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2
Ask HN: Using search ads to target potential employers Good or Bad?
4 points by taylorlb  5 hours ago   5 comments top 3
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patio11 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Let's say that between thinking this up, questioning the utility of it, asking HN, and actually implementing it takes only one hour.

You know what you could do in an hour, trivially? Find the person who can say "Hire Taylorlb" and invite them to lunch or coffee. Alternatively, find someone who they trust and get a warm intro like "Still looking for a $FOO? You should talk to Taylorlb."

You can try more exotic ways to break into $TARGET but walking through the open front door is a good place to start. Bonus points: many people competing with you are pathologically unable to find the front door because they think it is cheating.

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nostrademons 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it would be creepy to target rank & file employees of your target employer with FB ads. Most of them aren't in a position to help anyway.

It might be interesting to buy AdWords on your name so your preferred spiel comes up when people Google you. I'm not sure if it's all that much more effective than just having a decent homepage though.

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kirillzubovsky 5 hours ago 1 reply      
What type of work do you want to do that startup? If it's something marketing related, then use marketing tricks, but if you want to write code, then make something useful for their startup and offer, perhaps, as open source. Unless you are trying to brainwash them to remember your photo subconsciously, ads aren't going to do any good.
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Ask HN: About launching a .FM music web service
2 points by atarian  2 hours ago   discuss
4
Ask HN: Is freelance statistics/machine-learning consulting viable?
8 points by HN-regular  8 hours ago   9 comments top 5
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mechanical_fish 7 hours ago 4 replies      
I've worked in academic laboratories, and I've been a software consultant. Nonetheless, the following is all speculation...

And my guess is that you'll find this to be a hard sell. I certainly wouldn't try it unless you can find other folks in this line of business who can tell you the ropes, or at least provide the existence proof that it works. If you can't find anyone else, that is a very bad sign.

The first problem is the packaging. It's easier to sell a PHP consultant than a generic "I'm a smart person who can learn your language of choice in a weekend and then hack for you" consultant. It's easier to sell a Drupal consultant than a generic PHP consultant. And it's easier to sell a Drupal consultant who is the world expert on, say, Drupal ecommerce or migrating data into Drupal than it is to sell a generic Drupal consultant.

So starting a consultancy is (surprise, surprise) a lot like starting any business: You need to find product-market fit. The good news, though, is that unlike the startup world you're not racing to find product-market fit: Your product by definition will not scale (if the customer could buy the solution in a $89 box from Google, they obviously wouldn't hire consultants) so you can just find other consultants and clone their product. If the market is at all healthy, those consultants will probably help you clone their product, and thank you for it: A bigger ocean floats all boats, and the others need a steady supply of new blood to help them pay the hotel bills for their industry conferences.

So if there's a market for, e.g., SAS consultants, learn SAS and call yourself a SAS consultant. Is there a well-known standard tool, or up-and-coming-standard tool, in your industry that everyone wants to use but nobody knows how to set up? That's a good candidate for a marketing hook.

I think you've identified your other, larger problems: A) Customers want in-house employees because learning the ins and outs of the customers' data and techniques is a long-term process, and B) everyone is super-secretive, because data is incredibly expensive stuff to acquire and leaking the data at the wrong time is like handing your competitors bundles of thousand-dollar bills. To that I would add problem C): Your target market is either (i) academics, who have relatively little money, relatively long timelines ("I'll request some grant money to pay your consulting fee; I'll let you know in a year if we get accepted"), and access to grad-student labor at below-market rates; or (ii) big companies, which tend to be able to afford in-house staffs, and will do so, because their secrecy concerns are even larger than usual.

There might be a category (iii): small-to-mid-size companies that can't afford an in-house statistician. Maybe you can find and target that market. But it might not be fun: By definition your market doesn't have much money, so they're going to try to hire you at below-market rates; they're going to try to get you to accept grand promises of future wealth in lieu of cash; they're going to nickel-and-dime you every step of the way, risking the quality of the work in the process; and of course there's the exciting possibility that they won't pay you at all. Make friends among the client's clerical staff, and have them keep an ear open for signs of potential bankruptcy. ;)

My suggestion is that you figure out what service the in-house statisticians inside well-funded companies would pay for, and then offer that. Don't try to be the rent-to-own in-house statistician for a company that has no statistician; Instead, offer a service that an in-house statistician would love to have but can't find the time or skill to do on her own. Of course, how does one best learn what in-house statisticians really want? By being one for a while. Take one of those jobs that are throwing themselves at your feet, hold it for a couple of years if you can, and tell yourself that it's market research for your future consulting firm.

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patio11 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have a track record of making competitors or peer organizations staggering amounts of money, what you actually do is almost irrelevant. So yes, I vote "viable.". Heck, for certain (very simple) definitions of statistics, I already do it.

Pricing: charge more. Too much work? Raise rates. Repeat until satisfied.

Criteria for success: you'll likely have more understanding than customers of the likely outcomes of engagements, so communicate as best as possible, but ultimately the engagement is a success if they are happy with the outcome and is a failure if they are not. This counsels listening very carefully when they say what worries them, and taking an active role in picking any success metrics.

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earl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
One guy who (apparently) successfully does it is Joseph Turian [1]. He is on HN [2] and quora.

The reason I think you may have a hard time finding work is that, in my experience, and I believe this to be a widely help opinion, you get far more out of careful feature selection, cleaning, and filtering; and careful hand tooling of algorithms to your domain than out of your raw ML tech. This has been my experience at two companies (no names since there are tools on HN who like to make posts out to be representative of the company, but if you want I'm happy to discuss over email.) The problem then, for you, is that this augurs poorly for hiring external consultants because the hard part is domain specific knowledge and you don't want that to walk out the door. To the extent that people want help setting up common toolkits like R, lucene, elastic search, weka, mahout, vowpal rabbit, etc, there could be lucrative work.

I'm actually pretty curious about this myself. In fact, if you want to discuss offline, drop me an email.

Good luck.

[1] http://metaoptimize.com/blog/

[2] http://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=bravura

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gexla 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"And I don't really want to start a startup at this stage, because I don't want to have to do all the other work associated with that."

Contracting yourself to others is a startup. It's a business and you do have to do all the other work associated with that. The first step in being successful as a contractor is taking it seriously and recognizing it as a real business.

As for finding the work, I don't know how to help you there. You could take a look through a site like Elance to see how much work there is available there.

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_dps 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been doing this successfully for a few years now and come from a very similar background (scientific computing, had one foot in academia, initially had mixed feelings about a startup). It's not that hard to find the work if you know where to look (I work primarily with seed stage or series A stage startups, but have worked with a few fortune 500s). It's a high-variance sort of situation, but I do go through phases where I have to turn down work (a good sign to raise your price on subsequent engagements!). I'd be happy to chat about my experiences in detail (email in my profile).

For the sake of the HN discussion, I'll say that it's a lot easier to use ML/stats consulting as a "sales lubricant" on top of custom software development. The kinds of details you can tease out from most business data aren't usually actionable without some kind of software that "closes the loop" (e.g. a behavioral targeting system for customizing a web experience).

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Is _blank (HTML) basically an un-necessary popup?
2 points by msacks  3 hours ago   5 comments top 4
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makecheck 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Whenever a web site has chosen a link target on my behalf, it has been wrong; and what's more, "wrong" for me varies by device (e.g. on a desktop computer I don't use tabs and often want full control over spawning windows; whereas on an iPad with a tabbed browser I usually want tabs created automatically, but not always!).

I think the rule of "least surprise" applies; the least surprising thing for a link to do is to not specify a target at all, leaving the behavior up to the browser (where the browser in turn bows to user preferences and user overrides such as contextual menus). For example, on my iPad I already configure my browser so that different-domain links open in new tabs but same-domain links do not, and I set preferences for a reason: because it's my preferred behavior. These are things the web site couldn't possibly know about me, so the web site basically risks annoying me if they try to override my expectations.

If a web site must feel the need to fiddle with "target" (which I personally think they should not), I think the bare minimum they should do is include an icon or some hint next to non-standard links to indicate what will happen when the links are used. This is another thing that browsers could theoretically do by themselves, since they have all the information about link targets at rendering time.

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kingofspain 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it would somewhat depend on your audience. The tech crowd may find it annoying but I know people who get immensely annoyed at having been taken away from the site they are reading after clicking a link. That's possibly all wrong but that's the way it is sometimes.

Personally I've been conditioned over the years to expect _blank on blogs so I don't think leaving it in will cause any great tremors in the force. TBH, taking it out probably won't make any real difference anyway. So, er, my point is

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chetan51 3 hours ago 0 replies      
For most cases (like yours), using _blank would just annoy users. If they want a new tab, they'll open one, and if they don't but want to come back, they'll just hit the back button.

The only place where using it makes sense to me is on a web app or sign up / payment page which you don't want the user to accidentally leave and lose the state of.

