Recruiters are paid based on salary of the guy and the fact he stays there for a certain period of time.
That's files sitemap-000 through sitemap-3278. They contain a total of 16,256,271 profile URLs.
curl -O http://www.gstatic.com/s2/sitemaps/sitemap-[000-3278].txt
Luckily, it's quite easy to reverse engineer. Start with:
and increment 000 till you 404. From quick testing, it's less than 3500 but more than 3200.
First, if you read the article, there's considerable disagreement among the scientists on what the effects of the disappearance of the mosquitos would be.
Second, fiddling with super-complex systems without having even a rough estimate of the possible effects may be disasterous. Typical example is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasive_species_in_Australia, where success is mixed.
"A stronger argument for keeping mosquitoes might be found if they provide 'ecosystem services' — the benefits that humans derive from nature."
Just because we (might) have the means to eradicate them doesn't necessarily mean we should.
Though the article ends with a quote about how the niche could be filled by something better or worse, most of the article claims that the other organisms that would fill the niche would make things better. There is a pretty big possibility that things could become a lot worse (say, instead of spreading malaria, the replacements spread ebola).
"In the first part of the report we look at the global picture covering all vulnerabilities in all products, followed by the analysis of vulnerabilities affecting the products and the operating system found on typical end-users PCs."
I can't find anywhere on Secunia's website that they make a big deal out of this though, so I'm going to chock it up to Arstechnica being sensationalist.
Then what's the point?
Long story short, if you browse to a site with Safari and you have autocomplete on, that site can slurp some stuff out of your address book.
Sorry, maybe a stupid question, but can someone explain this? I had no idea my OS had an address book. Why does it have this? If it does, how do I put stuff in it? Or delete stuff in it? Is this just on mac, or windows and linux too?
I also see an idiot commenting about his mother in law, sadly theses people never understand concerns for privacy.
I also see an idiot commenting about his mother in law, sadly theses people never understand concerns for privacy since being apple fanboi they already have hardly anything to hide.
The whole notion of location-based push messaging is inane. It reeks of something invented by a person who has never lived in a city, or thought hard about what a city means. In a city you are constantly surrounded by thousands of things and people in which, frankly, you are not interested. You are interested in your own little gang. A wise person once said that your city consists of a tribe of a few dozen people, living in the same space as a few hundred thousand other tribes.
If it weren't for my ability to selectively ignore 99.9% of what is happening within three blocks of here, I'd be insane.
On the long, prioritized list of factors that are likely to be predictive of what I want to see blinking on my phone at any given moment, I suspect that my current location is very, very far down.
We looked at the popularity of group deals (ie Groupon and its hundred or so clones) and decided to wed checking in with group buying. So, if X number of people check in, everybody gets a group deal that they can redeem right that moment. I was planning on waiting until we launched to do a Show HN and ask for feedback, but after reading this post, I couldn't resist asking for feedback. I'd really love to hear it - you can find more info about what we're about to do @ http://press.grouptabs.com
Again, not trying to plug us, and was planning on waiting until we are live, but this discussion is just too relevant.
Just about everything a brand wants to do can be accomplished through the API. Traditional ad agencies can create websites, micro-sites, forums, etc; but don't know what to do with a raw API -- sounds like a little bit of an opportunity...
(the points re. backup and monitoring do still apply, but at least it's only for your app and not the whole server)
For many people, their ground state is shopping, or talking with friends, or watching tv. Nothing wrong with any of these.
For some people, their ground state is aimless coding, or writing, or drifting around some community (e.g., the community of actors, or musicians, etc). Again, nothing wrong with any of these, and they may be a useful way of learning, or having ideas.
But for a very small number of people their ground state is much more focused. I've known people whose ground state is writing papers about physics or mathematics. And it's simply unbelievable what such people can get done in a year. (Note, mind you, that very few professional physicists or mathematicians fall into this category.)
I haven't founded or worked at a startup. My observation-from-the-outside is that founders often have to take on many different tasks. And I wonder how difficult that must make it for any of them to become a ground state task.
I suspect that at least some of Google's success has come from the hands-off culture of its management. You don't generally fear your manager's disapproval, since the bulk of your review comes from your peers. OTOH, you're still thinking about your coworkers' approval, and while it's a bit easier to ignore many people than it is to ignore one person, it's still hard. I suspect that one reason why startups can still out-innovate Google comes from an intense focus on their product, instead of being distracted by all the other perks, projects, and people at the Googleplex.
Similarly, scrappiness in a startup isn't just a matter of saving money. It's also a matter of avoiding distraction: when you're thinking about how awesome your life is, you aren't thinking about your product. You want enough perks so that employees don't have to have other things intrude on their consciousness (like where to buy lunch or what will happen to them when their COBRA benefits run out), but not so much that the perks distract from the project.
It's my theory (and this essay does a good job articulating part of it) that the brain operates at different levels of 'connectedness'. By connectedness I mean the thresholds at the synapses that determine how many neurotransmitters 'make it' in communication with the nearby neurons. I was reading an AMA from a neuropsychologist on reddit, and she mentioned that on average each neuron is connected to 70 other neurons.
So that got me thinking: when you're sleeping, it seems like one makes connections so much more easily. And wouldn't that be because the thresholds are lowered and neurotransmission between neurons is increased? So if previously 40% of your neurotransmitters were making it across the synapse for the majority of the neurons at each node connection, perhaps that level were increased to 60% throughput when you're asleep.
This would come about via dopamine or other naturally occurring hormones and proteins (in addition to drugs, which have the real risk, of course, of causingyour brain to re-normalize levels) which bind to the chemical receptors and prevent reception (threreby lowering the throughput). Other hormones regulate these hormones and increase throughput.
So to make a long story short, if sleep is a natural adaption to vary 'throughput' in the brain's graph of neurons at night -- to ease visitation and solve things at a much faster, much more 'connected' rate. Then perhaps this is an evolved tool for problem solving.
Perhaps certain problems are better solved by traversing quickly through the graph, and perhaps even during the day, as dopamine and other things are constantly adjusting in the brain, perhaps we vary out global thresholds in the brain.
So when you take a shower, or take a walk, or do some other activity, you may be changing your thresholds by 2% -- and that may allow you to see certain connections that you wouldn't otherwise. Too much 'connectedness' and it's hard to make logical sense of anything. So for the most part these thresholds are really quite high (low connectedness).
But I wonder if it isn't a sort of a model for problem solving, with various different global parameters that affect the edges' connectedness. It's sort of like having different graph visitation algorithms and then changing the edges weights globally to try and rattle through different visitations or insights.
At any rate, this sort of dovetails with what PG was talking about (I remembered the connection initially because we'd both thought of different mental states in the shower) -- because anything that becomes the 'top idea in your mind' probably becomes a much bigger deal than we realize, because we are used to thinking that we only think with one level or global threshold parameter. But in reality when there are many levels, having a big idea in mind is being visitedmuch faster at night and in lower threshold / higher throughput times -- than we probably take for granted -- because, again, we presume that the only levelof connectedness that matters is the one when we are fully 'conscious' during the day.
I call the thoughts my mind drifts to as the "background thread" in my CPU. And there are times when that background thread is very productive and enjoyable. Alas, there have are times when that thread is destructive - conflict, as pg mentions, is a very destructive background thread.
In general, I have found that the bad threads are much more persistent than good threads, which means that is is harder to get out of a bad thread than a good one. As an example, it is far easier to slip out of "How does this thing work" thread running in the back of my mind, but very hard to get out of "How unfair that ..." in that it takes a more conscious effort to get out of it.
I also would say that the difference between when I was 25 vs when I reached 40 is that I am now much more conscious of these threads. That awareness makes it somewhat easier to avoid bad threads (alas, not always). There is still a kind of thermodynamic efficiency involved, in that there is a maximum good-thread percentage.
As an aside, the spiritual philosopher Eckhart Tolle has many interesting things to say about these.
Glander best describes the notion of lifting all inhibitions to “tinker intellectually in an undirected stochastic process aiming at capturing some idea that will enrich your corpus”. “Researching” or “thinking” smack of a top-down activity." More on Glander by Taleb: "It is an irony that the academy does not have a word for the process by which discovery works best –but slang does. I was trying to describe in a letter what I am currently doing: French would not let me. But argot lends itself very well... I am involved in an activity called “Glander”, more precisely “glandouiller”. It means “to idle”, though not “to be in a state of idleness” (it is an active verb). Gandouiller denotes enjoyment. The formal French word is “ne rien faire” (to do nothing), which misses on the active part –so do words that have a languishing connotation. Glander is what children without soccer moms do when they are out of school. It resembles flâner which has this perambulation part; though Glander does not have any strings attached. The Italians have farniente but it is really doing nothing. Even the Arabs do not have a verb for Glander: the construction takaslana from the Semitic root ksl denotes laziness (other words imply some inertia)."
