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Ask HN: Monetizing newsletter with 2M and 1M members
19 points by dangelov  2 hours ago   40 comments top 17
tixocloud 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Based on what you shared, I'd recommend knowing/learning more about your membership base if you haven't done so already. Your membership list and their feedback is probably the best source for getting monetization ideas that actually work.

1. Figure out how many of the 2M and 1M members are actually engaged (reading emails as opposed to just opted-in).

2. From the engaged audience, who are they and what keeps them interested in the newsletter? What do their lives look like and is there any value that you can bring?

By knowing who your audience is and what they potentially need, you can deliver more personalized content. You could also think about promoting content from partners that go beyond straightforward ads (i.e. discounts, exclusive offers, developer bundles, Amazon AWS credits, affiliate links, etc.)

vram22 38 minutes ago 1 reply      
Might want to check out Peter Cooper's work on newsletters - e.g. a podcast he was interviewed on (about how he started and grew his newsletter business) was interesting and may give some ideas. Don't have the link right now but if you use relevant keywords in a search, you should find it.
msrpotus 51 minutes ago 2 replies      
It might take some work but you'll definitely be able to get advertisers. The first step would be audience surveys to find out who your readers are and what they are interested in, and then you can go out and find advertisers who want to reach those folks.

However, if you're already doing books, what about Amazon affiliates or even, depending on the topic of these books, selling related products? If someone is interested in finance, business, or home improvement, for example, there's a lot of items they might buy beyond books. You can recommend them and make some money off each sale.

iRobbery 18 minutes ago 1 reply      
If i would have signed up for a mailing by a bookstore, i'd only really care about specific recommendations for me. Just a single title, based on set preferences/previous purchases and not too often.

Bit like parties as Netflix do if they release some new series they strongly think you'd like. It feels more like a 'reminder' then an ad, but its an ad of course.

mcnnowak 9 minutes ago 1 reply      
Maybe sneak an Amazon Affiliate link to some book that isn't on your site.
robhunter 19 minutes ago 1 reply      
I think this was largely the business model for BookBub - take a look at them
csallen 44 minutes ago 2 replies      
How many weekly emails are you sending, and how much money are you spending to send them?

In your shoes, I might attempt to break the newsletters up further into more easily monetizable niches. You can track which links are clicked by different subscribers, segment them, and then start sending slightly different emails. Or just straight up create new mailing lists and ask your readers to subscribe to those occasionally.

Just spitballing here.

P.S. You might consider asking on the Indie Hackers forum, too: https://www.indiehackers.com/forum. Lots of people there have monetized various apps and mailing lists.

gargarplex 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I wrote a book. If you have people who are interested in technology I would be interested in promoting it to your list.
tobltobs 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I am not sure if "not opting out" is a good indicator for "being a newsletter member". Be careful with trying to monetize this. You could damage your email delivery rate and thereby your core business while trying to squeeze those additional pennies.
kichik 58 minutes ago 1 reply      
Have you considered using Amazon affiliate links to make it easy for your users to buy the books? They get an easy way to buy the recommended book, and you get a cut of the purchase.
michaelthiessen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why not ask your members?

You have the attention and trust of a LOT of people. Figure out what they need, what problems they have.

hayksaakian 1 hour ago 1 reply      
You should promote interesting blog content to your list, and get them to go to your website to learn more.

I'm looking at https://www.reddit.com/r/books/ and it looks like there's so many different things that 'book people' are interested in.

sixQuarks 1 hour ago 1 reply      
wait, how did you get 2 million subscribers in the first place? And what does "haven't opted out" mean? Did you buy this list?
notadoc 1 hour ago 1 reply      
That's an enormous email list, how did you get such a big member list together in the first place?
pryelluw 37 minutes ago 1 reply      
Is it a standard newsletter format or a drip?
ajohnclark 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
liveintent or powerinbox maybe?
Ask HN: What methods, tools etc. do you use to validate your business ideas?
41 points by kadfak  4 hours ago   23 comments top 19
jsloss 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I'm a huge fan of the interview process Ash Maurya recommends in Running Lean. I'd add to that the understanding Jobs to Be done (Read: Competing Against Luck by Christiansen) for an interview process that really get's to the base progress a user/client is trying to make in a given circumstance.
busterc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps against the grain, I sometimes like to build an MVP for myself before any significant validation; something I'll use even if others won't. Then if others don't use it, I will. It can be a good opportunity to experiment with certain technologies as well. One such example is a service I made http://EmailMeTweets.com

When I first made it public I submitted it to ProductHunt and tweeted at marketing folks, with large follower numbers on Twitter, to please try it and help promote it. There was traction but not nearly as much as fast as I had hoped. In fact, just the other day I created an Indiegogo campaign to gauge the interest in paying for the service. At this time, there are 3 contributors for $12 each. Without a big surge it obviously doesn't seem poised to stay alive... for the public. However, like I said, I'll continue to use the service privately, freely. So, it's validated and minimally viable for myself; unfortunately not for the public.

tmoravec 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
The best validation is a deep understanding of the target group and their problems. Let me give you an example.

First, pick the target audience you are either part of, or familiar with. In my case, I chose new and aspiring managers.

Second, learn about their pains. Talk to them, see what they discuss on Reddit, Quora, and wherever else they gather. In my case, I see questions about communicating and dealing with difficult people and dealing with various corporate processes.

Third, figure out what they pay for. Some groups buy books. Some pay for SaaS. Some prefer webinars, screencasts or courses. The options are endless, but the focus should be on what the customers already buy, not what we can easily make. In my case, new managers often buy books.

Four, pick one pain and fix it. Now you don't really need validation in the conventional sense of the word because now you _know_ what the people want and you _know_ what they pay for. I picked the communication challenges new managers face because I have studied this topic extensively before.

Five, implement. In my case, I started writing a book, even though I have never written a book before. But I know there are people I can help, so there is a chance that I actually will. My progress so far (shameless plug, accept my apology and please remove it if you consider it inappropriate) https://www.thenewrole.com/

This process is a somewhat simplified version of what a marketing expert Amy Hoy talks about. I suggest you check her website https://stackingthebricks.com/ if you are considering starting a side business.

Hope this is useful! :-)

hayksaakian 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I like to imagine that the product already exists, then attempt to sell it to a customer face to face / in person.

Let's say I'm doing some kind of SaaS for accountants. I would meet with dozens of accounts with a sales pitch for "x software". This will quickly help you figure out if what you're planning on building is actually valuable.

Anybody that takes you up on the sale gets to be an early tester.

jqbx_jason 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Feedback from others is absolutely critical. I'm just one person and I usually have some sort of abnormal preference even if I don't know it.

So I'll implement a quick version of the idea that gets the point across to others and roll it out to generate feedback. People will likely utilize it in ways you didn't expect or point out flaws in concept or execution- this is good because even if it doesn't validate your idea it could point you towards developing something else.

This works for smaller features within a project as well. Just roll out a rough cut of it, get feedback, and refine. The product I'm working on (https://www.jqbx.fm) has a live chat feature so it's easy for me to roll out a feature to a subsection of users and ask them about it directly. But even if it's as basic as sitting behind someone at your laptop it's almost always worth your time.

alexayou 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Small-scale test of the general idea. Not even an MVP - test the basic idea as an extreme rough draft. If people respond positively to the general theme, keep testing and building up for that responsive audience. If it's good enough, they'll keep engaging
xoail 1 hour ago 0 replies      
There is only 1 metric I believe we all need to test during ideation. Will people use this? If so, why? This may involve various ways of answering that question. Things like, figuring out your target audience, asking around, taking surveys, asking people to sign-up for updates etc.

I happen to hate searching for such answers, and end up creating MVPs only to realize not enough people want to use it. But I think even before MVP, one must pursue getting some early adopters excited to try it (even if it is for free). For my next project I plan to be thorough (hopefully).

jermaustin1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In my former life I was a product developer.

I liked to tell as many different people about my ideas and get their feedback for if it is dumb or not. In that list of people will at least be a couple who would be in the intended audience.

If the idea is at least positively received, I might make an MVP if it is easy enough, if it isn't, I'll probably abandon it.

If the MVP is stable enough, I'll probably point Facebook or Google Ads at it to drive traffic.

If any traction is gained, I look at the numbers to see if it is worth it to finish building it, or just leave it as it is running.

I'm not sure if the Google/Facebook Ads are still a good traffic driver, but they used to be.

jv22222 1 hour ago 1 reply      
If it's helpful, I wrote a blog post a while back that can help when deciding which idea to put deeper validation efforts into:


matrix 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Step 1: Create a "reverse" income statement to test whether the basic concept is financially viable.

Step 2: Talk to at least 10 potential customers to assess the idea. Make sure most are people who don't feel obligated to be nice to you.

streetcat1 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
I look at big companies road map, and do what next thing, only better.
Crepusculo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Amazon Mturk has been a good way for me to get the opinion of people on potential products.
swenn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A few days ago someone posted a side project marketing checklist to HN that has many great ideas:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14942902
galkk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Nothing can beat Excel for checking initial financial assumptions
bitfork 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If I get a idea for a project og business idea One of the first things I do is checking if where is existing business or similar and go through what they offer and what where price is or if they make any Next write down what they offer now compare your own idea and ask yourself how can I be different and why should customers choose me instead of the compitors
polote 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Discuss about your idea with people, if none of them tells you that they would use your product (without you asking if they will use it or not), then probably no one will ;)
treestompz 1 hour ago 0 replies      
My own intuition.
alttab 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
SirLJ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Back testing with stock market data...
Ask HN: Projects that don't make you money but you're doing it out of sheer joy?
431 points by superasn  1 day ago   528 comments top 73
yourduskquibble 16 hours ago 8 replies      
I just saw this thread, and honestly it is probably too late to get noticed by many, but I'm attempting to 'unsuck the web' with my project[0] by pinning "sticky" website elements where they belong - i.e. the website header shouldn't steal your screen real estate and scroll down the page with you.

My project/uBO filter list removes the "annoying" elements noted above as well as other "features" of websites (e.g. social share bars, cookie notices, etc) through a filter list that works with uBlock Origin.

I update the list often, and admittedly am probably entering into an arms race but I'm just really sick of websites hijacking (what I think) the web was built for (information).

Feel free to subscribe to the filter list by pasting the URL below[1] into the 'Custom' section under the '3rd-party filters' tab of uBlock Origin.

This filter list also works on mobile Firefox for Android with uBlock Origin installed.

[0] Project Homepage https://github.com/yourduskquibbles/webannoyances

[1] https://raw.githubusercontent.com/yourduskquibbles/webannoya...

StavrosK 1 day ago 11 replies      
Oh man, that describes all of them.

http://ipfessay.stavros.io/ - Publish uncensorable essays on IPFS

https://www.eternum.io/ - Pin IPFS files with a nice interface

https://www.pastery.net/ - The best pastebin

https://spa.mnesty.com/ - Fuck with spammers

https://www.timetaco.com/ - Easily make nice-looking countdowns

And this is just the last two months or so? Also, lots of hardware stuff:


luked22 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
Well i'm hoping to turn them into money making projects but I enjoy just building in general so here is my list:


Nothing special in these but I use it mainly to learn new languages and frameworks, especially in the backend

dmuth 1 day ago 6 replies      
I built a website which offers real-time statistics for Philadelphia's Regional Rail train system: https://www.septastats.com/

This lets public transit passengers answer questions like:

- "My train is getting later and later, is it actually moving?"

- "My train is getting later and later, has it actually STARTED its journey?" (sometimes the answer is "no", sadly)

- "Is it just my train, or are many trains running late?"

- "What was the on-time performance of this train like yesterday? 2 days ago? 7 days ago?" (Some trains tend to be chronically late)

It may come as a surprise that the backend of the system is actually not a database, but Splunk (http://www.splunk.com). DBs are nice, but Splunk is fantastic when it comes to data analytics and reporting.

I'm currently waiting for Splunk to make some of their machine learning modules available for free so that I can start pulling in weather data, train the machine learning component against both that and the train data, and use that to predict the likelihood of any given train becoming late.

alexweber 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I really wanted a t-shirt that said "Ladies Love Cool JPEGs" so I made it, and made a quick website to sell them. Here's the website in case you also like 90s hip hop references mixed with image formats: https://ladieslove.cool/
jimhefferon 23 hours ago 3 replies      
I write math texts that are Free. It is my creative outlet. My Linear Algebra (http://joshua.smcvt.edu/linearalgebra) has gotten some traction (and I get a small amount of money from Amazon). I also have an Introduction to Proofs: an Inquiry-Based Approach (http://joshua.smcvt.edu/proofs) that I find helps my students, but is in quite a niche area. And I'm working on a Theory of Computation.

If I didn't have some creative work I would be much less happy.

superasn 1 day ago 3 replies      
The reason I'm asking this question is because I realized something recently. I've been a programmer all my life. I used to love programming in Delphi, VB :P, Perl, PHP, Javascript, etc since school. I created all sorts of stupid things like Winamp plugins[1], Graphics software[2], Games, etc. It was programming just because i liked making the computer do things for me.

But then somewhere along the line my projects started making me money and then I start reading all these marketing books and my perception changed. Now if I'm creating a site I'm usually more focused on SEO, list building and crippling my software so that I can extract more money from my users. I am making more money but the joy of doing it is gone. I feel bored writing software and generally browse HN and reddit and generally force myself to work.

Maybe it's time to go back to the basics and work on stuff just for sheer joy of doing it :D

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2008/09/27/songrefernce-turns-your-mp...

[2] http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/extreme-article-marketing-conve...

raphlinus 17 hours ago 2 replies      
I have a largish open-source portfolio, including a markdown parser, a regex engine, some music synthesis, and some more researchy stuff like a font renderer and a prototype of concurrent text editing using CRDT's. I'm lucky to be working at Google where I get paid 20% time to work on this, but the motivation is definitely not money.

The biggest item in my portfolio is xi-editor, and I confess I'm wrestling with some of the questions raised in this thread. I think it has the potential to be a serious player in the editor space, with extremely high performance goals (including fast startup and low RAM usage) yet a modern feel. It also has a great little open-source community around it who have been contributing significant features.

Yet it's at the point where it's _almost_ done enough to use for day-to-day editing, and I'm hesitating a bit before pushing it over the line. I think I'm scared of having lots of users. It's also the case that I'm very interested in the engine and the core of the UX, but the complete product needs a plugin ecosystem and along with that ways to discover, upgrade, and curate the plugins (including making sure they are trustworthy, lately a fairly significant concern). That's potentially a huge amount of work, and it doesn't really line up with my interests.

I'm wondering if it's possible to focus on the parts I care about and try to foster the community to take care of the rest, but I'm not quite sure how that would work.

If this were a business and I had some way of making a few coins from every user, then my incentives would be lined up to make the best overall product possible, including the less fun parts. But that's off the table; among other things, there are a number of good free editors out there, and the niche for a better but non-free editor is also well occupied.

Maybe the HN crowd has some ideas?

ztravis 20 hours ago 1 reply      

I've always wanted a good Arabic root-based dictionary with vowelling, plurals, etc (basically Hans Wehr online). I also wanted the structured dataset for some linguistic "research".

It was a fun project - I built out a web interface for reviewing and updating entries and put in a lot of hours of manual correction (just to get all the entries to validate - I still have a lot more corrections/fixes to make...). I'm a little burnt out on it at the moment, but I plan on:

- fixing those mistakes and a few other bugs

- cleaning up the UI/display

- moving onto a "real" server framework

- writing up some blog posts about those short linguistic investigations I'd like to do now that I have the structured data

- making an API?

Notably lacking is any plan to promote it... I posted it on reddit and I'd love it if people stumble upon it and find it useful, but I did it mostly as a labor of love and something that I personally find useful!

jconcilio 3 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.penginsforeveryone.com - giving away stuffed penguins. Just because we can. (Hoping to actually register this as a nonprofit, but right now it's basically a completely unprofitable business venture.)

ETA: On the development end this has been a pretty great project for my fiance and I. He built (and I'm learning from his efforts) a database for processing requests, filtering by priority, etc., and then an integration that allows those we want to send to be exported to a file we can pull into our stamps.com account, and that creates drafts of the Wordpress posts that power our map of sent friends. The database is pretty big (we're sitting at about 21K requests right now on a shared hosting platform) so some of the work has been to load the requests asynchronously so you're not waiting for 21,000 rows before you can manage requests...

CM30 22 hours ago 2 replies      
Wario Forums and absolutely anything else associated with it:


Yeah, I know it's not particularly fancy, nor does it involve any clever coding tricks or interesting features. However, it's literally the only community on the internet dedicated to the series, and one I've decided to run for a minimum of two decades to make sure said franchise finally builds a decent fanbase.

Is it going to make money?

Probably not, given how the franchise it's based on sells about 2 million copies worldwide at most, and hasn't gotten a new game since either 2013 (WarioWare) or 2008 (Wario Land).

But it's one with a passionate audience that up until recently had nowhere online to discuss the series nor anywhere specifically dedicated to their favourite franchise. So I decided to change that by setting up and promoting a community based on it, with the guarantee I'd keep it open for decades in the hope that eventually a community at least the size of the Earthbound one comes about here. With the hope that eventually I won't need to run the forum because there'll be enough sites about it to sustain a decent fandom.

weddpros 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I built https://sslping.com/ to help monitor website TLS/SSL security and certificates. It has 300 users and checks almost 7000 servers every day for TLS problems.

It's a little like SSLlabs server test, only much faster (5 seconds instead of 2 minutes), plus the tests are recurring every day, and you receive the diff if any.

It's always been a joy to receive thank you emails from users, or adding new features for users.

SSLping also allowed me to learn React and Redux. I'm still working on it, adding new features and refactoring what I don't like.

If I ever have to stop hosting it, I'll open source the whole thing. Or maybe I'll open source it anyway. If I could find a deal with a security company, I would work on it fulltime.

I consider it's a success, even if the numbers are not as high as I'd like.

grecy 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I created, run and maintain http://wikioverland.org, the community encyclopedia of overland travel

It's a wiki of all the info you need to drive your own vehicle around a country, continent or the world.

Border crossings, paperwork, insurance, gas prices, camping, drinking water, safety... it's all in there for a massive number of countries in the world.

I'm driving around myself, and it occured to me there is so much info out there but it all slides off the front pages of blogs and forums or is buried in facebook posts. Every three months people re-write and re-post the same stuff because they couldn't find it in the first place. The idea is not for WikiOverland to contain all the info, but at least link directly to it.

t0mek 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Yet another Game Boy Color emulator, written in Java:


It's quite compatible and brought me a lot of fun. Blog post describing it:


martin_drapeau 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Been working on https://www.findyourtennis.com since 2011. Amateur tennis league/tournament management. 3 leagues have been using it recurrently for 3 years here in Montreal. The managers, volunteers, save dozens of hours every season.

Started off as a 'find a tennis partner' forum however getting traction was difficult. Chicken and egg problem. Slowly migrating to solving problems of league and tournament management. Will drop the forum one day. Long transition to do part time.

Now working on a mobile version with cordova. Testing it on the league I am managing. Saves us a lot of time since it automates lots of tasks and avoids the use of Excel.

I don't expect to make money. Market is small and problem is tough to solve. UX intensive. However fun to do on spare time.

My objective is to launch on the app store in 2018. Then I hope lots of leagues around tue world will use to simplify their lives.

purescript 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I work on the PureScript (http://purescript.org) compiler, tools, libraries and book in my spare time (along with many other unpaid contributors), because it's the programming language I wished had existed when I started creating it. It's still the closest thing to a perfect environment for web development, at least as far as I'm concerned :)
tomcam 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Hope I don't get flagged or anything. I am astounded by the generosity of the amazing people on this page and have been upvoting like a madman. I probably look like a bot at this point
snickerbockers 22 hours ago 2 replies      
For almost a year, I've been writing a SEGA Dreamcast emulator called WashingtonDC. It's slow and it doesn't play any games yet, but it can boot the firmware menu and display the animated "spiral swirl" logo. https://github.com/washingtondc-emu/washingtondc
gadgetoid 20 hours ago 3 replies      

A somewhat interactive GPIO pinout for the Raspberry Pi.

Not so much out of sheer joy, but because I needed it.

It started as a basic way to explore each pin and its available alt-functions.

Listings of add-on board pinouts were added later for people who want to use multiple boards- or perhaps connect them to a different host.

ctw 46 minutes ago 0 replies      
Abbot, a build order tool for Age of Empires II - https://abbot.rocks

When I shared it to the Aoe2 community on reddit it was well received, but as you can see, practically no one actually used it.

m52go 22 hours ago 2 replies      
100 Million Books -- mission is to promote intellectual diversity.