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adyus 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Depending on who your target demographic is, you could make certain assumptions. Without reading your blog (but judging by the CMD in your post), I assume you use a Mac and write about tech.
You could then assume that your readers know how to open links in a new tab, thus you might decide to remove the _blank.
If your blog is geared toward readers with less experience, you might want to leave it in.
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Ask HN: Good books and resources about computer simulations.
4 points by TeMPOraL  9 hours ago   discuss
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Ask HN: physical prints: how do they do it?
5 points by petervandijck  11 hours ago   1 comment top
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byoung2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It would make the most sense to outsource it. A small company printing photos will never be able to do it as cheaply as a photo lab that processes a large volume of prints. The lab will have better equipment, and since they buy supplies in bulk, their costs will be lower. For example, Shutterfly has a professional print service, and I'm sure there are others that focus on the B2B market.
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For the love of God, YC companies-to-be stop posting ambiguous job description
352 points by startupcto  2 days ago   88 comments top 24
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TheSkeptic 2 days ago 10 replies      
YC S11 Company Seeks Uber Python Dev

We're a young company that's so hot, we melt ice in our sleep. Some of our investors even believe we're responsible for global warming. Out hotness is to be expected: our 5 founders hail from top engineering schools, and one even won $5,000 in a single night playing online poker when he was 13 (for reals).

Our users? Cooler than a polar bear's toe nails. Think Tom from MySpace, but even cooler. They're young, they love technology and they all have fat bank accounts. Oh, they're all beautiful people too.

Our trajectory is clear: extreme penetration of a lucrative niche market in Year 1, and world domination in Year 2. We've already grown 500% in our first 2 weeks after launch. See http://yfrog.com/kfu2tcj

We're looking for an awesome Python developer with a big ego and low self-esteem. Someone who knows he's the sheeeeet but doesn't want to prove it at a big company that does lame stuff like QA. Someone who can down a can of Coke and a box of Mentos and then go on to devour a four-course meal of web-scale challenges the likes of which no other startup has ever faced. Seriously.

What do we offer? Put simply, The Life. As an early employee, you'll receive a salary that will enable you to rent a condo in Palo Alto with 3 other startup dude roommates, a huge equity stake that will be massively diluted as we raise new rounds of funding from some of the most respected angels and VCs in the Valley, and the ginormous confidence that comes with knowing you're changing the world one unique visitor at a time.

If you're ready to take your awesomeness to the next level and think you have what it takes to hang, send us an email at socially.awkward.hipster.startup@gmail.com and tell us why we shouldn't laugh at your Github account.

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nirvana 2 days ago 3 replies      
Maybe it's just because I'm "old" or have been around the block, but hyperbole in a job description really turns me off. The harder the sell, the less I trust the seller. Actually this is true everywhere.

Further, you can tell us what the business is, and what is compelling about it, without giving up the secret sauce. You can even mention the secret sauce without giving up the secret.

EG, if your startup was google: We're building a revolutionary search engine using the social proof inherent in the web to give people results that are far more relevant than Yahoo and Inktomi. There, did I give away the page rank algorithm? No, but I did reveal the compelling advantage that google had: they figured out how to derive social proof from the web... which at the time was unheard of.

Even if that's too revealing.... at least talk about your technology stack. If you write a 500 word essay and the only mentions of technology is that you use "rails/node.js" -- something at first blush seems like not a choice but a pair of choices-- you're being evasive one something you have no reason to be evasive on. "We're using rails to host the primary web app, and node.js to run a really nice realtime updating system, blah blah blah."

You can talk about that... and you are giving candidates an opportunity to know what you're like based on your technology choices and how you talk about technology.

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pg 2 days ago 2 replies      
My apologies on behalf of YC. I deleted that job post, and asked the companies in this batch not to post this sort of thing anymore.
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mtogo 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is how the second posting came across to me:

==================================================

Wassup broz.

We're an awesome new startup that totally kicks ass and we drink alot of beer and stufzlol.

Anyway, we need a nodejs ninja rockstar bro to chill with us and write some codez.

We aint gunna tell you what we do cuz thats not how we roll but email us at throw.away@gmail.com
==================================================

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mindcrime 2 days ago 1 reply      
Heh, I agree, that second one is rubbish. It seems like they're trying real hard to paint a picture of how young and energetic and fun they are... but then didn't say the first word about the product they're building. I don't know about the rest of you, but all the "young, hip, energetic, red-bull drinking, prank pulling startup vibe" stuff isn't terribly interesting to me, compared to knowing something about the actual, ya know, work.

As they say "it's called work for a reason."

Sure, we all (well, mostly all) want a fun, happy workplace... but if I'm working on something that's mind-numbingly boring, I'm going to zone out and not give a flip about the red-bull and the nerf fights and the after-work LAN parties and all that B.S., in about 2 minutes.

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bhousel 2 days ago 3 replies      
It would actually be clever if they are both for the same job and that company is just split testing their job descriptions.
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ajaimk 2 days ago 1 reply      
The top 3 things I look for when picking a job:

- The people I'll be working with
- The product I'll be working on
- The job I'll be doing

These posts are way to ambiguous to answer these real questions. The only questions they do answer is that you were good enough to get into YC. If you want someone to apply for the job just cause you are a YC company, tough luck - the applicants are gonna suck big time.

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rhizome 2 days ago 0 replies      
The cheerleaders are beginning to arrive on the scene. Everyone in the company should be outgoing, fun, super-communicative and ready to party. You know: nerds.
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proexploit 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I can understand the various arguments for a need to be somewhat secretive and that's fine. That being said, there's some no-brainer concepts to include in a job listing if you want it to be worth your time.

#1) Don't just say what the job title is, be clear on what it means to you. I've had job interviews for a "frontend developer" be anything from a PSD-slicer to a 95% backend coder.

#2) If you want a passionate employee (you do), you need to give enough information about your company so they can tell if it interests them. I could care less what cool technology you use if I don't know whether I'm reforming healthcare or inventing new ways to impose banking fees. You can say what you do without providing any sort of specific information.

#3) Sarcasm online can be very easily misinterpreted. I suggest being upfront and professional in any job posting but if you must use some kind of sarcasm, be sure to note it.

Note: This is by no means a complete list, simply some reoccurring issues I've seen during my recent job search.
Edit: Formatting.

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StyleOwner 2 days ago 1 reply      
In this hiring environment I'm not above the occasional shameless plug. Your point about vagueness is well taken, but I'd have to write 3 pages to really give you a detailed understanding and I'd rather just show it all to you over a beer.

My company is hiring:

We do e-commerce where people can set up their own fashion boutique -- we have a massive catalog full of top-tier designer products. We have made incredible partnerships with brands, the fashion industry, etc. People who set up stores facilitate social shopping via their store and make a small commission per sale. If you don't get why this is cool b/c you wear sweatpants or the same pair of jeans, that's OK, I have data to show you.

Our site, www.styleowner.com is solid on the backend but needs a lot of frontend love. If you like backbone.js, web standards, etc., come join us and help make it one of the best sites on the web. Backend developers wanted too however. We use Ruby, Sinatra, DataMapper, Node, Redis and more. Interest in IOS is also a plus.

We're hiring for 2-3 positions. We are looking to make some key hires right now and the goal is a superb team.

If you're in San Fran let me meet with you over coffee or beers and show you our codebase, tell you in incredible detail what we're working on, etc. I'd also like to see some of your code. The goal is to give you an idea if you want to work on our app and what that would entail over at least the next few months.

We're funded by Accel, have great investors, etc. The only challenge has been in tech hiring b/c if you're good you probably already have a job you enjoy. So give it a shot and meet us and see what you think.

Putting together an awesome engineering team is our #1 priority. We're in the stage where we're making key hires and ramping up.

email matt@styleowner.com

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sprovoost 2 days ago 2 replies      
That last link has the word "bptumblr" in their Amazon EC3 link. If you Google that term, you get a bunch of porn sites. That might explain their popularity in random bars and early profitability :-)
12
jsavimbi 2 days ago 1 reply      
Agreed. #2 appears to be very concerned with interesting they see themselves while #1 appears to understand that a) finding talent is hard and b) they need to convince someone to work for them based on the interesting things they're working on (or they're just savvy on what keywords to use).

You also have to consider that many of these YC companies are young, small and inexperienced, regardless of their job descriptions, so take it with a grain of salt before you commit to anyone. These guys could pivot at any given moment, change technology stack on a dime (just happened to me), fire you because you don't fit in, etc.

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logjam 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not looking for a job, but do occasionally see one here that may fit someone I know, and I pass it on....but only if I don't see (for the 10,000th time) vapid marketing-speak like "join a team of rock stars" or "wanna rock with us?", or "rock our stars" or whatever. I have nothing against actual rock stars (musicians), but if you're basically a bunch of marketing or management suits, you're the farthest thing from a "rock star" imaginable.
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pagekalisedown 2 days ago 2 replies      
And spare me terms like "ninajas" and "rockstars".
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nlh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Allow me to ask what may be a silly question:

If you're looking to hire someone by posting a public job description, why are you unwilling to say who you are?

