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Ask HN: What are your favorite articles/blog posts of all time?
9 points by tomdell  2 ago   7 comments top 7
IndianAstronaut 12 ago 0 replies      

This article describes how variations in intelligence has to do with parasite load and nutrition. May explain a lot of the lack of intellectuals and educated individuals in some countries.

coldshower 31 ago 0 replies      
"How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly" by Stephen Downes: http://www.downes.ca/post/38526
perfectfire 25 ago 0 replies      
It was just reposted a few weeks ago, but I really like Andrej Karpathy's "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks": http://karpathy.github.io/2015/05/21/rnn-effectiveness/
kayamon 1 ago 0 replies      
Steve Yegge's "Execution in the Kingdom of Nouns".


kqia040 24 ago 0 replies      
Awesome blog for people interested in data analytics.http://fivethirtyeight.com/
dmfdmf 55 ago 0 replies      
Clay Shirky "Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable"

William Deresiewicz "Solitude and Leadership"

The Last Psychiatrist: "How to Create: Motivation for 2010"


Alex Smith Gives Commencement Speech at Utah

Ask HN: What books did you read as a kid that inspired you?
3 points by titusblair  1 ago   1 comment top
tjr 1 ago 0 replies      
Louis Slobodkin's Spaceship Under the Apple Tree series. (Sadly out of print!)
Ask HN: Examples of advanced Django API implementations?
2 points by theptip  2 ago   1 comment top
computerlab 1 ago 0 replies      
If your API has lots of different user roles (which can often break REST), this small library we built might be interesting to you: https://github.com/computer-lab/django-rest-framework-roles
Ask HN: How would you stay updated with all the engineering blogs?
6 points by ksashikumar  11 ago   6 comments top 6
kencausey 3 ago 0 replies      
Assuming RSS or atom support: https://newsblur.com/
adamwi 9 ago 0 replies      
Personally I pick a couple and then complement with HN, feels like a good trade of between time invested and coverage I get.
tmaly 8 ago 0 replies      
I like weekly newsletters that summarize all the news in a particular topic. This saves me tons of time.
matthewhall 11 ago 0 replies      
Hacker news.
taprun 10 ago 0 replies      
Can't you just use an RSS feed reader?
ksherlock 10 ago 0 replies      
use a usenet client and the gwene rss to nntp gateway.
Ask HN: Where do you go for learning about health and well-being?
154 points by stevofolife  1 ago   84 comments top 47
eyan 1 ago 2 replies      
I've been focusing, and doing, this wellness and exercise thing lately. Just reading for the last several years.

Best article, which led me to action, is this http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/everything-you-know-abou... together with the book The Power of Full Engagement https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0743226755/ref=as_li_tl?ie...

And here are the guys I read regularly (on and off, actually):

Scott Sonnon: http://www.rmaxinternational.com/flowcoach/

Pavel Tsatsouline: http://www.strongfirst.com

Phil Maffetone: https://philmaffetone.com

the guys at GMB: https://gmb.io

and Leo Babauta: http://zenhabits.net

chestnut-tree 1 ago 2 replies      
The UK's NHS website is an excellent, reputable source of health information. It may not be the most attractive looking site, but it has a goldmine of info. There's information on ailments and conditions, treatments and general health advice.

Importantly, the information is written and vetted by qualified medical professionals.


kyriakos 1 ago 3 replies      
Finding about nutrition and health online is worse than searching for PHP sample code that doesn't suck.

There's a lot of opinions, some based on facts and research, some based on empirical studies and some based on pure misinterpretation of actual science. You are better of paying a visit to a good nutritionist who can provide you with a tailored diet to suit your body and lifestyle.

sleazebreeze 1 ago 2 replies      
There are many things about health and well-being that are specific to the person. You can find all sorts of ideas (many based loosely on science, others anecdotal) from just about anywhere - books, blogs, youtube, etc.

Really though, you have to find what works for you personally. Take any idea - let's say you decide that you want to know if eating less red meat is good for you. You can read a hundred studies that have conflicting results. Or you can try eating less or none of it yourself and see how you feel. You feel great? Awesome. Now you know! You don't feel any different? Again, that's awesome. Now you know you need to eat a little more red meat.

One example for me was pull-ups (the exercise). I always assumed you had to do them overhand with a medium-wide grip. They never "clicked" with me and I could never feel good doing them. After 10+ years of doing them the same way, I finally saw a video where a guy explained how different people might need to use different grip styles to feel it best. I tried several of the different grips and found what works for me. No study or book would be able to tell me which grip style I should use. It was just something I had to learn for myself.

For something more science-based, check out examine.com[1]. Anytime I read about a supplement or chemical that's supposed to be amazing, I go read examine.com and find out what the studies say.

[1] http://examine.com/supplements/

eswat 1 ago 1 reply      
Using the paleo diet/lifestyle as my true north has led to the nitty-gritty knowledge and resources I need to learn about being healthy, mainly: cooking ability, mindfulness/meditation, doing more with less (more whole foods, less ingredients), using exercise to accomplish goals other than look good naked. I get this info mostly from books, podcasts and pubmed, very rarely from blogs since the truths you find in these sources tend to have a half-life of a few months
snicky 1 ago 2 replies      
I am a big fan of the health & fitness guide that's in stickies on 4chan.org/fit and I'm serious :) Direct link:


Lots of good stuff on nutrition and training without BS.

lake99 1 ago 1 reply      
For general info, I go to https://nutritionfacts.org and http://www.youtube.com/user/thehealthcaretriage. I have a couple of medical textbooks at home to get a deeper understanding of some issues. Beyond these, when I have specific problems, my methods vary.
Thriptic 1 ago 3 replies      
- If it fits your macros / basic calorie consciousness that let's you hold a healthy weight.

- Some form of exercise that you do regularly

- Don't drink much

- Don't smoke

- sleep

- Have meaningful relationships

This will get you most of the way towards good health.

dandelion_lover 1 ago 0 replies      
I personally prefer Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


They base their recommendations on real scientific articles.

Upd: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you...

weavie 1 ago 0 replies      
I really like Marks Daily Apple [1]. He is big on Paleo and some may find him controversial/extreme. But he does back what he says up with a lot of science (maybe pseudo-science, I'm not sure).

Anyway following his advice has really helped me.


collyw 1 ago 1 reply      
Pubmed to see if there are any scientific studies done. There is a lot of crap information on health and well-being on the internet, I prefer to have the information backed up by science.
dhawalhs 1 ago 0 replies      
If you like the MOOC format, then there are a bunch of free online courses around health/nutrition [1] and mindfulness [2].

[1] https://www.class-central.com/subject/nutrition-and-wellness

[2] https://www.class-central.com/search?q=mindfulness

withdavidli 1 ago 0 replies      
4hourworkweek podcast, he has some interesting guests. former us national gymnastics coach, people that competed in ultramarathons, scientist who created drugs similar to steroids.

youtube for workout: athlean-x

joe rogan youtube channel <powerfuljre>, had on Rhonda Patrick (phd in biomedical science) for a few eps (3-4 hr each) talking about vitamins

if you buy vitamins you have to research the specific ingredient (cheap forms of magnesium, calcium, etc that don't get absorbed).

p333347 1 ago 1 reply      
Somehow, it seems to me that these topics are in constant flux, and something 'radical and latest' is discovered quite often which makes you scamper to upgrade. (I guess if one is a web front end developer, this feels like home.) I also dislike reading pop-health and taking life advice from so called experts in general, so I stopped reading these topics many years back. I follow a simple healthy balanced diet, which is more common sense than carefully scientifically crafted, remain stress free as much as possible, do moderate exercise regularly (not bodybuilding etc) and get enough sleep. Every now and then I look up some nutritional information but that's it. As they say, don't fix it if it ain't broke.

As for learning about health issues like diseases etc, I usually read reputable sources like mayo clinic or www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov or www.nhs.uk. One of these is bound to answer my queries.

crikli 1 ago 0 replies      
The Science of Ultra podcast. Run by Shawn Bearden, a runner and professor of physiology, he has scientists on to talk about high altitude physiology, hydration, effective calorie absorption, and a host of other fascinating subjects.

I am not an ultra runner or even a marathoner, I'm a wannabe alpinist. But the podcast is incredibly informative for anyone who is going to be under movement for more than 4 hours. I have learned more that has helped me in training and on hikes and climbs from this podcast than any other single resource.


sakopov 1 ago 0 replies      
Get a personal trainer to learn how to keep proper form while exercising and eat right to boost your metabolism. That's how I started 3 years ago now and the trainer was worth every penny.
tsaprailis 1 ago 0 replies      
This is a very open-ended question. I think you need to let us know you current state.

If you're just starting out, getting a book on working out and eating healthy will get you 80% of the result for 20% the effort.

If you're already experienced, again it depends. Some people have already been mentioned like Tim Ferriss, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Peter Attia, Dom D'Angostino and many more.

