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Ask HN: Do you have physical ailments from sitting all day?
5 points by hluio  2 hours ago   4 comments top 4
bonniemuffin 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have a long track record of RSIs and other injuries that have affected my ability to sit and work at a desk, so I'm unfortunately very well-qualified to tell you what's worked for me. Despite it all, I still happily work a full-time desk job with the help of these coping mechanisms.

First, standing desk. You don't need to stand all day; in fact I don't recommend it. You just need to switch it up at least once an hour so you're never sitting for more than an hour. Find excuses to walk around, too -- a 5-minute stroll around the block is great for thinking.

Second, have you had an ergonomic evaluation? There may be something about your setup that's all wrong, and a professional can help you correct it.

Finally, consider going to physical therapy for your leg pain. A good physical therapist can identify posture problems that contribute to your pain, and give you exercises to correct it.

jabv 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi! I had serious problems from becoming gradually more sedentary through a desk job and less laborious lifestyle. I didn't have the same type of pain you describe, but I had some issues particular to my shape and proportions.

My life (as far as comfort, basic strength in daily movement, eliminating chronic back pain) was literally changed by Eric Goodman's Foundation Training. I simply cannot recommend it enough. Use the free stuff on YouTube for a while and see if it helps. If so, the DVDs have plenty of extra value.

I am not affiliated with Goodman or his company in any way.

meric 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
What about standing desks? Have you tried taking breaks every hour?
tixocloud 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, I experience it as well on a daily basis. What I've found really helpful was attending physiotherapy and deep tissue massage sessions along with deep breathing exercises. I do plan to exercise more and maybe take up yoga to see if it is completely healed but otherwise what I mentioned gets me through the day.
Ask HN: Whats it like working at Facebook as a Software Engineer?
107 points by baccheion  1 day ago   91 comments top 15
cierra 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a former facebook employee (just created a new HN account so I can speak freely).

While there are some good answers given, people also need to keep in mind that many of the facebook employees who post online are part of an organized public relations campaign. Facebook has an internal group where employees share links to posts like these and encourage employees to respond positively. This group is called 'Humanize' because it wants to give the impression that these responses are coming directly from real employees while hiding the fact that they aren't exactly casual responses.

I don't know whether any of the particular responses in this thread are part of this PR campaign and am not calling out anyone directly. You can usually assume that popular and controversial posts are being actively managed by the Humanize group. But it's not clear if this post has enough traction to being on their radar.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with Facebook asking employees to share their experiences publicly. However, like most online reviews, it's not ideal that people do not disclose when their posts are part of an organized astro-turfing effort. It's not clear to readers that some of these responses have been composed or edited by PR before they are posted.

lbrandy 1 day ago 2 replies      
Well, let's see. Today I worked 8:30 to 5:30 or so. I spent some time cleaning out emails. I did two interviews (which is unusual). I reviewed several changes to central C++ libraries in the codebase. I spent awhile with some people debating how to improve our ability to turn on new compiler warnings (or other diagnostics) on a huge codebase and get them all fixed so we can eventually add them to -Werror. I looked at some crash monitoring and debugged a core dump. I committed one small fix of a crash. I read reddit for no more than 15 minutes. I had a free burrito for lunch.

Not a great day, all things considered, but.. free burrito.

I suspect some of the answers to your questions will vary depending on the org you are interested in (ie infra vs product). And also there's lots of FB engineers who frequent HN so I suspect you'd get answers if you had specific questions.

hkarthik 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I work with a lot of ex-Facebook folks. In general, they speak highly of it.

Positives: Teams are fairly autonomous, platforms are stable and support experimentation pretty freely. Great for product/growth oriented hackers. Titles are hidden so you can walk into a room and be talking to a Director and have no idea.

Negatives: The backend is pretty abstracted away so as an engineer, you aren't encouraged to dive deep into the stack and see how it works. I've seen eng leads and managers operate with surface level knowledge of the backends that they work on. Going to startups or less mature companies will require a lot of learning to go deeper down the stack.

raizu 21 hours ago 10 replies      
I also have some questions to Facebook engineers. How do you feel about working on something that is destroying the free and open Web? How do you find satisfaction in developing a virtual cage for humanity? Do you ever become depressed whenthinking about that you are using your best years, working at an extremely unethical company whose only purpose is to tricking people into clicking on ads?
tekknolagi 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I am an intern but I work on Reason (https://github.com/facebook/reason/) and love it. The project is interesting, the people are smart and friendly, and the work culture is great. I far enjoy my project here than at two past internships; Facebook actually let me choose what I wanted to work on. Work/life balance is roughly the same as my past internship, but definitely not as hectic as Uber.

As far as perks go, I think the food and bike are tied in 1st place.

pinewurst 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Can you get a job at Facebook without a Facebook account? Serious question.
ha470 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe check on Glassdoor? Unsure now, but when I worked there (~2015) teams had a lot of autonomy to do what they felt was right, projects (while choices were sparse in remote offices) were varied and you could choose teams based on what you enjoyed. Work/life balance wasn't awful depending on the team. During crunch-time on a project you're expected to grind but I don't think I often put in a ton of time over 40 hrs/week.
cierra 8 hours ago 0 replies      
As far as my thoughts on Facebook engineering go, your experience will depend heavily on what group you join. It's very difficult to give a single description of life at facebook as it varies so much throughout the company. You'll find differences in work hours, independence, project difficulty, prestige, opportunities for advancement, and the kinds of people in those teams. For me personally, there were plenty of groups with projects that interest me. But there are also many more groups that I wouldn't enjoy.

Some groups are much more structured/organized than others. In some heavily organized groups, you can easily get bored by being a small cog in a large company. Or you may be happy to be able to coast by working less than 40 hours a week while cashing a fat paycheck. In less structured groups, you may love the opportunity to create your own projects and jump from group to group. Or you may get stuck without any interesting project and have difficulty switching to a better role.

Depending on what excites you, some groups have some really interesting work, while others are more mundane. The best way to get a feel for Facebook is to figure out what kind of groups would be interesting to you and talk to people in those groups. Before interviewing, I would recommend you find out which groups you like and try to get the recruiter to schedule your interviews with engineers on those groups (but there is no guarantee the recruiter will be able to do so).

Some top candidates are able to pick their group before joining. However, most new employees will not be allowed to choose until after they've started at facebook and go through the 6 week on-boarding process. When facebook was smaller, it was easier to pick your group. But in the past couple years, new employees have complained that they didn't have too many choices and felt like they had to re-interview again after joining. Some people felt they were falsely promised being able to choose between many interesting projects, but ended up getting herded into a very small number of groups that most needed engineers. So you should definitely try to negotiate your role in more detail when interviewing and accepting an offer.

Of course, many new college hires frequently don't know what kind of work interests them. Blindly joining facebook without a group in mind could still be a good way to get experience for a couple years. Once you have a better idea of what you want to do, you could either try to change groups or companies.

matheweis 1 day ago 3 replies      
On a slight tangent, for those from FB who bump across this thread, I'd also be interested in hearing perspectives on the Production Engineering side of the house. :-)
aarongeisler 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been working at Oculus (within Facebook) for a couple of months now - I'm enjoying it quite a bit. I worked at startups previously and my work / life balance is much better now. My projects have been interesting as well.
harry8 1 day ago 3 replies      
I don't have much of a view on it. I don't have a facebook account and don't work there. Just noting there are those with strong opinions on whether one should work there at all which is another dimension worth considering. Read and decide for yourself.

https://www.jwz.org/blog/2016/11/facebook-still-literally-th...More from him here: https://www.jwz.org/blog/?s=facebook+the+worst

Veratyr 1 day ago 6 replies      
> Also, does anyone know of any better companies or how Facebook compares to other companies (as far as interesting projects, culture, work/life balance, etc)?

Which of these companies is "better" really depends on your preferences. For example, do you want to leave the US? If so, Google may be the best as it has numerous office in Europe. Do you need lots of holiday time to see the family you relocated from? If so Facebook is the best to work at as it gives you 4 weeks PTO straight up. Do you want a closed office? Only Microsoft will give you one.

I've knowledge of Google, Facebook and Microsoft (mostly through coworkers). My thoughts:

In terms of work/life balance:

- While Google has a very diverse selection of engineering offices throughout NA, Europe and Asia, Facebook and Microsoft are more limited away from their headquarters. For example in Europe, Google has engineering roles available in London, Paris, Zurich, Warsaw, Aarhus, Stockholm and Ireland. Facebook has roles in London and Dublin alone. Microsoft only London.

- Facebook does 21 days PTO from hire, Google does a seniority based system starting at 3 weeks/yr and ending at 5 weeks/yr (after 5 years employment), Microsoft does a similar seniority system but with less PTO (can't remember the number).

- I haven't heard any major horror stories from any of them in terms of overtime.

In terms of what it's like to work there:

- Microsoft actually gives you an office. Google and Facebook are into the open floor plan thing.

- My impression is that Google and Microsoft do treat engineers/products in the more "traditional" way. The company is structured as a hierarchy, you take a potential project/feature up the chain, get it approved, it's pushed back down the chain. Facebook seems to be less hierarchical and small groups are given more autonomy.

- Google is very very large and very (for a web tech company) old. It has a lot of internal technology that's not available elsewhere and it's built to make it easy to build extremely large systems. Microsoft has a lot of technology but its business is mostly selling it rather than building products on top of it. Facebook is a relatively new company and has a lot of cool shiny stuff.

- Google and Microsoft have a very diverse (in the case of Google extremely diverse) set of projects and a reasonable degree of internal mobility. A standard engineer at Google can work on Android, transfer to YouTube, then decide they'd like to work on Google Flights or Cloud. Microsoft is similarly diverse (Azure, Windows, MS Office for a few examples) but I believe it may be harder to move around internally. Facebook has plenty of mobility but not as many choices of product to work on (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus unless I'm missing something). The products are monolithic (Facebook's "YouTube" competitor is Facebook itself) so there's still a lot to do in terms of engineering work but you can't really do a totally different thing like you can at MS (desktop software to cloud) or Google (cat video hosting to mobile OS).

- In terms of moral things like data collection and net neutrality, Google and Microsoft, despite certainly not being perfect, seem to be quite clearly ahead. While Facebook makes it near impossible to see your data, let alone delete it, Google allows you to permanently delete it or prevent it from being stored at all (https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity). Microsoft was the first big company to challenge the US government when it tried to use a court order to gain access to data stored outside the US.

denvercoder904 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't know. I applied online but never heard back from them :-(
ma2rten 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This previous thread may be of interest to you:


sethammons 1 day ago 1 reply      
It sounds like you feel FB is the king of companies to work for; why is that? I've no experience working there; however I would consider my work place to be among the best places to work. I'm sure others on HN work at amazing places too.
Ask HN: Why are Yahoo comments sections overrun by seemingly unhinged people?
3 points by HoppedUpMenace  4 hours ago   1 comment top
yuri9378 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Former Yahoo here. These are legit people commenting on Yahoo websites. They are some of people who trust brand irrespective of what happens. Many have been with Yahoo for 10 or 15 years.

I personally know someone in early 50s who refuses to use Gmail. I joined Yahoo through a startup acquisition and left within in a year. Only thing I miss about Yahoo is free food. There was so much food and in SNVL campus you could see people spending time from 11:30 to 2:30 only eating food.

Despite that fact that a lot of people like to shit on Yahoo, they still have a good technology. I worked highly complex advertising systems that touch over half of entire web. I think lack of business knowledge and partly diversity favored managers is what brought down Yahoo. All cool tech talent left for Ama/Goog/FB/Flix et al.

Ask HN: Is a Master's Degree in Bioinformatics a Foolish Idea?
13 points by bglazer  12 hours ago   8 comments top 8
sjg007 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Yes (but applied physics, stats, CS or engineering is more valuable)2. Yes and no.. if you are not quantitative then yes.3. Yep quite a few that are more bio than quantitative.4. This is individual really. Many places have Directors of Bioinformatics. In my experience these people are usually statistically trained or algorithmically trained people. Good at math.

So pick the angle you want. Bioinformatics can be statistics, algorithms, big data, genetics etc...

From a CS perspective, almost everything is a graph and then you have sequences as well. From a stats perspective everything is a noisy data from some model and from a engineering point of view it is signal processing.

Otherwise you are just creating perl/python scripts to munge data into other people's pipelines. That you want to avoid. I think a PhD is really the only way to get around it.

Look at the big tools in the industry and the background of the people who created them.

Lastly you still need a biologist or someone with a bio background to design the experiments and interpret them!!

dikdik 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a bioinformatics scientist with an MS.

1) There are a lot of jobs for people with an MS, the hardest part is getting the initial experience though.

2)Pay seems to be all over the place, I make 65k in an expensive city right now. I have had a lot of recruiters contact me with offers that are close to double what I make currently, but they want a couple years of experience first. However, I also see a lot of jobs that require experience that are paying the same or less than what I make now.

3)I don't think there is that much of an oversupply yet, but since a lot of biotechs don't want to pay decent wages and can't get bioinfo. people with what they're offering, they often just grab a bench scientist that has a little bit of coding experience.

4)Yes, there is much less respect from bench scientists and they look at you as a tool to accomplish what they want to accomplish.

Working conditions only seem so bad because of where you are coming from. The conditions are very typical for biotech, if not slightly better (low pay, not a lot of freedom, requires extensive education). I've actually been looking for a good analysis on biotech wages compared to other industries for awhile - so if anyone has one, feel free to pass along.

I came from the bio side, so I got my MS in bioinformatics specifically because it is so interdisciplinary. I doubt I will stay in this industry for the entirety of my working career, likely will move over to health-tech or try my hand at a start-up focusing on services for bioinformatics.

b_emery 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm in science, though not bioinformatics - I know people who are. Cant comment on the oversupply or not, but the positions I know about are primarily funded through short-term grants, which means low-ish pay and minimal job security. I know a few people who have gone the otherway, from bioinformatics to data science.

You might want to look at the career path of this guy:


Basically, math phd, stint at large finance house, and now works as a researcher essentially self-funding his work.

porejide 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working towards a phd in genomics right now, primarily doing bioinformatics. Here are some thoughts:

1. You're almost certainly likely to make more money doing something else, like web development or finance. Scientists get paid very little money relative to their education and abilities, with the trade-off of interestingness. If you go into it, it shouldn't be for the money. So basically yes in re (2). So for you, doing bioinformatics would probably have to be a goal in your life that you're willing to make sacrifices for.

2. If you want to work on life saving drugs or curing cancer, you could learn how to make some contributions with a MS, but realistically would need a PhD to have more autonomy. Depends on what matters to you.

3. The main benefit would probably be working with a good mentor and helping to decide if you want to go for the PhD. Not sure about your prospects in industry with an MS however.

jhbadger 6 hours ago 0 replies      
In regard to 4, probably the best option is to me to be a truly 21st-century biologist that is comfortable both with the bench and computational analysis. But I'm talking about PI level, so a Ph.D is needed.
mathattack 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not in the field, but a few thoughts...

- If you can code, you don't need the degree.

- If you want professional respect in science, you need the Phd. If it's a quantitative Phd, it can be useful outside of bioinformatics.

- You're more likely to get sponsored for the Phd.

IndianAstronaut 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a bench biology background. Have looked into bioinformatics as a career option before, but I just went the straight corporate route and got into a finance company as an analyst and then engineer. Just not enough good paying jobs to go around in bioinformatics.
aheilbut 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Your assessment is correct.
Ask HN: What is an efficient strategy to retain skills with minimum investment?
7 points by JCDenton2052  6 hours ago   5 comments top 5
csnewb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Every time I start a new project, read a book/tutorial/blog, or watch a lecture, I write down notes in a Google Doc. These notes are mostly bullet notes summarizing the main idea of what it is that I've learned (Feynman Technique), and I make sure to document from which source I learned that thing. Every few weeks I'll read through this document full of notes to refresh my memory on whichever topic I choose. That way, instead of wasting time (for example) re-read a dense technical textbook, I can quickly ramp up on a topic by reading my notes. If those notes are insufficient, I'll reference my bibliography and go straight to the source. The benefit of having these notes stored in Google Docs is that I can reference them from any device. However lately I've been considering switching to writing all notes in plain text files with vi so that I could grep and find things easier later on.

I also personally retain knowledge better when I write it down. I always keep a stack of printer paper or composition notebooks nearby so that I can write down my ideas. These methods aren't always very effective, but they help.

itamarst 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In my experience regaining the skill is much faster than learning it in first place (assuming I'd gotten reasonably proficient). I spent a few years not coding much and had easy time getting back to it.

I often find that more important than having a skill is knowing it exists, so I can learn/relearn it when needed (https://codewithoutrules.com/2016/04/15/40-hour-programmer/).

Earlier in my career gaining the skills was probably more important, though.

sigmundritz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The best you can do is to just learn stuff that is useful to you on a everyday basis. There's too much stuff to remember anyway, so there's no silver bullet for forgetting.

my take is this: if you forget, it's not very useful/valuable knowledge and you shouldn't feel bad about it.

nyrulez 4 hours ago 0 replies      
you need at least two things to accomplish this:

- You need to have a personal knowledge base system

- You need to have a system to review this. Either using randomization, flashcards or some other method.

For example, you could use Evernote or Workflowy to organize everything new that you learn and then export all notes to a giant PDF that you randomly browse regularly on your mobile or desktop.

Sadly I haven't found a good knowledge base application that also includes randomized review of content. It is a need but most of them focus on organizing and finding, but not so much on review.

AnimalMuppet 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't worry about it. I suspect that the things that I use often enough to retain are the things that are worthwhile for me to retain.
Ask HN: Is My Google Account Being Attacked?
14 points by jasonparallel  6 hours ago   4 comments top 3
billconan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a related experience. my two way authentication has a registered phone number that I don't recognize at all. The number has a Florida area code, but I have never been to Florida before. I emailed google, asking if my account was hacked, who (ip address) added that number and when did that phone number add to my account. no response :(
javiercr 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Same thing happened to me and some other people:


patrics123 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Same here
Play CTF: How would you exploit HN without being detected?
3 points by benologist  6 hours ago   3 comments top 2
benologist 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I would target email addresses, and would collect them by doing Show HN launches for content that is very easy to make, like curated and aggregated lists/links, newsletters that never get written, or services that are a thin layer over an API. Stuff that could be created within a day.

When they were submitted I would wait until someone legitimately upvoted it. If it does get a real vote I would arrange an additional upvote from a HN user. At that point it will probably climb into the bottom 20 of the front page at least for a little while.

I would use a different product, domain, submitter account and helpful upvoter each time.

savethefuture 6 hours ago 1 reply      
You want me to explain how I would do it or just do it?
Ask HN: Do we regret forcing designers to learn to code?
9 points by robschia  13 hours ago   4 comments top 4
etjossem 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Nobody has forced designers to learn to code, but I for one am happy to see so many UX professionals taking an interest. It's the job of a designer to clearly communicate their vision to developers so that it can be implemented. Designers who have a basic understanding of HTML/CSS are unquestionably better equipped to do that job.

Consider a dismissable modal that appears in the center of the screen. As a front-end developer, I would like to know the modal's dimensions, its colors, which icon to use for the dismiss button, whether the corners should be rounded, and what sort of transition to use (should it fade in/out, and for how long). By creating a functional prototype of the element, he or she no longer has to answer each of these questions individually.

I don't see this as a bad trend. When designers are able to communicate their ideas clearly to developers, everyone wins.

philippz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Depends what you mean by coding. Being able to structure a website in HTML and style it with CSS is a relatively simple skill and demands no long-term study => Sketch makes it even simpler. (Just for the basics)

Also i think you are talking about a designer i would call a unicorn as being able to transfer design into something usable is very useful but uncommon and rare.

corecoder 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Who is we?
miguelrochefort 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't regret, nor force.
Ask HN: What're the best-designed things you've ever used?
576 points by whitepoplar  4 days ago   1055 comments top 287
i_don_t_know 3 days ago 23 replies      
The ancient microwave in my first apartment. It had two knobs: one for time, one for power. It's immediately obvious how to cook something for how long, how to add more time, etc.

All other microwaves that I've used I had to have someone explain to me what buttons to press in what order to do even the simplest things. And I've never seen anyone use all of those fancy buttons.

dcw303 3 days ago 17 replies      
The Casio F-91W Digital wrist watch


Keeps better time than a Rolex, and is a fraction of the price. Waterproof. Has an alarm, stopwatch, and timer; all things missing from traditional wind ups. Interface is easy to use and discover. The battery last almost forever.

Now, if you're asking if it's aesthetically pleasing, that's a different story. But we were talking about design, right?

EDIT: Wikipedia says they're only splash proof; I used to swim with mine but there you go. And I'm making up the timer function, that must have been on later models only.

mdip 3 days ago 5 replies      
It took me about a second to think of Dixon Ticonderoga pencils. These are the perfect nexus of good and cheap. These things have the critical features one looks for in a writing instrument, my favorite of which is that I can put it in my electric pencil sharpener and the lead never snaps just prior to the point at which it becomes sharp.

And these guys finally figured out something useful to do with that pink, rubbery, knob at the end of the pencil. I've never been able to figure out what this rubber piece is for on other pencils. On some, it works like a highlighter, but not as well -- leaving this pale, pinkish/carbon smudged mess all over the page. On others, it works like the worlds worst paper shredder, ripping through the page haphazardly, but not in such a useful way as to render the contents securely shredded. On Dixon Ticonderoga pencils, this rubber knob removes any pencil markings that were made in error. It's incredible!

The best part, though, is that you can get a box of almost 100 of them for around $14.

FreakyT 4 days ago 15 replies      
Another odd one, but my Honda Fit 2nd Generation. So many things about that car are so well thought-out, and even more expensive/luxurious cars miss things that the Fit designers included. Some examples:

- Cup holder on the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel. As a left-handed person, this is amazing.

- Window power remains on after turning off the car as long as doors haven't been opened, allowing you to close the windows even if you forget to close them before turning off the car.

- Rear seats can fold completely flat, thanks to the fact that the fuel tank is below the front seats

- Large, unique-feeling tactile buttons and knobs to control the AC heating, and audio systems. So many cars use tiny identical buttons that are impossible to distinguish without looking.

whitepoplar 3 days ago 9 replies      
Textmate 2 - It's such a well-engineered piece of software, and it's gorgeous.

Bialetti Brikka - Such an elegant design, and it makes delicious coffee, Italian-style.

Nespresso - If Apple made espresso machines. The espresso tastes great and it's easy to clean.

Patagonia MLC 45L - My pet peeve with luggage is that the good stuff tends to be heavy. Not this! It's big enough for extended travel, has backpack straps if you need it, durable (w/ lifetime guarantee), and is well-designed without being "design-y," if that makes sense.

Charles Schwab checking account - Okay, not a physical product, and doesn't have very impressive visual design, but well-designed regardless. No account minimums or fees, the best customer service I've ever experienced, no foreign transaction fees, and they rebate any and all ATM fees worldwide. It's the absolute perfect money bucket.

Blundstone boots - The perfect footwear if you're unsure of conditions. Hiking--check. Going to dinner--check. Walking in the city--check. Walking through snow--check. Traveling--check. They're very, very comfortable.

Elixir (programming language) - This is what happens when a tool is made for one's own use, as opposed to being designed for a hypothetical "other" who doesn't exist. It's magical.

nunez 4 days ago 7 replies      
Apple MacBooks are the best laptops that I have ever used. Nothing comes close to them. Even my Surface. It's a great device (by far the best Windows laptop/convertible available), but it misses on some details (light bleed on the edges, kickstand doesn't align all the way)
idonotknowwhy 3 days ago 4 replies      
#1The Nokia N9 (specifically the alarm clock)When trying to find a clone for Android, I found this guy's blog post which explains why it's perfect:


The swipe interface of the operating system is also the best I've ever used. If I play around with the N9 for a few minutes now; then go back to android, it feels clunky an inefficient again.

#2 The Nintendo GamecubeIt just works without having to setup profiles or download updates, the controller is awesome (subjective) and it carries the greatest Mario Kart, Smash Brothers and Mario Party ever created (also subjective).

kevinqi 3 days ago 9 replies      
Teenage Engineering OP-1, a music synthesizer. Really well built, buttons and knobs feel fantastic, and the display is super fun. The OP-1 in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umatbZ0n4mE
bungle 3 days ago 8 replies      
Fiskars Axes:http://www.fiskars.eu/products/gardening/axes/splitting-axe-...

Barbour Jackets:http://www.barbour.com/eu/categories/mens/waxed-jackets/barb...

Camper Shoes:https://www.camper.com/en_FI/men/shoes/peu/camper-peu-17665-...

Stihl Chainsaws:http://www.stihl.com/STIHL-power-tools-A-great-range/Chainsa...

Genelec Speakers:http://www.genelec.com/8351

Desktops:Mac Pro 1st Generation

Laptops:Macbook Pro


Operating System Kernel:Linux

High Level Programming Language:Lua / LuaJIT

Low Level Programming Language:C

Web Server:Nginx

jwolfhn 3 days ago 6 replies      
Any Kindle model with e-ink. The utiluty and simplicity of design of these devices has enabled me to read almost every night before going to bed for the past 6ish years without loosing my place or holding the weight of a book (finally read War and Peace).
dsfyu404ed 3 days ago 1 reply      
The interior layout of a 1990s Ford truck or Bronco. All controls can be done by feel without fat fingering anything while wearing work gloves, radio included. The radio is placed so you don't have to take your eyes off the road to tune it anymore than you would the speedometer. They even make the +/- buttons convex/concave and put little bars on the preselects to make it easier to do by feel. The motion ratio on the manual windows is pretty damn perfect. Kind of a shame so much thought was put into something a design was executed using crappy 90s plastic.