The older and more experienced I get, the more the notion of "secret companies" (aka stealth mode) seems absurd. The CIA might need to keep secrets. A web technology company does not. Like another poster said, nobody's suggesting that you have to reveal your deepest darkest technology special sauce in your job posting.

But why not at least reveal the name and nature of your business? It's fairly relevant.

16
BrentRitterbeck 1 day ago 0 replies      
I fully agree. I often wonder why the posts are something similar to the following:

Young company looking for C++ programmers to help create a small fraction of the functionality provided by a Bloomberg terminal for a small fraction of the price of a Bloomberg terminal. Financial knowledge appreciated, but not required.

NOTE: If I had more than a few hours a week to work on such a thing, and I didn't have a large amount of student debt, then this would be a posting I would eventually like to make. For now, the above is only meant to serve as an example of how I think a job posting should read.

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feydr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I just don't understand why all these announcements say stuff like 'we have 150k users' -- but they won't even mention their name? I understand if you are IN 'stealth mode' but if you have so hundreds of thousands of users -- that's not exactly stealth anymore is it
18
dan_manges 1 day ago 0 replies      
I actually liked some things in the "YC S11 Company Seeks Rails Architect" post. Not the hyperbole and fluff, but the details on growth, trajectory, culture, current team, etc. I'd be more specific, but since the post was deleted, I can't reference it.

The "Summer 2011 YC company seeks CoffeeScript drinking frontend engineer" post seems very generic to me. It's nice that they mention the industry they're working in, but otherwise, I didn't pick up on much differentiation in the job description from other companies looking to fill a similar role (and the post nearly admits that itself, at the end).

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waterside81 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thank you for saying this more bluntly then I did:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2659445

I was trying to be a bit more diplomatic but my feeling was the same. It serves no purpose to be so discrete all the time.

20
issa 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know rock stars. Rock stars are friends of mine. Programmers are not rock stars.

Seriously though, whoever started the whole rockstar/ninja thing should be punished. This is programming. Forget sex, drugs, rock-n-roll and throwing stars. I want to work with people who always know where their towel is.

21
Havoc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly the company in the second example is making gigawidgets.
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brackin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree, they want to remain stealthy and keep the prying eyes of journalists and rivals out but need to be able to convince potential employees to actually contact them.
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blockbeta 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agree 100%. Whether a job description, Web page, brochure or any other vehicle, real communications say what they mean and don't use euphemisms. These generic descriptions are probably copied and that's pure laziness.
24
chmike 2 days ago 3 replies      
This comment will probably cost me some karma but the "for the love of god" makes me feel uncomfortable. I assume it is used as an expression and not as proselytism or whatever.

Replace god in this expression by gays, Allah, children, science, music, bits or whatever and you may experience the same feeling I had. And it doesn't provide any useful and constructive information to the main point.

10
Ask HN: What are the best technologies you've worked with this year?
5 points by inovica  12 hours ago   6 comments top 6
1
wisty 9 hours ago 0 replies      
MongoDB, and CouchDB. Both very similar, very different databases. MongoDB is fast (they say it's almost as fast as writing to /dev/null), has cool update features (i.e. increment count by 4, if count is less than 10), and great documentation, but it's dangerously unreliable by default.

CouchDB is rock solid, and has a very nice map-reduce setup (allowing your aggregations to update themselves quite quickly as underlying data changes), but the documentation is very bare, and it's not very fast (somewhere between 50 updates per second, to 3000 updates per second, depending on how you do things).

2
jefflinwood 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Enyo. The HP Touchpad has an amazing JavaScript framework that's completely unlike jQuery Mobile or anything else I've seen in the space.
3
ryanfitz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
4
rvijapurapu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been using Gaelyk for some of the projects. It's incredibly intuitive and simple enough for new developers to learn.

I have also played around with Sinatra for a hobby project but did not dig deep into it.

As most of the work I do is Java related, I have to say I'm impressed with Spring Roo it's got serious potential.

6
petervandijck 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Scala and Play.
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Brother Needs Help Learning to Program
7 points by chirp  17 hours ago   8 comments top 4
1
Jebdm 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Can you be more specific about why he wants to learn programming? What is he hoping to do with it?

If he's smart and dedicated, I recommend SICP, but it's fairly difficult (and assumes things like exposure to calculus): http://mitpress.mit.edu/sicp/full-text/book/book.html

Think Python is a bit easier, but still good: http://greenteapress.com/thinkpython/thinkpython.pdf

3
NinetyNine 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This book will get him up and running fastest and with the most competency.

http://learnpythonthehardway.org/

4
TMK 16 hours ago 1 reply      
To learn programming with python he should head to the python documents page. http://docs.python.org/py3k/tutorial/index.html

To learn programming with PHP he should head to the PHP manual. http://www.php.net/manual/en/

To learn C or C++ I suggest on reading the standards, even though they might be somewhat hard to understand, but they have the best information available on those languages.

For C http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/WG14/www/docs/n1256.pdf
For C++ http://www.open-std.org/jtc1/sc22/wg21/docs/papers/2010/n309...

12
Ask HN: Career Change to something without computers
25 points by mattm  21 hours ago   41 comments top 15
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kunley 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I worked at a building site for a year in a remote place. That was non-profit actually (I also didn't have to spend money for being there) - building a meditation center with friends, but it was great time of my life. I got healthy and had a change to just think of some ideas without rush. I returned to the business with savings somewhat reduced , but with new energy to do stuff.

I think with some courage any physical job will do (edit: the one actually curing not worsening your health problems), because as hackers we learn to not give up and not be distracted by failures. Thus, I'd choose an occupation usually done in a nice healthy environment - like carpentry.

Of course, you will start from a zero level and will earn funny small amount of bucks. But I guess it's not the point (and you will probably don't need much, assuming you don't have a family dependent on you).

I really think physical working is so underrated. It builds your constitution slowly but in a way that cannot be achieved in a gym, because it happens in a natural way, not artificially.

2
aaronbrethorst 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Do the health issues stem from being in front of a computer, or sitting at the computer?

Even if you transition over to a career as a bike messenger[1], the odds are pretty good that an alternative career will require you to spend a significant amount of time sitting, either in conference rooms or in front of a computer.

Although I have yet to take the plunge, I hear nothing but good things from people who have transitioned to standing desks (one example: http://lifehacker.com/5735528/why-and-how-i-switched-to-a-st...).

[1] I'm sure sitting on a bike is better for you than sitting on a chair, discounting potential concerns like being run over by a car.

3
wallflower 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Re: Health Issues

Assuming they are RSI related:

I highly recommend "Conquering Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Other Repetitive Strain Injuries" by Sharon Butler

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1572240393

RSI cannot be cured but it can be managed. For those of you who are fortunate to be able to take keyboard input for granted, please be wary of any soreness or minor pain. Over time, pain and soreness can become chronic. The bright side is dealing with RSI forces you to realize that you cannot take your career for granted; it gives you perspective.

Good luck! Be wary of magic solutions, something may not work for you.

Changing careers is not as black and white as most careers require significant computer work. You cannot escape computers in this modern age. Get the best help that you can, surgery is not a magic cure

4
keeptrying 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I am adding this because it could be something you havent considered but I think you should.
Do you love the outdoors?

Essentially tours/activites/travel type of jobs.

1. Hiking tour guide.
2. Give Kiteboarding lessons.
3. Scuba instructor.
4. Travel Writer who goes to different points of the earth and writes about them.
5. Gym trainer.
6. Heli Ski tour operator.

These might seem out there and the pay will be lousy - but I know quite a few kiteboarding instructors and they are some of the fittest and happiest people I have ever known. I'm eventually going to end up like this I think - right after I try founding a few startups. I recently quit my job to start my own startup. (Still in the cycle of customer development).

They have happiness in their soul except when theres no wind and no waves then they become painful to hang around :). But with respect to their health - I dont think I've seen a healthier bunch.

5
blackboxxx 19 hours ago 2 replies      
It's worrisome you would ask a bunch of strangers what profession you should take up. We don't know you from Moses. We don't know if you like crossword puzzles, make your own maple syrup, or have a lisp. You need to write out a list of what you love to do then explore the possibilities.

For what it's worth, here is what I suggest: switch to a stand up desk for any computing tasks. I cobbled together an ugly ad hoc one and I could never go back.

Also, while you deliberate over what your new profession will be, get a job in retail or sales. The pay will suck but you'll be on your feet and interacting with human beings.

I wish you success!

6
georgieporgie 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been pondering similar ideas, and my sister (Masters in odd textiles-related field) has been searching for jobs recently, so we discussed this. Our ideas:

* Electrician and especially low-voltage electrician. Find someone to take you on first, then get into the apprenticeship program. You get paid while you learn. Low-voltage sounds especially interesting, since it's things like wiring up alarm system, and less risk of electrocuting yourself. Wiring up alarm systems sounds more hacker-ish than any paid programming job I've had. Pretty much all electrician work involves a significant amount of problem solving.

* Welding. In particular, deep sea welding, sounds... interesting. It has potential for a very good salary, though it will involve significant risk management and probably a lot of time spent away from home and family.