It's a Chrome extension/homepage that shows you a new book every time you open a new tab, plus a special hand-picked idea that teaches you a new perspective/fact/concept.

I'm evaluating a couple different paths to make it profitable, but it's not currently making anything since Amazon cut me off its affiliate program.


apancik 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I made Plain Email [0] just because I couldn't find any email client with clean work flow without distractions. I use it pretty much every day. Thinking about open sourcing it - just can't find the time to refractor it nicely.

I also built news aggregator 10HN [1] with throttling (ten best articles every morning and every evening). I use it daily and it helped to fight my procrastination a lot. It's also interesting to watch the data how stories evolve and get popularity.

[0] http://www.plainemail.com/[1] http://10hn.pancik.com

codeplea 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have a lot of projects like that!

https://f5bot.com - Social media monitoring. It can email you when your keyword (e.g. company name) appears on Hacker News or Reddit. I don't have any plans to monetize it. I just made it as a small fun project.

Also, like many here, I've made a bunch of open source software for no reason other than the joy of it. Don't ever see that changing. https://github.com/codepleahttps://github.com/tulipcharts

aroc 15 hours ago 1 reply      

A way to motivate people (including myself) to exercise with a chat bot that tracks your progress.

Originally built it to track how often I worked out, and if I didn't, what the reason was and have that reported back to me regularly. Now I have a bunch of people using it, but as you can imagine, makes me zero dollars. Well, technically it costs me money so it makes me negative dollars.

dzenos 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Building https://tuiqo.com to try and solve a document versioning problem. We realized that even though we created a new way to do document version control and avoid "v1.doc, v2.doc, final_final.doc" problem; people won't switch to it because of lack of options such as formatting tools or any other pure editor features. We are thinking of possible pivots we could try out and we obviously don't have a product-market fit.
chubot 22 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm building a new Unix shell called Oil: http://www.oilshell.org/

It's definitely not making me any money. I would say the motivation is a little bit "joy" / learning, but also frustration that shells are so old, unintuitive, and work so poorly.

I've been going for about 16 months and it's still fun, so that's good. I think that seeing progress is what make things fun.

teapot7 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I guess I do ask for money for this, but it's pretty overengineered and I wrote it knowing that nobody wanted or needed it:

Long ago, when Sun workstations were new and exciting, I wrote a simple Roman numeral digital clock, which just showed the time in Roman numerals.

My friend, instead of admiring my cleverness, said "But that's not how the Romans told the time" - which is true. The Roman day started at dawn and finished at sunset, which meant that day and night length were different every single day, as well as in cities at different latitudes.

Several decades later I did something about it, and wrote it up as a mobile app which showed either the modern time or optionally the Roman time.

Then I made it use the Roman calendar, where you don't have individually numbered days of the month, but count instead how many days until the next Kalends (start of the month), Nones (fifth or seventh day) or Nones (thirteenth or fifteenth day), even if it occurs in the next month.

Then I thought I might as well go all the way, and spent more money than I would ever earn from it on having the help text translated into Latin, just in case any ancient Roman time travellers wanted to use it.

A waste of time and money, but one which made me happy.


dogas 1 day ago 1 reply      
I built + maintain todolist[1] which is a GTD-style task management app for the command line. It's getting a bit of traction now which is pretty fun. It got a ton of upvotes on Product Hunt which was really cool to see[2].

I have very loose plans to monetize via a paid subscription for syncing with other devices / phones, but there will always bee a free / open source version as well.

[1]: http://todolist.site

[2]: https://www.producthunt.com/posts/todolist

cknight 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I built https://suitocracy.com very slowly over the last few years. It is for collating information on the ethical conduct of large corporations, as well as rating and ranking them on various criteria.

It'll never make money, but it has been a good project for me to modernise my web development skills which had gone rusty over the preceding decade. I also took the opportunity to learn NGINX and a few other things that I hadn't really been exposed to beforehand.

vanderZwan 1 day ago 2 replies      
It doesn't have to be a full project, right? Do random drive-by PR-requests to open-source projects count?

A few months ago I ended up scratching an optimisation itch for weeks, trying to figure out ways to make the lz-string[0][1] library faster and smaller. Near the end I went a bit nuts with trying out what works, methinks (nested trees built out of arrays and such), but I had a lot of fun.

It's not even my library, nor did my PR request get accepted/rejected yet. It did however make the compression up to 2x to 10x faster, depending on how well the data compresses.

And hey, I now have an intuitive understanding of LZ compression that I never thought I'd have!

Since a few days I've been working on writing a component for idyll[2] that lets you embed p5js sketches[3]. Progress here[4][5].

[0] http://pieroxy.net/blog/pages/lz-string/index.html

[1] https://github.com/pieroxy/lz-string/pull/98

[2] https://idyll-lang.github.io/

[3] https://p5js.org/

[4] https://github.com/idyll-lang/idyll/issues/117

[5] https://jobleonard.github.io/idyll-p5/

apankrat 23 hours ago 0 replies      
A networking IO abstraction library in C - https://github.com/apankrat/tcp-striper

Based around an idea of IO pipes with minimal semantics (duplex, reliable, ordered) that they can then extend to implement other traits like IO buffering, atomic send, packetization, compression, encryption, etc. [1]

This then allows merging together pipes of different types (by attaching the output of one to the input of another), which combines their traits and yields, for example, a reliable datagram carrier with in-flight compression.

With this it also becomes possible to write a simple IO bridge [2] that relays both data _and_ operational state between two pipes. The bridge in turn can be used to implement all sorts of interesting things, e.g. proper TCP relay, SSL tunneling proxy, TCP trunking proxy, etc.

[1] https://github.com/apankrat/tcp-striper/blob/master/src/io/i...

[2] https://github.com/apankrat/tcp-striper/blob/master/src/io/i...

beilabs 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Late arrival to this thread. One of my projects involve working with local female co-operatives in Nepal and help them sell their hand made products around the world. Paypal doesn't operate here, merchant services for international cards are impossible to get. They don't understand technology in any way and there is a lot of hand holding.

The site is https://www.pasatrade.com

We make no money off of this, I operate it at a loss, but each and every sale gets more money back to the women who really need it; a few extra dollars here and there can really make a huge difference in Nepal. The interesting part is they make more money on each sale through us than they do locally or selling through Fair Trade channels.

nfriedly 1 day ago 1 reply      
Everything to do with cryptocurrency! I wrote trading bot that was actually making a small profit - and then the exchange got hacked and took all of my coins & dollars with it :(

I've started to get into Ethereum and Solidity recently, but mining even a few coins just to have gas money costs more in electricity than they're worth. I'm letting my desktop mine anyways, but when I reach my pools payout threshold in a week or two (it's got a 3-year-old GPU), I'll probably kill the mining. (I know I could just buy some ETH with USD, but that's probably even more expensive and somehow feels different.)

(To be fair it hasn't been all negative - I bought a copy of the game Portal with the first bitcoin I ever earned, and a Kindle with the second bitcoin. But looking at it from a strictly money perspective, I'm definitely in the hole. In theory, it will be positive eventually.. but I'm still not sure exactly how.)

TamDenholm 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm grumpy, i dont like christmas: http://whychristmasisbullshit.com/
rayalez 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I occasionally create digital art:


and make video tutorials about it:


Computer graphics is still by far the most fun hobby I've ever had, I absolutely love it, it's like the most engaging computer game you can imagine times 100.

There's not much profit in making art(unless you want to do it professionally), but it's an awesome way to spend my free time, and sometimes it generates some ideas I like to share on youtube.

If you want to get into it, I highly recommend checking out SideFX Houdini. It's a bit technical, but extremely powerful and well designed 3D software, kinda like emacs of CG applications.

jonberk218 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably going to be buried but YES, my weekly newsletter The Random Roundup(https://tinyletter.com/randomroundup)Granted, down the line I may be able to leverage the audience for something but right now sharing the gems I find while hitch hiking the internet is so awesome I'd probably even pay to do it.
jtruk 21 hours ago 3 replies      
130 Story - a daily microfiction challenge.


I started this as a Twitter game a few years ago; it felt like a compact idea with a good hook. Earlier this year I automated it- so it picks its own words and collates the stories on the website itself (mostly successfully).

It doesn't have a big following, but the people who play are passionate about it. Some people play every day, and the most prolific author has written ~650 of them.

I've seen people get better as writers, some experimental stuff (like an improvised longform story built over many daily prompts), and occasionally I see a microstory that knocks it out the park. That makes it worthwhile.

xeo84 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Touchboard: http://www.timelabs.io/touchboard Open source app for iPad to send keys to your pc / mac. I use it for gaming, I really find it useful, here is a video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1KOUj9SK_c

I've also made CbrConverter: https://github.com/timefrancesco/cbr-converter

Coverts pdf to cbr and vice versa.

And then there are a bunch of other small projects like:

- Ebay Search Scheduler (schedule Ebay searches with custom parameters)

- Twitter Time Machine (download and browse your twitter timeline) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tweet-time-machine-2/id83212... - windows version also available

- Autosleep (put the windows down for good) https://github.com/timefrancesco/autosleep

And many others I really enjoyed making and using.

neya 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This is my current project: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14785209. It's too long to describe in a sentence, but, it's essentially what I call it the mother of all software (internally). I created it out of pure annoyance towards many of the popular services such as Wordpress, MailChimp, Hubspot, Shopify, Unbounce who had screwed up some aspect of their tools. So, in essence this is a combination of all those softwares under one roof.

Here are some things you can do with this software:

1) Research your market, find out your target audience

2) Integrate with analytics tools and understand your users

3) Automate your marketing strategies

4) Maintain a central data warehouse

5) Maintain multi-domain content properties such as blogs, websites, news portals, etc.

6) Host online trainings, build a student list

7) Etc. (read the link: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14785209)

I've been working on it over 3 years now, while trying to jump from one web framework to another. Finally, I've settled down on Phoenix. This project alone has helped me learn so many programming languages and also helped me gain more experience as a programmer in general, while simultaneously being able to integrate new tools and platforms into my pipeline - This is how I learned React, VueJS, Brunch, Google Cloud, etc.

At the moment, I've built this only for myself, just to support and test out my startup ideas. I am thinking of open-sourcing it at some point, at least the core functionality.

But as of now, there's nothing else I enjoy doing on a weekend than working on this project :) (also why I'm still single)

jjjensen90 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I run/develop/manage a private MMOARPG game server for a dead game called Hellgate: London that we call London 2038. You can see more about it here http://london2038.com

Not only do I not make money on the project, it actually costs me money! :)

I have seemingly undying motivation to work on it, knock out bugs, release patches, catch cheaters, etc. The community being so active and excited helps keep me going. I probably spend 30-40 hours of week on the project.

Edit: grammar

tmaly 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been working on BestFoodNearMe


I enjoy eating out and trying new food, but I really do not enjoy having to spend a lot of time reading through reviews to figure out what the best dish is at a restaurant or even what the best food dishes are in a city.

So this is my attempt to solve the problem of deciding what to eat by allowing people to find and share food dishes.

tripzilch 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Related question to ask HN:

Projects that don't make you money but you're doing it out of sheer hatred?

nikivi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am working on a community curated search engine to learn anything most optimally :


Everything is open source and is MIT licensed, both the search engine and the entire database it searches over.

There are however many things that we can still do to take this idea further. Hopefully more people join to help us with that. :)

anfractuosity 1 day ago 1 reply      
A few of mine:

https://www.anfractuosity.com/projects/painting-a-christmas-... - 'painting' the LEDs on my christmas tree.

https://www.anfractuosity.com/projects/optical-magnetic-stri... - optically decoding data from magnetic stripe cards.

https://www.anfractuosity.com/projects/zymeter-simple/ - a rather unsuccessful attempt at measuring specific gravity.

https://github.com/anfractuosity/musicplayer - playing .wav files via RF emissions from a laptop.

domainkiller 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Nomie! https://nomie.io The easiest way to track any aspect of your life.
thsealienbstrds 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been working on `moncat`, a tool that concatenates e-mails.

It's very 'Unix-y' in the sense that it's supposed to do this and only this.

I created it because I wanted to have a way to make notes without being dependent on apps. With moncat, I can use any e-mail client to incrementally create larger text files.

Currently, I'm using it to write a journal in Markdown that is automatically converted to HTML. How that works: I e-mail journal entries to myself, put them in a mailbox folder, and periodically compile the journal using a cronjob.

moncat accepts some basic commands that you can put in the subject line of the e-mail. For example, you can reorder items to be concatenated. It also handles attachments and nested folders.


Yeah.. so there is no documentation and the code is pretty shit, since I'm the only one using it. The upside is that the code is also pretty small (around 350 LOC Python in total).

So, just in case anyone is looking for a tool like this... here you go! ;)


swimmadude66 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a small website for some old groovshark buddies once that site died where we could meet up, chat, and listen to music together.

Its a collaborative radio, where users queue up songs in playlists, then rotate playing a song off the top of their list for everyone to hear. It was originally built as a stopgap until we found something similar but better, so we called it lifeboat radio. But it's kinda become our permanent home now...

Here's our hosted instance: https://lifeboatradio.com/

And here's the repo if you want to host your own!https://github.com/swimmadude66/YTRadio

Join us in our hosted instance on fridays for "Fuck it Friday" where we play (preferably musical) shit we found from deep in youtube!

JulianLoehr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"HID Wiimote" [0] a Windows device driver for the Nintendo Wii Remote & Wii U Pro Controller. Started as my Bachelor's thesis and am still working on it every now and then.

[0] https://www.julianloehr.de/educational-work/hid-wiimote/

cozuya 18 hours ago 2 replies      
My web adaptation of the social deduction board game Secret Hitler: https://secrethitler.io

Pretty fun, don't get to do much back end stuff so its a learning process. Its creative commons so can't make $ off it but the $10/month digital ocean box is doing fine. About 100 players on at peak and always games going.

reagent 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I built this dead-simple "image enhancing" app (http://en.hance.me) to focus in on potentially embarrassing details in photos. It allows you to specify a zoom area and create a 4-panel stacked image that progressively "zooms in" on your target area.
albahk 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Free OpenStreetMap Data extracts (be kind, it is a rushed POC at the moment)


I have created a free site containing extracts from OpenStreetMap data. Unlike the metro extracts sites (Geofabrik, Mapzen), my goal is to extract specific datasets such as buildings, schools, hospitals, fast food restaurants etc from OSM rather than standard map/gis data.

My overall goal is to make the extracts available, and then to encourage people who use them and get value to actively update OSM to improve the quality of the data they are interested in. By doing this, the overall quality and coverage of data in OSM should (in theory) be improved.

yogthos 1 day ago 1 reply      
laktak 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I started http://hjson.org as a JSON for humans interface but I constantly run into the "I love it but I'll wait until it's used by more people" problem.
mimming 18 hours ago 0 replies      

I fill out those 'other comments' on order forms with a request for a dinosaur drawing.

expertentipp 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Dead simple personal website in Python and plain JavaScript with contact form, URL shortener, private bookmarks, etc. It's my own territory and I do what I want! fuck unit tests, fuck linters, fuck commit messages length limit, fuck your newest web framework, fuck transpilers, fuck pull requests.
monkey_slap 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Working on a GitHub iOS app to make managing GitHub projects easier. Fun part is now that it's shipped I'm using it to manage itself.


Turning this into more of a social experiment now, seeing where he community wants to take this. Publishing download reports and stuff.

Even made a landing page.


GenKali 13 hours ago 1 reply      
NextTrain: https://www.nextrain.co.za

We have a fledgling train system in the Gauteng area of South Africa (this area includes Johannesburg and Pretoria). However, the only way to see train schedules is via a PDF (2MB) buried deep on their website.

This was a quick weekend hack to show when the next train is for each of the stations, and some additional info.

edhelas 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Movim, a social network project built on XMPP https://movim.eu/. I'm working on it for 9 years already and starting to have a nice little community using it daily.

I'm really enjoying developing Movim on my free time because I'm still motivated to show the world that we can have decent social-networks and IM solutions by using existing standard protocols (and not proprietary silos like today).

lawrencewu 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I created Juicebox, which lets you listen to youtube/soundcloud songs with other people: https://www.juicebox.dj/

I have made no money off of this. In fact, I've probably paid hundreds in hosting/domain fees. But I love what I've built so far and use it everyday with my friends. Please check it out, I'd love to hear any feedback!

rkuykendall-com 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a Marvel comics reading-list app using their API, to help myself get caught up.

It just runs locally right now, and I'm not sure I'll ever publish it, since I'm forbidden by Marvel from making any money on it, even for server costs, even by linking to their books on Amazon.

It'll be on github as soon as I get around from un-hardcoding my keys.

dumbfounder 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Twicsy (Twitter picture search) still gets around 1.5 million visitors per month, but nets no money. But I wouldn't call it sheer joy though, maybe sheer stubbornness?


MrBuddyCasino 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A web radio / bluetooth speaker for the ESP32:


An Alexa smart speaker implementation, also for the ESP32:


Made them to learn C and embedded stuff. Exhausting, but rewarding.

overcast 1 day ago 2 replies      

Sharing funny kid quotes.

Been going for years, not a whole lot of traffic, but the family loves it (that was the intention). Recently migrated from a severely aging kohana/mysql backend to express/rethinkdb.

jetti 21 hours ago 0 replies      
All of my Elixir open source projects:

 * Plsm - https://github.com/jhartwell/Plsm - which is an Ecto model generator based on existing schemas * Taex - https://github.com/jhartwell/Taex - A technical Analysis library for Elixir. 
I'm also in the process of writing a GDAX (https://gdax.com) Elixir library but won't open source that until it is more complete. I'm using that and Taex in a cryptocurrency algo trading platform I'm developing.

preinheimer 1 day ago 1 reply      
Global Ping Statistics - https://wondernetwork.com/pingsWe have ~240 servers world wide, we get them all to ping each other every hour, and record the results.

We've been generating them for years, they're a pain to store, we've made $0 with it. But I really like the data we're getting. We recently moved a lot of the legacy data into S3 to save our own backup & restore process ( https://wonderproxy.com/blog/moving-ping-data-to-s3/ )

yumaikas 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I work on https://pisc.junglecoder.com as an exercise in building a stack based language that is a little less arcane than most that exist at the moment. It was inspired by Factor, Lua and Javascript, and is built in Go. I like using it for little tasks of generating bits of boilerplate code, and have some long term ideas around IRC bots, shells, and the like.
epx 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Morse code player: https://epxx.co/morse

Koch method to learn Morse: https://epxx.co/morse/koch.html

andrewdryga 3 hours ago 0 replies      
My open source API gateway - http://github.com/nebo15/annon.api.

We built it for a specific purpose since then I've added lots of features and tools. Right now meditating to find out what should be the next big step for it :).

CiPHPerCoder 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Virtually everything in the paragonie namespace on Packagist generates zero revenue, but we built and maintain them because we want to make the PHP ecosystem more secure by default.


abhisuri97 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A chrome extension to help visually impaired individuals see images http://abhinavsuri.com/aat
kaivi 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm hoarding profile data diffs from a well known social network. Been crawling every single user for the past 2 years and saving the changes. Had to stop doing it last month, after storage costs became too much.
LukeB42 11 hours ago 0 replies      
1. http://index.psybernetics.org A news archival service.Built on a Golang implementation of another project. Intending to open source the backend once it's mature. It's been running in production for around a year but the underlying httpd now either needs vendoring or the code sat on top of it needs updating.

2. https://github.com/lukeb42/emissary The first news archival service I wrote. Went through a couple of iterations. Not too happy with the multi-process model under the hood though.

3. http://github.com/lukeb42/psyrcd This has been running in production for a couple of years. The scripting system was recently overhauled and we're using it instead of Consul or NATS for message bussing and service discovery at work (I technically get paid to make sure this is production-quality but it's not consuming time at the moment). It'd be nice to use the plugin system to implement a MUD as a channel mode that generated the world via numpy-based LSTM network.

4. https://github.com/psybernetics/synchrony A peer-to-peer caching proxy. Currently working towards a C implementation of this before dedicating time to the other projects in this post.

