In particular, apps that:
* require native functionality (i.e. access to photos, GPS, notifications)
* are sufficiently complex UI-wise
... are not well served by Cordova. Why?
* when you start needing native functionality, you will find that the plugin ecosystem is often lacking; having to modify or write your own plugins means that you have suddenly have three languages (JS, Obj-C/Swift, Java) to contend with instead of two (Obj-C/Swift, Java)
* iOS and Android development kits make it easy to create apps that feel like they belong on their respective platforms there is no need to spend developer or UI/UX looking for a library with lots of UI elements or developing a look/feel
Moreover, even relatively simple things like table layouts that "feel nice" e.g. highlight when you tap on them, implement swiping to delete elements, allow for re-arranging are significantly more onerous to implement in JS as opposed to natively.
If your app is sufficiently simple and doesn't fall prey to these pitfalls, you might want to consider Cordova. But if you really don't need native functionality, you might as well just get `UIWebView` working yourself.
The better question may be a question of developer balance. React Native (and similarly Xamarin) requires extra work per each platform where things don't quite overlap and native controls are different enough on the given platform.
In terms of balance for a small team, "raw" HTML5 on Cordova can still be a time saver for reaching all the platforms with the exact same UI. Admittedly, yes that's likely not a true "native" UI and will look/feel more like a "website", but for some projects that least common denominator is more important the time/developer effort of polishing the UI especially for each platform.
And currently my favorite Android app is a Hacker News client written in Cordova.
Would I use it to write a game? Anything that runs in the background? Something that needs to start instantly and die instantly? No. But it's a great tool if it's paramount to keep platform support overhead to a minimum and you need to have something identical or similar running in the browser.
Check out Ionic 2. Build something quick. Test on your phone.
You can even go graphic intensive with RN, it doesn't muddy you up if you need to do stuff with swift/obj-c.
Now that Xamarin is free, it's very hard to say no to such a powerful tool.
They support all the requested features.
Yes, hosting this on S3, with either cloudfront or cloudflare, does take some (one time) setup.
The payoff is that you don't have to rent and deal with a server and ongoing costs are very very low.
For what it's worth, you can do redirects on GitHub Pages with HTML redirects:https://help.github.com/articles/redirects-on-github-pages/
I'm with you on avoiding AWS for static sites as there are much easier options like the above.
Just curious about the 301 requirement, what is your use case for this? Ie wondering if this is something we should consider supporting.
"learning/configuring stuff" isn't time lost. It's the price you pay to get a lot of functionality for a minimal financial cost. None of these items are complex, costly, time-consuming, or poorly documented. You're worried about at most a dozen hours of time once.
If you're not willing to learn to do things for yourself, you're going to be paying someone else to do it. At which point you're either blowing your budget or compromising on your needs.
The answer to your needs is acquiring the skills you need in order to do it all for under $10/mo.
In version 3 (currently under development) you'll have a server.htmlpp to custom route your traffic and a file manager to treat your website content as static files.
You'll be able to import/export from any static website generators. Also edit online and use a command line to push/pull changes so you can edit from your computer.
Please contact me if it's interesting to you!
By the way checkout https://htmlpp.sunsed.com for information about our HTML++ language, you might find it interesting!
Also checkout my explanation of how v3 works: http://seyedi.org/my-cms-idea
ETA for v3 is January 2017.
Edit: Made the URLs clickable.
This is pretty straightforward as long as you're setting up any VPS or have access to the server itself. If you wanted something like SquareSpace or Github Pages, this is much more difficult.
> 2. A CDN, for super fast loading.
I honestly have no idea what this means. A CDN can help if you have a large website over multiple data-centres, but really seems to be overshooting what you are trying to do here. Are you just thinking Cloudflare? What's the reason for this? You're hosting a static website, it's not like you've got to send massive amounts of data over the wire, so I can't see how having some large CDN backing you is going to provide much if anything at all. You should maybe specify what you really want here, since it sounds like you're worried your site won't be mirrored and may have downtime or might be slow in some countries, but instead you're phrasing it as if a CDN is a requirement. Why is a CDN a requirement?
> 3. Be able to create 301 redirects with something similar to an htaccess. So it seems GitHub page are not an option.
As long as you set up nginx / apache yourself, I don't see why this is hard to come by. Any VPS service would work for this.
> 4. Something simple to use, because I don't want to lose time learning/configuring stuff. So the Amazon combo S3+route53+cloudfront won't be possible for me.
