of algorithms is very reasonable.

If you are just learning programming, plan on taking your time with the algorithms but practice coding every day. Find a fun project to attempt that is within your level of skill.

If you are a strong programmer in one language, find a book of algorithms using that language (some of the suggestions here in these comments are excellent). I list some of the books I like at the end of this comment.

If you are an experienced programmer, one algorithm per day is roughly doable. Especially so, because you are trying to learn one algorithm per day, not produce working, production level code for each algorithm each day.

Some algorithms are really families of algorithms and can take more than a day of study, hash based look up tables come to mind. First there are the hash functions themselves. That would be day one. Next there are several alternatives for storing entries in the hash table, e.g. open addressing vs chaining, days two and three. Then there are methods for handling collisions, linear probing, secondary hashing, etc.; that's day four. Finally there are important variations, perfect hashing, cuckoo hashing, robin hood hashing, and so forth; maybe another 5 days. Some languages are less appropriate for playing around and can make working with algorithms more difficult, instead of a couple of weeks this could easily take twice as long. After learning other methods of implementing fast lookups, its time to come back to hashing and understand when its appropriate and when alternatives are better and to understand how to combine methods for more sophisticated lookup methods.

I think you will be best served by modifying your goal a bit and saying that you will work on learning about algorithms every day and cover all of the material in a typical undergraduate course on the subject. It really is a fun branch of Computer Science.

A great starting point is Sedgewick's book/course, Algorithms [1]. For more depth and theory try [2], Cormen and Leiserson's excellent Introduction to Algorithms. Alternatively the theory is also covered by another book by Sedgewick, An Introduction to the Analysis of Algorithms [3]. A classic reference that goes far beyond these other books is of course Knuth [4], suitable for serious students of Computer Science less so as a book of recipes.

After these basics, there are books useful for special circumstances. If your goal is to be broadly and deeply familiar with Algorithms you will need to cover quite a bit of additional material.

Numerical methods -- Numerical Recipes 3rd Edition: The Art of Scientific Computing by Tuekolsky and Vetterling. I love this book. [5]

Randomized algorithms -- Randomized Algorithms by Motwani and Raghavan. [6], Probability and Computing: Randomized Algorithms and Probabilistic Analysis by Michael Mitzenmacher, [7]

Hard problems (like NP) -- Approximation Algorithms by Vazirani [8]. How to Solve It: Modern Heuristics by Michalewicz and Fogel. [9]

Data structures -- Advanced Data Structures by Brass. [10]

Functional programming -- Pearls of Functional Algorithm Design by Bird [11] and Purely Functional Data Structures by Okasaki [12].

Bit twiddling -- Hacker's Delight by Warren [13].

Distributed and parallel programming -- this material gets very hard so perhaps Distributed Algorithms by Lynch [14].

Machine learning and AI related algorithms -- Bishop's Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning [15] and Norvig's Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach [16]

These books will cover most of what a Ph.D. in CS might be expected to understand about algorithms. It will take years of study to work though all of them. After that, you will be reading about algorithms in journal publications (ACM and IEEE memberships are useful). For example, a recent, practical, and important development in hashing methods is called cuckoo hashing, and I don't believe that it appears in any of the books I've listed.

[1] Sedgewick, Algorithms, 2015. https://www.amazon.com/Algorithms-Fourth-Deluxe-24-Part-Lect...

[2] Cormen, et al., Introduction to Algorithms, 2009. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_15?url=search-alia...

[3] Sedgewick, An Introduction to the Analysis of Algorithms, 2013. https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Analysis-Algorithms-2nd/...

[4] Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming, 2011. https://www.amazon.com/Computer-Programming-Volumes-1-4A-Box...

[5] Tuekolsky and Vetterling, Numerical Recipes 3rd Edition: The Art of Scientific Computing, 2007. https://www.amazon.com/Numerical-Recipes-3rd-Scientific-Comp...

[6] https://www.amazon.com/Randomized-Algorithms-Rajeev-Motwani/...


[8] Vazirani, https://www.amazon.com/Approximation-Algorithms-Vijay-V-Vazi...

[9] Michalewicz and Fogel, https://www.amazon.com/How-Solve-Heuristics-Zbigniew-Michale...

[10] Brass, https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Data-Structures-Peter-Brass/...

[11] Bird, https://www.amazon.com/Pearls-Functional-Algorithm-Design-Ri...

[12] Okasaki, https://www.amazon.com/Purely-Functional-Structures-Chris-Ok...

[13] Warren, https://www.amazon.com/Hackers-Delight-2nd-Henry-Warren/dp/0...

[14] Lynch, https://www.amazon.com/Distributed-Algorithms-Kaufmann-Manag...

[15] Bishop, https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Recognition-Learning-Informat...

[16] Norvig, https://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Intelligence-Modern-Approa...

GitHub Removes BSD2/3 Clause Licenses
13 points by deadgrey19  23 hours ago   4 comments top 2
darkengine 23 hours ago 2 replies      
They also don't have an option for GPLv2, because it would introduce "cognitive overhead".https://github.com/github/choosealicense.com/issues/413
rurban 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Huge bullshit. They have no idea about MIT vs BSD, and "cognitive overload" is a non-argument. Removal didn't change anything to them, but a lot for their users.
Ask HN: Any good examples for dashboard for performance analysis
13 points by curiousfunk  2 days ago   2 comments top 2
user5994461 1 day ago 0 replies      
Get a performance tool like NewRelic, Dynatrace, Appdynamics.

They'll give you all of that.

roughcoder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can not recommend www.datadoghq.com enough, cheep and a load of integrations.
Ask HN: What external ergonomic keyboard do you use?
3 points by tzz  20 hours ago   7 comments top 3
hacknat 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The Microsoft sculpt:https://www.microsoft.com/accessories/en-us/products/keyboar...

It's had good Linux support for a while now.

mtmail 20 hours ago 1 reply      
An older http://www.goldtouch.com/ergonomic-keyboards/, might even be version 1.
Ask HN: What's your favorite tech talk?
836 points by mngutterman  7 days ago   255 comments top 156
Malic 7 days ago 8 replies      
grin Here we go...

For "laughing at ourselves" and oddities of computer languages, there is "Wat" by Gary Bernhardt:https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/wat

For an opinion on the Sun to Oracle transition, there is "Fork Yeah! The Rise and Development of illumos" by Bryan M. Cantrill, Joyent. His Larry Ellison rant makes me smile:https://youtu.be/-zRN7XLCRhc?t=33m00s

peterkelly 7 days ago 3 replies      
"The Last Lecture", by Randy Pausch. While it's by a well-known CS professor (who was dying of cancer at the time), it's not a technical talk, but about life and work, and how to make the most of it. One of the most inspiring things I've ever seen.


Another fantastic one is Steve Jobs' 2005 commencement address at Stanford:


azeirah 7 days ago 4 replies      
By far my favorite talk is and has been for a very long time Bret Victor's inventing on principle, for me, nothing comes close, except for some of his other work I suppose.


pacomerh 6 days ago 2 replies      
qwertyuiop924 7 days ago 1 reply      
Linus Torvalds on Git. It's funny, and it really does tell you a lot about why Git is the way it is.

Bryan Cantrill's 2011(?) Lightning talk on ta(1). It's fascinating, but it also shows you just long-lived software can be.

Randall Munroe's Talk on the JoCo cruise. Because it's effing hilarious, and teaches everybody the important art of building a ball pit inside your house.

Finally, an honorable mention to three papers that don't qualify, but which I think you should read anyway.

Reflections on Trusting Trust: This is required reading for... Everybody. It describes a particularly insidious hack, and discusses its ramifications for security.

In the Beginning Was The Command Line: If you want get into interface design, programming, or ever work with computers, this is required. It's a snapshot of the 90's, a discussion of operating systems, corporations, and society as we know it. But more importantly, it's a crash course in abstractions. Before you can contribute to the infinite stack of turtles we programmers work with, you should probably understand why it's there, and what it is.

Finally, The Lambda Papers. If you've ever wondered how abstractions work, and how they're modeled... This won't really tell you, not totally, but they'll give you something cool to think about, and give you the start of an answer.

arjunnarayan 7 days ago 3 replies      
> what's that one talk that changed the way you think and you feel everyone needs to see?

Growing a Language by Guy Steele.


madmax108 7 days ago 2 replies      
I see a couple of Bret Victor videos here, but the one I loved the most was "The Future of Programming":https://vimeo.com/71278954

Really set me on a path of re-examining older ideas (and research papers), for applications that are much more contemporary. Absolute stunner of a talk (and the whole 70's gag was really great).

"What would be really sad is if in 40 years we were still writing code in procedures in text files" :(

sebg 7 days ago 0 replies      
Some previous posts:

"Ask HN: What are your favorite videos relevant to entrepreneurs or startups?" -> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7656003

"Ask HN: Favorite talks [video] on software development?" -> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8105732

pdkl95 7 days ago 1 reply      
Y Not - Adventures in Functional Programming by Jim Weirich https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FITJMJjASUs

The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing by Cory Doctorow http://boingboing.net/2012/08/23/civilwar.html

Cybersecurity as Realpolitik by Dan Geer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT-TGvYOBpIhttp://geer.tinho.net/geer.blackhat.6viii14.txt

rdtsc 7 days ago 2 replies      
Pretty much anything by David Beazley or Bryan Cantrill

Discovering Python (David Beazley)


David finds himself in a dark vault, stuck for months sifting through deliberately obfuscated pile of old code and manuals. All seems lost, but then he finds Python on a vanilla Windows box.