However you need to have the critical thinking to weed out what and how you could safely try some new theory. (say Intermittent Fasting or whatever new theory)

And I think after some time/experience you can go and pick up papers and judge them for yourself.

kzisme 1 ago 1 reply      
Many of the "Ask HN" threads usually hint at work/life balance as well as ways to stay physically fit. Aside from that I've tried to find hobbies to stay active and become interested in. I suppose it can be broken down into fitness and diet (for my purposes) and it can be broken down much further from there.

Care to be a little more specific? I enjoy frequenting /r/fitness and /r/running for their FAQ information which is helpful as well.

Getting into a routine is a big thing (and a thing I struggle with sometimes) with improving health and well-being (imo).

johnnyfaehell 1 ago 0 replies      
I've found http://www.precisionnutrition.com/ to be one of the better resources online. I signed up for the certification and it's way more advance than what you see everyone else talking about. It explains the basics of how the body actually digests foods then goes into the day to day stuff.
sn9 1 ago 0 replies      
Wikipedia and the fitness subreddits' sidebars.

Diet is all about focusing on nutrient density and hitting all your micronutrient targets (tracked with sites like Cronometer.com). (Rhonda Patrick is a useful resource in this realm, as is Examine.com)

kevindeasis 1 ago 0 replies      
One of the most important things ive leatned is do one thing one small step at a time.

You want all of these to be a habit. It's a journey.

return0 1 ago 0 replies      
Diet: I find forums at bodybuilding.com have a lot of info some times. If you are a guy, anabolicmen.com .

Well being is the job moral philosophy: https://www.amazon.com/Fundamentals-Ethics-Russ-Shafer-Landa...

napperjabber 1 ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately, between today and 3 years ago, Google search is returning the assuming of a meat based diet. I could easily find correlations between food and nutrients evaluating how my body would function. Today, it's harder to find good information on the topic. Now it's just noise or my googling ability has failed me.

Grains and fermented food for breakfast. Snack throughout the day on high fat veggies/lean meats/nuts. Dark leafy greens and protein for dinner. Eat at least two servings of fruit a day. Above all, if you have a craving, eat it, but reduce the quantity.


adamzerner 1 ago 0 replies      

Well written, thorough, and most of all... actually evidence based!

gabosarmiento 1 ago 0 replies      
Reddit. These subreddits are my primary source of guidance: /r/science - /r/Paleo - /r/Fitness - /r/GetMotivated - /r/Running
atmosx 1 ago 0 replies      
Just subscribe to some health related magazine. You'll learn a lot regarding generic well being, pretty standard things. Then you can choose were and when to dig for more (nutrition, exercise, relaxing, etc.)
yodsanklai 1 ago 0 replies      
You can find tons of blogs and articles in health magazine, but I think they are mostly a loss of time. I'd rather try to find information provided by health professionals. You can even ask your MD.
aantix 1 ago 0 replies      
How has no one mentioned https://www.examine.com ?
sridca 1 ago 0 replies      
A lot of health related problems come down to dysbiosis (imbalance of gut flora). It helps to read up on those. Also look up FMTs and raw milk diet.
Zelmor 1 ago 0 replies      
https://chriskresser.com/ and Mark's Daily Apple
cpach 1 ago 0 replies      
hfhrurnfhf 1 ago 0 replies      
The same place I go for learning about anything: Wikipedia
Nano2rad 1 ago 0 replies      
Question is too broad. Health can be exercise, diet, meditation, etc.
id_ris 1 ago 0 replies      
Dr. Rhonda Patrick. she has a website and podcast
Nano2rad 1 ago 0 replies      
Follow Marion Nestle @marionnestle on Twitter.
JesseAldridge 1 ago 0 replies      
Amazon.com, kindle books.

For fields outside of computing, the best knowledge is still mostly stuck in book form.

dominotw 1 ago 0 replies      
stay active and don't eat bad food.

Is there more to it?

qaq 1 ago 0 replies      
HN :)
dschiptsov 1 ago 0 replies      
Remote rural areas.
Mz 1 ago 0 replies      
I bitch to my son that I need specific info for a specific issue, an hour later I have an email. Then I often blog about it to collate the info.

(If you were hoping for links to sites so you can see it yourself, perhaps you should say that.)

slifin 1 ago 0 replies      

Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle

7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey

saintzozo 1 ago 0 replies      
I am in the gym two days a week running a push/pull split. The two days are picked uniformly at random each week to 'confuse' the muscles and stimulate continued growth.

More importantly, every Sunday morning I attend Mass at my local Roman Catholic church. The body and spirit both require regular attention.

Ask HN: Working in Sweden?
48 points by throwy667  1 ago   31 comments top 9
jseban 1 ago 2 replies      
Also a native swede, worked as a software developer in Stockholm for 6 years.

Outdoors, yes, and especially the closeness to the sea and ocean. If you like boating or kayaking this is a huge plus, and you can also rent boats if you don't want to own one.

Housing market is crazy, you definitely have to buy an apartment and be willing to make a big investment in this, renting is basically not an option. The city also gets suburban and quiet very quickly as you move away from the inner parts, so if you want to live in a lively neighbourhood it's going to cost a lot.

Lifestyle is quite wholesome, punctuated and routine, and suits sporty people very well. On the social side swedes are reserved and private and the financial and social pressure to start a family is quite high.

Nightlife is a bit on the snobby and expensive side, with fancy restaurants and champagne.

The winter is dreadfully long and dark, and the summer is gorgeous. Many people go to Thailand in the winter and enjoy the beautiful archipelago outside Stockholm in the summer.

If you are a sporty person who enjoys boating, and/or wants to start a family, go for it. If you are looking for a fun place to stay for a shorter time and want to have a spontaneous social life, I wouldn't recommend it.

hankmander 1 ago 2 replies      
Stockholm native working as a dev for 5+ years here. I'll just add the only two things I see missing from previous posts:

You won't make any friends among the natives. We'll have a beer with you after work but don't expect anything serious. None of my friends have foreign friends. Can't really say why this happens though. We are pretty reserved.

Nightlife is not snobbish as somebody else said. There is the whole range from dive bars to upscale to any kind of nightclub you can think of. It's similar to most bigger western cities. Also, I've noticed the variety and quality of restaurants are outstanding in Stockholm when comparing to most places I've been.

johapers 1 ago 2 replies      
Native Swede here.

Stockholm is quite dynamic in terms of its start up culture. There are a number of ways to network within the industry, most prevalent way to do so is Sthlm Tech Meetup.

Salaries are relatively low for engineering jobs (compared to ex Germany), but should be ok in the software space. Ok in this case would be ~4000-4500k/month for a relatively experienced software engineer. Do note that tax levels are rather high once you reach higher levels of income (50%-55% marginal tax rate). The tax is a pain until you have kids and you pay almost nothing for daycare and schools.

The main thing to be aware of is that the housing market in Stockholm is completely crazy. It is very difficult to find somewhere to live. If you manage to get relocation support this should not become an issue for a while. Be ready to pay ridiculous money for second hand rentals (compared to salary)

manarth 1 ago 1 reply      
I spent nearly a year as a contractor (for Ericsson) in Stockholm.

I found it difficult to rent a flat, and I got the impression that this was fairly common. Be prepared to hunt through adverts, and respond as soon as you can after its published. If you leave it much more than a day, you'll probably get ignored. My Swedish colleagues told me that even if there's a phone number on the advert, don't ring it, email instead. And reply in Swedish - have someone translate your reply for you. But be prepared for lots of frustration when house-hunting.

In general, language wasn't an issue - although I knew no Swedish, everyone spoke excellent English. Not just work colleagues, but coffee-shop waiters, supermarket clerks, bar staff, pretty much everyone I met.

Financially, there were few surprises. Housing was expensive, just like any other major city. Alcohol's a little pricier (taxes), and you can only buy it in a chain of government-run shops, which have limited opening hoursyou can't just pop to the supermarket for a bottle of wine. As for the rest: coffee, eating out, groceries, were all on a par with western Europe prices.

Speaking of coffee, the culture of Fika is a great Swedish institution, and should be spread worldwide :-)

I love extremes of weather, so a very snowy winter and a gloriously hot summer were great for me, YMMV.

I ended up coming back to the UK, but some of my contracting colleagues from other parts of Europe decided to stay. They've since settled down in Stockholm, and easily found another project at the end of the contract.

Ericsson's taken a fairly hefty hit this year, and are planning another round of significant layoffs, which may have a short-term impact on the tech market around Stockholm.

drakonka 1 ago 0 replies      
You have gotten good feedback on what it's like to live in Stockholm here already.