Newton was a “glandeur”; In Dijksterhuis 2004:
George Spencer Brown has famously said about Sir Isaac Newton that “to arrive at the simplest truth, as Newton knew and practiced, requires years of contemplation. Not activity. Not reasoning. Not calculating. Not busy behavior of any kind. Not reading. Not talking. Not making an effort. Not thinking. Simply bearing in mind what it is that one needs to know.”
— Excerpt from The Black Swan
I'm not so sure this is true. It's true of me; it may be true of you; it's probably true of most HN readers. However, non-geeks who know me well enough to observe this of me think it's weird, which leads to me to think it's not true of people in general.
I also formed a habit of driving at least an hour away to do regular shopping (groceries and such) on weekends. The long drive on the mostly empty highways let me daydream without distraction, kind of like a long shower. I made a lot of architectural decisions for my web apps while on those drives.
My subconscious mind grinds on the problem in the background without me having to exert any real effort thinking about it, until it finally finds a solution and raises an interrupt in my conscious mind.
This process has become so effective, that if I can spot a problem coming, I say to myself, "I should figure out how to solve X", and don't think about it. A few days later when I come back to it, as if by magic, I have a solution already starting to form.
This is the same phenomenon that causes you to wake up in the middle of the night with an answer to a question you were thinking about earlier in the day... usually, "who sings this blasted song?"
The brain is an amazing, complicated, wonderful thing.
But I tell myself: "This is not what I want to do with my life. I'm doing this as a favor to my aunt. I'm doing this on the side, just to make enough money to keep working on the stuff I really want to work on. That is my real focus, designing web-pages is not." And then when people say, "That's great!", I tell them the same stuff I told myself. I think saying the words out loud to others helps me convince myself on a deeper level.
So maybe by affirming your own values you can allow what you really want to be focused on to naturally rise above the petty stuff.
I also agree with disputes being a huge distraction. One guy I used to work with is extremely contrary by nature. He would argue with anything I said, seemingly out of habit more than anything else. After arguing with him, I would invariably find myself turning over the argument in my head and having a hard time focusing on work. Eventually I decided the guy was hurting me more than helping and that I needed to stop working with him. There were several other factors involved, but that was a big one.
One way to avoid disputes like that is to be single founder. Or at least seek out a co-founder who is agreeable. I watched an interview with Larry and Sergei the other day. They were asked, "What do you guys argue about?" and they seemed kind of stumped for a moment before one of them said, "We don't really disagree about much..."
This essay also helps explain the vague sense of frusteration and despair I feel whenever a friend wants to visit, or whenever I need to visit my family. Inevitably interpersonal relationships end up forcing their way to the top of my brain. Living a monk-like life of isolation is the best way I know of to focus on real problems.
Lastly, I think it is possible to do "ambient thinking" intentionally. Just sit or lie down somewhere comfortable (but not so comfortable you fall asleep), and do nothing for several minutes. Time passes amazingly slowly when you're doing nothing, so you don't need to worry about wasting time. Your mind will naturally start defragmenting itself and playing with various ideas -- at least mine does.
I have observed this several different times in my life: When I thought I was in (actually out of) love in high school, that was all I could think about, and I put out a ridiculous amount of poetry describing my "anguish". At various times I got caught up with different games: Everquest, Chess, Minesweeper, Battle for Wesnoth, Poker, and Chess again; at each point, I found myself spending all my leisure time on a single game, and all of my idle thoughts considering different opening sequences, or mine layouts, or starting hands: whatever was applicable to current "addiction". When I have been in relationships, I find that I tend to be consumed with not only the small disputes (as pg describes), but with things like "sweet" things I can do or say to make my s.o. happy -- thoughts tend to drift toward planning, anticipation, reconciliation, and any number of other difficult bits that are part of a serious relationship. At various points I have also found myself wrapped up in technical things like math, physics, computer science, and startups in general. And lately my top idea has been the nature of life, human relations, introspection, and psychedelics.
So for me, it basically seems to be whatever is currently consuming the majority of my consciously-used brain power. Some social problems are hard and require a lot of brain power to try to solve. The same goes for philosophical or cash flow problems. Of course, topics in math or science or engineering are most likely to take up this brain power, but for me at least, those are the things that I tend to procrastinate on the most.
So even though I find myself inclined to consume my top idea space with relevant technical stuff, I tend to nudge those out of my mind when I'm thinking consciously, instead focusing on more immediate topics (entertainment, socializing, paying bills). The worst part is that I know that if I'd only restructure my free time to actually work on worthwhile things, I would see my productivity increase many-fold due to the "Top Idea Effect". I'm really not sure what's stopping me from doing that.
You jump into article looking to improve them - add content, format, tweak, source and so on.
But within hours someone disputes the use of a word or the reliability of a source. Which usually gets sorted in a quick discussion - but often takes ages, drags in other editors and winds up with a month long discussion on various noticeboards and talk pages and edit wars on articles.
And you can see four or five of them start a week.
All over a single sentence. :)
So, yeh, I can relate a lot to what Newton was saying.
In fact, the basis for our startup came when I was focusing on the first, and ignoring the latter. The distraction to focus on the first became so strong that forming a startup was inevitable.
Now that I'm focused 100% on the startup, my thoughts are based on what I want to be doing AND what I should be doing - it's a great feeling!
I love the process of trying to figure things out that happens in these essays. Really, it's just great. Keep it up pg.
This is brilliant, ethically (and practically - the two are never at odds in my view).
When I get my own place, this will be my first renovation: the ultimate thinking shower.
I have some investment properties and I've been realizing recently that even if they are decent investments, they have too often become the top idea in my mind when I didn't want them to be. This tax on my productivity and creativity could actually make them a net negative.
The middle Ages drew a distinction between the understanding as ratio and the understanding as intellectus. Ratio is the power of discursive, logical thought, of searching and of examination, of abstraction, of definition and drawing conclusions. Intellectus, on the other hand, is the name for the understanding insofar as it is the capacity of simplex intuitus, of that simple vision to which truth offers itself like a landscape to the eye. The faculty of mind, man's knowledge, is both these things in one, according to antiquity and the Middle Ages, simultaneously ratio and intellectus; and the process of knowing is the action of the two together. The mode of discursive thought is accompanied and impregnated by an effortless awareness, the contemplative vision of the intellectus, which is not active but passive, or rather receptive, the activity of the soul in which it conceives that which it sees.
Usually my top idea is a lot more fun to think about than all the other nonsense (conflicts, minutiae, etc) so that helps too.
There are too many words in that second sentence. I work in academia, and I know of very few professors who have any time to do research whatsoever. What's more, modern professors tend not be the people who were great at research - they're organisers, politicians and project managers.
I've often wondered about the similarities between a research leader and a start up founder, especially highly technical start ups. I have the greatest respect for anyone who can continue to write top quality advanced code and employ people, raise money, market and network. The individual tasks aren't so hard, but the combination is a killer.
"Try to get yourself into situations where the most urgent problems are ones you want think about."
"Try to get yourself into situations where the most urgent problems are ones you want to think about."
The reason this struck me so forcibly [...]
While "forcibly" isn't wrong here, if you mean "with force" (sin. poignantly) rather than "by force" (sin. inevitably) then "forcefully" is less ambiguous:
Does anybody having similar problem? Which ones should be your shower thoughts: work thoughts or life thoughts?
I think my problem could be resolved if I start taking shower twice a day!
Also, very coincidentally, I have been reading up classical works on "proper conduct" in an attempt to do a spring cleaning of personal attitudes for pretty much the same reason as PG's - it just frees up a lot of mental energy. I'm currently doing a parallel reading of The Dhammapada and the Analects of Confucius. Earlier I read the Thirukkural (English translation, alas! - http://www.scribd.com/doc/20912297/Tirukkural-of-Tiruvalluva...).
If you or I rationally considered affairs and made up quotes ("'Tis easy to achieve an aim, if it be firmly kept in mind"), they wouldn't have the moral authority and rhetorical power they do coming from the world's classics. It just feels nice to work from ready-made axioms of conduct.
This is why I shower twice a day. The morning shower is to boot the brain and for all the other things that showering is done for.
The second shower is simply to think, before the night's coding binge. Refreshed and with clear thoughts, I find that it provides a fresh start for the evening's challenges.
In an article on the BBC website (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4723216.stm) he says:
"The take-home message is that when you have to make a decision, the first step should be to get all the information necessary for the decision. Once you have the information, you have to decide, and this is best done with conscious thought for simple decisions, but left to unconscious thought - to 'sleep on it' - when the decision is complex."
Those with ADD/ADHD among other "disorders" tend to be more prone for an outside-the-box thought process.
Some things you can do to stimulate your Alpha brain waves, which give you adequate conditions for what Paul Graham calls "drifting" include walking barefoot on grass, and staring into the darkness while laying in bed before falling asleep.