Ask HN: One of my coworkers accused me of sexism, should I tell HR?
6 points by deep_concern  1 hour ago   5 comments top 5
Jemaclus 49 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would not say anything at all. I would keep all interactions with Sarah as professional as possible, including not reciprocating physical contact or jokes. I would also keep a log of any times she engages in physical contact or inappropriate jokes, and document any interaction in which you felt uncomfortable or were accosted by her. Accusing you of sexual harassment is a non-starter, and that should immediately terminate any friendship you may have between each other. Friends don't accuse each other of creating hostile work environments. Sarah might let it slide this time, but next time you say something she deems inappropriate, you might be having a meeting with HR about "repeated patterns of sexism" or something.

Like others have posted, HR is not your friend. Do not voluntarily talk to them unless they have specific questions or concerns to ask you. If they do that, what you want is to have a strong enough paper trail that any complaints Sarah brings against you are properly rebutted.

One thing I would not do right now is apologize. An apology can be seen as a confession. You want to do what you said you did: assert your innocence in the matter, ask for a retraction, and walk away if none is given.

I have other thoughts on this (e.g., start looking for a new job), which I'd be happy to expand upon if you want, but I think the safest thing for you to do right now is just cease any non-professional contact and document the crap out of everything she says or does to use in case of an inquiry.

Good luck.

osullivj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
HR are not your friends. The clue is in the name: human resources. You are just a resource to be managed. And managed out if you become a problem. HR's main function is reducing legal exposure risk due to harassment lawsuits etc. That, and removing human resources that have become a liability. IMHO you should write up a set of notes on the jokes and physical behavior, and anything else that you can think of that will make HR think that firing you will cause them more legal grief than keeping you on.
bartvk 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
> "you don't need to lecture me on this right now"

> discussion became increasingly heated

Are you sure you don't owe her an apology? I have the feeling she felt hurt for some reason, and just wanted your understanding.

borplk 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Don't talk to HR.
dudul 1 hour ago 0 replies      
If you have a few witnesses of your interactions who can confirm that she tried to play the sexism card while you were behaving perfectly appropriately then yes you should mention it to HR to be proactive.

HR doesn't care about you or Sarah, they care about helping the company. If you already have a "case" (ie witnesses) and approach them first, then they will see you as the "safer" party to side with.

If you don't have anything solid to back your story, then it's a bit more risky and it may be a better move to not do anything and hope that she won't take any action.

In the future, you should definitely be very careful to properly document your interactions with her though.

Ask HN: Which companies give programmers offices?
298 points by jjazwiecki  1 day ago   235 comments top 65
msluyter 1 day ago 10 replies      
On the general question of open vs. private offices, my views have tempered over time. The first time I worked in an open office, I hated it. But I've come to realize that a lot depends on the layout of the office and that there are better and worse ways to configure one.

The first case -- the one I hated -- had a) long rows of desks, b) bright overhead fluorescent lights, c) a lot of noise due to being in a large room with sales/marketing, d) a lot of visual distractions due to people walking up & down the aisles, and e) few available areas to go to collaborate away from your desks.

Now, I'm also in an open office, but I find it quite livable, because: a) my desk faces the wall, for fewer visual distractions, b) the room is comfortably lit (ie, not too bright)[1], c) it's a smaller room with only engineering and is generally quieter[2], d) there are enough areas to go if you need to collaborate.

All this is to say that, while the evidence is that open offices generally suck, there's probably a number of ways to ameliorate their problems to some degree without having to resort to private offices. I don't think I'd prefer an office to my current setup, actually.

[1] I think this element is underrated. In fact, I'd be curious to know if there's a verifiable correlation between brightness levels and how loud people tend to talk. There's something about a dim room that seems to induce people to lower their voices.

[2] Small, but not too small. There's a sort of sweet spot. I was once in a room with 3 other people and it was maddening because it was generally quiet but every little noise -- coughing, swallowing, etc... -- was seemingly amplified by the overall quietness to became hugely annoying. (An inverse concept explains why I can work quite well in a coffee shop despite the background din.)

jonhmchan 1 day ago 1 reply      
Stack Overflow does. I'm an engineer there and we still think providing private offices to our engineering team is important for their productivity. This includes engineers, SREs, designers, data scientists, PMs, and others.

However, most of our engineering team is remote and if they're not in one of our locations, we give them pretty much what they'd like to build their own home office or go to a coworking space.

For me, I'm actually nomadic, so I tend to work from wherever I'm staying or end up in cafes a lot of time. I still get the support I need if my work "station" isn't optimal.

TL;DR Stack Overflow provides private offices, but is really flexible, especially given its remote policy.

orange_bear 1 day ago 1 reply      
Apple placed me in an experimental building where they were changing the interior design constantly, trying to decide how to design their new "space ship" building. The whole time, I fumed at no longer having an office and having to work in an open office design. I could not focus due to audio and visual interruptions while I worked (programmer) in the open office spaces. But no one ever asked me for my opinion about the experimental open office environments!

Now this: https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2017/08/08/apple-pa..."Apple staffers reportedly rebelling against open office plan at new $5 billion HQ"

Glad I wasn't the only coder there who utterly despised the move to the open office design.

nfriedly 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have a small private office that I just lease myself. I bicycle in every day and work "remote" for IBM. It's fantastic.

If I want some noise, I'll work from home (I have a 3-year old.)

The down side is that IBM's management has recently done a 180 on remote working and is now "strongly encouraging" me to move to one of their offices and work in a cubicle.

I'm pretty sure they won't actually fire me for not moving, but any promotion is probably going to be harder to come by until things (hopefully) swing back in the other direction.

Or I'll just retire. The benefit of living in Ohio is that I can save like 40% of my salary and still live comfortably. (And lease an office for $225/month!)

kuharich 1 day ago 3 replies      
Old Microsoft: it was a BillG ethic: anyone touching software got an office: software design engineers, PM's, QA, even admins ... it allowed one to be quiet and focus. And signaled to co-workers - do not disturb ...
qnk 1 day ago 2 replies      
Stack Overflow has blogged about their private offices for developers many times before. This is a post from 2015, I'm not sure if that's still the case: https://stackoverflow.blog/2015/01/16/why-we-still-believe-i...
module0000 1 day ago 3 replies      
My programming career involved an office at every position(Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cisco, HP, XTime, VMWare, and a handful of private equity groups). As I was transitioning into another field, the "open office" craze was taking over. I could be wrong, but I have a strong feeling I would not have enjoyed it. Nothing like being an hour into analyzing a core dump to be jerked back to reality by someone interrupting you!
pixelmonkey 1 day ago 2 replies      
My team at Parse.ly is fully remote/distributed -- and one of the motivating reasons I formed the team that way was to reproduce the feel of Fog Creek's "bionic office", but in each engineer's home office space.

I discussed this a little in my "Notes on Distributed Teams" presentation here:


Here's how my personal home office looks:


(Shameless plug, here are the positions we're hiring for, if you're interested! https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14902227)

LVB 1 day ago 0 replies      
At Garmin in Salem, OR, they have four-person quads. These are enclosed spaces with an additional central table, storage, ceiling and door. Though not my own office, I liked it. Quiet, everyone had a corner with ample space, and a nice group dynamic formed. Devs would move occasionally and you'd get to know other people pretty well.
jaegerpicker 1 day ago 4 replies      
That's why programmers should work remotely. It's the best thing I've ever done for my career. Moved back from Management to IC because it was remote and it's been amazing.
sizzzzlerz 1 day ago 3 replies      
My 600-person company, a wholly-owned part of a much, much larger national multi-billion dollar company has single or double private offices, with doors, for the entire staff, new hires, IT, admin, everyone, at our headquarters in SV as well as our smaller, satellite offices. AFAIK, there is no plan to change this. If, however, our current lease isn't renewed and the company moves, all bets are off. I've heard rumors that our parent company isn't happy with the "wasted" space. We'll see.
pyrox420 1 day ago 1 reply      
AccuLynx - we aren't even in a tech hotbed. Just little ol' Beloit, WI. We got to build a brand new office building with offices for all devs. Great place to work, awesome perks. We saw a marked throughput improvement after moving to the new office.
mpa000 1 day ago 0 replies      
I manage developers for the publishing arm of a professional association. While I did not have an office when I started as a dev here over a decade ago, all of our developers now have their own offices while we two managers share one. Priorities.

Immediately prior to this, as a junior member of a non-IT/IS-department rapid development group for a utility company, I was relegated to whatever cubicle they could find to stuff me in, usually on the periphery of the call center area. This is also where they'd stick the COBOL guys they'd had to hire back as consultants, along with others who didn't fit into any of the (many) union contract workflows.

(I was a listed as a line-item in the same cost code group as a rented photocopier or scanner, meaning that for most of my tenure there I had ZERO contact with anyone from HR. It was glorious.)

gwbas1c 1 day ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I'm less concerned about an "office." A cube with high walls is more similar to an "office" than an open layout where everyone shares a table.

What's more important is company culture. Does your company expect you to accept interruptions at any time for any reason, no matter how trivial? Is your manager willing to run interference when suddenly every new employee in every department shows up expecting that you'll handhold them?

You can have an office with a bad company culture; you'll find that your office door is always full of lurkers, or you'll find that you can't walk between your office and the bathroom without getting mobbed with "urgent" requests that need your attention immediately.

What's more important is to ensure that management avoids distractions, that newcomers in other departments are trained, and that processes are established and followed when needed. Handholding should not be required from any engineers; instead mentoring and process refinement goes a lot further than a door that you can close.

batbomb 1 day ago 6 replies      
Most people programming in National Labs get offices, though you might need to share with one person. If you are in the bay area, think about SLAC or LBNL.
s1gs3gv 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think choice is important. Some people prefer one, some the other. The best working environment I've experienced in my life as a software developer was at Bell Labs in the 80s, where small private offices was the norm.

On the other hand, its good to have open working areas available when they are appropriate. In Bell Labs, we'd often congregate near the railings overlooking the Holmdel atrium while our build finished or downstairs in the large open seating areas.

jedwardhawkins 1 day ago 1 reply      
Micro Focus in Provo, UT provides offices. The last company I worked for was a mature startup with an open floor plan. Most of the noise complaints were mitigated by noise cancelling headphones which were purchased for each engineer.
baccredited 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've had multiple federal government programming jobs with offices. I consider it a requirement at this point.
caboteria 1 day ago 0 replies      
The last place I worked where I got a private office (and probably the last place I ever will) was the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA, a federally-funded R&D corporation. Level AC-5 and above got solo offices, AC-4's had to share.
DarkContinent 1 day ago 2 replies      
Epic in Madison, WI, gives all employees their own offices. (I can't find a source but I've been on a tour.)
rbanffy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two places that allow you (actually they prefer) to work remotely are Avaaz (avaaz.org) and Canonical. Both may share the cost of a rented office. I can't speak highly enough of either - awesome teams, awesome missions.
hack_mmmm 1 day ago 1 reply      
2 years back We used to get a cabin office @Qualcomm for all Engineers same as VPs. Now Staff Engineers and above still get cabin office and others have moved to cubicles. We have a lab where most of us sit in the afternoon to collaborate. I must say this is the only place where I saw in my career where a fresh grad got cabin offices. It feels great to code in isolation uninterrupted. It also feels great to collaborate in lab with other folks and also code there.
borplk 1 day ago 6 replies      
Do pretty much all programmers in Microsoft get their own office?

Is it as simple as that or there's more to it?

rwoodley 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've worked for financial firms for 31 years. Almost all of that time, I've been a programmer on a trading desk sitting right next to traders. There is constant noise and shouting. I can tune out a lot. EXCEPT: TV noise, and idle chit chat like you'd have down at the pub. As long as people are focused on work, I can tune it whatever they say. Strange.
DavidThi808 1 day ago 0 replies      
We mostly have 2 people/office. We would have done individual offices but the office space we found to rent was perfect except the offices were larger and so it was a LOT cheaper to use the existing build-out.

It is working well. People mostly are heads down getting their work done. So add Windward Studios to the list where all developers get offices.

zodnas 1 day ago 0 replies      
All full-time employees at SAS have their own office.
luu 1 day ago 1 reply      
Microsoft is switching from offices to open office plans. Buildings with offices are slowly being remodeled to open plan.

My first team started off two-to-an-office (unless you had something like 5 or 6 years of seniority, in which case you'd get your own office), but they moved to open offices when their building got remodeled.

bsimpson 1 day ago 0 replies      
At Google, it depends on which building you're in. I sit in an office with 3 other people. My manager sits in an open pod in the hallway.
Bahamut 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have my own office at Apple here in Cupertino (just a software engineer)...I'm glad that almost all our teams are moving to Infinite Loop as opposed to the new campus :) . Most of our offices hold two people though (still better than open offices!).
neofrommatrix 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oracle does provide private offices in their Santa Clara location. This has mostly to do with this being the old Sun Microsystems buildings. It might have changed now, though after rapid expansion of their public cloud engineering group.
Kluny 1 day ago 2 replies      
Automattic. But it's remote, you have to supply your own office. They contribute $250 toward co-working space.
drfuchs 1 day ago 1 reply      
Adobe in San Jose. (At least it used to.)
msukmanowsky 1 day ago 2 replies      
Parse.ly is 100% remote and I've got a pretty sweet home office :)
nxc18 1 day ago 0 replies      
Esri gives just about everyone their own office; aside from people displaced by moves or visiting, I've yet to encounter a programmer without one.
programmarchy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked for a successful medium sized business called SpeakWrite early in my career that specialized in voice transcription for the legal industry. The company was founded by a former lawyer, and the office culture was very traditional. The software team was treated with respect, paid well, and everyone had their own office. It was great! Having worked in tech/startup culture since then, I much prefer the traditional office culture. Now I work remotely as a consultant and have my own office, but miss working on a closely knit team.
Balgair 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most DoD and DoE jobs/contractors have personal offices. In fact, I've never seen one that doesn't at least have a cube-farm and most just have a personal office and then meeting rooms and then lab-space, depending on the job. Cubes are terrible in their own right, but it's better than an open office by a lot. At least you have somewhere to put pictures of your kids up at eye level.
tibbon 1 day ago 0 replies      
At least give me my own 64sqft cube, and then have some decent lighting. I'd far rather live in a cubefarm than be rubbing elbows with the person beside me. It's not perfect, but having some degree of "my space" is really essential.

Oddly, I had my own office when I was working in IT at 17, but now it's harder to find.

coderjames 1 day ago 0 replies      
Universal Avionics provides their Engineers private offices. It was important to the founder of the company, so when a new building was constructed it was specifically arranged to provide as many offices as possible, even if some are internal (no outside window).
thehardsphere 1 day ago 4 replies      
I would hope most companies that consider software to be their core business give programmers offices, even if they have to share those offices with another person on the same team. Most companies that do not often consider programmers secondary to their core business, which is a good reason not to work there if you have a choice.
matheweis 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I shared a two person office at the university that I worked at before my current job. If that sounds like a good deal in exchange for 50% of the industry salary, I believe they're hiring... :)
TallGuyShort 1 day ago 0 replies      
Microsoft comes to mind? I've only been in a couple of buildings in the Seattle campus, but it was the typical open-air shared desks that you see in many other software companies recently. Are they known for using desks otherwise?
rspeer 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Luminoso, a natural language processing company in Cambridge, MA.
rajeshp1986 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think any decent size company could afford to do that in Bay Area. The real estate prices are too high to give personal offices to everyone and that's why open office plans are adopted.
mindcrime 1 day ago 0 replies      
When the day comes that Fogbeam Labs has an actual office, and employees, I absolutely intend to make sure that everybody has a private office with a door. Unfortunately, I can't say when that will be.
nhumrich 1 day ago 0 replies      
The book peopleware argues for the middle ground. Shared offices. Rooms with a door, with 3-4 people. You have quick collaboration, but also are closed off from unrelated distraction.
omg2k 1 day ago 0 replies      
MathWorks (Natick, MA).
dsfyu404ed 1 day ago 0 replies      
If your work is classified you almost certainly get an office.
alok-g 1 day ago 1 reply      
ryanSrich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Work for companies that support remote work. You'll always have a private office.
bebop 1 day ago 0 replies      
Everyone at ESRI has their own office.
factotum 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reynolds and Reynolds in Houston.
kk3399 1 day ago 3 replies      
Epic systems
dacracot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lawrence Livermore Nat'l Laboratory. Everyone has an office with a door.
meddlepal 1 day ago 0 replies      
PTC in Needham, MA does if you're on the ProE/Creo team
rurban 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Cpanel, Houston Texas
bostik 1 day ago 0 replies      
We have team offices at Smarkets.
danesparza 1 day ago 0 replies      
You mentioned it in the question already, but when I worked at Microsoft as a contractor I got an office.
suhith 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fog Creek Software does iirc
starbuxman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it be more appealing for companies to allow their employees to work remotely?
rdiddly 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Intel still has the old-school high-walled cubicles in some places. But gradually, floor by floor, building by building, they've been renovating, and you know what that means! More openness. To their credit the new motif is 1) more aesthetically pleasing, and 2) not TOTALLY open.

In other words, not this fuckin' nightmare...http://workdesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Open-plan-o......but more like a range going from this...https://media.glassdoor.com/l/ce/49/d7/6c/intel-office.jpg...to this...http://media.glassdoor.com/m/2d/0e/af/40/desk-with-a-view.jp......and even this...https://media.glassdoor.com/l/17/25/41/7c/intel-office.jpg

carapace 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm literally about to go talk to recruiters and I'm going to try it: I'll take $20,000 off of my pay if co will provide an office with a door I can close.

I'll report back what they say.

I just recently was working in an open office and the difference between daytime and evening (after everyone else left) was dramatic.

ozzmotik 1 day ago 0 replies      
i had my own office at cPanel, albeit a small onebut it was a pleasant personal space.
jps359 18 hours ago 0 replies      
holbue 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who else read "... gives programers coffees"? :-D

PS: Seriously, free coffee is more important to me than an office. I like open working environments.

Ask HN: How did you find an audience for your startup or project?
25 points by tmaly  18 hours ago   9 comments top 6
jermaustin1 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In a former life, I was a product developer, I now consult other pre-rev/pre-money/broke product developers on features, ux, and marketing.

I wrote up a nice narrative a while back [1] on my two "first" products I built. The first "first" was on accident, and the second "first" was... kind of still on accident.

[1] http://jeremyaboyd.com/my-first-product-launches/

shubhamjain 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In my experience, your expectations shouldn't be as optimistic as success stories like that of Slack, which had 8000 companies signed up before they launched their product. It's wise to assume that your customer acquisition would be wearyingly slower. You don't have to start with 20-30 customers but just 1-5, who get the value out of your product.

For the last product, which I shut down due to lack of traction, the most valuable leads I received was when my product got featured in a newsletter without being asked. I had posted a comment on a Blog post which described a complicated GA setup to achieve something that my product could do without effort and the author forwarded it to his subscribers.

I think that sums it up quite well: look for people who have the same problem as you're solving and pitch them your product. Any other marketing effort: paid ads, blogging, events require too much investment and I don't think they should be recommended if you're bootstrapping a small product.

muzani 7 hours ago 0 replies      
From your competitors! I'm not kidding.

If there's a market for your product, there will be an alternative product for it. Like for me, I had a recipe app. My competitors were recipe blogs, Facebook pages, and groups. If you're building something SaaS, there might be a WordPress plugin doing the same thing.

Your product should be 10x better than the solution they hacked together. If no solution was hacked together, it's possible there's no market for it or that you haven't done enough research before building the product.

There might be some exceptions though, like a note taking app, where the competitor is a piece of paper with no community.

texteller 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Before building any project or startup find where your focused audience are at and try to get closer to them through social networks. So when you build the product, you could ping them back to be your early users.
pryelluw 9 hours ago 0 replies      
By networking with people who could potentially benefit from using it. This takes time.
dillweed 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Or how did you find the people your product would innately appeal to.
Ask HN: Have you successfully moved away from Google search?
152 points by chatmasta  1 day ago   112 comments top 53
kevlar1818 1 day ago 8 replies      
I switched to DDG from Google about one and half years ago. DDG is my daily driver.

DDG is excellent for programming questions/how-tos. It shows popular StackOverflow questions inline[1]. For Python, it shows Python/NumPy/SciPy documentation inline as well[2]. It may do this for other languages, but I have not witnessed it.

DDG also has a great inline weather "app" using DarkSky (which is an underrated weather site, IMO)[3]. Searching for businesses/restaurants shows a mini map ala OpenStreetMap (or other providers if you choose) and business information from Yelp[4].

DDG also has a community-driven program to add more search features, called DuckDuckHack[5]. I believe all (at least most) of the features I shared above came through that program. A list of all "Instant Answers" can be found here[6].