Honorable mention for industrial vacuum cleaners.

agjacobson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Macintosh II with Finder 4.6. Never has a computer system maintained a technical lead for so long, 1987-95, with Finder upgrades you loaded from floppies.Bridgeport milling machine. People just copy it. They can't improve it.Ashlar Vellum 2D drafting software for the Mac. Imagine. Drafting objects have properties you can edit.Lambda Physik (Coherent) FL2002E dye laser.Excel 4.0 for the Mac. Wrote invoicing and coating design macros that ran a whole business.Solidworks 2003. Used it till 2008, until I got the "better" newest edition which was a little more capable, but less efficient.Ipad Air. Still use it, smashed-in screen and all, but it's panting.

You can see I'm mostly stuck in the past. Many of these products had more capable successors, but felt bloated, and were harder to use.

doug1001 3 days ago 3 replies      
"technical friends" (which i believe was name given by the man who invented them, Ray Jardine). "Friends" is still the category name used by Wild Country, which i believe was the first shop to sell the devices.

more generically, i believe they are known as spring-loade cam devices (SLCD).

these simple devices transformed granite crack climbing from slow, rock-altering aid climbing that required pitons hammered into cracks to clean "free" (ie, no aid) climbing.

sure nuts and hexes were (and still are) available but they require some sort of constriction in the crack (change in the width) to hold them in place, which granite cracks often lack.

badtuple 3 days ago 3 replies      
The Tom Bihn Synapse 25 backpack: https://www.tombihn.com/collections/backpacks/products/synap...

I went nomad earlier this year and decided I needed a good backpack. After much research, I landed on the Synapse.

It's simply amazing that something as simple as "a bag" can be so well designed. So clearly better.

It's the only product I've ever owned where I notice myself stop and admire it regularly.

patmcguire 3 days ago 9 replies      
Google Reader. It actually let me add feeds, read them, and mark them read reliably. Everything after is focused on value-add instead of just fucking working.
george_ciobanu 3 days ago 2 replies      
A dishwasher that only had one button: start.A dry cleaning service where they just told me to come back next day after 5p and never asked me how I want my shirts, what kind of treatment etc. For contrast most places ask several questions that I never know the answer to. The best UI is no UI.
synicalx 4 days ago 2 replies      
Odd answer, but probably a Blackberry Passport. Clean and sturdy design, OS is on point (assuming you dont use many 3rd party apps), keyboard is brilliant - it leverages the benefits of a physical keyboard and adds the flexibility of touchscreen keyboards. Not to mention the screen, never thought I'd enjoy using a 1:1 screen but it's so good for reading on.

Outside of technology, probably my old man's Eames Classic. I don't even know how old it is, he's had it since he moved out of home 40+ years ago so it's definitely not new. Still comfortable, leather is still in good condition (although it does need cleaning), and it's as solid as a tank.

PascLeRasc 3 days ago 4 replies      
Any coffee addict like me knows that some methods of brewing are impossible before you've had a cup. The AeroPress understands this and is really simple to use, and makes amazing coffee. Everyone in my family has one and some other method as well, like a Mokapot or French press, but for the first cup in the morning it's Aeropress every time.

I also love Papermate Sharpwriter pencils. They feel so comfortable to hold, and if you like spinning a pencil while thinking they're really well-balanced for that.

artimaeis 3 days ago 8 replies      
Seiko 5 automatic watch - Simple, timeless, affordable. It's just a great watch and it always will be.

rOtring 600 mechanical pencil - the feel of this pencil is unlike any other writing implement I've found. It's a legend. My new goal is to find a fountain pen that I can enjoy as much as I enjoy this. Though I fear that will be a notably more expensive purchase.

Yamaha Custom Series Bb trumpet - before becoming a developer I was a semi-pro musician and this is still the most fantastic instrument I've ever worked with. I've owned it 9 years now and it still feels brand new. Every mechanism on it was perfectly made. There's no unnecessary stiffness or play in any component.

davidgould 3 days ago 0 replies      
The wok. A good 13 or 14" pao wok costs about $15. Add another $20 for a spoon, a cover, an wok ring and a steaming grill and you can make almost anything. The thing looks so simple, but it is part of a whole system and way of cooking that is amazingly fun and effective.
agentgt 3 days ago 4 replies      
I have been recently optimizing some of my wardrobe:

Darn Tough socks! Seriously life is too short to have clammy feet. Yes they are expensive but they last forever.

Carhartt USA made therma lined hoodies are also awesome. I have had one for 17 years and wore it all the time before hoodies became fashionable. To be honest all of their stuff is great for the price if you can get over looking like a construction worker.

Icebreakers shifter pants. The best sweat pants. Speaking of wool.. Duckworth wool has some good properly treated USA sheep. Icebreakers is better but Duckworth is USA made.


Cambridge Audio DAC magic plus. Expensive but seems to work great.


Lodge Cast Iron Skillets. Once you learn how to cook on cast iron skillets you will replace many pans in your kitchen with them.

CharGriller Akorn Kamado Kooker. The best charcoal grill for the money. You can cook everything on it. Pizza, sear steak at 800 degrees and slow cook pulled pork for 18 hours+ on a single load of charcoal.

Thermoworks Thermapen thermometer. The best cooking thermometer you absolutely should buy.

kampsduac 3 days ago 3 replies      
I really enjoy my aeropress (https://aerobie.com/product/aeropress/) coffee press. The modern take on a French press, price, and availability on Amazon made me realize anybody can have a great idea, print it in plastic, and sell it to people - arriving two days later.

Plus the coffee that comes out is dope.

donquichotte 3 days ago 2 replies      
SIG 550 assault rifle. I don't particularly like weapons, but this gun can take an incredible amount of abuse and is still accurate and reliable. I feel that the designers really found the sweet spot between complexity and simplicity here.

Same for the Kawasaki KLR 650 motorcycle. A superb bike, virtually indestructible, and in the unlikely case that something breaks, it's possible to fix it on your own.

EDIT: Sublime Text. Fast, simple, no-nonsense, cross-platform, extendable.

fergie 3 days ago 4 replies      
Ortleib panniers (https://www.google.com/search?q=ortlieb+panniers):

* Are actually waterproof

* Don't have lots of unnecessary compartments and pockets

* Lift on and off really securely, yet really easily

* Can be wiped clean

* Super durable

* Light

* Can be worn as shoulder bag, or carried as a tote

* No zips, yet can be completely sealed

mitchellst 3 days ago 2 replies      
The Trek 500.

It's a bicycle. It's a steel bicycle, which is out of favor these days, but Trek still makes a few each year. And they haven't really changed the design since it was introduced in the 80's. Why? Because it's the perfect bicycle.

At least, if you're doing a very particular thing. I rode one from the Oregon Coast to Long Island. It was an unsupported tour, so I had about 50 pounds of gear strapped to it the whole way. While my companions suffered various breakdowns and issues, the 500 was rock solid. It doesn't get fancy on components-- no disk breaks or electronic shifting. Everything on it can be easily repaired, removed, or replaced with your two hands and a compact multi-tool. The steel frame will stand up to any manner of abuse. Hearing about the whole tough-as-nails thing, you assume it won't be that pleasing to ride. You assume wrong.

pgreenwood 3 days ago 5 replies      
Almost every bicycle. Our noblest invention.
mattkevan 3 days ago 5 replies      
MUJI 0.5mm gel ink pens [0] - I've used these pens for so long that my handwriting goes haywire when using a different make. Perfect balance of smoothness and scratchiness - with fast drying ink, which as a lefty is vital.

Harmon Kardon Soundsticks II had mine for over a decade and they still sound and look great.

Gaggia Colour espresso machine looks great, built like a tank, simple to repair, and still produces fantastic coffee after years of benign neglect.

Chromecast it just works. Feels like the future to use my phone to stream video from the Raspberry Pi to the TV.

AirPlay it also just works. Recently set up a multi-room audio streaming thing, like a budget alternative to Sonos, using a few Raspberry Pis I had lying about and Shairport Sync [1]. Works much better than I anticipated.

[0] https://www.muji.eu/pages/online.asp?Sec=13&Sub=52&PID=5162[1] https://github.com/mikebrady/shairport-sync

sergiotapia 3 days ago 3 replies      
My Macbook Air 13-inch 2015.

Battery lasts a long time. It recharges super quick. It's incredibly lightweight. It's incredibly thin. It's trackpad clicks "for real". No plastic, or shitty finish.

I can't believe they don't make them anymore. It's easily Apple's best hardware hand's down.


My Logitech G602 mouse. Weighty, not heavy, battery lasts for 8 months. Hands cusps the mouse perfectly and never feels awkward to hold for extended periods of time. Premium feel, no cheap plastics. I love it.


closed 4 days ago 6 replies      
Instant pot pressure cooker.

Want to use it as a crock pot? sure.

Want to saute things inside it first? sure.

Frozen meat or dried beans? Why not!


monodeldiablo 3 days ago 2 replies      
The VW Up! (aka koda Citigo aka Seat Mii)

It weighs under a ton, is only 3.5m long, and has a 1.0L, 3-cylinder engine that fairly sips gas. It shifts like butter and, considering it's powered by a glorified sewing machine, it has decent acceleration and top-end speed. And, if you spring for the Czech rebadge, you can get the basic model for less than 10k euros.

But the real killer is that it has almost as much usable interior room as a VW Golf, despite being almost a meter shorter!

My partner and I both come from tall families and, upon delivery of the car, her brother (200cm tall) drove his wife (189cm), me (188cm), my wife (184cm), my father (200cm), and our 3 kids for a spin. It wasn't legal and it wasn't roomy, but no reasonable person would be able to guess that such a tiny car could fit 3 small adults, let alone 5 tall adults and 3 kids.

For those of us who spent far too much of their childhood playing Tetris, the trunk (if you want to call it that) also accommodates 4 full-sized suitcases.

[EDIT] I forgot to mention that it has exposed metal surfaces in the interior (doors, mainly) that are integrated parts of the car. Not only does it look fantastic, each of those panels is one less plastic piece that will eventually require an expensive replacement when it inevitably gets hit/scratched/exposed to too much sunlight/shakes itself to pieces.

I don't know why more cars don't feature this (one review called them "cheap exposed surfaces", as if plastic is somehow fancier), but it's incredibly durable, simple, and attractive.

jameskilton 4 days ago 9 replies      
Dyson vacuum cleaners.

I have never once wondered "how do I do this?" when using my Dyson. From cleaning, to extensions, switching modes, and just plain using the thing, every inch of these vacuums is designed to the utmost degree to make them not only super powerful suction machines but also trivially easy to use.

boulos 4 days ago 6 replies      
The Lido 2 Coffee Grinder: http://www.oehandgrinders.com/OE-LIDO-2-Manual-Coffee-Grinde...

Heath Coffee Mugs

Trains in Switzerland (including the great app!)

Hosu (chair)

Cutipl (silverware)

Emile Henry Flameware (Dutch Oven)

Mountain Collective Ski Pass

Black Diamond Hiking Poles

lucideer 4 days ago 1 reply      
Automatic mechanical watches.

The idea that this tiny device is assembled entirely from macroscopic, tangible, "grokkable", mechanical components, will run "forever" with no direct conscious input of energy and tells you reasonably accurate time is pretty unique.

Recent relevant HN thread https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13459616

Xcelerate 3 days ago 2 replies      
Dyer and Jenkins black cotton T-shirts.

I wear jeans and a black T-shirt basically every day, but I noticed a lot of the black T-shirts I purchased wore out quickly and started to fade right away. So I Googled "best black T-shirts" one day and a Reddit thread led me to Dyer and Jenkins. I've been wearing them for a year now and they have hardly faded and look just about as good as when I first bought them.

Dyer and Jenkins often gives away half off coupons as well, so I normally wait for one of those deals before I order a new set: https://www.dyerandjenkins.com/collections/tees/products/3-p...

sizzzzlerz 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm going to go real old school and suggest the slide rule. While there is a short learning curve, once you've mastered a few simple rules, using one is a breeze and if you keep the slide lubricated and don't abuse it, it will perform it's function reliably and accurately for decades. I have a Pickett, it's now 40 years old but works like new, but just about any brand will offer the same performance.
apankrat 3 days ago 8 replies      
Aeron chair.


EIZO monitors - http://www.eizo.com

uTorrent, the older versions.

Dead serious about uTorrent. One of the best designed and engineered pieces of software ever. Everything you need, where you expect it to be, doing exactly what it should be doing, and nothing more.

hkmurakami 3 days ago 3 replies      
YKK zippers.

We never think twice about them and that's the proof of their genius.

hemisphere 4 days ago 3 replies      
The Kinesis Advantage contoured ergonomic keyboard. Once you've used it for a few weeks, regular keyboards feel awkward and uncomfortable. They are pricy and completely worth it.
leonroy 3 days ago 6 replies      
* Blendtec Blender - blew my first pay cheque on one nearly 10 years ago and it still looks and works good as new. Absolutely superb design and construction.

* AGA Oven - I don't own one, but my parents do and growing up this thing was just incredible. Still looks and works like new. I honestly have never used an oven which looks and cooks so damn good.

* Apple (Unibody) Macbook Pro - Despite my present feelings towards Apple right now coughMac Procough. I can't really say enough good things about the unibody Macbooks - no other laptop surpasses it and it's been nearly 8 years since Apple's unibody construction was introduced.

* Devialet Phantom speaker - it's an engineering marvel - nothing like it.

* HP Proliant Servers - despite HP's awful website and support policies their Proliant range are the most well designed, well thought out servers I've ever used.

* And this garlic press - can't recommend it enough :)http://www.kuhnrikonshop.com/product/epicurean-garlic-press

interfixus 3 days ago 1 reply      
Electrolux Twin Clean vacuum cleaner.With a black labrador and several cats in the house, bagless vacuuming is a must. I used to own a Dyson, but it eventually died from old age, and a friend gave me an almost brand new TwinClean, which for some reason they were disappointed with at his place. And this thing beats the Dyson on every count that matters. It is far less noisy, not scaring the life out of cats and dogs, and an absolute breeze to operate. Everything snaps on and of with nice feel and reassuring clicks. And most importantly, emptying is literally a matter of seconds, not a life and death struggle as with the Dyson: You click off, you click open over a dustbin, you click back on. Just a really well thought out machine.

Oh, and the Windows 95 interface, which everyone sincerely flattered with imitation for so many years. I haven't used any later Windows versions, but my Xfce desktop i still clearly modelled on the 95 design. I find the Mac-like stuff nearly unusable, or at any rate endlessly frustrating, on the thankfully rare occasions when I'm forced to interact with it.

navbaker 4 days ago 1 reply      
A maybe overly-broad category, but the style of ceramic coffee mugs that have handles big enough to get all four fingers in. I don't realize how easy they are to hold until I'm using a mug that only allows one or two fingers in the handle.
tdk 3 days ago 3 replies      
1. Noodler's fountain pens.

These are 'Hacker-friendly' pens. With most pens the nib and feed are glued in, but in the Noodlers pens they are push fit, so can be adjusted. You can adjust the amount of flex and flow independently.

You can also take out the entire filling mechanism, and use the whole pen body as a reservoir. Neat.


2. Vim

It was a bold design concept to use 'modes', but it makes it so much more productive.

eappleby 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love my Fogless Shower Mirror:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003BQ6QXK?ref_=ams_ad_dp_asin_1

Most others use chemicals (I believe) to stop the fogging, which fades in effectiveness over time. Had this one for 5 years and it works perfect! Wish everything I owned just worked like this does.

jimmies 3 days ago 5 replies      
Software: Winamp. It is so simple and stupid and it works really well.
baby 3 days ago 5 replies      
How is this kettle exceptional? I have an electric kettle that boils water ten times as fast (number made up, but it's really faster).

As someone who drinks a lot of hot water every day, I find this odd that someone would recommend a non-electrical kettle.

lb1lf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good question; it caused me to go through the house, looking at lots of objects trying to figure out which one(s) were exceptional, in my book.

Here's my top list:

The Optimus 00 kerosene stove. Hardly a thing has changed in over a century of production. Utterly unbreakable, not a single superfluous component or feature. Just plain works.

Moccamaster drip brewer. Probably the drip brewer to beat. The product is eminently drinkable, it is a reliable and consistent performer, not much that can go wrong except breaking the beaker (no worries, a new one is $20 a five-minute walk from home) - and they even sell spare parts - any component; mine is 28 years old and still going strong, having had its thermostat replaced once.

BRIO toy trains. (Tie with LEGO) - unbreakable, and their long-term commitment to compatibility is fantastic; I can buy BRIO odds and ends in the toy shop today which interfaces perfectly with stuff my parents bought for me when I was a kid. Same goes, to a slightly lesser extent, for LEGO.

SwellJoe 3 days ago 5 replies      
Zojirushi fuzzy logic rice cooker. I've owned it for more than a decade and made maybe hundreds of pounds of rice. Always perfect.

Cast iron skillet. Lodge makes cheap, very high quality, pans that just work, forever (there are many brands, several are great).

JoshTriplett 3 days ago 1 reply      
ThinkPad keyboards, with built-in mouse on home row. I like the layout, spacing, and short throw of the keys so much that I have a USB version for my desk, attached to a docking station.
nether 3 days ago 1 reply      
Meta: /r/buyitforlife has a lot content in this vein.
Jaruzel 3 days ago 8 replies      
Logitech MX510 and MX518 Mice:


For some reason, these mice are awesome for me. Neither are made any more, and I will cry when mine finally die.

Dowwie 3 days ago 3 replies      
MSR WhisperLite International Backpacking Stove. It supports a wide variety of liquid fuel. With this stove, I don't have to buy vendor-specific gas canisters. White gas works great with it. The stove folds down to a compact form. It is easy to use.


zeptomu 3 days ago 3 replies      
Moka pots.


It is simple and just works.

rdtsc 3 days ago 1 reply      
* Lenovo T60 laptop: It wasn't pretty, but it was sturdy and well designed. Good resolution for the times. Good aspect ratio. Very nice keyboard. Trackpoint. Serviceable easily - replaced fan, hard drives, added memory. Eventually just got too slow for the stuff I was doing.

* Bentology metal fork and spoon. I got a full lunch bento box set. But never liked it much. However really like the silverware. Just the right weight, size, and balance. I just went to check if I can get more, and they are out stock apparently)

* Moab Merrell hiking shoes. Really good all-around shoes. Light, sturdy, comfortable. Good ankle support.

* Nissan stainless steel thermos. Just very sturdy. I like the cap design. Doesn't leak. I got another one after 4-5 years of a different size, so now have both.

nodesocket 3 days ago 5 replies      
My Altec Lansing ACS48 computer speakers. I paid $299 for them in 1999 and to this day they still work flawlessly and beat most every other computer speaker. Audiophiles swear by them, and still buy them in bulk when they can find them.

Here's the Amazon reviews: https://www.amazon.com/Altec-Lansing-ACS48-Computer-Speakers...

armandososa 3 days ago 0 replies      
My iPod video. I honestly think that the click wheel has to be one of the best designed user interface in the history of the world. It was actually delightful to use, from the texture in the material, the friction and the satisfying click. For all the interactivity touch screens unlocked, I think we lost something when the click wheel went away.
spade 4 days ago 4 replies      
Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug, Blackhttps://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HYOGTTG-easy to clean-great ergonomics-best heat/cold retention vs. other products
cpt1138 4 days ago 4 replies      
The Reddit app on IOS. Something has always bothered me about most of the apps on IOS but I couldn't put my finger on it until I started using the reddit app. The UX is so good that it makes everything else feel awkward. I think that everything else was actually awkward and that's what I didn't like.

Cutco knives. All my life I've known what makes a good knife and that you should pay a lot. I think this is fine in the rare case that you have some someone to sharpen and hone them for you every day. Since getting Cutco knives I've come to realize that no other knives are for regular home use where you never have the time or skill to properly care for "other" knives.

Fixed gear bikes. I ride bikes a lot and when I finally got a fixie it was like that was finally the bike that felt like an extension of myself. I watched some videos about how cassettes work and understand the effect of being directly connected is what I'm feeling.

kalleboo 3 days ago 4 replies      
* Chopsticks. One-handed eating is just convenient.

* Palm Vx. At the time this thing has fantastic functionality (all that freeware!), the OS had great charm, and I still think it looks really handsome.

* Sony Ericsson w580. One of the last really small cell phones before huge screens took over. And the slide mechanism was really satisfying - the ultimate fidget

h1d 2 days ago 1 reply      
Happy hacking keyboard professional.

Typing feel is exceptional and it's in a small form, so every key is within your reach. (Doesn't mean the keys are small.) Especially great for vim mode typing. You can even easily carry it with you.

Being using it for nearly 10 years and not failing. Highly recommended.


There's also a one without a print for serious typers which I use.


(Lite version is a completely different thing, I don't consider it worth buying.)


dbg31415 3 days ago 0 replies      
Callout to The Wirecutter for doing a great job of reviewing products.

* The Wirecutter || http://thewirecutter.com/

throwanem 3 days ago 0 replies      
My grandfather's [1] Nikkormat FTn [2], which is more or less a consumer version of the Nikon F [3]. It's equipped with roughly the same features, but implemented somewhat differently - for example, shutter speed is adjusted via a ring on the lens mount, instead of a knob on the top. It's by far the simplest SLR I've ever used, and in some ways also the most capable - you do still need to know how focus and exposure work, but once you have those basics under your belt, the camera gets right out of your way so you can take the pictures you want to take. It's also built like a tank - the kind of thing where, if you drop it on your foot, it probably won't break, but your toes might. And, like any handheld machine engineered to tight tolerances, it's just a pleasure to use.

That camera's served three generations of my family very well; my grandfather and father each used it for years, and I learned the basics of photography with it. It's honorably retired now, but if I ever start to shoot film again, that's the camera I'll use to do it. And if I don't, I'll still have benefited massively from having used it, because the Nikon D5300 I now use (and used to take [1], a few minutes ago) can still take any glass with an F mount - which not only means that I can still use Grandpa's and Dad's old glass, but that if I want, say, a 500mm tele, which I do because the moon is far away and hawks take it amiss when you approach to improve your shot, I can spend $100 on a manual lens that I already know how to use, instead of spending $10,000 or more on one that supports automatic focus and aperture.

[1] https://u.sicp.me/gZn97.jpg

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikkormat#Nikkormat_FTn

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikon_F

cJ0th 3 days ago 0 replies      
* that classic Casio watch

Personally, I really like its look. Furthermore, its cheap and the battery lasts forever.

* Motorola Razr V3i

It just looks awesome! Unfortunately, the great design doesn't extend to its software. :(

* Roland JV-1080

This one is first and foremost interesting for its engineering achievement. It offers musicians hundreds of great, sampled sounds which are stored on a 8 MB ROM! They make up for the limited amount of material by skillfully layering samples and the application of DSP algorithms.

gravlaks 3 days ago 5 replies      
Norton Commander back in the DOS days. It was soo fast to use. Which is why I use Total Commander today.
rayalez 3 days ago 1 reply      
SideFX Houdini (a tool for 3D VFX and animation) is by far the most brilliant software I have ever used, it is like Emacs of computer graphics. It is designed as a system of nodes that gives you a visual interface for visually "programming" 3D scenes and shaders.

It is incredibly well thought out, and every time I learn something new about it - it blows my mind how elegantly and beautifully it is implemented.

tradersam 4 days ago 2 replies      
My jet black iPhone 7. A bit of a cop-out answer, but I'll be damned if it isn't the best looking, most comfortable (I use it without a case, and enjoy it), and best overall designed thing I own.
Kluny 3 days ago 0 replies      
86 Tercel station wagon. Most comfortable seats ever. Every position works. The wiper and blinker controls are nice and clicky. All the adjustment controls are clicky and located exactly where you expect them to be when you reach blindly. The A and B pillars don't block your vision. There's a little spot between the e-brake lever and the seat that's the right size for a can of pop (handy because there's no cup holders). The trim is impeccable. After 30 years of driving, the weatherstripping doesn't peel off, the handles and latches aren't broken, the upholstery hasn't faded. It was amazing in the snow even the 2WD version. I could go on... I loved that little car.
iansowinski 3 days ago 2 replies      
- Hoodie. Really. For me it's the best type of top clothes.

- Raspberry Pi. You can do everything with this guy.

- My girlfriend's Mitsubishi colt Z30. It has great system of adjusting backseats (you can move it back and forward, so that either trunk or cabin have more space). It has also roof quite high (and I'm tall so that's important for me in small cars)

- KitchenAid mixer classic. It's just rock-solid.

- Karrimor X-Lite X2t. This guy is maybe a little one, but it's drying in miliseconds, has great setting-up system and is light as a feather. Although it's quite tight for 2 persons, it's the best small tent I've ever used.

- Ricoh GRD IV. The best camera I've ever used.

- HackerNews. Obviously.

poyu 3 days ago 0 replies      
Power Mac G5. If you ever open that thing, you'll know it's really taking computer making to the next level!

It's meant to be tool-less all the way, you can change almost everything (RAM, CPU, HDD) using at most one or two screwdrivers. And the way the hinges and interlocks work together is amazing. Not to mention its build quality.

gbog 3 days ago 1 reply      
Chopsticks. It is tricky to master but once you get it, you have an agility with your hands that cannot be matched even with bare fingers. I often use chopstick for gardening, for repairing things, and plenty of other. Also, it is very easy to find two ok sticks when picknic if you forgot your stuff.
grandalf 3 days ago 4 replies      
- My cast iron skillet. It's indestructible and once I learned to season it and cook with it, I prefer it over any other.

- 15" Macbook Pro w/ Retina display, iPhone 7

- BNC connectors

- The Xtrend Professional Rabbit Wine Opener. (Super cheap on Amazon and it has an incredibly well-designed mechanism)

- The Mezlan Cordoba men's shoe -- high quality, no break-in needed, durable, fashionable.

- Crocs -- indestructible, comfy.

- Joybird furniture (good prices, high quality)

- Libert yogurt. Incredible texture.

- The Uber app (I think that amid the weird culture at least one person there really understands mobile UX)

- HN -- the only place where I look forward to reading the comments more than the articles.

baby 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bamboo steamers. First one I found: https://www.amazon.com/2017-Reusable-Chopsticks-Perforated-S...