Indeed, something "simple-to-use". Perhaps this goes back to "simple is not easy", and it sounds like you want easy based on everything so far.
> 5. And not expensive, less than $10 per month.
This seems to be the part that I don't quite get. How are you supposed to use a CDN for a service that has running costs of $10 / month? I mean, that could be the cost of one server. Take DigitalOcean for example (I don't work for them, but am a customer). You could pay $5 a month for a small VPS, with very little storage (20GiB). This would allow you to host your website, with your own domain, with LetsEncrypt certificates for TLS. You wouldn't have any CDN backing you, but you could set the whole thing up just as you would any other server, and if you know what you're trying to do you could even do the whole setup on a Docker container and just deploy the whole thing through their API.
That said, keep in mind if you want the total cost under $10 / month you're probably not gonna make it. Your domain could be anywhere between $25 - $40 a year (assuming it's cheap), which means that monthly you'll probably be paying about $8-$9 a month just for the VPS service and your domain. Any cost on top of this (excluding time, which will be the major investment at first) will pretty much put you over your limit. Also, if you end up deciding that the $5 DigitalOcean plan doesn't provide good enough specs / limits, then you'll be shifting to the $10 and $20 per month plans which will definitely put you over budget here. Another VPS provider, http://edis.at, that I've heard good things from provide some differing plans based one what you're looking for, but total overall cost is pretty similar.
There's lots of information about stuff like DigitalOcean online, but I fear that I don't understand your needs in depth enough to just recommend getting a VPS and going for it. It seems like the best path to take for a static site, but the remarks about CDNs and such seem to make me wary pushing that advice.
Megacorps tend to be a lot more stable than startups, and that may include the unicorn in question. Your current job probably has no expiration date (if no excitement either). Are you content with it being more likely you'll be out of work in 6 months to 2 years?
"While I like my coworkers, have good pay and low stress.."
Again, these are very important factors to consider. The 3 things you mentioned is a really nice thing to have going for you in any job.
I am not necessarily telling you what to do but consider this:
- Are you willing to take a chance to work at a "unicorn" for 15% lower pay ?
- Are you willing to take a chance to give up "low stress" and potentially get into a high stress environment ? You don't know that for sure.
- Are you willing to meet new co-workers and find out they may not be as nice/friendly as you current ones ? They could of course be better than the current ones.
- Most important question: Are you at a point in your life where changing a "safer" job is ok ? Are you in that phase "I am too old for this shit" (not trying to stir up age discrimination here but at the age of 35 myself, I do say fck it to lot of things that I did in my 20s)
The answer to these questions can possibly help you decide.
Man management demotions have never caused me any issues.
I'll also add 15% is within the negotion margins most places, so you might not need to take a cut at all.
I haven't done anything like that first hand, and this response might not be useful, but FWIW I have browsed many profile on LinkedIn (mostly stackexchange users and HN folks who make it public, and the related ones) and I was quite surprised to see many have done something similar - taken a demotion to join startups. I was further surprised that their next job was at a more established megacorp at a level comparable to the original one. By this observation it seems not to be a problem. However, I don't quite know if they had it easy or had to negotiate a bit, both for the position and the salary.
E.g. In Alameda, I found a place for $1.80/sqft for a 70 sqft place. It was enough office space for just myself. Adding internet/utilities, still under $200. In San Leandro, found a 100sqft office space including internet/utilities for $250/month.
Also, another resource I found useful LiquidSpace. http://www.liquidspace.com
Edit: just saw your location requirements. My experience is mostly in the East Bay. Near BART, but a long ride to the peninsula.
Don't expect it to be cheap, but they're usually not full.They (and others like them) have spaces areawide; you may find some discounts closer to Burlingame or San Mateo, as there's slightly less demand outside the twin orbits of San Francisco and Palo Alto.
If you're bootstrapping, you should defend why you're in San Francisco to begin with. Your runway is far shorter in SF; unless what you're working on will only work if you're there in person, or you're square dancing with funders each day, focusing on working almost anywhere else in the world would be smarter.
Once lawyer has extracted what s/he can from the company and settlement doesn't prevent you from further pursuing, send complaints to department of labor and state attorney general. While DOL and AG office most probably will not do anything, The complaints will go on file at both offices. If the company is pulling similar stunts with other employees and DOL/AG office sees series of similar complaints, they may go after the company.