I tend to have a lot of abstract thoughts, some brilliant and many more ridiculous, and I have benefited greatly from writing them all down in my phone. Translating them into english is extremely beneficial, and it's surprising how easy abstract thoughts are to forget. I would suggest this for anyone who is in any field requiring an ounce of creativity.
I have the opposite problem: practical things that need some ambient thought to really get right (day-to-day work, money stuff) fall by the wayside, while things that I care about or find more interesting (like programming projects or relationships) take all the ambient time. Anyone else find this happening? Have coping strategies?
I guess I have a long way to go towards controlling my ambient thought. Maybe this is part of why I always had trouble "forcing myself" to study effectively?
"Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit." is a good method of keeping overly dramatic interpersonal interactions from affecting your top idea.
from Nicholas Carr's The Shallows.
My local library got a copy right after the review of it was posted on HN. It makes a really good case against too much browsing web pages or other hypertext.
The metaphor I had for this is background process, stressing my suspicion that they hog precious mind resources even when you're not consciously pondering them.
I've had conversations where I tell people that I'll do the work that they want me to, but it will only be a fore-brain effort because I've got a much more interesting problem percolating.
And I try -- hard -- to avoid working for/with/on anything that doesn't engage the back brain.
It could be simply a matter of training your brain to have a strong stack for traversing the two or maybe three key areas or contexts that you're thinking about.
I.e., one solution is: make sure your top idea or ground state really is what you want. Another solution may be: train a better graph visitation algorithm.
However, trying to train one's unconscious may be sort of like quantum physics -- i.e., for lack of a better word: difficult. Perhaps you can just throw two or three main things you'd like to see happen into a collider, go to sleep or take a shower, and see what happens. But it may be possible to train yourself to think with very clear visitation between different contexts consciously, and actually have this process bubble down into the unconscious and take hold there too. I.e., hack your unconscious. Arguably it's the same sort of thing we do when we try to offload parallel processing onto a GPU or cloud (though in those cases the hardware is much more specific).
Am I alone in this trend? Did he just win me over because of time?
On this particular topic he's quite right that letting your mind drift, but also controlling the environment of that can lead to good things. I'm going to actively make an effort to try this from now on.
If you're too worried about making money, you'll be too preoccupied with that to give any thought to other things. If you're too concerned with a specific outcome, you end up taking energy away from the actions that will ultimately drive any outcome at all. Focus on your top idea and the rest will follow. It's not always as simple as it sounds, but I think there's a lot of truth there.
No need to stay in the shower for hours. Go dance, swim, skate or climb a tree: anything but startup related work.
So I went out and bought an underwater slate (divers use them to communicate and record information underwater). It's probably 6"x9", made out of plastic, and has a pencil attached with a cord. I can jot down notes/sketches/doodles/whatever when I come up with an idea, and take the slate with me when I get out of the shower to record in a more permanent fashion. To erase, I just scrub it with a green scrubber sponge. I love it - it's paid for itself many times over.
I also tried bathtub crayons. They're good in that you have more surface area to write on, but they wash off more easily and it's not as convenient to permanently record whatever you wrote down (it's hard to take the shower wall with you when you get out).
I personally find that keeping schedules in my head is a particularly distracting practice. If kept in my head there's always something I'm afraid of forgetting and continually think over it in my mind to keep the thought fresh. When I use a calendar or have very consistent days my thinking is much clearer.
Sage advice. It doesn't always work because you can't control what you think all the time but a good, "habit of mind".
Background on sensate, ideational, and idealistic cultures.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitirim_Sorokin
But how to control the mind? There are tens of techniques, from caring a beeper to write a diary every night. You need some kind of exceptions, interruptions, to catch yourself sweeping away into day-dreams and to return to the concentraction on the proper subject.
Many people will disagree, but meditation technique offers very efficient solution, like returning to posture and breathing when mind starts to wander. It is not like you must convert to Buddhism, it is about understanding how the mind works.
So, it is just a mater of a regular practicing, which will develop a new habit of observing where your mind is wandering about, so you could make any corrections.
This technique works perfectly for most of stresses, anxiety and obsessive neuroses, so it could help to concentrate on a proper subjects also.
I recommend it to everyone I know.
If I said "Don't think about the hexagon on top of Saturn" how many of you would actually be able to avoid considering it?
Now there's a startup idea!
Its very true for me that i found creative solutions in shower to my hard thought problems. May be i need a water resistant pen to write on the shower cabinet (possibly there is one).
Gazing is another form of "dreaming" and is a waking meditative state.
"I am going to teach you right here the first step to power. I am going to teach you how to set up dreaming. To set up dreaming means to have a concise and pragmatic control over the general situation of a dream, comparable to the control one has over any choice in the desert for instance, such as climbing up a hill or remaining in the shade of a water canyon. You must start by doing something very simple. Tonight in your dreams you must look at your hands. Don't think it's a joke. Dreaming is as serious as seeing or dying or any other thing in this awesome, mysterious world."
DON JUAN MATUS, Journey to Ixtlan
This is so very true. It is incredibly hard to get myself motivated about things I do not think about in the shower. On the other hand, it is impossible to stop myself from working towards things I do think about.
Sometimes this is scary -- its almost as if I don't have any control over what I will be passionately pursuing.
I believe the process of thoughts is quite usual; but the process of meta-thoughts could be more powerful.
> Turning the other cheek turns out to have selfish advantages.
It is only true if someones self is defined by the culture of turning the other cheek. There are other ways to define self and solve a dispute. For example:
And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!"
That's also a valid selfish conclusion.
(For example, in a beautiful simulation where a single program had to control a colony of ants who did not have any room for state other than a current instruction pointer and the input of their senses, someone successfully identified an algorithm to have each ant figure out which ant they were, and then execute a pre-planned sequence of moves to wall in the entire enemy base, faster than any non-degenerate program could possibly counteract it. It was beauty to behold but it also crushed the life out of the community -- the best ant has been crowned, everyone else gets to play for second best.
I would definitely play an MMO which let me script and didn't require my realtime involvement. EVE Online is like that for some of the gameplay already, but something where everything is through "agents" would be even better.
Closer to realtime too (rather than a huge multiple) - which would make close to 24x7 interaction necessary, requiring automation, teamwork, mobile device interfaces....
Damn - yet another project to think about :-)
Edit: I've just noticed that they are trying to encourage the development of nuclear war fighting bots within Defcon.
http://metavore.org/faff/Botlife.txt is the sketch of what I came up with there.
The main novel aspect would be that it is essentially an MMO, but there is no direct control ability; you can only upload new programs to your robots.
If you limit the number of API calls per minute to something reasonable, should be scalable, too.
You can't battle your Java AI against your C# or Python AI
I know WeeWar has an API, but that is probably not the kind of game you have in mind. I think you mean long running simulations with agents trying to survive.
There might even be one by Microsoft, not sure if they are language agnostic, though.
I think there is still room for interesting worlds of that kind.
PopulationUSA: 310 Mio. (2010, est.);Singapore: 5 Mio. (2009, est.)
AreaUSA: 10 Mio. km^2;Singapore: 0.00071 km^2
Population densityUSA: 32 per km^2;Singapore: 7,022 per km^2
I don’t know how useful comparisons between countries of similar size are, never mind countries which are so radically different.
What would be interesting (though not necessarily conclusive) is data on growth, stagnation or contraction in single cities (with, say, a population bigger than one million) in the US and to then compare that data.
Cuba grew faster than the US in 2008. Should the US have embraced a centralized economy then?
If it makes you feel any better, my biggest worry about this site is the opposite: that the median awesomeness is decreasing as the number of users increases.
If you want to feel less overwhelmed, try reading the comments starting at the bottom of the page instead of the top.
But back to HN. Recall that people post here, in part, to feel good about themselves and appear smart to others. It may be that the real heroes are not here. They are off doing stuff, not yammering about it.
I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of successful web startup people (a different group from say, pg or other YC alumni). I can tell you that the only thing they have in common is that they Keep Doing Stuff. No matter what, Keep Doing Stuff. They often have very low tolerance for naysayers and armchair critics. This isn't so much iron determination (well it is, in part) but mostly because they are motivated by the intrinsic rewards of building and exploring. In other words: they are just trying to have fun.
Their initial prototypes are ugly and naive. They don't care because it does something they wanted. They use a language that others deride as a toy. They don't care because it gets the job done fast. At launch, the whole thing is held together with tinkertoys and chewing gum. They still don't care as long as it's making people happy. Then scaling problems happen. Then they hunker down and make even more spectacular mistakes.
And you know what? Then one day they look back on at all they've done, and the system is humming beautifully and they're experts in multiple fields. And O'Reilly starts bugging them to write a book about how they did it all so effortlessly.
Meanwhile those guys on HN are still whining about how it would have been so much better with a functional language and a NoSQL data store.