Need to fallback to Google? (I personally never have.) There's "bangs" for alternative search engines and popular sites[7].

Make the switch. You'll be pleasantly surprised how easy and refreshing it will be.

[1]: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=python+sort+a+list+of+strings

[2]: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=numpy+sum

[3]: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=weather

[4]: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=exploratorium+sf

[5]: https://duckduckhack.com/

[6]: https://duck.co/ia

[7]: https://duckduckgo.com/bang

usrme 1 day ago 2 replies      
My usual setup relies on first using DuckDuckGo and when I need answers to a more esoteric problem or error that I am seeing and DDG isn't providing me with what I need, then I modify my search query by appending "!g" and try my luck with Google.

At the moment I'd venture it's about a 60/40 split with DuckDuckGo staying on top across all types of searches.

assafmo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I switched to DDG about a year ago. Sometimes when I dont find something I fall back to Google, but I've come to a conclusion that this usually doesn't help so I stopped falling back to Google at all.

DDG instant answer are excellent, especially for programming.

In work I sometimes use a shared computer in which the default search engine is Google and get annoyed by the badness of Google with providing good instant programming answers.

Still, Google has some pros:- I find it a bit faster to load. - Hebrew results are much better. - Picture results are better. - You can search similar pictures to the ones you have (chrome extension)

Recently I also find myself going straight to YouTube to search certain things...

binarymax 1 day ago 2 replies      
I fully switched to DDG about 5 years ago. Specifically programming questions work great. I'd estimate about 5% of my searches I will revert to google, which sometimes doesn't help either because I'm searching for something crazy niche.
grimgrin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Those who use DDG, do you miss dates in results? Having a date present definitely helps me think about the results:



This isn't a case where I _know_ I only want 2017 results, and so I do the syntax to filter it down automatically. I want all results, but I want to be aware of the timeline of whatever I'm going to click.

brandonwamboldt 1 day ago 3 replies      
Personally I have no interest in moving away from Google Search, as I specifically use them because Google learns from previous searches I've made and shows me more relevant results. Searching "unzip" shows me the Linux command, not unrelated materials for example.
zitterbewegung 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes , here is how I did it.

1. Put duck duck go as the default browser on your phone

2. Learn the bang paths. Realize that you still may have to fall back to google .

3. Once you have mastered the bang paths start targeting your search queries

4. Realize you cant live without bang paths

5. You should now be motivated to use duck duck go exclusively .

brainopener 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've sort of switched...

DuckDuckGo has !bangs. If you search for "!so javascript", then you just end up on stackoverflow.com with a search term of "javascript". There's dozens (hundreds?) of these !bangs -- including !g if you want to run the search on Google.

So I've installed this extension below for Safari. I use the !bangs in the address bar if I want to go somewhere specific -- !so (stackoverflow), !a (amazon), !y (stock quotes). And, otherwise, it just uses Google search.


zaro 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been gradually swithing to DDG over the last 2 years. Initially only my main browser now all of them( on all devices) and I would say it hasn't decreased my productivity.

The only big change is that now every now and then I would double check the search results with !g if I am not happy with DDG results.

Overall I would say DDG or Google is more about habits and comfort zone than anythting else and Google gives better search results mostly because of the search bubble.

kapep 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I've set up startpage on my desktop at home. I have also used it on mobile for some time but stopped doing so. I'm generally quite happy with it and I would use it on all devices, if it were better at one crucial thing (especially important for me on mobile): Searching for addresses

The map integration almost never works. I only see a map if I search for a city name but never when I enter any address. I sometimes try to add "maps" as a keyword, which results in google maps being the first result - but it almost always links to a wrong street! (usually in the center of the city, the street number is the one I entered though)

Spivak 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have DDG as the search provider in Firefox and it works great. If you already know what you're looking for it's quick and fast to use the bang syntax.

"Shoot, I need the docs for the user Ansible module"

> !ansible user

And it goes straight to the page.

I typically give DDG the first try on a search then I turn to Google/Startpage if I don't get good results. It's been getting way better over time.

Sir_Cmpwn 1 day ago 1 reply      
The thing that trips up most people is the realization that DuckDuckGo does't know anything about you. Many people have gotten used to tailored search results. If you learn to be a little more specific ("django framework" instead of "django") you'll find DDG very pleasant to use. Also, bangs are an indispensable feature.
veidr 1 day ago 2 replies      
No. And, literally just today I (again) disabled the DuckDuckGo extension in my browser, because I felt ridiculous for having done this more than 20 times in a single day:

1. search (via the browser's URL/search field)

2. sigh

3. press L to return keyboard focus to the browser URL/search field

4. press to move the cursor to the beginning of the text

5. enter "!g" and then to re-execute the search using Google

I really do like the idea of a non-creepy search engine. I periodically give DDG another chance. But even more, apparently, I like finding pages and blog posts responsive to my search.

(EDIT: Wow, I learned from this thread that step 4 isn't necessary; the !g can go at the end of the search query. :-D Still doesn't really change anything, though.)

mnm1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use startpage which has Google results by proxy. With js turned off it's really fast. Duck Duck go just had terrible results for programming queries so I wouldn't recommend it for that but I use it on my phone.
maxxxxx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have tried DuckDuckGo but for me Google is still much better. Unfortunately.
rakshithbekal 3 hours ago 0 replies      
usually bing but sometimes google when I don't find what I want in bing
rjeli 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I am surprised to see so many people trust DDG. The founder Gabriel Weinberg made his fortune from the Names Database, which indexed people's information and allowed you to contact them only if you referred more people into the database (or paid).

Not the kind of person I want running my "privacy focused crypto anarchist" search engine.

leonroy 1 day ago 2 replies      
DDG is a bit US centric but despite that I use it for nearly everything. On the rare occassion it's not returning good enough results (images or certain UK specific stuff) I just use the aforementioned suffix g!.

Give it a go, takes a little time before you feel comfortable being away from Google's excellent search engine but I got fedup seeing adverts for things I'd previously browsed on other sites, so adios Google.

sigjuice 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I tried and failed. I used Bing for a few days right after Google pulled the plug on Google Reader. I was really mad at Google. Bing was quite terrible and I went crawling back to Google Search in pretty much no time.
sevensor 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I find DDG always has the Python doc that I'm looking for at its fingertips. At this point, I get frustrated and annoyed when I try to use Google search for anything. Also I really don't want four-year-old Google plus posts from people on my gmail contacts list showing up in my web search results. It just underscores the pervasiveness of their search bubble, which makes me distrust the search results.
epalm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Something that really bothers me about the DDG interface is how it hijacks the up/down arrow keys I use for scrolling. After searching, press down, and the page won't scroll down, it'll just highlight the first search result. Keep pressing down, and the page still won't scroll until the last visible result is highlighted. Press down one more time, and the page scrolls erratically, highlighting the next result in the center of the window. At this point, pressing up/down will scroll exactly as far as needed to keep the prev/next result highlighted in the center.

I find this very annoying. After years (decades!) of training, my eyes know exactly how far one keypress should scroll. Stop messing with the default scrolling mechanism!

mratzloff 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've used DDG for the last couple of years on all my devices. I switched for privacy reasons. It does everything I need it to do, and I get a lot of use out of the search shortcuts (especially !w).

Commit to switching for a couple weeks and you'll find that you rely on Google less and less.

dpflan 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering: have you kept track of which site results you commonly find that answer your questions? For example, you query DDG a few times for different questions, and for each answer you find yourself on Stack Exchange. If you'd like to skip the "middle-man", it seems like directly querying SE may be the way to go for ~X% (X > 50%) of your questions (at least for those topics).

I think this is could be a good way to help pay more attention to what you're searching for and results because now that I think about Google searching can be really assumptive and get-the-answer-and-leave at times. Maybe digging deeper than top Y results can be a better learning experience.

lazyjones 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using DDG for more than 4 years now. I use Google perhaps 1-2 times/month when I can't believe there are no suitable results for a query and usually Google just confirms that (i.e. provides nothing DDG didn't).
dionian 18 hours ago 0 replies      
On some machines I've made DDG my default. I sometimes revert to google as a backup, and its sometimes better. but generally DDG is good enough for daily use. I figure the benefit of defaulting to it is worth any slightly less quality searches for basic day-to-day lookups
jshevek 1 day ago 0 replies      
To answer the title question: I discovered this week that Bing has radically improved in recent years. Between them & DDG, I don't see that I'll need to rely on Google search ever again.
dethos 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've made the complete switch around the year 2012. At the time it felt strange not using Google, however nowadays the sentiment is completely the opposite I'm so used to DDG that using Google feels somewhat awkward.

I really like the !bangs and the instant answers are good enough. I can find, anythings I looking for, using DDG just as fast (if not faster) as I would using Google.

YCode 1 day ago 3 replies      
From a pragmatic standpoint, what do you gain by switching to DDG?
texteller 12 hours ago 0 replies      
As I am data curious, wolfram alpha is best suites me and love the way it presents results. Also DDG is also doing a great job.
subie 1 day ago 0 replies      
* Moved from Chrome to Vivaldi[1].

* Switched from Google Search to DDG or Startpage.com[2] (which is basically a google proxy)

* Moving off Gmail and switching to Yandex.Mail[3].

[1]: https://vivaldi.com/

[2]: https://www.startpage.com/

[3]: https://mail.yandex.com/

volkk 1 day ago 1 reply      
ITT: DDG and bangs. For those of you who also don't use DDG or know what these !bangs are, a quick google search shows that it's a quick way to directly search a website. !ebay motorcycle, would search ebay.com for...you guessed it--motorcycles.

my only question though is, why are these bangs so special when google does the same thing with `ebay.com: motorcycle`. Is it mainly the fact that DDG provides more privacy?

Crontab 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't mind using Google for search; I just don't use them for anything else.
zapi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not really, I'm using https://www.startpage.com/
probably_wrong 1 day ago 0 replies      
I found two aspects of DDG very convenient: that I can search in Stackoverflow directly, and that if I still don't like the results I can always add "!g" and repeat the search in Google (useful for finding a very specific error message).

I only got a very small decrease in productivity at first, but I went back to normal pretty quick. So I'd say it went better than expected.

bluGill 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes. I tried duck duck go 10 years ago when I first heard about it, and decided it wasn't anywhere near as good as google. A few months back I was convinced to try it again, and surprise, it is just as good as google.

I recently did a few queries where I didn't find anything so I tried google and it got the same irrelevant results (as a category, not the same pages)

ljcn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I switched to DuckDuckGo years ago. I use it in my work as a software engineer and find it satisfactory the vast majority of the time.

On the occasions that it isn't I either append !g, !s, or !sho to redirect the query to Google, Startpage, or SymbolHound, respectively. There are thousands more and they're huge productivity boosters (!w for wikipedia gets used a lot).

tchaffee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, pretty much. DuckDuckGo usually surfaces the best StackOverflow answer. Rarely I'll feel like I need a broader search so I'll append "!g" to my search and look at the Google results. And once in a while I get something useful from that broader search. If I had to get by with only DuckDuckGo I would be fine.
Jdam 1 day ago 0 replies      
No, why?

A friend of mine is using DDG and whenever I'm over and we search for something on DDG, what we were searching for doesn't show up. Maybe it's Murphy's law, but I'm always mocking him with "search for it on Google" and that usually delivers the result we were looking for.

patrickbolle 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm using Startpage since about 1.5 months ago. A tad slower but I like it and it gives me good results.
smithsmith 11 hours ago 0 replies      
After the google diversity memo issue, i have started thinking about using DDG all the time. The reason being what if google decides to censor the information when it is negative about it. It looks so obvious but never hit me so hard after the google diversity memo issue.
jaitaiwan 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Initially I found DDG useless and I struggled to get the right query results. As time went on things got better so either I learned how to duck or it better learned about me
dlanphear 1 day ago 0 replies      
I switched to DDG probably 3 years ago, I use it all the time. I wish stackunderflow didn't dominate the results in any SE over the primary sources, but I understand it's popularity based... Tired of the tracking, use the duck.
luckydude 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using DDG for a couple of years. Once in a while I'll do a !g search to get google results but most of the time DDG is fine. I search on all sorts of stuff, not just programming.
vaygr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Switched to DuckDuckGo completely around 3 years ago. So far so good.
diegoperini 1 day ago 0 replies      
My personal split is probably around 30% DDG, 70% Google. DDG go fails on local searches (Turkey, Turkish sources) and sometimes very long queries like stacktraces does not retrieve effective results.
gasull 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use DuckDuckGo most of the time. Sometimes I use !s for retrying the search in StartPage. I very rarely use Google Search.
caspervonb 1 day ago 0 replies      
For the most part I've moved away, but everynow and then the default browser setup is configured to use Google.
mttjj 1 day ago 0 replies      
I still use Google at work (software engineer) but I use DDG at home and for everything else.
yellowapple 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I've used DDG as my primary search engine for a few years now. Absolutely love it.

It really helps that I can just stick !g at the front of my query if I think Google might have better results (which it usually does not).

For programming tasks, I think my productivity is a lot higher than it would be had I stuck with Google. DDG's "zero-click answers" are awesome, and are frequently just Stack Overflow answers. Google has tried to do this, too, but I've found it to be a lot less useful.

sashk 1 day ago 1 reply      
Frequently, I end up using !g in DDG. So the answer is maybe.
known 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote my own search engine with machine learning
DanBC 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mostly. I do a lot of searching of English NHS websites and Google or Bing still seem better than DDG for that.

But the rest of the time I use DDG, and I use DDG before trying something else.

paulcole 21 hours ago 0 replies      
No. Duck Duck Go was awful for me. Search results were overly general and pretty much useless.

I like that Google has like 11 years of my search history saved and can deliver me relevant results. And I don't have to pay anything!

What's there to not like about that?

Ask HN: Predictions on what will be the most surprising technology in 10 years?
45 points by sstanie  4 hours ago   57 comments top 36
hyperpallium 2 hours ago 0 replies      
First, the negatives:

 Another AI winter Another VR winter Another hype-cycle of home automation Another hype-cycle of growing teeth
There will be tech progress, but behind the scenes, doing the same things as before, just better. As prosaic as more modular manufactured goods, in the sense of prefab home construction, automobile components, FPGA's for electronic goods. Some may revolutionize the value-chain in an industry - but you won't see it unless you're in it.

Fundamentally new tech takes 20-30 years to come to market - especially if it really does change things (government regulatory regimes, infrastructure, how we live).

Now Moore's Law isn't giving us shallow victories any more, there is opportunity for deeper changes, that properly absorb and apply its past advances.

Right now, we are undergoing a re-orientation of our political systems, in the sense of how democracy operates without a traditional press; the continuing march of multi-nationals being more powerful than sovereign states; the hyper-concentration of wealth (due to the means of production no longer being land, nor labour, but technology). Social systems are a kind of "technology".

The central question of this technological change will be: why do the hyper-wealthy need people?

The most surprising technology will be new mathematics - not TB machine proofs, but quite simple and basic ones, akin to the positional number system, algebra, calculus. They will analyse complex systems, like Navier-Stokes fluid dynamics; the operation of deep learning networks; internet and traffic congestion; and cortical organization. They won't give magical results, but they will offer a new point of view, that some will experience as magical.

jraines 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Genetic / biotech stuff, driven by CRISPR. All the ones you mentioned, except nanotech maybe, are pretty locked in to create massive changes. I think the bio stuff will be the most "surprising", not least because it's harder to to write believable breathless hype about it. Not to say there won't be plenty of attempts, but I feel like the public is a little more inoculated against wild health/medical claims than "killer AI" or "$100k bitcoin", which is both a good thing and more likely to create surprise when a few of them turn out to be true.

AR a really close second, but I think people will be a little bit more ready for it given prevalence in sci-fi and experience of rapid computer & graphics progress in our lifetime. So it's easier to "expect" a world of Pokemon Go on steroids in your AR glasses than it is, say, one where a boutique offshore firm is offering to give your baby the ability to see into the infrared spectrum or something.

WaltPurvis 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Re the Gates quote: Unless you're Ray Kurzweil, in which case you always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and wildly, ludicrously overestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.

I'm old enough to have lived through the Drexlerian nanotechnology mania, and the Kurzweilian exponentialism mania, so I've learned to be extremely skeptical about anyone predicting earth-shattering advances in any field of technology in a mere decade's time. (The Singularity is not just over the horizon. Stop. You're not going to live for a thousand years or upload your mind to a computer. Just stop.)

My prediction is 2027 will be almost indistinguishable from 2017, if we're lucky, i.e., barring nuclear war or some CRISPR-crafted super-virus. However, if I had to choose a technology surprise for ten years from now it would involve being unlucky, i.e., the Loss of Everything Good due to an overwhelming tide of cyberterrorists and cybercriminals. I think few people (including me) fully appreciate how much destruction and chaos could be wrought, and how difficult it could be to protect our vital systems, so in that sense it would catch a lot of people by surprise.

The optimistic technology outlook for 2027 is petabyte thumb drives, 16K televisions, 8G wireless, cheaper solar cells, and marginally better medical scanners. It's a pretty uninspiring list, and none of it is surprising.

That's my hope. Please let there be no surprising technology in 10 years. Because the chances of a good surprise are vastly outweighed by the odds of bad ones.

kichik 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Solar power, wireless service, remote working and transportation advances might change where we live. You can have a house powered by the sun without an electric grid, connect to LTE+++ with 100gbps, work remotely, and have food automatically delivered with self-driving trucks or drones. You could live anywhere you'd want.
namlem 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Some sort of inexpensive, portable neuro-imaging device could be huge. It would allow us to interact with technology almost seamlessly, and solve a lot of problems. If it becomes ubiquitous, it also solves almost all out security problems. Brain-based biometrics that work by measuring your brain activity while you look at a particular image. Unlike other biometrics, it's easily cancelable and extremely secure. You can change your "password" by selecting a different image.

It would also grant us the ability to much more effectively monitor our mental state. I bet it could be extremely helpful in combating anxiety and promoting mindfulness.

Snowdax 2 hours ago 0 replies      
VR. Next two years are going to be pretty stagnant. The resolutions, etc. just are still enthusiast tier.

But 10 years time? We could be seeing the beginning of the end of TVs, smartphones, cinema, social media, etc. as we know it today. VR arcade warehouses popping up in many places. Perhaps even starting to impact the layouts of newly architected houses to have less walls, focus more on wide one-story dwellings (but stacked on top of each other) and more open space to roam wide in virtual reality.

aquadrop 3 hours ago 3 replies      
Well, it's like guessing which number is least likely to be guessed in the same game. If you could predict it right, it's probably not that surprising :)
uptown 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Surveillance will not only be pervasive (it already is) but normalized on a global scale. Read up on China's "Social Credit System" for a glimpse of where we're headed.
borplk 2 hours ago 1 reply      
One of my predictions is that the AI pendulum will swing again at the other direction and people will wake up again to the reality that AI is far from achieving the romanticised stuff that the so called experts and book authors want the public to believe.

We will see gradual incremental improvement in specialised AIs for things like voice, face and character recognition. We will see an increased usage of AI and AI based technologies to improve efficiency and assist the humans in decision making. But it will not put nearly as many people out of jobs as some people suggest.

jimangel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I heard something recently about how terrible we are at predicting the future inherently.

I can't find the source, but I heard on a manager tools podcast that ~50 years ago they surveyed professionals about the future of flight. There was a ton of predictions about crazy concepts, but the winner was "bigger planes going more places"

This is also kind of a fun read: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Incorrect_predictions

sevensor 3 hours ago 1 reply      
New materials. The search space in materials science is so impossibly huge that it's an endless source of surprises. The last ceramics hype cycle was about 20 years ago, so we're due for another one. Maybe room-temperature ceramic superconductors?
Aron 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the transition to self-driving electric cars as a service will be in full force by then, and it will only be slowed down by the sheer number of interlocked changes and requirements to finish that process. The sheer scale of the numbers will ensure significant palpable changes, and for once, it's a change occurring in the physical world of atoms.
ratherbefuddled 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Automated driving plus Uber style infrastructure plus electric vehicles and improved batteries will start to change the way people use them significantly. Private car ownership will have peaked and begun falling, people will just order one on an app and let it drive off after they've arrived to the next job. Cars will spend much more of the day on the road instead of parked outside houses or offices rather like aeroplanes. Perhaps not a revolutionary or surprising idea in itself but I think the speed of this change will be surprising in hindsight.
felipeccastro 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Blockchain, decentralized apps - perhaps based on Ethereum, perhaps not. They have the potential to enhance capitalism in equivalent ways as the current wave of "sharing economy" startups (Uber, Airbnb) has done, or even surpass that.

