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Ask HN: How to get a job when you suck at coding?
34 points by anon23422  8 hours ago   26 comments top 17
nickh9000 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Seems like you are taking your interview rejections to heart.

Don't do that.

Most companies go with the mode don't hire unless the candidate is a great fit, because they don't want to bear the cost of a mistake. I have failed a decent number of interviews, some on technical ground, some on personal ground. I still think I am not a bad programmer, despite the failed interviews.

Like you I also have doubts about my abilities despite 12 years of work history in the Valley. Impostor syndrome.

Realize that most people are not as smart as Zuckerberg, and that they don't have to be. Don't use geniuses as a measuring stick of yourself.

The most important question is whether you like coding. If you do, pursue it. Whatever deficiencies you have, you will mend as you get more experienced.

gt2 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Build a small, real world project, and compare along the way to other good examples of the project. As small as Tic-Tac-Toe or a (nice) todo list app.

As you build it you will learn a) best practices and b) what "good" code looks like.

Your code will begin to merge with the style of the good during this project and will rub off on the next project you choose. Eventually you can do a green field project where there is no good example code of. Still, there will be examples of the building blocks, and how you architect other kinds of building blocks together, so you can then learn how to properly architect a project. Now you will be better than a huge amount of programmers because a) you care and b) you have built a few real world projects.

Speak to your strengths in the interviews, reference successful projects and what you did on them. Remove any absolutely terrible code from your GitHub etc. If that means starting from scratch, that's fine, because none is better than terrible, and most people agree a GitHub is not a prerequisite for most jobs. That being said, casual hack projects and attempts on your GitHub is not bad. It means you are interested.

Besides practical projects, be sure you have "completed your education" of classic comp sci topics -- just because you graduated from uni doesn't mean you know all of the classical topics and common interview questions. We all need refreshers. Try to focus on the parts that apply to real world projects, sure, but be sure to have the fundamentals down.

Good luck and stay hungry to find good solutions and take those hacker rank style challenges one a time. You will be great eventually, and able to get a good job soon.

expertentipp 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked with people even less skilled. Java/.NET folks "programming" through clicking around and drag and dropping things in Eclipse/Visual Studio. Test folks with no idea on how to do any automation or even how to setup/configure a freaking Jenkins ("manual" testers).

HackerRank/Codility is a very narrow specialization of computer science - dynamic programming. Pity that such narrow domain has become the benchmark in evaluating the skillset of a software professional.

haxiomic 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How are your people skills? It makes a big difference to have a project manager who's got a decent understanding of the tech. I work with a great PM who didn't make it through the interview as a developer but was asked to join as a PM.

But aside from that avenue, It sounds like you may have been burned by interviewing for coding roles too early. In my experience CS degrees are great for computing fundamentals, but not so great for the real-life project experience that they'll be looking for. Building a few reasonable sized projects from start to finish is where you'll start to get the hang of design patterns, data structures and pretty code. You have to work through building a bunch of crummy projects at first before you start to realize where you can improve for the next ones, and where design patterns will start to make sense.

One thing to be aware of is sometimes the interviewer is totally into tech stack X and if you're not into tech stack X you're going to have a bad time, no matter how good you are, so don't take it too personally (but I know that's hard!).

Good luck!

danjoc 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've worked with plenty of people who suck at coding. Being good at coding doesn't seem to be a prerequisite.
xxSparkleSxx 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Are there any other areas you are passionate about? Particular industries that you may have more knowledge than the average coder? Having inside knowledge of an industry can help make-up for lack-luster coding skills.

For example, I work in bioinformatics and the coding problems I face day-to-day are by no means insanely difficult. If you have a decent grasp of biology, many people would love to employ you as a bioinformatician (pay is low however).

stillworks 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So, do you want a job ? Or want to get better at coding ? The two are not often essentially linked.
thephyber 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> Is there any hope for me, or should I look elsewhere?

That's subjective and is up to you. I don't see any reason anything you've mentioned necessarily disqualifies you from a programming job.

It seems like you are taking the rejection from the VP to heart. Consider something else -- they decided to interview you knowing that Python was in the req and wasn't on your resume. Either the VP is disappointed at HR wasting his time or he was willing to give you a chance. If it was the latter, what could you have done to impress him / show some competency in the required field? Could you have offered to study the language and do an interview homework assignment? Could you have played up your current programming skills? Did you have enough time to learn the basics of the language before the interview?

> I spent a year working on an ecommerce site ... I never had to use design patterns nor data structures. I just pieced it together.

You built a project! Focus on the positive. Even better if you did it by yourself and on your own initiative (not as part of a class project). Unless you installed turn-key software, it certainly did require data structures (arrays, queues, hash tables / associative arrays / dicts) and algorithms (sorting, database lookups). Most basic web work only uses a very few vanilla ones. Unless you've already optimized it, you can probably find a way to do multiple things in parallel or batch some DB queries and then highlight that. Web sites frequently can benefit from memoization or caching. There are TONS of tricks for serving web pages faster[1].

There's a world of security-related topics surrounding ecommerce / web sites (XSS, SQLi, clickjacking, etc). There's also web fundamentals that I question interviewees (http protocol, auth, sessions, cookies).

> I passed all the shown test cases, the final results showed that I got the following scores 13%/95%/0%

Would you feel more or less competent if that 0% score was a bug on their end? Consider both forks of the decision tree. Consider the likelihood of each. Do something about it. Try to tweak your submission and iterate. Or focus on a different tool. Try "code golf" on HackerRank or try math problems on Project Euler.

[1] https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/performance/c...

caboteria 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Software development involves many disciplines besides coding. You've already had some experience with automated test development, so maybe consider SQA. If you can read code and describe what it does in a natural language you might want to be a tech writer. If all else fails you can go over to the dark side and be a manager. It's not as much fun as coding but can be more lucrative.
maxxxxx 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems you need to push yourself to do advanced things in your projects even if it's not strictly necessary. I always try something new even though there is no real need. I do that mainly because it naturally interests me, not because of career considerations.

So, maybe you are just not passionate about programming? Realizing this is not a bad thing.

run28 2 hours ago 0 replies      
If you know you want to be in this field, work on marketable skills. I suck at coding as well and just worked on gaining marketable skills over the years.

I'm able to get a job most anywhere these days.

nerdsaresingle 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Never do real world project and waste your time. You want a job? Go do leetcode for three months. Interview 3 companies, do leetcode, interview 3 companies and repeat.
ttoinou 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Create your own job. Find a niche and try to build a niche product. This require some kind of domain knowledge though
alexashka 6 hours ago 1 reply      
You don't need to know a a whole lot to do corporate dev. You just need to be agreeable and friendly.

Keep applying.

One more thing - it'd help to include how long you've been out of school, how many interviews you've been on, where, etc.

Right now you're in crybaby mode, masked as 'give me advice'. What you're really asking for is some sympathy from strangers.

Software dev is one of the easiest fields to get a job - try being a psychology graduate. Wipe them tears, figure out what information you actually need to get a job, ask, learn, apply, work hard.

richardknop 6 hours ago 0 replies      
>>> 1) I have a bunch of projects, but they're terribly boring and have ugly looking code. For example, I spent a year working on an ecommerce site. It does what it needs to do, but there were no smart decisions behind the back end. I never had to use design patterns nor data structures. I just pieced it together.

This is not optimal. At the very least having knowledge of usual data structures and some common design patterns is kind of a requirement to get any decent development job. But I think you might actually know more about data structures/patterns than you think.

When working on the ecommerce site, you must have had come across some of these. Let's say the site was written in a high level language. For sure you have used/seen classes, array (or some higher level wrapper like lists in Python or slices in Go), hash maps. When fetching products to be displayed in the "storefront" part of the site, you might have used array/list/slice to store these.

I assume the ecommerce site used database to store data. So perhaps there was singleton pattern used to get a database connection (although this one is not the best example). What about dependency injection? How was configuration passed to objects?

Did some classes inherit from other classes? Did you see interfaces? E.g. a classic example is a payment method interface and then specific implementations for different payment methods (card, direct debit). If there are interfaces it's quite likely you will find a factory to get instance of a specific object implementing the interface?

Have you done any frontend work in JavaScript? If yes, you must be familiar with event listeners. There's a good example of observer pattern for you (queue where you register listeners for specific events) which is very important for event driven programming.

>>> 2) I have a lot of trouble with "HackerRank" style problems. I just finished one, an hour ago, called Codility. Even though I passed all the shown test cases, the final results showed that I got the following scores 13%/95%/0%. The 0% was a debugging problem that required a max of 2 line changes. I have absolutely no clue how I got a 0% there.

Try more of these courses, with practice you will get better. It's very likely you have missed something very obvious with the problem where you got 0% although you thought you got it right. Perhaps you haven't tried it with all example input values?


Anyways, I would start by taking small steps. Whatever job you currently have, try to become a better programmer by using new or better techniques while in your 9-5 job. Perhaps refactor some old part of codebase and use more effective data structures to make the code more efficient. Use objects and composition to make the code easier to read and understand. When working on a new feature, write unit tests alongside the code.

Also, when it comes to interviewing, you will also get better at it with experience. I have had quite a lot interviews in my career and I can definitely say I was pretty bad at interviewing 7 years ago. Today I am noticeably better and do very well in most interviews and whiteboard exercises.

Do an online exercise or two, study up on data structures and patterns, maybe create some small project to keep some fresh programming footprint in memory. Then go try more interviews, you'll do much better.

usuallybaffled 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Contribute to open source projects.
thephyber 5 hours ago 0 replies      
don't take rejections personally. They aren't rejecting you. They are rejecting you-for-this-position-at-this-time. And they may reject you even if you pass all of their paper requirements if they aren't sure you are a "superstar" because there is implied risk in hiring someone that doesn't fit "perfectly" and isn't ready to commit code to production on the first afternoon.

Remember that interviewing is both a negotiation and is highly subjective. If you do well, but aren't a great fit for the open req, you may find a new req is created for you. Follow up with HR if you get rejected for a position to see if there are any other positions that might be a good fit. Ask HR if they have any constructive criticism from the interviews.