I moved here four years ago from Australia. The worst part about relocating here is finding housing. We ended up just buying our own apartment and that ended up being much cheaper and less stressful than continuing to rent. Other than that for me personally there hasn't been much to complain about. People tend to regard Stockholm as an expensive city. Coming from Western Australia I didn't feel that much of a difference. My salary isn't huge, but make enough after the hefty taxes to have spending money left over. Public infrastructure seems great, it is safe, bike paths everywhere. People _are_ reserved yes, but there are many Meetup groups where you can socialize. The nature is beautiful, and how close it is to more urban areas is a big plus. Very pet-friendly - pets are allowed on subways, in many stores, etc (although the level of veterinary care and approach here varies, but I could write an entire separate novel on that).

I would ask your potential employer if they can help line up housing for you for some time after you move - larger companies often help with that and have their own contacts.

Also the games industry is booming here. I don't know what it's like compared to your current EU country, maybe quite similar. But after having lived in Ukraine, the U.S., and Australia Sweden is definitely my favorite.

adamwi 1 ago 0 replies      
Also native Swede so might be a bit biased.

If you enjoy the outdoors Stockholm has a lot of accessible nature just around the corner with large parks in central city as well as accessible and clean water ways as large parts of the city is located on islands. Within weekend trip range you have alpine skiing and wilderness in the northern parts of the country.

When it comes to job hunting there are a number of larger incumbents such as Ericsson that currently is struggling a bit. But there is also a number of larger "start-ups" such as Spotify, Klarna, King, iZettle, etc. These companies are very used to relocate new employees and have a structured process for everything from housing, to tax admin, even initial social activities.

elias12 1 ago 0 replies      
Have you seen https://teleport.org/cities/stockholm ?

Pretty much gives you roughly the things you asked above.

You can also post a question on their "Ask A Local" board, if you are up for more specifics...https://teleport.org/community/c/ask-a-local/stockholm/

throwy667 14 ago 1 reply      
Also is the 6 month probation period everyone is offering me common? Looks a lot to me, I'm not a new grad without experience.
pzh 1 ago 0 replies      
I recommend watching "Welcome to Sweden" ;)
Ask HN: Suggest Some Websites Related to Internet Privacy and Net Neutrality
9 points by palakz  16 ago   5 comments top 5
gexos 11 ago 0 replies      
> Looking for some good blogs and website to follow to keep myself updated with recent news in internet privacy and internet freedom.

https://www.privacyrights.org and https://www.epic.org you'll find many informations in both sites.

Two blogs I follow are https://paulbernal.wordpress.com and http://theprivacyblog.com

maxencecornet 7 ago 0 replies      
If you can speak/read french,

La quadrature du Net are amazing, it's a non profit fighting for net neutrality. They're pretty huge and very active


EDIT : I actually just discovered that the website is also translated in english :


antoineMoPa 10 ago 0 replies      
RMS's website: https://stallman.org/

There are a few links to his articles (Right side of the 3-column thing + bottom of the 3-column thing).

brudgers 15 ago 0 replies      
EFF comes to mind: https://www.eff.org/
twunde 15 ago 0 replies      
Techdirt does a good job of covering both along with copyright and similar issues: https://www.techdirt.com/
Ask HN: Should flag have a confirmation dialog?
2 points by puddintane  15 ago   6 comments top 4
gosub 15 ago 1 reply      
I think this behavior is the correct one.

 - If i want to do something, do not make me click more than once - If I clicked wrong, let me undo it

Jtsummers 13 ago 0 replies      
Flagging should, perhaps, take you directly to the post. I've sometimes found it difficult to find the link that I accidentally flagged again to undo it.

If not that, we need a "Flagged Articles/Comments" in our user profiles so we can go back and review what we flagged and correct our errors. At least then it'd be a two-step fix instead of a look and hope "unflag" is on the front page or two.

panic 7 ago 0 replies      
If this turns out to be a real problem, a better solution would be to remove the "flag" link on the front page, forcing you to visit the article's comments page to flag it. This is already how flagging works for individual comments.
corecoder 15 ago 1 reply      
Happens to me all the time with mobile; the flag link is a bit too easy to click by mistake.
Ask HN: Any unfinished side projects to give away?
160 points by s3b  2 ago   112 comments top 51
hatter10_6 2 ago 10 replies      
I had been building http://wishcan.com, a drag-and-drop travel planner, and will hand it off to someone willing to continue the work. Trip planning is difficult to get right, and notoriously hard to find a business model for. I think it's simply because no one has gotten the UI/UX perfect. I am now working on an IoT platform called http://smartxlab.com
autonomic 2 ago 4 replies      
Yes. A fully automated business for 3D prints of ultrasound scans in glass cubes. The USP is that you upload a low res scan (most doctors don't want to give you access to the full 3d data) whereupon it does image processing to create a 3d point cloud which it puts into a reverse engineered laser engraving format. If payment is processed on the bundled website it then sends the engraving file and delivery sheet to a sub contractor. Profit. Everything ready to run. Wasn't so very happy with the point cloud quality though, but it's probably good enough. Ran out of interest just before the marketing phase. Hackers eh.
scrollaway 2 ago 0 replies      
This is something that I've been designing and playing around for a while...

I wanted to implement a generic MUC protocol bridge. Kinda like https://sameroom.io/ is doing, but open source.

My initial approach was to look at Matterbridge (a mattermost<->irc bridge) and go from there. But I simply don't have time to do it anymore. The author is interested by the approach though so ... have at it:



I'm also the author of https://github.com/jleclanche/django-push-notifications and I don't use it anymore, but it's a very popular django app. If someone around here is using it and wants to maintain it (or part of it), please reach out - I tried handing it off to Jazzband but that doesn't seem to be happening.

DominikSerafin 2 ago 2 replies      
https://enboard.co - a web app where you can create "boards" filled with links

Some examples of such boards:





It'd be willing to hand it to someone (on partnership basis) who could maintain it and grow it.

Stack is Linode/Ubuntu/Python/Django/Sass.

noahtovares 2 ago 6 replies      
I built http://mlist.io but currently don't have time to do anything beyond maintenance. If you interested in email newsletters let me know!
swilsonalfa 2 ago 0 replies      
There's a great website for that: https://www.sideprojectors.com/project/home
pavlov 2 ago 0 replies      
I made WordSafety.com [1] last year. It got some positive attention initially: #1 on HN, and about 79,000 pageviews in the first month... But then I just basically forgot about it, because I was so busy with other stuff. Now, after a year of complete neglect, the site gets about 1300 sessions / month.

If someone wants to take this over, I'd be happy to entertain any offer. The app itself is exceedingly simple (a database-less Node.js app), so hosting costs practically nothing.

[1] http://wordsafety.com

stevejohnson 2 ago 0 replies      
I wrote MSPaint-as-JavaScript library, Literally Canvas (http://literallycanvas.com). People sometimes want to pay good rates for work done on it. I'm always looking for someone to take over most of those requests, since I no longer have time for it.
leandot 19 ago 0 replies      
I've built a couple of App Store & GPlay apps that I am not actively developing or marketing anymore due to lack of time. I believe they have good potential and the ideas can be reused to create similar experiences but you need to invest more time and resources. Prefer to sell but I am open to discuss any interesting options.

- Really Funny Fish Aquarium is a game where kids click on moving fish, who make funny noises and movements [1][2]

- Fun Kids Activities is an app where me and my wife used to post one activity you can do with kids every day with a notification but it turned out it to be quite time consuming for us so we just listed all activities and removed the notifications. [3][4]

[1] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/really-funny-fish-aquarium/i...

[2] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/really-funny-fish-aquarium-h...

[3] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/really-funny-kids-activities...

[4] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.leandot.re...

keyboard1234 2 ago 1 reply      
I made a program for one handed keyboard input. it has a rather unique way of selecting symbols, and it can insert it into any X11 window. So far it's in far from polished. It runs on Ubuntu if you download some rather common libraries. Take a look in the Makefile for details.

I won't have very much time to continue the development.


mitchellbryson 2 ago 5 replies      
I'd be tempted to giveaway http://spendful.com to the right person.
webjac 5 ago 0 replies      
I got servpaid.com which is a front end for Stripe payments.

It needs a lot of work done, I only got a few clients. I really don't know what to do with it... suggestions?

bayonetz 2 ago 1 reply      
Blanqd. It's a prett neat daily news headline quiz app concept. Built hybrid style and works on both iOS and Android. The quizzes are generated daily using NLP word substitution hacks. Could be cool/lucrative if someone had the energy to put into promoting it, adding in app ads, maybe making it player vs player, etc.


hit me up at mr.manager@blanqd.com

w1nter 1 ago 0 replies      

Web IDE for GNU Octave (open source Matlab alternative). Originally built it because Octave had no UI and installation was a pain. It was heavily used by Machine Learning Coursera students and currently just pays for its hosting.

I'm sure it could be useful in niche academia market, but don't have time/connections to pivot. NodeJS/React/PostgreSQL/websockets. Email address on the home page.

freework 2 ago 1 reply      
I have a shitload of open source personal projects I no longer work on any more. Take your pick: https://github.com/priestc
docsapp_io 2 ago 0 replies      
I built DocsApp[0]: Documentation Hub for Your Developers. It is 90% completed. It is similar to readme.io.