Privately bad-mouth the company to your network (not intentionally), word gets around and will warn others. Make sure you never work for another company connected to founders and senior executives of this company. Unethical management and investors at the top attract unethical people and breed unethical culture, they will never change their behavior.
Which leads me to another way this is rude: when I'm looking at an employment record and I see someone was somewhere 6 months or less, I don't think much of it. Clearly something didn't work out, even if it wasn't mutual. When I see someone having been there one year, I assume there's one of two options: either the employee just wanted to cliff their shares and then move on or the company let them vest and then fired them. Either one of these does not reflect well on the employee. To let you stay 51 weeks and fire you without options is a double whammy -- I'm going to have the same negative reaction and you have no upside. :/
When you look for your next job, you may want to emphasize that you were at UnicornCo for less than a year to avoid this bias or at least offset it some. That will obviously require you to have a reasonable explanation for why there wasn't a good fit, but you were going to need that anyway.
Forgot to add: contesting your unemployment at a reasonably sized company is really unheard of. Even when someone is fired, unless they are fired for cause (like, they stole stuff, harassed someone, etc) you're going to give them unemployment. If I'm interviewing you, this detail will make me want to dig further into your story. Take that as you will.
Were your options really "clawed back" (meaning recouping compensation that has already been given) or did they just not vest? Unless you mean founder equity or RSUs instead of options, I can't see how you would have had them after 51 weeks. Usually, people vest like 25% of their promised equity compensation after 1 year (the "cliff") and then a small percentage each additional month until they fully vest after 4 (or sometimes 5) years.
Regardless of whether or not they are in this contract this is something that you should always insist on when signing up with a start-up.
Have your lawyer that you pay check your paperwork before signing to make sure it is fair, don't be pressured and don't take 'this is standard stuff' as a reason to sign it without review.
Yes, it will cost you some money but it may save you much more.
I don't understand your use of 'clawed back.' Commonly stock options don't vest until the first year - were your options really clawed back or were they unvested at termination?
Why were you fired?
It's plausible you can make a statement anonymously, while your employer would know who it is, most hiring managers in the future wouldn't know it was you, or of the issue.
There's nothing wrong with going on unemployment when you're terminated. You directly or indirectly pay for that unemployment insurance.
That said, you're not in a good place right now. Don't make any rash decisions in that state of mind. It's really not in your best interest to take this public.
At the end of the day, the company didn't do anything illegal. You most likely signed a standard 4 year/1 year cliff vesting schedule, and it did what it was designed to do. What they did was immoral and wrong, but not illegal. Sure, you can still sue (unlikely you'd win but they may settle to avoid a costly legal battle). And if you think a year of your options are going to be really valuable, it may be worth discussing with a lawyer if you're willing to foot the bill.
My best advice - focus on finding a new job right now. Land somewhere with a great track record for employee well-being so you don't run into this in the future. Get settled into that first. There's no benefit to making a big deal about this right this second. Bring yourself to a good place, then explore your options.
Anyway, success is very often the best form of revenge on asshats. Good luck.
What does this even mean?? (non-American here).
I say it might be a blessing in disguise because... I worked for a software company that designed kiosks for solar panels and I worked on the design of the software, how it looked, special requests, etc. Anyways, in the interview, they said they were hiring me to help catch them up.. they had about 150 clients they had to cold call to get information from them, assets, etc. -- these clients had already paid their money, but hadn't received kiosks or software. Anyways, to make a long story short, about a year later, I had knocked them down to about 30 clients left.
Meanwhile, our competition was also growing, and these companies were developing in HTML5, whereas we were still building in flash-based software, with an in-house developer working on it upgrading us, but the actual update never seemed to come. Anyways, it seemed that because that company refused to update their software, we lost out to our competition, or we were starting to lose.
I was called into an office, where human resources told me they had to let me go. So they gave me the choice: If I didn't file for unemployment, they would give me a 3-week severance pay. Fortunately for me, I was working a second job, so I actually couldn't file for unemployment, so that helped me out and was like getting paid for doing nothing for 3 weeks. Awesome how some things worked out, though in the first week was rough, I was certainly devastated.. nothing can prepare you for the moment you get laid off... and you go over so many scenarios in your head, "What did I do wrong? What could I have done better? What email did I forget to send? What assignment did I miss? Was it that one time I was 10 minutes late coming back from lunch? Was it that one day that I was running late to work because I overslept?" You go over everything because honestly, you just don't really know.