Some interviewers will suck. Walk it off. I've been berated and given backhanded compliments by interviewers. You need to evaluate what you did in the interview and what you could have done better. Sometimes your effort will simply not make a difference -- you will need to learn to accept that. A mentor in the industry and your college employment office should be able to help you hone these skills and develop some new soft skills (the things that employers look for but don't show up as line items on resumes). Sometimes you just need confidence and you can get that by practice. Nobody likes rejections, but at least they come with practice.

Ask your interviewer what you could have done better. You may not get a satisfactory answer (interviewers and companies may create liabilities or violate policies by answering those kinds of questions), but it can't hurt to ask. I will spend a little more time than most interviewers to try and coax out anecdotes which show initiative and grit. These don't necessarily have to be coding related -- they are attributes of people, not only of coders. If those anecdotes aren't prepared by the interviewer, I politely suggest that those things are great to open with.

Programming is largely about learning on the job and less about memorizing APIs. I want someone who truly wants to work at the same company (is at least somewhat passionate about what we do), wants to row in mostly the same direction (or at least get to the same destination), who is humble enough to want to improve their skills, and who takes the initiative to fix issues before they become problems.

If you can improve your next interview by learning from a previous mistake, do it. Certainly brush up on data structures and algos before you interview. This will require knowing which one to use in a given scenario.If you interview for a Python position, know how the language compares+contrasts to languages you know. Spend at least a little time rewriting code into Python. Open the REPL and play around. Look at Rosetta Code[1] to compare a chunk of code in a language you know and your target language. Do some "code golf" (see HackerRank section) in the new language.

When you code on websites like HackerRank, make sure you iterate. Just because you completed a task doesn't mean that's an optimal way to solve it. Revisit tasks you have solved and try to optimize them. Try to find out how others have optimized them.

[1] http://rosettacode.org/wiki/Rosetta_Code

Ask HN: What makes a good Vlog?
4 points by hsikka  2 hours ago   1 comment top
cylinder714 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
Engaging content, of course, but after following Casey Neistat's channel for a while, his mastery of editing and their conciseness (concision?) makes his work stand out for me. So many videos I see are made by people without the slightest notion that good audio is necessary, that people aren't interested in watching someone drone endlessly into the camera, and that unless you're doing a feature-length piece, ten minutes or so should suffice--cut the cruft! Oh, and putting text into a video makes a difference, especially when one is trying to convey specific information.

Another example of good work is Papa hiker's channel. Lately I've been thinking about getting a tarp for camping rather than a full tent, and there are a lot of videos that attempt to illustrate how to pitch a tarp in various configurations, but most are just overlong, sodden messes of rambling talk. Papa hiker's videos aren't perfect, but they're concise and well Illustrated.

Why is there no open source Financial Stock APIs?
28 points by rammy1234  10 hours ago   19 comments top 8
hluska 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I have never used this service so don't consider this an endorsement, however Alpha Vantage seems to fit your requirements (other than being open source, which I don't particularly understand anyways).


Their site says:

We have one shared aspiration: democratizing access to institution-grade financial analytics. Alpha Vantage is one of our deliverables towards this purpose. It provides free JSON APIs for stock market data, augmented by a comprehensive set of technical indicators.

joshheyse 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Most financial market data comes with strict licensing models. To get data from NYSE, NADAQ, CME or most other exchanges you must sign the agreements. Selling this data to vendors, news networks or end consumers is a large portion of the exchange's revenue.

The more granular or quickly you want the data, the more it will cost. In addition to paying for the initial data, you are not allowed to redistribute the data, in real-time or historically, with out paying royalties to the original data providers per user.

This creates a complicated accountanting system for data delivered to end users of the data.

Aggregate market data vendors (Factset, Bloomberg, Activ) pay for the initial data and then pay per user/query/etc...

Some data becomes available for unlimited distribution based on licensing, usually this data is time delayed and not allowed to be queried for historical analysis. You'll often see things on Yahoo or Google Finance that say "market data delayed by 10 min".

One of the most common sources of this delayed data is yahoo and there are open APIs for querying it. Usually in Python or a statistically language like R.

Interactive Brokers has an API you can add to your brokerage account for programmatic access across multiple exchanges. Which provides market data and order entry.

If I miss understood you, and you are interested in a open API standard for financial data there are several FIX, ITCH and OUCH are some. But they are almost always forked per exchange and sometimes even per product.

tl;dr It's not the API or infrastructure that costs, it's the data itself.

davelnewton 10 hours ago 1 reply      

Ultimately it's due to that APIs used to generate wealth generally cost money.

moomin 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Grief, you any idea how much time I've spent _at banks_ trying to knock information into shape? There are _no_ good sources of this information. You take a feed from NYSE and I guarantee you'll find errors _on NYSE information_. The more complex the product, the more data points, the worse it gets.

And I've only talked about static data. If you want to actually trade, it gets much, much, harder.

rl3 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What fun would the markets be without ensuring there's always an information asymmetry at play?

Besides, nothing excites me more than looking through a bunch of third-party data provider websites that look like they were made in 2002, half of which don't even list their pricesbut instead rely on sales teams to bilk the customer out of whatever they can pay.

Of course, that isn't to say you can't get your data directly from the exchange:


The only caveat is that you might need someone versed in Microsoft or Oracle enterprise licensing hell to actually decipher what's going on there.

SirLJ 7 hours ago 0 replies      
what kind of API we are talking about, my broker does have a trading API, which I am using every day, also IB they have an API as well...
rammy1234 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Is Trading a private affair. Lets say if I want to develop an open source API , How should I go about?
rammy1234 7 hours ago 1 reply      
How do firms like Fidelity , AmeriTrade get their information in real time ?
Ask HN: What privacy respecting (non-targeted) ad exchanges are there?
5 points by bobo123  5 hours ago   1 comment top
stevesearer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's invite-only, but Carbon might fit what you're looking for: https://carbonads.net/
Ask HN: Is value subjective?
4 points by ParameterOne  5 hours ago   15 comments top 5
taprun 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Imagine that you have two people with the exact same amount of money. One hasn't had any water in 3 days, the other just drank a gallon of water.

Do you think they'd place different values on a glass of water? Do you think they'd interpret the glass of water differently?

bjourne 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The dictionary definition of value is that it is subjective, isn't it? I believe it is. Worth, on the other hand, is objective. Value happens to be of Latin origin and worth of Germanic.
dragonwriter 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Value is sort of the defining example of subjectivity.
savethefuture 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Value is generally subjective, especially when dealing with bartering or trading, but things such as currency, have agreed upon values.
mkempe 5 hours ago 2 replies      
No. Breathing is not "subjective". Shelter and food are not subjective values. Freedom is a necessity of living as a proper human being. It all relates to your standard of value. For humans, life under the guidance of reason, or range-of-the-moment emotionalism? for grass, growing with sun, water, and nutrients; or death in darkness, drought, or lack of CO2? etc.

As for reality being subjective -- do you look before crossing the road? when was the last time you jumped naked from the top of a skyscraper? would you enjoy a plate of plutonium for breakfast?

Ask HN: Which news reader/source do you rely on most?
2 points by kuldeep_kap  4 hours ago   1 comment top
usuallybaffled 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel like HN alone is already too much in contributing too information overload. I'm often trimming my news sources.

That being said, I'd just check 2-3 reputable newspapers

Ask HN: Best way to handle user authentication for a high volume Node.js App
5 points by tcarn  4 hours ago   2 comments top 2
whatnotests 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you're using bcrypt for authenticating passwords, that may end up being the most compuationally-expensive part of your entire application.

Consider running your authentication service as a separate node server so it can scale independent of the rest of your application.

trcollinson 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I use auth0 and have been very pleased with its performance and documentation. I would suggest you take a look.
Ask HN: What books can teach me engineering management skills?
10 points by Eiriksmal  11 hours ago   5 comments top 4
garethsprice 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Just read this, highly recommend it: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920056843.do

"The Manager's Path:A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change"

It's the book I wish I'd had when I was in your position 4-5 years ago.

wincen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Peopleware by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

The book is old, from IBM's heyday but most of the principles have remained unchanged.

One thing you'll find different is that they recommended offices for everyone so that each person could work in a quiet environment where they could focus as opposed to today's open area. I'd argue the open area has it's merits but everyone wears headphones so the current trend may not be all that great. Promoting a team that communicates is the goal, having an open space is merely one way to try and implement that.

xq3000 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Pragmatic Programmers have a few titles on that: Behind Closed Doors, Manage It!, and Ship It!. They are all pretty good.
lwlml 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Kim, Behr and Stafford's "The Phoenix Project" isn't half-a-bad start. Follow it up with everything referenced.
Ask HN: Story about a company using 404s to demonstrate customer demand?
6 points by myinitialsaretk  8 hours ago   3 comments top 3
shanecleveland 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've done this on some small sites, and it doesn't have to be a 404. Though that could work. I also do not recall the origin, but I definitely stole the idea.

I tend to use a "call to action" "Sign Up", "Register," etc. And then link to a landing page with a "Coming soon ... " message. I have also had an option to submit an email to get updates. So I could track both hits to the page and compare to how many also submit an email.

I am not sure which is better. A 404 may detract from confidence of the site, and it may also lead to a single user refreshing the page or visiting multiple times, thereby skewing the results. Though, a landing page may also be annoying for the user.

I do think it can be done in a way that can both test actual interest without abusing the user.

notpeter 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember reading that the authors of Django framework (Lawrence Journal) used some thing like this in the early days. Basically a 404s without a referrer header but under another valid url were likely a case where someone edited the url (think /list/export/csv -> list/export/json) and they used that to demonstrate demand for a particular feature.
jamestimmins 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Bill Gross of Idea Lab has discussed doing this with whole businesses. The example I heard him give was a website that allowed you to purchase cars online.
Google is trying to patent video compression use of Asymmetric Numeral Systems
29 points by eln1  19 hours ago   1 comment top
NTDF9 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Hooli in the making?
Tell HN: All Quip and Evernote documents are stored unencrypted on their servers
4 points by arikr  7 hours ago   5 comments top 4
amk_ 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
"Search everything" is a big value prop for Evernote. You can't search E2E encrypted database records without transporting them to the client and decrypting them there.
gabrielcossette 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Another reason to host your own encrypted https://standardnotes.org
wmf 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I would bet that 90% of SaaS is storing everything except passwords unencrypted.
nxsynonym 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I switched to Bear Note for this reason, among others.