- it's much easier for more people to become investors, since buying coins/tokens will become increasingly easier and common.

- you won't need to be located at a specific startup hub to launch successful business, because it's so much easier to get investment from around the world.

- it has a great approach for solving the "network effect", where no one can challenge the major players with strong networks, by providing strong incentives for early adopters to join and grow their networks (either by buying very cheap tokens, or producing content that will render them "free money").

- it enables the creation of new business models that might disrupt (ugh, sorry) several existing industries, due to how they solve the trust issue between parties that have no reason to trust each other without a central controller entity. Some are calling this next wave of startups the "Web 3.0".

Sure, it looks like the wild west now, and there are all sorts of problems from scams to scalability issues, but maturity might be only a matter of time.

rcarmo 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Paraphrasing Douglas Adams, I'd go with a volume knob for children, simply because it would be quite surprising if someone was able to get that working...
ellius 3 hours ago 0 replies      
3d printing. My buddy works at a major American industrial manufacturer and the work he describes is fascinating. They're slowly starting to take on bigger and bigger chunks of the overall business as their capabilities grow and different business units discover them. I can only begin to imagine the host of fields that will be affected by the ability to do really nifty agile experimentation with physical products.
corporateslave3 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
One more is the automation of distributed computing. "Big data" will be completely encapsulated and hidden to the end user.
legulere 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The most surprising thing will be that most things will stay the same as now.
frandroid 2 hours ago 0 replies      
AR headsets.

There were MP3 players before the iPod, but they weren't taking off quite yet. Then Jobs came, and the iPod changed the music market. And then changed the smartphone market. Google Glass was a good first mass market prototype, Microsoft seems to be going in the right direction with Hololens, but we all know it's not quite there yet. Whoever manages to figure out what the magic combination is for an AR headset that gets massive adoption, will usher in the next UI/portable computing revolution.

schnevets 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Industry 4.0 and the rise of intelligent manufacturing. A marriage of 3D printing, AI, and IoT technology will change what consumers can order and how quickly it arrives to them.


frandroid 2 hours ago 0 replies      
reindeerer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Small satellite and generally small spacecraft will drastically change the affordability of space, which will drive a lot of new development in space. It's already creating a lot of demand on market for new, small launchers as well to actually get significant numbers of sats up there, and it will become an accelerating loop between nanosat launch providers and small spacecraft getting more affordable quickly
angryasian 2 hours ago 0 replies      
usable and realistic holography will be the next big step forward in visualization and interactivity.
scottlegrand2 2 hours ago 1 reply      
China cleans up their air and Shenzhen disrupts Silicon Valley, creating a semi-totalitarian, technocratic city that is somehow more free and libertarian than Silicon Valley has become.
jMyles 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Most surprising? I'm thinking AR, mostly because it's much less discussed today than similarly positioned tech, but no less viable.

Also, it seems about time for another psychedelic revival / breakthrough, so don't count out research on psychoactive plants and compounds (if that counts as tech per your metric).

ponci 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"Internet of things". It's one of the few things that is already here, economically viable, but not organized or "distributed" as Gibson would say. There's simply no reason not to have connectivity in everything if you do it well with electronics and it provides value. Maybe not surprising as such, so you have to figure out the implications which is usually what tends to be the surprising part.
donatj 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly I think with the mass availability of escapist devices innovation is largely over.
whataretensors 3 hours ago 0 replies      
AI. Nobody knows what will happen, or if/what roadblocks await. If it continues to scale in the best case, we are in for strange times ahead.
subsubsub 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Sticks and Stones as high tech weapons of war.
JauntTrooper 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Insect-sized mini-drones that will create ubiquitous surveillance.
jboggan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Software will eat programming jobs.
corporateslave3 3 hours ago 1 reply      
cryptocurrencies, whole new asset class, wild west
Danihan 2 hours ago 0 replies      
billconan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I think Robotics will be big.
graycat 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd vote for by CRISPR and the rest of bio-technology, e.g., as in Eric Lander and his MIT lectures at YouTube, for, my guesses, better crops, healthier farm animals, attacking insects, e.g., mosquitoes, attacking causes of infections, for curing some of the remaining difficult diseases, especially cancer.

A second guess, or a guess for second place, would be artificial general intelligence (AGI) if and only if someone or some team or project gets going on that problem and has some good, basic, enabling ideas.

I have some ideas, but since they really are just architectural or heuristic and not mathematical and not in code I can make only wild guesses for how good the ideas are.

A third guess, or a guess for third place, is my startup and its crucial core enabling technology, i.e., some original applied math I derived based on some advanced pure/applied math prerequisites. Why? In broad terms the core technology of the startup makes some powerful progress on meaning. Is this progress full AGI? Nope. Does the progress fully solve the problem of meaning? Nope. To repeat, IMHO the progress is "powerful".

Is the technology widely applicable? The range of applications should be somewhat wider than the application of my startup, e.g., as some core technology in some infrastructure for some more applications, but for now my original applied math is proprietary and in my startup is locked up and invisible in my server farm.

Why third in this list? Because it doesn't deserve first or second, but, if people like the results of my applied math and what I've programmed, then my startup can well become a big thing, big enough to be third on this list in a few years.

Gee, today I'm wrestling with Microsoft's NTBACKUP. So, today it's grunt work!

SirLJ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
crystal balls, teleportation and time travel
Ask HN: Must have (Linux) sysadmin skills?
27 points by zabana  1 day ago   14 comments top 8
nelsonmarcos 1 day ago 2 replies      
* understand the basic directory structure (/, /boot/, /var, /usr, /opt, /etc)* file management (commands: tail, head, cat, awk, sed)* process management (commands: ps, top, kill)* package management (yum, dpkg)* one configuration manager (puppet, chef, ansible)* basics of tcp/ip network management (ifconfig/ip, netstata/ss, ping, trace) addiontal commands if you want to be more than a junior (strace, lsof, iostat, vmstat)

I'd like to point out that some sysadmins are focused on linux internals while others focus on application in production. So, of course, the list may vary according to the position you're looking to be hired.

citrin_ru 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a very big overlap in what good developer and sysadmin should know about Linux. There are a lot of tasks, which in one teams performed by developer and in other by sysadmin. Random topics which IMHO more specific for sysadmin work:

1. Troubleshooting and performance analysis. There is excellent site about performance: http://www.brendangregg.com/linuxperf.html I don't know a good resource on troubleshooting, but some tools are the same.

2. Problem can be anywhere including network so the next topic is networks. There is excellent book TCP/IP Illustrated old, but still relevant.

3. Sysadmin often spends a lot of time in a shell so it is good to know it very well (and common shell commands too).

atmosx 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to do a blog post series on this topic.

Systems administration is a huge topic with so many interconnected parts and such vast variety of tools. Even breaking it down to segments can fall apart easily as nearly all topics overlap from user management, to filesystems, etc.

My only advice is this: Get a copy of "UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook" and read the topics that you work on. It's a reference not something that you can read from cover to cover, but it's I own the 4th edition and it's depth is amazing. On 18 Aug there is the 5th edition coming out. Grab a copy.

My only issue is that I'd love to have *BSD included along Linux, Solaris and AIX (which is hard to find these days...).

citrin_ru 1 day ago 0 replies      
> What are the most common things a sysadmin does daily

- reacting to monitoring alerts and critical messages in logs. First you need to understand what given alert/message mean, and then goes troubleshooting if root cause is not obvious- improving monitoring system settings/thresholds/metrics (if there no separate teem for this)- deployment (but it often performed by developers)- upgrading OS and 3rd party software (if 3rd party software not deployed alongside own code)- performance tuning- learning software used in production (both: 3rd and written in the company)- writing numerous config files and ensuring that all settings adequate to given environment/system- if system is not entirely in cloud - replacing broken hardware and parts (HDD), usually using "remote hands" in datacenter.- managing ACLs / credentials for different systems, e.t.c.

codegeek 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love linux even though I am not an expert devops or sysadmin. I get around working with servers for my product and thats about it. I stackoverflow shell scripts whenever needed. Here is my 'must know' list for linux:

- ssh: you need to know what that means and how to use it

- Difference between ftp and sftp

- cd, ls, pwd (directory stuff)

- scp and rsync (move files from server to server)

- find, cat, grep, sed, awk, head, tail (manipulations and discovery)

- chown, chmod (permissions)

- cp, mv, rm, rmdir, mkdir, touch

- Don't do rm -rf unless you know what you are doing

- Setup aliases on your shell. e.g. .profile file for bash etc.

- top, ps (check processes)

- sudo and su (switching users or running commands as root)

- Know various OS differences like CentOS vs Ubunut.

- Know where to find logs for web servers like Apache or nginx (e.g. /var/log/nginx in Ubuntu).

- Star/Stop services as needed

jlgaddis 1 day ago 0 replies      
The skills listed on Red Hat's RHCSA [0] page might be a good start.

[0]: https://www.redhat.com/en/services/certification/rhcsa

autotune 1 day ago 0 replies      
While not a fan of most certs, I would highly recommend the RHCSA to get an understanding of common sysadmin tasks as it is a hands-on exam and fairly relevant to the real world, and RHCE as well. In addition you should find some random service in your language of choice on GitHub that requires a database and try to implement in a cloud provider taking into account high availability, deployment types (Blue/Green vs Rolling, for example), durability, backups, security, logging, and monitoring by rolling out the services yourself or through managed services at a given cloud provider using a CM like Ansible and/or Terraform.
lumberjack 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure why nobody mentioned it yet but iptables.
Ask HN: Back end engineer webapps for too long, what to do next?
12 points by rajeshp1986  23 hours ago   8 comments top 6
jermaustin1 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
I went from building products to consulting on building products. I still do software dev for some clients (if they are willing to pay enough to make my hatred of it worth it), but I have found this more freeing, plus I make more money, and get to use my brain more on the theoretical and experimental side which is fun.

Most of my clients are pre-rev/pre-money/broke, but the higher priced development work I do, offsets that.

I've also been dabbling in writing, and hiring writers to write for me.

BUT find a hobby that is outside of software development. I do hiking, photography, wood working, and writing. Maybe that will give you something to look forward to after work.

rayalez 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Try being a full-stack developer, or building your own product, or creating an agency and helping clients with business issues. There's just so many areas you can expand into as a competent web developer!

If you're looking specifically for new tech to explore - look into DL and data science, or WebAssembly, or WebVR, or ActivityPub. Those are all the hot exciting cool things that will be in demand, and are super interesting to look into.

swah 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Mobile maybe? I think Arkit is going to be big. I'm thinking of moving to iOS just because of that..
soc 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Happens to a lot of us.

Lately just for fun I been working with unreal engine. You can do some really cool stuff quickly and customize in C++.

Now that VR is becoming in bigger and bigger might be marketable some day. That startup magicleap seems to be doing lot of stuff around this area.

Can pair unreal with houdini and do some python scripting / 3d math learning.

dickler 17 hours ago 0 replies      
machine learning / data science
slowmotarget 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Try to find a startup near you that's currently looking for a tech lead / CTO, you'll do more than CRUD hopefully!
What are the best programming language tutorials?
6 points by CamelCaseName  21 hours ago   4 comments top 4
bananicorn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd have to go with the drRacket one on this:http://docs.racket-lang.org/quick/index.html

I really like it if I can mess around with visual stuff quite soon when learning a new language.

deadcoder0904 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If u need the very best, then go checkout https://vuejs.org.Its not a language, but a framework.It just can't get any better than that. Every tutorial must be written by taking an inspiration from VueJS docs.
muzani 18 hours ago 0 replies      
freecodecamp, for web development
swah 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Volunteers needed to teach web development in Oakland
68 points by BeccaScriptEd  2 days ago   9 comments top 6
dopeboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been volunteering for three years and am signed up for this fall. Happy to answer questions.

edit: Links for the lazy https://bit.ly/ScriptEdSFBAYvolunteer & https://scripted.org

gelqura 2 days ago 0 replies      
I volunteered with ScriptEd in NYC and now in the Bay Area. They are probably one of the most thoughtful, organized, and fun non-profits I've ever worked with. And most importantly the kids have gone on to do some amazing things!
salehk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would love to volunteer but I work in the south bay so it would be very difficult for me to attend the after school sessions.

Is their any other way I can contribute or help out?

mbs348 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great program, happy to see it expand to Oakland!
snissn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Any ability for me to mentor remotely?
justinschulz 2 days ago 0 replies      
ScriptEd is a great and effective way to do something good for your soul! I volunteer in NYC and it's great to see the students empowered with coding skills! This is great for Oakland
Ask HN: What does a disciplined programmer look like?
23 points by muzani  1 day ago   9 comments top 7
twobyfour 1 day ago 0 replies      
Discipline is about being aware of your own counterproductive tendencies and being willing to do things that aren't entirely comfortable or natural to you in order to be productive.

For instance, I have one colleague who has a tendency to perfectionism, and will spend months tracking down every tiny possible corner case that we're never going to hit, in a small low-priority feature in a CRUD app that wouldn't destroy anyone's lives if it went down for a week. For him, discipline means checking himself frequently and asking what the actual ROI is of where he's about to spend his time.

I have another coworker who loves to start new projects but getting him to finish them is worse than pulling teeth. For him, discipline is about follow-through.

My own job happens to include a lot of responsibilities other than programming. For me, some days discipline is about letting the Slack conversations around the other projects that I'm responsible for and anxious about slide for an hour or two so I can get in a little flow time with the code. Other days it's about putting down the fun coding project so I can make sure someone else's project doesn't go off the rails.

Discipline is different for each person, and it starts with self-awareness - which is the sort of trait that will serve you well in other ways - both in life in general and in any career.

trcollinson 1 day ago 0 replies      
When I think of disciplined programmers, I think of Fabrice Bellard.[1] In fact, I think of him so much that he is the person who I have modeled my own practices after.

Here is a short list of a few of his accomplishments:

1) He won the IOCCC twice.

2) He built the TinyCC boot loader.

3) He wrote a fast pi calculator that won a World Record on commodity hardware.

4) He wrote QEMU and FFmpeg.

The list just goes on and on. He is not productive because he has a specific morning routine. I don't know if he follows specific XP practices, but I would doubt that he follows most of them. But I have noticed a number of things he does do:

1) He is relatively paced in his timing. He generally doesn't give crazy time estimates and is very realistic about how long his work will take him.

2) He sticks with similar technologies and has Mastered them. Just like a Master sushi chef can't easily make french pastries and wouldn't bill himself as a pastry chef, a software programmer who has completely Mastered a language like C shouldn't just bill themselves as a Master at Lisp.

3) He is always learning and expanding his Master of his knowledge. It's incremental but very impressive.

4) He has no problem taking calculated risks in his development, and often he can make them pay off.

I would say he has definite patterns. He works and works hard constantly. But I don't think he ascribes to any particular methodology.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabrice_Bellard

luckydude 1 day ago 0 replies      
Docs and tests are good one. Lots of people like the fun part of coding, which is getting some new thing to work. I've taught myself to like docs and tests, to the point that when I'm reviewing a changeset I look to see if there are docs and tests and just push back right away if there are not.

If you get into that groove, write the docs first. When you have to explain your feature, write out the command line options, all of that, you have to sort of imagine it all in your head, you start to think about is this the way other commands work, am I being consistent, etc. I find that when I do the docs first I do a better job on the code, especially the UI parts or where it fits with other code.

And tests, regression tests. When I started BitKeeper we did regression tests with every command. So frigging pleasant. It got to a point where you basically couldn't break BK if you passed the tests, or at least you had to be really sneaky.

I agree with twobyfour that it's different for different people, his/her comment that you need to be self aware is a really good point.

mtmail 1 day ago 0 replies      
Regardless if you put in one hour or eight (or unhealthy 16) hours per day into your project/startup a disciplined programmer works on the most important task. That might be the one leading to most growth, profit or just avoiding damage to the business. That task might be utterly boring, and there's 100 other task that are easier, faster to implement or more fun. Discipline in my opinion means you choose that boring task.
demygale 1 day ago 1 reply      
One aspect of discipline that I think is underrated, is to take notes as you work. What you were thinking, what you tried, what worked and what didn't. It helps with reflection even if you never go back and read the notes.
AnimalMuppet 1 day ago 1 reply      
Discipline means thinking about the error paths in your code, not just the happy path.

Discipline means regular testing.

Discipline means documentation.

Discipline means fixing the bugs - not just the "bad" ones, but the annoying little ones. (Not every bug, though - some bugs truly are not worth fixing.)

Discipline means communicating with your coworkers (including those annoying bosses and managers). It means making estimates, and taking enough time thinking them through that they're actually something close to accurate.

Discipline means thinking about the design before you start coding. (This does not mean that you can't explore before deciding on a design. It also does not mean that you can't iterate the design after discovering some issues with it implementation. In fact...)

Discipline means refactoring the design and code so that changes fit, rather than just being hacked in somehow.

Maybe a summary: Discipline means working like the code is going to be used for the next twenty years, rather than like it's going to be used only for the next week.

peterchon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Which helpdesk/ticketsystem do you use?
7 points by realtarget  1 day ago   6 comments top 6
mrpatto 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I work at Help Scout, and it's a great hosted sass tool. But you shouldn't just pick the first one you hear about.

I wrote a guide to making the right choice of help desk tool for your own situation: https://www.helpscout.net/blog/choosing-help-desk-software/

Useful to think through before you invest time or money.

twunde 21 hours ago 0 replies      
My last company switched to samanage which was ok. They had a couple of nice features like an asset inventory, workflows so that we could create onboarding/offboarding and it would send emails to HR and helpdesk. We did need to purchase another solution to do AD authentication though, which was a downer. I've also used Jira Service Desk, of which the killer feature was that it had git integration, which I had a hard time finding in competitors. Honestly there are tons of choices out there. General features you should be looking for are: SSO, reports, customizable self service flows
tdburn 1 day ago 0 replies      
We use helpscout. Great product that keeps it simple.

We used groovehq.com before as well, but helpscout is more polished and have a better mobile app

lyonlim 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Zendesk, but lately feeling a disconnect compared with Intercom's.
kull 1 day ago 0 replies      
Zendesk, it works fine
wslh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: I'm late to the crypto currencies boom, what are my options?
34 points by kodisha  7 hours ago   65 comments top 32
gk1 4 hours ago 0 replies      
How people lose their shirts in any market:

- Trying to time the market

- Trying to get rich quick

- Believing that past results indicate future performance

- Making decisions based on emotions (regret, fear of missing out, greed, wishful thinking, etc)

Your comments make it seem as though you're doing at least half of the above, so be very careful.


> In retrospect, it was foolish of me not to get some BTC since they were $1 per coin (!!) last time I checked.

Everything is obvious in retrospect. Were you also foolish to not buy TSLA in 2011 when it was $30? No, because you didn't know then what you know now: That TSLA reached $350 and BTC reached $3,000. In the same vein, you are not not foolish (uuh..) for not (uuuh...) buying any other cheap investments that did not (oh lord...) grow insanely fast. In other words, you should judge past decisions by the information you had at the time, not by the information you have now.

nxsynonym 5 hours ago 3 replies      
My advice would be to stay away from ICOs entirely.

BTC and ETH are the "safest" bets right now. LTC has been really steady and is probably the most sensible investment, but will probably not take off like BTC did.

BCH (Bitcoin cash) is the newest fork of BTC and has been volatile but has a lot of people backing it. I would look it to it at least.

I've been keeping an eye on EOS and DASH but not really sold on them yet.

Biggest advice I can give is - don't let FOMO guide your decisions. Diversify your portfolio and don't micromanage it or keep an eye on the charts all day. You'll drive your self mad.

Also - don't expect to make ANY money of crypto. It's a gamble, like a scratch ticket. Only invest what you can absolutely afford to lose, because chances are you will.

banderman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Do some research on how sketchy some of the big players in the exchange scene are. Look at the "hack" that happened at Bitfinex. Can anyone cash out USD from there? Try and find out who owns Poloniex or where they operate out of. Check out how Bittrex only lists a storefront in a half abandoned strip mall in Las Vegas as their location, and how much the coins traded on that platform have increased in price recently.

How much do you trust a business that won't list a phone number or physical address? And there's no information on who owns or operates the business? And there's no information on how they are licensed to operate? And there's no details on if or how customer funds are held segregated from operating funds?