They usually are dirt cheap, and allow you to steam any kind of food. It's healthy, it's tasty, it's easy, it's fast, ... Just drop whatever in it and wait 15 minutes and that's it.

joe563323 3 days ago 1 reply      
pencil, paper and eraser

dell keyboard Model number: SK-8115 (felt like machine gun for the first time)http://dellparts.us/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2...


emacs macros


Qt c++ framework

unix pipes


npm install --save # dont have to edit the package.json, awesome


pm2 # npm package to make the node app as service. Just mindblowing.

ssh-copy-id user@ip # no need to type password always for ssh session

JustSomeNobody 3 days ago 1 reply      
Commodore 64.

May just be a bit of nostalgia speaking, but the things that little machine could be made to do... wow.

MooMooMilkParty 3 days ago 1 reply      
Masakage knives: http://masakageknives.com/

There are many other makers of kitchen knives that are comparable to Masakage knives, but if someone who was serious about cooking asked me for a single recommendation of which knife brand they should buy into this would probably be my response. Their knives are reasonably priced, feature beautiful aesthetics, have personality, and perform as well as anyone could reasonably need.

pmarreck 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a bit on the expensive side but this toaster is possibly the last one you will ever buy:


I mean... it has a button called "A Bit More" and another one called "Lift And Look", which do exactly what you think they would. It's fucking fantastic.

Honorable mentions:

Eddie Bauer Boxer Briefs, the most comfortable underwear a man could get, while still looking sexy. (Seems they don't sell them currently? Too bad, they make up 100% of my underwear.)

And this windproof USB-rechargeable flameless arc lighter: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DEVKI4Y/ref=oh_aui_se...

dbg31415 3 days ago 0 replies      
Antec computer cases. They're high quality, easily accessible, and promote good air flow.

And they're fairly cheap, all things considered (picked up this model for about $45 on sale at Fry's last time I built a computer).

* Amazon.com: Antec Three Hundred Two Gaming Case, Black: Computers & Accessories || https://www.amazon.com/Antec-Three-Hundred-Two-Gaming/dp/B00...

vinchuco 4 days ago 1 reply      
The Curta handheld mechanical calculator https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13120233
mturmon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sawstop Professional Cabinet Saw. Solid, smooth running, all adjustments well thought out.

My late 90s Honda Civic. Simple and reliable. Nothing is more fancy or complex than it has to be.

Aeropress. Simple, makes great coffee, promotes a ritual.

The HP-41C. Just enough programming to be useful. RPN. Great keyboard feel.

sprobertson 4 days ago 3 replies      
The mid-2014 MacBook Pro. I fear that one day I will have to upgrade to a poorly reviewed newer model, or change my system entirely.
tomcam 3 days ago 3 replies      
U.S. Constitution

Eiffel Tower

Bosendorfer 214CS piano

1986 Fender Performer guitar

1959 Fender Stratocaster

Yamaha YBL 321 trombone

Yamaha Q series alto sax

Any Zojirushi rice cooker


Sony SRF-M37w radio

Golden Gate Bridge (walk it)

Any Porsche 911

Toyota Sienna minivan

Any MacBook Air

Duluth Trading Longtail T shirts



Visual Basic 3.0

Turbo Pascal 3.0

Visual Pascal


Eggs, bananas, bell peppers, cocoanuts, water

Fender Precision bass

Motorola StarTac


Almost anything Frank Lloyd Wright

VLM 3 days ago 3 replies      
My steel backplate original IBM Model M keyboard in use continuously from when it was new until today. I can't figure out any way to improve it.

Logitech trackman wheel from a decade or two ago, perfect to have a desk with 3 or 4 machines on. Must have thousands of hours of FPS and minecraft on it, feels new, feels perfect.

The original Radio Shack wire wrapping tool, you could pay up to 100x more for something less reliable or slower or harder to use but I built entire 8-bit microcomputers with mine. The wire stripper which is perfect for 30 gauge wire wrap wire stores inside the tool. You could pay more for something faster but less reliable or whatever bad engineering tradeoff, but somehow this cheap tool had the perfect engineering tradeoffs.

The hyper orthogonal PDP-11 assembly language instruction set. Essentially you wrote C in assembly. That and the 6809/68hc11 general family are the only two architectures I ever miss programming in assembly, everything else is perfectly doable but a chore.

I grew up with a surplus Tektronix 531 oscope, the kind with pluggable chassis. There's just something about tools designed by engineers specifically for engineers where everything just feels perfect and everything just worked. If it weren't for weighing a hundred pounds and drawing half a kilowatt every oscope would be a Tektronix 531.

Somehow I did electronics for over 30 years before buying a top of the line digital Hakko soldering station. I was so dumb, I should have invested in something of that quality level decades ago. Its perfectly repeatably capable of anything; after some flux cleaning I've had people ask if I own a wave soldering machine given a couple hundred perfect and identical joints on a board. Its weightless in my hand, perfect heating, ESD proof, and a joy to use. It cannot be improved.

im_ok_at_coding 3 days ago 0 replies      
Satori Reader (https://satorireader.com/)A tool to help Japanese Learners by providing Japanese articles that let you automatically look up words, phrases, and consolidate them into a review card list in order review at a later date.

This comes from a developer of some apps that already exists for mobile devices called "Human Japanese" and "Human Japanese Intermediate".

I've been learning Japanese for a year and a half now, and this site is hands down the most enjoyable experience I have ever had the opportunity to use. It provides audio with the articles, provides look ups for words in line, it allows you to add words seamlessly to your review list, it is suuuppper awesome on my mobile device (my primary review tool),and it is just amazing. Even better is the review cards are done within context instead of being the words by themselves, and it goes out of its way to provide many different types of articles.

I absolutely love this site.

My only regret about it is that I'm not using it enough, and that's just because I'm not being diligent enough with my team.

It is seriously such a wonderful experience.

bhollan 3 days ago 0 replies      
When I was an electrician aboard a volunteer ship, I bought some Swedish work pants that saved me SO much walking. It was like wearing a tool belt all the time, but WAY more comfortable. I could carry tools, supplies, a notebook, cell phone, everything. It was amazing.

I also had a knife I used for work and the pants had a special pocket at your knee especially for your knife. It was so perfect because it was always available. I could be ankles-deep, laying on my side, in some wall or other, but I just reach down and grab my knife if I need to cut something.

Both not exactly what I had, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy them again:https://www.blaklader.uk/en/product/15001370-trousers-crafts...https://morakniv.se/en/product/pro-s/

thecupisblue 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nexus 5. Marvelous beauty of a phone. Red panda is especially beautiful. Screen size was just about right at the time, the way the screen blent into the bezels was amazing, the ergonomics were awesome.
traek 3 days ago 2 replies      
Pentel Graph Gear 1000: https://www.jetpens.com/Pentel-Graph-Gear-1000-Drafting-Penc...

Best mechanical pencil I've ever used. You can tell a lot of thought has been put into every aspect of its design. The Rotring 800 is similarly well-designed, but I prefer the grip of the Pentel.

CodeWriter23 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love a good Estwing hammer. Both the newer rubber handle or the old school handle made from ovals of leather. The simple single piece forging never breaks like hammers with wooden or fiberglass handles.
rkangel 3 days ago 4 replies      
Google Chromecast

Takes a quite complicated set of things going on (control signals from phone, data signals from internet), and turns them into a seamless intuitive experience.

I find the initial setup process particularly excellent. Getting a device with no user input onto a wifi network would normally be a nightmare, but the magic they do with setting up a temporary access point on the device is excellent.

bch 3 days ago 0 replies      
The pouring end of a stainless Bialetti stovetop espresso pot[0]. Beautiful, precise, never a drip. Amazing.

[0] http://www.thehomestoreauckland.co.nz/images/_db/MwA1ADkAMAA...

kagamine 3 days ago 2 replies      
iPod Shuffle, the little almost square ones.

So easy to operate all of the functions on it that it can be done without ever taking it out of your pocket. Navigate through playlists without having to look at it all. Battery life lasts seemingly forever. It made commuting by public transport in the cold so very much better than fiddling with the UI on a phone. And training meant not having to carry a huge and heavy phone when running because it clips onto your pockets-less training clothes somewhere.

Hands down the best designed device I have ever used.

Steel_Phoenix 4 days ago 0 replies      
Norpro 917 Nylon Turner spatula.I just use it for serving or frying things up in a pan. I don't know why everyone else makes long spatulas that are either floppy or hard metal. It feels silly, but I was so happy to find a replacement after I destroyed my beloved spatula that I bought a pile of them and gave them to everyone I know who eats.
rs86 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use this as a keyring. It is a bottle opener with a drum key in a single piece.


klenwell 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm impressed with the new design of water coolers. It's been a while since I've been in an office with a real water cooler as opposed to a Keurig-like device connected directly to the waterline.

But at my new office, we have a good old-fashioned water cooler. Except that it's a newfangled water cooler with a redesigned interface between cooler and water jug. Now, instead of peeling a wax lid off the top of the jug and spilling a couple cups of water as you throw it on the cooler, you just pull off a sticker and sort of plug it into the water cooler. No more water spills.

It seems so simple and obvious. Yet how many Olympic-sized swimming pools full of water did we have to spill before someone designed it? I love it.

Here's the first video I could find that shows one of them in action (in 3D!):


v4n4d1s 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. Nokia N9, it was the perfect device, hardware was perfectly fitted to the software and vice versa.

2. DasKeyboard Model S Ultimate.

icc97 2 days ago 0 replies      

- Cateye bicycle lights

- Cateye Astrale wired cadence cycle computer: all the information I need and nothing more

- '98 Specialized Stumpjumper: My balance is useless and this bike is the only one I can ride comfortably without holding the handlebars. I forever feel like I'm going faster that I really am. Solid steel frame made in Japan, zero suspension

- Brooks saddles

- Brompton folding bicycles. No other bike folds up so naturally.

Kitchen equipment

- My current Kenwood Kmix Kettle [0] is the best designed / most solid / prettiest I've used so far. The main down issue is that it's made in China. The handle is stainless steel - so won't break over the years. Very nice shape and lovely colours.

- Kenwood Major mixers. Especially old ones, but even the modern Chinese made ones are still good quality.

- Dualit stainless steel toaster [1]. Simple lever mechanism for putting the bread in, simple dial timer. Served as a toaster in my University halls and always worked and easy to use whilst hungover.


- Pentel refill leads and the parellelgram shaped packets they come in. (Made in Japan still)

- I was a fan of the Pentel automatic pencils back in school - the black 0.5mm one, but I kept losing them.

- Maglite torches. Tried buying a fancy ass Thrunite mega-lumens torch, but I prefer the simplicity of Maglite.

 [0]: http://www.kenwoodworld.com/en-int/products/kmix/kmix-kettles/kmix-traditional-kettle-skm035a [1]: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dualit-2-Slot-Classic-Toaster-Stainless/dp/B00008BQZE/

l0b0 3 days ago 2 replies      
The Fisher Space Pen. Small enough to carry in your pocket without even noticing it, no sharp edges, unbreakable and trivially refillable. And it writes, too!
huffmsa 3 days ago 1 reply      
Zippo Lighters.

Easy to use (no button to hold down, just spin the wheel), easy to do maintenance, will light unless you got it really really wet or forgot to refill it.

MrTonyD 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really miss simple old thermostats. For a few years, they used a simple combination of two manual controls - one for temperature and a couple more for start and end times for maintaining that temperature. Made it easy to turn off at night and while I was at work.

No worries about power outages. No worries about WiFi. No need to keep the user guide around. No need to worry about whether guests would be able to figure it out. No batteries to run down. No programming/re-programming hell. No dependency on updates being bug free. I can't believe how horrible thermostats have become - I think most people have forgotten how easy and effective they used to be.

voltagex_ 3 days ago 1 reply      
* After breaking numerous glass ones: https://www.amazon.com/Bodum-Columbia-Stainless-Thermal-17-O...

* The USB charger that came with the Nexus 4 - it's only been replaced because I finally got a decent QuickCharge charger.

* A Grundig AM/FM radio with Aux-in, still going strong after 10+ years as a bathroom speaker. One dial broke off. Oops. Still one of the best sounding speakers I have in my house - possibly due to it being wooden

* Yamaha NX-P100 Bluetooth speaker - used to use it for the APT-X capability, now I use it because it supports 3.5mm jacks, and USB sound input. Practically bulletproof although the battery life isn't as good as it was.

shravanj 1 day ago 0 replies      
-Herman Miller Aeron (the original and remastered models): thoughtful design and very comfortable, albeit pricey

-2013 Retina MacBook Pro: my daily laptop and still to date the best laptop I have ever used

-Logitech Performance MX: the cheaper and older alternative to the MX Master but is still a high quality mouse

-Rolex GlideLock Bracelet: possibly the greatest stainless steel bracelet to ever go on a watch. the balance of its form, fit, and function is simply unmatched.

-The North Face Apex Elevation Jacket: not too bulky but stays very warm

-Pentel Hi-Polymer Erasers: superlative erasers that are reasonably cheap

sprocketonline 2 days ago 0 replies      
Something I use and love is a chopping board and knife set: https://www.josephjoseph.com/en-us/index-with-knives

In terms of parts it has exactly the same as any other; 4 knives, 4 boards and a block.

It's simple but it's exceptionally well designed. Without meaning to sound like an informercial, I'll mention some of the improvements over the standard. Firstly, it's colour coded for improved food safety, with matching logos on the board to help understand the semantics of the colours. The knife blade sizes/shapes are matched with the food types and similarly coloured.

You can throw it all, including the block, in the dishwasher. The block is open ended to the bottom to allow it to drain (I hate those blocks that let damp, dirt and bacteria accumulate at the bottom of the knife holes). The block also holds the boards apart, to prevent spread of bacteria and allow them to air dry.

The boards can be flipped around, and the knives moved to match. This doesn't sound like much, but it reveals the designer having thought about the ergonomics of taking the board out and always using (and wearing down) the same side of the board. Allowing it to be flipped and the knives to fit into corresponding flipped sockets is actually pretty clever.

A lot of thought has gone into it and without adding any complexity (sensors, motors, extra parts) or much manufacturing cost, they've kept it simple and greatly improved upon the standard (and probably selling it with a much higher markup). It's an example of the kind of applied design thinking I appreciate.

Eric_WVGG 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bench made pocket knife with their "axis" locking mechanism.

Never thought I would be a knife guy, but I was given one gen years ago and I'm still smitten with this thing. There is nothing quite like the snapping sound when it opens perfectly.

dbg31415 4 days ago 1 reply      
My old Honda S2000. Best car ever.

* Why The Honda S2000 Is A Future Classic || http://jalopnik.com/why-the-honda-s2000-is-a-future-classic-...

Insanity 3 days ago 1 reply      
My G9x mouse. I got it shortly after release, so it is about 8 years old now.

It is still going strong and the most comfortable mouse I have ever used. There is nothing that I dislike about it - apart from not being able to buy it anymore.

taneq 3 days ago 1 reply      
My Weidmuller Stripax wire stripper. Simple, reliable, works for a wide range of wire gauges, built-in wire cutter. Feels good to use.
jimmies 4 days ago 5 replies      
Aesthetically pleasing:

- The Palm Pre (1st edition). It is an absolutely amazing, brilliant piece of hardware (especially back in 2009) that fits just right in my hand like a pebble. The curved screen is brilliant to the eyes and to the touch. It also has an interface that is not cluttered and busy like shit in other mainstream OSes then, and now.

But I mainly like things that are designed for ease of maintenance:

- The iPhone 4s and iPhone 5. Like the iPhone or hate it, but the iPhone is a marvelous engineering feat. First, the amount of components it could hold. Second, how strong and robust it is for such a small body. Third, how easy it is to replace the most vulnerable component, the screen.

- The iPod Nano 2nd Edition. It is such a timeless design that is extremely small and practical. It is really easy to open up the iPod Nano should you need to replace the battery, too.

- Dell Chromebook 13 and Acer Chromebook 720: It took 8 screws to open them and get to the battery, CMOS, RAM, SSD, CPU, WLAN card.

- Sony Walkmans. It was an eye-opening experience to see a player that is barely bigger than a tape, with features packed in it in the era of tapes, moving motors, pulleys, cogs and such.

But my most admired understated design has to be the Thinkpad line.

About 10 years ago, when computers were hot, clunky, and easy to break; I had a friend asking me to look at her coffee spilled Thinkpad T42 or T43 (I think). I just moved to the US for college for a month and had only a screwdriver toolset. Thankfully to its brilliant design [1], it only took a single screwdriver to lift the whole keyboard and touchpad up and get to everything, including the CPU. And the keyboard was spill resistant, so not that much liquid leaked either. I asked my roommate to take me to the nearest Radioshack to get a tube of heat spreader, and dried the whole thing with a hairdryer. It worked like new.

I could still remember the horror of opening Dell D6x0 laptops at my college IT department. What a fucking joke of a design - there is nothing good I could say about those "business machines" on the inside. It got to the point that if anything went wrong with those computers, the IT department just called the "Dell guy" to go fix it.

5 years ago, I even bet my roommate to pour a cup of water on a running Thinkpad. It survived.

And the Thinkpads now are barely different from the Thinkpads then and the Thinkpads from the beginning. It says something about the design, does it?

1: https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/IBM+ThinkPad+T42+Teardown/29...

toomanybeersies 3 days ago 0 replies      
More Knives (http://morakniv.se/en/). They're super ergonomic, really hard wearing, and great steal. And best of all, they're about 1/4 the price of any equivalent blade.

Also, Mercator knives (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_K55K), I carry one every day, and use it most days. Good steel and shape, and super thin so they fit in any pocket.

wallflower 1 day ago 0 replies      
Bonavita tea kettle. Set the temperature exactly.


akshatpradhan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not affiliated in any way with this website, but I've been purchasing products recommended by www.ConsumerSearch.com since 2007 and I've been extremely pleased with all of their recommendations.

Some of those recommendations have been with me for 10 years and the designs are still easy on my brain.

phamilton 3 days ago 1 reply      
The original Amarok. Amarok 2 killed the simplicity. The original had a great "now playing" queue and decent search.
drew-y 3 days ago 3 replies      
The 1996 Mazda Miata. Super simple, reliable and fun to drive.
josephpmay 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Juul

I don't smoke, but this is literally one of the best designed gadgets I've ever seen. It's beautiful, smaller than a cigarette, self-explanatory to use, holds a full day's worth of battery, and charges quickly. Instead of using e-juice, Pax developed nicotine salt cartridges for it, making it both simpler and hit much more like a cigarette than other vapes. I know multiple people who've instantly quit smoking cold-turkey after getting a Juul.

Others: Apple headphones with W1 Bluetooth chips (AirPods, Beats X, and Beats Studio 3), Teenage engineering OP-1, Palm WebOS

sputknick 3 days ago 1 reply      
A properly designed kettlebell. The one below is what I use, but other companies also make good ones. The weight transfers around your arm naturally, it's very hard to injure yourself using it. Two indications of a good one are: handle is not flat, and pounds are in 18 pound increments (this comes from an old Russian unit of measure called a "pood".)https://christiansfitnessfactory.com/cff-black-monster-russi...
psonic 3 days ago 4 replies      
Some djing/music related stuff:

Roland 808/909Technics 1200 MK2A&H Xone mixer serieShure SM58Ikea Expedit

buzzybee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nobody has mentioned the Minimoog Model D and its modern variants(Voyager, Sub37, etc.), so I will. As synthesizer instruments go, it's astoundingly hard to match the number of "sweet spots" the genuine article has. There are lots of synths with more complex architectures, polyphony and timbral possibilities, that are more affordable and ship with lots of presets, and there are lots of bad digital knockoffs that don't reproduce the sound correctly or correctly handle parameter changes, but an original one in good condition sounds good from nearly any starting point and allows for continuous development of a sound just by holding one note and turning knobs. You don't "program" a Moog and then play, you "perform" it as you play - and that's a key difference between their style and what most other synth makers put out.
kar-ma 3 days ago 1 reply      
CCTV Camera at Dutch train stations.

Yes, sounds crazy, but these guys designed a cctv camera that doesn't feel intimidating and big brother-ish but feels more friendly and pleasing. I absolutely love looking at them while at the station. It was designed by a dutch Design firm called Fabrique. You can read more about it here: http://designobserver.com/article.php?id=38335

JohnJamesRambo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd have to say my Moto X first generation was the best phone I've ever used. I leave for other phones or break the screen but always go back to it and buy another one used. It is just the perfect size and fast and everything works as it should (except for a few flaws like the headphone jack which craps out after extended use).
sky_projektor 4 days ago 0 replies      
Combs! Best designed, as somebody said, haven't changed for centuries!
johnchristopher 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't have the reference at hand at the moment but at work we have a microwave that has one wheel to select wattage and one wheel to select duration (30 secs increment).

This UX fits every frozen/industrial food because it corresponds to the manufacturer's cooking information (eg: 3minutes at 700watts, 5 minutes at 500watts, etc.).

At home I have a monster with two different alarm settings, not wattage bug a 10 grade scale, a keypad but the only way to set up time is through the plus and minus button, etc.

tyingq 3 days ago 1 reply      
Leatherman tools. Refreshingly usable compared to Swiss army knives.
mrcsparker 3 days ago 1 reply      
My Steelcase Gesture - it is the first chair that I can ignore. It feels so natural.

Oculus Rift - for the first generation, it is surprisingly comfortable.

Oculus Touch - I can see my hands and it feels natural.

Lexus es350 - great car for sitting in Houston traffic. I wish that I could pull back the steering wheel a bit more so that I could stretch out my legs, bit it is still really comfortable.

Ibanez Jem - my luthier makes fun of this guitar, but it is a dream to play. Flat neck, large fretboard. It sounds amazing.

Nest - just works. Took 5 minutes to install and it just worked

Roverlord 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Logitech MX Revolution mouse, c2005.

Gone but never forgotten.

ASipos 3 days ago 0 replies      
Galaxy Nexus with stock Android 4.x.

More precisely, when I bought it almost five years ago I was simply shocked at how much more its UI seemed to have been designed with actual phone use in mind, compared to, say, my former late-Symbian Nokia E50.

Typical example: the E50 had the well-known idiosyncratic Nokia 'profiles', whereas the Nexus only had the fragment that users usually relied on -- that is, an easy switch between full-settings/vibrate-only/absolute-silence.

antisol 3 days ago 1 reply      
My Amiga 2000. I love it with all my heart. It'll still be going strong when your modern doohickeys become totally useless due to planned-obselescence. It'll outlive me.
Tloewald 3 days ago 0 replies      
My picks would be:

First hot water jug with a round base (so you didn't need to get a specific orientation).

Apple's MagSafe connector (even though it can occasionally be tough to clean grit out)

The Mercedes power seat controls (Don Norman devotes some space to them in The Design of Everyday Things)

The Leatherman (the Swiss Army knife done right)

The original Macintosh mouse

The PowerBook 100

Whichever PowerBook introduced the trackpad.

Whichever MacBook introduced the buttonless trackpad.

The iPhone 4

Google search

Google maps




Studio/32 (Deluxe Paint for the Mac, but better)

TiVo (series 2 before they lost the plot)

The Nikon FM2 (or pick a body in that era)

lobster_johnson 3 days ago 1 reply      
Jura superautomatic coffee machines.

Jura is a Swiss brand that is like the Apple of superautomatics. Their range extends from small, somewhat expensive consumer machines to rather expensive, excellent machines for industrial use. They're really solid, stylish workhorses, with excellent availability of spare parts and repair shops (though I've never needed any).

I have the ENA Micro 9 [1], which comes with an excellent "cappuccinatore" frothing mechanism for milk espressos (unlike those frothers that spin a little whisk around in the milk, the frother uses pressurized air). The step-up model, the ENA 9 One Touch, is not worth the higher price (it's not even as good-looking), while the little brother ENA Micro 1 is only good for coffee (no hot water or milk frothing).

[1] https://us.jura.com/en/homeproducts/machines/ENA-Micro-9-OT-...

kagamine 3 days ago 1 reply      
Land Rover Series I, II & III. Much like a Jeep, original Willys and CJ, the roof comes off, the panels come off, the body is aluminium, the engine and electrics are simple enough for most people to fix. Most of what can be mechanical like the fuel pump is mechanical, not electric. They are high enough up off the ground that they can be serviced without a jack, for oil and anti-freeze etc. Truly a utility vehicle.
oxguy3 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a big fan of my Logitech M510 wireless mouse: https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/wireless-mouse-m510

It runs for ages on just two AAs (their website promises a 2-year life, which honestly sounds about right from my experience). It's very ergonomic, fits my hand perfectly. The back/forward buttons are positioned perfectly -- you can easily press them when you want to, but you'll never press them accidentally. The scroll wheel is nice and even has horizontal scrolling (not something I need often, but nice on the rare occasion I'm in Photoshop or whatever). The USB receiver is tiny enough that I can leave it in my laptop all the time. Logitech's been selling the M510 for years with almost no design changes, because it simply doesn't need improving.

jasonkostempski 3 days ago 0 replies      
Those toilet paper holders that are simply just hooks.
vatsal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Muji Gel Pen - https://www.amazon.com/MUJI-Ballpoint-0-7mm-color-10pcs/dp/B...

I love this pen, makes me want to write more! The simple minimalist design of the pen (and many other Muji products) is something I admire a lot.

kasperset 4 days ago 0 replies      
freekh 3 days ago 2 replies      
I loved my Mini Cooper: it was surprisingly versatile, had arguably beautiful estetics (me and my wife felt cool while sitting in it at least), was fun to drive in the small alpine roads, etc For us: 2 (at the time) DINKs living in the middle of Europe, it was a thing of beauty. I bought one with 0 fancy gadgets and I loved that about it. By far the best purchase (albeit expensive) I've made.
antirez 3 days ago 1 reply      
The iRobot Roomba is one of the best electronic devices I own. The durability is simply impressive, only the battery breaks eventually since well, there is no escape for this. Even without using crazy AI, it kinda works well, and is one thing that when released looked pretty revolutionary but is actually useful instead of being just a fake induced need.
hackathonguy 3 days ago 1 reply      
The way I see it, great design is about meshing seamlessly with the end user. If an item or software feel like they extend me they're exquisitely well designed. Here are several such things:

- MacBook Pro 13" with Touchbar.The MacBook Pro is the first laptop I've used that doesn't feel like a tool I need to struggle with and manipulate to get the job done. It's powerful enough so I don't need to worry about system resources, light enough that I can carry it everywhere, and sturdy enough that I'm not constantly worried about breaking it. The list goes on - this is truly a magnificent computer.