Bear is built on CloudKit. I'm not versed enough to know if it's the best out there, but it's better than plain text for sure.

Ask HN: Why is LinkedIn's website so slow?
5 points by gnicholas  8 hours ago   3 comments top
davelnewton 7 hours ago 1 reply      
FWIW, doessn't take that long for me by a long shot; sub-1sec page loads across the site.
Ask HN: What is the norm for email validation?
4 points by taylorcooney  9 hours ago   5 comments top 2
aonoma 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Related (was on Hacker News)

"On the Futility of Email Regex Validation"


smt88 8 hours ago 2 replies      
What about passwordless, email-based login? It's easier than username/password login, it verifies the email address, and it provides the same level of security (assuming password can be reset via emailed link).
Ask HN: What sites do you use to find Tech Jobs?
19 points by hues  1 day ago   6 comments top 5
probinso 23 hours ago 0 replies      
YouTube. Watch conference talks. Apply to represented companies.

Meetups for same reason as above.

Also Craigslist has surprising yield, despite lack in diversity.

haskellandchill 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I mostly don't find tech jobs. I'm quite lucky to have one otherwise I'd be screwed. Sites I've tried that have most return are hired.com and underdog.io but you need more than 3 years experience to be accepted to a round most likely.
rammy1234 6 hours ago 0 replies      
websites are door which is wide open for many and you get lost in the pile of resumes if you apply through them. You need to standout somehow. show your work in some blog and add it to linkedIn profile and connect with people for reference and still you need to prove your worth.
richardknop 18 hours ago 1 reply      
StackOverflow, LinkedIn, HN, Google.
navyad 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Alternatives to Yubikey?
151 points by eekthecat  1 day ago   82 comments top 26
j_s 1 day ago 2 replies      
This came up last week on the OpenPGP discussion; here's a re-post -- no one else has mentioned the sc4-hsm yet. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14495213

Open source (-ish?) Yubikey alternatives

https://sc4.us/hsm/ $75 | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12053181

https://trezor.io/ $99 | https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10795087 (not much on HN)

https://www.floss-shop.de/en/security-privacy/smartcards/13/... 16.40 (OpenPGP Smart Card v2.1; 4096-bit keys)

https://www.fidesmo.com/fidesmo/about/privacy-card/ 15 (NFC only; recommended by the terminated SIGILANCE OpenPGP Smart Card project; 2048-bit keys)

tptacek 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's worth considering: almost nobody who uses Yubikeys loves them, but they are by a wide margin the tokens experts recommend most.
cafogleman 1 day ago 4 replies      
I recommend the OnlyKey: https://www.amazon.com/OnlyKey-Color-Password-Manager-Obsole...

The device uses strong encryption (where legal), and goes beyond U2F to include password management, certificate storage, OTP/Google Auth, and plausible deniability. The hardware is teensy-based, and the firmware is open source. The devs have released fairly regular updates, and even encourage hacking on it to meet custom needs.

captainmuon 1 day ago 2 replies      
While we're at it, is there one that:

- Lets me store certificates and PGP keys

- Has two factor authentication (U2F)

- Has open hard and software (source-available)

Basically, a USB pen drive that allows U2F, and is can be made read only (either by a switch or only writable over a special interface). I don't really need tamper-resistance, pre-generated keys, smart cards or any other advanced features.

dsl 1 day ago 4 replies      
NitroKey (https://www.nitrokey.com/) is the non-crappy version of YubiKey.
graystevens 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here are a list that someone has collated - http://www.dongleauth.info/dongles/

The alternative to Yubikey that I am aware of is NitroKey, but can't say I am aware of how they match up, feature for feature

lisper 1 day ago 1 reply      

It's fully open-source, but the only standard application currently supported is U2F.

Disclosure: this is my product.

debatem1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've given up on yubikey at this point. I love the form factor, but it was easier in the end to build a different second factor infrastructure than it was to deal with the company.

I've been toying with the idea of building an open source replacement and fabbing it with a shuttle service but ultimately the cost is really too high to justify.

scott00 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The Feitian ePass: https://www.amazon.com/Feitian-ePass-NFC-FIDO-Security/dp/B0...

Can't vouch for it (either product or support), but it exists.

erik998 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Not exactly Yubikey but USB Armory has some close features:


The following example security application ideas illustrate the flexibility of the USB Armory concept:

 mass storage device with advanced features such as automatic encryption, virus scanning, host authentication and data self-destruct OpenSSH client and agent for untrusted hosts (e.g Internet kiosks) router for end-to-end VPN tunnelling Tor bridge [see this, for example] password manager with integrated web server electronic wallet [the Electrum Bitcoin wallet works out of the box on the USB Armory. It has been tested with X11 forwarding from Linux as well as Windows hosts.] authentication token portable penetration testing platform low level USB security testing

2bluesc 1 day ago 1 reply      
What was you issue with support?

I've had 2 Yubikeys replaced at their cost after published security exploits highlighted shortcomings. Also haven't had one fail on me yet. Would be curious to learn what your experience was.

chipz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Slightly out of topic, is it possible to create one with similar function to yubikey with USB flash drive?
chx 1 day ago 0 replies      
For me, the ideal solution would be a cross platform password manager software which stores your encrypted vault ... somewhere -- I hate the "cloud" word but let's use it -- and then has a small display which the password manager on your phone can read and decrypt the vault with it. It's just a few hundred (thousand at most) bits that you need to carry across, not a big deal. For desktop / laptop / charging, it needs to be USB pluggable. Physical form factor approximately like https://www.adafruit.com/product/2690 this or http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-4GB-LCD-Screen-Display-MP3-Musi... this.

The problem currently is a) most sites want passwords b) I do not want to mess with cables c) NFC is not ubiquitous.

lazylester 1 day ago 0 replies      
I too had poor experience with support and also weak documentation, but I pushed through it and I'm very happy with the product now that it's integrated with my app. They seem to practically 'own' the space and I have some confidence in the longevity of the product.
rbjorklin 1 day ago 1 reply      
The DIY open source alternative: https://u2fzero.com/
kdmoyers 16 hours ago 0 replies      
There's also this thinghttps://www.protectimus.com/protectimus-slim-miniA little different because it does not plug in, but very convenient. It seems like the usb key solutions are likely to get left plugged into the port, and so get stolen along with the laptop. The protectimus idea is to keep the key on you at all times.
markgamache1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sounds like an opportunity for someone to make consulting money. I have found their docs lacking, but never tried support. Once I muddled through and figured out what I needed, I have been very happy.

That said, I have looked for alternatives and found none.

I am most disappointed in the mediocre coverage of their RDP drivers. I need to use all the features over RDP. Some work and some don't.

makmanalp 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can some folks also speak to the audit consensus on some of these? It seems with many of the newer / open source solutions, few of the end products actually got audited by a competent external security firm / researcher, right?
prohor 1 day ago 0 replies      
I just wonder - if the same key is used for enabling password manager and 2FA ... is it still 2FA? I mean, having the token you get both access to password and second factor to a service.
weinzierl 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nitrokey (formerly CryptoStick)


AFAIK they are used at Mozilla. The Firmware is Open Source. Downside is that not all their dongles support U2F.

jvagner 1 day ago 1 reply      
Out of curiosity... is Google Authenticator dead? The iOS app hasn't been updated in quite a while (Feb 22, 2016).
bockafer 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had good experiences with Yubikeys thus far. I still have two of the Symantec VIP tokens from years ago that I've never had issues with. I recently bought a Neo to test out NFC (NFC support on the HTC 10 seems deplorable for smart card reading btw). I also purchased a few 4c tokens and so far they've worked great although I haven't been using them for very long.

The gotchas I've encountered while using them on OSX:

 - The pins for PIV and OpenPGP are separate as these are separate modules on the card. - You can't use the PIV or NEO GUI managers and gpg at the same time. You might have to unplug and plug the token back in when switching back and forth between GUI/cmdline Yubico tools and gpg. - Forgetting to change my environment to use gpg-agent instead of ssh-agent. - Typing in my local password instead of the PIV pin when logging into OSX while I have a token with PIV enabled plugged in.
The "setup" instructions that are referenced in the packaging and on parts of the site are for basic use of OTP. Real documentation is here: https://www.yubico.com/support/knowledge-base/categories/gui...

For people asking about backing up material on OpenPGP modules: these are write only. Generate your material locally with gpg instead of generating them on the smart card itself and use the keytocard command to copy the keys to the card. You can backup your keyring prior to moving keys and restore it before copying keys to each card or ctrl c out of gpg without saving the keyring references for the material that was moved to the smart card.

I used bits and pieces from a few guides to get the setup I wanted as this was my first experience with smart cards and advanced use of pgp:







Overview of my process (on an air gapped machine):

 - Configure gpg.conf. - Generate master, subkey, and revocation material on an encrypted USB drive for offline backup of materia along with revocation certificates. - Backup original .gnupg directory to another folder on the encrypted USB drive. - Copy .gnupg directory to second encrypted USB drive for offsite backup. - For each smart card I wanted the same material on: -- Change default user and admin pins. -- keytocard subkeys for (S)ign, (E)ncrypt, (A)uthenticate (without saving keyring). -- Require local touch for all material ( Yubico specific: https://developers.yubico.com/PGP/Card_edit.html ). -- move on to next card. -- save keyring after running keytocard on the last card so the subkey material no longer exists in the local keyring, only references to it (this might not be necessary, I need to test). - Generate a copy of the keyring without master key to use on daily machine(s). Might also only need to have the master material minus the key in the keyring as noted above. I haven't tested how - Copy new keyring to another USB drive for transferring to daily machine(s). - Configure gpg-agent.conf and gpg.conf on daily machine.
Resetting the applet if you messed up or want to start fresh:



cmurf 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm annoyed that Lastpass still doesn't support U2F, and I don't really understand the delay at this point.
user5994461 1 day ago 1 reply      
SecurID has been the gold standard for more than a decade.

Not to dismiss YubiKey but companies that can afford 2 factor and take security seriously already have SecurID for a long time.