Fork Yeah! The Rise and Development of Illumos (Bryan Cantrill)


History of Illumos, SunOS, Solaris, the horribleness of Oracle

These are not technical, but they are entertaining.

KhalilK 7 days ago 0 replies      
Bret Victor - Inventing on Principle https://vimeo.com/36579366

We can argue on some of the points he makes but we can all agree that the demos are very impressive.

corysama 7 days ago 1 reply      
Alan Kay is my favorite tech curmudgeon.

1) Alan Kay: Is it really "Complex"? Or did we just make it "Complicated"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubaX1Smg6pY

Take note that he is not giving the talk using Window & PowerPoint, or even Linux & OpenOffice. 100% of the software on his laptop are original products of his group. Including the productivity suite, the OS, the compilers and the languages being compiled.

2) Bret Victor: The Future of Programminghttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMiCo2Ntsc

jjp 7 days ago 0 replies      
Hans Rosling's original Ted talk, which has so much passion about data visualisation and making information accessible - http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_y...
cgag 7 days ago 1 reply      
Simple made easy is my favorite but I'd also just generally recommend everything by Rich Hickey, Gary Bernhardt, and Jonathan Blow.
adrianbordinc 5 hours ago 0 replies      
One of my favorites. dhh showing once again his ruthless pragmatism:


kethinov 7 days ago 2 replies      
My current favorite is Jake Archibald's offline-first progressive web apps talk at Google I/O 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmGr0RszHc8

It's a terrific window into the future of web application development.

sssilver 7 days ago 2 replies      
Raymond Hettinger's talk about good code reviews -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf-BqAjZb8M

Carmack's talk about functional programming and Haskell -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PhArSujR_A

Jack Diederich's "Stop Writing Classes" -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9pEzgHorH0

All with a good sense of humor.

bajsejohannes 6 days ago 0 replies      
Jon Blow's "How to program independent games": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjDsP5n2kSM

It's about much more than games. To me, it's about identifying and not doing unnecessary work.

The second half of this video is a Q&A session, which I would skip.

myth_buster 7 days ago 0 replies      
Richard Hamming's You and your research.


okket 7 days ago 1 reply      
Linus Torvalds talk about git


dcre 7 days ago 0 replies      
I already see a bunch of people posting and upvoting Bret Victor's "Inventing on Principle", but I think his "Media for Thinking the Unthinkable" is better.


kornish 7 days ago 1 reply      
Right now it's Boundaries, by Gary Bernhardt. He details the importance of separating out pure business logic from the plumbing code that brings it input and directs its output ("functional core, imperative shell").


dragonbonheur 7 days ago 1 reply      
The mother of all demos by Douglas Engelbart https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJDv-zdhzMY

How I met your girlfriend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5xRRF5GfQs&t=66s

grose 7 days ago 2 replies      
Lexical Scanning in Go by Rob Pike


I love everything about this talk. It walks you through building a lexer from scratch in a simple and elegant way, through a very interesting use of coroutines. I appreciate the bits of humor in the talk as well.

ChicagoBoy11 6 days ago 0 replies      
Peter Norvig on the "Unreasonable Effectiveness of Data"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvDCzhbjYWs

I think it is so easy for us to discuss the impact of big data and quickly get into the weeds, but I think in this talk Norvig does an especially great job in making you truly appreciate the seismic impact that the availability of massive quantities of data can have on your way to think about problems. This is one of the first things I ever saw of him, and I've been in love ever since.

dudul 7 days ago 4 replies      
Big fan of Rich Hickey. I found most of his talks really great, and applicable beyond the Clojure universe. My favorites: "Are we there yet?" and "Simple made Easy".
SonOfLilit 6 days ago 0 replies      
"The Birth and Death of Javascript" by Gary Bernhardt (probably the most talented speaker on tech) at https://www.destroyallsoftware.com/talks/the-birth-and-death...

I'd mention Bret Victor's work before (maybe Drawing Dynamic Visualizations?), but Bret cheats by writing a lot of amazing code for each of his talks, and most of the awesome comes from the code, not his (great nonetheless) ability as a speaker.

Then you have John Carmack's QuakeCon keynotes, which are just hours and hours of him talking about things that interest him in random order, and it still beats most well prepared talks because of how good he is at what he does. HN will probably like best the one where he talks about his experiments in VR, a bit before he joined Oculus (stuff like when he tried shining a laser into his eyes to project an image, against the recommendations of... well, everyone): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt-iVFxgFWk

unimpressive 6 days ago 0 replies      
These aren't necessarily my absolute favorite talks, but they're great mind-altering talks a little off the beaten path so I'd like to highlight them:

"Writing A Thumb Drive From Scratch" by Travis Goodspeed - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8Im0_KUEf8&nohtml5=False

Excellent talk on the hardware side of security, goes into some really cool theoretical hard disk defense stuff, incredibly insightful and introduces a hardware security tech toy so fun you'll want to go out and order it the moment you're done watching. The speaker is entertaining as all heck to boot.

"Programming and Scaling" by Alan Kay - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyIQKBzIuBY&nohtml5=False

Interesting talk on the theoretical limits of code size and engineering versus tinkering. Also talks a lot about Alan Kay's philosophy of computer science which analogizes systems to biological systems, which are the systems with the largest proven scaling on the planet.

"The Mother Of All Demos" by Douglas Engelbart - https://archive.org/details/XD300-23_68HighlightsAResearchCn...

This talk is so prescient you won't believe your eyes. Given in 1968, Douglas demonstrates just about every major computing concept in use today on a modern machine, along with some ones that are still experimental or unevenly distributed such as smooth remote desktop and collaborative editing.

runT1ME 6 days ago 0 replies      
Propositions as Types: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOiZatlZtGU

I think this can really really change how we look at everyday programming tasks everywhere from the type of tooling we choose to how we approach problems.

mwcampbell 6 days ago 1 reply      
A few of Bryan Cantrill's talks have already been mentioned here, but this one about DTrace, from 2007, is a gem:


I especially like the part in the middle where he tells the story of how a an awful GNOME applet was killing a Sun Ray server, and how he tracked down the culprit with DTrace.

archagon 7 days ago 0 replies      
I don't really have a favorite, but recently I really enjoyed "8 Bit & '8 Bitish' Graphics-Outside the Box"[1]. The name didn't catch my eye, but then I learned that it was a lecture by the very same Mark Ferrari who made these[2] unbelievably beautiful color-cycling pixel art animations. Master of his art definitely worth listening to!

[1]: http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1023586/8-Bit-8-Bitish-Graphics

[2]: http://www.effectgames.com/demos/canvascycle/

shahar2k 6 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sI1C9DyIi_8 "the greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function"

not a high tech talk, or particularly technically complex, but it shows a common blindspot in a way that is both clear, enlightening and frightening.

nommm-nommm 7 days ago 0 replies      
Elevator hacking (seriously) https://youtu.be/oHf1vD5_b5I
anondon 7 days ago 0 replies      

This was the first time I watched pg give a talk. It was the talk that brought about the biggest change in the way I think about the world, my ambitions. The talk was the beginning, reading more about pg, I came across his essays and then HN.

mrob 6 days ago 0 replies      
CppCon 2014: Mike Acton "Data-Oriented Design and C++"


Detailed discussion of how to get the most out of your memory cache and memory bandwidth, focusing on games development. It's full of examples of how understanding both the problem and the hardware, and working in a straightforward way, can give you huge performance gains over using poorly suited abstractions. It shows how low level thinking is still important even with modern compilers. I recommend people interested in performance optimization watch it.

cconroy 7 days ago 0 replies      
Doing with Images Makes Symbols, Alan Kay.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2LZLYcu_JY

The title says it all. It's really a summary of several software systems with good ideas abound. I believe all the software is 80s or prior.

Edit: I also forgot to mention some psychology and math.

lukewrites 6 days ago 0 replies      
Mine is "The Internet With A Human Face", by Maciej Cegowskihttp://idlewords.com/talks/internet_with_a_human_face.htm

It's what I direct non-technical people to when they ask what the big deal about internet privacy is.

keane 23 hours ago 0 replies      
What Makes Us Uniquely Human? by Erwin McManus: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/What-Makes-Us-Uniquely-Human-...
joeclark77 6 days ago 0 replies      
First, the "Mother of all Demos" by Doug Engelbart: https://youtu.be/yJDv-zdhzMYThis was in 1968, at a time when most people thought about computers as being machines for solving computation problems, like processing payrolls or calculating rocket trajectories. Engelbart and his students had the radical idea that computers could be used for human "knowledge worker" productivity. In one 90 minute presentation, he introduces everything from the idea of a GUI, to the mouse, to word processing, hypertext, computer graphics, and (simulated) videoconferencing. You have to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the audience that has never seen this stuff before, and it'll blow you away.

Something more recent:Martin Fowler's great introduction to NoSQL: https://youtu.be/qI_g07C_Q5INot so technical, this is a great overview of the reasons why (and when) NoSQL is valuable. He crams a lot into a short speech, so it's one of the rare videos I've required students in my database classes to watch.

Now, really getting away from the technical, I have to recommend watching the IDEO shopping cart video: https://youtu.be/taJOV-YCieIThis is the classic introduction of Design Thinking to the world, in 1999. If you're using the Lean Startup or an Agile method, but have never heard of IDEO's shopping cart, you may be able to get along fine at work, but you should be kind of embarrassed like a physicist who's never read Newton.

monksy 6 days ago 0 replies      
Agile Is Dead: By Dave Thomas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-BOSpxYJ9M

I love his talks for a few reasons:

Often times...