- This leather messenger bag.


Dunno if it's available in the states, but this leather bag by Emanuel has been my companion for five years, and is only getting better with time. It has enough room for anything I need, is brilliantly compartmentalized, and is super comfy to take anywhere.

- Kindle, the one with the keyboard. I currently own Paperwhite and it's almost there, but not quite. eInk is a brilliant invention, but it's the Kindle's design that made it what it is today - my go-to solution for reading, anywhere, anytime.

Moving on to software:

- Mad Mimi is a simple, lovely email newsletter service that is brilliantly designed, and which pioneered the drag-and-drop email design interface.

- Basecamp. I love their no-bullshit approach to design, their ability to ignore current "design trends" to focus on simpler aesthetics, and the boldness with which they communicate their promise. It's fantastic.

Might think about some more examples a little later. :-)

MisterBastahrd 3 days ago 2 replies      
Any cast iron piece of cookware.

They're non-stick. They're durable. They will outlast your grandchildren if you take good care of them.

Any gooseneck kettle.

The water flows from the bottom of the kettle so you're assured a steady stream of water.

Zojurushi electric grills.

I've owned several of them. I usually buy one and then give it away when I move. They have all performed perfectly, and every single one is still operational.

Iwatani ZA-3HP gas stove

I live in a warmer climate and prefer to relax while preparing food outside with a stogie in one hand, a glass of rye in the other, and a cooking spoon... somewhere. This thing cranks out the heat. I use it to sear steaks, do stir fry, etc.

Joule sous vide device

This thing is small and beautiful, and unlike a lot of other sous vide products, it can operate in only a few inches of water.

Grado SR-80 headphones

There's nothing remotely close to these things when considering quality of sound versus price... and they look great too

planteen 3 days ago 0 replies      
The game of Tetris.
ComputerGuru 3 days ago 0 replies      
My Bunn ST Velocity coffee machine [0]. I bought it on September 1, 2011 and have used it every single morning (and then some) since. It has no buttons, no configurations, no options. It makes coffee inside of 120 seconds (because it keeps the water pre-heated). It does not have a glass carafe to break, it does not burn the coffee since it does not use a heated plate but instead pours the coffee into a thermos that keeps it hot for hours. <3

It's not available on Amazon any more (where I got it originally), but I'm not sure if it's actually discontinued or just unavailable. I hope if the former that it's just been replaced by a slightly updated model, but I don't know.

UPDATE: There's still the STX model available [1], it's a bit more garish looking but it seems to be otherwise identical.

0: http://amzn.to/2mdtWs3

1: http://amzn.to/2lZxlhT

tech2 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Faber Castell Alpha-matic pencil. Auto-feed, good cut-metal grip. I found this in a field in the early 90's, it still writes wonderfully, the feed mechanism is amazing. It's a device that's so perfectly fit-for-purpose. If I had to replace it I'd be looking at spending a LOT of money these days :(

Honda Civic SiR II (EG chassis) - Not hugely powerful, but great fun to drive, everything in the right place, fold-flat seats in the rear, plastic clamshell backs on the front seats, small pull-out tray in the rear, 6 speaker stereo, good suspension design, great little engine, rear gate design allows you to fit quite large items in there. An awesome little car from the early 90's.

The MX518 mouse, as mentioned elsewhere.

zip ties. I always have some on me. They've saved me countless times, from securing things in place to replacing a broken jubilee clip on one of my current car's hoses so I didn't have to limp home.

lobster_johnson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Re writing and drawing materials, I love Kunst & Papier's minimalist sketch/notebooks [1].

Aside from having great paper quality, they have a rigid cardboard cover, and the spine is fabric and flexible, so you can open the book completely flat over and over without destroying it.

They come in all sorts of sizes, from small to absolutely huge, and the minimalist design makes them look very clean on a shelf.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/index%3...

wj 4 days ago 1 reply      
Weber Kettle grill (love their smoker as well but points knocked off for cleanup).

I have always found Microsoft keyboard and mice to be well designed.

pricechild 3 days ago 0 replies      
HAProxy & its documentation especially.

It's a fantastic piece of software.

0xcb0 3 days ago 0 replies      
I probably could list a handful of items, but the first one who comes up immediately is my TEK keyboard. Since nearly two years I'm using this ergonomic keyboard, and it's just great. It has a real steep learning curve and will drive you insane for the first few "weeks." But after some time you will love it. I can now type blind and type much faster than on any keyboard before. My hands rest in one place all the time only my fingers move. For me, this keyboard is a great design. It has its price, but for something that I constantly use to earn my income, it is more than worth it. The only negative thing is that you get confused when using a "normal" keyboard. But after some keystrokes, your brain will switch modes, and you can type as before :)
vatotemking 4 days ago 2 replies      
The side-stand of a motorcycle that swings backward to retract. Such a simple yet life saving design.

For tech stuff, checkout Windows Surface Hub.

anonlawyer 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nikon FE manual focus SLR. Every control a real photographer needs, nothing you don't. Toughmine is 35+ years old and works as well as the day it left the factory. The match needle exposure meter is better than anything that came before or after. I love mine, even if shooting film is a pain in 2017.
nsebban 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most perfectly designed thing is IMO the HB or 2B paper pencil. This kind : http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/pictures/20000/velka/pen...
golergka 3 days ago 0 replies      
Traktor Z1 and X1 controllers. There's been a lot of different options for DJ controllers lately, but these two have been a perfect fit for my style and the music I play. They're certainly bad for a hip-hop turntablist, but for a steady BPM 4/4 house/techno set they're just perfect. They're very small, which is perfect for a crowded DJ booth in a bar. They're very easy and fast to setup, with built-in audio interface - which means that there's less gear to haul. They only have the necessary functions - which means that instead of wasting my time on what the sync button can do automatically, I can spend more effort on the human touch. And most importantly, they're modular - which means I'll be buying another pair to control 2 more decks pretty soon.
mlkmt 4 days ago 0 replies      
Midori traveler's notebook. A great example of wabi-sabi design.
pidg 3 days ago 1 reply      
I love my Pro-ject RPM 1 turntable. It's such a simple design - stripped back to the bare bones of what's needed to play records.


ksec 3 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at all the replies I realize how everyone seems to have one thing or two that really love and remember. It is a little worrying for me because I dont seems to be perfectly satisfies with any.

The only thing I am perfectly happy with (so far) is Cutlery from MUji.

Everything else are either too big, Air Con, Air Purifier, Dehumidifier, why cant these be combined together? How many boxes and STB do I need hanging out of my TV? Why cant it be ONE. Cooker, Microwave / Oven that is not easy to use or clean. Dyson that is good at suction power but plastic and ugly. Heck Even Kettle, I wanted a Crystal Clear Glass Kettle with a handle that last longer instead of its plastic handle getting greasy and sticky after 3 - 4 years.

May be I am just too picky?

sizzzzlerz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wireshark network analyzer software. A true swiss army knife utility for capturing and analyzing network traffic. I've used on Macs, Linux boxes, and Windows, and they all are robust and operate identically. It has been a very valuable tool for me.
elchief 4 days ago 1 reply      
I use my Wii every day, usually for Netflix or MarioKart. Don't like the Wii U, but I think the Wii was very well made, and is fun and natural to use

My 16-year old Subaru Impreza is also an amazing tank of a car. We had crazy snow in Vancouver this year, and I swear it drives better in the snow than on dry asphalt

dbg31415 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ikea Jerker Desk.

* Ikea's Crime Against Humanity - An Ode to the Jerker - Marketing Mojo || https://www.marketing-mojo.com/blog/ikeas-crime-against-huma...

Cub3 2 days ago 0 replies      
The first thing I though of was a Trangia Stove [0], simple and clever design, cheap to run, has saved me a few times in the bush and built to last (still have the one I inherited from my father).

[0]: http://trangia.se/en/camping-stoves-series-27/

rm_-rf_slash 3 days ago 0 replies      
Shopping at Aldi. They display all their groceries on the same pallets they use for storage, and they're ruthless about cutting down cost and shopping time.

A shopping trip at Aldi takes half as long and costs half as much as other grocery stores. Excellent design.

netrap 2 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't used a Mac in a long time but BBEdit left a lasting impression on me. I really quite like it, but I use Windows mostly :(
cafebabbe 3 days ago 1 reply      
The legendary Nokia 3310. Military grade build quality, and an amazing UI at the time.
ArlenBales 3 days ago 0 replies      
The FlipBelt - https://flipbelt.com

Ingenious and works perfect. Lets you run/cycle with your phone/keys/cards/food-gels without any discomfort. I can barely tell it's there, and certainly beats having your phone strapped to your arm and looking funny and offsetting weight on one arm. The belt is invisible under my t-shirt.

I don't know if FlipBelt were the first to come out with product, there's other brands on Amazon if you look, but they were the only ones I found when I first bought it years ago.

Kaibeezy 4 days ago 0 replies      
Vertx tactical trousers / shorts - cargo without the bulk, inner magazine pockets hold phones steady rather than flailing around, gussets and pleats for flex

Hario V60 coffee cone - perfect results, cheap

Ball tritium watches - a watch you can always read in the dark, even after 14 hours of Arctic night

grogenaut 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just about any good kitchen knife.

Pen/Pencil and Paper.

A Book.

A Cup

A Towel

A Blanket

A Pillow

What do these have in common, they're so well designed (over the years) that you don't even think about them.

rachkovsky 1 day ago 0 replies      
conjecTech 4 days ago 1 reply      

Zojirushi mugs

Creative zen mp3 players

Staedtler writing utensils


Linux utils, particularly those born out of Bell Labs



kar-ma 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Muji wall-mounted CD player.

The simplicity in design and the shift in perspective that it brought has been deeply impactful. I study in a design school, and the number of times I have seen it appear on students' collages, inspiration/mood boards, etc is way too high.

P.S. Makes me wonder if that can be used as a metric for how influential a design is. Like how credibility of a research paper is based on number of times it has been cited. If there's a way to gather number of times a product has appeared on inspiration/mood board of other products, to determine its influence.

l33r 3 days ago 0 replies      
-Concept2 Rowing Machine or SkiErg2

-5.11 Rush 72 Backpack

-AirSense 10 by ResMed

-Casio Duro MDV106

-NSF Wire Shelving

-Amazon Alexa

-Beats Wireless Studio (1st Generation)

-Plantronic Voyager 5200 Headset & Case

-Amazon Kindle

-Microsoft Surface 3

LVB 3 days ago 1 reply      
Redbox. Concept and kiosk. I like the app for finding and reserving movies; my mom, who has never used a smartphone, uses the kiosks easily. They took a familiar business, modernized it a little bit, slashed the overhead, and people seem to like it.
julian_t 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lowden acoustic guitars. Never found anything to match the design (never mind sound) of my '82 L23.

La Pavoni coffee maker. Replace O-rings and give it a service every couple of years and it'll last forever.

Copper cooking pans, especially old ones by Leon Jaeggi. Amazing cookware that will last forever, given the odd retinning.

0xcde4c3db 3 days ago 1 reply      
The standard, boring toggle-style light switch (US). Inexpensive, standard, durable, easy to replace, and extremely easy to operate. Basically the polar opposite of the average phone/laptop/game console/etc. power switch.
tex0 3 days ago 3 replies      
The Microsoft IntelliMouse 1.1a. It's a shame it's no longer on sale.
btschaegg 3 days ago 0 replies      
- Lagiole knifes (more optical design / less practicality)

- Victorinox SwissTool (more practical)

- Stabilo Worker Pens (amazingly low friction for a ballpoint pen)

Edit: - Razer: Merkur Dovo Futur Duoclip (Its predecessor was an overdesigned, brittle mess. But this one is great.)

dbg31415 3 days ago 2 replies      
Just about anything Razer.

Razer Taipan & Razer BlackWidow are wonderful. Totally reliable, precise, and pleasantly tactile.

I've had a few Razer mice over the years and the earlier ones had a rubberize finish that would wear off eventually... had my Taipan for 4 years or so and it still feels like it's brand new. Trackpads will work in a pinch, but after you get used to a high-DPI mouse it's hard to use anything else. Same for mechanical keyboards... ha, maybe we should tell people not to get started... you'll hate typing on anything else after you've used one for a while.

BuckRogers 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. Apple iPhone 4 and newer (hardware & software)

2. Commodore 64 (greatest desktop PC design for many reasons from hardware, software and documentation)

3. Apple Macbook Pro 2016 and all unibody MBPs (hardware)

I also really like my Victorinox Waiter Swiss Army Knife. The corkscrew is better than on my Leatherman and I use these at least once a week as we take a bottle of wine out to dinner.

DonHopkins 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tom Bihn's bags. Not only stylish and usefully designed, but practically indestructible!


kyriakos 4 days ago 0 replies      
Blendtec total blender. Works as advertised, never says no. Feels professional.
akavel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've fallen in love with the Parker Jotter pen (the full-steel version) http://www.parkerpen.com/en-US/jotter-us. Stumbled into it by accident (a marketing/promotional gift). Never knew it's apparently "a classic".

Other than that, I'm very fond of my Surface Pro 4 (the lowest-specced but fanless version). Though only since I've got my first one replaced, as it was constantly crashing.

JeremyMorgan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lately, the first thing that comes to mind is the ShuttlePro v2


Recommended highly by other people editing video, and the first time I used it, I felt like an expert. Once I got the keys mapped that I like and started getting good with it, it's become an extension of my hand.

Best $100 I've spent on technology in a long time.

lisper 3 days ago 1 reply      
Coral Common Lisp on a Mac Plus. Still viable today, over thirty years later, as Clozure Common Lisp.

The Sharp EL-5813 (http://www.rskey.org/el5813). I still have the one I bought in 1980. Works like a charm. I can't even remember the last time I changed the batteries.

The original Keurig K-10 mini (the one without the DRM).

dpcan 3 days ago 1 reply      
I have a thin, fold-out, apx 2 inch box cutter knife that fits perfectly in my small jeans pocket. I need it around work all day long and it's always there for me and I don't feel it otherwise. It locks when it flips out too which I appreciate, and there's a button to press to safely fold it back in. It just has such an elegant, simple, and safe design, I love it.
richardw 4 days ago 1 reply      
Earhoox. https://earhoox.com/

For whatever reason, all earphones fall out of my ears. Exercise, walking around the house, whatever - they just don't work for me. The Earhoox sort that 100%.

Only issues:I had to use a nail-clipper to cut the rough mold edges.They do fall off the earbuds quite easily when e.g. in pockets. But if I lost them, I'd order another pair that day.

gravelc 3 days ago 0 replies      
My Seiko SARY57 mechanical (automatic) watch.

Beautifully made, looks great, does what it's supposed to do, not too expensive. Simply can't ask for more design-wise in my opinion.


Kindle Paperwhite probably comes a close 2nd.

cnnsucks 3 days ago 0 replies      
Walther PPQ M2 9mm. We're in the midst of a small arms golden age right now and this pistol is the closest to a local optimum as currently exists.

You asked.

pnathan 3 days ago 1 reply      

it's designed to grow and change, and it does so. It has the Quality Without A Name.

nodesocket 3 days ago 0 replies      
My Tag Heuer watch[1]. Extremely well made and beautifully designed and crafted. Had mine for 13 years (daily wear) and it still looks fantastic.

[1] - https://storage.googleapis.com/attachments.outofpawn.com/att...

subinsebastien 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Nexus Prime. I have been using this particular mobile phone for so long, because of its clean physical design and stock Android experience. https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-I9250-Galaxy-Nexus-Unlocked/d...
lessclue 2 days ago 0 replies      
Muji kitchenware. Their bowls, spoons, forks. High quality steel, beautiful dull-silver finish, even and smooth corners, no unnecessary crevices or embellishments. Just perfect. The off-white ceramic bowls, whew.
sz4kerto 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stokke/Variable rocking kneeling chair.


After all the pricey Aeron crap that is actually _bad_ for my back, this works.

strictnein 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tupperware orange peeler
codingmonkey23 2 days ago 0 replies      
I always loved the Apple G3 Powerbook for it's design. It has the silhouette of womens hips and is a piece of simplistic beauty. Also loved the two shades of spy-black they used for the body :-)
miguelrochefort 3 days ago 0 replies      
Kinesis Advantage

- Ergonomic layout

- Cherry MX Brown mechanical switches

- Key remapping

- Keyboard layout switching (QWERTY/Dvorak)

The best keyboard I've ever used. Not cheap though ($300).

mohoyt 3 days ago 1 reply      
Canon 5D3 - feels exceptional in your hand, takes fantastic photos out of the box, and with all the more advanced features just as accessible for when you need them.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket - so light, stuffs into it's inner pocket, sufficiently warm, windproof and layerable. Pretty much perfect.

martin_bech 3 days ago 0 replies      
Back in the 92, this was by far the best TV. Best remote, best everything, and worked seemlessly with a motorised stand, using the same remote.

Beovision MX6000


s_kilk 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Fender Stratocaster
sasaf5 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the most satisfying thread I have read in years :)

My contribution: Pilot Frixion pens. The ink erases with heat, which can be applied by rubbing the other end of the pen on the paper.

This pen has eliminated my need for pencils.

snizzitch 3 days ago 0 replies      
DJI Mavic Pro. Its flying capabilities are remarkable, the 4K video looks almost surreal, and all fits into a pouch the size of a medium-sized camera pouch.

Also very impressed with the build quality of various USB extended batteries, "bullet-proof" USB charging wires, and wall chargers from Anker.

0xbadf00d 3 days ago 1 reply      
Minaal Backpack - https://www.minaal.com/I got the version 1.0 with kickstarter and have used it almost daily ever since. Lovely bag with thoughtful design for daily work use or as a weekend bag.
trelliscoded 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oxo hand tools.

Hermin Miller Aerons.

My Olympus skyhawk. Literally the only piece of hardware that's going to outlive me.

The FN P90 and the 57 pistol.

The flight deck on the Sukhoi SU-34 and the Boeing 787.

Basically, anything where the design department went out and asked the customer what their biggest complaints were, then sat down to eliminate them in the design phase.

louhike 3 days ago 0 replies      
My Amazon wishlist just grew a lot.
michalpt 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me it is Nokia 3310. I could not afford it as a kid but I always "borrowed" it from my dad and play with it for a while :)
andrei_says_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Davinci Resolve is a fullly featured professional video editing and color grading suite. The free version has pretty much much everything I'll ever need For video editing.
sampo 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Jonas peeler for peeling fruit and veg


tedmiston 4 days ago 1 reply      
Herman Miller Embody chair


Muji pocket notebooks

anonlawyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nikon FE manual focus SLR. Every control a real photographer needs, nothing you don't, and the match needle exposure meter works better than anything else ever invented. Toughmine is 35+ years old and works like it's brand new.
mozumder 3 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I'd love to say iPhone or my MacBook Pro, I'd have to say the best-designed thing I've used is probably my Nikon D3x, their top-of-the-line professional SLR.

It does exactly what I want, and is so perfectly designed.

shripadk 3 days ago 1 reply      
1. Macbook Air 2013.

2. Herman-Miller Embody Chair (best chair if you have lower back problems).

3. Apple Airport Time Capsule (best backup device + router).

4. Epson L565 + WiFi. Absolutely great printer/scanner. Easy to configure and use.

5. Merkur-33C Classic (best safety razor in my opinion).

hector_ka 2 days ago 0 replies      
Spracht Konf-X Buds Active Noise Cancelling Earbuds.

Lifetrak c410 watch - battery life more than 6 months.

Moleskine Classic Notebook, Large, Squared.

nathan_long 3 days ago 0 replies      
My dad's old stereo receiver from the 70s. It was easy to connect an MP3 player invented decades later.

By contrast, my 5-year-old car has a useless built-in GPS that can't be replaced.

clumsysmurf 3 days ago 1 reply      
tuyguntn 3 days ago 0 replies      
good old Nokia phones with buttons which only does one thing exceptionally good
exabrial 3 days ago 0 replies      
My Alclair Audio custom molded IEMs. You literally haven't heard music until you have a custom pair of IEMs. I'm blown away what I hear in music that I couldn't hear before.

*Also protects my hearing from loud drummers

cjf4 3 days ago 1 reply      
Probably a Le Creuset dutch oven. Versatile, lasts forever, simple.
ljsocal 3 days ago 0 replies      
Most Patagonia products. The last 5-6 years they've greatly increased their range of offerings with no noticeable diminution of quality (from my perspective).
rmm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Lenovo x220.

Upgrade ram, add a mSSd. Rockstar

rodionos 3 days ago 0 replies      
reitanqild 3 days ago 0 replies      

Sublime text.

KDE 3 and KDE 5.

My fathers old IBM 486. (Had working suspend resume back in 95.)

The G3 back in military.

rhelsing 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vitamix Blender - The power of a lawnmower, easy to use, easy to clean, 5 year warranty. It's a power-tool.
nicpottier 3 days ago 2 replies      
Ortlieb messenger bag: https://www.ortlieb.com/en/Messenger%20Bag/

Have had one for over 10 years now, used it for bike commuting in Seattle, motorcycle commuting in Rwanda and a grocery shopping in Ecuador. It is pretty much indestructible, to the point that I wonder how they can afford to make it. The velcro is starting to stick less now but otherwise it is perfect and that seems repairable.

Gaggia Coffee Deluxe & Haro Slim Grinder: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001804CLY/https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001KOA4Q/

For roughly $400 you can get yourself a setup that will make you better latte's than 90% of coffee shops. I have a souped up PID'd Silvia with a super fancy burr grinder as well, which is also great, but the bang for the buck of the Gaggia is hard to beat and it is serviceable, so you can take it apart and descale or repair it for decades to come. The hand grinder has enough adjustability for this class of machine, produces a super consistent grind and adds a fun routine to your morning.

Dell USB-C Multi-Adapter: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012DT6KW2/

Ethernet, VGA, USB-3 and HDMI in a tiny little adapter which has a cable that folds on itself. This is a pretty perfect companion to the new MBP's and works without drivers. Really nicely done and has been reliable for me, always keep it in my bag.

Swiss Tech Utility Key: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0001EFSTI/

Always have it on my keychain, passes security in airports, super handy. Really see no reason to NOT have one of these.

Leatherman Wave: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000JCN6C8/

Others designs have come and gone but I've had one of these for 20 years and it is still going strong. Super sharp blades that keep an edge, one handed opening and tools that actually work. I really don't think anyone has improved on its design since introduction, it is the type of thing you can hand down to someone.

MaysonL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Oberon/F on the 68K Macs was the sweetest IDE I've ever used.
znpy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thinkpad X220.
fuzzfactor 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hewlett-Packard products before they started making PC's.
michalptacek 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sega Genesis/Mega Drive as a kid. I mean that console looks great even by todays standards :)
broswell 4 days ago 1 reply      
minikomi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any of the Olympus cameras designed by Yoshihisa Maitani - pen F and original OM-1 being particular standouts. Simply wonderful objects to hold and even more fun to use.
SpacemanSpiff 3 days ago 1 reply      
HP 32SII scientific calculator. I had one in high school (not sure what happened to it), recently picked one up on ebay and haven't regretted it!
csabapalfi 3 days ago 0 replies      
A babyzen yoyo stroller. Folds down to a size of a backpack so can easily bring it on board airplanes. Really light but still has a strong frame.
acrophiliac 4 days ago 0 replies      
Post-it notes
sjm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Happy Hacking Pro 2 keyboard

Fuji X-T1 & Fuji lenses with manual aperture rings (e.g. 23mm, 35mm..)

Eames chair

Slayer Espresso machine

ACME cups

Audeze LCD-3

MacBook Pro 2015

Emacs (especially org-mode, but the open-ended extensible design in general is genius)

Engineered Garments parka

drewjaja 3 days ago 0 replies      
National Microwave, still going strong after 30+ years
koja86 3 days ago 2 replies      
* grep, sort, uniq ...* Microsoft Natural Keyboard
dbg31415 4 days ago 0 replies      
2013 15-inch MBP served me very well.

Was the laptop I was most happy with.

pcvarmint 1 day ago 0 replies      
Casio FX-4000P and FX-7000G calculators
bschwindHN 3 days ago 2 replies      
- Victorinox Classic SD Pocket Knife

- Japanese toilet roll holders

- 3M Command Strips

pawadu 3 days ago 0 replies      
1. I have products from Bang & Olufsen to be exceptionally well designed. Sure, they cost fives times more but IMHO its worth it.

2. Nokia 3310

ngcazz 3 days ago 0 replies      
- the Ableton Push 2 controller- the iPod mini
miguelrochefort 3 days ago 0 replies      
- Kinesis Advantage

- Darn Tough socks

- Microsoft Surface Pro 4

- Instant Pot

- ChefSteps Joule

- Hydro Flask

- Tom Bihn 25


- ThermoWorks ThermaPen Mk4

- humangear capCAP

- Leatherman Wave

- Leatherman Squirt PS4

- Victorinox Bantam Alox

- Google Chromecast

- Fisher Space Pen

- Herman Miller Aeron

- Buff Merino Wool

- Lace Anchors

andrei_says_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
A one-hour kitchen timer. Turn the dial to the desired time and that's it.