P.S. This is not an argument for doing anything sloppily. It's just that you have to be laser-focused on results. It's a paradox; you have to be capable of rolling out something of heart-breaking beauty but also have no concern for things that ultimately don't affect success. It's been my experience that the version 1.0 of anything really creative looks like a piece of junk. And it takes a very sharp eye to see that it's doing something new and important. I guess this is why not everybody is a successful investor.
You're doing something about it. This is fantastic. If you want, email me a reasonably short email and tell me what your goals and projects are, I'll recommend you some reading and give you some advice. Spend 5-10 minutes thinking about your core life goals before writing me, and feel free to put in a couple specific projects as well. I'd be happy to be of service, I admire people who confront themselves and reality.
I love when I get that sick to my stomach feeling, it means I'm about to do some great things. Don't fight it. Drop me a line if you like, my email is in my profile.
But you've taken the wrong lessons out of it. Don't view it as a community of people better and smarter than you, see it as a wealth of knowledge like a library.
Don't view the people here as your competition. View them as people with something to teach you.
Intelligence is not a zero-sum game. No one will prevent your success because they are "smarter" than you. The more educated, energized, and ethical people in the world, the better for us all. Take what HN has to offer and apply it to what makes you happy and what will bring you fulfillment and success.
Realize that it also doesn't really matter, as long as your code is good, you can code on Win98 for all I care.
2) In my mind, smart is worth zero. Motivation is everything. (And I'm telling myself that as much as I'm telling you.)
What are your ideas? Better yet, what are your ideas that you could do overnight? Do one a week! Realize that there's very much a survivor bias - you don't pause to consider the ideas that you never heard of that went anywhere because, well, you never heard of them.
It's frightening and inspirational, but take it as motivation to stop standing still!
3) Well done on a successful posting. You've written a navel-gazing AskHN post that got you 200+ karma. (Read: the community has given you a good amount of karma, a community-based metric of how much something belongs to said community, and it was for your thoughts (as opposed to posting the latest TechCrunch/Wired/Ars/etc post from the rss feed before someone else got to it).)
So you're working on a startup, and, despite your convictions that it's the right thing, the best thing to do, there's will always be an air of uncertainty. An unproven business plan, a failed-before business model, a different pricing structure, a questionably useful product; some question with no right answer. A competitor in a similar market is great! It validates some part of your startup. You should relish competition, from this crowd specifically, because it means YOUR idea is a GOOD one that someone else who isn't you has decided to pursue it in a serious fashion. (That said, leave my customers alone :p )
Yes, I do get overwhelmed occasionally that others are doing better than I, but that should be motivation to do better, do more. I frequently find myself thinking "Psh, that app is so lame, I could do better in my sleep." To which my retort is "Sure, but what did you do last night? Sleep? ...yeah".
Do the idea that you have floating around, write down what your MVP is, cut that down to a proof of concept that you could finish the engineering essence of in a day and do that. Stop feeling overwhelmed and get to work. Feel guilty for not working as hard as you could on everything, and work harder. While you're working harder, define your own tiny metric of initial success... If only one person visits, if only 1 persons reads this, if only. Be happy with what you have, but work hard to do even better.
The net lets us see all the great output from the most talented writers, thinkers, doers of their fields -- including people who we could imagine to be our peer group. But what we see is not an accurate sample -- it's dominated by the most remarkable, outliers by both skill and luck. (That is, there's massive survivorship bias; see Taleb's Fooled by Randomness.) Still, if we choose to look, it's in our face every hour of every day, in our news feeds, our Twitter streams, our Facebook statuses.
(Compare also: the quality of social networks whereby for almost everyone, your friends will have more friends than you ; the Matthew Effect, whereby small changes in initial endowment of power/fame/success can compound ; and how viewing top athletes can actually decrease someone's coordination in following challenges .)
In the plant and insect world, sometimes as one organism thrives, it sends off chemical signals that suppress the growth of its siblings/peers/neighbors, in an effect called allelopathy.
Information about others' great works and successes, transmitted by the net, may sometimes serve as a sort of memetic negative allelopathy. The message is: this territory is taken; you can't reach the sunshine here; try another place/strategy (or even just wither so your distant relatives can thrive). This can be be the subtext even if that's not the conscious intent of those relaying the information. Indeed, the reports may be intended as motivational, and sometimes be, while at other times being discouraging.
What to do? Not yet certain, but awareness that this mechanism is in play may help. You can recognize that what you're reading is not representative, and that comparing yourself against prominent outliers -- or even worse, vague composites of outliers who are each the best in one dimension -- is unrealistic and mentally unhealthy.
Actual progress for yourself may require detaching from the firehose a bit, picking a narrower focus. (HN's eclectic topic matter can be inherently defocusing.)
And remind yourself that despite various reptilian-hindbrain impulses, most interesting creative activity today is far from zero-sum. The outliers can win, and you can win too (even if you don't achieve outlier-sized success). Their success can expand your options, and they may wind up being your collaborators (formally or informally by simply participating in a mutual superstructure) moreso than your 'competitors'.
 Can't find the reference at the moment, but the study I recall showed people video of a top soccer player, and subsequently they performed worse on tasks requiring physical coordination.
I mean, yeah, it's hard. When I was 20, I got an opportunity to work with some of the best people in my business. (I got the guy who hired me to write a preface to my book... In it, he calls me a 'dumbass kid' which pretty much sums up the situation.)
I did okay at the job until the company crashed (In about 2001, you see) as the pressure went up, I couldn't deal with it. I felt like I was not remotely qualified to work there, or really in the industry at all, and that I was the reason why the company was doing so poorly. I ended up quitting, and taking several months off to road trip. This, of course, ended when I ran out of money, and when I found that working at a coffee shop was more likely to require a degree, it seemed, than getting another SysAdmin gig. I ended up getting a job at a local ASP, and not doing any thing else notable until I started my own company a few years later.
In retrospect, I handled the situation all wrong. The company survived, and if I toughed it out, I would probably be another 3 years ahead in my career right now, and I'd be much closer to the incredibly awesome contacts I made there.
But, the point is, there are always going to be people who are better than you are, and if you can work around those people, do so. you will learn a lot. On the other hand, going from a small pond where you get to be the big fish to the big pond, where there will always be people with whom you simply will never be able to compete, is, well, quite an emotional shock.
If you are a healthy person, you will eventually come to accept and appreciate people who are better than you without getting the feeling that your ego just got kicked in the nads. On the other hand, if this is your first 'big pond' experience, the blow to the ego is very common and generally something that should be expected. You can get over it.
Or in general, really. Not just on HN. Learning and asking questions isn't something that should be scary.
As for your three points:
My personal belief is that you have to like what you do to be good at it. And people like to talk about things they like. So, don't be surprised if someone is willing to talk to you about your question :)
2. I don't mean to be harsh, but it sounds like the only thing stopping you from having a bunch of neat ideas to show off is, well, you. It sounds like you've started a few ideas. Why not finish them up as well?
A very good friend of mine is fond of saying (something along the lines of): "If you pretend to be something long enough, you'll eventually find that you've become what you were pretending to be." If you have 80% done (or even 50%), thats a start. Keep going and you'll wind up with something to show for it. Then you'll find that you've turned into one of those people that you aspired to be like.
3. Everyone had to start somewhere. Some people started earlier and others later. Some people can pick certain things up quicker than others. Thats no reason to be so harsh on yourself. And not everyone is working on the same idea.
And even within the same idea, there's always going to be plenty of room for multiple companies. YC has funded companies in the same area before. There's hundreds of Twitter clients out there. Don't ever let "Well, someone else is doing this..." stop you.
Read both in their entirety.
You will gain a new perspective on those who make great achievements. They experience the same self-doubt you do! Feynman notes in dismay that other researchers at Los Alamos effortlessly solved problems mentally after he'd spend days working out the solution. He also mentions when he starts in academia, he was overwhelmed by an academic paper being discussed at a conference because he didn't understand it. Richard Hamming notes a few extra pressures, specifically the pressure to solve great problems instead of small problems, and how this pressure ruins your work
Both books have similar lessons. Feynman says it implicitly, and Hamming says it explicitly: Keep modern, work with others, understand the twists and turns of your field, think about the future, and solve the small problems. You can't force yourself to do great things, but you can stack the deck in your favor.
The "real world" is packed with people who will belittle and disregard your achievements and abilities, you will be told again and again that people like you will simply be replaced by counterparts in a third world country willing to do what you do for sixteen hours a day at five dollars per hour. This comes from fear and ignorance but is so universal amongst the general populace that you can start wondering if they might be onto something.
A community like this is concrete evidence that they are dead wrong; That what we do matters, and that it is not wrong to take pleasure and pride in it. It betrays the attempts to sideline the work and misdirect attention to the importance of politics and salesmanship, neither of which have any spoils to be arguing over or peddling respectively in the absence of the essential process of making wealth and not just money.