* Trucking. It sounds less appealing with modern trucking organizations, but if you like driving, it might be doable. Years ago, I recall reading about a British IT guy that switched to trucking who absolutely loved it.

* Physical trainer. This one is probably great if computer-related physical issues have created a passion for fitness in you. I suspect these careers will be even harder going forward, if the economy continues to drag.

* Accounting, lawyering. These exacerbate the same physical issues. Lawyering is pretty dead now, what with way too many graduates.

* Teaching. You can try to teach English overseas to dabble in it and see if you like it.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I've had a few drinks. ;-)

My basic goal with an alternate career is to get exposure to new business opportunities. For example, something seemingly silly like working at a prison might allow you insight into a whole new industry, where you could write niche software and potentially earn a lot of income. Nothing will ever make me stop thinking, "aha! I could solve that with some code..."

7
mathattack 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I will let others give you health advice. Just remember that nobody else will take care of yourself except for you. That said, here are some areas I have seen ex-programmers succeed:

- Finance - May require another degree but it's an easy transition. The math shouldn't be too hard. It can be in the treasury dept, risk, anything with modeling.

- Marketing analysis - you would be surprised how much Math is involved in getting a tube of Crest to your cabinet.

- Teaching - most cs folks know enough math to teach it. Many states are so desperate for math teachers that they don't require an education degree.

In the end, don't worry. Programming is one of the hardest intellectual tasks out there. Other fields will seem easy in comparison.

8
waterside81 21 hours ago 1 reply      
How about personal trainer? Definitely get to stay away from the computer and it's a highly technical profession (if you choose to be highly informed about the body and nutrition) so it should still satisfy the engineer/programmer in you.
9
iposbeforehoes 20 hours ago 0 replies      
The most obvious advice is to choose from the infinite careers that leverage a technical background: project manager, business analyst, business development, sales, and anything else further in the leadership side of a technology company.

That is actually a natural progression for a lot of people in our field. I, personally, don't want to be a developer when I am 35, and I am already being tasked with more and more of the duties of the roles I mentioned above, and I like it. Have you been tasked with of the duties of other roles that are less development-oriented? Did you like it?

If your sole reason for wanting to switch really is your health issues, find out what professions leverage your previous technical knowledge, and further refine that list depending on which roles will work with your health issues. On a side note, it seems that most professional careers these days require that you sit a computer for long periods of times: lawyers, engineers of all fields, accountants, and finance professionals, etc. So keep that in mind.

Ultimately, you get one body, so make your health your first priority. And you only get one life so make sure you're doing what you want to do. Good luck.

10
cjbprime 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been thinking about whether photography could ever be my day job; it appeals to the same obsessive/perfectionist traits that coding uses in me. I think you'd have to be wealthy already to pull it off, though..
11
cageface 21 hours ago 2 replies      
No idea, but it seems like most jobs these days require sitting in front of a computer all day. Five years ago I might have suggested going the Office Space route and taking up construction work but obviously that's not such a hot idea right now.
12
dave1619 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Might look into real estate and buying trustee sales at the courthouse steps and reselling for a profit. It usually takes a team of people. You could probably find some initial investors. It needs some computer work, but you'll be mostly running around seeing houses and overseeing rehabs. Money is decent.
13
poissonpie 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I retrained to be a Shiatsu therapist (Japanese acupressure massage). It was a three year part time course (here in the UK) and I had every intention of quitting the IT world. Once I had finished the course though, my outlook had changed (partially because of the course - the theory behind Shiatsu is based on theory behind acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine which is somewhat different to the more Western concepts I was brought up with). Anyway, now I do both - I code and I do Shiatsu.
14
forensic 20 hours ago 0 replies      
If health is your true concern, then lookinto making yourself a healthier office. Check out spolsky's offices for instance -- much healthier than typical
15
dheerosaur 16 hours ago 0 replies      
The most common advice you will receive in my place, if this question is asked, is to become a teacher at a High School. Depending on where you are from, this may not be a bad choice.
13
Books/Blogs/Suggestion on planning and developing Web Application/Website?
3 points by idiotb  12 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
staunch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Step 1) Create first version of your site.

Step 2) Get some (more) people to use it. Get their feedback.

Step 3) Improve product based on feedback.

Step 4) Go to Step 2.

2
arkitaip 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Steve Blank's "Four Steps to the Epiphany" is one of the best business books for tech startups. It's very practical, easy to read and just generally takes a very no-nonsense approach by guiding you from the initial idea to actually launching your business.
http://www.stevenblank.com/books.html

Minor caveat: I found the typography of the book lacking and the design of the many diagrams to be very confusing. I'm hope these things issues are fixed in the next edition. This shouldn't discourage you from buying this book.

I've read 37signals' books but they are less practical, more about high level business principles and the ideology of business of software that 37signals adheres to. Maybe you will find the stuff inspiring and guiding.
http://37signals.com/rework/
http://gettingreal.37signals.com/

14
Ask HN: Anyone working on something in the Senior-Care market?
27 points by mw63214  1 day ago   25 comments top 14
1
StavrosK 1 day ago 1 reply      
I... uh... wouldn't call it exactly that, but I'm extending http://www.deadmansswitch.net to include checking-up features (phone, sms, etc).
2
iterationx 1 day ago 1 reply      
My friend Laura runs Grandcare, I can get you her contact info if you like. http://www.grandcare.com/
3
loganfrederick 1 day ago 1 reply      
I know an entrepreneur in Ohio who runs a very large (multi-million) nursing home software company. Email me at loganfrederick@gmail.com for details!
4
egarcia9330 1 day ago 0 replies      
We just released the first-ever comprehensive search engine for people seeking long term care services. PatientsHaveChoices.com aggregates data about each provider from multiple sources, and transforms it into meaningful information. It allows end-users to shop and compare providers, ultimately making an educated choice. Let me know how I can help.
5
Radix 1 day ago 0 replies      
My mother does residential care in Texas. Her perspective will be different than most other people you will speak with. Let me know if you'd like to talk to her.
6
martialtiger 16 hours ago 0 replies      
A good friend of mine started http://www.seniorcarehomes.com/. His love & passion for helping seniors is amazing. I think it would be very beneficial to feature him/his company on your radio show. You can reach him at Erwin(at)seniorcarehomes.com. Tell him Jonas sent you.
8
smcguinness 1 day ago 1 reply      
I work at http://www.call-em-all.com. We have many senior care facilities that use us for automated notifications regarding health, medication, etc. We also work with many healthcare staffing companies which staff for in-home caregivers.
9
swany4 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thumbtack is a marketplace for services of all kinds such as home improvement, event services, instruction, etc. We have a number of senior services as well -- in home care, personal assistants, drivers, etc.

You can view our senior services here: http://www.thumbtack.com/browse/family/seniors/

You can email me at jonathan@thumbtack.com if you have any questions.

10
msknee 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi, I'm a designer very interested in the senior care market. I did my thesis project on assistive eating devices (http://averyseriousdesigner.com/3d_bowl.html), and did research at 2 bay area elder care facilities. Since then, I've gotten connected to a Stanford prof who's connected to the elder care space, who teaches a class about assistive device design. I've also done work with Golden Leaf Care, a Bay Area web startup trying to create a better online experience for families seeking care for their relatives. I'm also in touch with Omhu (http://omhu.com/), a new New York based company dedicated to making and marketing really well-designed products for the elderly. Hit me up, I'd love to connect you with any/all of my network!
11
filman82 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm the CTO at ALMSA Health - we have a SaaS EHR used nationally in Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing communities. Do you plan to stream your station online? Would love to look at linking to it - get in touch if you'd like some perspective on the development of EHR platforms tailored toward the long-term care industry - fils@almsahealth.com
12
geraldwl 1 day ago 1 reply      
www.emota.net --- super cool stuff (a buddy is working there)
13
lincolnpark 1 day ago 1 reply      
im working on a product in the senior care market
14
nicholaides 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am, as well.
15
Ask HN: Voice over IP solutions?
24 points by darklajid  1 day ago   26 comments top 14
1
tshtf 1 day ago 2 replies      
I use the native SIP functionality in Android 2.3, and it works well. Sipdroid is available in the market if you're looking for a solution for earlier Android phones.

There are literally hundreds of providers to choose from. callwithus.com seems to have really good termination rates (http://www.callwithus.com/showrates) and I use them for calling mobiles in Europe. They don't support inbound calls, but there are other providers for that.

You can get free SIP clients for any other platform: Mac, Linux, or Windows.

2
gst 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use CSipSimple on Android with VoipBuster as SIP provider for outgoing calls - this works really well.

However, you should be aware that unlike with Skype the SIP packets between your phone and your provider aren't encrypted. So if you use this on a public WiFi, everyone with sufficient skills would be able to listen to your call.

3
viraptor 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are loads of local providers available, so I'd recommend just looking for one located in a country you're in the most. Or even open a couple of accounts and make sure they all redirect to a single one for incoming calls.

They offer various levels of quality, so be sure to try it a couple of times first... Majority of the providers seem to be only resellers - many of them not understanding the technology behind it, so if you care about good support, check if you're looking at a reseller or an actual provider.