Don't let greed overcome your better judgement.

where_do_i_live 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been in the crypto space since 2011 and I've seen these bubbles come and go. When people like yourself come into the game though (and this is not an insult) I'm pretty sure the speculative game is just about to end. I don't know when - could bitcoin go to $4, $5, $6, $7k+ sure could happen in even a matter of days, but we're close to the end here IMO.

You can do small scale mining with GPUs and maintain a profit right now - zcash for example is profitable (but very small) so if that is interesting you could experiment there. 1 GPU maybe $400 or something minimal damage if the bubble pops, maybe worst case resell the card for $100 or something - that's a reasonable plan maybe I'd recommend. There are of course other more risky options.

As others have mentioned - please understand that ICOs are EXTREMELY risky and speculative. Even bitcoin and ethereum which many say are the safest - and I agree - the level of speculation in them is extreme and if you told me that ethereum will drop in value by 80% in the next 2 months, I would not bat an eye.

The level of speculation is extreme - you should realize it because even now you yourself are interested in investing - tons of people like you are doing the same irrespective of any actual intrinsic value. It is the hallmark of a bubble - and we're in the middle of it, but we can't describe with certainty until it is over.

Just don't mortgage the house man, and stay safe.

avaer 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I actually think staying away was the smartest thing you've done!

I can't think of a worse reason to invest in an asset and market one doesn't understand than fear of missing out.

ericb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure you're late. There is still at least one, maybe two orders of magnitude growth possible/likely for BTC/Cryptos in my opinion. It is really easy to make mistakes if you're trading. Buy and hold probably still works, but this whole area is high risk. The most likely scenario, for most, is to buy, at the top of a hype cycle, then get depressed and sell when it falls 60%, only to see it eventually triple again in 3 years. Don't put in more than you can afford to lose. Cryptos are a rollercoaster, and they eat shaky-hands alive.

Personally, I only hold stores of value or smart contract platforms. My reasoning is that successful platform(s) needs to be of a certain size as part of that success and their market cap would need to encompass value. That dictates growth ahead.

For tokens like filecoin, it is far less clear to me how to extrapolate their eventual end-state size, and therefore whether they will be worth anything in a few years. Instead of comparing coin market caps, a better comparison might be per-unit AWS storage costs vs. their storage rates * some risk-adjusted probability of network success. I feel like that's not the comparison people are looking at.

You're right about mining--in almost all cases, unless you have free power, or are an ASIC manufacturer, it is a losing game. If you're a believer, the better play is to buy the coin.

empath75 4 hours ago 1 reply      
In a gold rush, don't buy gold, sell shovels. Be a developer or buy stock in GPU companies. Don't buy cryptocurrencies.
maxxxxx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There will be a lot of people who will lose a lot of money in that space soon. I would advice staying away.
bmcusick 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If crypto-currencies really succeed, they're going to be worth a lot more than they are currently. They're still a really tiny market. For comparison, Bitcoin is ~60 billion USD and all the gold ever mined would be worth trillions.

Don't look at it like a get rich quick scheme. Think of it as an asset class you invest in. Set aside what you can each month and buy a basket of currencies.

Become educated about coins and get a sense of what real market innovation and real teams look like. There's a lot of scams out there. Most ICOs are scams in my opinion.

If you're looking for a coin to get into that's relatively new but has a lot of potential, my bet is Filecoin.

kodisha 3 hours ago 0 replies      

Just to clarify, I do not have access to anything that you might call substantial money, nor do i plan to spend even 1/30 of my monthly income.

I just wonder what could I do if I spend my monthly budget that I dedicated to buying fun steam games and silly hardware (e.g. buying camera lenses even tho I shoot as total amateur 5 times per year)

I was just wandering what can i do if I redirect that small amount of money + utilizing some of my spare time and computers/programming knowledge.

But, as I was saying, I totally missed on the whole field, so I don't even know where to start.

I want to approac this as a developer, maybe write some software, maybe host some trading bots (is that even viable strategy?)

I will NOT spent any money or savings, rest assured, and I really do appreciate your concern! I can tell it was honest!

aw3c2 4 hours ago 0 replies      
> investment

Invest your time into learning to have common sense.

Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, unsafe speculation objects.

jetti 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I too am late to the boom but I also don't see cryptocurrencies as investment vehicles per se. I wouldn't go out and buy any BTC, ETH or LTC just to hold and hope it increases in value. What I am doing, though, is starting to do some automated trading around cryptocurrencies. By taking advantage of the fact there is high volatility and the ability to buy partial coins, I look to make money on the movement of ETH/BTC/LTC.

Now I'm not an idiot. I know it is risky which is why I'm only putting in a small amount I know I'm comfortable losing. I also look at this as a technical challenge as well since I'm building the entire platform in Elixir. It's a win-win. If I make money then I'm happy. If I lose the little I put in I get bummed but then will have a large production Elixir application in my name that I could talk about in the future.

wyc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's still early. Had you bought at $1 or even $0.01, would you have really held until $3500? At $40 you would have had decided whether to sell or not, then again at $200, and at $600, and at $400, and then at $1000, etc. I think people like to gloss over all those difficult compounding decisions about whether sell or hodl.

On another note, seeing these as assets that merely store value for speculation may be a shallow view. However, it may be the case today. Long-term, the industry is betting that there are far deeper drivers of utility that will be unearthed in the next couple of years. This is where the real value can be captured and where fortunes may be made. Thinking about "what currency should I make a quick buck off of" misses a lot of the potential.

Here's a reading list: https://medium.com/@dwr/digital-currency-reading-list-6219f1...

tboyd47 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Start at the beginning. Read about how Bitcoin works. Learn about the security model and how it differs from traditional banking. Try buying a small amount of coin, putting it into cold storage (paper wallet), then selling it back for USD.

Then when you're comfortable with that basic knowledge, start following the history of Bitcoin and current events. Get a basic understanding of the events of this year. Learn about other cryptos, too. You might not have an opinion about any of it, or you might.

Earlier this year I was trying to explain Bitcoin to a friend of mine and he expressed the common sentiment, "I wish I had gotten in sooner." That was when Bitcoin was $1,200. Now it's trading at over $3,400. In the 1930s, people were saying the same thing about Coca-Cola stocks: I should have bought them in 1918. Nobody can predict the future. Investing is nothing but learning and applying what you learn. If you understand and like something, invest what you can afford. If not, don't.

zero_one_one 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with xsynonym - stay away from ICOs.

If wishes were horses... I wish I'd been born 10 years earlier and bought shares in Microsoft and Apple!

There's no way of telling what will work and what won't (and also no way of telling what will continue to work - hence the gamble in any sort of investment).

Any investment should be done with as much emotional-detachment as possible - you have to see the investment money as something that won't impact your personal life in the slightest, whether it rises or sinks.

In this case, Bitcoin is a relatively safe buy, with Ethereum as slightly less so. Monero i bleeding edge, but has great potential.

I would read up on as many of the services being offered by the cryptocurrencies (or services) you're interested in as you can, and base your investment on what you perceive to have the biggest impact to their relative industries in the future.

It's the same approach to buying penny stocks, effectively...

Jach 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I second the buy a fixed USD per two weeks / month. I kick myself for a lot of btc miscalculation (love my 20ish btc t-shirt) but that one has at least left me with a sizable (but less than 10x) return on average if I liquidated right now, rather than nothing if I just stayed away. I also figured the price would improve after the halving day last year since the supply of new bitcoin would go down, it did, so since I think bitcoin can last at least until 2020 (next halving) as the biggest cryptocurrency I figure buying more now is fine too. What other easy-to-buy asset offers the same chance at 2x+ over 3 years? I still put most spare income into an index fund with the conservative 5%/yr target that lets you retire when 4% meets cost of living, but if bitcoin keeps growing I'll soon have more in that...
Nursie 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Small scale mining is not so much dead as on the edge of profitability.

I have two graphics cards, I started mining ether about two weeks ago. I have about 0.2Eth now. This is not a huge amount, but over a few more weeks I intend to get a few more cards and build up to holding a few ETH and a few ZEC. I may mine other currencies if they become profitable, but will likely sell any gains for ETH immediately.

It's not exactly a time of bonanza AFAICT, but if you just want to get and hold a few things you can still do it.

I too regret not sinking 50 into BTC when it last plummeted into the $0.5 USD range, just to speculate, which I was considering... But them's the breaks.

--edit-- I'm not claiming this is a profitable way to operate! It's just what I'm doing to get my hands on some smallish quantities of the currencies.

ashbrahma 2 hours ago 0 replies      
This is what Goldman is telling its clients -


thisisit 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, I am a fan of Buffett's "Circle of Competence" theory. Until I have a firm grasp of concepts I am not buying anything because someone says so.

So when my relatives kept bugging me about this crypto-thing, I have been reading up and writing small layman blog entries for them. Something in the vein of ELIF.

Once I have a firm grasp of concepts then I might decide whether to buy or not.

andreicon 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The best strategy for small investors would be to purchase bitcoin monthly for a fixed amount of fiat (say 100 USD) and hold it. It'll come in handy when USD goes bust (come april 2018)
0x4f3759df 4 hours ago 1 reply      
1: Buy Bitcoin, 2: Figure out the next alt-coin (I like ZCash but presently own none of it.), 3: Learn to program Blockchain stuff and become a consultant... 4: Become an alt-coin day trader 5) Mine some alt-coins 6) Be creative the space is still young
jshaqaw 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else care about the environmental waste of churning banks of GPUs to "mine" an imaginary asset or is that just me
hprotagonist 3 hours ago 1 reply      
My advice: popcorn on the sidelines...
dutchbrit 4 hours ago 1 reply      
IOTA might be interesting to look at
jbob2000 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If all you want to do is earn money, they stay away and put your money in an index fund. Way safer, much better chances of making money. Crypto currencies are not a safe investment, you are not foolish by staying away, many people have lost a lot of money already.

If you are just curious and want to see what it's all about, then bob's your uncle!

gurut 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Any comment on Tezos?
companyhen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wait for a dip. Market has been way up since Aug 1. Some controversy about Segwit2x could cause some dips in October/November.
SirLJ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
just stay away from stuff you do not understand and you'll do just great...
logfromblammo 4 hours ago 0 replies      
First, fill up your portfolio for lower risk categories.

Don't make high risk investments until you have met your quota for investments that will pay predictable returns for any event short of the end of civilization, those that will pay predictable returns whenever the market hasn't just unexpectedly crashed within the last few months, those with a solid business model and a relatively secure customer base, and those that look promising and might just get lucky one day in the future.

If you have a dollar that you could burn to ashes just for fun, you can spend that one on cryptocurrency speculation.

That's gambling money. If you feel lucky, you can try to pick winners, but if you want to win in the long run, you'll need to just buy some of each one. Just weight your purchases by the estimated market cap of each individual currency. You'll end up with mostly Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin, and a little bit of everything else. Rebalance occasionally.

For purposes of your future planning, just pretend that the value in your crypto portfolio is $0. Anything you put into it can drop to zero overnight, if a hacking/looting scandal breaks on the news right after you go to sleep. You're only allowed to count gains when you actually take them out of the crypto ecosystem and put them into some other asset class.

anjc 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Just get funds you can comfortably afford into Ethereum and Bitcoin, rather than sitting on the sidelines effectively trying to time the market. You might not get 1000x returns but you will kick yourself if Eth goes to even just 1k, which it very well could in the short term (it could also retrace to $90, who knows)
discombobulate 5 hours ago 0 replies      
r/Monero. See for yourself.
ctharvey 6 hours ago 2 replies      
NEO is a new coin to keep your eye on.
Ask HN: How to Make the Most of Your Master's Degree (Computer Science)?
7 points by iCHAIT  1 day ago   6 comments top 4
peller 1 day ago 2 replies      
I only went for an undergrad degree, but for what it's worth, in my perhaps cynical opinion going to university is mostly just an expensive way to buy a network. Yea, there's an educational aspect, but anybody smart and self-motivated can get that online for free.

My point is, in five or ten years, you're not going to look back and say "man, I wish I'd spent more time studying" - no, so long as you graduate with okay marks what really lasts are the relationships you make while you're there (classmates, schoolmates, professors, locals). Get out of your comfort zone, join (or start) some clubs, live life. My 2 cents.

pesfandiar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Above all, I used it for easier immigration to Canada. I wasn't able to find a job where I could directly use my domain knowledge and it didn't require a PhD.

I gained some research skills, learned about advanced computer science topics, and met new people in my field, but there are cheaper ways (including opportunity cost) to do all of those.

luckydude 1 day ago 0 replies      
Huh, timely question as I help my son pick an undergrad school.

I'm of the opinion that you pretty much want a grad degree these days, undergrad has become sort of like high school 2.0.

A masters in CS is a great idea. It's where you sort of dig in and find some depth. I went to a hacking school (UW-Madison back then really pushed you to code, we did a pretty big subset of ADA for the compiler class); that turned out to be good. I also took all the classes needed for a minor in Computer Architecture; that turned out to be super useful over the years.

If you get a TA/RA job, at least back then, they gave you enough to pay for school and housing. Anyone know if that is still true? Even if it is not, I highly recommend teaching. You get a deeper knowledge of the topic when you have to organize it enough to teach it. And teaching is practice for conveying your thoughts, something you'll do a lot if you want to be a leader in your job.

Take two years if you can. I know you can do it one but it's more fun if you take two.

Be willing to be a grunt for some professor if you can be a co-author on a paper. Getting practice at publishing is useful. Again, it's conveying your thoughts, the more practice at that, the better.

Try and step up from your undergrad to a better school for your masters. I taught masters students at Stanford, Stanford loves masters students, they are a big source of money. At least back then, Stanford was pretty liberal about letting in masters students (more so than undergrads).

Have fun, learn, network! Don't forget to sleep and have a beer once in a while :)

Edit: I see that other people are saying it's not worth it. I've got a masters and I absolutely think it was worth it for me. But it was "free" in that what they gave me as a TA/RA was enough to cover tuition and housing, it was about $16K. Times have changed, if what they give you as a TA isn't enough, if you are going to go an extra $100K in debt, yeah, I can see why people would say it's not worth it.

Personally, I loved grad school. If I hadn't been so scared by the qualifiers, I'd have a PhD. If the money part works out, I can't say enough good things about grad school. More learning, more networking, and hey, more summer vacations. You'll be working for a long time without those vacations, enjoy them while you can.

SirLJ 1 day ago 0 replies      
After the first job, those degrees are useless in IMHO, after that everyone cares about experience only... The only exception is if you want to go into academics
Ask HN: What is your favorite SaaS app dashboard?
13 points by thecodemonkey  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
ponyous 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Google Analytics comes to mind. I find it really intuitive, but I use only the basics of it.
soulchild37 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Stripe, definitely Stripe
Ask HN: Who was your greatest mentor?
10 points by Kevin_S  2 days ago   12 comments top 5
BlackjackCF 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been lucky to find a mentor to work with at every job I've been at. I guess I was just really receptive to learning. I don't know if I can say I had a "greatest" mentor at any of my jobs, because I learned a great deal from each of them - through their good and bad qualities.

1) My first mentor taught me everything I knew about developing good code habits and staying humble. However, I think I learned the most about people management from him. He was extremely polarizing as a person. He would go to the ends of the earth for his people, but the moment that he felt he had been slighted, you'd be on his shit list. I learned how to foster loyalty and good rapport with your coworkers and employees from him - and also how dangerous it was to take everything at work personally. I thought he was a great manager in some ways, but he burned a lot of bridges.

2) My second mentor was one of the best engineers I ever worked with. It wasn't because he was the fastest or the best programmer. It was because he knew how to bridge the gap between engineering and product. He also knew the importance of documentation and moving at a steady pace. He cared a lot about developer sustainability and ensured that sprints were always scored and paced correctly. I really wish I had, had more time to work with him.

3) The third mentor I worked with was actually one of the most brilliant engineers I've ever met. He turned me onto a lot of new technologies and stretched me to my limits, because he moved at such a blindingly fast pace. However, I think I learned from him the most in his negative aspects. He thought planning was a waste of time, and would just dole out work as quickly as he could so he could get back to engineering. Working with him also meant toeing the line to burnout. From him, I learned how important it was to foster good relations with all departments in order to get things done, instead of just relying on one or two rockstars to pull things forward by sheer force of will.

kzisme 2 days ago 3 replies      
I'm always curious how people _find_ mentors.

I have heard of a few services out there where you are able to book "x" amount of time with someone to talk about work or whatever (basically a mentor).

Since finishing up school I've worked with 2 developers, and both have been great and I've learned a lot.

I don't think these sort of relationships count as "mentors", or at least it just felt like co-working. So, I guess you could say I'm still looking? :)

forkLding 1 day ago 1 reply      
Books are great mentors, although shorter, they are a quick and condensed look at how things should be done
muzani 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's hard to say who was the greatest. Very different. All the good mentors give you one on one time.

I would say my thesis supervisor was the best. Taught me the whole process of engineering, how to actually build an epic project. How to break down a huge project into components and how to make sure each component works.

bsvalley 1 day ago 1 reply      
My dad. Then, surprisingly, my father in law. 2 different styles, 2 different perspectives about life. The combination of both is gold.
Ask HN: How did your first software project go?
7 points by Kevin_S  2 days ago   5 comments top 5
Xavier66 2 hours ago 0 replies      
First major software project was with a startup I worked for. It was a 3 month project that ended up being extended due to lack of concrete requirements, the client would constantly add/remove features during development which contributed to the projects extension. When the project was near completion, the client demanded to the CEO that he lower the quote on the project because it went past the deadline (this was after we explained to the CEO that the extra features added by the client will take more time, so he was fully aware that extra time would be needed). After the CEO told the client that he can't lower the extremely under-quoted budget, the client left. After four months of full time work on this project, the CEO told us he can't pay us anything because he spent the clients deposit on things he refuses to discuss. I am not sure how the startup is currently doing, but almost all of the developers left after that project. Ultimately this was a huge learning experience for me as a developer, as bad as the entire situation was I learned a lot of things that will ultimately benefit me in the future.
breeny592 1 day ago 0 replies      

- [x] Working in a consultancy

- [x] Government client

- [x] No direct communication with the users

- [x] Waterfall project

- [x] Short timeline

- [x] Understaffed

- [ ] Clear requirements

Was definitely delivered on time and on budget...

tejas1mehta 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Bad code but good product
flukus 1 day ago 0 replies      
When it started it was just me and another junior programmer trying to build something too complicated for our experience level. Later on we got someone more experienced, unfortunately (for the project) 10 years on he is still the worst developer I've ever worked with, not helped by his arrogance. All of his experience was drag'n'drop VB forms, but he had a CS degree and we didn't, so that made him right every time. He also made us switch from SVN to to VSS, svn wasn't so great back then (no merge tracking) but at least it didn't silently fail every other day like VSS. He didn't believe in using framework features, preferring instead to write his own sorting algorithms that didn't work. His attitude to compile errors was to turn off the strict/explicit options that VB has. He was the living example of a developer with 1 year of experience 10 times over.

Technology wise we went through several iterations, web, descktop, c#, an experimental java one, but thanks to the senior dev we settled on VB.net. Management was more interested in hiring people that would be sitting at their desks at 9AM (I was eventually fired for failing this) than any sort of technical competence. The manager was the type that "understood people" and forced us to put in all sorts of questionable UI features. He was obsessed with how it looked and didn't care if it worked. Every point release involved working through the weekend.

Amazingly the software was quite well received and didn't suffer from too many production bugs. It was delivered only slight late and made the company money.

Then the company got a bunch of funding and things became more hilarious. Management was obsessed with becoming the "google of our industry" and preceded to do the exact opposite of everything google would would do. But those are stories for another time.

jklein11 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: How do self-checkout cameras recording your face prevent theft?
13 points by intermittently  3 days ago   8 comments top 5
ryanlol 2 days ago 1 reply      
Self-checkout things get hit with lots of credit card fraud, the cameras help when the fraud gets so big that it's worth investigating.
sjs382 3 days ago 0 replies      
A clear photo of someone's face is very useful if they are found (via other means) to be engaging in criminal activity.