Most of all it makes me not hate the world like I used to, because it shows me what humans can be and not what they seem to be when I stand in a random room in meatspace and take a look around.
Sounds like you're suffering the grown-up version of that. You're worried about the "smart" label and not the, say, persistence, hard-worker, stick-to-it label.
If you are interested in finishing something, I highly recommend read the posts on http://www.justfuckingship.com/ - you'll probably find them right up your alley.
Take heart, by the way. Finishing and shipping is a skill, like any other, you have to do it a lot to get good at it, but it's totally learnable. As is entrepreneurship.
Oh, and take all these people here as a challenge, not a reason. You aren't competing with them. You're the only person who will ever be "you." Let their accomplishments at being the best of who they can be inspire you to be the best of who you can be.
Sounds a little woo, but it works.
That said, what I learned over time was that the best way to make yourself smarter was to hang around people smarter and/or more experienced than you are. The hallmark of truly intelligent people is their ability to recognize they don't know everything. If you do this and you make an effort to learn and build your skills, some day you wake up and realize you are an "expert" in some area you have worked in for 10 years.
I worked with a very talented programmer a lot early in my career. One time I was feeling down about ever being able to code like him. He looked at me and said, "You know, I wasn't born knowing this stuff." I hear his voice every time I get discouraged.
I suspect the reason why you do this is because you give your "talent" more value than you should.
You wrote this:
> HN shows me all these people and ideas that are succeeding. It used to be inspirational, but now it's frightening.
> I've always been told I'm a smart kid, and that I'll be a millionaire some day, and all of that shit.
You can snap out of it, but you need to change your mindset about intelligence, learning, and mastering a trade.
Please consider reading this essay of mine. I think it may be helpful: http://programmingzen.com/2010/07/04/the-pursuit-of-excellen...
EDIT: People are getting hung up on the specifics here, so let me expand a bit: If you are, say, the 20th best at anything then how you feel about yourself depends on where you look. If you only look forward you'll be thinking "good greif, there are NINETEEN people in front of me, I suck!". If you only look behind you'll think you're the greatest. Just look at all the billions behind you.
I think the key is a healthy combination of looking forward for motivation ("Just 19 more to go!") and behind for perspective.
That's all. It's just about doing things. In many of these cases, you've chosen not to do these things. So you only really know three languages? Has somebody threatened to shoot you if you learn Ruby?
Most of your supposed "inferiority" is just the fact that they've chosen to do some work and you haven't.
You're 25 - you can't know everything.
You can do some stuff - get on and do it.
You come here and find people who know more than you do - learn from them.
Don't be over-whelmed - everyone here has their weaknesses, it's just that you usually don't get to see them.
1) Learn by doing and trying, not by thinking. Aimless reflection and introspection are bottomless pits that can suck up enormous amount of time that could be put to far more productive uses. If you have a choice between reading a book on a programming language and going through a tutorial that forces you to try examples, go through the tutorial. Immediate, tactile learning is better than abstract success stories which paper over important ingredients for success.
2) Social networking is key. Grow by connecting yourself to communities of peers, mentors, gurus, etc that you can actually rely on and that you can benefit from. If HN is making you depressed, stop reading it. Instead establish meaningful professional and personal connections with people that are supportive. The value of your circle is often overlooked. I am a firm believer that the quality of the people you know is the great predictor of your overall happiness and achievement.
3) Focus on the things you need to know. The number of programming languages you know doesn't matter. It is a meaningless metric. What matters is how comfortable you are with the tools that help you get _your_ job done. This is related to point 1). Having mastery and proficiency of something that you use daily is far more important than having the breadth of knowledge and mastery of exotic languages.
4) Stack your skills. Time is short so the best way to advance is to leverage maximum of what you _already_ know. In other words, don't jump around and shift gears all the time. Think of a long term goal(s) and try to segment the path toward that goal such that you can (a) complete each segment without getting distracted, (b) get feedback after each segment (c) learn something in each segment that you can use in the next. It doesn't have to be one project. In fact it's better if a sequence of projects, so you can adjust your course along the way.
5) Don't stop. Giving up is an attractive option. Our society has many different ways to cushion your fall, which can make quitting tempting and virtually painless. If you want to achieve something, idleness is definitely _not ok_.
Update: edited for style and grammar.
Once I started seeing things in that way, it became really exciting to find so many people, much more intelligent and talented than me. I can learn from them, hire them, partner with them, work for them or even compete with them. I can leverage (for lack of a better word) their awesomeness in some way or the other for a goal higher than just personal achievements.
Also there are people that have been in the area a lot longer, so me being 21 wasn't around programming during the late 90's tech bubble or before. They have had a lot more time to try a lot of different things.
It's good though to have the median above your own level, allowing you to learn but faster then if you were one of the smartest people here.
I've also found that talking to others about your ideas that may not totally understand the tech world and explaining to them in terms they'll understand will help in boosting morale. Often times, people will see with fresh eyes what others (such as those of us here) would overlook otherwise.
Learning is easier than product creation, IMHO. A product involves an ongoing dialogue with a customer of some kind(even if it's free), while a skill is just something you have and can demonstrate every so often, so you can go at your own pace and not worry so much about "the guy at the other end."
The only thing bad about learning is when you hit a peak so high that you run out of other people at or above your level to talk with. It's an incredibly lonely feeling.
My point is this: don't get discouraged by all the great stuff you see on HN, thinking that you don't have your best years ahead of you. You can be as articulate, and insightful, and successful as many of the people you admire here.
I really suggest reading "Nonviolent Communication" (http://www.amazon.com/Nonviolent-Communication-Language-Mars...), which gives a lot of insight on these topics.
I've had a lot of successes (and failures) in my life. Some I've earned with a lot of hard work and failed attempts, and some just came from my "natural talent and ability" (that's a load of BS by the way). Can you guess which successes were far and away the most satisfying? Hint: it's the successes I had to kill myself trying to get.
Moral of the story? Don't ever feel bad when you recognize a difficult path lay in front of you. Don't feel bad when you see room for improvement in yourself. You have direction and purpose. And when you get there, the reward will be that much more satisfying for it.
You have a shot at success if you work hard for it. You have a shot at success and happiness if you work really hard for it.
The wonderful thing about the hacker community and especially ycombinator is the openness and mutual support we offer each other. We create, and we create more with other people. And rather than fighting over what's there we just make more.
So your best bet is to identify your place and roll in this community. Understanding other facets of the R&D economy can only help you, but use this knowledge to figure out how you can contribute the most. The other people here are not your competitors, they are your friends, employers, employees, and colleagues. They raise the bar on you but give you a way to get there-- they're the most important people in the world.
Hey, you're just 25, try and relax a little.
It took me about a year to realize that his blogs are collectively almost a decade of work by him, his collective wisdom and insight, which wasn't even started until he had been out of college for at least 5 years. I was getting a compressed version of his long-term work.
Like robryan says in another comment: the collective knowledge of HN is vast and deep indeed, but most of these people have been hacking for years or decades. Just keep at it, and try to realize that creating useful things is not a zero-sum game.
I used to stress over never being able to contribute to OSS projects because I felt like I was drowning when I tried to, and a bunch of other stuff.
Give it time, keep hacking, and you'll be contributing amongst a field of your peers before you realize it :)
Each of these items has a clear next step. (1) Think about your projects, pick your favorite one, look at the code and do something minor. (2) Poke around and do some light research (if you haven't already) on other dev stacks, play around until you find yourself genuinely interested in one. (3) Install Ubuntu in a virtual machine (VirtualBox is free and works well) or dual boot. Google vim and emacs and pick one to start playing with.
If you feel like you are falling behind you can use that as an opportunity to figure out what you're unhappy with specifically and do simple things to take a small step forward. You can't do everything all at once, and the people here that are impressive to the point of it being intimidating got where they are by diligently making incremental progress over some time.
1) I am fascinated by the stuff programmers do. I do not program, have tried to learn, but I am impatient. I will never code, so I feel like shit.
2) I see info on some real cool startups, and think I will never be involved in one. I do not have any great ideas, do not know any smart, cool people and can kiss that experience goodbye.
3) I am in IT, but it is at the Class A level, not the major leagues. I feel I will be stuck in the helpdesk forever, and it scares me.
So I feel like sh#t every day, because I read HN everyday. But when I do not read it, I forget about it and feel better. Well, maybe it is the porn sites I visit that make me fell better.
There are 7 billion people in the world. For nearly all these people, for every skill they have, there is someone else better than them at it. I suggest you not worry about it. You probably aren't the best in the world at anything; you probably nevertheless are capable of making important contributions to things.
If you can't do it in the real world because of your geography or the quality of your physical peers, Hacker news is the best place to hang around, particularly if you're a comput(er/ing) enthusiast.
For me it's a pleasure to see so many people doing awesome things, cause it implies I can too.