If anyone interested to buy, please contact me. Email is in my profile.

The main reason I plan to sell is because marketing it is too hard (I am developer).

[0]: https://www.docsapp.io/

sellingstuff 2 ago 0 replies      

I dont have time to continue with this:


Cool thing is that I've made an API to take on orders.

If anyone's interested (even in the domain name) I can sell it to you at a minimal cost.

arisAlexis 2 ago 0 replies      
I have built https://www.writedown.co an opinionated immutable Twitter like social network that has most of the features you would expect (something like Akasha). I wanted to make it compatible with blockchains also. Nodejs (ES7) + Ractive + Orientdb. Didn't get much traction / I lack PR skills. If you think you believe in the idea/cause you can either take it or work together (it is almost feature complete).
namero999 1 ago 0 replies      
We (me a and a friend) built https://board.creonomy.com a visual bookmarking/inspiration organization tool for visual creative professionals, some of them are teams within big corporations that want to pay for the product because they got burned by free stuff such as Pinterest. It is on autopilot. Triple digits paying customers. It also raised an angel investment (that for reasons we can elaborate about if interested, we turned down). A new, better version with much more features and more polished UI is 95% done on my dev machine. Definitely looking forward to someone with the time and drive to make it bigger.
erikrothoff 2 ago 0 replies      
http://www.kickassapp.com is never finished!
sathishvj 2 ago 0 replies      
I bumped into an acquaintance a few days ago who reminded me that he was still using a project I'd written a while ago: A language reinforcement app. I had occasional ideas to revive and monetize it, but haven't yet.

[About Glowso](http://gcdc2013-glowso.appspot.com/#/about)

[GlowSo Web App](http://gcdc2013-glowso.appspot.com/#/home)

[A talk I'd done for GDG Tunisia about how I developed it](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBwOuK9x5VQ)

yegortimoshenko 2 ago 1 reply      
I made Paper, an Instapaper addon for Firefox: https://github.com/yegortimoshenko/paper

The problem is, I don't use Firefox anymore, so I'm looking for a new maintainer.

ilzmastr 2 ago 0 replies      
I made http://dillydally.herokuapp.com, a way to share collections of locations with friends. Made it for myself and friends, but didn't get a mobile site done before I had to move on.
dwightgunning 2 ago 0 replies      
It's a shame that Assembly.com had to close - you'd find tonnes of interesting side projects there.
firasd 2 ago 1 reply      
I've been making a podcast discovery app, it's not live yet but the latest home page screenshot is http://imgur.com/a/Bkn7Y (basically: Trending topics, Recommendations (based on social media profile and listening history, subscribed shows, and iTunes charts), and instant search of over 4.5 million episodes across more than 60 thousand shows.)

I may not be able to keep going on it though because of constraints on time and resources. Would be happy to talk to anyone who'd like to partner on this (or ideas about how I can at least handle hosting bills for such a large DB!). firasd at gmail.

pvinis 1 ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/pvinis/mazicalIt's not much but it was a start.I airways wanted to play a game like that do I thought I would make it. It's a maze that you do not see and of the walls until you bump into them. I would love to see someone actually programming it so I can finally play it :)
desaiguddu 2 ago 2 replies      
I have built a platform for Networking - specifically for conferences, meetups & business gatherings.

We hosted one conference i.e Apple's WWDC.

[1] http://wwdcconnect.com

Donmario 2 ago 3 replies      
I have a gamification platform like https://badgeville.com/ that we've worked on some time ago. It was like 70 percent done.
tonteldoos 1 ago 0 replies      
I don't have a started project per se, but have some domain names I acquired about 2 years ago for online resume/project/listing sites in the developer/designer space (all ending in ???resu.me). They keep on auto-renewing, but if anyone's interested, I could be talked into offloading them :)
tim33 2 ago 0 replies      
I made a music recommendation site: http://recommendindieband.com

After an initial successful post on the indieheads subreddit, it's slowed down to about 15 users per day.

I also had people writing album reviews and they kinda got bored by it so it's been a while since the last review.

If this is a project people would be interested in (built in python / flask), I'll throw it up on github.

avodonosov 2 ago 0 replies      
epynonymous 2 ago 0 replies      
yeah sure, the dns address is not registered anymore (getsdone.io), but i built a productivity app in sinatra; basically it leverages tweet like syntax and allows people to quickly delegate tasks to other people or oneself and track progress on those tasks. e.g. @paulgraham set up meeting for project review at 1pm tomorrow, pick up milk @danny. i basically got the web app up and running, but due to having to work on my full time job and other priorities, i just stopped after the dns name ran out after a year, i might be wrong, but the aws machine is probably still being charged, so all you'd need is a new ssl cert and renew or rebrand the dns name. never really got around to using it myself because most users wanted a mobile client.

epynonymous at outlook dot com for more details.

andriussev 2 ago 2 replies      
I have been holding on to http://ampoll.com for a while. Technologically, it's there despite a couple of bugs but I've not touched it for over a year now and will probably scrap it in the near future.
libeclipse 2 ago 0 replies      
I started this a while back: https://github.com/libeclipse/starlight

Nowadays I'm too busy to keep up with development so if anyone wants to help out that would be great.

vzrandom 2 ago 0 replies      
http://localqueries.com/Make localized google searches from any country or language in the world. See how your keyword is performing in Cambodia for example. It's working, just need some follow up.
kilroy123 2 ago 0 replies      
I built this site with semi-interactive flash cards for learning a new language:


Just abandoned it. I couldn't come up with a good way to monetize it, so I opened it up to be free.

foreverdev 2 ago 0 replies      
Started to build UI for Quartz Scheduler but never had time to finish it. You can see general idea at http://www.quartzdashboard.com/

i think its ready to get adopted :)

endriju 2 ago 0 replies      
Not exactly give away or sell, rather looking for a partner that could make http://exmerg.com better. If interested ping me at sevce at bitfictioncom.
root_me 2 ago 0 replies      
http://owlpro.io , Wordpress Security Testing Platform.highly appreciated but couldn't find time from day job to complete this. contact me at pentesterkunal@live.com for more info
jpliska 2 ago 2 replies      
I'm looking for someone to partner with me on http://www.ballotbin.com

The system needs changes (in frontend, backend, sysadmin). It is pretty much the same as in 2002.

glasz 2 ago 0 replies      


every now and then i do some maintenence but... you know.

Malankov 1 ago 0 replies      
I started https://togethr.tv/, a website where you can watch synchronized videos with your friends. Other features include text and audio chat. I wanted to promote it, but I never did. Average of 1000 unique users / month. You can contact me on admin@togethr.tv.
krakaukiosk 2 ago 0 replies      
Phrase.it - speech bubble photo app.

Built it a couple of years ago but lost interest. Still used by 100+ users per day. Ping me at Contact@phrase.it

alexatkeplar 2 ago 0 replies      
Can you share your interests / capabilities upfront? Definitely have some side projects gathering dust but they need to go to a good home...
mechanismic77 2 ago 0 replies      
Are you trying to create a website where people can give away their side projects?
jason_slack 2 ago 0 replies      
I used to write a fairly popular cross-platform text editor. Been thinking about open-sourcing it.
mrborgen 2 ago 0 replies      
Yes, Datasets.co. A site for sharing/indexing machine learning datasets.
gtheme_io 2 ago 1 reply      
I have one side project GTheme.io[1] selling Ghost.org premium themes. Some improvement (SSL, auto payment to sellers, content blogging, etc) can be done to make it as passive income. 11 of the themes are designed by myself.

As my focus shifted, I plan sell it.

[1]: http://www.gtheme.io/

pcunite 2 ago 2 replies      
Anyone interested in C++/Windows/Desktop products?

Note, this is a commercial product, customers include Airbus, and everyone else.

Mostly pirated, you'll have to figure that one out.

Asking $125K or $500K for everything.

SteveMorin 2 ago 0 replies      
S3b why?
wprapido 2 ago 0 replies      
a wordpress installer
Ask HN: I created a new GitHub project, and I need some suggestions and ideas
7 points by dee1024  1 ago   1 comment top
brudgers 1 ago 0 replies      
Clickable: https://github.com/coolcooldee/sloth

If it meets the guidelines, this might make a good 'Show HN'. Guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html

How do you use HN? (result data)
16 points by pvsukale3  1 ago   5 comments top 3
marmot777 21 ago 1 reply      
Yes, I agree, it would be cool to have some commentary from you on what you found. It could be anything just some thoughts on what you found even if you're uncertain. It be fascinating to hear what those closest to this study think.
goodJobWalrus 1 ago 1 reply      
Can you comment on what you found out?
Ask HN: How can I be productive interning remotely?
58 points by startupintern  1 ago   40 comments top 21
ddebernardy 1 ago 3 replies      
> I'm having trouble getting clear tasks with well-defined requirements. (...) I effectively report directly to the CEO.