 1. He's anti-hype 2. He's contriversal 3. He's right.

pradeepchhetri 7 days ago 3 replies      
One of my favourite talks is by James Mickens at Monitorama 2015: https://vimeo.com/95066828
VLM 6 days ago 1 reply      
Aside from the typical, I watched Damian Conway "Standing on the shoulders of giants" from YAPC 2016 last week and found it interesting. Always fun to see a modern feature full language collide with history and algorithms.


intelekshual 7 days ago 0 replies      
Keyframe 6 days ago 0 replies      
Too many great talks to mention, but if I had to pick one it would be Ted Nelson's few minutes of demonstration of Xanadu. Demonstration is lacking, but what he said about the concept/idea is what stuck with me. Deep and referential(?) content. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=En_2T7KH6RA
taeric 6 days ago 0 replies      
https://www.infoq.com/presentations/We-Really-Dont-Know-How-... is by far my favorite technical talk right now.

Sussman goes over some interesting ideas on the provenance of calculations and asserts that "exact" computation is possibly not worth the cost.

indexerror 7 days ago 0 replies      
My favourite talk is:

"What the heck is the event loop anyway?" by Philip Roberts


petr_tik 6 days ago 1 reply      
1Martin Thompson busting myths about hardware and explaining why it's important to know. Mechanical sympathy makes you better, because you know how the code actually runs on the machine and interacts with different layers of memory


2Matt Godbolt (the man behind GCC explorer) - Emulating a 6502 system in Javascript

Great talk about BBC micro and much more


3Matt Adereth - Clojure/typing

History of keyboards and a custom keyboard written in Clojure


I like the 3 for their content and how each speaker presented the background and their project/hack/ideas.

Highly recommend

philbo 7 days ago 0 replies      
Joshua Bloch: How to design a good API and why it matters


0xmohit 6 days ago 2 replies      

 How To Design A Good API and Why it Matters [0] The Principles of Clean Architecture [1] The State of the Art in Microservices by Adrian Cockcroft [2] "The Mess We're In" by Joe Armstrong [3]
[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAb7hSCtvGw

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_TH-Y78tt4

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwpxq9-uw_0

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKXe3HUG2l4

danblick 6 days ago 0 replies      
I think Alan Kay's "Doing with Images makes Symbols" talk from 1987 might make my list:


It's mostly about the history of HCI up to that point.

agentultra 7 days ago 0 replies      
We Really Don't Know How To Compute! [0] is probably my top... next to the christmas tree lectures.

[0] https://www.infoq.com/presentations/We-Really-Dont-Know-How-...

agumonkey 7 days ago 4 replies      
After lots of talks I started going to the library and found out it's a lot more effective to grow knowledge. Maybe I'm too ADHD-able when watching videos.
beyondcompute 7 days ago 0 replies      
Bret Victor is pretty interesting though a bit philosophical.

The best practical talk is of course this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asLUTiJJqdE - Robert "Uncle Bob" Martin, Clean Architecture and Design

jonbaer 6 days ago 0 replies      
Richard Feynman: Fun to Imagine (BBC Series, 1983) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3pYRn5j7oI&list=PL04B3F5636...
samcal 7 days ago 0 replies      
James Mickens at Monitorama: https://vimeo.com/95066828

Aside from the comedic aspect (which makes the talk incredible), Mickens is a genuinely brilliant thinker and has a marvelous way with words.

evilgeneralist 7 days ago 1 reply      
Can I just say anything with Bryan Cantrill?
hackaflocka 7 days ago 1 reply      
Paul Buchheit - Startup School Europe 2014


Anjana Vakil: Learning Functional Programming with JavaScript - JSUnconf 2016


Bret Victor - Inventing on Principle


Philip Roberts: What the heck is the event loop anyway? | JSConf EU 2014


kruhft 7 days ago 1 reply      
Growing a Language by Guy Steele (video and transcription):


utefan001 7 days ago 0 replies      

InfoSec talk. Best lines from talk..

"Basic lessons are not learned such as know thy network"

"You have to learn your network, you have to have skin in the game"

"Defense is hard, breaking stuff is easy"

"If you serve the God's of compliance you will fail"

"Compliance is not security"

"Perfect solution fallacy"

"People are falling over themselves not to change, shooting great ideas down."

"Perfect attacker fallacy, they don't exist, they are a myth!"

"Attackers are not that good because they don't need to be that good."

Speaker is Eric Conrad

mtmail 7 days ago 0 replies      
"Avoiding Burnout, and other essentials of Open Source Self-Care" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbeHBnWfXUc
raspasov 6 days ago 1 reply      
IntelMiner 7 days ago 1 reply      
Not quite as low-level as some of the other talks, but I love watching LazyGameReviews "Tech Tales" series when ever a new one comes out

It's fairly high level, but he really burrows into computer history and it's simply fascinating to watch, helped by the fact the person is extremely passionate about what he does https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB1vrRFJI1Q&list=PLbBZM9aUMs...

dorianm 6 days ago 0 replies      
Aaron Patterson talks (aka @tenderlove): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3gYklsN9uc
antouank 6 days ago 0 replies      
Rich Hickey - Simplicity Mattershttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI8tNMsozo0
JoshTriplett 7 days ago 1 reply      
For reasons completely unrelated to the content, Identity 2.0: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrpajcAgR1E

Watching that talk brought me over to the "a picture or a few words per slide" style of presentation, rather than the "wall of bullet points" style. It also helped me move from "stop talking, change slides, start talking again", to smooth transitions while talking.

jack9 6 days ago 0 replies      
What We Actually Know About Software Development, and Why We Believe Its True


jordanlev 7 days ago 0 replies      
As a web developer, my favorite recent talk is "Modern Layouts: Getting Out of Our Ruts" by Jen Simmons


...very inspiring if you're bored with the way websites have been looking for the past few years.

dantle 6 days ago 0 replies      
Indistinguishable From Magic: Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips.

Explains a lot of recent mass-market innovations that keep the semiconductor manufacturing industry rolling, and goes into detail about the many tricks used to ensure scaling down to the 22nm node.


raglof 6 days ago 0 replies      
Bret Victor's "Inventing on Principle" [1] or Rob Pike's "Concurrency Is Not Parallelism" [2].

[1] https://vimeo.com/36579366[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cN_DpYBzKso

exarne 7 days ago 0 replies      
It's an old talk but I really enjoyed it at the time, Paul Graham on Great Hackers: http://web.archive.org/web/20130729231533id_/http://itc.conv...
fivealarm 6 days ago 0 replies      
I'm relatively early in my career, and I feel like I've learned a ridiculous amount of useful stuff from talks given by these people:

Brandon Rhodes

Raymond Hettinger

David Beazley

Sandi Metz

Avdi Grimm

wyldfire 6 days ago 0 replies      
m0llusk 5 days ago 0 replies      
Google TechTalks Personal Growth Series: William Dement on Healthy Sleep and Optimal Performancehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hAw1z8GdE8
x0x0 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cliff Click was the jvm architect at sun then spent a decade at azul systems as their jvm architect. The talk is "A JVM Does That?"

It's well worth watching if you are interested in vms at all.


makmanalp 7 days ago 0 replies      
Aside from a lot of the classics here, one that stands out is this AMAZING live demo at pycon by David Beazley:


The simple and followable progression to more and more complex ideas blows my mind every time.

andycroll 7 days ago 0 replies      
Slightly self-serving as the organiser but Sarah Mei's talk at Brighton Ruby this year was terrific.


recmend 6 days ago 0 replies      
People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it by Simon Sinekhttps://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_insp...
agconti 7 days ago 0 replies      
Mike Bostock's talk on visualizing algorithms is one of my favorites: https://vimeo.com/112319901

> Visualizing Algorithms A look at the use of visualization and animation to understand, explain and debug algorithms.

cvwright 7 days ago 0 replies      
Gary McGraw: Cyber War, Cyber Peace, Stones, and Glass Houses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCULzMa7iqs

I like how this talk cuts through a lot of the BS in security. One of his points is that the US and other rich Western countries have a lot more to lose from a possible "cyber war" than our potential adversaries do.

Another key point is that we'll never make much progress unless we can somehow start building better systems in the first place, with fewer vulnerabilities for an adversary to exploit.