I had later found out they were struggling badly, financially, and I was the most expendable, so they let me go. I was lucky because I also kept in touch with my former co-workers, who all were not being paid on time, who were still showing up to work, not knowing if they were going to get paid or not, and some of them had to take the company to smalls claims court to get what they were owed. The company soon went under and I think they managed to stay in business by keeping three employees, simply for maintenance issues for existing clients.
So lucky to be let go first.. as everyone else would soon have to struggle, whereas I had a nice free ride for 3 weeks of making money by doing nothing, but accepting the fact that they laid me off. Did I write about this company? Sure did but there was and is still no reason to mention their name or be mad at them. Tough world of competition out there and they lost. Do I expect anything from it? Absolutely not. Life goes on and you find other companies.
Startups are either successful.. or they aren't. And I am sure no startup wants to fire or lay off their employees, but sometimes, the startup is just failing, and they feel horrible themselves, wanting to have been successful, but realizing the reality of the situation.
Life goes on.. the second job I was working at the time.. became my primary job, and I still hold the position over 4 years later, as a very satisfied employee who loves his job. Look to it as a learning process, an experience, and keep moving on til you find the job or come up with your own that will set you up for however long you need.
$300/hour is way way way too much, even for a professional developer. You have no experience or formal education as a freshman, your rate should be max $50/hour.
You don't need any contracts, just get half of the money up front and if they screw you over, well at least you got that. When you give them the quote for your work, have each party sign the quote - that's your contract.
If someone were to give me advice before I started at a young age I'd have wanted them to tell me to keep my expectations low and treat it as a learning experience and to derive as much enjoyment from it as possible.
1. No matter how you price your services, what terms you offer in your contract, or how competent you are, there's a significant chance that the potential client will decline.
They will decline because they are just window shopping. They will decline because someone cheaper comes along. They will decline because it turns out to appear not to be worth the money. They will decline because someone more expensive comes along...or the owner's nephew, or someone who is simply a better fit. They will decline because a customer canceled an order, the bank loan didn't come through, a key employee quit, a new hire was made, or your shoes were the wrong color.
2. It's hard to do at first, but there's no point in investing too much in any one proposal. 'Just' listen to the potential client, make a decision on rate and terms and present it.
3. When dealing with amateurs -- by which I mean people who don't frequently contract for the sort of work you do -- you will often be competing with free. You will often be up against other similarly unrealistic expectations.
4. When dealing with non-amateurs it's often a good idea to consider what happened to the person who did the sort of thing you're doing for them previously.
Specific advice to your situation:
It is not unlikely that the company had the option to pay the inventory software vendor to convert their data over, or that the vendor could provide a list of qualified consultants to do the conversion. And that the company chose not to pursue that route.
If this was an advertisement to students rather than something that came through your social graph via 'warm' and 'organic' relations, it is likely that the company is seeking to get the work done on the cheap. Because that's frequently the motivation for hiring students to do 'professional' type work. Unfortunately.
Finally, keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that this is the last or best or most important piece of work that will come to you in your career. The most important thing, whether successful or not is to learn a bit about business, a bit about human nature, and to improve your 'spidey sense'.
The main thing to remember is that if the total value is over $600 and you're reporting the income, the company will likely ask for a W-9 from you and issue a 1099 at the end of the year. Then, you will be charged the 15% self-employment tax on top of federal and state taxes. A lot of beginning freelancers don't figure this into their rates, and they end up with a much bigger tax bill at the end of the year than anticipated.
I would recommend charging hourly, $50-75/hr is likely reasonable in your area, but providing the business an estimate of the range of hours-- say 10-15, or 20-25, etc so at least they know ballpark in the beginning what to expect. If you check in with them midway and say "hey this is ending up to be a lot more complicated, just so you know it will take more hours" then they'll appreciate it and be more likely to pay you quicker with no quibbles or "surprises."
On the other hand, it might be worth considering a trade for labor for whatever it is they sell. When I go this route, I usually end up getting way more in trade than I would have in cash. But again, this is only if they're selling something that you may want.
Some people want a website built or fixed up or apps - can anyone offer some simple resources/advice to go about doing that?
I would be fair and honest when you do the consultation - in terms of what you charge and in terms of the feasibility part. Without more info, I think an email can be enough at this point just confirming details in writing, including the consultation fee and anything else as this gig sounds quite informal right now. Others may disagree and recommend an LLC or some long contract as there is risk involved.