FWIW it's a common symptom of too busy a manager. Most managers are too busy, btw.

What's happening is that the CEO is probably thinking something "I need to take some time to itemize this task so he can work faster" but doing so is lower priority than that day's urgent fire.

> How can I make the most of this experience and provide as much value to the company as possible?

The best way to provide value to the company in your situation also happens to be the one where you'll make the very most of the experience: manage yourself to the point of being nearly or entirely autonomous. Examples:

The task itself is vague or unclear? Expand a bit on what you feel the task is, what it's for, etc. in writing, and submit that for review.

Next steps are vague or unclear? Expand on the DoD (Definition of Done), itemize the way forward, and submit those for review.

Does the usefulness of this/that new feature sound fishy? Ask about it. Not satisfied with the answer? Ask if they don't mind you getting in a Hangout with a few end-users to validate the idea's merit? Assuming they accept, then do so and report on your findings.

Every little step where they don't need to think for you is a step where you'll learn more and where you'll make yourself more useful. Have the company's end-goals in mind at all stages, take initiative, put things in writing (this is crucial for remote work), and you'll do fine.

jeffmould 1 ago 1 reply      
There are a couple problems I see here:

1) The biggest one that jumps out is having an intern working remotely. First, I am surprised your school would even allow this to happen. To be honest, this almost sounds like a favor from an alumni CEO to the school and he/she could really care less about having an intern. Internships are supposed to be learning experiences. You should be immersed in an environment to give you experience. In another post, you said something about the company is in Silicon Valley and you are in the midwest and that you can't spend any time with them. To be blunt, that is a lame excuse. You should ask them to fly you out, or even cover your own travel expenses if they won't, to even spend a day with the team. Meet them, work with them in person.

2) Most startups themselves don't always have a clear path and they still may be working on defining the tasks that need to be done. Are you the only one working remotely? If not, you should see if you can be involved in their meetings. See what they are working on, how their tasks are defined, and what their deliverables are. Find ways to work with them or emulate their delivery process. If you are the only one working remotely, the company probably could care less about you as an intern. I don't mean that rudely, just that they look at it as they will give you a project, if you get some done great, if not oh well nothing lost.

onion2k 1 ago 2 replies      
I'm having trouble getting clear tasks with well-defined requirements.

Having worked remotely for a number of years, and having run a startup, I think this is the root cause of your issue. You're not going to get well defined requirements because the definition of "well defined" varies from person to person, and because startups generally don't plan features in great detail (tbh, as a rule established businesses don't either).

If you want to make a bigger impact, start being more proactive in asking what features need to do in order to be accepted. If you don't know something, think about it, then write a clear document that sets out what you think you need to do and points to specific things that you need clarification about. That's what I'd expect any developer to do, regardless of whether they're an intern or an experienced lead developer. The key thing no one in a business is simply there to execute instructions. You have to think for yourself.

tl;dr If you don't know what you're supposed to be building there's no way you can build a thing that works, so think through the problem and ask good questions.

Tojot 1 ago 1 reply      
I'm afraid it's not going to work.

Turning vaguely defined task into something tangible is usually the most difficult, and most important part of the task, but it requires some experience.

In the beginning you need to learn the internal know-how, and this requires regular prompt answers. Otherwise, you will stay blocked and frustrated most of the time.

Remote work is fine when you already know the domain, but that's not really what intern programs are for.

That said, you can try to write design docs where you put your questions. Note that it's not really about writing a specification, but about writing down what you know and what you don't. You can speculate about answers to your questions, and this way make your manager understand what you're missing.

mikekchar 1 ago 1 reply      
Let me a bit blunt. An intern that is still in school working a dozen hours a week, is not going to produce anything of real value, realistically. Any reasonable company (start up or not) knows this and is willing to take a hit on their productivity to help you out (and also evaluate whether or not you might be worth hiring in the future).

So the question of how to be successful should be whether or not you can do something positive, showcase your skills and learn about industry at the same time. If you even get a hint that it's about you producing value to the team, I would consider moving on (given what else you have said). There is no point in being set up for failure.

Most of the time with interns, I have to scramble to try to find some vague connection with what we are doing. The intern will feel bad if they realise that they are doing a make work project. In reality, though, it's all about the intern. Especially with talented interns, we just want to make the experience really positive and don't care at all what they do.

matzhouse 1 ago 2 replies      
I think there might also be an issue with what software development is made out to be - well defined tasks with outcomes and deadlines, supported by a manager and easily achievable in a the desired timeframe - and the realities of working in startup and early stage companies.

Self direction is the key here. All you really need is the outcome desired and the 'why?' - these should enable you to start and hopefully feel you are making an impact. Take it as an unbelievable opportunity, you're basically being given a project to go wild with, manage yourself and make your own decisions. Things might fail, it might take longer than they thought - but as many others have mentioned communication is the key!!! Write out YOUR plan, tell them what you're gonna do, give them an idea of time of the first few parts - and be realistic and transparent. This is pretty much all they can ask of you. Have fun and learn :)

gengen 1 ago 0 replies      
First, I would suggest being more open. Take some of the concerns you've raised here feeling useless, not knowing what's expected of you and go to the CEO with them. Don't be critical or overemphatic. Just tell them the situation you're in and how you're feeling. If they're worth their salt they'll listen and be understanding and try to make things better. If not, at least youll know who you're dealing with.

Communicate more frequently. If youre not sure what to do, ask someone. If they dont know, ask someone else. You certainly dont want to bother people every 5 minutes, but if youre stuck for hours each day thats not good for anyone.

If possible, get them to tell you the most basic subset of functionality you can build at first. Build that. Take it to them and see what they think. That will probably give them a far better idea of what they want.

haversine02 1 ago 0 replies      
I've had similar issues doing remote work for people who aren't really good at managing projects.The solution depends on how much you care about the product itself - you can either take charge, send constant emails, follow up on missed promises and generally push people to actually do something, or you can just ride this thing out. The management probably won't improve in time, and the product will most likely crash and burn. I've "saved" a few projects by doing most of the work myself, but often there are factors beyond your control that will drag the project down anyway. Another thing to think about - even if you build it, your CEO isn't guaranteed to make good use of the product and all your honest effort might be wasted by bad leadership anyway.
abannin 1 ago 0 replies      
Congrats, you are getting a first hand perspective of a startup; there are no syllabi just a vague sense of which direction to walk. What you describe as "lack of guidance" can also be described as "hands off delegation". The presence or absence of task tracking, feature specs, etc mean nothing right now. Your success depends on your ability to take ownership of the feature, anticipate requirements, deliver the code, and ask for feedback. You've been thrown into the deep end of the pool while your peers who took normal internships are in the kiddie pool with floaties. Have fun and make time to come up for air every so often!
new299 1 ago 0 replies      
Most startups fail. Many startups are train wreaks. In many cases, talented individuals can only watch in horror as events unfold.

As a junior, remote employee you're not in a position to significantly effect the outcome of the business.

Many companies also don't know how to communicate with remote employees well. Not replying to emails.

So... try your best to engage with company and observe how the company works. Learn the warning signs, learn what issues they face. These should all be hugely useful lessons.

But don't expect the company not to be a train wreak or to be massively successful. Those things are quite rare.

Veen 1 ago 0 replies      
After years of remote working, albeit as a technical writer rather than a developer, I've learned a couple of techniques for dealing with vague and ill-defined tasks.

i) Write down exactly what you think the task might entail and email the CEO / manager. If you're off the mark, you'll get corrected. If you're on the right track, you'll get the go-ahead. Either way, you'll have a clear path forward.

ii) YMMV vary with this because of the different job roles, but I'll often just figure out a good solution to the problem, implement it, and see what happens. In my experience, tasks are ill-defined and vague because the manager has only an ill-defined and vague idea of what they need. In solving the problem, you do the thinking and clarification so the manager doesn't have to.

brudgers 1 ago 0 replies      
To me, through no fault of your own, this is sounds like a low quality internship. Not because there's little productive work being accomplished, but because there is little professional interaction between the student and experienced professionals and about zero chance for constructive personal interactions.

Hopefully, you're at least getting paid.

Anyway, the big lessons here are that most people ignore remote workers because managing them is significantly more work than when co-located and perhaps more importantly, the most important aspect of developing a career is meeting people and getting to know them.

Good luck.

btgeekboy 1 ago 1 reply      
Have you spent any time at all with this new team in person? If not, I suspect it would be valuable to meet with the team face to face. Sure, you can do calls and such, but it's a lot easier for them to think of you as an outsider if you haven't actually occupied the office space.

You might also consider getting a mentor within the company. This is how we do it at $employer; you report to a manager, but your tasks and assistance come from a single mentor whose purpose during your tenure is to guide you towards completing your assigned project.