The dial also shows the remaining time.

fredmorcos 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Leopold FC750R(T) mechanical keyboard.
jgamman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Swagelok - literally everything in the catalogue.
ChuckMcM 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yamaha KX88 keyboard. It was super heavy but excellent key "action". My SY08 is close but still not the same.
antoaravinth 3 days ago 1 reply      
I would go with Kindle and apple macbooks!
codemac 3 days ago 0 replies      
Conn 79H Trombone. Just gorgeous sound, beautiful design, and even the trombone case just seemed right. Still love it.
Brass 4 days ago 1 reply      
Pentel Client Pens. Go-Ruck Slick backpack.
cynisme 3 days ago 0 replies      
Pilot Hi-Tec C PakBoat Canoes Leica MP Opinel No. 6 Lems Boulder Boots MSR Wisperlite
AndrewOMartin 3 days ago 1 reply      
Bic Cristal Ballpoint pen. Blue.
joshscorp 3 days ago 0 replies      
Japanese toilet bidet...so clean
brett40324 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fender American Made Stratocasters

Amish rocking chairs

Audio cables by Monster

Timberland shoes

Chicago thick crust pizza:)

samsolomon 3 days ago 1 reply      
First of all, this thread is fantastic. If I wasn't designing and building interfaces, I'd love to give industrial design a shot. There are so many seemingly mundane things that we take for granted. Here's a few favorites:

YETI Rambler - 20oz


I've owned so many different insulated coffee mugs, but this is by far the best I've owned. What's particularly interesting to me about this one is the open top, I can drink from it like any to-go coffee, but the temperature stays warm for hours. Alternatively, I've filled it with ice and water and had the ice last my entire workday.

Mochi Drawstring Backpack


Drawstring backpacks tend to be pretty fickle. Often they get tangled, jam and break. I've had a Mochi drawstring back for the last three years and love it. The strings are much thicker on the Mochi. I'm not sure what is different about the design of the strings, but I have not once had a jamnot in three years.

Withings WiFi Scale


Ever since I wrestled in high school, I've been obsessed with my weight. Maybe it is a little compulsive, but I weigh myself two or three times each day. Withings has an app keeps track of your weight, body fat percentage and BMI over time. I find it fascinating to see the fluctuations and averages. You can see what the app looks like here.


Logitech K750 Solar Keyboard


I'm certain everyone here has their own opinions about keyboards. I'm a huge fan of the Logitech solar keyboard. I got sick of changing the batteries on my Apple keyboard every few months so I bought this keyboard. What's amazing is that even a room with very little light, the thing has been running without issue.

Timex Weekender Watch


Watches are pretty subjective, but I think the weekender is a fantastic buy for the money. You can generally find them for $30 to $40. You can purchase a few different nato bands, and it's like you have several different watches! One caveat is that the watch is incredibly loud. I love it because it reminds me of the clock at my grandmother's house in the country. If you're sensitive to loud watches, it's probably not the right one for you.

LeicaLatte 3 days ago 0 replies      
chadcmulligan 4 days ago 1 reply      
Dell ultrasharp monitors

Logitech trackballs

Macbook pro (2016)

prismacolor pencils

ikea furniture

zebrafish 3 days ago 0 replies      
Canvas LMS. Coming from blackboard, Canvas is a god-send.
jonbaer 3 days ago 1 reply      
- Thinkpad 701C(S) w/ butterfly keyboard

- Shouter (for Android)

- Amazon Kindle

- Leatherman Wave

- Collapsable Electric Kettle

- Esbit Stoves

- Merrell Hiking Shoes

- Moleskins

rtcoms 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nokia 1100 - World's best selling mobile phone
simooooo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dyson vaccum cleaner
meggar 3 days ago 0 replies      
A violin. 200 years old and it still worked.
ggregoire 3 days ago 0 replies      
Macbook Air 11" (I'm writing this with it)
mudil 3 days ago 2 replies      
Grado headphones.
sitkack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Toyota Corolla Wagon

Ikea all steel espresso maker

DC3 aircraft

90s era steel mountain bike

gontard 3 days ago 0 replies      
MrTortoise 3 days ago 1 reply      
Knife and fork
ianlevesque 3 days ago 0 replies      
iPod with the spinning click-wheel
clishem 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Logitech M235 wireless mouse.
kbouck 3 days ago 0 replies      
Eames Aluminum Group Management Chair
CodeWriter23 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any pre-Fiorina HP Laser Printer.
hossbeast 3 days ago 1 reply      
Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic keyboard
bookofjoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've been reading this thread since I clicked on it 3 hours ago: every contribution/comment. Wonderful stuff, I've learned SO MUCH. Time to give back here are my faves:

Fiskars all-purpose scissors (they make a L-handed version for weirdos like me, such a delight after growing up with R-handed iterations): https://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-All-purpose-Left-hand-Scissor...

Fiskars scissors with non-stick blade coating (wonderful for cutting tape) https://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-Non-stick-Titanium-Softgrip-S...

iPod nano Gen 7 [latest] (FM radio; Podcasts; video; photos; bright 2.5" screen; super-thin & light; beautiful esthetically; Bluetooth lets me run with my music without wires) http://www.apple.com/ipod-nano/

BlueAnt Bluetooth earphones: 1/6 the price of AirPods/Beats wireless; comfortable; good sound; easy to sync & operate; lightweight; they stay in; connecting cord so you don't lose one earphone; cool looking IMHO) https://www.amazon.com/BlueAnt-Pump-Wireless-Sportbuds-Black...

O'Keefe's Working Hands cream (unbelievably effective, best thing ever for cracked/chapped skin) https://www.amazon.com/OKeeffes-Working-Hands-Hand-Cream/dp/...

DuraScoop Cat Litter Scoop (the Maybach of litter scoops) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001DCAAP4?psc=1&redirect=...

Easton Bat Weight (so many uses around the house: paperweight; equipment/furniture support; door stop; small item container; weapon in extremis; I could go on) https://www.amazon.com/Easton-Bat-Weight-Royal-16-Ounce/dp/B...

Trombone paper clips (so much better than regular ones, it's not even funny, plus they look cool) https://www.amazon.com/ACCO-Regal-Length-Silver-A7072130/dp/...

Rain Design mStand Laptop stand (functional; beautiful; lasts forever) https://www.amazon.com/Rain-Design-mStand-Laptop-Patented/dp...

Pioneer Kuro Elite Plasma TV [2007] Yes, it cost $5,000 10 years ago still works perfectly, never had a single problem, picture is sometimes 3-dimensional it's so lifelike; as good as ANYTHING at the very highest end today INCLUDING LG 4K OLED and top-of-the-line Samsungs.

Stagg Pour-Over Kettle with Integrated Thermometer (if you're a fanatic about your coffee and demand the water be 200 5 when you pour, this is your baby. Beautifully designed, a pleasure to use) http://fellowproducts.com/shop/stagg/

s800 3 days ago 1 reply      
CaRDiaK 3 days ago 0 replies      
A door.
JimmyM 3 days ago 0 replies      
DrRacket IDE. Definitely.
psyc 3 days ago 0 replies      
SFML (2D game framework)
dharma1 3 days ago 0 replies      
Fender Rhodes

Sennheiser HD650 headphones

Uniqlo knitwear

probinso 2 days ago 0 replies      
spoons are pretty well designed
laktak 3 days ago 0 replies      
paperclips. easy to use / can be hacked.
allard 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ducati Monster
_ZeD_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Paper and pencil
nerform 3 days ago 0 replies      
T-72. Is great.
_orcaman_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The C Programming Language" by K&R.
malberto 3 days ago 0 replies      
rurban 3 days ago 0 replies      
Macbook Air

Nokia N95

red-indian 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bostitch No-Jam Booklet Stapler



Dozuki Saws


malberto 3 days ago 0 replies      
icantdrive55 3 days ago 0 replies      
Any Toyota truck/car with a 22R engine, with manual transmission.

Old cast iron cookware

Flobee (Laugh, but it cuts hair. You need to experiment with the extensions though. For those that despise the annual haircut, hate the small talk, and that lying response at the end of the ordeal, "It looks great!"; pick up a old Flobee at a garage sale.)

In my world, a old IWC watch with a 853 movement. (I do watch repair, and this might be my favorite movement. The older IWC's don't look flashy, but that movement is well engineered. I can wear my old watch anywhere; only I know what's under the crystal. I never worry about theft.

3/8" Snap-on combination metric/standard ratchet set. The one with the deep sockets, and the standard sockets. Only buy used though. It comes in a red case. (I once went to automotive school. Much of Snap-on is overpriced, but this ratchet set has served me well.

JshWright 3 days ago 1 reply      
ronilan 4 days ago 0 replies      
A spoon.

Too bad there is none.

handojin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Magick in Theory and Practice

Tractatus Logico Philosophicus

Discipline and Punish

The Ethics

Beyond Good and Evil

The Gay Science

The Master and Margarita

The Prince

A Book of Five Rings

The Book of Changes

A Hero of our Times

At Swim Two Birds

polemic 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ok, this corkscrew:


(Note this appears to be a later design, slightly less pretty as the original IMO)

My parents bought one of these years maybe 15 years ago and I was always fascinated how he thread was so smooth, well machined and balanced that you could unwind it and it would smoothly wind back up under its own weight. When it hit the bottom the momentum would allow the inner thread to continue winding so it would bounce a couple of times.

Years lately, and we don't get many cork bottles in NZ any more, but I still like to get it out occasionally to check that, yes indeed, it still does it beautifully.

A simple thing, made well.

Ask HN: Do you prefer to learn programming from books or video courses?
5 points by rayalez  17 hours ago   12 comments top 10
davelnewton 16 hours ago 1 reply      

I'm okay with videos: they definitely add something to the discussion, particularly when deciding if I want to learn something.

But for me, when trying to go deep, I prefer being able to flip pages (e-books are great for reference, not as great for deep reading, for me) and the information percolates better.

But you should also control for the age of the respondents--I'm relatively old at 48.

lordluisv 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Both first I watch the videos the I read the book. For me it's better to see someone explaining how to do things and then if I need to go deeper I read the book. Something like going to college first I listen the instructor then I go home and read my book.
auganov 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Text for well-defined subject matter.I only like videos that discuss high-level concepts.

I don't like the screencast kind. In fact, one advice I'd give to my younger self is to try not to read and watch tutorial-style content (and this includes many books too!).

drallison 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Books (or papers), but language and methodology reference materials NOT tutorials. I do not find video useful. Video is, for me, too information poor.

I like to learn programming and coding by reading other people's code. Real code is usually more instructive that code fragments created to illustrate a point.

I am a fan of leaning on my own, but direct personal contact with a knowledgeable human does aid the learning process.

Meltdown 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Both -- there is so much to learn and forget -- practice and note taking is essential.

If a book has 30 pages in a chapter, I'll always have about 2 pages of notes at the end of it. So at the end of a book I usually have a 24 page mini-book/doc that I can refresh my memory quickly. In fact, I read these mini-books all the time when I'm stuck in traffic or waiting on anything.

LifeQuestioner 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer just getting code, editing and figuring out what it's doing. So learn by doing!If i'm super stuck I use google. This is how I learnt programming at a young age(12), back in 2002 - at the time I didn't have money for books, and there wasn't really any programming videos about. No stackoverflow then either - you'd have to experiment a lot more with code to work out what was going on.

Learn by practice!

Just realised this seems to not be the case as much anymore, as emphasis is on speed of learning, not really depth.

Occasionally i'll watch videos though too - but unless i'm practicing i tend to forget it quite quickly.

I did try using books from the library when I was younger - but I don't think I got past the first 2 chapters of a c++ book without getting bored. Being able to take small video games and edit them kept my interest and passion much more.

billconan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer reading books, so I can jump to where I'm interested in.

For videos, I have to concentrate the whole time, which is tiring.

tradersam 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Video courses. That's how I taught myself Java at 12, and why I never touched my Objective-C book until college.
urahara 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I prefer to use both. They provide different approaches to learning, that complement each other.
brudgers 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Books and StackOverflow and videos more or less in that order.
Where to find a good mentor?
4 points by myamifares  8 hours ago   4 comments top 4
soneca 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, I also am learning to code through freeCodeCamp and EloquentJS; and I was considering and looking for mentors just now (there is this paid solution if you want: https://www.codementor.io/). Ultimately I decided it is not the time, meanwhile, I am cultivating more organic relations with experienced developers that I know (even if not exactly close friends). Asking for small tips and suggestions.

I track progression through the projects I develop.

There are all the projects from FCC. But then I moved on to create:

* http://www.gittutorial.online/

* http://www.opusnota.com/

* http://www.opusnota.com/hnbc

* https://personaldev.gomix.me/

Now I am working on a Facebook Messenger Bot.

My suggestion is to create these projects to track progression. And keep meeting people (on and offline) that might one day possible act as a mentor.

philippz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Without you having the willingness to succeed in coding it will be really hard to get to a point of productivity.

You could start by learning basics through online courses and tutorials. But this path lacks of passion. Why don't you think of a small project you could use by yourself. Just start coding your own website with a small CMS. And then, your best friend is Google. Whenever you don't know how to start, how to get further or how to solve a problem. Use specific forums or Google it. Stackoverflow is a very good address.

The most important part is to start and to get going. You can do this by setting a high goal and break it down into small subgoals and milestones. Then just try to stick with it... at least until you have an idea you're more excited about - just switch and you will learn something new. But be careful - getting things done/finished is an important habit. So perhaps you should just start by writing really small scripts and project. Just try to accomplish something and the rest will come.

jtfairbank 53 minutes ago 0 replies      
Shoot me a message. Email is in my profile.
sigmundritz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For the mentors, you should join an Open Source project where people will die to have you contribute, and if you have questions and problems, you should ask. They're more than likely to help you, free of charge. But you must contribute and show the willingness to work hard.
What is your goto RDBMS pattern book?
26 points by scalatohaskell  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
kogir 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem you'll find is that job queues, message queues, etc are actually edge cases. You can implement them in a DB, sure, but to do so with acceptable performance will require deep knowledge of the storage engine, query planner, locking, and DB specific extensions.

For just one example: https://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertip/1257/processing-data-...

I can't find the article, but I remember reading that to get acceptable performance in SQL Server Service Broker it (under the hood) actually padded rows to ensure there was only one item per page on disk (or something similarly implementation specific to SQL Server).

Cieplak 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I've heard people recommend SQL for Smarties. The Postgres docs are pretty awesome, but you sort of need to know what you're looking for before jumping in. You can also find schemas on Github and study living examples.
tom_b 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I've never come across a great book of relational models specific to domains.

My favorite general db book is Database Systems: The Complete Book (DS:CB), by Hector Garcia-Molina, Jeff Ullman, and Jennifer Widom. This is a good book for learning about relational modeling and how to normalize a model so that your eventual schema has as few dependencies between entities as possible. I taught an introductory class where the required (by the department) textbook was Foundations of Database Systems by Elmasri. It's definitely not my favorite book, but if you skim chapter 3 on entity-relational modeling and then chapter 9 on converting an entity-relational model to a relational model suitable for an RDBMs, that is a useful starting place. When I was teaching the class, I often had to go back to the Garcia-Molina,Ullman, Widom book for simple and clear language around concepts for my lectures.

I'll second the recommendation for Joe Celko's books for general SQL programming.

Ask HN: What's your backup setup?
121 points by iansowinski  2 days ago   152 comments top 88
pYQAJ6Zm 2 days ago 3 replies      
I rely mostly on Borg backup.

1. First, I run it locally on my desktop against a repository I keep on the same drive (/home/backup); then

2. I update, with rsync, a copy of this repository I keep on a dedicated server with full disk encryption; and, finally,

3. I spin up an EC2 instance, mount an S3 bucket with s3ql, and rsync the copy from the previous step up to the one I keep on this bucket.

This process is (embarrassingly) manual.

The backup repository is encrypted with Borg itself, and if I am in need of recovering something I do it from the local copy. I never mount the repository in remote locations.


zytek 2 days ago 12 replies      
To each of you guys having those extensive backup solutions (like NAS + cloud sync, second nas, etc)...

.. do you actually TEST those backups?

This questions comes from my experience as a system engineeer who found a critical bug in our MySQL backup solution that prevented them from restoring (inconsistent filesystem). Also, a friend of mine learned the hard way that his Backblaze backup was unrestorable.

HeyLaughingBoy 2 days ago 3 replies      
Wait for disaster, then panic.
chilicuil 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm fortunate to only depend on a single platform, Linux in my case, so I rent a 1TB vps[0] to whom I rsync[1] every day . Then depending on the criticality of the service I'm backing up I create weekly/daily/monthly snapshots (rdiff-backup). I encrypt sensitive data using symmetric aes 256 (gpg).

[0] https://www.time4vps.eu/

[1] http://javier.io/blog/en/2014/04/08/backups-git-rsync-rdiff-...

git-pull 2 days ago 0 replies      
I like doing a fresh install of Linux/BSD/macOS every 3-6 months. My tools/flow are opinionated, but outlined below:

For configs / dotfiles:


I keep my personal config @ https://github.com/tony/.dot-config if you want to glance or copy/paste from it (MIT-licensed).

Another trick is partitioning. Keep media files in a separate partition. Also great if you dual boot.

rsync + ssh for copying files from other machines: http://troy.jdmz.net/rsync/index.html

I use vcspull (http://vcspull.git-pull.com), an app I wrote, to re-clone my projects to the same familiar directories.

Keep books on Kindle.

Have your own personal self-hosted git with gogs (https://github.com/gogits/gogs). You'll need at least the 10/hr DigitalOcean account though, or else compiling will fail due to memory limitations.

I use digital ocean extensively to host old old projects on the cheap. Its like what dreamhost used to be in 2006.

towb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Fun story. I ran "rm -rf ~" by mistake just the other day. A misconfigured program had created a dir named ~ inside of my home folder and I was a bit quick to type the command. No harm done because I had setup a cron to rsync everything daily as late as last weekend. Upgraded my backup solution to rsnapshot, still looking out for even better solutions. Phew!
pvdebbe 2 days ago 1 reply      
My poison is flexbackup

 [I] app-backup/flexbackup Available versions: 1.2.1-r12 ~1.2.1-r13 Installed versions: 1.2.1-r12(05:37:21 PM 03/03/2014) Homepage: http://flexbackup.sourceforge.net/ Description: Flexible backup script using perl
Pretty old, but some software is like that, able to be finished.

I run a couple cronjobs on it, doing full backups every Sunday and differentials against the full backup every other day of the week. The backup target is a RAID1 backed disk on a NAS.

Flexbackup produces tarballs essentially, with indexes and the usual add/remove tracking. Compression can be naturally applied. It all relies on the common Unix tools. Just yesterday I updated my 4-year-old configuration to try out new partitions and incremental backups; A minimal example config for flexbackup:

 $set{'pictures'} = "/stor/amy/pictures/"; $compress = 'gzip'; $compr_level = '3'; #1-9 $device = '/srv/harry/pictures-backup/';
Associated crontab:

 30 4 1,15 * * /root/backup-scripts/backup-pictures-full.sh 30 4 2-14 * * /root/backup-scripts/backup-pictures-incr.sh 30 4 16-31 * * /root/backup-scripts/backup-pictures-incr.sh
With the scripts essentially saying,

 /usr/bin/flexbackup -set pictures -full \ -c /root/flex-confs/pictures.conf >> /root/backup.log 2>&1

 /usr/bin/flexbackup -set pictures -incremental \ -c /root/flex-confs/pictures.conf >> /root/backup.log 2>&1 
respectively. (They also contain some find(1) invocations to remove older full backups and obsolete incrementals.)

Snortibartfast 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have two USB-connected hard-drives which are switched every week and one is moved to another location.

The drives are encrypted with LUKS/dm-crypt. Encryption key is a file with random data stored in the /root dir, so the disk encryption is not safe from local attacks. Key is also stored off-site (not in the same location as the off-site disk of course.)

A cron-script runs rsnapshot daily, which collects data from the local host and from remote hosts.

Remote host backup goes via ssh, using a passwordless ssh-key, with a forced command in authorized_keys which is only allowed to run rsync. The script below must be modified so the rsync command match the actual command which rsnapshot executes. Also note that the path names can only contain [/a-zA-Z0-9]. It's a bit restrictive I know, but I tried to lock it down as much as possible. Just edit the regex if needed.


 from="",command="/root/bin/rsnapshot_wrapper.sh" ssh-rsa AAAA...

 #!/bin/sh LOG="$HOME/rsnapshot_wrapper.log" if echo "$SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND" | grep -E >/dev/null '^rsync --server --sender -v*logDtprRxe\.iLsfx --numeric-ids \. [/a-zA-Z0-9]+$' ; then $SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND else echo "Invalid command: $SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND" >>"$LOG" fi exit 0

drvdevd 2 days ago 1 reply      
Primary LAN backup:


 - 7TB ZFS pool running on Ubuntu Xenial - hardware: an old laptop with 6 cobbled together external USB 3.0 drives making up the pool - each vdev (3 total) in the pool is mirrored - standard tools on top of that: time machine + netatalk, NFS, samba, SSH+rsync, ZFS send/recv, etc. - external drives need battery backup (can't recommend the case where you don't have battery backup for ZFS vdevs) -- no ECC RAM
Off-site backup:


 - Ubuntu Xenial running in google cloud, 10GB root volume, 3.75G RAM, 1 vCPU - secondary (backup) disk is currently only 1TB, with a zpool as filesystem. Easily expandable by adding virtual disks as vdevs (plus I trust their hardware slightly more than my own). - using ZFS send/recv to selectively backup important datasets and keep cost as low as possible
Secondary LAN Backup and Restoration Testing:


 - a separate 8TB disk on another ghetto piece of old x86 hardware, no redundancy - restored from the offsite backup to get 2-for-1: backup and restoration testing


 - everything local uses dm-crypt - as for google cloud, I also use dm-crypt. If I want to conceal the keys from remote memory, I use nbd-server to expose a block device across SSH

whit 2 days ago 0 replies      
(1) Backup whole disk to time machine automatically(2) Backups every week or so to an external hard drive(3) Daily backups to google nearline via arq(4) Manual backups of important documents to tarsnap
tetraodonpuffer 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me it is

- 2x local connected backups, two identical copies usually, one on an internal HD separate partition, one on a home NAS. Usually once a month or so, more often if I am doing something specific

- 3x rotating external backups in a bank safety deposit box, every 3-4 months or so will rotate one of the backup sets there

all disks are encrypted of course.

I am surprised a lot of people pay per month to backup online when a safety deposit box is usually way cheaper, and you can't beat the transfer speed. A standard bank safety deposit box seems to fit 3 3.5" hdd perfectly, or 6-7 2.5" hdds, and that's a lot of TB for not a lot of money.

I always rsync --checksum a second time after backing up, and am starting to think about writing a py script or something to calculate checksums and save them on the disks so I can check them at any time, but this said with the implicit redundancy above of having 2x nearline + 3x offsite it should be fine I would think.

SnowingXIV 1 day ago 0 replies      
Glad you brought this up. I use a NAS drive as a mapped network drive, that's cloud synced with one drive for business, and I also have that NAS doing hyper backup to both Google Drive and a local plugged in external HD.

There was a sync problem that I had to address but before that I went to check to see if I could download the backup from Google Drive (this is very slow for larger backups) and open with hyper explorer to restore all the files at least to my computer so I could provide end users with what they need.

Once the .zip file completed and the many parts downloaded and extracted I went to open the backup file with hyper explorer. Everything looked good but of course I need to test a true restore so I want to see if I could save a pdf and open it.

"partial file restored" - guess what it couldn't open.

That sent me into a panic. Now nothing was lost or down because the cloud sync was the only thing having issues so everyone could still work and properly access the NAS but now I'm thinking "great my backup wasn't a backup because it's useless."

I'm currently in the midst of trying to figure out what to do now, the external works but I wanted the offsite hyper backup to be my savior in case of a flood/fire or external HD failure.

kohanz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Professional (code): mostly taken care of by client infrastructure as I'm a freelance developer, but I basically rely on cloud source control (BitBucket, GitHub, etc.)

Personal (photos, etc.): Don't really trust the cloud, so I have a QNAP NAS in RAID1 configuration with two 3TB WD red drives. We upload photos/videos from our phones (and also store important docs/files) here. I replicate this drive every 4-6 months and store it in a safe deposit box at our bank (in case of fire). Not perfect, but I think good enough. Haven't "tested" it, but since family photos and videos are the most important part of it, there isn't really much to test (we view pics off of the NAS regularly).

KiDD 5 hours ago 0 replies      
21TB FreeNAS zRaid3 + Automated LTO3 Tape Backup + BackBlaze
scipiobarca 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Personal back up - way more complicated than it needs to be!

(1) Chronosync and ArqBackup are installed on a Server. (2) Each client machine has Chronosync Agent installed. (3) The Agent backups specific files and folders(according to a schedule) to the Server. (4) Chronosync on the Server will back up to a second hard drive on the same server. (5) ArqBackup will then backup the files on this second hard drive to Amazon AWS (in encrypted form).

Separately, I have independent Time Machine back ups on external hard drives as well. Some of the core client machines also have backup's occurring to SpiderOak.

I have done minimal restore tests but part of the reason why I back up in the way I do is because I expect one or more of the backup's to fail when I need to restore.

anotherevan 2 days ago 0 replies      
My desktop Linux machine (which is always running) doubles as the backup server, backing up itself, a couple of RaspberryPis (one Kodi, one home automation) and my SOs windows machine.

Backup using rsnapshot to an external USB drive that is LUKS/dm-crypt encrypted. Every Wednesday the SO swaps the USB drive with a sibling kept at her office.

I really like the way rsnapshot works with complete looking images for each backup, but unchanged files are hard-linked across images. Makes it super easy to just mount the drive and grab the backup of that file I just corrupted.

For the windows machine, Im using Cygwin to run an SSH server and rsync. Before running rsnapshot, the backup script sends a wake-on-lan to the PC, then SSH in to run a batch file that sets the go-to-sleep timeout to never, and make a shadow copy of the drive which is what goes to the backup.

Then rsnapshot does its rsync over ssh thing to do all the backups.

Afterwards, SSH again to run a batch file that cleans up the shadow copy and resets the go-to-sleep timeout back to twenty minutes.