Only after the consultation can you figure out how to structure a contract. Based on what type of effort and time frame is needed. Whether to go with a total project fee or charge hourly and you will get a better feel for how this client does things.
An email might go like this:
Follow up to our conversation...Consultation to get your new software compatible...should be 1-2 hours on site...The flat fee is $200. Please make the check payable to Freshman Paidsworder...I am available Wednesday and Friday next week to come out there...Please let me know if this works for you and what day/time is convenient..."
Keep in mind, how do you think this small local business handles other contracts (eg HVAC repair job), do they have a bookkeeper or are you working with the owner directly?
If this type of work is something you would like to keep doing, try to make it positive/easy for you (be yourself) and make it positive for this client (word of mouth/reference/right thing to do).
Good Luck, Congrats.
P.S. $300/hour is not that crazy if it is one hour of work total ;)
You have two options imo (probaby...ianal,...), give a contract that has rate on it and then your timesheet, or just contract and invoice them after.
You can do a simple contract off google.
Just do 1 Job at a time imo
They would probably agree to a fixed fee more easily than a higher hourly rate. There is some risk here if you're not confident how long this will take.
Figure out what your target hourly rate should be based on what you want to make or feels fair. Then setup a fixed fee price that works for you.
I would propose three phases.
A. Initial meeting, they provide a small sample of their existing file (a few lines) along with the same data in another excel file manually converted to the format their new software requires along with the full excel file they want to convert. Also ask for rules/requirements, special cases for the conversion.
B. Setup a sample 50 to 100 lines as an initial test, that you will convert and provide them as a test to verify the conversion is working properly.
C. Once they ok part B, convert the entire document.
So maybe part A: $50, part B: $50, part C: $150.
Prepare a contract ahead of time with the Phases and amounts included so they can sign off on it at your meeting. A simple one or two page contract should work. You can probably use the short version of the contract eschutte2 posted. Just replace the hourly rate section with a fixed fee section.
I would invoice them $250 payable by check when you deliver the final excel file(note this in the contract). Companies usually don't like writing multiple checks for small amounts.
If you do part A and part B and the conversion isn't working out, invoice them $100.
Let them know that you will provide support if there are issues with the conversion at no additional cost if it's an issue outlined in their original rules/requirements for the conversion. If it's a new rule/requirement you can provide that for an additional fee.
They will probably ask you for a W-9 tax form for their accounting department so they can send you a 1099 for taxes, required if they pay you $600+ for the year. You'll probably be operating as a sole proprietorship which is ok, I'd recommend getting an EIN (free online IRS) so you can use that instead of your social on the W-9. You could prepare this ahead of time or send with your first invoice.
I would include a clause in the contract that the deliverable is the converted excel file, the scope of work is converting the excel file and that you retain the exclusive rights to code developed to make the conversion.
Google convert excel for 'name of their inventory software' if it's a popular search/topic. You might be able to setup an online conversion tool that you could charge companies a one time fee for converting their file online. Might be a fun project for you and a potential money maker.
Good luck with your first freelance project.
 any other provider (softlayer,packet,...)
As for which platform? IMO the most important factor is which platforms the developer(s) are most comfortable/familiar with. The last thing a new SaaS startup needs is to waste time while the engineers figure out a new platform they've never used... Doesn't really matter how easy or cheap it is to deploy if there's no product ready to deploy ;)
Hetzner is cheapest but the other two have private networking.
If I didn't care about cost I would just use AWS or Google.
It was a great conference - Lots of camaraderie, talks available in English and Spanish, ranging from Python's type system to one guy's experience teaching Python in rural Argentina. Johnny Gill (a real character!) from Bermuda showed me a system using Raspberry Pis to collect weather data. Unfortunately, I missed Allen B Downey's talk, but caught Brandon Rhodes' (opening) and Jacob Kaplan-Moss' (closing) keynotes.
If you're anywhere near the region, come on out! It's tropical nerdery at its finest :)
@skfroi - It's Oswald, from Jamaica.
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 ;)
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.
We're talking 11 year old children, right?
Leave them be, send them out to play with their mates.
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.
* 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 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 $1k/mo.
To maximize referral fees, I use this clever service called A-fwd, which geo-redirects visitors to their appropriate Amazon.tld so that they can make a seamless purchase without switching regions. This also allows for my affiliate codes to stay intact, and for me to collect worldwide Amazon affiliate revenue.