If you want to call internationally a lot using local providers, you are very likely to run into issues with quality, callerid presentation, availability. Solving those is quite tricky and it's sometimes easier to get another account in the country you're calling to, rather than fighting the issue with your current company.

(sorry for not giving any specific examples, but in my experience there's no optimal global solution - spend some time trying to find out what works for you)

4
trafficlight 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anybody tried the Twilio-based OpenVBX? http://www.openvbx.org/
5
patrickod 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would recommend going the SIP route by setting up an Asterisk box somewhere and buying a DID and upstream capacity and then using it with whatever clients you want. Asterisk can be run on a whole load of hardware and I know of a few people who run it on their home routers (beefy enough as these routers are, they're far from industrial standard) and so far I have yet to hear any complaints from them.

I've been using the Android native SIP client with an asterisk box and it works really well. Be aware though that it doesn't allow you to make calls over cell data, but rather limits you to making/receiving calls on Wifi only.

In terms of upstream providers the only one I know of in Europe is Blueface[2] as a few of my friends at home in Ireland use them in their homes

[2] - http://www.blueface.ie/residential.aspx

6
sorbus 1 day ago 0 replies      
A bit of googling turns up Truphone - it has fairly cheap calling to landlines and mobile phones (says that it starts at 2.1c/min), and free calling to other people using their app. No video chat, though it does have an Android client (in fact, it has clients for every major platform, both mobile and not, so that's a huge plus).

http://www.truphone.com/en-US/Products/Tru-App/

Then there's another thing called Fring, which seems to be mostly a group chatting application but allows you to call normal phones too. Has video chat, which seems to be the main thing they're promoting, and an Android client.

http://www.fring.com/what-is-fring

I can't recommend either of them - as I said, I just used google to find them - but they seem like they might work for you.

7
mike-cardwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Check out localphone.com. You can point a VOIP client at their service, but you don't have to. You can also just phone whatever their local number is in each country and bounce through that. So you end up paying for a local call in the country you're in, and a local call in the country you're phoning.
8
simonb 1 day ago 1 reply      
Have you tried vox.io [http://www.vox.io]?
9
petedoyle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think SIP is definitely the way to go. A while back I was looking for a provider in the EU and found voxbeam.com. Their servers are in Amsterdam and have good connectivity. Traceroute to sip.voxbeam.com to get an idea of the latency you'll see. They also do point-to-point audio so if they hand your call to another provider's server, they get out of the media stream (reduces latency).

One potential issue with SIP is that you might have issues behind some firewalls. Not sure how big a deal that is in practice while traveling (I think its probably fine). If not it might be useful to use Asterisk+IAX. I'm not sure what Android clients exist for IAX.

I ended up building an Asterisk box on EC2 EU-WEST-1 (Ireland), which, at ~20ms from sip.voxbeam.com, doesn't add a ton of latency. It works fine on a Micro instance, which is free for a year if you don't already have an AWS account.

10
yannovitch 10 hours ago 0 replies      
http://progx.ch/home-voip-prixbetamax-3-3-1.html

will give you a comparative of a lot of VoIP provider, which usually can provide you a DID.

For the video side, what I'm doing with more or less luck is to use the Jingle protocol, used by Google Talk, on Asterisk.
This one is doing a gateway.
So depending on what is available on each side, the video functionalities are rather video SIP to video SIP, video SIP to Jingle or Jingle to Jingle.

I'll post soon an article on my blog to explain how to do so.

Yann

11
georgieporgie 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've used a Sipgate.com account + CSipSimple on the Android, and it's okay. I've only used it over Wifi + Comcast, and it's acceptable but not great.
12
seanmccann 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Can anybody recommend a look VOIP desk phone under $100?
13
fez 1 day ago 2 replies      
I set up an Elastix PBX with a VoicePulse.com SIP trunk. Elastix is Asterisk and free. The GUI looks pretty good and I was able to get everything set up in a couple of hours. I have never set up a PBX in my life.
14
DeanCollinsLCC 1 day ago 1 reply      
asterisk on your home server with a SIP client on your android/laptop etc
16
Plea HN: perfectionism is ruining my life
17 points by introuble  1 day ago   9 comments top 9
1
Isamu 8 hours ago 0 replies      
As psychologist Piers Steel points out in his book The Procrastination Equation, the problem is not perfectionism but impulse control.

Even though you have no problem getting started initially, the label of procrastination applies. Here is my summary of the book:

Book: The Procrastination Equation, Piers Steel (psychologist), 2011

  www.procrastinus.com

Perfectionism does not lead to procrastination - this is well studied. It may be that they are thought to be linked because of the cases where there is this discrepancy in behavior.
Procrastination is a result of impulsiveness. Self-control and delaying gratification are key to controlling procrastination.

Procrastinators suffer from

  * weak impulse control
* lack of persistence
* lack of work discipline
* lack of time management skill
* inability to work methodically

Motivation can be modeled by

  (expectancy * value) / (impulsiveness * delay)

* The numerator is Expected Utility Theory in economics
* Expectancy is the perceived likelihood of reward or success
* Value is the perceived value of the reward
* Delay is the perceived delay in receiving the reward
* Impulsiveness is the tendency to (irrationally) pursue immediate reward instead

Impulsiveness is moderated by the prefrontal cortex

  * the prefrontal cortex is late to develop in humans,   
impulse control develops slowly in children
* adults with damage to the prefrontal cortex may be
markedly more impulsive

Temptation - defeating impulse control

Important factors:

  * Proximity to temptation is a major factor in impulsiveness
(low barriers to gratification)
* Variable schedule of reinforcement causes a robust response

Modern society offers many more sources of temptation

Expectancy - optimism, expectation of success

  * too much pessimism causes procrastination
low expectation of success keeps us from starting
* too much optimism causes procrastination
unrealistic ease of success may delay starting until the last moment

Techniques for improving optimism:

  * success spirals - progressive series of successes build confidence (e.g. earning scout badges). regularly stretching  your limits is important to teach yourself confidence in your ability to tackle something difficult
* vicarious victory - relating to someone's success story, finding inspiration in books, movies, inspirational speakers, joining a group of inspirational people
* wish fulfillment - visualization of success and contrasting with where you are now. Visualization that only focuses on the goal may drain motivation to complete the necessary steps. As you visualize attaining the goal and then contrasting the current situation, maintain your optimism so that you can translate this visualization into a plan of action.
* Plan for the worst, hope for the best - develop strategies to recover from falling back into old habits. Anticipate temptations and find ways to counter them.

Value - the perceived value of completing a task

  * create a chain of goals that helps connect less pleasurable tasks to the ultimate desired goal
* frame goals positively, rather than goals of avoiding something negative
* make games out of tasks - avoid boredom
* justify tasks by connecting them to your goals
* recognize your available energy, and plan around it - schedule difficult tasks for your morning and mid-day peak performance (likely between 10 and 2)
* commit to a regular schedule of exercise and sleep
* snack as needed - avoid hunger
* make sleep predictable, with a regular wind-down routine
* respect your limitations
* as an antidote to task avoidance, identify and do related tasks that are less intimidating - whittle down the main task until it is less intimidating
* reward yourself for accomplishments

Impulsiveness

  * identify and put temptations out of reach
* satisfy your needs first before they become a distraction.
* schedule your leisure time ahead - work harder knowing your leisure is ensured
* add disincentives to your temptations, a penalty - e.g. a personal tax for infractions
* mentally contaminate temptations, making them seem less attractive in your mind
* eliminate cues that trigger temptation - e.g. keep your workspace clean

Criticizes S.M.A.R.T. goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-anchored)

  * specific is redundant with both measurable and time-anchored
* attainable is redundant with realistic
* missing key concepts that are important to effective goals

Instead, goals must be

  * challenging (expectancy not too high - too easy)
* meaningful (high value)
* framed in specific terms so that you know when you have to achieve them - what you have to do and when you have to be done
* if long-term, then broken down into a series of short-term objectives. particularly daunting goals should start with a small goal to kick off.
* organized into routines that occur regularly at the same time and place. A predictable work schedule is important.

2
abcd_f 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, you are not alone :)

In fact this is a fairly typical problem of people working alone and with no external feedback. Things like killing a day to decide how to name a temporary variable is a bane of lonely programmer. Next time when you are starting on a new project, make sure you get a supporter or an adopter. The more the merrier, but one should do. This creates a feeling of being accountable to someone and it tremendously helps to make the milestones... which is another thing - having milestones that you cannot afford to miss is golden. This allows breaking out of that stupid loop of obsessing over details that do not matter (while burning out mentally) and keep a larger view of the project in mind at all times. For example, knowing that you are getting someone's blog coverage in two weeks is a sure way to not only get the beta in its best polished state (of the decade :)), but also to redo the website and what not. Productivity jumps by the orders of magnitude.