Unfortunately Ive got some sort of weird problem where it dies while doing the backup of the root folder on the local drive. Ive run spinrite on the drive, and blown the dust out of the machine, but no change. Last time I had this problem the power supply was failing under demand, but Ive stress tested it and that doesnt seem to be the cause this time sigh. Bit hard to gather diagnostics as the machine is completely locked up when I come in the next morning

arximboldi 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have my "home" as a master Syncthing folder, that I sync with a RPI3: https://syncthing.net/I have it set up to keep a few revisions of every file.

Syncthing is not really meant for backup, but I really like that it just happens over the network, in the background, without further intervention. I am clumsy, lazy and not disciplined enough for other backup setups that require action (e.g. connecting the computer to something sometimes, manually triggering backups, etc...)

AdmiralAsshat 2 days ago 0 replies      

 - An external for music, pictures, and ROMS, another external for video - A backup of each external for travelling - A third backup of both externals onto a single larger external

 - Crashplan - Google Drive for source code and important documents
All my source code is on multiple laptops and kept backed up through Github. I should probably start including the GitHub folder on my CrashPlan as well, just in case my repo ever gets deleted or something.

billpg 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how the various online backup services would handle a request to delete the backup.

In a ransom-ware situation, the bad guys might have the keys to a backup service. The existence of that backup would make it pointless to actually pay the random so they have a motivation to do what they can to delete the backups.

I would have no problem opting-in to a provision where they will not delete backups for (say) a year, no matter what.

 "Delete my backups now! I pay you and I demand you obey my request!" "No."

systemtest 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simple setup. Two USB harddrives. One at home, one at work. The one at home is plugged in at all times doing hourly Time Machine backups. The one at work is disconnected and laying in a drawer. Encrypted with HFS.

Every other week I take the home drive to work and take the work drive home to swap duties. I never have the two disks at home, one is always at work disconnected from power.

This is my personal balance point between comfort, no cloud and a reliable backup.

Backups are tested by restoring to a new HDD every now and then.

SippinLean 2 days ago 1 reply      
Re: Crashplan: I recently learned that Crashplan will fail silently to backup most of your data over 1TB. The only fix is allocating it more RAM via a console command. None of this is made known up front, I didn't notice until I tried to restore files that weren't there.

Re: Arq: It used to have issues with missing files. Has anyone restored from an Arq/Google backup recently that can speak to the reliability?

zabana 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if you're talking about data or actual dev workflow but I will share my setup with you:

In terms of Data, everything I own is backed up in Google Drive. (Photos and Documents mostly, I don't take tons of pictures and ALL the music I listen to is on soundcloud)

In terms of dev workflow, it's pretty interesting. My macbook air died on me last week, and because I can't afford to get another one (or even a decent pc for that matter) I've fallen back to my raspberryPi. The browser is a little bit slow sometimes, but I have to say that I'm quite impressed by how well it performs.

Because it's a bit limited in terms of hardware capabilities, I've bought 2 VPSs from scaleway which I've provisioned using an Ansible playbook I wrote.

I was up and running and ready to work within minutes.

Now it's a bit inconvenient because I'm used to being mobile and taking my laptop with me everywhere, but it's a perfect backup solution for now. Obviously I don't watch netflix on it of play video games, but for 35 quid you can't really expect much.

Edit: the playbook I mentioned can be found here if you want to take a look: https://github.com/Zabanaa/night-city

gargravarr 2 days ago 0 replies      
More seriously, on a personal level, I run Deja Dup on my Mint laptop to a USB disk that's LUKS-encrypted. Of course, that's not enough, so I have a script running on my home DHCP server - when a DHCP lease is granted, if the MAC matches my laptop's ethernet adapter, it runs rsync over SSH to my user folder (on a RAID1) on the server, doing a one-way sync. From there, I have an LTO3 tape drive that I got cheap on eBay, and I dump the folder to tape with tar weekly (cycling through the tapes, of course).

Anything irreplaceable, I keep in Dropbox, mirrored to every machine I have access to. If I were to manually delete the folder by accident, I've got 7 days to restore it on the Free tier. And if Dropbox itself does a GitLab, chances are very high that I have one of my machines with a recent sync powered off, so booting that up without network will get me a reasonably up-to-date folder.

It's a lot of moving parts, but everything is usually nicely in sync.

I recently reinstalled my Mint laptop and restored from the Deja Dup backup, so I'm reasonably confident it would work in a DR scenario.

howlett 2 days ago 0 replies      
I used to have a subscription to crashplan but that wasn't flexible (or cheap) enough when you try to backup multiple machines/phones.

Now I have a raspberry pi with an encrypted USB drive attached where I sync all files from laptops/desktops/phones/truecrypt-drives (I have an instance of pydio-cloud running too).

Then, once a week (or once a day depending on the folder) I sync everything to rsync.net.

mironathetin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Mac: Carbon Copy Cloner and Time Machine on separate usb disks.I use the system scheduler to wake the machine at night, mount the disks, start both backups, unmount and sleep the Macbook again. Rock solid, runs every night since years. Even swapping the harddrive is a matter of 30 minutes to play back the latest ccc clone.

I have to find a similar backup solution now also for my Linux based Thinkpad. I am looking into Mondo rescue, because it promises to create a bootable image on an external drive (just like Carbon Copy cloner). For me, it still fails, but this is Linux. Needs more time and research.

This is a personal backup of one computer only. I have bad experiences with centralised backup solutions. In every case you need to reinstall the operating system at least before you can access the backup. I also forgot my password once, because access to the backup is not frequently needed and well meaning admins constructed crazy pw rules. So even though I had a backup, it was not accessible any more.

dsl 2 days ago 0 replies      
I purchased a large safe that has ethernet and power pass-thru. Stuck a NAS with RAID 5 inside and use it as a Time Machine target for all of our laptops.

Additionally everything in the house runs BackBlaze for offsite backups.

Once a year I restore a machine from backups to test (usually I'll copy the drive to an external first just in case).

wkd 2 days ago 0 replies      
At home I use Dropbox for some files and Resilio Sync for others

At work we make heavy use of version controlled configuration management where we can recreate any machine from just rerunning the ansible playbook and duply backup for databases and other storage.

While duply was trivial to set up, nice to work with, and much more stable than any other solutions that we were using previously if I were to do it again with more than a handful of machines I would have likely looked into reversing the flow with a pull based backup just to have a better overview since I don't trust a `duply verify` monitoring to catch all possible issues.

Cloud backup is managed by a server fetching the data and then backing it up with duply.

We also run a rsync of all disk image snapshots from one DC to another (and vice versa) but that is more of a disaster recovery in case our regular backups fail or were not properly set up for vital data since it would take more effort to recover from those backups

balladeer 2 days ago 0 replies      

CrashPlan. Backs up my personal laptop's user directory. I've excluded few directories like ~/Library. The speeds are really bad and their Java app sometimes makes me bang my head against the wall and almost always sets my laptop literally on fire. Thought of moving to BackBlaze many times but their version retention policy just doesn't click for me.

Out of this backed up data some are kept in my Dropbox folder (out of which some personal/crucial data are encrypted). And everything that goes into CrashPlan is encrypted on my machine. And yes, I've restored from CrashPlan and once in a while I keep testing some random folders and files to see whether they are actually up there in the cloud or not. I guess I should do a full restore some day (but given their speed and my geographic location it may take weeks or months).

I use SuperDuper! to clone my laptop's user folder on a 256GB portable hard disk (my laptop has 128GB) every 2-3 months or so and have instructed it to not remove the deleted stuff but add added stuff. I also copy my docs, pics, videos, and music to my 2TB portable hard disk regularly (and I keep testing it).

(edit: I've recently disabled auto-upload to Google Photos. Now I do it only for those photos that I want to upload form its Mac uploader app)


Code goes to our own gitlab setup, rest of the stuff to my company's Google Drive. Sadly we don't have some holistic backup setup at work. It's a startup. I had dropped an email to both IT and Engineering heads. They replied saying it was an interesting idea and they would look into it, I knew they wouldn't.

Going forward, I want to have my own BorgBackup or something like this (client side encryption, de-duplicated, compressed, kind of fire and forget solution) solution hosted on a small/mid sized VPS in place or CrashPlan/BackBlaze or along with these readymade cloud solutions. Something with a GUI would have been nice though. Something lightweight, minimal, but solid (BackBlaze's interface is awesome).

jfindley 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's not really a lot of detail in your question so I've no idea what sort of solution(s) you're interested in. One suggestion, however - if it's a linux/unix based box you're backing up, you're looking for a hosted solution and you care about security, tarsnap is excellent.
sshagent 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whatever you end up going with you have to actually regularly restore the data and simulate a disaster recovery. Whilst it makes sense to have automatic checks in place, IMO its always worth manually doing the recovery. Prove it all works, it sets expectations and shows issues.
nkkollaw 2 days ago 2 replies      
I use a Mac.

I noticed that actual files on my laptops are less and less every year: I use iCloud Photos for my ~50GB of photos, and they are downloaded only when you try to open them. I have documents and desktop files on iCloud (get downloaded on demand as well), and I use Google Photos as an Apple Photos backup. All of my more recent projects are on GitHub. I guess I only keep non-vital files on my laptop.

Having said that, I have an old 1TB Time Capsule at home (where I work from), and let macOS do its incremental backups automatically every hour. In addition, I usually launch a manual backup whenever I make some big or important change.

I transfer my data from the most recent backup whenever I buy a new laptop and I'm usually ready to go in a hour or so, they work wonderfully.

leonroy 2 days ago 0 replies      
One honking big Supermicro SC836 chassis with a Supermicro low power board in it.

Stuck FreeNAS on it and backup everything to it using nightly rsync and ZFS replication where possible. It has 48TB of storage (16x 3TB).

Critical bits get synced to Amazon Cloud Drive (which took an age).

For backing up my ESXi VMware box I use Nakivo - it's an amazing piece of software - never once had an issue with it and I've used it many times to revert a broken virtual machine.

I've had a lot of experience with hardware failing in my IT life. Been close but very lucky that I've never lost data from a disk or corruption failure. Finally bit the bullet and bought all that kit just for backups. Well worth it.

maturz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cloud + https://github.com/duplicati/duplicatiEncrypts and compresses before sending data to the cloud and lets me restore files from specific days if needed.
Freezerburnt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. No one using Bacula? It seems a little cumbersome to get set up, but once I did it, I can more or less forget about it.

I run a mixed bag of Linux, OSX, Windows machines and each one of them gets incrementally backed up each night, and a full baseline once a month to a machine on the home network. Nothing fancy.

Then about once a month or when I think about it I copy the backups to an external drive and take it off site.

Worst case loss is a month. Seems cool to me.

And yes, I quite often ensure I can restore files - usually by stupidly deleting them at the source.

No one else uses Bacula?

closeparen 2 days ago 0 replies      
- Full computer in Crashplan with user-specified key.

- Non-sensitive documents I care about on Dropbox.

- Code I care about (have time invested in) with git remotes on Github, Bitbucket, or a personal Gitlab server.

- For "continuity" I carry personal property insurance that can replace my laptop.

I don't bother with external drives or NAS devices because the scenarios I feel are most likely are burglary followed by natural disaster; I don't want to rely on something in my home to protect something else in my home.

After hard drive crashes I am usually grateful for a clean slate, and at most pluck one or two files out of backup when the need arises.

benjohnson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Giant 45tb(available) ZFS pool at Hetzner for $350 (depending on exchange rates) per month.

Rsync with crontab for Unix things.Cygwin with RSync and Volume Shadow Service triggered by Scheduled Tasks for Windows things.

0.007 USD per GB per Month

alkonaut 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nas and lots of custom scripts and programs completely switched off and unused. Too much hassle for something that should just work.

Instead: Cloud backup to CrashPlan for pennies for 10 machines. Already saved my butt several times.

So my only tip - don't do anything yourself. Doing your own backup is like writing your own crypto. It will bite you.

A reasonable compromise is to use your own backup in addition to a service. However, use them independently - don't back up your backups to the cloud, backup your machines to both places. Otherwise your custom setup can still be the weakest link.

deepaksurti 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a Mac Mini, my main work machine and an MBP, used when I travel. I backup both my Mini and my MBP to Lacie Thunderbolt SSD drives using Carbon Copy Cloner which kicks off the backup procedure every night.

I also backup my photos, documents to both iCloud and DropBox.

I don't use iTunes on my MBP, my Mini is connected to another external SSD which serves as my iTunes disk that is also backed up.

Whenever I travel, I just sync my MBP to be update with my Mac Mini.

I am also looking at using iDrive backup [1], but have not done so.

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

shoover 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most random docs, todo lists, invoice scans, etc. are in Dropbox or Google Docs.

Home pics, music, videos: CrashPlan central. I also set up a local CrashPlan archive to a local NAS, but OS X can't keep the IP address resolved.

Work: all projects are in source control. Configs and working trees are backed up a few times per day to JungleDisk. JungleDisk has saved me several times when I accidentally deleted a folder or overwrote a file before checking it in. It's also handy for using the restore function to copy configs to a clean dev machine.

lowrider130 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a large (24TB) RAID6 at home and backup all my files there. It's large so I have room for all my DVDs, BluRays, and developer VMs. I have a smaller (6TB) RAID1 in another state at my parents house for off-site backup of important files. Both are running mdadm and set up to email me with any events. I have a cron job that runs rsync once a week and emails me the result. Both systems are on an UPS. I have tested to make sure they are working as expected. All my systems are running Linux, so I can access with sshfs or sftp using ssh keys.
nathcd 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been thinking of playing with bup [1][2] for personal stuff, so I was hoping I'd see that someone here had played with it. I don't see any mention of it yet, so if anyone has used it and could share any thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

[1] https://github.com/bup/bup

[2] https://bup.github.io/

gtf21 2 days ago 1 reply      
I use CrashPlan (as does my family) and I keep an archive encryption key so it's encrypted on my side. I've found this fantastic (for example when my sister's laptop died as we needed to retrieve her dissertation). It's quite cheap and has unlimited storage. I don't back up everything on here, only the important stuff.

I also have a Time Machine drive that sits on my desk for quick access / just to have another option (although it is not encrypted so I might wipe it and find a way to use TM with encryption).

feistypharit 2 days ago 0 replies      
I want total control, so a Synology NAS box setup with two disks in a mirror, 1 SSD as cache, and one hot failover. All laptops backup to it. It backs up to amazon s3 and to a second synology NAS.
Loic 2 days ago 0 replies      
For the past few years, I have been using a mix of rsync against an in-house and an external server + encrypted USB drives[0]. The key to encrypt the external drives is using a simple algorithm based on the serial number of the drive and a very long string stored in a Yubikey.

I never reuse the drives, just accumulate them.

[0]: https://www.ceondo.com/ecte/2016/09/simple-secure-backup/

freetonik 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love Arq and I've described my setup in a blog recently https://hello.rakh.im/backup/
r3bl 2 days ago 1 reply      
One local one, one external one.

In the external case, it's just a Nextcloud instance, constantly syncing the most important files.

In the local one, there's an external hard drive connected to Raspberry and cronjobs that scp into it.

So, three constant copies of everything out of any importance. I "test" the backups regularly because I'm playing files from a backup on a Raspberry connected to my sound system and constantly downloading files on my phone from Nextcloud.

fimdomeio 2 days ago 0 replies      
I separate everything in years. Current year gets synced every week via rsync with a drobo (drobo duplicates the data amongst all the drives).I also have a disc in another location that gets synced once a year at christmas with the archive.It was a bit of an investment but then it's pretty cheap to run.

I know it's not perfect. If I delete something without noticing and sync it afterwards it will be lost forever, but I'm running this for the last 10 years and never really had a problem.

dsego 2 days ago 1 reply      
I have a MBP with 500GB internal SSD so all my data is in one place.

1) Carbon copy cloner > external 1TB drive, manually every few days

2) Arq backup > Amazon Cloud Drive (runs in background)

LatexNinja 2 days ago 0 replies      
I run linux for work and windows for gaming between a laptop and desktop. For the files I use frequently I unison those between machines. For backups I send everything to an encrypted removable HD on my home network using some rsync scripts I wrote. For the cloud you can't trust any of them with your data privacy. But I still send off some stuff to amazon cloud drive (encrypted of course) using rclone.
source99 2 days ago 0 replies      
For my personal dev machine I simply use github and dropbox. I'm sure there are more complete ways of storying my full system but I've actually never needed it...knock on wood.

That being said I can re-create my system from scratch in 3 hours so if I spend my more time than that on backup I think its a waste.

knz 2 days ago 0 replies      

Recent discussion on the same subject. Rural land in Tennessee, Arq/Google, and Crashplan were the top three.

Personally I use Google for photos and documents, and have them synced across multiple computers. I also make a copy of it once a year.

rollcat 2 days ago 0 replies      
ZFS or btrfs in most places.

All devices with snapshotting capabilities, keep hourly, daily, weekly, monthly snapshots.

Once per day, all devices rsync their /home to NAS. (I would use ZFS send/receive, but I want more selective backups.)

NAS also keeps snapshots. A daily snapshot of the most critical data is encrypted and sent off to an offsite server.

Hadn't lost a single byte in years (since shortly before implementing this scheme :P).

brandonhall 2 days ago 0 replies      
1TB backup drive which is partitioned. Half is data and the other half is time machine. The data partition is mirrored to Google Drive. Then, I use Arq Backup to mirror time machine backups to Google Cloud Storage. In other words, there is always a true local and remote copy of everything. Very cheap and works well.
et-al 2 days ago 0 replies      
Piggybacking on this, for those of you juggling a few external hard discs, how do you keep track of what's on what? Does anyone use git-annex?


bbcbasic 2 days ago 0 replies      
For home I rotate 2 hard disks in 2 locations and backup using EaseUS Todo.

I also put some stuff on Dropbox for a quick backup if I don't want to wait until the next time I to a disk backup. Dropbox + zipped folder =~ private single user Github repo :-)

atmosx 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have an HP proliant microserver with 16GB of RAM in the office. It has 4x2TB disks in mirrored Vdev ZFS (RAID1) running gentoo.

All my backups get there first. Some of them are stored in the cloud using tarsnap.

I use crown scripts and riff-backup to fetch daily snapshots of my servers (EC2, RPis, etc).

grantpalin 2 days ago 0 replies      
* a local unRaid machine as, among other things, a backup destination

* a local Synology DS216+II as secondary backup of the essential data

* run backups for both above using Bvckup

* essentials are also backed up to Crashplan

* OneDrive for non-private things that I'd like to have easy access to

blakesterz 2 days ago 3 replies      
I always love seeing answers to this question!

I'm all about Duplicity:


Sometimes I feel like it's a bit complicated, but I've yet to find anything that will do any better.

sreenadh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a rather simple approach to backup. I have my dropbox folder is inside my Gdrive folder. So, its basically backedup in 2 places.

I hope this was about personal backups?

luca_ing 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use rsnapshot to aggregate a bunch of machines on my NAS.

I've been intending to for a few months O:-) to then save this aggregated backup somewhere on the internet. Not sure if e.g. tarsnap, or a minimal vserver with rsnapshot or rsync yet again.

zwerdlds 2 days ago 0 replies      
FreeNAS via rsync to an old leftover ReadyNAS Duo with mirroring.

FreeNAS ui makes this super simple from that end, and, despite being pitifully out of date, the ReadyNAS supports rsync to the extent that I need.

ksk 2 days ago 0 replies      
For people using rsync and the like - Does anyone have data on the amount of wear caused by reading the entire HDD (modulo OS/libs) over and over again to compare against the backup?
alex_hitchins 2 days ago 0 replies      
Iv'e had one very large project back in the day that wanted source on CD and printed copies of the source code. I'd never thought of a printed page as a backup, but I guess it's 'a' method.
scktt 2 days ago 0 replies      
i use a simple nas + external hdd + rsync to backblaze.

the macbook uses the nas for timemachine backups to an external hdd, the external hdd is backed up with rclone to backblaze once an hour every hour unless its already executing a backup.

any iphone backups are rsynced to the nas/external hdd then rcloned aswell.

iphone photos are kept in icloud, including any added to the macbooks photos app.

about $0.75c per month for 200gb sofar for backblaze and$1.49 p/m for 50gb of icloud

TurboHaskal 1 day ago 0 replies      
tarsnap for /etc and other configuration files.

dotfiles on a private Bitbucket repository.

For pictures, videos and stuff I have a 1TB drive in my desktop and an USB 1TB drive which I normally use in my laptop. From time to time I plug the USB drive into the desktop and sync them with Unison.

untog 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple Time Machine. It's pretty great in the "set it and forget it" world of backup solutions. All my actual code also lives on Github, so there's always a remote copy.
abricot 2 days ago 0 replies      
My main concern is the family collection of photos, video and scanned papers.

I use a combination of cloud backup (Jottacloud), local disk mirror and dumping a yearly batch of BD-Rs in a bank box.

overcast 2 days ago 0 replies      
TimeMachine for local nightly, in case I need to recover quickly from yesterday. ARQ for hourly/daily/monthly offsite to Microsoft's live drive..
planetjones 2 days ago 0 replies      
Rclone scheduled tasks to Amazon cloud drive with its unlimited amount of data.

And a 5TB USB drive too that I occasionally backup to manually e.g. Time machine backup.

kennydude 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use Nextcloud to put stuff onto a Mac Mini where I've got Backblaze running on there, which emails me monthly to make sure it's working.
soulchild37 2 days ago 0 replies      
For personal laptop I used two external hard drive as Time Machine backup.

For web app I store the mysqldump to Amazon S3 daily.

bookofjoe 2 days ago 1 reply      
Last year I tossed my Western Digital external hard drive in the trash. Who needs it when I have multiple clouds (iCloud/Amazon/Google)?
PawelDecowski 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. Local

 a) Apple TimeCapsule b) NAS (2 x 3TB in RAID-1)
2. Off-site

 a) Amazon Glacier b) GitHub, DropBox

cpr 2 days ago 1 reply      
Backblaze for all 6 Macs in my family. SuperDuper! imaging nightly for my dev MBP to external drive.

Not sure I really need Backblaze when backing up nightly.

drewjaja 2 days ago 1 reply      
Currently just use time machine to backup my iMac
zie 2 days ago 0 replies      
vladimir-y 2 days ago 0 replies      
Duplicati with uploading to a few different online storage services (clouds).
antoniorosado 2 days ago 0 replies      
Backblaze on my MacBook. Also have a time capsule at home.Pretty simple setup.
TarpitCarnivore 2 days ago 0 replies      
Synology NAS for storing filesBackblaze B2 & Crashplan for offsite
gaspoweredcat 2 days ago 0 replies      
my main stuff is backed up both on my google drive and my ibm server on a raid 5 array. cant imagine ill need anything more than that really
yegortimoshenko 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tarballs stored in Amazon Glacier.
linsomniac 2 days ago 0 replies      
I built a small veneer on top of ZFS and rsync that I've been running for well over a decade. It has worked flawlessly, mostly because it is so simple.

A few years ago I got my company to release the code: https://github.com/tummy-dot-com/tummy-backup

I use it almost exclusively with Linux systems, but it should work with anything that rsync does a good job with.

The hardware is mostly commodity rackmount boxes with 8-12 drives running ZFS (zfs+fuse or ZFSonLinux more recently). Deduplication takes a shockingly large amount of RAM, so mostly I disable it.

The job of tummy-backup is to schedule backups, prune older backups, and complain if something is wrong. There is also a web interface for creating backups, manually running them and managing them, and exploring and recovering files (via a downloaded tar file).


I was running a small dedicated hosting business, and we had hundreds of machines to back up. We started off with the old hardlink + rsync trick, but it had two problems: Append-only files would cause huge growth (log files, ZODB), and managing creating and deleting the hard links would take tons of time.

We tried backuppc for a while and liked it, but it still had the problem with append only files growing, and lots of our backups were taking more than 24 hours to run.

So I took my old rsync+hardlink script, which had proven itself really robust, it lives on in this file:


I started using it on Nexenta when they had their free release. That was ok, but about once every month or two the boxes would fall over and have to be rebooted. I realized in retrospect this was probably due to not having enough RAM for deduplication or just not having enough RAM period. Or maybe bugs in ZFS.

But Nexenta wasn't something our staff had experience with. So I started testing it with fuse+zfs. This also had bugs, but the developers worked with me to find bugs, and I created stress tests that I would run, sometimes for months, to report problems to them. Eventually, this was pretty reliable.

Now I am running it with ZFSOnLinux, and that has been very stable.

I'd love to try it with HAMMER to get deduplication, but I just haven't had the cycles. btrfs was also on my radar but at the time I was really looking for an alternative to ZFS, btrfs had been getting more and more unusable (I ran it for a year on my laptop but then experienced several data corruptions every time I tried it for 2-3 years after that).

Recently I've been playing with borgbackup of my laptop. I was hoping I could use it as an engine to get deduplication, but it really is only designed for a single system use. For a single system it seems good.

kjsingh 2 days ago 0 replies      
git on visualstudio.com for versioning with dropbox also syncing the git folder.
kirankn 2 days ago 0 replies      
I use a Synology NAS box
miguelrochefort 1 day ago 0 replies      
- Google Drive

- OneDrive

- GitHub

- Gmail

gargravarr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Step 1: Panic
juiced 2 days ago 0 replies      
My backup strategy is top-secret, I don't want anybody to know where my files are located and how it is recoverable, especially not everybody on the internet.
Ask HN: How will Git get around the discovery of SHA-1 collissions?
8 points by verandaguy  13 hours ago   5 comments top 4
wahern 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It won't. Linus shot down that idea in 2006, long after the basic concept for this attack was originally published. According to Linus, people shouldn't depend on Git's hashing algorithm for cryptographic authenticity. If they want authenticity they should sign commits with GnuPG and, presumably, rebuild the tree occasionally from the authenticated commits to expose any malicious modifications.

kerneltrap.org is unresponsive at the moment but I believe the relevant e-mail threads are here:

 http://kerneltrap.org/mailarchive/git/2006/8/27/211001 http://kerneltrap.org/mailarchive/git/2006/8/28/211065

brudgers 10 hours ago 0 replies      
My engineering intuition is that from a practical standpoint, this isn't an issue for Git. It's much more likely that the network will go down or all the copies of the repository become deleted or a developer will use Git tooling maliciously than for an unintended collision to occur.