I also had to learn the ins and outs of Amazon Associates policies, which are incredibly finicky (no Amazon links in emails, no showing product pricing on your homepage, etc.) and frequently results in unannounced account closure that requires you to pester their support team to get things back online.
It's pretty meta to be posting this here, because Indie Hackers is basically a huge collection of interviews with developers who are making money from their apps and side projects. I only include interviews with people who are willing to share revenue numbers, employee count, etc. There's also a forum/comments section where you can ask your own questions to the interviewees if you find my questions lacking :)
...Assuming that I ever finish a side project.
...And that I ever come up with a side project somebody would pay for.
Neither is very likely.
Me and my twin brother have had it as a passive income thingie for years. After a failed attempt at selling it (SaaS metrics are NOT easy) we met a guy who saw some potential and we're finalizing paperwork with our lawyer to create a Swedish limited company right now with him as co-founder. We will try to take the plunge and get it running as a full time company within a couple of years!
Achieving a lifestyle passive income project is surprisingly hard...
It was just an Android soundboard app for a very popular TV show in Spain. You could tap a button and it'd play some funny sentence from a character from this show. Long press, you could share that sound.
Revenue model: a little ad bar on the bottom of the screen.
It grew from 60$/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'.
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.
Feem is a great cross-platform way to share files within your LAN.
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.
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. :)
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
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.
Loads of fun while it lasted! Gave me a nice income bump for 3 holiday seasons.
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.
edited for clarity
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
It is software, 3-4 small utilities of high quality in the niche platform it is. A launcher, a screenshot tool and such items.
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.
This year we're launching new features and a simple API: (https://sentopia.net/apidoc/)
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.
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 :-).
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!
It's an apparel company for women who like to: hunt, fish, and be outdoors.
VERY random for a vegetarian software develop, from Portland.
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.
Ole Moritz, the developer is very attentive to detail, dedicated with frequent releases and creative in that the app provides very useful and easy modules to interact with iOs native functionalities.
I also found the community to be lively.
Check out the docs, specifically the "Pythonista Modules" section if you want to get an idea of what the app is capable of.
P.s. Also check out his other app, Editorial if you need a plaintext editor on steroids!
0: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pythonista-3/id1085978097?mt...1: https://forum.omz-software.com/2: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/editorial/id673907758?mt=83: http://omz-software.com/pythonista/docs/
 https://transitapp.com/ https://medium.com/transit-app/how-we-built-the-worlds-prett...
If you're at all interested in music synthesis this app cannot be beat. It's a lot of fun. I think it's an extremely well-designed app because it really takes advantage of the iPad's multi-touch screen for its virtual keyboard.
And, surprisingly, Google Photos
Slides.com + Screencastify allow me to create presentstions and youtube videos.
Draw.io is absolutely awesome for diagrams.
Image and video editing don't have great solutions as far as I know.
If you just mean making pages online then things are probably easier now thanks to Bootstrap and all the useful jQuery plugins.
Edit:Another benefit is that you don't get the after lunch crash.
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.
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.
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.
Lunch: Most often something from a restaurant in the park I'm based in. If time is no issue 1-2 hours shared with a former colleague to catch-up, thoroughly nice and heartwarming; if only 30-60 minutes, the same food and source but take-out and eaten at desk. As I'm in northern China this is predominantly rice or wheat-noodle based. I tend to go for soupy noodles. If traveling and find a place with good bread I pounce on it, but there aren't where I'm usually based.
Afternoon: Some fruit: whatever's looking good and in-season in the local shop in the park or from visiting trucks.
Dinner: Depends on time. Like to do a good cook on the weekend and use some of that for convenience; a lot of comfort food especially bean-inspired,. Just variety from taste to ingredients: mix in a lot of stuff which isn't in a common (northern) Chinese diet (beans, nuts, cheese). If time is easy I'll buy a fish and/or some seafood and steam, stew or fry.
Drink: Water. Have always disliked coffee and never much into tea of any kind. Gin+tonic is good at any time and any place though leads to reduced capacity after consumption.
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.
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
- Loose leaf teas
- Early morning something with caffeine (yerba mate, green, black) - Afternoons (herbal teas, no caffeine)
- Morning or afternoon
- Buy a waterbottle and leave it at work, whenever you get up, fill it up.
- Morning or around 3-4 to keep the caloric intake up. It doesn't feel heavy one bit.
- Great mixed with some goldfish :D
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.
It's rare that I eat snacks while I'm at work.