I think the second point has become a lot more widely accepted in recent years since McGraw started giving this talk. Unfortunately it sounds like a lot of government folks still haven't got the memo on point #1.

akkartik 7 days ago 0 replies      
Moxie Marlinspike at Blackhat 2010 on how we lost the war for privacy in spite of winning the Crypto Wars of the 1990's-early 2000's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unZZCykRa5w
zerognowl 4 days ago 0 replies      
Always refreshing to hear one of Haroon Meer's talks:


Jake Appelbaum's Digital Anti-Repression Workshop is de rigeur listening too:


anoother 7 days ago 0 replies      
"How to Speed up a Python Program 114,000 times." - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e08kOj2kISU

Humour, serious technical insight and a good reminder of why being a generalist is an advantage.

daveguy 7 days ago 0 replies      
Geoffrey Hinton "The Next Generation of Neural Networks". A google tech talk from 2007 about this newfangled "deep neural network" thing:


vvanders 7 days ago 0 replies      
Herb Sutter, Modern C++ - https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2014/2-661

Great overview of value types, performance and how hardware that runs things still matters.

teamhappy 7 days ago 0 replies      
Keith Winstein presenting mosh at USENIX 2012 is easily the most entertaining tech talk I've ever seen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsIxNYl0oyU

Scott Meyers' talks are fun to watch too.

drizze 7 days ago 0 replies      
David Beazley's, "Discovering Python": https://youtu.be/RZ4Sn-Y7AP8

A fascinating tale about using python during the discovery phase of a trial. Very fun watch. Anything by David Beazley is great!

simscitizen 7 days ago 0 replies      
"An Introduction to SQLite" by Richard Hipp (who wrote the library) is actually a pretty good intro on to how to build your own DB engine.


sideb0ard 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love the Ted Nelson "Computers For Cynics" series - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdnGPQaICjk

He is kinda awesome in Herzog's recent 'Lo and Behold' too.

ebcode 6 days ago 0 replies      
John Holland is always worth watching, and not very many people have seen this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_u_d-KLEsE#t=1183.549186
antigremlin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Temporally Quaquaversal Virtual Nanomachine is another gem by Damian Conway: https://yow.eventer.com/events/1004/talks/1028
amelius 7 days ago 0 replies      
Rupert Sheldrake, "The Extended Mind, Experimental Evidence", Google Talks 2008, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hic18Xyk9is

If you are in for something out of the ordinary.

ajankovic 7 days ago 0 replies      
I like this one because it's a good reality check:Opening Keynote: Greg Young - Stop Over-Engenering https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRr4xeMn1uU
vonklaus 6 days ago 0 replies      
Ashton Kutcher--Startup School

I like it because it is the intersection of so many things. He starts slow, is very intimidated by the audience. The audience, obviously super skeptical of the clown from that 70s show giving any useful information, they could learn from. He finds his footing with a great morivational story (albeit laden with a few cliches) about a forgotten entrepreneur and how he built some lasting value.

For me, this is a great talk. The story is extremely motivational and has some interesting bits of history & entrepreneurial genius-- but the entire experience is extremely educational. About bias, drive & success.

I liked it for what it wasnt.

thegeekpirate 6 days ago 1 reply      
Black Hat USA 2015 - The Memory Sinkhole Unleashing An X86 Design Flaw Allowing Universal Privilege


peelle 6 days ago 0 replies      
Clay Shirky on Love, Internet Style. He has several great talks.


wedesoft 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dr Meister: Using Lisp, LLVM, and C++ for molecular programming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X69_42Mj-g
djfdev 6 days ago 0 replies      
I always enjoyed Ryan Dahl's casual at-home talk on the history of Node.JS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAc0vQCC6UQ
johnhenry 6 days ago 0 replies      
Douglass Crockford's series of 8 videos, "Crockford on JavaScript" really helped me gain a understanding of the language and a better understanding of programming in general. If you don't like or understand JavaScript, this will definitely change that. He's an excellent speaker and the talks are quite enjoyable. Here is the first video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoB2r1QxIAY. If you like it, the other 7 are available in the suggested section.
geichel 7 days ago 0 replies      
Zed Shaw's presentation, it's Not You, It's Them: Why Programming Languages Are Hard To Teach -- https://vimeo.com/53062800
nicwest 6 days ago 0 replies      
The Clean Code Talks - "Global State and Singletons": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FRm3VPhseI
miiiiiike 7 days ago 0 replies      
Chuck Rossi - How Facebook releases software: https://vimeo.com/56362484 I remember thinking "Dr. Cox as release manager."
boulos 6 days ago 0 replies      
In addition to Linus's git talk, I really enjoyed Jeff Dean's EE380 retrospective on Building Systems at Google (http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=modXC5IWTJI). Many people have mentioned Jeff's basic premise elsewhere ("Design a system for 10x your current need, but not 100x, rewrite it before then") but this talk gave several useful examples where tipping points occurred (at least with Search).
Veratyr 7 days ago 0 replies      

How Google backs up the internet.

At the time it changed how I thought about backups/reliability.

vayarajesh 6 days ago 0 replies      
TED talk - Elon musk - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgKWPdJWuBQ

D10 conference - Steve jobs and Bill gates - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw8x7ASpRIY

TED talk - Bill gates (Innovation to Zero) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaF-fq2Zn7I

joshux 6 days ago 0 replies      
Damien Katz - CouchDB and Me: https://www.infoq.com/presentations/katz-couchdb-and-me

The talk is about how Damien quit his job to hack on open source software. It shows his struggle and doubt while embarking on the project and then finally invented CouchDB. It's a passionate and human account of the process of creating something significant. I recommend every hacker watch this.

stewartw 6 days ago 0 replies      
Lawrence Lessig's 'free culture' from OSCON 2002:-https://randomfoo.net/oscon/2002/lessig/

Anything at all by Richard Feynman:-https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=%22richard+feynman%22&tbm=...

Philipp__ 6 days ago 0 replies      
Everything by Mr. Bryan Cantrill! This one is special:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6XQUciI-Sc
glitcher 7 days ago 0 replies      
One in particular comes to mind that really changed the way I think about the larger problem of security in computer science and what a mess our current state of affairs seems to be in:

"The Science of Insecurity" by Meredith L. Patterson and Sergey Gordeychik (2011)


Warning: speaker likes to use profanity (which I enjoy :) but possibly NSFW if you're not on headphones

ciroduran 6 days ago 0 replies      
I love Kevlin Henney's talks, he's very entertaining and informative at the same time, here's one called "Seven Ineffective Coding Habits of Many Java Programmers", very useful even if you don't use Java - https://vimeo.com/101084305

The rest of his channel is full of his talks https://vimeo.com/channels/761265

oleksiyp 7 days ago 0 replies      
Google I/O 2009 - The Myth of the Genius Programmer

One of the best talks about code reviews and similiar things


1057x31337 6 days ago 0 replies      
Therapeutic Refactoring by Katrina Owen https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4dlF0kcThQ
tboyd47 7 days ago 0 replies      
"Being Awesome By Being Boring"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iheymi5QFEY
michaelmcmillan 7 days ago 0 replies      
Fast test, slow test by Gary Bernhardt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAxiiRPHS9k
sedachv 7 days ago 0 replies      
QueueTard's Manufacturing Modern Computer Chips at HOPE number nine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGFhc8R_uO4

Guy Steele's How to Think about Parallel Programming: Not! at Strange Loop 2011: https://www.infoq.com/presentations/Thinking-Parallel-Progra...

danpalmer 7 days ago 0 replies      
I find Simon Peyton Jones to be an excellent educator. He talks mostly about Haskell and the GHC compiler, but his talks are very accessible to a wide audience of programmers.
augustk 6 days ago 0 replies      
Edsger Dijkstra's Turing Award Speech:


EvanAnderson 7 days ago 0 replies      
I very much enjoyed the talk John Graham-Cumming gave "The Great Railway Caper: Big Data in 1955": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcBJfkE5UwU

Any of Jason Scott's talks given at various hacker cons are usually historically informative and always a lot of laughs (but they're decidedly not "technical").

romper 6 days ago 0 replies      
Secret history of silicon valley: https://youtu.be/hFSPHfZQpIQ
lumannnn 7 days ago 0 replies      
by Dave Thomas (PragDave)

"LoneStarRuby 2015 - My Dog Taught Me to Code by Dave Thomas" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCBUsd52a3s


"GOTO 2015 Agile is Dead Pragmatic Dave Thomas" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-BOSpxYJ9M

theviajerock 5 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite is this one about Drones and IA. One of the best:


jagermo 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Pwned by the Owner" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4oB28ksiIo), a DefCon 18 talk about a stolen Mac that one day popped back up on the owners DynDNS service, he was able to connect to it and had some fun afterward.

Not a technical deepdive, but entertaining.

lewisl9029 6 days ago 0 replies      
The Front-end Architecture Revolution by David Nolen: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/61483785

It completely changed the way I approach front-end development (Not that talk in particular though. I saw an earlier, similar talk on Youtube but this one has much higher quality).

ericssmith 7 days ago 0 replies      
Not at all high-brow, but I revisit the in-the-trenches case study of "Scaling Pinterest" on Infoq from time to time because I find their fighting through the pain inspirational for my own scaling troubles.


exawsthrowaway 6 days ago 0 replies      
It's not publicly available, but it was an internal AWS talk and very-deep-dive on the design & implementation of S3. A real eye opener for what it meant to build at global scale.

It's worth joining a global-scale tech company (AWS, Google, Azure, Facebook) just to have your mind blown by some of the internal materials.

davur 6 days ago 0 replies      
Cal Henderson "Why I Hate Django" DjangoCon 2008 Keynote - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6Fr65PFqfk. Not that it is the most educational talk, but it's really funny (edit: added youtube link).
rimantas 6 days ago 0 replies      
Anything by Sandi Metz.
ruairidhwm 7 days ago 0 replies      
Hacking with Words and Smiles by James Lyne https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrNo0XpQxBk

He was a co-speaker at TEDxGlasgow with me and I thought his talk was brilliant. Cyber-crime is a really interesting area.

zengr 4 days ago 0 replies      
My personal favorite is "The ACL is Dead" by Zed Shaw https://vimeo.com/2723800
jboynyc 6 days ago 0 replies      
I like all of Carin Meier's talks, but I think the one that made the most lasting impression was "The Joy of Flying Robots with Clojure."


jacques_chester 6 days ago 0 replies      
Stop Building Products by David Edwards.

A deeply thoughtful discussion of the impact of metaphors on how we think about software development.