Could a malicious actor construct a collision and use it to subvert some code base? Sure. And it has probably already happened. Crytography is considered a munition in the US and there are US government agencies which have been devoted to cryptography continuously since the Second World War and there are similar agencies in other countries and every last one of them employs many highly motivated highly educated and highly skilled cryptographic experts and the latest money is not an object compute hardware to find exactly this type of vulnerability, create capabilities based on that discovery, and to deploy them into the wild for national and political and economic interests.

To put it a different way, by the time something like this hits Hacker News, the odds are that organizations with the capability and funding to do things like inventing computers have already figured it out. Just as there is a discontinuity between what Google and SpaceX can do that looks like the future and the average engineer with a laptop or a garage can do that looks like the future, there is a similar gap between the future that Space X and Google can build and what a government institution can build. Space X hauls payloads to an existing station in LEO and Google runs on an internet that existed before it did.

The horses are long gone before anyone realizes the barn door is open.

anilgulecha 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It will not be an issue for existing commits, at least not yet.

Practically possible are collision attacks, which means someone with google-level hardware can craft 2 commits (one malicious) and keep the later for later.

Technically, the fix is for git to move to SHA256 or higher, and I'm sure there'll be discussions around this shortly in the git community.

gus_massa 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The main idea behind the collision is that you can put a lot of garbage inside a pdf in a zone that the pdf reader will ignore. This is very common for most file formats, like jpg, doc, ... so the same idea applies to most of them.

But it will be very difficult to disguise that in a PR. If you send a PR that says

- printf("Helo");

+ printf("Hello");

+ // UIHIUEDN7heuiheuih7h00eduhuihoiu[...]hiouHIGo77OUIHIUHJ&g6(&(HHHIUHIIOJIOJK8jjoijoijdnYIHIHI

the maintainer will be very suspicious. (And if you do this in a business, they will fire you.)

Did you even read the article?
4 points by kenning  13 hours ago   7 comments top 5
codegeek 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I always skim through comments first to decide if the article is even worth reading. YMMV.

I browse HN daily and if I see a post that I "think" I can contribute to or is of interest, I open the comments thread first. Then if it seems fit, I read the article unless of course it is an Ask HN which I already read. I upvote it as well.

In some cases, I know I cannot contribute to the post in a meaningful way but I want to see the discussion as it is interesting. In that case, I just upvote and shut up.

tjr 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I very often read only the comments on HN, as they are routinely more interesting to me than the articles.

In fact, it might be worth trying out not even needing articles. Just submit a topic.

Discuss HN: Numerical analysis

Discuss HN: Rust vs C for embedded development

Discuss HN: Health benefits (or myths?) of eating kale

BillBohan 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I skip past articles and their comments if I know that I will not understand them, e.g. details of a language which I do not know.

Sometimes I will look at articles which are about things I have never heard of just to find out what that is. Sometimes, the article does not sufficiently explain what it is, like when they only tell about the improvements over the previous release. In these cases I try to find what it is from comments.

If an article is tl;dr sometimes I look to the comments to see whether I can get the gist in brief.

For articles within my realm of interest I will usually read the entire article, then the comments.

I usually avoid making comments on articles I have not read unless the comments provide sufficient explanation for me to add my input.

I truly appreciate the intelligence and courtesy of the comments on HN and try to bring the same to it.

davelnewton 13 hours ago 1 reply      
> Then if people are positive about the article I will go back and read it.

This strikes me as over-editing your intake feed and potentially missing out on information that you might be positive about, or take action on, or...

miguelrochefort 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I open ~10% of articles I comment on.
Ask HN: Alternatives to Skype/Lync
4 points by flukus  1 day ago   9 comments top 6
jetti 13 hours ago 1 reply      
We use Cisco Jabber at work. It integrates with WebEx as well as AD, which is nice. You can see when people are in a webex meeting as well as when they are presenting.
pyb 14 hours ago 0 replies      
By the way, Skype and Lync("Skype for business") are different products with a different codebase. But I find Lync to be the worst of the two.
Gustomaximus 23 hours ago 1 reply      
If you want to stay in the MS universe you could have a look at their Teams product. Is better than Skype/Lync.

Not open source/internally hosted though.

And dont feel too bad about office 2003. 4 years ago I worked for a large & well know company was using a more than decade old version of Lotus notes...

michalpt 20 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a new "Skype killer": https://beam.ai/ (currently in beta) which looks amazing and can also be easily integrated into Slack.
ksherlock 1 day ago 1 reply      
Richard Stallman suggest Ekiga, Mumble, or Jitsi
miguelrochefort 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft Teams /s
Ask HN: How can Uber drivers make money when pool rides are so cheap?
9 points by newjobseeker  1 day ago   13 comments top 5
pyb 14 hours ago 0 replies      
"I asked if they considered to pay the driver more? [...] He then added that I must realize that they were not competing with Taxis for the drivers, but rather with Walmart."


jghn 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I've seen many drivers complaining on Reddit as to how many trips are effectively a net loss once one includes things like wear & tear, much less opportunity cost.

Most drivers seem to loathe pool.

strathmeyer 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Well isn't this multiplied by the number of people in the pool? What is the normal rate for such a ride? Is is four time cheaper than Lyft because they are taking four people?

Uber's gameplan is to dominate the app market so when self-driving cars are invented they can own every car on the road.

kspaans 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's Uber who loses money on those rides, not the drivers. They are trying to get you to use them, instead of the competition. If their strategy works then they can eventually start charging more because they'll be the only rideshare in town.
CodeWriter23 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Are you comparing to Lyft or Lyft Line?
Ask HN: How do you start a career in software security?
19 points by chrbarrol  2 days ago   16 comments top 8
alltakendamned 1 day ago 2 replies      
Security consultant checking.

Candidates with some form of experience are often preferred. But the beauty of infosec is that that experience can be pretty much anything, it does not have to be relevant work or school experience.

Have some bug bounties, CVE's or exploits to your name, you'll get an interview. Have a certificate like OSCP to your name, you'll get an interview. Do writeups of Vulnhub machines and that might even be good enough.

But what seems to be the common theme among security people in nice jobs is that the effort came from them. They were self driven, this is what they do, regardless of whether they're paid for it.And the reason is simple, this is a fast moving job, which often requires additional study and effort on a daily basis. So show that you have this quality and take a very active approach to the start of your security career. It should work, everyone is hiring.

dsacco 1 day ago 1 reply      
The reason you haven't found companies hiring graduates for security is partly because security, like most specializations, generally skews towards more experienced candidates, and partly because it's a relative niche.

I'm happy to help you via email if you'd like to get in touch. Practically speaking, my advice would be to pursue bug bounties, read as much as you can in the field and implement security measures in code to understand them deeply.

Plenty of the large and reputable security firms are in an "always hiring" state, even for graduates.

micaksica 1 day ago 0 replies      
I work in product security. Early in my career, I often did bug bounties, CTFs/wargames, but I didn't really get into "software security" until I had spent some years doing some large scale production-level software engineering.

Software security is a big space. There are pentesters, exploit developers, researchers, application security people that work attached to product engineering teams, et cetera. What is it that you really want to do?

IMO to really understand how to break things and how things break, you need to be able to build things as well. Outside of very limited circumstances, you need to be able to communicate to product teams and other developers why a certain exploit class succeeded, what they can do to mitigate the issue in prod now, and what best practices to follow to mitigate the issue class in the future.

JSeymourATL 14 hours ago 0 replies      
> I have not been able to find any company hiring graduates ...

Don't search job posts online, you must go where the fish are. Start attending live events, conferences, etc...

In Oslo, try OsloSec> https://www.meetup.com/OsloSec/?scroll=true

ecesena 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I were you, I'd connect directly with people working in security, either security for a "normal" company or working for a security company.

I can believe if you say that job posting is slightly biased towards senior positions, but I'm sure you'll find good opportunities easily, it's a very specialized job and it's hard to find good people.

If you let managers (or hr) know that you exist, a position will appear.

btx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Being in a somewhat similar position (looking for my first 'real' job in the field of security), I have more or less the opposite problem.

After setting up a profile on sites like Xing (works best for Germany) or Linkedin and adding some relevant buzzwords, you get basically swarmed by recruiters. The offers from recruiters might not be the most interesting, but you still can use them to get some information and feedback.

Just show that you have a personal interest in security. For Example I have myself participated in a bunch of bug bounties, hitting most of the big ones (Dropbox, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Paypal, Twitter, ...).While finding big problems in the higher payed ones might be trickier,there are always companies that just offer a thanks or some swag. An alternative would be to look at open source projects and try to get some CVEs.Of course this depends on what field of security you want to end up in.

AnimalMuppet 2 days ago 1 reply      
For me it was, yes. For you, though, it might not have to be. Can you get some security classes in your coursework? (Does your institution even offer any?)
jest7325 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't be afraid to shake things or the industry but always stay on the bright side. The line is very thin between: I am trying to help and improve security in contrast with I am threatening you. Some people or Business could feel threatened depending on the wordings used when approaching them.
Ask HN: Needs advice on learning NLP
125 points by navyad  3 days ago   28 comments top 15
jventura 3 days ago 2 replies      
I would suggest to start simple and manually to get some feeling for the problems in the field. No frameworks, no tools, just you and Python!

Do a simple experiment: get some texts, split words between spaces (e.g line.split(" ")) and use a dict to count the frequency of the words. Sort the words by frequency, look at them, and you will eventually reach the same conclusion as in figure 1 of the paper by Luhn when working for IBM in 1958 (http://courses.ischool.berkeley.edu/i256/f06/papers/luhn58.p...)

There are lots of corpora out there in the wild, but if you need to roll your own from wikipedia texts you can use this tool I did: https://github.com/joaoventura/WikiCorpusExtractor

From this experiment, and depending if you like statistics or not, you can play a bit with the numbers. For instance, you can use Tf-Idf (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tf%E2%80%93idf) to extract potential keywords from documents. Check the formula, it only uses the frequency of occurrence of words in documents.

Only use tools such as Deep neural networks if you decide later that they are essential for what you need. I did an entire PhD on this area just with Python and playing with frequencies, no frameworks at all (an eg. of my work can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877050912...).

Good luck!

hiddencost 3 days ago 0 replies      
NLP for what purpose?

- Academic-- want results? deep learning [0], data munging [1,2]-- want to understand "why" / context? Jurafsky and Martin [1]

- Professional-- the data is easy to get and clean? deep learning [0]-- you need to do a lot of work to get the signal? [2]

- Personal-- http://karpathy.github.io/2015/05/21/rnn-effectiveness/-- http://colah.github.io/posts/2014-07-NLP-RNNs-Representation...

(Andrej Karpathy and Chris Olah are some of my favorite writers)

[0] http://www.deeplearningbook.org/[1] https://web.stanford.edu/~jurafsky/slp3/[2] http://nlp.stanford.edu/IR-book/

deepGem 3 days ago 2 replies      
Start with Machine Learning by Andrew Ng, on CourseraOnce you get a hang of neural networks, which is chapter 4 in the course I think jump to Stanford's CS224n. It's helpful to complete Andrew's course as well.


cs224n is not easy. Of course, you can learn NLP without deep learning, but today it makes sense to pursue this path. During the course of CS224n you'll get some project ideas as they discuss a ton of papers and the latest stuff.

haidrali 3 days ago 1 reply      
Keep reading and practice with this book http://www.nltk.org/book_1ed/, when you will complete this book you will have a good understanding of NLP. Sample product to work on suggestion would include

Implementing a classifier, For detail of it you can look at 13 chapter of http://nlp.stanford.edu/IR-book/pdf/irbookonlinereading.pdf

Cover topics like Sentiment analysis, Document Summarisation etc

kyrre 3 days ago 0 replies      
no point wasting your time on nltk:

cs224d (videos, lecture notes, assignments)

a similar course:https://github.com/oxford-cs-deepnlp-2017/lectures

good paper:https://arxiv.org/abs/1103.0398 "Natural Language Processing (almost) from Scratch"

gtani 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think you want to understand comp linguistics viewpoint: parsers, PoS taggin, dependency analysis, syntax trees;

and the machine learning perspective: embeddings in, say, 100-200 dimensional space (word2vec, glove) and topic modelling/LDA, and latent semantic analysis from the 90's. Then you can read about inputting embedding datasets into LSTM, GRU, content addressable memory/attention mechanisms etc that are being furiously introduced (you can scan the ICLR submissions and http://aclweb.org/anthology/.


The Jurafsky/Martin draft 3rd ed is a good starting point, they've got about 2/3 of chapters drafted: https://web.stanford.edu/~jurafsky/slp3/ as well as the Stanford, Oxford, etc courses on NLP and comp linguistics, and Klein's https://people.eecs.berkeley.edu/~klein/cs288/fa14/ , Collins: http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~cs4705/ and other courses at MIT, CMU, UIUC etc

Also, try out the various standard benchmark datasets and tasks: https://arxiv.org/abs/1702.01923


Last time i checked, this SoA page wasn't up to date and not very well summarized but will give you lots of project ideas:http://www.aclweb.org/aclwiki/index.php?title=State_of_the_a...

sainib 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the best resources for learning NLP using Python - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLZvOKSCkxY&list=PLQVvvaa0Qu...

Step by Step, one concept at a time with just a few mins of small videos.

sprobertson 3 days ago 0 replies      
For the deep learning angle, I'm starting a project-based tutorial series on using neural networks (specifically RNNs) for NLP, in PyTorch: https://github.com/spro/practical-pytorch

So far it covers using RNNs for sequence classification and generation, and combining those for seq2seq translation. Next up is using recursive neural networks for structured intent parsing.

PS: To anyone who has searched for NLP tutorials, what tutorial have you wanted that you couldn't find?

stared 3 days ago 0 replies      
See links in here: http://p.migdal.pl/2017/01/06/king-man-woman-queen-why.html. Especially:

- Python packages: Gensim, spaCy

- book: https://web.stanford.edu/~jurafsky/slp3/

demonshalo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think the best way to start is tackling a specific problem. Ex. Try building a summarizer for any given piece of text.

Start by using traditional statistical methods first in order to understand what works and what doesn't. From there, you can go on to work on an ML solution to the same problem in order to see the actual difference between the two approaches in terms of comparable output.

zump 3 days ago 0 replies      
I also need help; can someone point me to the latest results with NLP?

I want to build an AI powered note-taker.

navyad 3 days ago 0 replies      
amirouche 3 days ago 1 reply      
What is the book you are reading?
Any recommendations for TVs as monitors?
3 points by harrybr  16 hours ago   3 comments top 3
Declanomous 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I used to use a TV as part of a triple screen setup, but I went back to dual screens because the TV was noticeably worse than the monitor. My tv wasn't great, and my monitors are fairly nice, but there are a few things I've noticed about TVs that make them less suited for computer work than monitors.

For the same resolution, TVs often have a larger pixel pitch than monitors. I haven't noticed this as an issue for 4K tvs, but there are a few 1080p tvs that have pretty bad pixel pitch. My 32" 1080p tv has horrible pixel pitch. It is really only noticeable at the distances you'd view a monitor from, but it's really annoying.

Monitors compete on things like gray-to-gray response time, ghosting and input lag. TVs care about ghosting, but contrast ratio and black level is a bigger concern for them. I find that TVs have a fairly noticeable input lag, even when in game mode, but I'm really sensitive to this issue.

TVs tend to be slightly larger than monitors for a given screen size. It's not a huge difference, but if you want to do multi-display setups the bezel width can be a difference.

My best friend uses a TV as a monitor and is not bothered by any of these issues in the least, so it basically comes down to personal preference.

shuey187 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using TVs as monitors for years and one thing I can say for sure from my own experience is this: Try not to let any static images stay on the screen for long periods of time. This isn't really an issue with actual computer monitors, but when using a TV as a monitor, it almost always leads to burn-in of the images.

Another note is that you'll likely want to turn off some of the features that benefit you on the TV side of things (motion flow, image sharpening, etc). These features actually make the experience worse when using a TV as a monitor.

brudgers 14 hours ago 0 replies      
As with computer monitors, you'll tend to get what you pay for according to a logarithmic scale of price and performance, but the cheapest one will be absolutely amazing by historical standards and not worth having according to some people. The key factor is budget rather than technology.
Ask HN: How do you version your data?
113 points by webmaven  4 days ago   55 comments top 21
pnathan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I consider data to be a first class object. I break it into data in motion and data at rest.

Data in motion - messages - always look something like this:

 message := version timesent field1 field2 ... fieldn version := INTEGER time-sent := INTEGER
and the parsers know to reject messages with versions greater than what they can parse; depending on the system, they can also be backwards compatible. Time-sent turns out to be a lifesaver in debugging. You might also need TZ of time-sent, depends on the domain.

Versioning data at rest tends to be a little squirrely depending on the domain. Do you migrate data or do you not? what's your uptime? streaming or batch? Sometimes I version the actual table names, sometimes I migrate.. it depends. My preference is for migration to keep a consistent system, but that is not always feasible.

I'm a huge fan of SQL - it defines the data shape and structures the transforms possible on it, along with allowing a strong separation of data and computation. Postgres is my friend; I heavily use foreign keys and constraints on the schema. That way the data is reliable. (if your data isn't reliable, your schema should reflect that too of course). If I need to have multiple versions of data running at the same time, multiple tables or migrating is cleaner than versioning the specific rows. Otherwise you wind up with nulls and driving schema logic out into your code.

Typically I tack a unix time of insert into the rows for later analysis. You might also care to insert the current application name+version into the rows to catch any bugaboos when that changes.

derekchiang 4 days ago 1 reply      
Check out Pachyderm [0]. It supports distributed, version-controlled data storage. The API is very Git-like: you modify data by making commits.

[0] https://github.com/pachyderm/pachyderm

ratpik 3 days ago 0 replies      
The most RESTFul way to do this would be to use content negotiation using the `content-type` header set to something like `application/com.vendor.product+json; data-version=2.1; api-version=3.4` where the minor version indicates data changes and the major version indicates schema changes to the data. You can club together the API and data versions into one version like '' if you can define what a major/minor change to the API means. Exact details on how the client is exposed to the versioning will depend on the product requirements.

In terms of storing the data, we had a system where the content would be zipped after the content developers were done with the authoring and sent to a place which would convert it into appropriate JSON documents with the metadata and versioning information stored in the DB while the the document content could be stored in the cloud or a document database like Mongo or just Postgres. The content authors only knew excel who were trained to follow a schema while writing the content. That was like a low cost CMS. You can update only the content that has a diff or the entire content depending on how well you can identify a diff for the content. The entire content makes it simple.

alexatkeplar 3 days ago 3 replies      
Great question - we invented a system for this at Snowplow, called SchemaVer:


SemVer doesn't work for data - for one thing, there is no concept of a "bug" in your data (so patches are meaningless).

We have hundreds of companies actively using SchemaVer via the Snowplow (https://github.com/snowplow/snowplow/) and Iglu (https://github.com/snowplow/iglu/) projects.

px1999 4 days ago 1 reply      
Our migrations have unique datetime stamps. Stamps and migration names go into a table.

We do have a hash of all of the contents of the table, but the schema "version" is just the list of migrations that have been run. We run many different instances of our applications on several different "versions" and from time to time pull individual migrations back into earlier releases for hotfixes etc. The overall version is the instance, environment, and this hash.

Practically speaking, when we're handling the files ourselves though, it's instance, environment and backup date.

There are edge cases and it's not perfect (around ordering mostly), but it's incredibly rare for us to run into issues with this schema / data migration approach. We've found that even with a bunch of environments and a couple thousand migrations, data versioning isn't that serious a problem for us.

rishabhsagar 4 days ago 2 replies      
In Data warehouse context, it is often managed by one of the Slowly Changing Dimension management techniques.


clord 4 days ago 4 replies      
I wrote[0] about a method I've used with success in the past. Essentially you use the previous version's hash as the name for the next version. The benefit is that merging the work of multiple developers is easier. I ran the process manually when I did it and would love to hear if someone writes a script that makes the process easier.

[0]: https://medium.com/@clord/for-migration-of-schemas-use-versi...

hbcondo714 3 days ago 2 replies      
On a somewhat related note, I have an API that returns time series data. The API itself is versioned but not the data when it is added to since the endpoint is the same. How would I go about notifying consumers of the API that the data has been updated and they should call the API to get the latest data? Would versioning the data help with this?
vijucat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Edit: I realized that your question is just about the versioning scheme (the "what"), and my answer is more about the "how". I hope you still find it useful.

After being inspired by Hans Werner's answer here (several terabytes of binary data, 50000+ revisions), I chose Subversion. It's not conventional, but works very well in practice.


You get:

a) Natural audit trail & notes on data modification

b) Managed central dump of data => multiple, distributed local copies that you don't need to worry about keeping in sync. Just delete the cache and the data access API (see below) will check it out automatically again when you request the file.

Data access is encapsulated via an API that manages a /home/datadump/ of cached, revisioned files. You refer to the file using it's name + revision number (see below). I guess tags and branches can be used for more natural revison numbers, but I need to investigate whether Subversion's cheap copy works well in practice for this. They might be the perfect solution for you major.minor.patch needs?

User Code --> get_data("<file_path/file_name>", "r=38") --> API checks the cache for file_path/file_name_r=38. If it's not there it checks it out using a read-only user id and puts it in the cache and returns the path to /home/datadump/file_path/file_name_r=38.

Unusual, but works just fine for our purposes of mostly-read-only large files that need a revision history.

An idea that I did not explore was using ZFS or other revisioned file systems. Another "crazy" idea that works just fine for some folks is using Binary blobs in a database; not sure about size limits, though.

jsudhams 4 days ago 0 replies      
Have seen two ways of doing in large organizations1. Use tools like Optim (i think ibm)2. Export CSV data, and export schema and drop it to Hadoop data store

Option 2 is preferred for very long time restore say after 15 years as there may not be a way to restore to Oracle/MS Products which may not have run time ecosystem after 15 years.

kahrkunne 3 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on what it is, either semver for things where backward compatibility is necessary or just "version 1, version 2 etc." where a new version is a big enough change you should consult the documentation to know what is going on.
partycoder 4 days ago 1 reply      
I suggest you look into schema migration tools.

What I have done in the past is to prefer lazy migrations (migrate once you access an old record), rather than migrating everything in batch.

Also a good idea to archive data that hasn't been used, moving it outside your primary database.

jasonjei 4 days ago 1 reply      
I sometimes do it within the same table. It's a bit of a hack. What you want is a column called revision_id (something to point back to the master record). You'd want a state column to track if it's a draft, revision, active, etc. You might also want a sequence column too, so that when you apply drafts, you can compare if the draft can modify the master record (if sequence column doesn't match, you prevent the draft from overwriting master record data). Upon applying a draft to the master record, you do a deep clone of the existing record, insert the existing data as a new row pointing back to the master row via revision_id.
shneg 3 days ago 0 replies      
My hack way is to dump the tables to text and commit that. That was done by cron and not coupled with committing the code.

Granted, I was interested in the data within the table not the structure and the size was manageable.

edem 3 days ago 0 replies      
You might want to check Datomic out. They have a solution for your problem: http://www.datomic.com
richardwhiuk 4 days ago 2 replies      
Do you mean schema, not data?

I've seen three schemes used in production:

- single number versioning (V1->V2->V3->V4) - this is the scheme Android's sqlite helper insists on https://developer.android.com/reference/android/database/sql...

- full version numbers, but well defined upgrade tracks enforced in code.

- token based (e.g. a list of upgrades that have been applied)

j_s 3 days ago 0 replies      
This project seems to be making progress for WordPress: https://versionpress.net/
alecthomas 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use protobuf schema evolution. It's the same approach that Google use (naturally), and Facebook (with Thrift), among others.
kchoudhu 4 days ago 0 replies      
ALL migrations insert major.minor.patch to the database. Migrations are committed to the database, and can be run anytime; they each have check code at the beginning to compare against what's in the database before executing the payload. Migrations won't execute if the version is semantically less or too far ahead from what's in the database.

It's worked reasonably well so far.

73mpaccount 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are several tools out there for doing this, if you're storing your data in databases.

SQL Server has Master Data Services. There's also Talend. There are other master data management tools available.

Depending on how you use your data, there are tools for improving data quality that tie in with those as well.

spacebar51 3 days ago 1 reply      
CQRS and event sourcing is an approach where all data changes are versioned. You can re-create earlier states of the data by processing a portion of the event log.
Tinkering vs. Reading Books
12 points by vdthatte  2 days ago   12 comments top 10
sotojuan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tinkering wins most of the time. Honestly, unless it's a completely new concept or way of thinking (or for a lack of a better term, "academic" concept), tinkering and building stuff will be faster and more fun.

I only read books after I've tinkered enough to think "I can build something with X, but let's find out the best ways to do it".

There are some problems with books for X language or Y framework:

* A lot of books (especially free ones) have little to no exercises, giving you no chance to solidify your knowledge and instead copy and paste (or type along)

* People that love reading books instead of tinkering, in my experience, a) take too long to learn b) don't retain any material beyond two weeks or so because they don't do exercises (if there are any) c) think they learned the material because they have it in short term memory

The above also applies to a lot of "video courses" as well.

The only good book I've read in the past years is http://haskellbook.com/ because it explains things well, is well structured, and most importantly it is full of exercises.

itamarst 1 day ago 0 replies      
1. Skim the book in 3 or 4 hours to get idea of high level concepts and how they relate, and where to read in more detail when I hit something I don't understand.

2. Start coding.

3. Refer back to book when I get stuck, and read that section more in depth.

drakonka 20 hours ago 0 replies      
My entire life "tinkering" has always won out. However, right now I am doing the exact opposite in my attempts to learn math - working through a textbook from cover to cover.