Between the techniques and what nots I find the most useful thing is writing thoughts down. Say you are working on a project, and currently dealing with a feature A of a module B of a web interface, which is in turn just a smaller part of the whole thing. And then you realize that there is that one other thing that absolutely needs to be done and not forgotten. Write it down. Getting it out of one's head and onto a paper helps freeing up idle cycles that brain would otherwise spend worrying about not forgetting this thought. There is a big, heavily commercialized theory built on top of this simple idea - GTD or Get Things Done - but that's all cruft. Just get Things for iPhone and it should be enough.

So, yeah... I hear you, and (a) it is typical (b) you need firm goals you truly commit to. That's it.

(edit) If you consider chemicals, then no, you don't want them. If you really really really desperate, try modafinil. Very sparingly, like once a month, just to jump-start the productivity and get things rolling.

3
hasenj 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel you, I feel the same way.

I also like starting projects more than finishing them.

I think writing down your ideas will help solidify them. I find from experience that the more I write about my ideas, the more likely they are to come to fruition.

see: http://www.paulgraham.com/discover.html

This is not exactly a new idea, but I think it doesn't apply equally to all people.

You're the type of person who likes starting projects more than finishing them. This has implications about how your brain works or generally on how you think. Not everyone is like that, some people prefer to finish projects they already have, and it's not a matter of some acquired discipline either.

If you're like me, your ideas might seem scattered, you jump from one idea to the next, one day you think "man wouldn't it be awesome to build an app that does X!" then two days later, you feel constrained, and want to explore other ideas. So you jump to some other project or idea. Exploring various ideas seems very exciting, that's why you feel a bit drained if you spend a lot of time on just one idea.

When your ideas are scattered like that, you need to work on polishing them and flushing them out. The best way is either writing about them, or talking to other people about them. If you're introverted, writing about them is probably easier, and even better perhaps.

This next bit might be controversial, but if you like starting projects more than finishing them, your personality might be xNTP on the Myers-Briggs indicator, which (the next bit is even more controversial) means you have "extraverted intuition"[0]. This basically means the same thing I said above: your ideas are all over the place, only when you express them do you get to solidify them and get a better picture.

[0] http://greenlightwiki.com/lenore-exegesis/Extraverted_Intuit...

4
dstein 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I bought myself a whiteboard. And on it I write down all the tasks (large and small) and milestones to completing my project. The board obviously goes through revisions as the project grows and morphs. But it does something really important that I wasn't doing before.

I too get a thrill from starting a new project because it's still just a dream but seems acheivable. There's probably some cogsci reason for this, dopamine levels and so on. And when the project starts to drag on you're not getting that dopamine hit anymore and so you get an urge to start a new project to get that rush again.

What you need to do is learn to get a thrill from completing milestones. Being able to cross off one of the tasks on that whiteboard feels awfully damned good. I keep the crossed off tasks on the board for a while because I find that thrill of completing it lasts for a while and keeps me motivated to cross off the next one.

5
Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Spending a year at death's door did wonders for my neurotic crap. Not something I really recommend. But I would recommend you watch the movie "Beyond Rangoon" and then go do some volunteer work at, say, a homeless shelter or working with the chronically ill or something -- something that really punches your buttons and gives you a bit of perspective. Or at least join some email lists for people with chronic, incurable illness.

Also, do some research and consider vitamin therapy. There may be a brain chemistry issue that may be very treatable with aggressive nutrition.

Best of luck.

6
azulum 21 hours ago 0 replies      
i hear you man. i find myself in nearly the same predicament, though i just lost my job…happy days indeed. i'm with abcd_fâ€"write it down and tell someone about it. focus on doing one thing really well but still giving yourself time to decompress, to think. don't let other ideas distract youâ€"save them for later. finish one thing. one thing that you love and can be proud of. and share it with othersâ€"especially the design aspects. find someone who has an eye for detail to help youâ€"someone who believes in what you are doingâ€"even if you are yourself a good designer. have them help you create a grand plan for your product, pare it down to a manageable size, and iterate from there. the thing i'm learning about software, job-hunting, child rearing is that it is never done. as a perfectionist myself, it's a hard pill to swallowâ€"there is ALWAYS disappointment, but i don't think that anything meaningful ever gets made without disappointment. and people who don't get disappointed probably never change things (though the suicide rate is lower). life is hard. my three years since graduation have gone from bad to worse. don't feel bad about not finishing schoolâ€"i thought that i would be able to get something useful that at least put food on the table and pay the mortgage, and i find myself scraping by doing the same stuff or worse than before i decided to go to school. educational inflation sucks, especially out here in the rust belt.

so now i'm doing exactly the advice i'm giving you, except with about half resolve and double the complexityâ€"advice is easier to give than to follow. i'm asking for help from the few who believe in me. here's an episode of a podcast that i've found catharticâ€" http://5by5.tv/b2w/7 â€"it doesn't get anything done, but it has gotten me thinking and laughing at least. listen to it while doing dishes or yardwork.

as for medicationâ€"i was diagnosed with depression and it ended up being vitamin d deficiency. also, yoga helps.

here on HN is an entertaining presentation by mike lee (http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Making-Apps-That-Dont-Suc...) in which he talks about selling everything to work for will shipley for one year without pay. so if none of my advice suits youâ€"do something crazy that propels you in the direction you want to go.

7
molbioguy 22 hours ago 0 replies      
If it's not too personal, how do you pay bills? It seems like you are working independently. Maybe you should work within a group so that there is some external support combined with some external pressure to get past your perfectionism (much like @abcd_f mentioned).
8
slater 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe not the answer you're looking for, and I didn't see it in your list of remedies that you've tried, but have you considered medical help? As in, medication for ADD or similar?
9
YuriNiyazov 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ritalin?
17
Update HN: Amazon has thankfully removed my free ebook
41 points by latch  1 day ago   1 comment top
1
latch 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another update, I'm being told that it shouldn't have taken as long as it did (both from the initial takedown, and then once it was brought more directly to their attention yesterday). I'm getting a good sense that

a) this isn't how it should work

b) this isn't how it normally works

c) they'll work to improve it

Hard to ask for too much more

18
Warn HN: Lots of Launches Coming
414 points by pg  6 days ago   discuss
1
jcr 5 days ago 6 replies      
pg, can you ask the YC founders to stop announcing their new companies as the "The This of/for That" for example (from the front page):

"Leaky (YC S11) is Hipmunk for Car Insurance"

I honestly don't care if your new company is "* (YC S11) Is The Facebook for Unicorns," since it really tells me nothing. I have to figure out what a Hipmonk is before I can understand what they do. Hold on while I call the Dalai Lama to ask about the difference between a monk and a hipmonk.

Of the YC S11 batch with announcements up, it seems the Snapjoy folks are doing it right (from the front page):

"Snapjoy (YC S11) Will Organize Your Photos For You"

Now the Snapjoy announcement above provides concise and useful information about what they could do for me, the potential customer.

2
Animus7 5 days ago 6 replies      
>Please be nice to them. For you their launch may be "yet another YC startup," but for each individual startup this is their big moment.

I'm usually quite pleased with what comes out of YC. That said, in this competitive market, I don't think that being nice (just because) helps anyone the week after launch.

I personally look forward to the day HN tears apart my project so I can say I truly learned something.

3
dbz 5 days ago 3 replies      
Pg, can you try adding a tab up top for new startups? I personally love to read about them but sometimes the launches etc. This would make it a lot easier to find the latest ones.
4
ig1 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'm bit uncomfortable that Techcrunch's coverage of these launches isn't being made with a disclaimer that Michael Arrington is an investor in most of them (via Angel Fund).
5
jswinghammer 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's always exciting to see what's in the works. In every cycle it seems like there is a YC site that I end up using a lot.

Has the culture around here gotten so hostile that a "be nice" request is needed?

6
dotBen 5 days ago 1 reply      
Surely such sentiment should be extended to any startup, not just YC startups?
7
blackboxxx 5 days ago 2 replies      
Be prepared to defend yourself startups. Put on your armor. Some with malice in their hearts will thrust daggers at you. Fight with strength and honor and the crowd will love you.

Win the crowd and you will win your freedom.

To those startups who do not fight with valor? You will be subject to the mob, as was Airbnb. Even the Emperor will not be able to silence the cries for blood!

Startups... I salute you.

LET THE LAUNCHES BEGIN!

8
bfe 5 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if there's any observed correlation between earliness of launch (per pg's advice) and likelihood of future success?
9
bakbak 5 days ago 2 replies      
Pg, is there any way you can make your demo day a live event (may be on justinTV) - and to add the spice you should also make it interactive where viewers can rate each startup with proper scoring system - and if you and startups are comfortable then you should let all the VCs and Angels be able to see scores & ratings coming in live from all over the world (however this may also have negative impact but nothing wrong to try it).... this way investors would right away know what is HIT & HOT !!!
10
pama 5 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to Snapjoy, Leaky, and Kicksend for launching today! Keep'em coming!
11
melling 5 days ago 1 reply      
Should have a special title tag. Show HN YC: ... or something to that effect.
12
templaedhel 5 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really hoping to see a YC company launch on the startup foundry or such, but it may not be wide enough exposure yet. Eventually.
13
peacemaker 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck to all the current YC guys, I'm sure you're all feeling the pain right now only 2 weeks away from the big day!