Skip to 0:40 if you don't want to hear the MC.


peoplee 6 days ago 0 replies      
The Pixel Factory by Steven Wittenshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NkjLWAkYZ8

For those how likes computer graphics (or want to learn), this is a gold piece.

vinkelhake 7 days ago 0 replies      
"Desktop on the Linux" by Wolfgang Draxinger (guest appearance by Lennart Poettering):https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTdUmlGxVo0
c0l0 7 days ago 0 replies      
Artur Bergman, creator of the Fastly CDN, at Velocity 2011 - giving a (very) short talk about SSDs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7PJ1oeEyGg
NetStrikeForce 6 days ago 0 replies      
ECCHacks - A gentle introduction to elliptic-curve cryptography [31c3]


lukego 6 days ago 0 replies      
superplussed 7 days ago 0 replies      
React-motion, the react animation package that boils all of the animations down to one concept, a spring.


unkoman 7 days ago 0 replies      
Eric Brandwine at AWS talking about how they solved the networking part of the cloud: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3qln2u1Vr2E
0xmohit 6 days ago 0 replies      
I have a list of interesting talks on Haskell/OCaml [0].

(Plan to organize and add more categories.)

[0] https://github.com/0xmohit/talks

d1ffuz0r 6 days ago 0 replies      
nickysielicki 7 days ago 0 replies      
DEFCON 20: Owning Bad Guys {And Mafia} With Javascript Botnets https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QT4YJn7oVI

This guy is just too funny.

krsna 6 days ago 0 replies      
"When We Build" by Wilson Miner: https://vimeo.com/34017777

It completely changed my perspective on how design shapes our world.

tehwebguy 7 days ago 0 replies      
That guy fat from the Bootstrap team - What Is Open Source & Why Do I Feel So Guilty?


jpetitto 7 days ago 1 reply      
Deconstructing Functional Programming by Gilad Bracha:


simula67 6 days ago 0 replies      
"Greg Wilson - What We Actually Know About Software Development, and Why We Believe Its True"


samblr 7 days ago 0 replies      
There is a sort of palpable energy in (Ryan Dahl) node.js original presentation.


edit: +Ryan Dahl

RodericDay 7 days ago 0 replies      
I really liked "The Life and Death of Javascript" by Gary Bernhardt
sunils34 7 days ago 0 replies      
Resilience in Complex Adaptive systems by Richard Cook at Velocity Conf 2013:


bluefox 7 days ago 0 replies      
Dynamic Languages Wizards Series - Panel on Runtime: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LG-RtcSYUQ
jentulman 6 days ago 0 replies      
Dan Abromovich sort of introducing Redux in this talk. https://youtu.be/xsSnOQynTHs
verandaguy 7 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a fan of "Knocking my neighbors kids cruddy drone offline" by Robinson and Mithcell from DEFCON 23.

 [0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CzURm7OpAA

rhgraysonii 6 days ago 0 replies      
Closure, by @steveklabnik


So many lessons in short, beautiful piece.

fitzwatermellow 6 days ago 0 replies      
Well. There's enough quality content in this thread to start a dedicated cable television channel, a la Viceland ;)

Not sure if it's my favorite. And the subject is more technology than "tech". But the talk that keeps haunting me is Michael Dearing's lecture from the Reid Hoffman "Blitzscaling" class at Stanford:

Heroes of Capitalism From Beyond The Grave


Dearing draws upon an obscure letter by Daniel McCallum, superintendant of the New York and Erie Railroad, written to his bosses in the 1850s. In the report, McCallum bemoans the stress and frustration of operating a railroad system spanning thousands of miles. All of the joy and magic he used to revel in whilst running a fifty mile stretch back in his home town has long since dissipated. Furthermore, the unit cost per mile seems to be exploding rather counter-intuitively!

Dearing goes on to elucidate the absolute necessity of the railroads ("the thing to know about the railroads is: they were startups once") themselves. As guarantors of civilization and progress. Beacons bringing light and reason to the dark swamps of ignorance and inhumanity. And not just in the physical transport of goods, people and ideas across the continent. But as the wealth created from that creative destruction remains the best cure for all of our other inimical maladies: poverty, injustice, disease and stagnation.

So, no pressure. But civilization depends upon you!

Links to References in the Talk:

Estimates of World GDP: From One Million BC to the Present


The Process of Creative Destruction by Joseph Schumpeter


The Visible Hand: The Managerial Revolution in American Business by Alfred D. Chandler, Jr.


Report of D. C. McCallum to the stockholders of the New York and Erie Railroad


Things As They Are In America by William Chambers


Ask HN: Least invasive way of page-view tracking
3 points by leksak  22 hours ago   5 comments top 3
nwrk 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Piwik [0], Self hosted and open source

[0] https://piwik.org/

ge96 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a php tracker that stores into MySQL if you are interested.

It just tracks the last IP address, URL requested, and time of entry. Two tables, increments visits if IP is already in database.

You just include this file at the top of your page assuming you use PHP


I've let this thing run for a while (months) and have thousands of visits but often they are just crawlers if uou check on ip-lookup.net

angersock 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Write your own, by crawling logs and/or doing a simple event system and backing DB table.
Ask HN: What is your favourite stack for small personal projects?
9 points by ScottAS  2 days ago   15 comments top 14
singold 39 minutes ago 0 replies      
Python + django + postgresql
borplk 16 hours ago 1 reply      
As someone who is deep into fancy Javascript stuff (React/Redux/Webpack you name it) at this point I would say PHP7!!

There is something special about being able to create a helloworld.php and have it sit there up and running with reasonable performance without issues so you can forget about it.

Wait until you outgrow it and then consider something else.

I regret wasting so much time (and trust me I'm no noob in this) setting up boilerplate dev environments file watchers transpilers hot module reload nginx reverse proxy server-side rendering server REST API layer client side routing graceful reloading blah blah blah.

Drop a few php files under Apache and keep marching forward.

mobiuscog 1 day ago 0 replies      
Java or Python (or occasionally C#).

Why do I need a 'stack' for a personal project ? Also, a weekend-or-two to set-up ?!? If it takes longer than 30 minutes to get going, it's not going to happen.

emilburzo 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Java (+ GWT for the web)

I recently found out about http://www.ninjaframework.org/ which makes the process even faster.

radix07 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you don't need a database or a dynamic interface, I have a personal site running with Jekyll. It's static and cost a few cents a month to run on Amazon S3 (until I actually get some traffic). Github Pages is also an option if you are going this route.
soulchild37 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ruby on Rails + PostgreSQL hosted on digitalocean. I have written a chef cookbook that helps me configure basic server security and install Rails/Nginx/PostgreSQL with just one command. The automated server setup took around 15 minutes then I can deploy my app to it.
pmontra 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ruby or Ruby on Rails, because they're the ones I'm more proficient in. I did very small projects in Node and Elixir and I would like to become better at Elixir. But the time for personal projects is small so productivity is super important.

In general pick the tools you're better at.

shakna 1 day ago 0 replies      
Coffeescript, Flask or Bottle, Heroku. Maybe Firebase if I need a database.

Or if I don't need anything dynamic, Hakyll (Pandoc integrated!), and GitLab Pages (automatic CI deploy via any docker instance from git push).

source99 1 day ago 0 replies      
How many people work on projects expecting them to only be small personal projects vs the start of the next big thing?
stevekemp 1 day ago 0 replies      
I tend to use Perl (generally via CGI::Application, but more recently with Dancer / Mojolicious). For databases I use MySQL and Redis for caching.
usgroup 1 day ago 0 replies      
Linode &Docker &bash &(Go v R v Python) &SQLite
merchang 1 day ago 0 replies      
LAMP + Skelton boilerplate
randelramirez 1 day ago 0 replies      
asp.net mvc + EF + AngularJS + TypeScript + Bootstrap, I'm a .Net Developer.
warriorkitty 1 day ago 0 replies      
Laravel + AngularJS + Heroku
Ask HN: Consider banning paywalled articles like those from wsj.com please
114 points by NicoJuicy  9 hours ago   62 comments top 26
tptacek 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is one of the oldest arguments on Hacker News.


Note that "incognito window" is one of the "standard workarounds" 'dang mentions in that thread.

andyjohnson0 8 hours ago 6 replies      
I'd like to see linking to paywalled sites discouraged, but banning them might be too inflexible. Perhaps a change to the submission form that suggests that the submitter looks for alternative sources first, and appends "(paywalled)" to the title if they opt to proceed.

Paywalled mass-media articles (e.g. WSJ) are very rarely worth submitting. Articles in paywalled journals (e.g. Nature) where the abstract is accessible may well be worth it. But it comes down to judgement.

Finally, I agree that (for the type of topics that HN concerns itself with) free access to information should be encouraged.

danso 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I disagree with banning sites that have leaky paywalls. Sites that do good journalism deserve the pageviews. We shouldn't incentivize blogspam just because it's convenient. In the case of the WSJ, they were the outlet that did the investigative work that broke Theranos, among many other stories.

The question boils down to whether the paywall is leaky enough. The "web" option, which helps the user find the article via Google because the WSJ paywall let's through the Google-referer, still works for me and many others, but apparently, not for other users. That's a strange technical quirk. I've tried emulating it on desktop vs. mobile, and using a VPN for different parts of the world, and the Google-referer-workaround still works fine for me.

So why can't some users get it to work? Could they be using a plugin that blocks the referer? Is the use of such a plugin enough of a common-case to block good journalism for the rest of the users on HN?

tzs 7 hours ago 3 replies      
> I can't read the paywalled articles on wsj.com anymore. So it's breaking my web experience of reading HN.

If a group of people at a party were talking about a book you had not read or a movie you had not seen, would that be breaking your party experience?

Of course not. You'd go converse with a different group that was talking about some other book or movie, or talking about sports or something.

You can do the same thing here. You have 30 submissions on the front page alone to choose from, and even more if you can bring yourself to hit the "more" link at the bottom of the page.