To put some numbers behind it, having an IQ greater than 120 does nothing to improve someones chances of winning a Nobel prize. I think it's the same thing here, it's a matter of just choosing something to work on.
Don't compare yourself to the masses. Seeing so much awesomeness can be overwhelming, but you're just one person, after all.
I'm having some trouble with a project of my own, because it's such new ground for me. Reading HN can be a little scary, because it does seem like these people are doing something I'm not. Well, I can't say it's not true, but Rome wasn't built in a day.
(Also, can I just say how weird it feels to give advice? I hardly feel like I'm qualified! I figure you might get something out of it, though, and I've always liked Wikipedia's "Be bold" sentiment.)
The nice thing about being humble enough to admit it is that you can seek out people who are strong where you're weak and ask for help and advice in that area.
Q. What do they call the guy who graduated last at medical school?A. Doctor.
Don't discount what you can achieve. It may be intellegence, inspiration, persperation, or luck. At last weeks RubyMidwest, the last lecture of the weekend was a guy who just started taking on new challenges and went from working as a kitchen staff to being a independent contract developer. He did it by pushing his own limit in small bits. If you are just doing the same thing every day, you aren't building skill or learning. Find something that makes you uncomfortable and do it.
On the contrary, I feel rather inspired by the audience of Hacker News. Reading stories about how people have done it, the mistakes they've learnt and their advice has given me renewed confidence in myself to go out and do it. Typically people who are successful are normally those we see on tv but reading the success stories and just how brilliant people there are on here, it's a true inspiration. HN is probably my most favourite place on the web hands down. Thanks to all of you! It keeps me humbled - never ever think that I am fantastic at something or even if I am, there are other people out there that can do just as well and I should never ever brag or boast about it. HN keeps me grounded and keeps me driving. I love it.
I'm curious though; how do you feel now that you've gotten the communities feedback on the matter?
I'm also wondering if this is something that others are interested in knowing.
I'll add that you need to remember there is probably a difference in age between yourself and that of the person (experience and thus knowledge is partly a function of age of course) who posted some mind-blowingly interesting and esoteric bit of information (I'm regularly amazed by the broad range of knowledge by the HNers)
2) You are young; not everyone here is as young as you are. Some of the people you see as rivaling yourself could in fact be your elders, who are naturally a step ahead of you, and whose place you will assume in the future
3) Big fish. Little pond. Happens to me all the damn time. Fortunately I realized a while back anytime I find I'm the big fish, that means it's time for me to get out of my little pond and find the really big fish.
60k unique visitors does sound like a lot, but it's not a drop in the hat of the amount of people that read Reddit or Digg or TechCrunch. So in a way, I actually feel good about this being a site that is smaller and more focused than those other ones, which really are the true depressants, so to say. Nobody on HN is out here to flame anyone, and most of them are thoughtful, intelligent people -- the kind I want to be with.
What I'm trying to say is, if you find HN frightening, the world is beyond anything you can imagine. There are people who are smarter than you, work harder than you, in better/more happening places than you, and naturally more rewarded than you. So then, being on HN gives me some comfort in knowing that there are people who are sort of like me, and who are also navigating the same world I am. Instead of comparing myself to these people, I'm just glad that they exist.
You talk about talent and intelligence - both important. But I've learnt that most people - 90% - never actually try. They talk like they want to succeed, but deep down they don't. They won't quit their contractor job. They won't even try. What kind of life is that?
It's worth reading this recent thread and the comments.http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/crywg/dear_reddit...
The post is entitled 'Dear reddit, did you believe that one day you'd all be millionaires, rockstars and moviestars?' - taken from the quote in Fight Club. It raises some interesting points about how we are brought up to believe the dream is achievable and often it takes a lot more hard work than we originally perceive.
I personally wouldn't compare myself to anyone else. I've worked with some of the smartest guys I know from a technical point of view, but they have lacked in other areas such as ideas and execution.
(Often the best technical people neglect important things like marketing, design and user experience - expecting the 'amazing product' to equal success).
1) they are older than you, or put more time in than you, thereby had more time to learn success systems, gain experience and accomplish things.
2) they are acquiring wisdom and success in various aspects of their lives and leveraging those wins in the business arena.
Start moving in different directions and get some easy wins wherever you can find them. These wins may seen small to you but be an Everest for someone else. Also, recalibrate what success and talent mean to you. Explore different definitions of it. Your perception of yourself and the HN community may not be the most accurate one.
Most important of all, seek out wisdom. A lot of what you think is relevant is only relative and transitory.
I've personally explored the topic before and wrote Three Steps To Obtaining (More) Wisdom: http://zerotosuperhero.posterous.com/3-steps-to-obtaining-mo...
But I also don't have a strictly CS background. I generally try not to express myself negatively though, but instead value the good parts and recognize that YC/HN is what it is.
I wonder if that maybe helps add to...like subconsciously, all the comments appear the same so you start feeling like HN is this big thing that 'knows everything' without realizing how many different people are contributing their knowledge of whatever area.
HN and PG's essays are the best things that a student / aspiring entrepreneur could experience. I learn new stuff everyday. HN rocks.
Please come to the video game industry :) There is always need of someone that knows MySQL, LAMP, etc.
Does your perceived lack of talent drive you to learn and become better? Are you actively looking for opportunities and inspiration to drive you forward? Or are you simply idling on a web page re-living other people's accomplishments?
It's a thin, dangerous line. Some people idle, some people drive forward. I wouldn't suggest that either is the 'right' thing to do (I think it's morally ambiguous) but my desire is to drive.
At one time I was working for a company where we were constantly developing new systems for clients ranging from websites to large scale corporate applications. It seemed that we were learning new languages and systems every month and working on all sorts of platforms. It was hard work, but it was also a great deal of fun.
The last few years I’ve been spending about 90% of my time developing embedded software and very rarely use any languages beyond C, C++ and Assembly.
I try to read up on the latest developments as much as I can but I do often think that I’m falling further and further behind the older I get :)
I keep saying, it can't be that difficult, but just don't get it when I try!
Since I found HN, 6 months ago, I have spoke to some great people, been given very good advise. I have even started a project with iPhone app using outsourced developers but it's slow (try telling a Latvian how to orient a photo depening on type). I long to be a great programmer, I would love to have even LAMP skills (could do with your talent, get in touch if you want to work together).
One thing I do know, I'll make it, why? Cos all the cool talented talented programmers here reply.
This is why team-work is so important, because individually none of us can really hack it.
Sometimes I feel like I am an only alien in the middle of natives, but think about your school days. You didn't know everything you should know, if you had finished your grade.
I'm happy everday reading and learning any tiny bit of new things posted on HN. I hope someday I can comment more and even post my own writing.
There is no single person that can be an expert in every area. But widening your views just beyond one simple tool/technology is always beneficial, and thats what I primarily read this site for. I read this site for the "aha" moments. Also consider the amount of people that don't care enough to even think about the subject you talk about. Just by wanting more your getting ahead of them.
The goal is to develop a proper habits (of focusing and concentration) and increase self-esteem through them. Practice makes you "perfect".
Most of those people just started early and spent more time practicing. ^_^
Original Credit Card Data Portability announcement: http://www.braintreepaymentsolutions.com/blog/data-portabili...
Open Letter to the CEO's of Authorize.net and Paypal: Help End the Credit Card Data Hostage Situation http://www.braintreepaymentsolutions.com/blog/open-letter-to...
And, perhaps, persuasive. Total sales for Old Spice body wash at supermarkets, drugstores and mass market retailers excluding Wal-Mart were up 16.7% in the 52-week period ending June 13, according to SymphonyIRI Group, a Chicago-based market research firm.
So the yahoo article is singling out the one sub-brand of body wash in the Old Spice Man's hand (which is down) but the brand itself seems to be up. Now I don't know about the rest of you but I didn't even notice what specific type of Old Spice Body Wash he was holding and I don't think others had either. So I don't think that specific sub-brand's falling sales reflect on the ads at all.
(To give the appropriate plug I actually found the forbes link via this site: http://tinyurl.com/27d9aer)
I for one had never heard of Old Spice before, still haven't actually seen their product (not so prevalent here), but I do look out for it when I go to buy deodarant, since I want to try it out.
It's not stated if that's a new product or an established one they are talking about. Also, whilst they say one product is down, what about the others? If you dig into the bnet article (http://industry.bnet.com/advertising/10007535/the-old-spice-...) you see that the sales figures are for the 52 weeks upto the 13 June - long before the online campaign started.
All the yahoo video links fail to load properly for me. The mention YouTube but don't link to it all. They link to their own previous coverage for no good reason.
Those ads are clearly not targeted at women.
Ha! I must spend too much time around weightlifters/powerlifters. He looked a little scrawny to me.