Have you been given a large but attainable project, or are they expecting you to just fix bugs and the like?

hughperkins 1 ago 0 replies      
1. arrange a 1:1 skype call with anyone and everyone on the team who might be either interested in what you are creating or to whom you might be able to contribute something useful. 2. try to find someone who clearly understands the needs of the organization and who has some painpoint you can help with. this is unlikely to be the ceo, because their painpoints are very high level and abstract. it will be some technical guy who has a bunch of tasks to do, some of which theyd be happy to offload. do those tasks for them, earn karma, youre in.
interdrift 1 ago 0 replies      
Make sure you know what they want from you. Not clear requirements could mean there are problems inside the company or they don't want to deal with you too much. In either case not clear requirements could be beneficial or very non-beneficial for them since if you aren't sure what you are building you might build anything that works from your point of view. Make sure you sort this out before you build it.
dgelks 1 ago 0 replies      
Although a very different situation company wise I did a similar remote internship once. My coping strategy was to find small bugs that you understand and fix it if given no direction - it's great way to learn, assist and keep out of trouble.
Jach 1 ago 0 replies      
Honestly having a startup take on an intern sounds nuts to me... I don't really have any sound basis for advice since my only experience with interns was having them join my team at BigCo this summer, so other comments here are probably better suggestions. Still here are a few thoughts that come to mind you might want to chew on.

Imagine yourself as a part time employee rather than an intern. Imagine if you don't figure out how to impress, you'll be fired. (As an intern you're basically fire-proof.) This means that you need to become more autonomous and take the initiative. If something is unclear, creatively interpret it into something that is clear, and work on that. Make some progress, or write up the more concrete version, and get feedback. While waiting for feedback make more progress. If you are blocked, ping other people on the team to see if you can help them out with anything, or if nothing else find bugs, fix bugs, and/or write test code. There is always stuff to do.

You mentioned an example task "tell whether a picture is of a bird", if that's all I had to go on then I'd search for a few online image classification service providers and write a shell script or whatever to send the picture to them and report back. Done. When showing the implementation or the write-up in review, if there's something that the CEO doesn't like about the solution (he wanted you to do it by hand, or wanted you to use a particular machine learning or computer vision toolkit, or integrated with a web api, or wanted you to go out and take a bunch of reference pictures to train a neural net on...) then his complaints will make what he originally wanted more clear. Repeat.

For the remote aspect in particular, schedule a daily (or at the very least every other day) one-on-one meeting over Hangouts or Skype with the CEO. Time box it to 15 minutes though 30 might not be bad either. If the CEO can't make these, ask him to find someone who can and who will effectively become your new supervisor. You want these meetings to first be about any concerns you want to raise (like feeling directionless, or that some deadline is too hard for the vagueness of the task) and second about your general activities of the previous and coming day so people are in the loop with what you're up to. Also encourage the whole team to get on irc/hipchat/slack/matrix in an all-team channel. Assuming the company consists of more than just you and the CEO, it's crucial you have contact with some portion of the rest of the team, and be able to ping them in real time to ask "can we jump on a hangout meeting real quick to discuss x / share my screen and look at y?"

timwaagh 1 ago 0 replies      
i don't think your institution should allow this. reason is an internship should be about learning. if you are on the floor you will learn by osmosis. if you work remotely you won't. as for you, skype or slack a lot. maybe you will still get something out of it. try your best to implement the feature anyways even if it is a tight schedule. you will likely be evaluated on that.
pibefision 1 ago 0 replies      
This is a core issue on remote working. Not many people talks about this because still remote working is something quite new.
chvid 1 ago 0 replies      
Look for an internship which is not remote.
bencollier49 1 ago 0 replies      
An external intern?

Something seems awry.

Ask HN: What does an electrical engineer actually do at work?
136 points by johan_larson  3 ago   108 comments top 26
antoineMoPa 3 ago 7 replies      
This year, I left my electrical engineering (EE) studies for software engineering. I had a lot of personal experience with coding before going in EE and I wondered if some hardware would make my life more interesting.

After 1.25 years, I realized that I was spending all my life in a lab with no windows, to the smell of toxic soldering fumes, fighting against extremely annoying software (altium & other proprietary overpriced pieces of technical debt). Also, I realized whatever I created needed a lot of work for an unsatisfying outcome (A sound amplifier is less satisfying than some webgl stuff that moves [but it requires a lot more work]). The nice feeling of being powerful when writing software & the instant compiler/interpreter feedback is what I missed the most.

At least, when you are a software engineer, you have more odds of finding a nice workplace, with windows and software you can choose.

The part I miss from electrical engineering is the physics part (But we were only skimming this part anyway).

Finally, circuits are a thousand times less satisfying to me than code. I've seen people for whom it was the opposite. They did not get programming at all, but they were designing circuits at the speed of light with an intuition that I did not have.

chclau 3 ago 1 reply      
I have been working for about 20 years. At the beginning of my career I had a choice of being in the ASIC side or board design and chose for board design because I thought (rightfully so, I learned later), that that was a more "physical" task. So I worked for about 10 years in board design and my typical work day was not typical at all. Some of the time researching parts. Some making schematics of circuits. Some making PCB layout. Some on debug and integration. Some time mastering scope and logic analyzer use. Some time talking my way thru all the people I have to receive products from/deliver to: SW engineers, FPGA engineers, mechanical engineers...

I made analog designs, digital designs, power supply designs... Then I started feeling more and more that I designed less and spent more time learning what the chip designers did, as chips incorporated more and more functions that once I did by myself.

So at the end I switched to FPGA design and today my typical workday is coding, debugging, simulating... 95% of the time on my computer. A good friend of mine coined a good phrase: FPGA engineers are SW engineers that disguise themselves as HW engineers. A good joke. But every joke has a bit of truth in it.

jimmyswimmy 3 ago 0 replies      
There's a lot of overlap between the two, or there can be; there is as much variation in what one does in EE as you can imagine, from supervising operations to semiconductor design, etc.

A design engineer tends to have a batch-oriented life. Typical workflow might be like CAD -> sim -> layout -> debug -> small scale production -> testing -> handoff to production. Of course all of this is as a member of a larger team. Somewhere in there you'll either work on software or firmware or both. I spend about half my time in the lab or field, the rest in my office or meetings.

One bad side of EE is that you can break stuff much differently from software. When the magic smoke comes out, there's no 'svn revert' - you have to figure out what you broke and fix it before you can move on. This always happens when you're in a rush and causes plenty of unplanned late nights. And for additional fun, it's not uncommon for problems to crop up where you just have no way to get at the underlying issue. Datasheets don't have all the info you need, and you can't always figure it out. Sometimes you hit a wall and just have to start over. I used an Atmel processor which had a weird bug in its I2C slave module which prevented it from working properly. Best solution ended up being to go to a different processor, which was incredibly painful.

It's really awesome to be able to hold on to a thing that you built and make it go. Seeing your thing go out in the field and work is very rewarding.

cushychicken 3 ago 2 replies      
I'm an electrical engineer by trade, and do embedded systems design for a living. I do a lot of board placement and layout planning, plus writing test plans for verifying that what we build is good at scale. I also do a reasonable amount of debug, as that just comes with the territory. I'd say it's about 70% software time for planning and CAD work, 30% hands-on lab time. Note that it's not uniform - I might be in the lab for two months straight, then not go in for six.

Generally, "embedded systems" implies some programming as well, but I do little to none of that. I think I'm the exception rather than the rule in that sense.

If you wanna get simplistic about it, I spend half my time playing "connect the dots" in overpriced software, and the other half arguing with people about where I decided to put the lines.

On the one hand, there's a lot more standardization in the components I string together to make a working system. On the other hand, it can be just as hard to track down the source of a problem. You happen to have caught me at a point where I'm stuck trying to figure out the proper answer to a mysterious boot issue, and let me tell you what - it's about as frustrating as frustrating gets. You have to push yourself to think hard about what you haven't done, even when you've done everything by the book. ("The book" in this context is documentation, design guides, processor reference manuals - things that tell you what to do to get your system working.)

Point I'm trying to illustrate - don't think that hardware is any easier than software. It's very, very gratifying to see something real, that you can hold in your hands, work. Doubly so when people actually use your stuff and tell you how much they love it. (Yay, consumer electronics!)

FreedomToCreate 3 ago 2 replies      
Typical day as an Electrical engineer at a autonomous vehicles company.

- Work on Schematics and layout for various different boards (usually only get time for one each day). - Go to meetings with multiple different engineering teams to make sure that cross-functional requirements are being met (usually the software and mechanical guys making demands of what they need which just means what they want to make their life easier by making the EE's suffer). - troubleshoot issues on the already built hardware and add the fixes to upcoming revisions. - Argue with purchasing department about the reason I need to get a certain type of testing equipment.

-A lot of component research and validation and meetings with vendors to determine if that components is right one.

and this is just the pure hardware tasks. There is always potential to have to deal with firmware issues as well.