Ask HN: How do you keep your ideas?
7 points by cucho  10 hours ago   7 comments top 7
b_emery 6 hours ago 0 replies      
To solve (1), just any old scrap of paper, which is then (2) transferred to a personal wiki that lives in dropbox. I use this one (tiddlywiki.com), but anything with tagging and search would work. I appreciate the organization by time, tag, or list, and also the latex and markup support, but these are not essential. Semantic search would be even better. Ive used this to capture ideas, notes, code, writings and lists. It has been essential for my work/dissertation.

I see the personal wiki as an evolution of the commonplace book, that was kept in the past by the likes of Darwin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonplace_book). Here are some of my notes from the book Where Good Ideas Come From

"We know much of Darwin's thinking on the development of his ideas from his extensive notebooks, which he read, and re-read and recombined. This era was the time of the 'commonplace' notebook, in which long passages of quotes from other sources and thoughts were recorded. Reading and writing were apparently quite related. These books may have struck a balance between silo'd organization, and utter chaos, allowing the development of theories beginning with hunches which could then be further developed. The key to developing a hunch into a theory appears to be writing it down "

jfaucett 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I just tell them to myself and think about them. Then as soon as I can I explain them to someone else and see if I can get them exited about it (and me too). That's it. IMHO if an idea is good enough that you and others would be passionate to build it and the world needs it, then it will stick with you, all the other stuff is garbage anyway, you can just let it go. This is the method I use for writing and storytelling as well as for my software projects and it is by far the best way I've found of keeping a currated high quality list of my ideas.
lwlml 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Use the same size notebook.

Set aside front-matter pages for indexes and update them whenever you review the contents.

Write the subject, date and page number on every page.

Throw the notebooks away when they're more than ten years old. You're a different person today and if you didn't use the idea then, that idea probably isn't going to be relevant today.

Bad ideas will decay. Good ideas will echo. The hard part of the experience is knowing that 99% of your ideas will never be done.

mindcrime 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I carry a notebook with me most places, and usually have one close enough that if an idea comes to mind, I can get to a notebook and write it down before the idea vanishes. I also run a self-hosted Mediawiki instance for Fogbeam Labs and for any ideas that are Fogbeam related (and most of mine are) I will sometimes roll it up to a page there, add related links, flesh it out further, etc.

The main problem I have is the same was what the OP alludes to: I write things down, but I don't have a good system for periodically revisiting old notebooks and reviewing previously-written-down ideas.

ColinWright 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A plain text file and a notebook.

Every day I transcribe the notebook into the text file.

Every time I start a terminal window it gives me the top line, and rotates it to the bottom. I then review that idea and either do something about it, or just delete it from the file.

tmaly 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I keep them in a program like google keep, but I also transcribe them into a Idea notebook.
kingbirdy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I put them in a google keep list, and whenever I feel bored or lazy I open that and pick something to work on.
Ask HN: How friendly is Berlin for startups?
61 points by betimd  1 day ago   62 comments top 8
kinnth 1 day ago 1 reply      
I lived in Berlin for 3 years, but I didn't found or form a company. I do have a friend who has just done it. I wouldn't want to comment on the specifics but the basics are this.

1. Very easy to form a company in Germany as a foreigner2. You will need a native german speaker, it's beauracratic and you need to speak solid German to deal with it.3. Taxes are higher than the US, but they are fair. You pay more as you earn more.4. There are many taxes as an individual you can claim back, such as clothes, travel to work, space in your house etc. If you get a good accountant they can really help.5. Berlin itself is very cheap to get a great location, good tech talent but not overflowing, incredibly decent lifestyle, lots of space, lovely place to live a chilled out vibe.

I'd say if you've lived in Germany and Berlin and like it, you can do it. If you have never lived there you should move their first and see if you like the German way of life first, it's not like US or UK.

philippz 1 day ago 4 replies      
There was enough said about taxes.

The procedures to open a startup in Germany are complex. This is the cheapest way:Go to the notary and create a "UG" after "Musterprotokoll". Create a company bank account, transfer the minimum amount of 1 (plus the costs for founding, so you better transfer ~500). This the fastest way and costs you together with an entry the commercial register (150) around 500 (300 for the notary, depending on how many founders). This is followed up by stuff like "Krperschafts Anmeldung @Finanzamt", "Gewerbeamtanmeldung" (25) and "IHK Gebhren" (80/yr) and "VBG Anmeldung" (costs vary by the amount of employed persons). Don't forget the contract for the CEO as employed person.

As already told by others: You need to have a native speaker on your side to deal with the bureaucracy. Is this a startup friendly environment? Does it sound like? Hell no.

On the other hand: You can live in Berlin really cheap if you want to. Infrastructure is great and you don't need a car. There are a lot of meetups and startup events to get around people like yourself. Programmers aren't payed that well. Fundraising is a matter of network and traction like, i'd say, everywhere else.

manggit 1 day ago 2 replies      
When I worked at a cleantech startup in the summer of 2010, the culture was less favorable to employees than in the bay area. For example, it seemed that the cultural norm was to give none, or very little equity, thus reducing the upside for any early employee.

In recent years I have interviewed as a Software Engineer and Senior Product Manager at a couple startups in Germany. However, after receiving a couple offers, I found that the costs of living in Germany as an American (US Taxes, Visa, USD -> Euro exchange rate) were not sufficiently covered by the salaries, even on the high end.

For American companies looking to hire talent in Germany, I have heard that it is was less competitive, lower cost per engineer and the talent top notch.

sultanofsaltin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Some more meta-questions: are there some HN-esque sites that are more popular in Europe/ Germany? Even between major cities in the US I've observed a lot of variability in job postings/ language usage trends, services used, etc. Has anyone found that to be the case in international work? How have you dealt?
sultanofsaltin 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm moving to the Berlin in the fall myself. Planning to use it as our home base for work/ exploring Europe from early Oct '17 to late Aug '18. I freelance as a software dev (primarily Python, JS and PHP work) in the US now and would love to hear if anyone has tips on picking up clients as an foreigner. I've been studying German daily (15-30 mins) for the past 1.5 months, hoping to be near fluent by the time we arrive, so hopefully I can minimize the language barrier.

Are there any good resources people have used for finding freelance work internationally or that are even specific to Berlin/ Germany?

mkreis 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm German, moved around quite a bit and spend two years in Silicon Valley. After moving back, I worked for a startup in Berlin and eventually founded (with two other guys) my own startup beginning of 2016, which we sold one year later.

Berlin is certainly the best place to found in startup in Germany. The ecosystem is huge and a large portion of people are from other countries, thus it is very international (and english speaking).

Of course there is a lot bureaucracy in getting the company started, but you are not the first one to do that and there are people helping you.German tax law is complicated, thus it is definitely worth hiring an accountant to do all the paper work for you (if you run a proper business with customers, not just a stealth startup). We did some price comparison, in particular for lawyers to draft some contracts, which revealed a huge difference (range between 100 - 350 euros/h) and helped us save a lot of money (we even got a fixed price). Same for tax accountants. I strongly suggest picking small offices, not the ones with fancy offices in expensive locations. You'll pay for that and the service is almost identical.

Depending on the legal entity you choose (UG, GmbH, ...) the costs vary. GmbH are most common and have a good reputation, but are expensive if you have multiple owners. Also you need to invest at least 25k upfront (therefore the good reputation). UGs are cheap and you can do business as well, it just looks cheaper on your business card. Of course there is more to take into account, but that would lead too much into details.

To get more information about founding in Berlin, there are plenty of meetups for all kinds of topics and the state Berlin as well as the board of trade (IHK) are very interested in helping founders (they are their future members). There you'll find even more fairs and events for founders.

charlesdm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not based in Germany / Berlin (great city though!) but I wouldn't exactly call German taxes simple or low. Germany has one of the most complicated tax codes in the world, obviously written in german.

If taxes are mostly what matter to you, then there are probably better places to relocate to.

WordSkill 1 day ago 2 replies      
The complexity of German taxes and all the other red tape seems to be the main reason why people change their mind about starting up in Berlin but, personally, it was the rudeness that wore me down.

Berliners can be very nice in certain situations, such as the people you work with, but they have a hostile service culture. Not every time, or in every service situation, but you will have enough bad experiences in shops, restaurants and trains to find it annoying, especially if you are accustomed to the more positive service culture in the US, UK and Ireland.

The other problem is that many Berliners regard young foreign workers as being the reason why rents are increasing and this became a political issue a few years ago. I'm not sure what the current situation is but, at that time, you would see graffiti around town, letting you know that you were not welcome, and you would frequently hear the same sentiment expressed in social situations. Ironically, the people who were quickest to let you know that the foreign tech workers were not welcome were the same "anti-fascist" trendies who call everyone else racist.

This hostility wasn't something I experienced when living in other German cities, it seems to be a Berlin-specific phenomenon.

Bitcoin Bubble
4 points by tjpaudio  11 hours ago   4 comments top 2
sharemywin 11 hours ago 1 reply      
1. a lot of currencies aren't as stable as US/EURO.

2. Cypto currencies could be used as a reserve currencyhttp://btc-times.com/cryptocurrencies-will-become-reserve-cu...

3. could be used as a settlement system

andirk 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I spend Bitcoin. "If you want to actually USE bitcoins right now, you can't." Wtf are you talking about.
Ask HN: How do you take care of your eyes?
19 points by pvsukale3  1 day ago   17 comments top 17
djb_hackernews 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've posted about this in the past but I have "suffered" from an eye condition for the last several years due to I think extreme computer use and an overhead HVAC vent (I think).

I've seen a few Ophthalmologists, official diagnosis is Blepharitis but ultimately my eyes are constantly tired, floaters, sharp pains, dry from the moment I wake up and have nearly constant muscle spasms.

I've tried fish oil, antibiotics, Restasis, numerous drops and gels, various apps, changing behavior etc. I haven't found the silver bullet but I give my eye lids massages and try to drink plenty of water and try to avoid environments that make it worse. I limit computer use to work hours only and am in a role where I only really use a computer for ~4 hours a day. The last few years things haven't gotten worse but haven't gotten better either.