And unlike the book/movie discussion at a party, if you do go into the comments on an article you have not read you are unlikely to get any spoilers that will ruin it for you if you do later find the article somewhere you can read.

> An alternative like automaticly hiding articles from wsj.com would be nice, but i think it's more effectively to just ban the domain? Because it has no use for many HN-readers.

Every highly technical article discussed on HN is of no use to many HN readers. Do you think we should ban those, too?

Also, the utility of HN submissions is usually in the comments, not the article itself. The comments are usually quite useful even without reading the article. The article is merely a launching point.

oneeyedpigeon 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I agree with the proposal to ban paywalled sites. Workarounds are annoying and/or temporary. HN should be about open discussion of freely available content; we shouldn't be encouraging the ghetto-ification of the web. The typical paywalled sites are almost never the only (or even the best) source of an article.
epberry 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think these sights should be banned. WSJ and NYT in particular produce excellent journalism and the digital subscriptions are actually quite cheap, even if you're on a budget. If anything we should ban tabloids like Business Insider which mostly produce summaries of other sights and listicles.
darklajid 8 hours ago 1 reply      
And ban quora while you're at it? Ah, wishful thinking of course.

I do agree that inaccessible sites are of little value for discussions and would gladly have a visual indicator of these sites to avoid the click, close, flag response.

anilgulecha 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I propose that paywalled article be allowed, but as soon as a comment recommends a non-paywalled article for the same story, we switch to that.

HN already replaces article URLs with better ones, so the above will work through the old process with an additional parameter for what's considered "better" for HN.

tsukikage 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Slap (paywall) into the article title. Then people who find it a problem know to skip it.
chandru89new 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
On many subreddits, paywalled articles are prefixed "[Paywall]". I think that's a better option than banning it altogether.
NicoJuicy 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Screenshots of the comments of the current #1 HN post of a wsj article: https://gyazo.com/440858bfcc2f94d912a087ca2ef7ce26 . Which takes the discussion away from the topic and will always be related to paywalled articles or alternative sources.
Terribledactyl 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if "banning" is quite right, sometimes the article only exists behind such a structure, but may be worthwhile for the community to discuss. Mods already replace higher quality links after they show up in the discussion. The same could happen by submitting a prominent paywalled source to get the discussion rolling, and then as a better source is made or discovered switch over to it.

And the comments on HN seem to be more coupled to an event than any given particular article, meta-metadiscussion aside.

aikah 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If nobody can read the content of a link then no discussion can take place on HN therefore it shouldn't be on HN. I say ban paywalled articles and stop generating free traffic for these websites that don't want to share information at first place.
amelius 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see more summaries on HN. I'm often reading HN on my phone, and the connection is often too slow to read the actual article.

A summary will also help with paywalled articles.

codingdave 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Banning seems extreme. We have mechanisms on HN to self-moderate -- If you do not like paywalled articles, do not upvote them or post them. But as long as other people are posting and upvoting, it means some part of this community feels they have value.

So this discussion is great - lets make sure everyone takes the time to give it thought. But after those thoughts have had time to percolate, the actions of the community will self-correct. Or not.

NicoJuicy 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't think they want us to have this discussion :) - http://imgur.com/a/GdMkz

According to me, this should be a top discussion. But the ranking algorithm seems to be way off, like we have been punished in the algorithm.

Any thoughts what this could be?

bryanlarsen 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Does the web link work from an incognito session? I suspect that WSJ just sets a cookie on first visit to show the paywall on subsequent visits.

I personally agree with the current HN paywall policy. If the Google workaround doesn't work, then WSJ will get banned from Google, which is a far harsher penalty than getting banned from HN.

wglb 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Another solution is to search for the words in the headline. This works for me even in a non-incognito window. Very little effort required.
thisisit 7 hours ago 0 replies      
While we talk about how free apps are killing the market and making life difficult for an indie developer, we want to make it difficult for WSJ reporters too? If the story is broken or first reported by WSJ, example the suspicious cases one, by all means they should be the ones linked. At least that way people are aware of the good work WSJ is doing and maybe pay for the news.
dx034 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree, most WSJ articles are available on other news pages and the web workaround doesn't work for me either (since a few days).
retox 8 hours ago 0 replies      
How about a host filter in the user options?At least that way people with a subscription can see the link.
amyjess 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The current policy is that articles from sites with easily-bypassable paywalls are allowed.

The WSJ paywall is not easily bypassable. The usual techniques to bypass paywalls are inconsistent with WSJ. Sometimes opening the 'web' link in an incognito window works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't work, there's no way to get to the article.

The WSJ paywall should not be treated like the NYT paywall. It's a different animal, and it shouldn't be allowed here because it fails the easily-bypassable test.

cotinoco 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Whoever can read them, take a screenshot and upload it to BayImg. Solves it.
geuis 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I support this proposal. I support any independent company's right to perform their business how they want. I also support that popular sites that encourage open dialog and discussion should not include companies that disallow public viewing of their content.

Let's also extend this to companies that prevent those with content blockers from viewing their pages. Forbes is one, and techcrunch is another. Techcrunch doesn't block content, but their site UI is messed up enough that when content blockers are used that it makes their site unusable.

asdffderty 8 hours ago 0 replies      
No, it's a bad idea. Pay for good content.
DanBC 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For WSJ: Open the web link in an incognito window; click the search result. Does that not work?
Any online apps to learn history/ geography/ economics (serious stuff)?
14 points by de4sher  2 days ago   4 comments top 4
brylie 2 days ago 0 replies      
[Khan Academy](https://khanacademy.org) has forever free, study at your own pace, courses in many topics.
afarrell 1 day ago 0 replies      
For learning historical narratives, Youtube is honestly pretty great. Crash Course[1] is good for a broad overview. It presents a fairly coherent narrative and the advantage of this is that you can then relate any other historical narrative to this skeleton. Extra History[2] is a good example of a channel that presents narratives of specific incidents. If you are looking for a channel focusing on one particular period from lots of different angles, The Great War is not bad[3].

But none of this is actually going to teach you the skill of inquiry and skeptically reading different competing historical narratives. You kinda do need a class for that. A friend of mine is building a startup to make running one easier: https://www.beaglelearning.com/

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yocja_N5s1I&list=PLBDA2E52FB... , https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtMwmepBjTSG... , and https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtPNZwz5_o_5...[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbBHk_zLTmY&index=1&list=PLh... [3] https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB2vhKMBjSxMK8YelHj6V...

davidc11 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just launched Duolingo flash cards. haven't tried yet. Not just for language other subjects too. https://tinycards.duolingo.com
roschdal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Freeciv-web at https://play.freeciv.org is a game which could teach some history and geography.
Ask HN: Why is FizzBuzz more important than actual experience?
26 points by hailingfreqopen  1 day ago   60 comments top 23
zzgo 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's Joel Spolsky's fault. In his blog post on interviewing (http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/GuerrillaInterviewing...), he says:

> Youre going to see three types of people in your interviews. At one end of the scale, there are the unwashed masses, lacking even the most basic skills for this job. They are easy to ferret out and eliminate, often just by asking two or three quick questions. At the other extreme youve got your brilliant superstars who write lisp compilers for fun, in a weekend, in Assembler for the Nintendo DS. And in the middle, you have a large number of maybes who seem like they might just be able to contribute something. The trick is telling the difference between the superstars and the maybes, because the secret is that you dont want to hire any of the maybes. Ever.

That one essay seems to have spawned a major fear in the industry of hiring someone who you might have previously taken a chance on. In an attempt to prevent what Joel warned us about all those years ago, the interview ritual has increased in complexity. We've since been advised that the coding homework and the whiteboard implementation of FizzBuzz are mandatory, and they've swept the industry.

bjourne 1 day ago 1 reply      
Because all of us have worked with a ton of engineers who had a lot of experience but weren't very good anyway.

But companies insisting on quizzes instead of looking at free software projects you have is complete bullshit. It means they are not interested in your coding skill but instead are looking for something else.

It could be that they want to see you under stress and think that they can deduce some valuable information from that. Like if you lose your cool it means you are unstable. If you don't talk through the interviewers while solving the puzzle it means you are not a "communicative" person.

Or it could be that they have no idea if the test they are handing out is working or not. They need to calibrate it by running it through a hundred candidates so they can see what the mean and median scores to even know if someones test result is good or bad.

Just to be clear, I think everyone should be able to pseudo code FizzBuzz or strlen() in an interview because it is very simple and every engineer should be able to solve it in 10 minutes. But the tests I've been subjected to have been much more contrived. Like long multi-choice questionnaires or take-home coding projects that took many hours to complete.

If interviewers insist on me doing such tests I now refer them to my github profile instead. If they don't accept that as substitute for taking the test then the job probably wasn't for me anyway.

soulnothing 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm in a similar position. I get what I call interview fright. As soon as pen or marker touches paper or whiteboard. My mind goes blank. Literally my mind is scrambling how do I do a loop.

On the flip side I can sort of understand. I actually interviewed today. They had from what I saw 5 people interviewing today. 30 minutes a candidate, with 6 employees screening. Imagine how much source code they would have to review. In addition correlating that to a specific candidate.

Interviewing is an art. I think we're still ironing out the best way. The first person a director had marked the heck out of my resume and highlighted it. He knew what he wanted to ask, yet he let me lead the conversation.

When I lead interviews I asked basic syntax questions. Then what data structures you would use. Then the bulk was whatever was bothering me. I would treat the candidate like a co-worker. Come to them for a sanity check, am I insane is there a better way. I'll denote this only works if they're comfortable with you, they need to feel like your team mate. People hated me because id go over time limits....