I may spent half my day at my desk, at least an hour or two in a lab and the rest is for meetings.

mattbillenstein 2 ago 0 replies      
I've lived two careers -- one in semiconductors doing ASIC physical design (highly aided by writing software I might add), and another in startups doing backend database, systems, the gamut of server-side programming.

The hardware job seemed more like "real" engineering -- it was more rigorous, there was less room for error or experimenting. But, I got bored with it eventually -- it was the same thing, just a bigger chip, more people working on it, and a longer design cycle from one thing to the next. Also, it seemed like upward mobility was hard -- I didn't want to be a middle manager anyway, and it felt hard to have a large influence in a company with thousands of engineers. In the end, I felt I didn't want to die at that desk, so I switched into working for internet startups.

The software end of things has felt more creative and has definitely been more fun. It's more laid-back, people are generally a little more interesting and well-rounded, and you typically work at a place 2-4 years and then move onto something new -- which I like. You're generally working in smaller teams and you get to work on a variety of different pieces of the system if that's what you like to do.

All in all, they were both rewarding experiences with good compensation -- the software thing might end up being more lucrative in the end and I just sorta have more fun doing it. At the time I made the switch, I took a pretty large pay cut going from a mid-level hardware engineer to a junior software engineer, but it's one of the best decisions I ever made looking back.

seanxh 3 ago 0 replies      
I was a RF engineer two years ago, and now I am doing software development. I think I kind of resonate with many of the above comments. While I was doing RF design, I spend a lot of time on CAD tools(I agree many of them are overpriced), after I got my design from the fabs or manufactures, I spend most of my time on lab to validate/optimize my designs, due to that fact that some unforeseeable fab/manufacture processes variation that are not captured by the CAD tools. thing I feel very gratifying was if you utilize the right framework/methods that are reason upon physics, the performance of the design most likely will mach to what you predicted, and that allow you to design something reach/surpass some industry benchmarks
patchorang 3 ago 6 replies      
There are a bunch of EEs in here complaining about the software they have to use. I took a few EE courses in school and the only thing I remember is having to use horrible software.

Why hasn't someone made good software for EEs to use? And if the have, why do no EEs use it?

mng2 2 ago 0 replies      
I do FPGAs and hardware design. The FPGA part of my work is more like software I guess; bug fixes, feature enhancements, maintenance, etc. Hardware design comes in waves depending on how complex the design is and how the requirements change. When it's "design season" I spend most of my time in schematic and PCB layout, then wait for hardware to come back, then do bringup. I also get to dabble a bit in RF/microwave and DSP.

But as others have said, EE jobs run the gamut. Depending on where you go to school and what emphasis you choose, you could be doing digital IC design (which contains multitudes within itself, e.g. high-level architecture, clock trees, verification, integration), analog IC design, RFIC design, board-level RF, chip package design, embedded systems, power electronics, antennas, FPGA, HDL/IP cores, test engineering, digital signal processing, control theory, communications systems -- the list goes on and on.

nicholas73 3 ago 1 reply      
Like software engineers, there are many different jobs for electrical engineers. Some are more design and simulation, some are testbench, some are more theory and down to the physics level. Others are support and sales. Larger companies might have more defined roles, whereas others do a bit of each.
loydb 2 ago 1 reply      
This video is an amazing time lapse of the creation of a Eurorack synth module. It shows you what you'll spend a lot of time doing in a smaller org (smaller, as in, you do everything...). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pawXfoTg1k
lutusp 3 ago 0 replies      
Somewhat related to the topic, but as time passes, electrical engineering becomes more and more about choosing which software remedy to apply to what once were pure hardware solutions.

And when that is not the case, when hardware is going to be built, the decisions about circuitry and methods are increasingly determined in advance with software.

Here's an example -- in my career as an electrical engineer (30 years ago) I designed any number of phase locked loops in circuitry. Now I design them with a keyboard and a computer monitor, [using methods like this](http://arachnoid.com/phase_locked_loop/). The new PLLs work much, much better than the hardware-based ones, as well as requiring far less guesswork and effort.

So my advice is not to abandon a software-based approach, it increases your employability compared to someone who only knows hardware.

mighty_atomic_c 3 ago 0 replies      
I'm just a beginner. I write in hardware description languages for test benches, simulations, checkers and constrained random tests. I've also done PCB layout (hobbyist to RF microstrip), GUI programming (I don't enjoy that), and using IC design software for.simulation and layout. I also spend a lot of time working with hardware. The debugging process is very challenging, and certain aspects of it can be tedious. Overall I find it to be satisfying, challging work. I also get to apply my Linux knowledge most of the time when working on things, which is great.
MarkMMullin 2 ago 1 reply      
TL;DR; I'm an impoverished small scale serial arsonist of expensive components remembering that software means never having to leave physical proof of your boo boos, most of the time. OK, I'm actually a software engineer back into hardware engineering after 20 some years cause I need to build custom cameras for machine vision projects. Major recovered sills are CAD (Eagle), more geometry (layout), exercising credit cards due to I'm still bad a spice, lazily using standard cap and resistor values even when they're wrong for >this< circuit, and excessive shining about stray capacitance - since I need to work at 3.3V and I'm in my 50's, I can't see the parts so well and my motor skills aren't what they once were, so thats even more expensive crap I need (rework station, reflow oven)
turnip1979 3 ago 3 replies      
I'm a SW guy .. been mulling getting a job in hw at some point. I watch a lot of YouTube and do hw projects in my spare time. Is there something like sw boot camps for developing hw skills? I'm almost considering getting an ee bachelors or masters as a part time student.
jwise0 3 ago 1 reply      
I've served a whole bunch of roles in my five years at my current employer, and I'd probably classify myself as being an "electrical engineer" for all of them. (No single experience is typical, but mine is probably representative of a lot of chip companies.)

When I joined the company, the very first role I was put in was on the core bringup team for a complex ASIC -- that is to say, the team responsible for screening chips, and working on issues that affect all of the individual functional blocks. I joined about a month or two before silicon was to come back. So, I spent the first six or eight months or so at the company in the lab; the first month was spent familiarizing myself with the tools and boards that we'd be using, and then once silicon came back, I spent a bunch of long nights and weekends in the lab getting chips to various teams, and, in general, solving whatever system-wide problems showed up. Bringup was a lot of work but it was also a really good view into "how the sausage was made", so to speak.

After bringup, I moved to an IP team [1], where my title was "ASIC Engineer". At the phase in the project that we were in, most of the RTL [2] had already been written, and owners for each sub-block had already been assigned. So my job was to do a bunch of the "checklist" items for netlist quality. For instance, I spent a while reviewing test coverage, and waiving coverage for things that couldn't possibly ever be reached. Or I reviewed tool output that did "clock domain crossing verification" -- basically, the tool pattern-matched on various chunks of code to make sure that they were safe. And yes, I spent some time staring at waveforms, trying to debug our testbench, or any kinds of such things.

I spent a while on another couple bringups, which I volunteered for this time. I enjoyed them, and then gave myself some time off for each to compensate myself for my nights and weekends.

At some point, someone decided that I was a better architect than engineer, which is probably for the better, because I was very slow at checklist items. So at some point I switched to an architect role, which meant that I was responsible for doing the definitions of sub-units, rather than implementing the hardware for them or implementing the testbenches for them. And, in general, the whole specification process is part of the architecture team's job. So, one day, when there was an output quality problem with our block -- it worked as specified, but given that it did some image processing, the image quality had some defect, so the specification was wrong -- I was tasked with spending a few weeks to reproduce it on hardware, find register settings that made it better or worse, and finally, understand what the defect was in the specification, and how to avoid it in the future.

Another task I had as an architect was to do the definition for a sub-unit from the ground up. This was a year or two of work. My primary output, interestingly, was not code, but instead a 100-or-so page Word document that specified how the block was to work, and what registers should program it; the consumers of that document would be the hardware team that implemented it, and the software team that would build the software. And, subsequently, I was tasked with implementing a model of that block in C, which could be checked against the RTL that the design team wrote. Near the end of that project, I wrote validation tests for it, and yes, I then spent some time staring at waveforms helping the design team to understand why their RTL implementation diverged from my C model. (They were, often, right. I am very lucky to work with an extremely skilled RTL team.)

These days, I'm doing more algorithmic research, trying to figure out what should be next for the block that I'm working on. In parallel, I sometimes get on phone calls with, for instance, image sensor vendors, understanding on an electrical level what's going on inside of their next sensors, and how they will be transmitting data back to our processor. So even though I work in the digital domain a lot of the time, having a firm grounding in 'is it possible to wire this to this' has gone a long way to help out, and being handy with a soldering iron has made my life a lot better on more than one occasion.

My experience spans some gamut, but not all of it. I don't work on place-and-route, and I don't work on board design (at work, at least). There are a lot of things that electrical engineers do :-)

Hope this helps. (I can answer questions, I suppose, if you like.)