Math seems like a difficult thing for a beginner to "tinker" with. You can go into Visual Studio and tinker with C#; you can open Chrome Dev Tools and tinker with CSS; you can go to Sublime and tinker with JS or python; and you can sit down and tinker with sketching or painting or building a wooden box. But how do you tinker with a tool which has so many rules and concepts and no compiler or runtime log to let you know when you've done something wrong?

So far my extent of "tinkering" with math has been completing the exercises at the end of each textbook section and Googling answers to various equations or examples of proofs I want to try out based on an assumption I've made from the things I've just learned. I guess that is a form of tinkering also, but it comes after the entire reading part.

atmosx 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My experience is different than most people apparently: Books put you on the fast lane IMO. Of course it takes practice to master something, anything. Books represent a form of compressed, structured knowledge that is very difficult for someone to find on his own.

It is really nice to play around with mentos and coca-cola but without reading something like the McMurry (Chemistry 8th/7th/6th or 9th Edition) you'll never understand organic chemistry's basics. You might get a long way on your own if you're Ramanujan-level, but otherwise I think you'll learn, but way more slowly and in a possibly unstructured way.

TurboHaskal 1 day ago 0 replies      

However I believe that 40 weekly hours are already enough time to spend in front of a computer so reading wins most of the time.

mbrock 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's something to be said for just reading manuals. Like, I can mess around with Gimp and get basic stuff done, but I bet if I read a book or manual I would pick on fundamental things that would help me really learn to master the tool.

I like to just read man files of utilities too, even when I have no specific need. It's like broadening my background knowledge to call on later when an opportunity comes up.

brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tinkering with the book open.
csnewb 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'll read a tutorial/blog post or the official docs to quickly get up to speed on something, and read textbooks for learning a topic in depth. The problem is I get too caught up in reading a dense textbook but forget a lot of it because I don't apply that knowledge. I'm trying to find a middle ground between reading and application.
wazanator 2 days ago 0 replies      
I always tinker then refer to manual/docs as I need to. Having some project that I can keep adding to gets me to keep learning.
michalpt 1 day ago 1 reply      
Tinkering (especially for programming) most of the time. I have ADHD, so it is a bit tough for me to stay fully focused when reading as I tend to skip paragraphs etc :)
Ask HN: Building algorithm for Trending News/Topics of a Country
3 points by fghafoor  1 day ago   2 comments top
usgroup 17 hours ago 1 reply      
For major news sources:

Guess it by correlation. E.g. Google for something that appears on every BBC news page and observe the order google returns the results in to infer popularity. Do that for all the countries major news outlets.

Run all the sources through OpenCalais to collect features.

Present the features.

Ask HN: How to implement an NLP grammar parser for a new natural language?
47 points by alnitak  3 days ago   13 comments top 5
amirouche 3 days ago 1 reply      
Nobody mentionned SyntaxNet or LinkGrammar. If you did not read the article from Chomsky about the two ways of doing AI you should read it. Basically it says there is statistical methods and logic methods in AI. Most of NLP libraries of today use the statistic approach. The other, the logic rules based approach was the most popular before now. Anyway, that's what does Link Grammar. I recommend you start with the introduction https://amirouche.github.io/link-grammar-website//documentat... to get a feeling of what it means to deliver meanings to sentences.

Also nowdays, word2vec is unrelated to the understanding of grammatical constructs in natural languages. It's simply said a coincidence or co-occurance of words. Grammartical interpretation of a sentence must be seens as a general graph whereas word2vec operate on the linear structure of sentences (one word after the other). If word2vec had to work on grammatical constructs it should be able to ingest graph data. word2vec works on matrices where the graphical representation of the grammar of sentence (POS tagging, dependencies, anaphora, probably others) is graph otherwise said a sparse matrix or a matrix with a big number of dimensions. (It seems to me machine learning is always about dimension reduction with some noise).

I am quite ignorant about the literature on the subject of machine learning operated to/from graphical datastructures.

Bitcoincadre 3 days ago 0 replies      
First, North African languages are called Arabic. The proper written form of Arabic is the same in every country. The Berber language never had a written language or letters and only confuses the matter. It is a tool used to divide the people. Can you imagine Palestinians demanding Caananite be included as an official language? The most common modern standard Arabic would be found in Syria, Lebanon,Jordan and Palestine, with the Egyptian and Iraqi dialects also well understood. The North African dialects need a major overhaul. In Morrocco, they have borrowed even German words and the pace is so fast half the words are mumbled. Use modern standard Arabic as your focus,and perhaps Latin letters to make it easier on non natives while being able to translate it back to Arabic letters.
web64 3 days ago 1 reply      
I haven't tried it yet, but Spacy has a guide[1] for adding a new languages to their python NLP framework. Maybe it can be of use to you.

[1] https://spacy.io/docs/usage/adding-languages

probably_wrong 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to go directly into coding, the Stanford NLP Parser lists in point 5 of their FAQ[1] some starting instructions for parsing a new language.

If you can deal with the math, some papers such as [2] use corpora for existing languages as a tool to parse new languages, for which there are not too many resources available.

In both cases, you can always contact the authors. They might know how to help with your project, and/or direct you to the right people.

[1] http://nlp.stanford.edu/software/parser-faq.shtml#d

[2] https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/Q/Q16/Q16-1022.pdf

franciscop 3 days ago 1 reply      
Stanford's NLP course is a good place to start learning about the theoretical knowledge: https://youtube.com/watch?v=nfoudtpBV68

Then it highly depends on the language; for instance tokenization (split sentence into words) is really easy in English, Spanish, etc compared to Japanese, Chinese, etc. So I would say a good starting point would be to try using a NLP parser for a similar language. What language is it? What kind of NLP analysis do you want to perform?

Ask HN: How do you know when to run with an idea?
14 points by dhatch387  2 days ago   10 comments top 8
qwrusz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Besides the common responses like pick an idea you actually want to work on and will enjoy doing and where you have the skills to do the work needed...

I recommend doing some research into how large companies vet new product ideas and borrowing some concepts from that. I realize MBA-type practices taught in business schools get a bad rap from many folks and frankly a lot of the bad reputation of MBAs is deserved. But there are tools and procedures for how bigger companies decide whether to start a new product line and these are worth learning about. For example, how does Apple decide to launch the iPad or how did they decide to launch the Apple Watch? And how does Apple decide to cancel/not launch the dozens of other internal product ideas they have that don't see the light of day?... Testing the idea, it's market potential and digging into the overall pros and cons and risks of an idea, all have known steps and processes that can work at a startup-level idea too. Nothing is 100% for sure a good idea or bad idea - Plus you don't have to listen to the results of your product vetting, you can launch an idea with low support for it or decide not to launch an idea that has tons of potential, either way I think it's worth taking the time to understand these factors.

ashwn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I heard something on the Tim Ferris podcast the other day about how Kevin Kelly (founder of Wired) tries to give away or kill as many of his ideas as possible. If no one takes the idea or he can't kill the idea with a fatal flaw, he knows that he needs to work on that particular idea. That said, ideas are a dime a dozen while execution is priceless.
cylinder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Talking to myself here as much as to you.

For regular business, i.e., I need to make a living and I'm not looking for VC to build a unicorn, it's usually "do I have a paying client lined up?" Most service businesses are like this.

nnn1234 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would say everyone hashes out new ideas. Implementing them and selecting profitable ones is the difficulty. I will echo most points made by people here.

Solve a problem or a need, that is the idea that will work

DrNuke 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lowest effort (both technical and marketing) for highest return (a real and approachable market). Many times the effort would be too much for negligible return, so move on.
bsvalley 1 day ago 0 replies      
If a lot of people tell you - "I'd definitely want that". Build it. Ideas don't exist anymore.

Just ask people for their requirements, that'll be your idea.

miguelrochefort 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't. I've had thousands of ideas, and implemented none.

I think my ideas are too ambitious. I can no longer go back to limited and realistic ideas.

Ask HN: How can I volunteer my software skills online?
120 points by Srishti101  4 days ago   58 comments top 38
patio11 4 days ago 2 replies      
(Disclaimer: not trolling.)

Consider specializing in making money and donating the money to people who specialize in $PICK_A_CAUSE_DEAR_TO_YOU, if your primary concern is about impact and not about personal fulfillment. NGOs are often not well set up to metabolize the labor of developers, and at some things which you think are helpful will be perceived by the organization as a threat (e.g. at many organizations, anything which decreases the required headcount to operate attacks a primary reason for the organization to exist).

You're also unlikely to be an expert at $PICK_A_CAUSE_WHICH_IS_DEAR_TO_YOU for the same reason you're unlikely to be an expert at heart surgery or filing business taxes. Those strike me as important enough to be done by someone who knows what they're doing; your mileage may vary with respect to causes dear to you.

Melk 4 days ago 1 reply      
You should start off by limiting yourself because it's easy to get in over your head once you start down the path of unpaid work. I volunteer 20% of my time (one day a week) to non-profits so they know what they're getting.

Most of the jobs I got at first were through volunteering in other ways. I was a driver at a summer camp for underprivileged kids when I found that they needed a registration system they couldn't afford. And an animal shelter where I used to walk dogs had a little gift shop that sold handmade items so I set up an online store and their revenue went up 800%. Little projects like that can make a huge impact with little effort.

Then I blogged about the projects and now I regularly get requests through that. There are a lot of NGOs searching online for people like you so all you need to do is make yourself visible.

DanBC 4 days ago 0 replies      
The UK has a bunch of open data sets.

You could find one that interests you and wrangle the data into something useful for the public.

I'd be interested to see some of these sets combined. For one example, the Office for National Statistics releases information about death by suicide, and the NHS releases prescribing data. (Also available on the excellent openprescribing.net site)

I'd like to see something that combines the two. Maybe a map of deaths by overdose and by prescribing of the top 5 meds used.

This work could help reduce death by suicide which is a significant cause of preventable death, and attempted suicide which is a significant cause of avoidable harm. (Sadly we can't just say "reducing human suffering is the right thing to do", we have to say "it's the cost effective thing to do".

Open Prescribing: https://openprescribing.net/

ONS "Suicides in the UK": https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/birthsde...

National Confidential Inquiry: http://research.bmh.manchester.ac.uk/cmhs/research/centrefor...

oelmekki 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have volunteered for the UN Online Volunteer [1] program about a decade ago, but (sadly) I won't recommend it.

Most people volunteering there have no experience in the field, they are mostly students or retirees who "want to try". I joked at the time saying that I would not have accepted that work if it was paid for. Worst part is, you can't really tell people they won't do, because they're doing this for free and with good intentions. Actually, scratch that: worst part is that survey at the end of the mission where you had to rate people you worked with on tons of criteria ; that was horrible.

I would say, if you want to be helpful but not have the worst "work" experience you can have, you should probably find yourself a problem and fix it with a side project. Either host the service and allow people to find it, or just open source it with easy install steps (but there are more chances here that it won't be actually used).

[1] https://www.onlinevolunteering.org

VLM 4 days ago 0 replies      
If the project isn't primarily a software engineering/data analytics group, ask yourself what they'll do when you're gone. Its not unlikely that setting up something complicated can be short term profitable while you're around and long term a net loss after you're gone.

There are hacks against that such as doing grunt work where its not about the volunteer who is interchangeable with any other volunteer (perhaps installing wifi or cat5 cabling, whatever) or helping something with a closed timeframe (An election campaign has a clearly defined ending and presumably you can commit to not leaving before the finish line).

Your best bet would be to find whatever FOSS they use and then work on the FOSS project. Your research shows that people and community users of some FOSS project would really benefit from feature whatever or bugfix whatever or documentation whatever, so ...

llccbb 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have posted this before, countless times, but techies who want to volunteer their skills and knowledge to advance the democratic process should think about joining the PROGRESSIVE CODERS NETWORK[0]. They are a non-profit that helps organize and direct volunteer coders, programmers, designers into open-source political projects. They are about connecting and facilitating projects, not dictating what projects should be. They are party-neutral, but seek to empower the people and provide tools for running successful campaigns and being engaged as a citizen.

If you can take away the need for millions of dollars to run a campaign then policy makers aren't beholden to the few wealthy supporters that helped get them elected.

They help connect volunteers to projects that range from building an open-source voter database to an Uber-like app that helps the mobility-limited get transportation to vote. They are extremely transparent and always interested in growing the network. Many members of the network are engineers, product managers, or independent coders.


razin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here are a few ideas:

- Digital Service https://thedigitalservice.org/ (this was made by YC partner, Adora Cheung)

- Bayes Impact http://www.bayesimpact.org/

- DataKind http://www.datakind.org/

lazylester 4 days ago 0 replies      
I have been writing software, pro-bono, for non-profits for over a decade now. I get most of my "work" through idealist.org, which is a trove of opportunities. You might have to monitor for a few months before you find just the right project for you. Be patient.

My most recent gig, however, was found through the United Nations volunteer program. I can't find the link atm but I'm sure it'll come up for you with a bit of Googling.

It has been incredibly rewarding, and you might be able to write off some of your computer, conference, books, internet and travel expenses.

I love this kind of work for many reasons, but from the developer's perspective it's rewarding because the client is always very grateful for what you are doing and there's never a deadline, so there's always time to do it right and not take shortcuts.

I have traveled to some very interesting places, albeit mostly (but not always) at my own expense, with this work. I am fortunate to be in a financial position that I can do it, and I can't recommend it highly enough.

jumasheff 4 days ago 0 replies      
jlg23 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are two big problems with your question:

a) By the time some NGO can specify requirements like "data analyst should do X to prove Y" they also have someone who can formulate those, i.e. some person who at least had some exposure to professional IT work. That person most probably has a list of 100 or so people s/he'll ask first (people known to work for the cause anyway are prime candidates).

b) "Perhaps you can share personal projects that you were able to use to help people and community around you."

Yes, I can but I won't: My stories don't help you except for maybe serving as inspiration. You can find enough inspirational stories via google, so I won't have to write down yet another one. But, much more important: NGOs are usually not set up to deal with any offer of help by someone who is not an expert in their specific domain. Your great ideas will be ignored simply because people don't have time to think about it. While you might see the potential "800% increase in revenue" (mentioned in another comment) the others won't be able to see it or won't trust you to stick to the project for long enough (drop out rates in NGOs are very, very high in my experience).

Summa summarum: Find a cause you want to fight for, make a list of NGOs in that area. Then: Try it and don't be disappointed if they don't see the value you could bring but only judge you according to what you do in their specific domains (i.e.: no praise for the idea of a souvenir shop of the dog shelter, lots of praise for walking the dogs). Once you found a pleasant environment to work in, start hacking it: Make PoCs at night, after doing the official work. Swear in your room at all those idiots who fail to see the benefit of your work but turn it into something productive; create some turn-key solution that creates some real benefit for the NGO. After doing this you will have a much better standing when you explain your next project idea - they might not get it, but they will trust your expertise enough now that they have seen that you deserve that trust.

pavlov 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you could volunteer for DataKind:


They're an awesome non-profit that connects your kind of expertise with traditional NGOs that have data and domain knowledge, but typically don't know how to make full use of it.

You can volunteer even for a weekend project, and it makes a real difference.

jeffmould 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you live near a large city with a big newspaper (i.e. Washington Post) you can often find volunteer software development and web designer opportunities for various organizations in their employment section. Just note that many are truly volunteer or offer a small stipend in exchange for your work. On the flip side these can be great opportunities for someone just getting started to build references, a portfolio, and gain experience.
moriartyx64 4 days ago 1 reply      
One initiative that comes to mind is the Humanitarian Toolbox: http://www.htbox.org/
pedrokost 4 days ago 0 replies      
Think about the problems in your neighborhood and try to imagine creative solutions to them that you can implement with your skillset. It doesn't need to be a global problem to be worthwhile solving - sometimes helping our just a handful of people can feel extremely worthwhile.

This is how I got involved with a personal project. A few years ago I had trouble finding a listing of all Karate dojos in my vicinity. I compiled a list of such dojos in Excel, and later decided to put them online [0]. By putting this dataset online, and maintaining it up to date I am helping other people who are looking for a new place to train a sport.

This project not only helps the community (who can now easily find karate and other sports clubs easily through the project website) but also helped me learn new technologies and practice skill that I don't excel at, like design, writing, marketing, etc. Just yesterday I took the project to the next level and started doing same simple data analysis of the dataset [1].

While the project may not have a very large impact on the community, it does sufficiently so to feel worthwhile. Moreover, being able to play with different skills in a low stress environment makes is very enjoyable.

[0] http://www.klubi.si/[1] https://medium.com/@pedro.kostelec/analyzing-the-market-size...

arvind_devaraj 3 days ago 0 replies      
Consider sharing your knowledge to help graduate students and guide them take good career decisions. This is a forum for discussing computer science careers with more than 150,000 students. https://www.facebook.com/groups/core.csIt is like stackoverflow - but for students who can't express their questions in a rigorous format expected by the stackoverflow community. We help students with their questions on various CS topics like algorithms, datastructures and programming. We are a group of 30 moderators answering thousands of questions posted daily and obviously our knowledge is limited and would like to expand to other areas like machine learning / datascience. It would be great if you can share your knowledge with the community. We believe that giving knowledge is the best form of giving, as it empowers the receiver for life time.
guico 4 days ago 0 replies      
Check out https://www.project501.com/

It's platform for skill based voluntary work

robinsongreig 4 days ago 0 replies      
First - I run a platform that connects creative/technical volunteers with non-profits for project-based volunteer opportunities. There's a bunch of organizations looking for people like you - take a look: www.project501.com

Second - really interesting conversation here. It's incredibly important to make monetary donations, but that isn't an option for anyone. It's also possible that your time/expertise could save the organization far more than what you might have been willing to donate.

I'm a fan of the guiding ideas of effective altruism (few have mentioned it already). Basically, give what you are able to give to the cause that needs it most. There's plenty of behavioral issues though that might prevent us from giving more of our money than we probably could - it seems easier to donate our time when doing what we love doing and do best.

brilliantcode 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm in the process of launching http://letsopensource.com which is a commercial software alternative marketplace. It will be also relevant towards data science, design projects not just software.

You can contribute your time towards open source projects that people request and will fund.

You can contribute your money towards open source projects you need and other features and functions for your business.

My vision is to help developers who have a track record of open source work but also looking to help fulfill business open source needs.

You get money or portfolio cred backed by real references from backers. You get business value from open source software developers contribute to in a much more directed way. You can vote on features and functions with money.

amelius 4 days ago 0 replies      
One idea is: build a platform where people can submit what projects they would like to see realized, and where they can specify a rudimentary requirements-analysis and/or design. It may include a mechanism where people can upvote projects, and perhaps a way for people to collaborate on designs.
dandelion_lover 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am surprized no one has mentioned FSF yet. They have a very good list of what is important for the community:


agrafix 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you're into functional programming (Haskell + PureScript), I know that UnionizeMe [1] is looking for volunteers.

[1] https://unionize.me/get-involved

splitrocket 4 days ago 0 replies      

5 month, paid fellowship to research, develop, test, and the launch tech products that fight poverty.

vonklaus 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is as impossible to answer as:

What charity should I give money to?

I would love to have a talented teacher, so I would say mentorship, ect.

The EFF although they have more technical resources than most.

Depends on 100% what you are passionate about. Without that info the target is any non-profit

palehose 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not affiliated with Taproot, but am aware of them and that they have been successful with their model.

Taproot Foundation - WHAT WE DO: The Taproot Foundation connects nonprofits and social change organizations with passionate, skilled volunteers who share their expertise pro bono. Through our programs, business professionals deliver marketing, strategy, HR, and IT solutions that organizations need to achieve their missions. https://taprootfoundation.org/

weisser 4 days ago 0 replies      
My friend Robinson recently launched a site called Project 501. It matches non-profit organizations with talented professionals who want to donate their skills.

Site: http://project501.comMedium post: https://medium.com/@robinsongreig/project-501-a-platform-to-...

philip142au 4 days ago 0 replies      
Find a project on github you like, fork it and submit pull requests.
exception_e 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could use some more people on a code modernization project I'm running for OpenEMR (free EHR solution that is used all over the world).


Feel free to email me.

fosco 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think here [0] is a great general introduction

[0] https://opensource.guide/

secfirstmd 4 days ago 0 replies      

Over at Security First (www.secfirst.org) our small, non-profit team builds Umbrella App - a free open source tool that helps people like activists and journalists manage their digital and physical security.

We are always looking for people who are able to volunteer some time to help us on things like Android Development, back end work, UI/UX, design, marketing and copyrighting.

known 4 days ago 0 replies      
List of unsolved problems in computer sciencehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsolved_problems_in_c...
aw3c2 4 days ago 2 replies      
Have you heard of Open Source software? You can literally find hundreds of thousands of software projects that publish their sources under free licenses for you to improve upon. I am sure you have some hobbies or niche interests where software could use a little help.
illnewsthat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Check out https://www.catchafire.org

I haven't completed any projects yet but it integrates with LinkedIn and seems like a pretty good platform to find skills based volunteering opportunities.

strawberrysauce 4 days ago 0 replies      
Try this: http://www.doinggoodfellows.org/It's by a friend for this exact same purpose
bitshiffed 4 days ago 0 replies      
thorn ( https://www.wearethorn.org/ ) is another project that takes technical volunteers: https://wearethorn.typeform.com/to/pZtK7Z
profpandit 4 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think you should restrict yourself to NGOsEven commercial organizations help people and communityYou should identify what kind of work interests youand use that to drive your decision.
godmodus 4 days ago 0 replies      
Freenode #newguard and #oldguard
Making SGML a thing again
9 points by tannhaeuser  2 days ago   23 comments top 3
yellowapple 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't think SGML really ever wasn't a thing; it just took off some of its clothes and started calling itself "XML" instead.
lightlyused 2 days ago 0 replies      
I remember using some product, db-publisher I think it was called, back in the early 90's that used sgml. This was before I had heard about the web.
curuinor 2 days ago 1 reply      
Snowclone of "make ___ great again" is literally the most contentious snowclone of 2016

I mean, are right-wing folks going to flock to SGML? Is this an American partisan deal?

edit: cool beans, they changed title

it is one of the most partisan phrases in recent decades

Ask HN: How can I reach people in a industry I don't have any contacts?
29 points by pouta  3 days ago   16 comments top 10
akg_67 2 days ago 0 replies      
1. Join Industry Association and attend their meetings.

2. Attend and/or exhibit at Tradeshows and events related to the industry.

3. Trade Publications, their mailing lists and advertising.

4. Find contacts through LinkedIn and reach out to them individually.

5. Go to your target audience hangout places.

6. Research publications related to your industry. Find appropriate papers and connect with research groups and authors that get you introduction to industry participants.

DrNuke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty sure from own experience that supplying solutions to business customers at scale is not easy without being a proven business yourself. The other way round is doing contract work for them, essentially selling your solutions very cheap. In the middle, you may want to become an r&d employee in order to achieve financial security while working on your own project for a single customer aka your employer. In the latter case, bonuses and intellectual rights exploitation may be agreed, if the interest is mutual and your solution is big.
avmich 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm reading answers on this thread and having a strange feeling of some disconnect between the question - or rather a possible interpretation of the question - and answers. Maybe it's just a feeling that answers make some assumptions which could be substantially wrong?

For example, if the question author is a yesterday graduate, he may use the internship route. But then he may not know "the old route" - and mentioning "going past the gate keeper" without elaborating may leave a puzzled look. At least before some figuring out (a.k.a. googling) what's that.

Or if the author had a career in another industry, then the idea of internship may look odd, but LinkedIn contacts could be more promising venue. Unless, that is, the industry doesn't use LinkedIn that much.

Or if the author is from outside of America. Then advice like "join an association and attend meetings" could be harder to follow. Regarding advice "networking is also a possible venue" - for some this could sound both as too long/boring and to vague of advice. Advice "hire a professional" requires finding one, paying him - which may be problematic for some - and those also look like taking time longer than one weekend or even one month.

I don't know, may be some recommendations will be spot on and successfully used. May be the question need to be phrased more specifically.

meric 3 days ago 1 reply      
The traditional way to reach people in an industry where one doesn't have any contacts is to do an internship in one of the companies, or to perform well in a competition setup within the industry. That's how it goes for graduates in most industries, anyway. One could also look for any awards shared by industry participants. A group of industry participants might setup an award for "best supplier" for a particular good the industry needs. Try to get in one of those gatherings and do some networking.

I even did a google search for you and found something interesting:


"Innovations from 30 automotive suppliers representing seven countries have been named finalists for the 2017 Automotive News PACE Awards.

The 34 innovations -- ranging from short-range radar to a direct fuel-injection system to an in-car artificial intelligence supercomputer -- underscore the auto industry's commitment to improving fuel economy, emissions and safety, among other goals."

Can you get a ticket to one of these events?

bosky101 2 days ago 1 reply      
Attempt to hire them.

In the best case - you see value in their connections & insider info and you actually offer what you can and they join you.

In the worst case - you get to understand the market, have a friend who respects you, and possibly references or as in your case - perhaps become your customer.

Worked for me across new verticals i had to break into. (banking, logistics)

stagbeetle 3 days ago 0 replies      
> I'm quite sure cold-emailing Tesla or Waymo would just go to support...

Have you heard about getting past the gate keeper? It's an old technique and I don't know how relevant it is in this era, but it's something to look into.

Networking is also a possible avenue.

This question is googable, are you sure there's nothing else to this?

planteen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hire a sales person with ties to the industry. Find them on Linked In. Sales people are always networking.
softwarefounder 1 day ago 0 replies      
Cold emailing and calling doesn't work for _me_. I'm terrible at cold calling.

- Go to events, meetups, and conferences for the topic.- Connect via LinkedIn to persons of interest.- Network, network, network.

everdev 2 days ago 0 replies      
The fewer the players in an industry the harder it will be. Online forums can be a good way to casually meet people or promote your technology. I'd try posting to Reddit or LinkedIn and develop some relationships.
testxx1 2 days ago 1 reply      
I work in this industry, can you elaborate on your software and it's capabilities a little more? I will be able to point you in the right direction.
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