Have you ever seen low-res security footage where the perpetrator was hard to identify? Timestamps + secondary cameras can help with identification.

deft 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of loss prevention is based on fear. There's no real way to 'stop' it physically from happening.
timothybone 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's valuable data. It's probably good for many things, from catching criminals, to selling to you personally, even to selling that data to other stores.
brlewis 3 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't the separate system just be employees, or be a security camera you don't see?
Got 500+ emails in few mins from Airbnb
7 points by kaustubhvp  2 days ago   5 comments top 2
BMorearty 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm an eng at Airbnb. What is the subject line of these emails? Can you DM me your userid at BMorearty on Twitter?
bsvalley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't they have a few summer interns?
Ask HN: What are real Ruby on Rails alternatives in 2017?
36 points by rubyfan  1 day ago   48 comments top 21
neilwilson 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think it is more 'Ruby isn't sexy any more' because people older than 25 use it.

It's just the usual thing of the next generation not wanting to listen to the music the previous generation did.

These things come in cycles. I remember when 'Hot Java' was sexy and cool and only throwbacks wrote C. (And when C was sexy and cool and only throwbacks wrote COBOL, etc) There were lots of other languages and frameworks around at the time too that have long since been consigned to the history books.

I never thought fashion would be a factor in IT engineering, but you realise over time that the two things you cannot escape are fashion and politics. They are fundamentally part of the human condition.

If you want long lasting skills in the IT industry make sure you're good at fashion and politics. They'll take you all the way to a comfortable retirement.

danso 1 day ago 1 reply      
Elixir's Phoenix is where a few former Rails folks have migrated to, so it shares a few of the ideas that made Rails so appealing: https://hackernoon.com/phoenix-is-better-but-rails-is-more-p...

A list of companies using Elixir/Phoenix: https://github.com/doomspork/elixir-companies

Discussion on how Bleacher Report (1.5B pageviews/month) moved from Rails to Phoenix: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13606139

bo77_avantgarde 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have not looked into Elixir Phoenix but have been hearing some noise about it recently. Folks also frequently compare Rails to Django (Python) ... my 2 cents is Rails has a lot of good tools to build web apps fast and underneath it all provides a lot of strong functionality. Most things are relative though to the specific "thing" you're building so I can not say Rails is the best framework without knowing xyz, but for most web applications I'd stick with Rails. You get a lot that often gets taken for granted. Nowadays it seems folks take 1 month bootcamps and come out thinking they know everything and are so quick to try the next framework. I think that bad implementations, lack of expertise, and biased opinions has hurt the public opinion on Rails. Ultimately Rails enables you to quickly build and figure things out. Once your business is set in stone, the data model is consistent, and you're no longer figuring it out you can switch focus outside of something like Rails and break your system up into solid super fast micro-services. It's just my biased opinion since Rails is "easy" for me. Perhaps Elixir or Django are just as nice, but ultimately I guess it boils down to the developers themselves, the mentorship, the team etc. Ruby isn't dead but if in 2017 developers are banking on 1 language or framework then good luck. Full-Stack problem solvers is becoming a norm now. Just figure out how to become a strong developer in general and care less about frameworks that most people / companies abuse and implement incorrectly all the time. Sorry for the rant but God Damn this Ruby is dead buzz is so annoying, irrelevant, and usually backed by people using it incorrectly in the first place.
guu 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think the closest would be Java's Spring Boot: http://projects.spring.io/spring-boot/

I think it is easier to find resources to answer rails questions though.

In addition, many of the languages you list are very young and their frameworks lack the maturity of something like Rails, Django, Spring, or Laravel.

I think it's worth asking, why are you looking to switch? If rails is not a performance barrier for you, then I do not see a good incentive to switch other than wanting to learn something new.

mtmail 1 day ago 1 reply      
I found Laravel (PHP) to be almost the equivalent to Rails (Ruby) with https://lumen.laravel.com/ similar to Sinatra. I've coded, tested, debugging in both extensively. That said I don't consider Ruby declining at all and personally prefer Rails over Laravel (language, ecosystem, packages, day-to-day coding).
LordHeini 1 day ago 0 replies      
I quite like Lift which is a Scala framework allowing stupidly fast rapid prototyping (rails is really slow and clunky in comparison) . There are no routes and all the Javascript stuff is built in (so no annoying manual Ajaxcalls). It is multithreaded via Aktors and has build in comet for async stuff which is almost trivial to use. The example for using the framework a life webchat which is a handful of files with a few lines code each. On top the HTML is, well... proper HTML. No scull operators or such thing. The framework attaches functionality via css selectors in so called snippets which are like small controllers but not for an individual view but more for a specific functionality which helps with reusability. On top you get all the cool thing from scala like option types, static typing with type inference, the speed, multithreading and so on.

The biggest downside is the rather awful documentation (often outdated) and the missing migrations. I found it quite a step to lean since it is not an mvc framework and inherently stateful. There are a few free books however.

jfaucett 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a long time ruby developer and have switched to erlang/elixir now for about 2 years now. IMHO phoenix is at least as good as rails, personally I think its most often a better option when building large applications, though this is due mainly to elixir/erlang and OTP.

Elixir offers production grade options for all the major packages/libs you need and all the packages I've had to build have been the same kinds of minor things like api clients or whatever that I had to build a gem for when I was using ruby.

So phoenix/elixir is certainly a "real alternative" since I've been building production systems in it for 2 years.

lastly Phoenix is not quite as opinionated as rails, but its still very opinionated and any rails developer will feel very much at home there.

afarrell 1 day ago 0 replies      
At GoCardless, we've replaced ActionController with Coach for request handling while still using the rest of the rails toolset: https://github.com/gocardless/coach

It has worked really well for us over the past few years.

olavgg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Grails Framewok! http://grails.org

Built on top of Spring Boot.

Awesome performance, both in execution and development speed.

Convention over configuration. But it is still easy to access the rich Java libraries.

Comes with GORM, an ORM layer on top of Hibernate. Makes it work a lot more like Active Record with dynamic finders.

Groovy, very similar to Java. Metaprogramming, easier JDBC, execellent, makes it very easy to work with JSON. Groovy also has performance close to Java. Java and Groovy can access each other as they have similar byte code.

Very few breaking changes from release 0.4 to 3.3. You can expect that most of your code will work without needing a rewrite the next 10-20 years.

Superb HTTP parameter binding and validation with Command Objects.

It is a very mature framework and you have full access to Spring Framework.

Great community!

ajitid 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just started with Django, I am praying noone comes to me tomorrow and say "Django is dying", atleast not for now.
quickthrower2 1 day ago 1 reply      
.net core. With Asp.net MVC.
saluki 1 day ago 1 reply      
Laravel (PHP) is very Rails like.

I love Rails but clients/projects have pushed me toward using Laravel the past few years.

It's been a great experience.

Lots of great packages, great community, great tools for deployment Forge + Envoyer.

Laracasts.com is a great resource to see what it's all about.

BilalBudhani 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was pondering over the same question some time back which lead me into experimenting with frameworks in NodeJS and oh boy, I missed Ruby On Rails on every single line I wrote in those other frameworks. I whole heartedly regret looking into other frameworks just because I felt Ruby On Rails isn't sexy anymore.

This experience made me double sure on why Ruby On Rails is one of the strongest & productive frameworks available. My advice is, don't look anywhere else if you're not facing any problem with your current stack.

neverminder 1 day ago 1 reply      
Play Framework - supports both Scala and Java. It was inspired by RoR to be a lightweight alternative to such legacy behemoths like Spring. It's a full featured web framework based on Akka, scalable out of the box. Combination of Play/Scala/Slick gives you compile time safety for database queries - very few alternatives can offer that. Also, strict types significantly reduces your test coverage which is not possible on any dynamic languages.
1ba9115454 1 day ago 0 replies      
At the moment nothing comes close. Theres are lots of 'Me Too' frameworks but they don't give enough extra benefit to make it worth switching.

In the future we might see something coming out of Rust, there's a nice HTML template api which is typesafe and an ORM called diesel which is also type safe and could give ActiveRecord a run for its money.

guitarbill 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know you didn't list Python, but Django works very well. Bit of a learning curve though. Flask is a microframework (also Python), with emphasis on the micro.

Django makes some trade-offs that might make it seem like you're less productive. Maybe it's true, but Django apps are very maintainable in my experience.

f00_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
PHP: Laravel, LumensPython: Django, Flask, Pyramids, TornadoJava: SpringScala: Akka?

most experience with Python

sandGorgon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Migrations, asset pipeline, debugger, package management.

I haven't seen anything that has all of these built in.

rajangdavis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have you considered hacking together your own? Rails is built on top of other components (Thor for command line).

I just started hacking together my own and I would say the hardest part (for me) is file generation.

marcus_holmes 1 day ago 1 reply      
Friends don't let friends use frameworks


dudul 1 day ago 1 reply      
Phoenix in Elixir seems to be really appreciated. The Play framework in Scala is also often mentioned as a very performant tool if latency/throughput/reliability is really what you are after.
Ask HN: How did you find your great side project idea?
126 points by bobnarizes  3 days ago   119 comments top 59
gschier 3 days ago 8 replies      
I solved a problem that I had at work. I needed a tool to make interacting with HTTP APIs easier, and didn't like any of the existing ones, so I created Insomnia [https://insomnia.rest/].

It took a weekend to build a proof of concept, then I released it to the public. As I improved it, the user base grew slowly. Then, a year later, I was able to quit my job to pursue it full-time. If you're curious, I have an Interview [https://www.indiehackers.com/businesses/insomnia] on Indie Hackers with more detail.

jqbx_jason 3 days ago 3 replies      
I missed turntable.fm and I found the current alternatives lacking so I built a better one: https://www.jqbx.fm if you're interested.

IMO there's no shame in working on your own derivation of an existing idea (take FB as one example). Sometimes a tweak here or there can be the difference between a good idea and game-changing one. Also it gives you the chance to 'edit' an existing product which is both a fun and thought provoking experience that can really hone your skills.

jmduke 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is a clich but honest answer I was using a similar tool and thought to myself man, I could make something better than this. I have this impulse a lot, and usually I stop myself from actually following through (there is always so much complication hiding below the surface!) but I kept coming back to it.

Eventually, I set a deadline for myself; I said if, six months later, I couldnt scratch the itch to make something better (or at least find something better) than what I was using, then Id start working on it.

The six months passed, and so it was born:


brightball 3 days ago 0 replies      
Not that I've had any time to do them, but I have often written up entire business plans just based off of profiting from something that makes me angry.

For example, when I had a contract programming business 10 years ago I absolutely despised the RFP process. I still have a business plan sitting around built entirely around that flow. I still hate the RFP process, but I figured if this thing is going to still be a thing I may as well make money off of it.

If I ever had free time to just sit and build stuff day after day you'd end up with this entire incoherent set of businesses based on things that I couldn't stand. :)

dguo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was fortunate enough (as a philosophy major) to land a software developer job (CS minor) coming out of college. I made way more money than I needed, so I started investigating charities to donate to. I found the whole process of getting involved in philanthropy kind of frustrating. That led to me creating Sublime Fund[1] with some friends. It's pretty bare bones right now, but it's something that feels meaningful to me, and I'm happy to invest time into making it better.

[1] https://sublimefund.org

scrdhrt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I write down 5-10 quick ideas per day just by surfing around, reading articles or building upon current techniques or current features. 99% doesn't become anything, the 1% is usually a combination of other ideas put into one.
sethlivingston 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I did a bunch of ~$100 jobs as a freelancer on UpWork. It was the same work over and over again. I decided I needed to automate the work, and, long story short, I ended with an online tool that allowed customers to do the work themselves. It's cheaper for them and more profitable for me now.

Unrelated tip: beware trying to make money targeting developers. We are a bunch of cheap asses, and we expect everything to be free. Target consumers and/or businesses instead.

bricej13 3 days ago 0 replies      
I solved my own problem. I cut the cord two years ago, but I love to watch college football. When doing research this year to figure out where to stream each game, I realized that a lot of people would be doing this same research.

I built [https://wherecaniwatchmy.team] as a site specifically for determining which streaming service is best for watching a specific sports team.

I'm no entrepreneur, but I think it's something that could actually turn into a basic side income.

jorgemf 3 days ago 0 replies      
You don't find it, it finds you. You first have a problem or see a problem that annoys you, later you discover how to solve that issue and make a world little better place. Finally you get hands on and create a side project with the idea that solves the problem.

Or simple you like to do something by passion and spend time on it.

teleclimber 2 days ago 2 replies      
Like many others I got the idea because of an itch I had with work.

I run a small SaaS and I found myself constantly creating and updating HTML pages of various types: help and documentation for users, landing pages, product description, in-app content etc... There are myriad solutions for each of these, but none really nailed the use-case to me so I imagined what I really wanted and started building it.

It's taken a long time but Cicerone is getting close to an alpha release. Basically it's the most pleasant way of creating structured HTML content that I could come up with. http://cicerone.co

apeduru 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was frustrated running into seg faults while working on an OS project for my undergrad. I wanted a tool to quickly prototype bitwise operations without having to write and compile C code. I made bspl which is a REPL to do exactly that [https://crates.io/crates/bspl]. Like others have said here, the project usually finds you. And it's up to you to drive it to completion.
Yabood 3 days ago 1 reply      
For us, the idea came from working at a startup doing something completely different. We were developing a software to leverage the Cloud as primary storage. At the time I joined, I wanted to understand the space better and how our competitors were positioning themselves. I looked for tools that can show top performing content across blogs and social media networks, I wanted to see what type of messaging was resonating with people and driving the most traffic and engagement. I found a few but they lacked the simplicity and ease of use that I had in mind. Most would return the results in an excel/table format or just give you a link with some stats and force you to manually visit each link to see the actual content and what people were saying. After I left the company, I decided to pursue this idea and build a social media management platform that can solve this problem (among others). In a nutshell, the idea came from a problem I encountered in the past. Our platform is going live in a couple of weeks https://socialweaver.com.
amorphic 2 days ago 1 reply      
The more people you talk to and experiences you expose yourself to the more ideas you will have.

I spoke at PyCon AU 2016 on "Controlling a 3D Printer with Python" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgvnPB_77z8). I wanted a 3D-printed prop and came up with an idea for The Pythonic Staff of Enlightenment - a staff with the Python logo on top. A friend designed it, I printed it and it was a big hit with the Pythonistas. A few asked "where can I buy one?".

A year later we're about to launch Enstaved (https://www.enstaved.com). It's a service that lets you design your own staff using a range of toppers and colors which we then print and post to you.

tmoravec 3 days ago 1 reply      
As an employee, I saw my past bosses making the same mistakes over and over. The problems stem from the fact that they are usually engineers promoted to a management role, but they get no training whatsoever.So I did some research, and I'm writing a short book discussing the essentials of day to day management; with a focus on communication.
kapuru 1 day ago 0 replies      
Back when I was streaming games on Twitch I cared a lot about my followers count. When you only have 10 followers and all of a sudden someone unfollows it's kind of a big deal, especially if you're trying to grow your followership.I usually spent some time checking my followers list to find out _who_ unfollowed me.

To save me the hassle I developed Unfollow (https://www.unfollow.io). You sign up, connect your Twitch account and it starts tracking your unfollowers and notifies you.

I didn't develop this because I want to encourage people to care about their unfollowers. It's about curiousity. The curiosity about this person who's not following you anymore. I hope the tool can help people satisfy this curiosity.

SyneRyder 3 days ago 0 replies      
I started by scratching my own itch, made a really simple program, then released it for free. Some people started using it. But that wasn't the great idea.

What then happened is that a couple of those people found the contact form on my website, thanked me for my program, but also asked "Would you be kind enough and interested to write this [other program that automates a task I do often]." Those ideas are the ones that actually made money for me.

So make it really easy for people to contact you and talk about the problems they have. Give something away, to encourage those people to find you in the first place. And put contact forms everywhere, so even launching email or Twitter isn't an obstacle to contacting you.

bathtub 3 days ago 0 replies      
I always got the best side project ideas when I was working on some other random side project.

Once you start to work on an even mediocre side project, just wait and after few days you get so many new ideas coming out of the mediocre project.

So, the message is, just start working on any idea.

Mojah 3 days ago 0 replies      
I too solved a problem I faced at work - and privately - that I couldn't get anywhere else. It started with a couple of simple scripts for me, and evolved into a full-fledged SaaS solution [1].

The best things - perhaps the only things to really motivate you - are the ones that scratch your own itch. Otherwise, you'll get demotivated or loose interest. You need to build something for you and hope it appeals to others.

[1] A DNS monitoring & change alerter called DNS Spy; https://dnsspy.io/

Hedja 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm building a game wiki/guide platform right now[1]. The idea mainly came from just wanting to re-create a game's interface on the web[2] and it gradually grew to a game guide and now a multi-game guide platform. I tried to learn new tech on the way to keep myself interested. The large parts being LeafletJS/PixiJS, moving onto React, then Firebase, and so on.

A lot of my web project ideas are related to the video game community because I often use and contribute to them and constantly find certain things lacking (wikis, forums, list trackers, news). So this project has nicely grew into something that I can both learn from and enjoy building for the long term. Of course there are the tedious parts (like upgrades and maintenance) but they're overcome gradually; it is just a side project right now.

[1] https://frontiernav.jahed.io/

[2] https://frontiernav.jahed.io/explore/game0/visualisations/ma...

DanHulton 3 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, it was a dumb pun that inspired me. I started working on Chat & Slash (https://www.chatandslash.com/) when the idea of "Slack & Slash" - an RPG on Slack - come to me during a boring meeting.

Obviously, folks at Slack preferred a less-potentially confusing name, but they liked the idea, so I'm still working on it.

sosedoff 3 days ago 0 replies      
My side projects ideas usually revolve around a problem or just plain curiosity. Some stick while others don't. Most of them, however, are tools that help with work stuff. My last side project that i still use almost every day since 2013 is pgweb - https://github.com/sosedoff/pgweb
treve 3 days ago 2 replies      
My side projects tend to be libraries for other programmers. I usually get ideas by using existing libraries but being unhappy with the interface / api they offer. I love designing good apis that express the underlying concepts well, while hiding implementation details, and while many niche libraries have a good solution for their problem domain, many are lacking in api / UX.
dhruvkar 3 days ago 1 reply      
Be naturally and deeply engaged in a community.

This could be anything that you naturally find interesting - books, art, armadillos, roofing etc. Engage with other people that also find this topic interesting.

It'll take several months, but you'll uncover more problems than you'll have time for. And the best part - you now get to pick a problem you care about, and build a solution for it.

generj 3 days ago 0 replies      
One route is to pick a niche hobby/interest of yours and build off of that. Find pain points and then write up an level of effort estimate for a software solution.

Often there is little or no competition in these uber-small markets. Because you are your own customer, you might have a good idea of your monetization options.

Even if you fail monetarily, at least you solved your pain point.

encoderer 3 days ago 0 replies      
You don't need a "great idea". We built an incredibly crude v1 of Cronitor because my friend and co-founder needed to know if an important cron job failed. This meets no definition of "great idea" but has been a fun, challenging and profitable side business for over 3 years now.
niosus 2 days ago 0 replies      
I code mostly in c++ on Linux and I don't like big IDEs. I wanted to have a plugin that would complete my code and show the errors. Oh, and it should work with CMake.

To be fair, there was a number of plugins out there that did it in various text editors, but I was too dumb to be able to use them. None worked out of the box. So I contributed a bit to one project that looked promising and then quickly branched off to create EasyClangComplete for Sublime Text. I've been working on it on weekends and nights for over a year now and it is an important tool in my workflow. Also, I feel inspired by approx. 9000 people who have installed it throughout the time it existed.

achariam 2 days ago 0 replies      
I built Elyxel [https://www.elyxel.com] to learn Elixir and Phoenix while building open source community software. I wrote about it in greater detail here - [http://www.achariam.com/elyxel]

It hasn't really caught on but I hedged my bets a little by trying to optimize for learning. On that front it was highly rewarding.

pan69 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was working for a start up some years ago where we were sending a lot of transactional messages over email, sms and mobile push to our customers. There were lots of great solutions around that solved the infrastructure problem (i.e, the problem of sending and email, sms or mobile push) but nothing that helped us with the content part of the message, rather then having transactional email templates in Mailchimp or something.

So I built Postways [1]. In a nutshell, it's basically a message management system with a unified API for sending email, sms and mobile push were you have to bring your own AWS account or SMTP server.

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

adamzerner 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I scratched my own itch" seems to be the most common response. I wonder if there's a notable bias towards saying what HN will approve of, and towards not wanting to say something HN won't approve of.
devdad 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a project that I'm trying to turn into a product. I got it from spotting a new tech in use in a restaurant, and applied it to another market. Fingers crossed, I'll have investment coming in around Christmas.
howlett 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't know if it's a "great" side project but I wanted a way to avoid hardcoding passwords in scripts, but in a way that I could revoke them if my RPi had been compromised (my RPi is used for backups/sync).