I have been searching for the past four months. I get home I hit hacker rank or study. To say the girlfriend is unhappy is an understatement.

So these coding tests, are not fun. A lot of people have trouble with them. But you can work on them. After one phone screen, the interviewer asked are you done. I said hang on a sec. I reviewed my code and added exception handling, and fixed several syntax errors. That mindfulness helped alot.

Today I got to the ux ui director. They asked to see a prior project. Then engaged me about my design decisions. I essentially got a free consultation and it was amazing.

I'm long winded sorry :/. I'll close with this. I do dance improv, poetry slams, and open mics. I have to practice for each. It took ages to memorize a poem, and choreograph it. The interview is your audition. You have to know their script. Know their lines. Your going for the lead role, and you have got to know how to mesh with your partner. Bust your ass, it sucks but get the role and enjoy yourself.

J-dawg 1 day ago 5 replies      
I'm probably taking the question too literally, but do people really use FizzBuzz as a hiring test?

I only ask because until recently I'd never written a FizzBuzz program. I've seen it mentioned so many times that I thought I'd better give it a try.

Even for a mediocre JavaScript developer like me, it was trivially easy and took about 5 minutes. I would be astonished if it was used for hiring anyone other than the most junior/trainee roles.

I think you're probably using "FizzBuzz" as a euphemism for abstract coding challenges. Could you give some examples of the problems you are being set?

Falkon1313 1 day ago 0 replies      
In our line of work and in our economy, there is no low-risk, low-cost way to legitimately match people and jobs. The standard is just a brief all or nothing interview process. You and the company are each taking a chance on immediately making a big commitment and marrying a stranger without ever dating or getting to know each other first.

Ideally, as a candidate, you'd go and work at a company for a short period, and once you can evaluate what it's actually like there and they have a chance to evaluate your work, then you would have a followup interview to determine whether to go ahead (and if so negotiate terms) or call it off. But that doesn't work well in our economy or with the way our companies are structured. So we're stuck with speed-dating.

Due to limited interview time, they throw puzzles at you and try to throw you off guard to see how you react to an unusual situation, and whether you can handle it. How you handle a crisis or bizarro unexpected situation is more important than knowing what you can do under normal circumstances or how you are normally. Not a pleasant answer, but one way of looking at the why.

imaginenore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Because there are too many really low skilled programmers who apply for mid- and senior-level positions. FizzBuzz is just a filter. We never asked FizzBuzz specifically at our interviews, but we asked to write a function to return a reversed a string. You wouldn't believe the amount of crazy that comes out of that one simple request.

FizzBuzz is not a puzzle. It's a very straightforward question, there's nothing tricky about it.

Your references are nice, but in many cases there's no easy way to verify that you wrote that code.

shaftway 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an interviewer, I don't trust references one tiny bit. I've literally asked you to cherry-pick a handful of people to say that you're good. I don't know who these people are. They'll either say you're good (which I expect, because you picked them), or they're stabbing you in the back (which I can't ethically tell you about).

Then there's the internal referral. These candidates are pretty rare. The first month you're hired you're likely to suggest anyone you can right then. After that if you're proposing them, you have a vested interest in them being hired.

Then there's the agency candidate. This person has been groomed by the referral agency to answer your questions. Once when I was hiring, we were asking candidates how to build a priority queue (a queue, where higher priority items were processed first, equal priority items in order). We interviewed 50 candidates, and 47 of them answered quickly and confidently that they'd use XML with XPath to find the next item. o.O

There's the open-source committer. I could spend a few hours reviewing your code, but that's time that I could be interviewing someone else, or actually getting work done. But then I need to make sure you didn't plagiarize it from somewhere. It's too easy to run a search and replace on a git history and slam the whole thing up on GitHub. I mean, I guess that shows technical chops, but poor ethics.

There's the long coding challenge. I wouldn't trust that. I've had coworkers actually ask me to do the coding challenge for them, because they didn't have the knowledge. I assumed they ended up getting someone else to do it for them.

Last is the credit-taker. This was me when I was young (we all have a past). I would over-state my involvement in the project, but because I did have a sizable role in the project and I was insatiably curious, I was aware of how the product worked and why design decisions were made. So I was able to answer any question asked by the interviewer. But was I actually able to build what I claimed?

On-the-spot coding challenges suck, but I don't see a better option out there.

combatentropy 1 day ago 3 replies      
I wish we could move to application screening based on portfolios, like architects, graphic designers, and copywriters. "Show me the soource code of at least one application you've written --- preferably two or three." I would pore over it (not necessarily reading every line) and I would know what I'm getting myself into. Unfortunately there is still too much fear that you would be divulging company secrets. Moral: Post some personal projects on GitHub or something, at the very least.
blt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I recently hired a couple of people for the first time in my life. It was an eye-opening experience. Resumes are almost worthless. It's so easy to take credit for someone else's work on a resume. Write about all the cool stuff the product did when you actually just implemented some trivial feature. It's pretty easy to figure this out in the interview, but it takes time and sometimes you have to ask pushy questions.

Skill lists are almost meaningless. You wouldn't believe how many people claim to know C++ but start writing Java syntax on the board when you ask them to code something.

Basically, the problem isn't you, it's other people. It doesn't matter how good your open source portfolio is; the only 100% reliable way to judge someone's coding ability is to put them on the spot. There are too many "embellishers" in the world.

hailingfreqopen 1 day ago 0 replies      
(OP): To be more clear, it's not FizzBuzz per se but the general idea. In reality it's always more complex than the original FizzBuzz problem (I've never actually seen something that simple.) It usually goes "solve this puzzle". "OK, now can you do it faster?" "I see you have a syntax error, what is it?" (Two minutes later, oh crap I forgot a semi-colon.) And then repeat all of that with three other people, each with their own puzzle.

It's easy, for me at least, to freeze up at any time in that process and stop being able to do anything at all, even if in a normal work setting it wouldn't be a problem. It seems rather ridiculous, or at least frustrating, that the job hinges on that process.

cjbprime 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've heard that FizzBuzz style challenges weed out a huge number of seemingly-qualified candidates. Interviews don't do that; it is easier to talk about being a good programmer than to be one.

Having a simple challenge (ideally less than an hour) seems appropriate under those circumstances. Ideally you use the simple challenge as a replacement for hours of stressful whiteboarding.

borplk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
FizzBuzz itself is not more important than actual experience.

What happens is in some cases people take it too far.

The point of FizzBuzz is a sanity check.

It's like asking a dental surgeon "How many teeth do humans have?".

If they hesitate before answering you don't want them performing surgery on you.

But I guess sometimes people bump the difficulty up step by step until it loses that ability.

As in, a really simple dumb question like FizzBuzz is more valuable because if they fail to do it that's a strong signal that you can depend on.

Sometimes people get greedy and make it more difficult so it loses its value.

UnoriginalGuy 1 day ago 2 replies      
It is a sniff test to determine if you lied on your CV.

I personally suck at "whiteboard" coding too. I'd prefer they leave me in an empty room with a text editor and no internet connection for 10 minutes. But part of the exercise is discussing the problem and or showing your interpersonal skills.

Hopefully you'll find a different employer who interviews in a way better suited to you.

meta_AU 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've no issues with challenges during interviews. The problem is that it is hard to make good ones, so you usually get a question with poor specificity. The more advanced the role, the more this is an issue.

For example, you could explain a problem involving database lock contention and ask the candidate how they would handle structure, indexes and queries to maximise throughput and avoid deadlocks.

Or you could give them an example schema and get them to "spot all the errors" without explaining that an error is anything that isn't in 3NF or higher.

One is going to give you a good understanding of the candidate's knowledge of the subject, the other is going to give you a noisy true/false signal.

rhapsodic 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've never used FizzBuzz during an interview, but I see it as a "weeder" question, and I'm a big fan of weeder questions. I always start off with really easy (IMO) basic questions, and pose progressively harder questions as the interview goes on. I want to see at what point the interviewee starts the reach the limit of his or her knowledge, rather than lead with something really difficult that I don't expect more than half of the candidates to successfully answer.

The first few questions are weeder questions. I won't stop an interview if they blank on one, because I'll allow for nerves or a general brain fart. But if they blank on say, the first three really easy basic questions, the interview is over. It doesn't happen often, because those people are likely to get weeded out by the phone screen, but it's happened a few times. And it might not be 100% reliable, but it's good enough for my purposes.

code_sardaukar 1 day ago 0 replies      
First up, it's very hard to judge someone's experience from their resume. E.g. they might have participated in a project that seemed very difficult, but maybe their own personal contribution to the project was a net negative.

I know this is not PC, but coding is not a craft where once you reach a certain level, the rest is polish and experience. Good programming requires a certain virtuosity that not all programmers have (not implying this is genetic, please don't assume I am). People who lack this may produce ok code 90% of the time, but will invariably reach a point where the problem is too hard for them, and they come up with a bad solution.

This applies to working at a big tech company, where all sorts of interesting problems crop up. At an ordinary company or startup, I accept that this might not be so important and maybe these companies are copying the tech company's interviewing style for no good reason. Again, this may not be PC, but people at big tech companies get paid more (even given the location) so I think it's fair to assume their skillset is rarer.

When I interview candidates, I try to mix hard challenges with general coding, design and communications skills. My problems don't usually have a trick that you need to see, and sometimes, like fizzbuzz, they intentionally don't have a clean solution. But my problems are algorithmic in nature. You can see there are some interesting data structures lurking in the background even if they aren't directly applicable.