Best advice I can give is take breaks and have hobbies that don't require a computer.

cableshaft 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have computer glasses that have a prescription specifically for computer distance. If I don't have those, I can still work, but I will have headaches that day and be less productive. (I'm quite nearsighted normally and wear transition bifocals to see in the distance, but they're not well suited for looking at a computer).

And then about once an hour or so I get up and walk around, preferably outside and look up at the sky for a few minutes (focusing on a different distance). You could even just focus on a far wall or something instead, but I prefer nature. I've read that that helps once somewhere and it does seem to help for me.

vitovalov 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Time Out app for OS X. Spend some time reading articles about this topic and you'll understand that the most important is to take breaks and avoid long hours in same position. I set it up to lock my screen with postpone button for normal breaks and no button at all for micro breaks. Normal breaks are 2min every 2h and micro 20sec every 30min-1h. While on break I try to move eyes in different directions which is like going to eye gym :D
hluska 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you having any vision problems or just problems with dry eyes? Do you get headaches more frequently than before? Do your eyes constantly feel tired?

I wear glasses and would describe my eye problems as being mostly about having dry, tired eyes. As I age, my prescription is changing so I almost need bifocals (but I'm too stubborn to get them).

With those issues, the following has worked very well for me:

1.) Eye drops. Visine is absolutely amazing and, as a bonus, whenever my daughter keeps me awake all night, my eyes aren't red the next day.

2.) Walks. Since my daughter was born, I have been putting on the pounds. So, I kill two birds with one stone and go for a walk about every two hours.

3.) Change my focal point. There's the old 20:20:20 rule (every twenty minutes, focus on an object twenty feet away for twenty seconds). I'm not that rigorous, but I do something similar.

4.) Force myself to blink. At a hackathon in December, I sat across from a developer who told me that I don't blink very often when I am deep in thought. Oops.

dirktheman 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I have Eyezen lenses in my glasses and they're a godsend. My eyes are noticabely less strained, no more dry eyes and my headaches are almost completely gone. The lenses are a combination of a very light multifocus and a blue light filter.

Of course, nothing beats spending a little less time looking at the screen, though...

rl3 1 day ago 0 replies      
You may not be blinking enough. I do this sometimes when playing RTS games. After a while my eyes dry out and it's a mix of pain, blurry vision and halos around light sources until I can let them rest and return to normal. Eyedrops accelerate the restorative process, and probably would serve as a good preventative too.

I suggest first minimizing eye strain by ensuring you have proper background light, and that your screen brightness isn't too high. Beyond that, try and remember to blink. It helps to take a moment every once and a while and just close your eyes for a few seconds. Even better if you just take regular breaks, focusing on something other than your screen for a few minutes. Periodic breaks have benefits that extend far beyond just your eyes.

EnderMB 1 day ago 0 replies      
To those that have suggested eye drops, I highly recommend some of the gels/creams you can get for nightly use. They not only help your eyes feel relaxed before bed and when you wake up, but they also have the benefit of helping you sleep better if you suffer from dry eyes.

From what a doctor told me after a recent abrasion, your eyes move around while you sleep, and if you have dry eyes your eyelids will irritate your eyes. Obviously, if they irritate you enough it'll disrupt your sleep. After a few days of use when my eyes started to heal I slept like a baby, and felt great after waking up.

I still regularly use eye drops, but if my eyes are noticeably dry I'll use the eye gel during the night, and by the next day my eyes will feel great.

lovelearning 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Experiment with a different screen and ambient brightness level everyday till you find a combination that's most comfortable for your eyes. For me, it is keeping displays on their lowest brightness level + no bright white lights around. Been doing this from 2+ decades now, and spent hours daily in front of every kind of display including 45 Hz bulky CRT monitors. Only time I've had eye pain was when there were bright white ambient lighting around.
uptownfunk 1 day ago 0 replies      
Increasing font size. One of the first things I did when I joined McKinsey. Still have no clue how or why some of my colleagues keep the default font settings..
id122015 16 hours ago 0 replies      
My only solution is to spend less and less time on the computer. I know I might never know as much as others have and I might never earn as much but I believe health is more important.
kevinrpope 1 day ago 0 replies      
What really ended up helping me was getting a pair of Gunnar glasses. Plus, you may be able to get them through a health savings account if you're in the states. A bunch of colleagues now also use Gunnars (or similar) and all have had an improvement in eye strain/pain.

I also use f.lux as well as using saline eye drops at the beginning and end of the day.

Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some screens give off more radiation than others. You may not need to get a new screen. There are filters you can buy for the screen that can help. But I have noticed that some computer screens really just make my face feel burned if I sit too close for too long, and others don't have that effect.
pvsukale3 19 hours ago 0 replies      
UPDATE : I went to the doctor. I have been given presciption of glasses with -0.25 point. Is it important to wear them?
bartvk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I installed a break reminder app and when it displays a notice, I stare out of the window.

Frankly, I don't know what do do else. I'd be curious for tips people have.

bsvalley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Look away from your screen, water your eyes by blinking 15-20 times in a row. Repeat every 10 to 15 minutes.
nxsynonym 1 day ago 0 replies      
periodic breaks is the best thing outside of f.lux or other screen dimmers/temp apps.

I try to couple it with short meditation breaks, 5-7 mins, to get in the habit of switching my brain off and giving my eyes a rest.

Ask HN: Which editor do you use to code React Native apps?
5 points by skyisblue  20 hours ago   2 comments top 2
pattrn 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I use a combination of Vim and VSCode, depending on my mood.
tarr11 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: How do you rest?
5 points by pedrodelfino  14 hours ago   1 comment top
znpy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I sleep.
Ask HN: How do you trust people?
32 points by 19eightyfour  1 day ago   21 comments top 14
19eightyfour 1 day ago 3 replies      
...A year or so later, I had developed a good relationship with some important operations people in this space, and while there were no commitments there was a custom of quid pro quo. I felt I could trust these people, since they had helped me out so many times. Then my business started to eat into the profits of a competitor, who, unbeknown to me, also had some sort of agreement with these folks. It was clear to me that there was a win win where we could all resolve to get what we wanted and I proposed we reach consensus. Instead of engaging on that, my former partners stonewalled and hired private investigators to try to pressure me into accepting a bad deal. I didn't comply and eventually prevailed, and it took me a long time to process what happened. The most shocking thing for me was that these people who I had built up such a good relationship with tried to betray and hurt me. I couldn't accept it had happened, and I lived in denial, continuing to extend them an olive branch, much longer than it probably worked for me to do so.

Around the same time, it was revealed that my partner who I had a formal agreement with, had known for years, trusted and considered family, had actually gone behind my back, while lying to my face, and began working with the former partners above, to make a deal for herself, to undermine my position from the inside.

Three big betrayals in as many years. By people who I had considered family and the ones I could actually trust. It has been very hard to deal with. Particularly hard was I remembered a time when I actually trusted people and I felt strong and life was good. But as soon as I showed some signs of weakness, it was like everyone I had been close to suddenly piled on to take advantage of it. It really felt like kicking me while I was down, by those whom I considered I could trust with everything.

But I still think of trust as something important, so my question is how do you handle betrayal by your inner circle, and how do you trust people, any people, not necessarily the betrayers, after you've known it?

Mz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Let me suggest you read some good negotiating books. "Getting to Yes" is research-based and a quick read. "The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator" is also research-based, but meatier.

There was an episode of some kid's show where there were two women who saw the future. The one who saw only bad outcomes was very happy because any time things went better than that, it was a pleasant surprise. The one who saw only good outcomes was miserable. She was constantly disappointed by life. It never lived up to her expectations.

So, I basically try to be the person who sees the bad outcomes in advance and then gets to be pleasantly surprised when it goes better than that. That isn't entirely accurate. I don't mean that I assume that all people are dreadful, but I do assume that people will tend to act in their own self interest, even if that means hurting me.

But I do try allow for the possibility of being pleasantly surprised. There are ways you can ruin the whole thing by hanging your crap on other people and signaling to them what rat bastards you assume them to be. So, don't go around TELLING everyone you expect them to be awful, but do be aware it is a possible outcome and account for it, to the best of your ability.

Also, trust is earned. People need to prove their trustworthiness. That is nothing you should give away too cheaply. You can observe how they act and make some inferences about how they are likely to act in the future based on past behavior. You can also "test" people by entrusting smaller things to them and see what they do with that before putting larger things on the table. It needs to be something genuine. You need to have some real skin in the game. But make sure to limit how much of your hide they can take if it goes south, until their actions show you they will protect your hide, even under difficult circumstances.

jaggederest 23 hours ago 0 replies      
You put yourself in a position to be bilked, and you got bilked. You need to not work on "handshake commitments" or "no commitments".

On a personal level, I find that simply accepting that people will hurt you, and deciding whether or not being an open, trusting person is worth the harm that might occur (I happen to think it is).

Limit the amount and degree of 'credit' you give people to what you can equanimously accept as a loss, expect people to occasionally violate that trust, plan for it, and understand that it is simply one of the costs of being a decent human being.

I never loan a book, I only give them away. If people later give them back, that's wonderful but not required. I don't ever let someone borrow something I wouldn't give them as a gift on the spot. In business, you either have full control, a negotiated agreement (which should cover things like how to make decisions when you disagree), or you're just a passenger along for the ride.

majkinetor 23 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't.

People minds are dynamic systems. Even if you trust a human now, you can never be sure what changes will occur in the future to make that human choose differently then expected based on previous experience - child sickness, family troubles, hormonal disturbances, environmental toxicity, parasites, whatever really ... anything can influence human behavior in radical manner.

Notice that time here is relevant. Given small enough time scale, you can definitely trust people. And vice-versa.

So, the question is not how to trust people, because you can't trust anybody given enough time, the question is how to plan things in your life so that broken trust isn't detrimental for your status.

sssilver 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I do very long trips across multiple borders on a motorcycle, and on my way I try to meet as many people as I can. Counterintuitively, something about that really teaches you to trust people in a profound way. It may be that the motorcycle is making you come across less threatening, since you're obviously much less comfortable and in a more dangerous position than others, so perhaps it brings out the instinct to be kind and compassionate where normally people are cautious, competitive, and defensive. But it's a good exercise of experiencing how good the vast majority of humans are deep inside.
NicenJehr 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been lucky enough to only be burned financially once, and the lesson I took away was simply, require a written contract.