As for launching around the same time, I'm of the opinion that if your own (non-YC) startup is good enough, it will stand alongside, or even above some of the YC guys and perhaps "cash in" on the startup fervour around at the time.

14
smoyer 5 days ago 1 reply      
"Please be nice to them"

With very few exceptions, I enjoy seeing what the YC crowd releases, but isn't this going a bit to far? Aren't we the perfect audience to provide constructive criticism? On the other hand, if you're asking us to be empathetic at the same time, I couldn't agree more.

Go YC!

15
vaksel 5 days ago 0 replies      
alternative suggestion...if you are about to launch a new startup...hold off for a month or so.

no sense in wasting the launch PR boost when everyone is getting swarmed with pitches

16
ashbrahma 5 days ago 0 replies      
It looks like Techcrunch is getting the scoop on every single launch.
17
int3rnaut 5 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know of any blogs from YC founders that cover the personal struggles and conquest of these final 2 weeks before Demo Day? I think it would be a great read (even if they were bit sized entries) to find out what it's like to be under such enormous pressure but on the precipice of your big moment.
18
daviday 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I saw two launching today I automatically thought this had to do with the economy souring. I had just read Jeff Clavier's tweet:

Just maybe? The VC industry is going to wake up and go back to value investing - not FOMO throwing cash at everything, no matter the price

But Dave McLure says it's business as usual

http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2011/08/08/early-stage-i...

19
nhangen 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the reminder. It's easy to get jaded about this stuff, but you're right. Good luck on demo day everyone.
20
dterra 5 days ago 0 replies      
Nice! Its always good to see them. Tip: Dont launch your product if you are not in YC. Chances of getting coverage are none. They will get it all!
21
ryanglasgow 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck guys! Take feedback with a grain of salt and stay focused on your vision.
22
keke_ta 5 days ago 0 replies      
Congrats to everyone.
23
captaincrunch 5 days ago 0 replies      
Good luck everyone!
24
freddealmeida 5 days ago 0 replies      
@jcr "the facebook for unicorns" FTW
25
helwr 5 days ago 1 reply      
I'd just say it here, once and for all - YC startups suck
19
Why HN Got Slow
141 points by pg  5 days ago   58 comments top 11
1
pitdesi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting that that post itself (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2864557) is now on the 2nd page despite having 400some upvotes in the past 7 hours (odd because there are several posts with many less votes in a similar timeframe on the homepage).

Does that happen due to being flagged too many times or some other reason?

2
jerrya 5 days ago 4 replies      
We got MSMed. The post about baseball bat sales in the UK was the perfect media bait and they all linked to the item page.

Hmm. The past 48 hours a lot of sites have been slow for me: HN, Salon, FARK, ...

I figured I was getting Cox'd. http://cox.com

3
rdl 4 days ago 2 replies      
Will we have International Haskell Day later this week?
4
fname 5 days ago 1 reply      
5
Joakal 4 days ago 0 replies      
PG, can you do the complimentary blog post "Well, these are my statistics to HN before and after getting MSM'd"
6
hoodoof 5 days ago 4 replies      
Forgive my lack of worldliness but what is "MSMed"?
7
jvehent 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be curious to see some numbers. Just for fun, and also to get an idea of the amount of visitors that kind of link can bring.

Capacity planning, they say :)

8
kunley 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like HN has now some focus of link spammers.. see recent submissions.
9
dennisgorelik 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can caching help?
10
jbseek 5 days ago 1 reply      
Thanks PG, you must wear many hats.
11
melling 5 days ago 1 reply      
Any time to address the endless number of reposts and the increase in volume of submissions?
20
Ask HN: Why is my avg going down...
3 points by runT1ME  23 hours ago   4 comments top 3
1
Joakal 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's something like: (Total Points / Posts) / Days since registered.

Don't worry about karma anyway. There are some people who will downvote you even if you're completely right. Don't delete it if it's really contributing to the thread. Some people disagree with reality.

2
Mz 19 hours ago 0 replies      
My understanding is that it is a weighted average of some sort. I have sometimes experienced what you describe but I suspect it is a miss-attribution -- that I happen to have recently had a post voted up x amount, I check my average karma thinking it "should" go up but it happens to have gone down, most likely not related to that one post. The avg doesn't update continuously. I have no idea what triggers the timing of the updates.

Attempting to be helpful to the best of my ability. Ever since I first saw this I was doing my best to resist the temptation to suggest you must have stood too close to me at some point. But such humor is often a good way to get into trouble.

Best of luck figuring this out and, if you do, hey, give me a holler and let me know what the answer is.

3
angelortega 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Joakal is true: just don't think about it. A lot of people will downvote your comments based on religion (e.g. if you say something bad about Apple) even if it's true. Just contribute and move on.
21
Show HN: Just Launched, subscription to candies from the world. TheHoneyDay.com
16 points by mudiarto  2 days ago   6 comments top 4
1
ig1 1 day ago 1 reply      
It surprises me how many people try to build an MVP before looking at the existing competitors :)

Graze.com has been doing a recommendation-engine driven snack delivery service for several years now (they raised a $2.5m VC round from Octopus and DFJ) and are making revenues in the high millions.

Graze have a pretty proven business model by this stage, but given they only operate in the UK there's obviously the potential for someone to clone their business in other countries.

2
blackboxxx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pandora for snacks: awesome tagline and concept. This would make a great gift for kids (of all ages).

One suggestion: change the look of your site. Add pictures of candies. Make my eyes burn from the hot neon colors. Turn up the fun dial on the design!

3
perivamsi 2 days ago 0 replies      
It will be helpful if you specify what the candies are made of. I can imagine people with specific tastes, vegetarians, people with allergies, etc will be interested in knowing such details.
4
dfuhriman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea. Looking forward to my first candy.
22
Job: Looking for Perl Hacker - Full Time at Home
3 points by bwb  1 day ago   discuss
23
Ask HN: Writing my first multi-armed bandit solution..?
3 points by darkxanthos  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
1
lylejohnson 1 day ago 0 replies      
From Wikipedia, in case this term was as unfamiliar to others as it was to me:

"In statistics, particularly in the design of sequential experiments, a multi-armed bandit takes its name from a traditional slot machine (one-armed bandit). Multiple levers are considered in the motivating applications in statistics. When pulled, each lever provides a reward drawn from a distribution associated with that specific lever. The objective of the gambler is to maximize the sum of rewards earned through a sequence of lever pulls.

In practice, multi-armed bandits have been used to model the problem of managing research projects in a large organization, like a science foundation or a pharmaceutical company. Given its fixed budget, the problem is to allocate resources among the competing projects, whose properties are only partially known now but may be better understood as time passes.

In the early versions of the multi-armed bandit problem, the gambler has no initial knowledge about the levers. The crucial tradeoff the gambler faces at each trial is between "exploitation" of the lever that has the highest expected payoff and "exploration" to get more information about the expected payoffs of the other levers."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-armed_bandit

2
svedlin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is one good overview:

http://www.cs.nyu.edu/~mohri/pub/bandit.pdf

"[...] ε-greedy is probably the simplest and the most widely used strategy to solve the bandit problem and was first described by Watkins [24]. The ε-greedy strategy consists of choosing a random lever with ε-frequency, and otherwise choosing the lever with the highest estimated mean, the estimation being based on the rewards observed thus far. ε must be in the open interval (0, 1) and its choice is left to the user. Methods that imply a binary distinction between exploitation (the greedy choice) and exploration (uniform probability over a set of levers) are known as semi-uniform methods."

24
Ask HN: 0 - 6 months of programming, what milestones should I be accomplishing?
8 points by HiroshiSan  1 day ago   5 comments top 3
1
aaronbrethorst 1 day ago 0 replies      
Six month milestone: still be interested in programming and having fun.

I'm not trying to be flippant; I don't think spending the huge amount of time learning how to hack code is for everyone, especially if you don't have professors, TAs or bosses breathing down your neck to get stuff done.

If you're really motivated, ship something (anything!) that is used by someone other than you.

Good luck! :)

2
Jach 1 day ago 0 replies      
My first piece of advice is to ignore what everyone tells you and find a path you're comfortable with. :) What's been hard for me is deciding when to explore and when to exploit. With a full time programming job that's mainly applying my knowledge, not doing real research, I have much less time to explore, but back in high school and the summers in between I had lots of free time to learn a little of this and that and play around a lot. I started with a PHP+MySQL book and for the first couple of months or so just plowed through it, typing in the examples manually or doing my own variations of the topics. When I learned about the "ternary operator" I made a web page that just printed out alternating rows of color.

My second piece of advice is to find a problem, ideally a bunch of problems, that you want to solve and that programming can help you solve. Solve them. Definition of problem: something to solve. ;P e.g. a program that prints the Bottles of Beer lyrics out, increase the start number until you can crash/slow down your computer or server, build a blog website, image gallery, video game with PyGame, or in text, native QT app calculator, project Euler math problems, robots, whatever. The key is you have to have a desire to work on whatever you're working on. When you lose that desire for your current project, procrastinate by switching to a different project.