My reasoning in using these questions is that if a person can't solve a difficult, messy, but well defined problem, then when they encounter such a problem they will be stuck. I know there is a kind of dogma on HN that says that complex problems tend to be a result of programmers not doing the straightforward thing, but my experience is that 10% of the time the straightforward solutions don't work and you need something complex. That is, the flipside of "don't write clever code" is "be clever enough to write the code that is needed". If this sounds arrogant, please bear in mind that it's not usually considered arrogant to say that social skills are important and vary across individuals, so why should coding ability be different?

eiriklv 1 day ago 0 replies      
What has happened to this post? This was posted 3 days ago [1], and suddenly it's posted 1h ago? The same with the comments. For a second there I was freaking out because of deja vu.

[1] - (see this for proof - https://hn.algolia.com/?query=fizzbuzz&sort=byPopularity&pre...)

FullMtlAlcoholc 1 day ago 1 reply      
Short answer: It's not more important than actual experience. However, if you can't do FizzBuzz, that shows not only a complete lack of ability and a complete lack of preparation, in most cases it shows intentional deceitfulness. I will remind them that there exists a modulo operator and I will explain what it does as I understand that interviews are an inherently stressful process, especially for your first position.

Everyday HTML/CSS has problems that are more difficult than FizzBuzz. It's not a gotcha question, it's mostly there to see if you have actually written any code or if you are submitting a false resume.

Side story: I have witnessed someone with absolutely no coding experience get hired. He not only lasted, he was considered pretty good. His secret: he used Fiverr and some other services to outsource his work. I have to complement the guy. In the end, he completed his tasks and added business value. He wasn't looking for a career, he was just looking for a job that paid well so he could buy a car and move across country. In the end, no one was hurt and both parties got what they wanted.

EDIT: I'm assuming they literally asked about FizzBuzz. It is literally the apocryphal interview question and just beginning filter to see if the rest of the interview is going to be a waste of both of our time. I would assume that if you hadn't come across FizzBuzz that you have never coded before and/or it that you did no preparation for an interview. It isn't all about the difficulty, but FizzBuzz is almost as ubiquitous as "Hello, world."

EDIT Whiteboard Challenge: That said, I loathe whiteboard challenges during interviews. In the past, I've been asked how would I design a Mars Rover and control it from Earth so that it could complete its mission. I didn't know much about AI or computer vision at the time. However, it was for a mid/Senior level full stack position. I had no idea if this were an actual coding question or if he simply wanted to see how I approach problems. I went on about how I would first upload the most precise map data that we have on Mars for the days journey. Then I would make sure the navigational system was accurate by using onboard cameras. The cameras would be looking at certain topological features and how far away they were. If there were a major sand storm that changed the environment, we'd have a problem Houston. I went on about how the Rover would only be given instructions to move as far as can be seen from the original position since the camera feed was not live, but had a delay due to the speed of light. Next, it'd have sensors to know to go into clamshell or whatever mode if it detects a major sandstorm to protect the fragile instruments onboard. He still said he wanted more, so I totally bullshitted something about whether Mars was in its perihelion or not, I'd make sure the Rover only moved during the day etc.

After about 15 minutes of this, he said he was looking for the Rover to be implemented as a RESTful API and Houston would represent the client. I looked at him quizzically, said that was the worst interview question I've ever heard, and I think we're done here. When I got home, I did some googling and found that he ripped this as an interview question: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/185740/would-you-architec...

Now, I know that Microsoft Robotics Studio uses REST and, although I am well past whiteboard challenges, if anyone asks me to do one, I will politely tell them that its unrealistic and never the way I would first approach a problem since I never write code freehand. I frequently draw diagrams, concepts, actions, etc. on a whiteboard. I would be more than happy to actually sit down in front of a terminal, load up an editor and write code that I can get an actual output from. If you can't, then, from my perspective, you're basically asking me to code with one tied behind my back while blindfolded. If that's what you want, I hope you find it, but I am not the right fit.

RandomOpinion 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've had glowing references for candidates that turned out to be utterly and irredeemably unsuitable. References don't mean a darned thing unless you have at least some familiarity with the qualifications and motives of the people giving the reference _and_ are willing to talk to them in depth long enough to get the whole picture about the candidate.
ryanmccullagh 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm sure you'll be okay, but don't worry too much. If you couldn't solve the question in front of the interviewer under pressure and with their expectation that you'll be able to immediately code out the solution without thinking for a minute, then that doesn't mean you're not a good programmer.
fuqted 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have a question. I've been learning to code a short time and I'll I've really taken a liking to sites like CodeWars that are based around coding challenges. Do you think I can honestly and successfully get a job through this? I'm located in the bay area
samfisher83 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not have some sort of standardized test like the SAT? That way you have a score that is valid for x years and you don't repeat the coding test every time.
GFK_of_xmaspast 1 day ago 1 reply      
> I also have numerous open source projects with high quality code and actual products with actual user

Sounds like you've got a professional network that you can use to get you a new job instead of going through the front door with everybody else.

Sourcing as a Service
4 points by aml183  1 day ago   10 comments top 5
usgroup 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I generally like the idea of automating recruitment. It "feels" like there ought to be low hanging fruit here.

I'm not sure if you'd have legal issues with selling on names unless they've specifically opted in. If not a simpler route to market would be just to bundle the names and sell them as data.

Would you be making sure that the listed names are actually available for work? Or are you simply exporting your LinkedIn contacts?

yonidej 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you can crack this, it will be a very lucrative opportunity but I am afraid that the space is too crowded and there is not enough of a value proposition for quality candidates to give you their updated info.

Also doesn't Linkedin already do this. They have a search engine you can use to filter out applicants based on school, past experience and location. I also believe they released a lite version to make it more affordable.

Some startups you should look at if you're interested in this space: Hired.com, Whitetruffle and Wayup.com (they introduced a way for companies to post requirements and get paid per qualifed applicant)

Taylor_OD 1 day ago 1 reply      
So you are offering to gather names from linkedin for a price? As a tech recruiter in Chicago I could give you a list of 100 engineers in any various tech stack in 45 minutes or so by pulling directly from large name companies online. Why would someone pay me to do this instead of doing it themselves?

Edit: I like the idea i just dont think anyone would pay for it.

gus_massa 1 day ago 1 reply      
With the personal network there is some assumption that the potential hire has some introduction and will consider (at least a little) the offer.

With the 100 emails in an Excel file approach, I guess most people will just send it to the spam folder.

afarrell 1 day ago 1 reply      
One option is to specifically target folks who are looking to move to an given area. I'm not sure how to do this aside from content marketing.
Ask HN: How do you prepare for a coffee meeting with a potential employer?
5 points by throwawaysinger  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
telebone_man 7 hours ago 0 replies      
They want to meet with you because of what you said in your e-mail. So bring evidence to substantiate what you wrote.

I'm not sure what you meant by "While their offering is an enterprise product, I liked the product and cold-emailed him seeking the position".

Maybe I'm reading to much into it. But you sound despondent about the prospect about working with an enterprise product.

If that is the case, remember, a job works both ways. It's not fair on yourself or the employer to work for something you're not truly enthusiastic about.

Good luck!

JSeymourATL 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> what should I expect ?

Expect two peers talking shop about the industry. Most likely it will be surface level stuff. Be prepared if conversation goes deep. A lot of guys like the informality of coffee chats hoping to foster a more genial conversation. Expect that he is going to size you up on potential cultural/team fit.

You can craft a great meeting by expressing genuine interest in him as an individual. Read his profile, look for points of connection. Ask: What were the attractors for him to join the company? What are some of the priorities he's facing now? Where are they struggling?

__d 1 day ago 0 replies      
Same as for any important meeting: get a decent sleep, arrive on time, look appropriate, behave well, and (I guess you're doing this bit) have the content prepared.

The advantages of meeting over a coffee are that it is quick, you're on roughly neutral territory, and there's an opportunity to feel things out enough to decide whether it's worth taking things to the next level both personally and technically.

Being able to concisely describe what you've done in the past, what you'd like to do in future, and why you approached the firm should cover the bulk of the work content. Having an opinion on related technology issues is good, and I usually ask semi-random questions outside of work stuff too, just to get a feel for the person: nothing too controversial, but just conversational. Even if you're interested in a purely technology role, demonstrating that you can talk to strangers doesn't hurt.

It could be a little as 15-20 minutes; it could last for hours. Be ready for either. CTOs are usually very busy people, so get to your points and don't waffle.

Try to pay, but don't insist. Thank the person for their time. Send a followup thank-you email (and do anything else you said you would too).

Good luck!

pratik136 1 day ago 0 replies      
Expect nothing more than your standard initial phone call. In fact, the advantages of a coffee meet are way higher than a call. They are probably going to be equally awkward at the beginning, unless they have done such coffee sessions before, in which case they will simply lead you.
Ask HN: Self-hosted Google Books alternative?
14 points by ocdtrekkie  2 days ago   5 comments top 3
walterbell 2 days ago 2 replies      
You can organize the books in Calibre, e.g. with tags and other metadata. Then use a Linux desktop search engine like Recoll or Beagle to index both the content and metadata, https://www.linux.com/news/linux-desktop-search-engines-comp...
4684499 2 days ago 0 replies      
In the past, you could use Google Desktop to index your documents (like docs, pdfs, not sure about other ebooks format) and get full-text search, but it has been killed by Google for years[1]. However there are some alternatives[2].

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

[2] http://alternativeto.net/software/google-desktop/

hop_a 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you are comfortable with a little bit of coding; I think both Apache Solr and Elastic Search will allow you to index and search pdfs.
       cached 11 October 2016 20:05:01 GMT