Meals usually consist of some combination of the following: meat, cheese, salad, veggies. I avoid fruit, grains, and sugar.
Then a dinner consisting of meat and vegetable.
Lunch: salmon in theriyaki sauce with lots lots of salad.
Diner: usually leftovers from salad and toast with some cottage cheese on top.
Drinks: water or mint tea
That's pretty much how my typical day (but not every day) looks like.
I only eat one meal a day, at 7PM.
I'm looking forward to exclusively eat beef for a whole month.
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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!
This does not give any experience in debugging, which is not taught in books, AFAIK. I am not sure what to do about that...
-- 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.
Those are topics that one could make progress on with only a pencil, paper, and the occasional phone call to a mentor.
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.
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.
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.
When they're out the hard working ones will have programming skills which will help with the job hunt.
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.
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?"
It is aimed at school children, but it's a place to start.
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.]
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.
Is he in state or federal prison? Are there no classes available that could give him access to a computer?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Math books, especially linear algebra
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.
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
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.
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
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...
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It might be a good place to start, at the very least. But it will only appeal to a certain sort of person.
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.
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.
Then buy him a RasPi (+with instal guide).
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.
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.
You don't need to have a computer (Von-Neumann et al didn't have one!) to invent a brilliant algorithm.
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.
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.
So definitely possible.
At which point the possibilities expand ...
the HEAD First book series,they have fill in the blanks programming exercises.
The best thing I found http://csunplugged.org/
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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/
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?
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.
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.
 - https://www.digitalocean.com/hatch/
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.
Full disclosure: I work on Google Cloud, but it's unclear you need a cloud provider.
Edit: a bunch of downvotes for trying to be helpful, how nice.
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.
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.
At https://mnx.io (my company) we offer various options with reliability, and performance at our foundation.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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?
Startup is high risk business.
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?
Aside from that, I'm thinking it might be time to start the discussion about digital identity & reputation ecosystems again.
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.
Relay 2 (not yet released), which claims to introduce a lot of new features (like local state management, think something like flux/redux) and better performance (more details: https://speakerdeck.com/wincent/relay-2-simpler-faster-more-...). If the team behind Relay 2 were to deliver even 50% of those claims, it'd be fantastic.
Functional programming - I was introduced to it on university, it was ok but I wasn't raving about it. What's funny to me, JS made me love FP and before React I really hated JS and looked at it as a toy language.
Scala - I'm only learning it but it's fascinating and learning it broadens my general CS knowledge.
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.
The frontiers of technical products have been hyper focused on the few lucky individuals who have the latest iPhone/computer. Once we have more eyeballs on the internet from the late boomer countries, I believe the internet will change to address the needs of the folks who are using free (slow) internet and $20 devices.
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.
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.
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  for docs / a browsable interface to the API. Then you can use an integration like Django Rest Swagger  to automate most of the work.
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.
The only real value of any software is that it does what someone says it does, and if nobody says it does anything, then I would argue it is not creating value for anyone. It is showing up to work and consuming resources, but it's not moving the company anywhere.
Growth in a company means building things that are the foundation for something else, and those foundations are based on the assurances of people with credible word. Documentation creates a basis for that credibility. A lack of credibility means a lack of ability to deliver value.
If your backend devs won't document their APIs as a matter of backward principle, your company is probably in a death spiral, fire them or eject.
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 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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
* 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
* 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
Our analysis frontend is plain old SSH, bash, grep and less.
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.
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.
I've expanded on this idea here 
 - https://github.com/acionescu/event-bus#why
Disclaimer: I work there :-), happy to answer any of your questions.
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)
Now a days, on premise, logstash + elastic + kibana.
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.
Learn to read. Read good stuff written by native speakers of the language. Learn correct pronunciation. When you come across new words, look them up.
Learn grammar. Practice writing. Start with small sentences. Write about anything you like or experience. Show it to an authority and make sure it is grammatically correct. Learn from your own mistakes.
Start speaking the language. Be around those who communicate in the same language.
Practice listening. Listen to native speakers, radio programs, podcasts etc. Be attentive.
Keep visiting HN. Read comments. Observe how HNers express their views. Learn from contextual usage of the language.
That is just a beginning. Carry out those activities regularly.
They would find bugs, but often very cosmetic things - not too many bugs in our business logic (and not because of the absence of bugs within our app). It also took way too much time to manage/write the test cases out (~20 hours) since we were building out features so fast.