Another interesting case of internet popularity not translating into sales was "Snakes on a Plane". From wikipedia:
"""Due to the Internet hype surrounding the film, industry analysts estimated the film's opening box office to be between US$20 million and US$30 million. While Snakes on a Plane did narrowly beat Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby for the number one position during its opening weekend, it did not meet these estimates and grossed only $US15.25 million in its opening days, a disappointment for New Line Cinema. ""
While I believe in the tech of statistical NLP, I question whether the quality of news articles automatically generated from other news and social media will be all that interesting.
I spend about 3 to 4 hours a week reading through Twitter, HN, and Reddit: half is to waste time in an enjoyable way and half is to find interesting articles to read, new useful projects, etc.
For me, Twitter is the most targeted because I follow people into the same tech that I am into. I also have several blogs I follow closely. A big part of it is enjoying authors' online personalities and having occasional email dialogs.
Can an automated system replace part of this experience? I don't think so.
What automated systems can do is cluster reading material and make good recommendations - but this is different than what (it sounds like) Wavii is trying to do.
Excellent! This is the one feature that I missed before.
Its from early 2008 but I found the discussion on public domain fascinating.
I've seen organizations where this is the only "safe" answer and nothing gets done. Sometimes people say "I don't know" when they actually know enough to make a decision.
while talking as well
"From the total lack of network to handset authentication, to the "Of course I'll give you my IMSI" message, to the iPhone that really wanted to talk to us. It all came as a surprise -- stunning to see what $1500 of USRP can do. Add a weak cipher trivially breakable after a few months of distributed table generation and you get the most widely deployed privacy threat on the planet."
GSM and GSM security are interesting topics but really hard to touch with your hands because of the difficulty of reading what's passing over the air. The more hackers will have access to equipments, the more secure will be our conversations in the long run.
Not sure what else to tell you. If you're passing off knowledge you pulled out your ass and are getting called on it, maybe you shouldn't do that. If it's speculation or if you're trying to be helpful but don't know for sure, then phrase it that way. Or if you can't take the criticism just keep your nose out of it.
I don't understand where the disconnect is to be honest.
Second, it's sometimes really hard to know. The best advice is to avoid speaking with absolute authority, unless you have evidence in hand to back up your shit. Even the experts get tripped up occasionally.
I guess my advice boils down to this: embrace being corrected because it means your knowledge has just been expanded, and approach all topics with a modicum of humility.
Of course, to do that, you need to have an open mind and always act on the safe side. Instead of saying: "You stupid idiot, haskell is not purely functional because there are monads", you're better with "I'm pretty sure haskell..." or "I think Haskell..". This way, you encourage people that might know more than you in that subject to speak and help you instead of aggressively attacking them.
There's nothing wrong in being wrong. And to be honest, I think it's the only way to learn :o
Way easier than to second guess yourself every turn.
In startups we talk about failure as an important part of the learning experience, so it applies to life in general too.
If yes, are the things you get called out on stuff you had previously categorized as stuff you "know"? If so, you need to think on the distinction between the two.
If not, then, what I do is this: If I know something to be correct I am happy to assert it. If I only believe it to be the case, I will caveat it with something like "It is my current understanding that..." and make it clear that I am not the font of all knowledge on the subject, and others may have a more informed opinion.
You can mentally prefix this whole answer with a "It is my current understanding that.."
What do you think of the opinion many people have..which is Do cats always land on their feet...even when they've been buttered e.t.c.
I just found this quote which I love:
"A man born in 1453, the year of the fall of Constantinople, could look back from his fiftieth year on a lifetime in which about eight million books had been printed, more perhaps than all the scribes of Europe had produced since Constantine founded his city in A.D. 330"
If working in Haskell reminded him of C (and the post is full of rubbish like this ), I'd imagine he didn't understand Haskell at all. This is on the order ranting about how lisp is sucky because of "all those parantheses".
"And don't even dare to mention Emacs, a lot of people don't like it.It's 2008 and creating a simple Haskell editor is not an rocket science"
A supposed "lisper" saying this is hilarious. Many lisps (CLisp, CMUCL, Clojure) reccomend Emacs + slime as "their" editor (and take a lot of heat from uninformed ranters for not having an Eclipse like IDE!) .
To top it all he claims Lisp was "divinely inspired" whereas the lowly Haskell is "unblessed". (The basis fr his weird analogy, the linked martial arts "ryu" vs "do" article is an interesting read though)
I quote "Haskell is one of those 'unblessed ', modern do languages sharing company with c++, java, c#, OCaml, F# etc"
He didn't program anything significant in Haskell, didn't "get" it any way and yet is sure of its inferior nature.
This reminds me of an old HN post of a similar rant by a Clojure fanboi titled "Clojure VS Python". He had gems like "A man with a thousand knives...of which none are sharp. It's a chinese proverb ..(which) can also be used to describe Python. ". I wonder if it is the same guy? [EDIT. No it isn't)
[EDIT here it is http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=881642].
Contrast with what an ultra competent lisper said about Haskell (Rich Hickey, dismissing another uninformed anti Haskell rant on the Clojure mailing list[ http://groups.google.com/group/clojure/msg/32b11b22ec104d4d]
"Everyone, please refrain from language wars. Haskell is a tremendously ambitious and inspiring language, for which I have the highest respect. There is zero point in bashing it (or its users) in this forum. "
The post itself is nothing more than uninformed fanboi ranting, but on HN, even dumb posts result in high quality discussion (as is already happening - silentbicycle's comments on unification for e.g), but it would have been really awesome to get an intelligent and well thought out post on "A (competent) Lisper's reaction to Haskell"
 another sample: "Case sensitive - why does types has to start with uppercase and functions with lowercase. "
Its type checks can be incredibly useful for finding code needing updates during refactoring, automatically verifying things that would otherwise require writing reams of tedious tests, etc. It's a trade-off, though - you're deliberately structuring your code so that your assumptions can be mechanically checked. This is very much a matter of taste, and I understand having strong opinions either way. (I go back and forth on it.)
Stupid type systems suck hard, though - smart static typing (ML and Haskell) and full dynamic typing (possibly with optional static annotations) both work well, but in between lies pain and misery.
Also, look at the follow-up: (http://tourdelisp.blogspot.com/2008/03/farewell-haskell.html) I feel like he barely tried.
I love lispers. I always learn something from their writings, and generally admire their prose. There seems to be some correlation between deftness of expression in fingernail-clipping languages and deftness of expression in English.
I don't quote the above part as an example of that, but rather because I find the contrast to be damned funny. Somewhere in the deep, misty recesses of history there was a divinely-inspired Ryu for some natural language that was an ascestor to English, and that Ryu said that sentences were simple - subject, verb, and an optional direct object: "Thag hunt beast", or "Narg die".
Yet those who want an obscenely simple syntactic kernel to build everything on seem to be adroit with compound-complex sentences, replete with gerunds, prepositional and participle phrases, appositives, interjections, and modifiers galore.
Just once I'd like to see a critique of a syntactically complex functional language like haskell that's written entirely in caveman. It would sound more honest.
Can we stop doing this, please? This is just a really cheap way of driving traffic to a blog. All you have to do is tinker with something for a few days and write an inflammatory post. I'd rather read the analysis of someone who's written a decent-sized program in it.
Most programmers who achieve mastery in a fringe language find themselves having to justify their choice of tool to others. I think that poster did a good job in that regard.
Btw, Lisp vs Haskell debates can either lead to intellectually stimulating discussions, or they can devolve into a bum-fight. The decision that leads to the choice of either language over something more "popular" is the same: a quest for beauty and profound insight.
I like macros, but, as a scientific programmer, I know the type of everything in my program (double-precision floating point numbers and aggregations thereof), and I don't want to play some guessing game where I figure out which types I have to declare to get something to run fast. Same with garbage collection (what! the GC might move this while LAPACK bashes on it? I need to explicitly tell it not to? Fuck!).
emacs + paredit is also the best structured editing tool I have used in any language.
I much prefer unification.
1. Comparing local and remote files
$ ssh email@example.com "cat /tmp/remotefile" | diff - /tmp/localfile
2. Outputting your microphone to a remote computer's speaker
dd if=/dev/dsp | ssh -c arcfour -C username@host dd of=/dev/dsp
- Get a cheap development box (Linode, Slicehost, etc.)
- Set Firefox to use Socks Host 127.0.0.1:8080
- Open up your terminal and enter this: ssh -C2qTnN -D 8080 firstname.lastname@example.org
Et voilà, you're tunneling all your browser traffic through the development box.
Host *.internal.workdomain.com ProxyCommand ssh gateway.workdomain.com nc %h 22 ForwardAgent yes User <username>
scp config bender.internal.workdomain.com: scp bender.internal.workdomain.com:logfile .