So I made https://www.remotepassword.com where you can store a GPG encrypted version of the password and then call-decrypt-passthrough the password to the command line. If the device is compromised, you can deactivate the online password and no-one can get access to your data.

nitramm 2 days ago 0 replies      
When I was going through Wikipedia I have discovered that there is so many different prime types - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prime_numbers#Lists_...

So I have decided to put all this info on single place - https://prime-numbers.info - but there is lot of them so I am at C now. :)

forkLding 3 days ago 1 reply      
I occasionally read HN comments, and once I see something people are touching upon in their comments that can either be automated or shown using an app, I post that idea and see the upvotes.
wut42 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm iterating on a problem we had a work and for other side-projects.

We needed to forward webhooks to one, or multiple hosts; sometimes mutate them (split, ). Sometimes forward, sometimes no. So I created Hook+ [https://hook.plus]. Still not finished at all, needs some docs, etc. But I plan to properly finish it by the end of the year. :)

The idea in itself already exists, it's not a revolutionnary tool at all.

pcorsaro 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have a bad habit of buying video games that I will probably never get around to playing, and I used to keep a list of those games in a spreadsheet in the order I wanted to play them. I decided to build https://www.grouvee.com to keep track of that list instead of the spreadsheet. Apparently there are quite a few other people that have this same issue!
WorksOfBarry 2 days ago 0 replies      
My first long term project (greatest yet) started in January this year. It's an extension to Notepad++ which makes into a lightweight IDE - sort of.

The reason it was created is because the only stable option for developing on this specific platform was to buy an IDE from IBM. My goal is to provide a free option to developers.

This project only started because I couldn't afford the IBM product.

rawfan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I never had to look for sideproject ideas. They are there all the time by the dozen. The time to start and finish them is usually what's missing.
WalterSear 2 days ago 0 replies      
"My problem is not tripping over them when I get out of bed in the morning." - Beethoven

Consequently, my current side project is a task and information management app, so I'll never not be able to capture any ideas I trip over it in the morning :) It has a wiki and systems for note taking, spaced repetition, a DSL and plugin system.

At this point, it's turned into the dwarf fortress of todo apps, pretty much :)

tixocloud 3 days ago 0 replies      
Like many, I also took the advice of solving my own problem. I have a hard time remembering all the details of everyone I talk to. When I realized that the key to startup success is to develop relationships with folks and the way to do this is to actually remember them, I built Orchestra [http://orchestrahq.com].
riku_iki 3 days ago 0 replies      
I start digging one area of expertise, and more I dig into something, more ideas of products, services and problem solutions come to my head.
psenior 2 days ago 0 replies      
I attended a meetup and was inspired to solve a problem I and many others experience with code. You can read about the details at https://medium.com/@CodeforFTL/the-story-of-oh-snap-civictec...
evanspa 3 days ago 3 replies      
I couldn't find a workout app that I liked. The ones I tried just didn't fit the flow-of-use I wanted. I just wanted something to track my weight lifting, and wanted it to be super simple. So, scratched the itch with Riker.


cisanti 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds cheesy, but I worked on something I actually enjoyed working with it, not thinking if it's a commercial success or anything that sort. I can't think of myself working out of working hours on something I do only for money.

People and their energy levels are different, I guess. I wish I had the willpower and stamina.

jonathanbull 3 days ago 0 replies      
Back in 2014, I had a number of side projects on the go and I ran out of money to pay my email marketing bill. I created https://emailoctopus.com to save some money, and that's ended up being my most successful side project to date!
rhizome 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can't say I have any great ideas, but they sure keep popping into my head involuntarily. It feels weird to me for people surf the web without frustration, never thinking to themselves, "what if this, but without the annoying/hard to use stuff?" If you do do that, then those are ideas.
vinoth15 2 days ago 0 replies      
I began Todoodly (http://www.mytodoodly.com) as a side project after facing frustrations using Trello.
yairhaimo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was working at a startup which had potential but had a very boring implementation of the vision (in my opinion).

After several pivots of the original idea in my head I came up with my side project which is thrice removed from the original idea.

icpmacdo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am trying to improve my deployment skills so I just pick something dumb, currently an emoji only messaging app build it then run the deployment experiments I want to try. Always fun.
mandeepj 3 days ago 0 replies      
I started an online clothing company. After sometime, I thought it would be cool to let users try cloths online so this product was born - sensestyles.com/tryroom
wolco 3 days ago 0 replies      
From games that I wanted to play but were not available
mapster 2 days ago 0 replies      
back in 93 i would cold call tech companies and get to speak with engineers. my goal was to get them to talk my ear off. oddly enough it usually worked. funny enough I didn't know enough tech at the time to understand 3/4 of what they spoke of. but if you are a problem solver with skills, you can certainly start by asking.
hitgeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
theres an app for that. https://nugget.one
tehlike 3 days ago 1 reply      
I used to hand fill a form to save me couple hundred bucks. I automated it.
misiti3780 3 days ago 0 replies      
I keep a spreadsheet of ideas i get from podcasts and reading books.
westonplatter0 3 days ago 0 replies      
gather 10 ideas a week -> get feedback -> wait/think -> get feedback -> build only the ideas that are revenue probable + have customer demand.
stagbeetle 3 days ago 0 replies      
From features I really wanted that no one was offering.
JoelSanchez 3 days ago 0 replies      
Existing product sucks, no good alternatives.
drakonka 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was a moody teenager (maybe 16 years old) who had just been forced to move from her home in the US to Australia. We moved in summer and had nothing to do for a few months except explore Fremantle, and all of our luggage had not been transferred yet - we were staying for the summer in a company-provided apartment and my parents decided there was no point in getting everything shipped to this temp apartment. I was mad at my parents for making me move, bored, missed the horse farm I worked at in Alabama. Usually I'd always be tinkering on the PC making weird web projects and playing games, but now I had no computer. Basically I had a lot of time to think about random crap. Thinking back on it now it was my favorite time to be in Australia. Fremantle is a gorgeous, quirky city and I had all the time in the world to walk around the cool little hipster artsy stores and the "psychic" shops selling crystals and stuff. My imagination ran wild!

Anyway, during this time I thought a lot about all the places we'd lived and was feeling a bit nostalgic both for Alabama and my original home in Ukraine. I thought back on my favorite childhood memories, which were all at my grandparents' summerhouse in Kherson. One day when I was maybe six or seven years old it was raining really hard and a bunch of snails were crawling around everywhere. I captured some and had them race on the pavement. I "trained" them to crawl in a straight line (I swear this actually happened - or at least that is how I remember it). When I was done I put them all in my orange fishing bucket with leaves, water, and berries and put them aside figuring they'd be gone by the evening. When I came back in the evening they _were_ gone, but I spotted them all around the bucket (crawling away). The next morning, though, they were all back! This went on for a few days - the snails would leave around the evening and be back in the bucket by the next day. I thought it was really cool!

A few days later we had planned to go fishing the next morning with my grandfather so I knew I'd need my orange bucket back. That night before going to bed I put all the snails out into our garden patch and cleaned out the bucket to be ready by morning. But in the morning, the snails were back again. So I couldn't go fishing. This went on for another couple of days and each time I got more and more annoyed at the snails coming back. Even though I tried to "hide" the bucket from the snails by moving it around, they would always find it. One time I put the snails out into the patch again in the morning and went to get ready for fishing thinking they wouldn't be able to crawl back that fast, but when I got back most of them were just back again. I'm not sure why my kid-mind at the time didn't just put the snails away again right before leaving and take bucket, but I didn't.

Finally one morning after a few days of this I was angry. I was really excited about going to fish and there were a bunch of snails in my bucket again. I grabbed the bucket and started throwing the snails out one by one into the patch. I was so annoyed and didn't care about taking them out of their home anymore. The snails landed out of sight and in my mind I wasn't hurting them, since I was throwing them where they'd land on vegetation or soft earth. Except I misjudged a throw and accidentally threw one of the snails right in front of me - it hit a rock or branch or something and its shell cracked in a really bad way. I could see the body spilling out of the shell, and it was still alive and moving but I knew it was dying. That's when I realized I'd been hurting them, and now I'd killed at least this one. I was horrified, started crying - the thought of putting the snail out of its misery didn't even cross my mind. I felt awful and decided the snails could have my bucket and live there for as long as they want, so I tried to find some of the other snails I'd thrown away but it was too late - I couldn't find them anywhere. I ended up leaving to go fishing with the bucket.

As a kid I got over and forgot the incident by probably the next day, but in Fremantle when I thought about it again I just felt guilty again. And then I remembered how cool it was that the snails would crawl in a straight line when I raced them, and how it was even cooler that they kept coming back "home" even though I wasn't trapping them in the bucket! So I got the idea for a snail racing website where people could find virtual snails, take care of them, race them against each other, and breed them. My favorite games to play at the time were PHP browser games, so I envisioned it being written in PHP.

I had a few false starts over the years; when I first had the idea I only knew a bit of HTML and CSS and had no skills to build this thing. I didn't seriously start working on it until later, but that is my side project - a snail and snail management simulation - and I have a feeling I won't move on to anything else for a very long time.

SirLJ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Follow the money!
Ask HN: How are 3D printing related startups doing lately?
4 points by rm2904  1 day ago   1 comment top
js7745 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think its moving towards B2B after the consumer novelty wore off: http://www.builtinboston.com/2017/07/31/why-google-nasa-and-...
Ask HN: Feedback collecting software?
4 points by tixocloud  2 days ago   3 comments top 2
pelmenept 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi I've started https://insightstash.com try it out.

If you have questions about how to start, let me know.

mtmail 2 days ago 0 replies      
Base usage of https://www.tawk.to/ is free. They offer you pay $9/month to remove their branding.
Ask HN: Is it worth joining a startup that plans to sell in the next 5 years?
11 points by SamuelAdams  2 days ago   16 comments top 10
IanDrake 2 days ago 3 replies      
Totally depends on the deal.

I was once offered a job with a good, but not great, salary in a geographic region that was lite on IT jobs to which I would have to move.

The plan was for them to sell to a larger company in 2 years at which point any sane buyer would move this remote facility to their HQ.

Based on my equity and they're target sale price I would gross 40k from the sale, IF it ever happened.

No thanks. Maybe 20X that would have made it worth while since I'd be losing about 100k a year in total compensation.

marssaxman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't most startups have similar hopes?

I am really puzzled about your perspective on job-hunting decisions, such that you see this, and nothing else, as the relevant context which would allow any of us here to give you useful advice.

toomuchtodo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Depends entirely on the salary, option grant on the table, current 409A valuation, estimated valuation (with numbers to back it up) in five years, vesting schedule, etc. Don't forget to ask for a cap table, ask about liquidation preferences, etc.

Also, if they need you badly enough, make sure to include provisions that if an acquisition event occurs or your role changes materially from what you agreed to, your remaining options vest immediately.

BayAreaSmayArea 1 day ago 0 replies      
If startup is defined as a business focused on rapid growth and likely VC funded I'd say that is the hope of nearly every one of them.
freestockoption 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would they be a viable business after 5 years in the event they don't get bought? If not, are they banking on the IP being worth something?
JSeymourATL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Beyond compensation-- consider how you might be able to leverage the experience you hope to gain to advance your career goals. Will it help you get to the next thing?

Is the broader industry/niche they serve growing?

tylerFowler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes! Depends on the company of course but if you have a decent amount of equity it could be profitable for you. And sales don't always mean you're out a job either.

Of course it's a gamble since the company might not be worth anything..

muzani 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see why not. You would end up working with the acquiring company. Often post acquisition jobs can be quite good, and it's an easier way to work at something like Microsoft.
segmondy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nope. In my opinion, Any startup that has that as their exit strategy is not going to hit it big. They already have a ceiling.
savethefuture 2 days ago 0 replies      
Get vested, then profit on the sale.
Ask HN: Which nootropics actually work?
9 points by unclebucknasty  1 day ago   12 comments top 7
CuriouslyC 1 day ago 0 replies      
The clinical evidence for nootropics in for healthy young people is limited, but the case is strong for older adults or people with cognitive impairment. Nicotine, caffeine and provigil are the only things that seem to work for everyone.

It is worth noting that while nootropics probably aren't going to make you smarter, there are many compounds that are likely to enhance long term memory formation. The mechanism for this is stimulation of BDNF secretion, which plays a role in neural stem cell proliferation in the hippocampus. Short chain fatty acids from dietary fiber fermentation, niacin, curcumin, green tea catechins and magnesium have all been shown to be beneficial in this regard.

Of course, probably the best single thing you can do to improve your mind is get more exercise.

michalpt 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I have an inattentive type of ADHD and have tried almost everything to help me be a bit more focused when working. From prescribed Ritalin and Concerta (basically an extended version of Ritalin) to nootropics such as Pyracetam etc. Now the Ritalin of course had the biggest effect in terms of focus but after a while I started to feel like a zombie and junkie (lots of jittering, bad mood etc). So one day I decided to flush everything into a toilet and decided to only use available nootropics, not doctor prescribed medications. After a while I discovered DMAE and after 6 months of using it (350-500mg daily) I can say it is almost as effective as Ritalin for me without those nasty side effects and come-downs. The good thing about DMAE is that it helps me focus, yet it still feels natural without that "speedy feeling" effect of Ritalin. Now of course everyone is different and I know some people getting headaches from DMAE and no real results. You really need to test out what works best for your brain.
muzani 1 day ago 3 replies      
Nootropics are nothing magical. The effect is similar to listening to the right music or working at the right time. Effectiveness drops sharply past caffeine.

The big ones are exercise, diet, and sleep. These do more than most nootropics.

Exercise: A run, hike, some cardio at least once a week. Walking in a shopping mall doesn't count.

Diet: Your brain runs on glucose. Keep your glucose level moderate.

Caffeine is an obvious one, but I find that the side effect of caffeine is that it makes you more anxious. Personally, I'm already under stress so the extra kick from caffeine makes it worse. It's suitable if you're feeling exhausted, but not something to take every day.

L-Theanine is the most effective I found. L-Theanine is both calming and focusing. It's great during a deadline, or stressful situations like negotiations and interviews. It's my go to drug for programming as often I have to calm myself down from getting too energetic.

You can combine L-Theanine with caffeine, as they complement each other. It depends on how your day is going.

Vitamin E injections (not pills) seem to work very well for me. The effect is similar to exercise in that it feels better, and it's really obvious when it wears off. I'm surprised there isn't more documented evidence for this.

throwaway100817 1 day ago 0 replies      
Not exactly nootropics but... microdosing LSD/shrooms
gcoda 1 day ago 0 replies      
Keto diet boosted my brain a bit.And i just recently heard that glucose metabolism is getting worse with age. Look into exogenous ketones, if you do not have time for diet.Modafinil kinda works, and with low doses of cannabis it works for me even better.
drakonka 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like caffeine and creatine are the two nootropics with a substantial amount of evidence behind them.
shahbaby 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't trust bro-science or profit driven companies with my mental health.

Train your body and you will also be training your mind.

Ask HN: Where can I find diversity data in tech companies?
2 points by michaeloblak  2 days ago   2 comments top
nyxtom 1 day ago 1 reply      
Google has a lot of this information publicly available and broken down in further categories than the ones you mention; worth taking a look at


Apple as well:




The numbers in a lot of these situations are only, unfortunately, at a level that we can't really get a lot more than raw count from. This tells us nothing about the pay gap problem and in general causal effects for exodus. If there is substantial evidence that pay is widely different between groups for the same exact job role (and there is a great deal of evidence that is the case); then it would be far better to have that data on hand.

Glassdoor appears to have some good metrics on this and I came across this article that at least describes these discrepancies across a few high profile companies.


It is notable that Microsoft appears to be far better than everyone else at ensuring equal pay between genders.

Also you can take a look at Glassdoor's overall research on the gender pay gap data:


This seems about right here:

"The single biggest cause of the gender pay gap is occupation and industry sorting ofmen and women into jobs that pay differently throughout the economy. In the U.S.,occupation and industry sorting explains 54 percent of the overall pay gapby far thelargest factor. For example, Census figures show women make up only 26 percentof highly paid chief executives but 71 percent of low-paid cashiers. Past researchsuggests this is due partly to social pressures that divert men and women intodifferent college majors and career tracks, or to other gender norms such as womenbearing disproportionate responsibility for child and elderly care, which pressureswomen into more flexible jobs with lower pay."

Indeed, just from the above study, it's easy to conclude that the numbers alone are more reflective of the state of public policy issues and a lack of salary transparency across firms.

Ask HN: What gadgets you didnt think of but found you could not leave without?
10 points by jotjotzzz  3 days ago   9 comments top 5
anotheryou 1 hour ago 0 replies      
- An usb-fan: It's quite silent, I can cool my hands and torso and I don't dry out my eyes.

- A 200 projector. It's all I need to watch on a big "screen" (given the sun has set) and so much better than I expected.

- a battery pack (just so great when you forgot to charge your phone or need to teether internet to your laptop)

- Measuring my room and fine-tuning an equalizer to it (mic + http://www.roomeqwizard.com/ + https://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/ ) I'm a nerd, ok, but everybody hears the difference. Base becomes dry instead of being mushy.

- a 30 bluetooth speaker to listen to articles saved to pocket read by Ivona text-to-speach (you need to find some old apk for that) while doing the household or in the park.

- knifes: an opinel for in the bag and a cheap, but professional big knife for the kitchen (you can sharpen both sufficiently on the base of a ceramic plate, if not glazed there)

The rest is as expected: smartphone, headphones, speakers, laptop and chair. Most in the value sweet-spot of the upper middleclass (speakers above, but they also don't age).

I always did a lot of research before I bought any of these. I can name you the exact models if you ask.

lucozade 2 days ago 0 replies      
Might be a stretch to say that it changed everything but my wife getting a Fitbit that displayed calls and texts reduced my frustration levels somewhat. My wife tends to keep her phone in the bottom of her bag and would often miss calls. Hardly ever happens now.

There is an irony here though. I have known my wife for nearly 30 years and for much of the earlier years we lived 100s to 1000s of miles apart. Any form of phone contact needed pre-planning. Textual contact required a stamp. Pretty much frustration free (well from a communication pov anyway).

So Fitbit was technology solving a problem that technology caused in the first place.

oblib 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty much in the order that I acquired and used them:

MIG wire welder. (this saved weeks of labor building custom cars)

Duct tape. (yeah)

My first Mac computer. (A Mac Plus, it was truly an amazing and sucky computer and I learned an immense amount about computing using it.)

The Suzuki Samurai. (Best little 4x4 ever made.)

Recordable CD-ROM. (My first app ran on a CD-ROM.)

Mac OS X (I coded my very first web app on the very first beta version I could get my paws on.)

Netscape Navigator (It too was an amazing and sucky bit of tech.)

Digital Camera (Everyone should put that on their list.)

Cell Phones.

Handheld GPS with Topo Maps (My first was a Garmin eMap. More than anything these increased my confidence in "bushwhacking off trail in the wilderness by confirming I knew where I was. As a result I was able to go further and now I don't worry or think much about it and go wherever I want using a printed topo map. I still bring a GPS but rarely turn it on.)

Super bright LED headlamp (These made a huge difference in my ability to hike at night.)

Linux. (This (and the price) is why I won't be buying another Mac computer.)

A "Supercat" cook stove for backpacking. I shelved several expensive backpacking stoves when I found this.

Raspberry Pi. (I've learned more about using Linux mucking around with these than I ever thought I would or could. I have one on my desk connected to a USB switch and a monitor so I can switch between it and my Mac for work and I will be bringing one with me on a trip this week to use as a portable desktop PC to keep up with things.)


LED monitors and TVs.

Roku (this has saved me a few thousand bucks since I got one. I was able to ditch Dish and DirectTV after years of expensive and crappy service and DirectTV flat out trying to steal from me.)

miguelrochefort 2 days ago 1 reply      
- Instant Pot: I cook almost everything in it.

- Google Chromecast: I use it daily for YouTube, Netflix and Spotify.

- Kinesis Advantage: Typing on any other keyboard drives me insane.

PascLeRasc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is Amazon Prime a "gadget"? Being able to not think about delivery speed or shipping costs is such a relief for me. I can pretty much order things as I need them instead of having to plan around going to a store or ordering a week+ ahead of time.
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