I looked into Rainforest QA after them. They're product seemed a better fit, but had a bad experience when one of sales guys used there used "retarded" to describe our current qa strategy.
Eventually I decided to dedicate our resources into building a frontend and backend automated testing framework. This was a way better decision, which we actually built out pretty fast.
Mobile testing kind of sucks, automated or not. Manual testing requires an ever increasing number of devices, and the actual testing is slow, monotonous work (aka good testers get bored and move on).
Maybe this approach... Automate what you can, making sure it behaves right. Use manual testing to verify it looks right, and as validation the automated tests didn't miss something.
* 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
For database, I use a second VPS running as a read only slave. A script runs daily to create database backups on the VPS.
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.
Make sure you check the status of backups, I send journald and syslog stuff to papertrail and have email alerts on failures.
I manually verify the back-ups at least once a year, typically on World Back-up Day 
 https://papertrailapp.com/ http://www.worldbackupday.com/en/
Stupid simple and stupid cheap. Install, select directories you want backed up, set it and forget it.
All for $7.00 a month.
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.
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.
I can't praise restic enough. It's fast, secure, easy to use and set up (golang) and the developer(s) are awesome!
Use pg_dump and tar then just s3cp
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.
If you're not using a modern Unix variant with ZFS... well there isn't a good reason why you would be.
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.
Wit.ai, API.ai etc. are separate services to which you forward your chat responses and they send back a response based NLP training etc.
If you're just doing a prototype, I would limit it to one chat app (eg. FB messenger) and interact directly with their webhook. You can also then add NLP through api.ai etc.
Edit: he also just suggested https://wit.ai/ which is now owned by Facebook.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
It's old but concise and very much to the point. All of the material is highly practical.
 http://algorithm.wiki/ https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12670674
Would love to hear if this is helpful to you.
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 . For more depth and theory try , 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 . A classic reference that goes far beyond these other books is of course Knuth , 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. 
Randomized algorithms -- Randomized Algorithms by Motwani and Raghavan. , Probability and Computing: Randomized Algorithms and Probabilistic Analysis by Michael Mitzenmacher, 
Hard problems (like NP) -- Approximation Algorithms by Vazirani . How to Solve It: Modern Heuristics by Michalewicz and Fogel. 
Data structures -- Advanced Data Structures by Brass. 
Functional programming -- Pearls of Functional Algorithm Design by Bird  and Purely Functional Data Structures by Okasaki .
Bit twiddling -- Hacker's Delight by Warren .
Distributed and parallel programming -- this material gets very hard so perhaps Distributed Algorithms by Lynch .
Machine learning and AI related algorithms -- Bishop's Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning  and Norvig's Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach 
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.
 Sedgewick, Algorithms, 2015. https://www.amazon.com/Algorithms-Fourth-Deluxe-24-Part-Lect...
 Cormen, et al., Introduction to Algorithms, 2009. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_15?url=search-alia...
 Sedgewick, An Introduction to the Analysis of Algorithms, 2013. https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Analysis-Algorithms-2nd/...
 Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming, 2011. https://www.amazon.com/Computer-Programming-Volumes-1-4A-Box...
 Tuekolsky and Vetterling, Numerical Recipes 3rd Edition: The Art of Scientific Computing, 2007. https://www.amazon.com/Numerical-Recipes-3rd-Scientific-Comp...
 Vazirani, https://www.amazon.com/Approximation-Algorithms-Vijay-V-Vazi...
 Michalewicz and Fogel, https://www.amazon.com/How-Solve-Heuristics-Zbigniew-Michale...
 Brass, https://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Data-Structures-Peter-Brass/...
 Bird, https://www.amazon.com/Pearls-Functional-Algorithm-Design-Ri...
 Okasaki, https://www.amazon.com/Purely-Functional-Structures-Chris-Ok...
 Warren, https://www.amazon.com/Hackers-Delight-2nd-Henry-Warren/dp/0...
 Lynch, https://www.amazon.com/Distributed-Algorithms-Kaufmann-Manag...
 Bishop, https://www.amazon.com/Pattern-Recognition-Learning-Informat...
 Norvig, https://www.amazon.com/Artificial-Intelligence-Modern-Approa...
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.
- 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.
That said he still prefers sending his emails with his 12 year old Window XP laptop running Thunderbird.
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.
When I played IT support for a local not-for-profit, I did things like created a desktop icon for the things most needed by the technically illiterate staff member who had to fill out so much of their peperwork on the computer.