Got a computer behind a firewall whose configuration you don’t have access to? It’s pretty easy to get the computer behind the firewall to poke out to another server. (step 1, from the computer you wish to access) derwiki@firewalledcomputer:~$ ssh -R localhost:2002:localhost:22 mypublicserver.com (step 2, from any computer than can access mypublicserver.com) derwiki@mylaptopontheinternet:~$ ssh mypublicserver.com -p 2002 (authenticate) derwiki@firewalledcomputer:~$
Host backup-server HostName backup.example.com User backup IdentityFile ~/.ssh/backup_dsa
$ ssh backup-server
Also, control sockets.
ssh -T host
(of course syslog still sees you).
if available, ssh-copy-id(1) is an easier way of setting up passwordless ssh(1).
note also that openssh supports on-demand proxying via SOCKS4/5: check out ssh -D. this makes it easy to pipe all web traffic (for example) over ssh.
I usually bookmarks the Tramp sessions of the frequently visited servers to avoid retyping the host url and logon setting.
>ssh -X email@example.com will connect you. >gedit file.txt
will launch a remote instance (viewable locally) of gedit with the remote file.txt loaded and ready for editing. Especially good for those who don't like command line editors (note: gedit must be installed on the remote machine for the example to work.)
Also, as others have mentioned, -D is pretty useful (SOCKS proxy).
1. A guy comes out of nowhere and files a lawsuit in a state court in Allegany County, New York (population: about 50,000 - http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/36003.html).
2. The lawsuit is filed on June 30, 2010 and consists of a grand total of 2 pages of allegations, coupled with a request for relief (see http://www.scribd.com/doc/34239119/Ceglia-v-Zuckerberg-compl...).
3. Among the substantive allegations are absurdly wrong ones (from a lawyer standpoint), such as the allegation in paragraph 3 that Facebook is a "domestic corporation" in New York. Facebook is in fact a foreign corporation that is qualified to do business in New York, as is shown by the very attachment the lawyer appends to the complaint itself (Exhibit B). I make this point only to highlight a certain level of sloppiness that attends this whole matter. This is hardly a mark of top-flight lawyering.
4. The contract states that it is entered into as a "Purchase agreement and 'work made for hire' that reflects two separate business ventures," the first for something called StreetFax Database and the second for the "continued development of the software, programs, and for the purchase and design of a suitable website for the project Seller has already initiated that is designed to offer the students of Harvard university [sic] access to a website similar to a live functioning yearbook with the working title 'The Face Book'." Mr. Ceglia was to pay to Mr. Zuckerberg $1,000 for the work he did on StreetFax and an additional $1,000 for the work he did on "The Face Book." In turn, Mr. Ceglia was to receive (with respect to the "Face Book" work, the following: "It is agreed that the Purchaser will own a half interest (50%) in the software, programming language and business interests derived from the expansion of that service to a larger audience." The contract then provides that "the agreed upon completion for the expanded project with working title 'The Face Book' shall be January 1, 2004 and an additional 1% interest in the business will be due the buyer for each day the website is delayed from that date."
5. The agreement appears to be a canned document and is poorly drafted. Since its terms appear to be heavily slanted in favor of Mr. Ceglia, it is probably fair to assume that this was his form of contract which he presented to Mr. Zuckerberg (then a student) to sign.
6. The complaint then alleges that the website was completed on February 4, 2004 (paragraph 7) and asserts that Mr. Ceglia is therefore entitled to an extra 34% of "the business," (paragraph 8) or 84% in total.
7. A few comments on the above:
(a) can anyone say "vagueness" and "uncertainty" as serious problems with this contract? with no company formed at the time, this is a guy who essentially hired Mr. Zuckerberg to develop a website that was to be like a "live yearbook" and who claims that he is to have an 84% stake in any future expansion of that idea to be made by Mr. Zuckerberg, no matter what form it took and no matter who else contributed value to build that business; this in essence is a claim by Mr. Ceglia that, at any time and under under any circumstances, he can pull a piece of paper out of his pocket and claim a perpetual non-dilutable stake in somebody's company based on a work-for-hire contract for a small development fee done before that company was even to be formed; thus, every founder who might work in that company, even for years, every investor who might invest in it, and every other stakeholder (including innocent purchasers for value who bought shares in the company in secondary trading), all such persons were to work, sweat, and toil, taking huge risks all the while, and all were to be subject to dilution - except for Mr. Ceglia, who could take his sweet time and come forward at any time with his claim of an 84% non-dilutable interest;
(b) if not vagueness, how about an unenforceable penalty? How would you react to someone who told you he would pay $1,000 for some development work and then take 1% of your company for every day delay in completing the project? Such terms are outrageous to say the least and probably serve to render the entire contract unenforceable, particular when the contract as a whole amounts to an alleged non-dilutable stake in a business no matter what future form it might take;
(c) how about statutes of limitations? New York apparently has a 6-year statute for breach of a written agreement. If the work was done by February 4, 2004, then Mr. Zuckerberg's obligation to perform would have started on that date. The complaint was filed on June 30, 2010, well past the 6-year deadline. Thus, on its face, the claim appears to be time-barred. One can of course allege facts for why the statute did not begin to run until a later date. This complaint fails to do so.
(d) Other equitable defenses would almost certainly apply so as to preclude assertion of any claim for equitable relief after such a long delay (laches being the most obvious - I discussed this in an earlier comment, http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1509601).
Thus, all in all, a lawsuit full of holes is built up by sensationalist reporting into a supposed major threat to Facebook and to Mr. Zuckerberg.
This is where the reporting becomes interesting. I think this relates to a strong impulse to see Mr. Zuckerberg get some sort of comeuppance for whatever reason.
The case got major headlines nationwide because a judge in a small state court entered a TRO, with the reports touting the idea that this gave the claim more gravitas because judges do not enter a TRO lightly. Yet this judge did just that. He entered the order even though the defendants had been given no notice of the application and even though the plaintiff made no showing whatever of likelihood of success on the merits and of alleged irreparable harm that he would suffer if the defendants were not enjoined from transferring assets while the TRO was in effect (see the brief filed by Facebook making these points, http://www.scribd.com/doc/34240120/Ceglia-v-Facebook-Motion-...). Without getting into technicalities, this amounts to a court having concluded that the TRO had to be entered to cover a 15-day period in which Mr. Ceglia might otherwise suffer irreparable harm absent a court order barring any transfer of Facebook assets during that period. After a nearly 7-year delay, it is basically absurd that such an order should have been entered. No possible harm could have come to Mr. Ceglia over a 15-day period that would have been any different from whatever risk he had faced for the nearly 7 years pre-dating the order. Thus, the TRO was ill-conceived at best and the federal court to which this case was removed immediately stayed its effect upon getting the case (the parties have since agreed to allow it to expire and die a merciful death).
In this piece, then, we get a subtitle stating or implying that the claims made by Facebook's lawyers (that this lawsuit was frivolous) were in themselves frivolous. Why? Because we now have an admission by Mr. Zuckerberg's lawyers that he did indeed sign the contract. This is then touted as some sort of setback for Facebook's case.
From a lawyer's standpoint, this is all really weird. This case is full of holes and represents at best a wild swing at Facebook and Mr. Zuckerberg. The contract is worded in a flaky manner. The terms themselves are outrageous by any measure (think about you would react if someone claimed a perpetual stake in whatever you did just because he paid you a small fee for a minor development effort). The lawyering in support is slipshod at best. Yet, in spite of all this, the reporting on it is building continual momentum such that it is perceived as a serious problem for the company and all because a judge entered an ill-conceived TRO and because of the basically irrelevant fact that Mr. Zuckerberg's lawyers admit that he signed the contract (a fact never previously denied). Yes, this all makes for high drama, but it also makes for highly inaccurate reporting on the legal merits of what is happening.
At most, in my view, this case represents a nuisance claim against Facebook, as no court in the world is about to prejudice the interests of innocent investors, co-founders, employees and the like for the sake of some guy who comes out of the woodwork after long delays with a wildly worded contract that is of dubious enforceability. While a court might be more open to entertaining a claim against Mr. Zuckerberg personally, even that is so dubious here as to be barely worth considering.
There are obviously many people who want to see Mr. Zuckerberg get what is due to him but this will not be the channel by which that might happen, notwithstanding the reporting on the case. In the end, this will be tried to a federal court and not in the blogs. And, in the courts, this thing is going nowhere.
I am, by the way, no apologist for Mr. Zuckerberg and have been quite critical of his actions in relation to the whole ConnectU mess (which does pose a serious risk for him and for Facebook, as I discussed in an earlier comment, http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1362379).
We strongly suspect the contract is forged. We have not seen the original (no one has). Thus, we’re focusing on the things that are not open to interpretation and are indisputable -- Mark could not have given interest in a company that didn’t exist or and idea he had not thought of yet and, even if he could, the statute of limitations has expired.
Bret Taylor, Facebook CTO
Facebook paid [ConnectU] $65m to go away.
to be the most interesting. I don't follow the Facebook story very closely, but I had no idea that much money changed hands over the ConnectU thing.
What portion of Facebook does Zuckerberg still own?