You can find a lot of similar stories and advice on stackexchange: https://money.stackexchange.com/questions?sort=votes

dharmon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If you want a friend, get a dog. It's a cliche at this point, but don't rely on business partners to be "friends". It sounds cynical, but it actually makes life smoother for all parties involved.
elchief 1 day ago 0 replies      
Start small, not with a mission-critical investment or commitment. Build as you go. Go with someone with roots in the community and something to lose

I recently got fucked over by an ex-GF then long-time friend. Good Canadian girl. Daughter of a preacher. It can be hard to judge someone's character

Spooky23 10 hours ago 0 replies      
From my POV:

- Friends and family don't mix with business. Their perception of what happens will be different than yours.

- Handshakes are only as valuable as mutual self-interest. If you're doing business and need to hold people accountable, you need written contracts.

A friend is someone whom you have a mutual emotional attachment with. That connection is between you as individuals, not your business. To be successful in business relationships means that you need to be willing to walk away.

ImTalking 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Trust is earned, so at the beginning you give people the benefit of the doubt and you have 'faith' that they are trustworthy. But don't call it trust. Trust takes time.

And regarding your 3 unfortunate betrayals, just remember: people can justify anything.

tyingq 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I sympathize with the situation in general, but I'm not getting why you feel your relatives were treacherous.

It sounds like they regretted the verbal only, "handshake" investment, and wanted something in writing. That actually seems prudent. Is there more to that part of the story?

lumberjack 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I think you're expecting too much of people.

I don't trust anyone but my parents to put me before their financial self interest. I don't even trust my siblings to do the same, and we aren't on bad terms, either.

The only reason they wouldn't "betray" you is if they saw more long term value in being in your good graces. It's not that they hate you. It's that they love themselves more than they care about you.

A close family friend is a notary dealing in family estates. From what I can tell about human nature, whenever there is money involved, people fight. Fighting between siblings over inheritance is basically the norm, something to be expected. Same goes for business partnerships where two friends decide they will own a restaurant together. And if they manage to not end up fighting, their families will when one of them dies. Something else to keep in mind.

extempore 20 hours ago 1 reply      
"If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you're the asshole."

On a site like this most replies will take you at face value and try to comfort you. Alternative take: you are the common factor in all these supposed betrayals. If we asked the others, do you think we'd get different perspectives on what happened?

brador 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Money can change people. Especially when it's a life changing amount.
Ask HN: Does anybody else feel overwhelmed while reading HN?
201 points by yeswecatan  4 days ago   147 comments top 61
patio11 4 days ago 7 replies      
Attempting to be as accomplished/skilled as the union of people you read on the Internet is a fool's errand. You have to accept you'll never know everything and that, for almost all things, there will be someone -- or a lot of someones -- much better than you.

Pretend you were working at a company with a hundred engineers. Do you understand how easy it is for every single one of them to simultaneously feel like you do? The React mavens feel like they're just knocking together JS and wonder when they'll be allowed to do real engineering. The backend specialists wonder why they don't understand networking or servers better. The DevOps folks envy folks who build things. The American office wonders why they can't speak foreign languages; the German office marvels that anyone can learn Japanese; the Japanese office worries their English isn't up to the global standard.

There's nothing wrong in specialization -- it's how we stay sane. A very workable and easy to understand formula early in your career is specialize in two things; you don't have to be better at X and better at Y than everyone you meet, you have to be "better at X than anyone who is better at Y" and "better at Y than anyone who is better at X." This is very, very achievable, regardless of how highly competent your local set of peers is.

Also, unsolicted advice as a sidenote, but life is too short to spend overly much time in negative work environments. Assuming the negativity isn't coming from you, changing environments to one of the (numerous!) places where happy people do good work might be an improvement.

inputcoffee 4 days ago 12 replies      
Oh, you will feel much better once you have mastered:

1. Programming chips in binary, machine code, and C. You need a variety of chips. Try to learn at least 5 from each manufacturer.

2. Learn at least 37 Javascript frameworks, as evenly divided between front-end and server side as you can. (Good news: angular 1 and 2 count as 2 frameworks).

3. Learn Scala, Rust, Haskell, C, C#, Java. (Python and Ruby go without saying).

4. Learn R, machine learning, statistics (prob and regressions), linear algebra and multi-variate calculus.

5. Learn growth hacking (edit:) and lean startup, human centered design, and design thinking.

6. Learn accounting, finance (go through Markowitz, to Black Scholes, Fama, CAPM, and factor models. Read the original papers only and implement everything yourself, in 2 languages).

Now you are ready to read HN.

groby_b 4 days ago 2 replies      
Here's the dirty secret: You'll always feel that way.

I'm in this for 30+ years now. (Yikes!). My resume is somewhat nice. I've got a deep store of knowledge and experiences. A large group of people considers me somebody you ask for advice.

And yet, every day, I still learn something new.

Sometimes because it's a new paper cycling about. Sometimes an HN article. Sometimes because some other senior person shares from their wealth of experience. And quite often because a junior does something in an unexpected way - knowledge comes from every corner.

I still feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I'll probably feel that way for the rest of my life. All my colleagues do.

So, don't worry. There's always somebody who's better than you, and that's great, because you can learn from them.

dasil003 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've been a professional web developer for 18 years now. I was very much on the bleeding edge of web standards, and jumping on Rails in 2005, I did everything from managing my own servers through backend, front-end and design in Photoshop. At the time the web was still a very greenfield type of place that was uncolonized by the top talent in either software engineering or in design, as a result it was possible to be one of the best web generalists with a little bit of aptitude and a lot of interest.

Fast forward ten years and every discipline of web development now goes very deep. It's still worth it to have a broad skillset, but it's no longer practical to be upper echelon across the board in web development. This generally leads to a feeling of overwhelm and regret that I can't learn all the things I possibly might want to learn, but on the bright side the playground is bigger than ever.

My advice is don't spend too much time thinking about the big picture, instead pick one practical project at a time and spend 95% of your time making it the best you can. Even if you only read HN a couple times a month, that's all you need for basic awareness of the landscape. By giving yourself heads-down time you can replace some of the overwhelm with a feeling of accomplishment, and you'll be growing your skills to boot.

abakker 4 days ago 3 replies      
What you are feeling is the exact opposite of hubris. It is good that you feel overwhelmed by looking at the universe of possible technologies and the pace of change within them. It sounds to me like you need to make peace with that, and then decide for yourself where you want to build expertise. You can extreme depth, extreme breadth, or something in between. According to IDC, worldwide IT spending is going to be around $2.5trillion this year. Its a big world with tons of products, disciplines, people, and very little of it is totally static. In fact, large swaths of IT probably get very little mention on HN.

To reiterate though, pick your battles, follow your interests/employment possibilities, and make peace with the fact that you can't know everything.

cubano 4 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone is overwhelmed by envy-stoking social media. Humanity simply did not evolve to process information from the whole world instantly.

Up to a short time ago, most humans never ventured farther then 5 miles from their birthplaces in their entire lives. Before printing presses, books, and finally newspapers, all news was word of mouth...a very limited bandwidth indeed.

Even newspapers really were nothing but mostly gossip and had very limited work-related information for almost everyone, so feeling totally overwhelmed by the avalanche of targeted career knowledge is not only ok but actually totally appropriate.

hunterjrj 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think that the structure of the commenting system here at HN might contribute to this feeling.

Usernames are de-emphasized and there is no indication of karma/reputation. A trick of perception can lead one to read this forum as if the same handful of broadly knowledgeable people are participating in every discussion.

The reality is, I believe, quite the opposite. There are hundreds of us here, and we all have depth of knowledge in vastly different areas. There are developers, DBAs, sysadmins, doctors, lawyers, writers... I think once I saw someone mention that they were a welder.

Keep that in mind when reading the comments here.

agibsonccc 3 days ago 0 replies      
Specialization actually isn't a bad thing. I'm the CTO of an AI company dealing with some very complex problems. I've even written an oreilly book on deep learning. I tell you this for perspective.

I can't design for crap. I don't understand the thought process and don't even want to put cycles in to trying. It's not time well spent.

I'm also an enterprise founder. I don't mind wearing a suit selling to folks who have obscene requirements with 6 month to year long sales cycles.I don't understand B2C companies at all. I could never run one. The idea of catering to hundreds of millions of people with none of them paying you while relying on VC to scale blows my mind. I feel similar about small business.

I like the idea of a smaller number of big name customers with large requirements. I also understand how they work: They are for profit organizations trying to make money or cut costs. I see consumers (despite doing a ton of data) as a blob of irrational behavior I don't want to deal with.

I also can't do marketing. I can kind of write when needed but my main focus is on technical content or specialized pitches.

Being on HN is very similar to being a founder, you see everything and wonder how the people around you do what they do.Don't worry about it! You hired them for a reason.

Hope that helps!

bingo_cannon 4 days ago 3 replies      
I was overwhelmed at first. Every time a Show HN would pop up, I was amazed at how individuals could deliver on so much alone. So I accepted these things:

- There will always be people who are better than you, in any field. I see it as a positive and a great learning opportunity.

- There will never be time to learn everything you want to learn.

The question I try to answer is: Am I doing the best I can at the moment? Of course, this can also lead to complacency.

smacktoward 4 days ago 3 replies      

 Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill. Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt. Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench. Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner. Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.
-- Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation (http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/texts/taote-v3.h...)

mothers 4 days ago 0 replies      
HN in a way can be considered a monolith with thousands of years of combined cumulative experience in every domain and in every technology.

Of course, you, by comparison will seem lackluster. Realizing that a single person on here may be lacking in specific expertise may give you solace.

beckler 4 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I love HN, it does make me feel extremely inadequate as a developer sometimes.

I often dream about building some project that would provide me passive income to no longer have to work a 9-to-5. It's not that I lack the skills to execute on it, but as a father and a husband, I struggle to find time to commit to such ideas while balancing time with my family. The only time I attempted to build my own product, I ended up getting fired from my daytime job because of performance reasons. It only discouraged me from attempting to pursue anything further.