My third piece of advice is to learn how to use the git source control manager and interfacing with GitHub. Then troll some Python repositories ( https://github.com/search?type=Repositories&language=... ), find some with an open issues list and an issue that isn't assigned to a particular person, fix the issue if you want/can, and submit a pull request. Now you can say you've contributed to open source software!

Edit: if you really have no ideas of your own, which I'd find hard to believe, you can do a small project I've been meaning to get around to for a while so I can blog about it. (I blog mostly to my past self.) Implement a clone of the game Pong three times in an imperative, Object-Oriented, and functional style of programming.

3
benatkin 1 day ago 1 reply      
Interesting question. I've been programming for 10 years and I want to see what I've missed. I suspect that if you picked good milestones and executed them well you could be in the top quartile of all developers at the end of those six months.
25
Ask HN: Other startups are cloning my startup - what should I do?
10 points by martian  2 days ago   9 comments top 9
1
terrywilcox 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Stop and be flattered, you're clearly doing something right.

If they're just copying you, continue to innovate. If one of them actually manages to come up with a good idea, steal it.

Above all, realize that the idea itself is not sufficient. The value lies in you, not the idea. You have to deliver a better product.

2
otterley 6 hours ago 0 replies      
It means the barriers to entry in your market aren't high enough. Seek a new business model, or live with it.
3
troymc 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's good news to see people wanting to do the same thing, as it's a kind of validation.

I can understand your being upset by the wholesale copying.

Sometimes the competitor can't actually deliver on what they promise: if you contact them, you could offer them affiliate marketing fees for sending traffic to your site (which presumably can deliver on what it promises).

You can probably report the ODesk job offer to ODesk. Their policies / Terms of Service probably include something like "Don't post jobs which constitute intellectual property infringement."

Lastly, you could just be the best in your category, and beat your competitors regardless of their shady tactics.

4
adrianwaj 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's your opportunity to contact investors and present yourself as the Category Creator prior to the copycats - one of AirBnb's investors said they only invest in the category creator.

Clone them back - what are they doing that inspires you or you haven't thought of?

Call them out on your blog.

Find where they are leaving comments around the web and call them out.

5
bond 2 days ago 0 replies      
Execute better than them and keep innovating to stay a step ahead...
6
steventruong 17 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Ignore

2. Focus on your what you're doing and innovate

3. Market better and faster

7
aebit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Developing your marketing may help you make the impression (stake your claim) that you are that service- the others just echo your operation. But if someone doesn't know to think of you first when they need your service, you're easily usurped. Making a strong impression to your market matters as much as tour technology sometimes.

Best of luck...

8
nerd_in_rage 2 days ago 0 replies      
URL please.
9
rush-tea 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you have not patent your business models, there is nothing you can do. For every Groupon, there is Living Social, and others... might as well keep innovating, and stay ahead of competition.

I am not sure about your website because I don't see the link, but if it's something you can patent, then you should do it, then you can sue. :)

26
Ask HN: If you were seventeen and had passion and time what would you do?
7 points by joshmlewis  2 days ago   5 comments top 5
1
lionhearted 1 day ago 0 replies      
Are you American?

If so, build a credit score. It'll take you 10-20 hours and make you thousands of dollars.

Easiest way from a scratch: Go into your bank, deposit money into a CD, get a secured loan against that CD.

Doing this correctly will make you lots later. I just got a couple new AMEX cards with 75,000 membership reward point signing bonuses each. Those can be used for $750 in statement credits. Yes, American Express just gave me $1,500 for signing up for new cards with them. Seriously. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for illustrative purposes. Get a credit score. You in 5 years will thank me for making/saving you thousands of dollars.

2
katherinehague 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I started getting involved in startups when I was around 16, there's a lot I'd do differently and a lot I would do the same if I could go back. Here are some thoughts:

1) Build a network: I'd say that the valuable thing I have done is build a network. Attend industry conferences and events in your area, and become engrained in the startup community. Your age is an advantage, it gets you noticed, and means almost anyone will take a meeting with you. Put yourself in lots of situations that scare you, you'll look back and wonder what the big deal was. The best opportunities come when you're you're at the right place at the right time.

2) Learn to program: I'm 'non-technical', having just finished a degree in business marketing. Only recently have I really started making an effort to learn to program (mostly ruby), but I wish I had done it much earlier. Its important even if you never want to be a developer that you have a strong understanding of how things work and what's possible. Its also frustrating not to have the skills to have an idea and create a prototype, without spending your life savings or bringing on a partner.

3) Seize Opportunities: Early on I wasn't too particular about what opportunities I helped out with, if it got me excited, I was in. This mentality let me try a lot of different things and helped me learn better time management. You'll learn what you like and what you don't like. Don't be afraid to get in over your head.

Best of luck!

3
NHQ 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll be strictly practical. As somebody who taught himself CSS first and HTML second, at a later age, with a master plan, I advise you to learn javascript to the hilt, and have a complete tooling shop. You could also use to learn about other structured document types besides HTML. Keep an eye on the avante garde. Set some goals. Javascript enabled, choose your next adventure: the way of canvas, webGL, svg, and the great growing mass of libraries for browser graphics and interactivities; or the way of software architecture, and crack Node.js and familiarize your self with all its modules; learn networks and databasing. You can maybe do both, eventually. Either one will allow you significantly to experiment and invent, and/or become involved in IRL collaborations. You have nothing but lots of time to become a craftsman, to build a people network, interact with the growing base of young adults gearing up to inherit a galore of industry overdue for innovations. Maintain a simple life. An occupational cycle of learning and practice is as good as it gets. Read everything. Become an apprentice and glean some hard-won knowledge ahead of time itself. Consider it good fortune if anybody besides you takes yourself seriously until about 1755046732, in dollars or milliseconds.
4
aebit 2 days ago 0 replies      
You answered your question with your own final sentence:

"I have a huge passion for the web and learning new things."

That's exactly what you should focus on. What catches your eye? Read up on the why's and what-for's of each faction of web reality, from data storage to real-time GUI processes. See what you think is most exciting, or which elements of the "real world" you want to be a part of, and see how technology helps them do their work better.

I hope you continue the path you are on: whatever direction you take, you will be ahead of the many around you that don't have that Passion. Match your work to your passion, and you can not help but excel-

Best wishes-

5
blackboxxx 1 day ago 0 replies      
Go towards your pain. Fix it, then share your solution with the world.
27
Ask HN: What are the top US schools teaching entrepreneurship and business?
2 points by zol  21 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
charliepark 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Had a longer answer here, but managed to delete it.

In short: Stanford stands out in my mind as head-and-shoulders above the rest. After that, UC Berkeley.

If you shift to engineering (moreso than an entrepreneurship focus) MIT and Carnegie Mellon both have programs with good reputations.

Princeton, Harvard, and Yale also have great reputations, but I'm not sure how much of that comes from entrepreneurship in particular, and how much is just from their Ivy League aura in general.

2
michaelpinto 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's an old school place to start:
http://www.businessweek.com/bschools/rankings/
(click on the MBA tabs)

Keep in mind that if you're into tech you'll get an advantage from a campus like MIT or Stanford. And it may not be a bad idea to visit a campus...

28
Tubalr.com - On the fly youtube playlist, no registering required. Input wanted
2 points by cjstewart88  22 hours ago   9 comments top 4
1
samstave 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Clicking on the vid links doesnt work. I can enter a name - but cant click on anything (Chrome) -- EDIT: Nevermind - it was just delayed response. It works now...

I like the idea. You should promote it on Reddit. The idea of throwing together a quick ad-hoc playlist is a needed one - This just appears to need some work. (Get a designer)

2
Jarred 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The text is very difficult to read.
3
lclaude01 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The whole design concept needs to be redone
4
lclaude01 20 hours ago 1 reply      
Borrowing from Steve J. << it needs more sex >>
30
Ask HN: Why punish popularity?
22 points by fogus  3 days ago   4 comments top 4
1
_delirium 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I support the current system, though maybe there are ways of tweaking it. If there's no preference for internal decision-making on HN by people actually reading the /newest page, HN will tend to only consist of things that had traffic driven to them from something like twitter, a popular blog, or reddit (it's already pretty hard for anything on /newest to get noticed).

That seems like it'd lead to an HN that consisted mainly of discussion of things that're already being discussed elsewhere. To avoid that, some decoupling of communities so that what's at the top of HN is primarily driven internally is good, imo. But, perhaps there's a better way than devaluing externally driven votes.

2
irrumator 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this new activity of the weighting algo noticed all the rapid upvotes for new posts originating from #startups on freenode? That place is a regular source of 'please upvote my story here guys: <link>' even from the channel ops, two well-known HN-ers.
4
schlichtm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everything posted on Hacker News has the same and equal ability to be picked up from /newest. If the content you are posting is interesting it will naturally hit the front page and will not need artificial votes from friends.
       cached 15 August 2011 00:05:01 GMT