I've learned that I just can't compare myself to others here, because it just makes me horribly depressed.

fav_collector 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The only people who comment on the technical posts are the experts in that domain/topic. Most readers just read silently and don't have the knowledge/context to comment
alexashka 4 days ago 0 replies      
You'd benefit from clarifying what it is that you really want.

More money, better work environment, be better at computer science, etc etc.

These are all different things and require a different approach. The sooner you figure out which one you value more, and understand that you'll have to neglect some other things in order to succeed in that area, the better you'll feel.

For example you didn't mention any education - if you want to not feel like a fraud, you'll have to educate yourself on all the things a common 4 year program teaches you. There is no way around it.

You may score a nice paying job in something like web-dev or mobile where there's a lot of demand, but you'll be blindly stitching other people's code together for a long time if you continue down that route.

The solution is to take some time to go fill in the fundamentals.

The more solid your fundamentals, the smarter and more interesting the projects you can be involved in, but you'll have to sacrifice time and money to get there.

Clarifying your real intention is important.

As for not feeling overwhelmed - by being good at your area of expertise. If you know you're better than most people at one specific thing that's in demand, you don't need to worry that someone else is kicking ass in augmented reality, big data or whatever hype phrase of the year is :)

crispyambulance 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is quite a bit of braggadocio going on here too.

What may sound super bad-ass might just be a 20 year old intern riffing like a BOSS!

rpeden 4 days ago 0 replies      
I sometimes feel the same way while reading HN.

I can usually cure it by going to a Sharepoint developers' meetup, or something similar. Running into people who there who are doing consulting work and doing very, very well for themselves while working significantly less that 40 hours a week and using almost none of the cool stuff that gets mentioned on HN.

I suppose the lesson there might be to avoid a game of one-upmanship with alpha nerds. And I don't say 'alpha nerds' in a derogatory sense. It's just that on HN, you're going to encounter lots of people who will run circles around you in one domain or another. And some people love being the absolute expert in their particular technical domain.

That's okay. Good for them, actually! Everyone should do what makes them happy. You might find you're actually happier in a role that is more concerned with the business problems you're solving than with needing to be an expert in everything you see mentioned on HN. Your technical skills will be important, but not as important as your ability to use those skills to help a business 1) save money, 2) make more money, or 3) both.

gdulli 4 days ago 0 replies      
You have to accept a lot of it is noise, or effectively noise.

Some of it is wrong, some of it will never be relevant to you, some of it could relevant to you but not knowing it will never hurt you. Some of it could possibly be relevant but will be obsolete or out of date by the time you get around to using it. Some of it is nonsubstantive self-promotion. Just focus on some area you want to improve on at a given time and do it. Read what you want to read and have time to read and ignore the rest.

Just because someone puts up a nice-looking blog post with some information doesn't mean they're right, or better than you. Not that it matters if they're better than you. You could be in the top 10% and that still leaves hundreds of thousands who are better than you.

That's assuming there's some pure linear scale of developer quality anyway, which there isn't. People are fingerprints, not points on a linear scale.

skadamat 4 days ago 0 replies      
I strongly recommend reading the following book - https://www.amazon.com/Good-They-Cant-Ignore-You/dp/14555091...

It's a fantastic book by a now tenured CS professor that provides a good framework for how to think about your career / career satisfaction. He encourages working backwards from the lifestyle you want to the skills you need to master to where you are right now. His framework provides a lot of clarity and helps you ignore the roller coaster of announcements, updates, and new "things" you FEEL like you need to stay on top of.

You can also just read some of his blog posts - calnewport.com/blog - if you don't feel like buying the book. Or check out some of his interviews, etc.

rroriz 4 days ago 0 replies      
Read about the T-Shaped profile mentioned on the Valve's Employee Handbook[1]. It's a nice concept on how to know when to learn something new and when to learn more about something that you already know.

And calm down: HN users are really heterogeneous. Trying to be like everyone here is impossible. Even you find someone with the same profile as you, it is a nice thing to know that there is something new to learn. A bigger problem is when you don't have anything new to learn.


Edit: And answering your question: I feel overwhelmed when I learn somenthing new here, and there is already another article telling me that what I learned is obsolete.

darksim905 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a Sysadmin on the east coast & I feel completely wrecked every time I read the comments here. The level of brain power & swell here is beyond me. Some of you can be a little brash, though. I wonder if it's just you guys are all on a different level, cognitively, are taking drugs, or what. But the precision at which some of you respond to comments, clarify things and/or just rip apart content, is fascinating.
RandomOpinion 4 days ago 0 replies      
> Anyway, back to the original question. Does anybody else come on here and feel overwhelmed?

No, or at least not much. Most people have a specialization or two, whether it be front-end, back-end, mobile, application, embedded, games, etc., which limits the scope of what you really need to care deeply about.

Beyond that, it's a matter of your own personal curiosity and desire to expand your abilities; my reaction to most articles is "hmm, that's interesting; I'll remember that in case I ever need it" with just a scant few meriting a "I need to dive into that because I also want to have that knowledge / skill."

apohn 4 days ago 0 replies      
Reading HN is extremely overwhelming. I'm in the data science field. So I read yet another Deep Learning article on HN and wonder how long it is till I'm unemployed and bankrupt because I barely know anything about deep learning and have no opportunities at all to use it at my job.

Then I remember the following.

1). I'm employed, my manager is happy with the work I do, and I make enough money to pay my bills, have savings, and live in a decent place in a safe neighborhood.

2). I don't have to be better than everybody else at my workplace. I just need to find an area where I can contribute.

3). When I apply to other jobs I get some positive responses. I know people who would be happy to recommend and hire me if they can.

4). I've met more than a few people who can talk about data science like they can solve any business problem under the sun, but cannot actually do much of anything except talk.

5). There is plenty of stuff I read on HN that is clearly wrong or exaggerated.

I think the key is to focus on what you need today to stay employed and have a realistic assessment of your weaknesses and where you want to go. Then figure out what you need to get there and slowly work towards that that. I don't need to know Rust, Go, and Vue.js because they have nothing to do with my job or where I want my work direction to go. If they day comes when I do need to learn that stuff, I'll learn it.

MajorWalrus 4 days ago 0 replies      
I experienced much the same thing when I first discovered HN. What helped me was the realization that there's a difference between being aware of something and being an expert in it.

I've found that it's not often that I need to be as intimately acquainted with a subject as those who are feature on HN appear to be. In fact, just knowing about something has been enough for me to intelligently answer an interview questions, converse with a senior engineer, or make the right decision on a project. And usually that's because what's most important is being curious and asking questions - e.g. admitting to myself that I'm not an expert.

Now, instead of being a testament to my ignorance and personal failings, HN is portal that let's me feed my curiosity.

You may want to do some research on the impostor syndrome. It's been my experience that anyone who's any good at anything is convinced they'll never "catch up."

yodsanklai 4 days ago 2 replies      
A few comments come to mind.

Yes, there's so much to learn that you'll never have time for it, even if specializing in a small area. It reminds me of a Chomsky interview. He said that he has so many books left to read in his office alone that a lifetime wouldn't be enough. You're in good company.

It may sound obvious but don't forget that HN isn't one person. The guy that knows about particle physics is usually not the one that tell you about the latest type theory research. Don't compare yourself with a collective mind.

Besides, I'm sure there are people less bright than you in all positions you can imagine. Retrospectively, I realize that there are a lot of things I didn't even try for fear of failing or because I thought I wasn't smart enough. It's only a few years later that I realized I missed so many opportunities.

jhgjklj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I too feel this way. But somehow all my superiors in my work has so much confidence about how much they know about the project and can even project themselves as know what they are taking kind.I am sure they do not know as much as they think, because they are very confident in my area of work more than i ever will be.

 The irony is the more i know the lesser confident i get and i reflect it in meetings. I dont know how to avoid it. I am really looking for a mental framework on how to not look like a complete idiot in meetings although what i say is totally factual.

wonderwonder 4 days ago 0 replies      
I used to feel this way and when I had time set aside to learn I would just sit there and waste almost all of my time figuring out what to study because there was so much. I would waste all my time doing this and not really learning very much because the breadth of stuff to learn was overwhelming.

Eventually I just forced myself to choose one thing and focus on it. When I get to the point where I feel competent in it, whether that's a day or 3 months, then I allow myself to move onto something else.

Don't get stuck in your head. Just choose something and commit, no one knows everything, the posts are by hundreds of people, each with skills in different areas. Know one knows it all.

alexandru88 3 days ago 0 replies      
I also feel overwhelmed while reading HN. Being surrounded by so many great and smart people, I feel like I know nothing and like my entire career until now was a waste of time and resources. I am also becoming addicted to HN. I left Twitter behind and now HN is my primary source of information. I am reading HN anywhere: in subway when I commute to work, in car while I stay in traffic jam, before I got to sleep, at work, etc. Thank you all for making HN such a wonderful place.
Mz 4 days ago 0 replies      
No, I don't feel overwhelmed. I am just happy to know of a place where it is possible to find meaty discussion that is reasonably civil.

I think this is a perspective problem. You need to stop comparing yourself to everyone in all things. That isn't what I come here for. I just come here to gratify my intellect and enrich my life. You don't need to compare to people here. You need to compare yourself to people you are in actual competition with at work or compare yourself to the work standards you are expected to meet. Don't come here and do that. It will only lead to misery.

omginternets 4 days ago 0 replies      
Take a break.

Try cutting the cord for a few days. It's refreshing.

trelliscoded 4 days ago 0 replies      
I feel this way about frontend technologies that people talk about, but I concluded a long time ago that trying to keep up with the latest churn in that space is pointless. I have a few technologies which are stable and work well for what I need, so I focus on keeping up with that. Every time I've tried to chase the latest and greatest frontend fad it usually turned out it was an immature reinvention of a wheel someone else already built better.
thefalcon 4 days ago 0 replies      
I simply accept and take advantage of the fact that HN is filled with many people much smarter, much more accomplished, much more driven, much more successful than me. I've never felt overwhelmed by it - that seems like it would take a personal choice to put yourself in competition with the best of HN, which seems a little silly to me (especially if the end result is not something productive).
LarryMade2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Keep in mind:

- Most solutions posted here probably won't just work for your problem, you have to work it into your needs - concentrate on what works for you not necessarily whats new.

- Many really cool things took someone years to develop, you are just reading a lot of different people's long-term accomplishments not a small group. And most of those people were sticking to things that worked instead of chasing the shiniest technology.

- Theres more than one way to do anything, just because they may be currently more successful doesn't mean you can't find new solutions, don't forget to try your own thing.

SubiculumCode 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am a cognitive neuroscience post-doc. In my work I have to be an expert or at least competent in: cognitive theory relevant to my specialty, brain science relevant to my specialty, neuroimaging methodology, non-trivial statistical methods, as well as a competent paper writer, grant writer storyteller, and talk giver, I regularly need to write bash and python scripts, administer and operate a linux compute cluster. I also need to be a good dad and husband, and that takes practice.I read HN and am impressed with all the expertise and competence and also feel overwhelmed. I'd like to try some ML on my imaging data, but I'm stretched too thin already. Maybe someday. Or I'll partner up with someone. I have the urge to do it all, but I'm not smart enough and I don't have superpowers to manipulate time. I'm aging. Time is running out. Oh my god.


Take a walk.

Do what you can.

It is ok.

vijucat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Absolutely. It's much worse if, instead of HN, you follow a niche area like machine learning because the pace of progress is so fast plus each paper / project that gets released is so dense. It took me a couple of weekends just to set up an old box with Linux and the proper drivers for a GPU, learn python virtualenvs, etc; Meanwhile, it's absolutely discouraging to look at reddit.com/r/machinelearning and see the flurry of productive activity.

I think a sense of resignation is actually useful here. Just resign yourself to the fact that you'll never be as good as them and that it will take you 10 years to be able to just follow instructions under a Google or Facebook AI scientist (, say). And continue to trod on like the tortoise in the tortoise vs. hare story :-)

mdjt 4 days ago 0 replies      
"During that time I've become an integral part of my team and have constantly been learning."First off, this sounds like you know a lot more than you give yourself credit for!

Second, think about what kind of site HN is. This is a site whose DAU are mostly highly educated (either formal or otherwise) from very diverse backgrounds in tech, machine learning, etc., etc.. It should come as no surprise that for any given topic there will be a ton of high quality and interesting points of view.

As for the statement 2): "will basically feel the same as I do now." To be completely honest, you probably will. Every new opportunity in life presents you with a chance to learn and while learning most people often realize how little they actually know. But that is why you are learning in the first place!

rblion 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yes and no.

Yes that I realize I have a lot to learn and I should keep removing distractions/bad habits and toxic people/situations out of my life. Yes that I realize there are Ivy Leaguers in here and also people who work at the world's largest companies.

No also because there is also a fair amount of hubris here. There are also a lot of people who miss the forest for the trees. There is still a lot of room for innovation in certain markets and the means of fulfilling human needs are ever evolving even if the needs themselves are still the same.

I take breaks from time to time. Also I've recently deactivated my facebook and unfollowed a lot of people on Twitter/Quora/Instagram. Feels great.

dhf17 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've felt this way too in the past but gradually realized that's it OK not to know everything. Specialize in one area, make it your 'home base', and then test the waters of other tech from there. Once you find something new that you like you can gradually chip away at it and expand your skill set. I've got several things on my radar right now, but still put my specialty first. With this state of mind, I don't feel overwhelmed, but still have lots to look forward to.
slake 3 days ago 0 replies      
That's one way to look at it. The other way is to gaze in wonderment to how much there is in the world to learn. And learn just for the sake of it. The day I look at the world and don't find enough interesting stuff for me to learn about is the day I'd really be afraid.

Your work situation can be remedied. Lots of companies require good engineers who're willing to learn stuff rather than pre-know stuff.

stinkytaco 4 days ago 0 replies      
I can see how this would happen, so I doubt you are alone. There's so much stuff and s o little time to consume it. My browser tabs and pocket account seem to grow and grow and I seem to spend as much time organizing and moving information as I do actually consuming it. I have trained myself as I've gotten older to just let some of it go. Not everything has to be seen.

I think this is one of the (probably many) reasons feed readers failed and chat came to beat email: the feeling of something incomplete. I had to force myself to ignore unread counts to stop myself from going crazy, but Twitter, HN, Reddit, etc. did away with outward signs that there were things unread, and that's a good start.

127001brewer 4 days ago 0 replies      
No, because you can't expect to learn and use every new technology - sometimes, it's better to know "proven but boring" than "new but broken"!

I appreciate more the insightful conversations than view a link to the latest JavaScript framework.

lmm 4 days ago 0 replies      
In my case, no. I don't know everything, but I know enough; I'm good at what I do. I'm confident I'm contributing.

Sounds like you need to change jobs, if you're at the point of acknowledging that your work environment is negative.

acomjean 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah there is a lot out there. I've been doing this for a while and tech changes all the time. Don't worry about not being an expert at everything, enjoy that there a lot to learn.

I don't worry too much about it, as long as what I'm building works and can be maintained I'm happy.

The good news about tech changing all the time is if you wait there will be some new language or framework so you didn't waste your time learning something obsolete !

"An expert is someone who knows more and more about less and less till they know everything about nothing" - from a Murphy's laws on technology poster..

3pt14159 4 days ago 1 reply      
You don't get good by worrying. You get good by loving to learn. I went to college at ten years old to learn to program. I had a job when I was 14 working on invoicing software for telephone companies. At 18 I went to university to learn engineering (structural). I lasted 8 months in industry after graduating because of how bored I was not learning. It's not a bug its a feature that there is so much to learn in CS. Embrace it. You're able to pay the rent in under a year and the sky is the limit to how much you can learn.
gorbachev 4 days ago 0 replies      
The greatest thing about a resource like Hacker News is that you get exposed to a lot of ideas. It's up to you to figure out which one of these ideas you're going to explore more.

Nobody explores all of them.

Figure out what's interesting to you and then go deep on that. Keep an eye on the stuff that's not interesting to you just to develop contextual knowledge, then when/if your interests/responsibilities change and you do need to go deeper on stuff you didn't need before, you can get started more easily.

DoofusOfDeath 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm guessing there's a few factors at play that lead to your perception:

(1) HN covers a lot of areas of software development; more than any one person can really be expected to know. But each reader is ignorant regarding how big a fraction of the covered technologies are well-understood by the other readers.

(2) HN stories often involve technologies related to web-development, containers, or virtualization. Those technology areas spawn inordinate numbers of tools, frameworks, etc. This exacerbates issue (1).

b3kart 4 days ago 0 replies      
Try doing DL research these days -- just skimming through new papers takes most of your day. :-)

The thing that helped me the most was to realize that you _have_ to specialize, at least to some extent. It's impossible to know and do everything, no matter how much you would like to.

Pick "your thing", and worry about staying up-to-date on it. Everything else skim through just to understand what's going on. How broad "your thing" should be depends on how much time you're willing to spend.

mino 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just have a look at:http://n-gate.com/hackernews/


tomschlick 4 days ago 1 reply      
Tech in general is a fast moving target.

Don't try to master everything all at once. Just learn what you need, or what interests you and then on to the next thing. There is no "done".

h1d 3 days ago 0 replies      
You'll realize everyone is only good at 1 thing. Taking everyone against you certainly makes you feel overwhelmed but after you realize 4 years is nothing and you are financially stable, you'll feel better.
mayanxoni 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes, I do feel overwhelmed while reading Hacker News, 'cause it is the only community where I feel free from getting absurd ads. :)
xiphias 4 days ago 0 replies      
Have you been learning from your team?Although HN is nice to find about interesting things, there's nothing that can give me more experience than focusing on my team's goals. Focusing on execution is the most important and most translatable skillset you can have besides interviewing.
robteix 4 days ago 0 replies      
The old adage of not comparing your life to somebody else's highlight reel is valid for HN as well.

You'll never master everything. No one does. Take it easy. You say you've become an integral part of your team and that you're constantly learning. You seem to be on the right path.

OJFord 4 days ago 0 replies      
Even if you assume every comment you read is written with good authority, bear in mind that each time you read a comment on a different topic it is in all likelihood written by someone else; the two authors couldn't have written each others' comments.
bsvalley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Life is all about learning new things. Feeling overwhelmed is part of our life. You should break it down into small chucks and start learning one thing at a time. Just learn one new thing everyday, you'll endup knowing a lot in a year from now.
aaronhoffman 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is a lot out there, you don't need to be an expert in every new thing.

Strive to be a helpful, open, honest team member, with a thorough understanding of core patterns and practices. (e.g. SOLID principles)

sigi45 4 days ago 0 replies      
4 Years is not much.

HN starts to fall in pattern as a lot of stuff you do. There are those new cool hip stuff, papers, a few deep inside blogposts and it repeats itself.

Enjoy HN as long as it holds :)

JanhLinxProject 3 days ago 0 replies      
Yes it may feel overwhelming at times, but the trick is to be focused and selective what you read.
psyc 4 days ago 0 replies      
Find comfort in the fact that broad mastery takes a very long time, but there is always room for apprentices and journeyfolk.
lhuser123 2 days ago 0 replies      
And I just found out there's so much smart people here. Seriously.
Jimmie_Rustle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Danihan 4 days ago 1 reply      
I feel underwhelmed...
Ask HN: Are 'trusted phone numbers' on iCloud vulnerable to the SMS swap attack?
5 points by arikr  1 day ago   2 comments top
frogpelt 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Good question. Did you mean SIM swap?
Ask HN : Competitive programming or learning programming languages
4 points by samroar04  1 day ago   5 comments top 2
Klockan 12 hours ago 1 reply      
You can do competitive programming in a new language, that way you get both.
probinso 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Scuba Diving
Ask HN: Efficient ways of gauging a candidate's English proficiency?
3 points by Tharkun  19 hours ago   2 comments top 2
dozzie 15 hours ago 0 replies      
How about just talking in English with them? What's left is spelling, and peoplewho care about spelling usually speak fluently as well.
DanBC 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Give them 2 sample customer support requests and ask them to respond in writing.
       cached 14 June 2017 04:05:01 GMT