[1] For some reason, the semiconductor industry calls functional blocks IPs -- yes, as in 'intellectual property'. This particular IP was not something that we licensed to anyone, or that we licensed from anyone; the only 'customer' of this IP was our own chip team.

[2] Again, another acronym whose expansion ("Register Transfer Level") is not super descriptive. Essentially, source code. Usually in Verilog, or an even higher level language. EEs seem to love Perl and Tcl, so most places I've worked have had Perl or Tcl preprocessors before their Verilog. Ugh.

Gracana 3 ago 0 replies      
I do a lot of drawing and sometimes I build panels for prototype machines, but mostly I spec out components, talk to vendors, and do paperwork. FWIW, I work at a small company that makes industrial meat processing and packaging equipment.
mankash666 2 ago 0 replies      
There's a lot in EE that's nothing to do with hardware per se. Like digital communications and signal processing.

EEs also study computer architecture and OS internals in detail, depending on one's emphasis.

madengr 3 ago 1 reply      
Been doing RF/Microwave/Antenna design for 20 years. Fortunately I have stayed hands-on with hardware development. Start with simulation, then PCB layout, followed by lots of measurements in the lab. Sometimes meetings for customer requirements, writing technical parts of proposals, getting capital equipment purchased, etc.
joezydeco 3 ago 0 replies      
How are your troubleshooting skills?

I'd say my EEs spend 50% in design and 50% in debugging customer problems when a board fails in manufacturing or fails in the field.

The answers can be easy (say, a resistor is out of tolerance or the wrong oscillator was placed on the board), or they can be really tough (a transient is killing a FET and locking things up).

johan_larson 2 ago 1 reply      
Is it math-heavy in practice?

Software engineers usually have to take quite a few courses in calculus, linear algebra, and stats. But that stuff very rarely comes up in practice, at least in most subfields.

androng 2 ago 1 reply      
I am a board level design engineer and the work is similar in many ways to software. It is very numerical and requires attention to detail.

I spend 25% of the time talking about requirements to other engineers, 50% comparing components to use with datasheets, 12% in Altium Designer and 12% buying components and PCBs.

Huge pain #1: the unbelievably slow process of manufacturing PCBs. Imagine that you were back in the old days of computing where you had to use punch cards with machine code and you had to give your stack of punch cards (your "program) to the punch card operator. He would run it overnight and you would get your results the next day. If your program failed, then you have to meticulously comb through it and debug in your head. This is modern-day PCBs. Holes in a board that take forever to make. Then you have to pay $80 shipping to get them next day or you can pay your engineers to sit around doing nothing. And the PCB might not even work. Learning feedback loop is very slow.

If you want to do anything remotely interesting like via-in-pad or four-layer boards, first you have to wait at least 24 hours for a custom quote. Half of PCB vendors dont just give you the formula to make your own quote. Then you have to pay either $1000 and 2 days or $200 and 2 weeks to have 5 copies of your design.

Huge pain #2: reinventing the wheel. When I open a datasheet, I have to read about the device. The pins, the maximum ratings, the application note gotchas like dont leave this pin floating or else the chip will be unpredictable! Then I have to make the schematic symbol and footprint by hand. That means manually entering IPC package dimensions into Altium like a braindead zombie. Every package is slightly different. I cannot tell you how many Texas Instruments DC-DC converters I have hooked up. I have no idea why device manufacturers don't just hire someone full-time to make open-source 2D and 3D footprints for the top six CAD tools. SnapEDA and Altium Vault are trying to do this, but the footprints are flawed and they are outright missing a lot of parts. I cannot tolerate mistakes when each board costs hundreds of dollars. The device manufacturers already make footprints to test their parts. Why dont they share them??

Huge pain #3: High barrier to entry. Very expensive software. In software engineering, professional tools like git, Visual Studio, Eclipse are all free. You can pull code at home from Git and start contributing immediately. The only barrier to entry is the time you need to understand the existing codebase. Even in firmware you can download Code Composer Studio or PSoC Creator for free.

In board design, you need to pay $300 for EAGLE or $5000+500/year for Altium if youre serious. Sometimes OrCAD goes on sale for $300. Lets say you want to simulate Bitcoin mining ICs frying themselves in their own heat. Or maybe you want to know the radiation pattern of your antenna. You can pay another four digit price tag for simulation software like CST or just copy a previous design like a zombie. Upverter is trying to solve the upfront cost problem with their $125/month SaaS subscription pricing, but I tried their editor 3 months ago and it was 15 FPS with the example board. Not cool. KiCAD is an open source alternative to Altium but as far as I know it is nowhere near comparable.

Huge pain #4: ordering components and PCBs. In my last project I had to order components from China. Ordering from China is not very easy with the language barrier, bad spec sheets, time difference. Alibaba is the place to go for ordering from China, but all the prices are Contact us, which means you have to give all your information blah blah blah until you get an email with the price and then pay with wire transfer. Sometimes you get lucky and you can find what you want on AliExpress and pay with credit card.

But the tradeoff to all of this is that if I do it correctly, I can hold something in my hand and give the software engineers a new API to play with. The APIs all stem from the hardware. The work is often more fundamental with equations and physics rather than purposeless corner cases I had to consider when I was in programming. And hardware often has the chance to be featured on the box of a product rather than software which is all just assumed to work. It feels more meaningful.

clw8 3 ago 1 reply      
Just a note that if you go into automotive, you will spend 90% of your time in Matlab/Simulink. Pretty fun IMO.
johan_larson 2 ago 1 reply      
So EE today is almost entirely about digital circuitry?
max_ 2 ago 0 replies      
Yann LeCunn is in fact an Electrical Engineer!
iprashantsharma 3 ago 2 replies      
Sleeping all night in night shift.
Ask HN: Haskell ARM Continuous Integration Service
14 points by Immortalin  1 ago   5 comments top 3
exDM69 1 ago 1 reply      
I'm not aware of ARM architecture CI services for any language but I've seen people run tests in QEMU on travis-ci. It's not quite the real deal, but it's a whole lot better than nothing.

I'd imagine having real ARM hardware in a CI service would be a real pain in the ass compared to just getting CPU time from any cloud provider.

And ARM hardware is really diverse. There are a lot of variants of the CPU and most of the products are some kind of system-on-chips with a lot of device-specific software.

If you don't mind the manual maintenance, you can just get a Raspberry Pi or another ARM machine to run on. You can run a runner for a CI service on it to get the workflow automated.

slyzmud 1 ago 0 replies      
The closest thing I can think you can use is Gitlab CI and use your own runner in Scaleway. But I dont know an specific service for that.
kasbah 1 ago 0 replies      
I have never heard of anything like this. Seems like using using QEMU in existing CI services would work but likely at the cost of long setup times.


Ask HN: What is the most surprising technical skill you possess?
20 points by endswapper  2 ago   29 comments top 15
jasonkester 1 ago 0 replies      
Computer Programming.

I grew up in the C64/Apple II age when computers were cool and all, but still kinda toys. "Computer Programmer" was a job title, but not a very good one. Certainly not a well paid profession or one with any hope of advancement or prestige. The best you could hope for was a job in the basement at some Fortune 500 company or maybe scraping by at one of the little companies making video games or that "MicroSoft" place in Bellevue where they made "Mouse" and a few other things for PC clones.

So despite spending most of my youth getting really good at programming, it never occurred to me, even for a second, to study it at University or try to turn it into a career. The smart move for a smart guy was Engineering, so I'm officially a Mechanical Engineer by trade.

But then 1995 happened and suddenly Hello World + Angle Brackets was all the skill set you needed to name your price in the DotCom world. Suddenly all those years of building games where you pilot a little asterisk around the screen with a joystick shooting lower-case o's at things changed from being "waste of time" to "most valuable skill in the world", so I pivoted quick.

I never would have believed it had you told me. But I'm certainly glad it happened.

SmellTheGlove 9 ago 1 reply      
Understanding data. I've always had a fairly easy time learning core business processes and tying the data I'm looking at back to the activity that generated it. It's been really useful in managing analytics and data services because nothing I work with is a bunch of rows and columns without meaning to me, and as a result, I can deliver information based on what a given group is trying to accomplish (versus what they asked for, which is almost always different than what they actually need). It's also why I enjoy managing people. I usually bring on technically gifted people and help them learn the business, as that combination of skills has been the rarest thing of all for me to try and find when hiring. I work in a corner of the insurance industry that most consumers probably never see, but I like to think I make my own little impact when some of the people I develop move on to bigger and better things at companies we've all heard of. I know I'm off on a tangent, but if you're working in an analytic space, make time to learn the business and it will pay off in the long run.

I've been writing code since I was a kid, got an economics degree, then went to law school and practiced law for a while. Identifying objectives and finding the data that suits it has always been fun for me. Not surprising (to me, anyway), my career moved back from law to managing data and analytics as products.

brudgers 2 ago 5 replies      

It seems to be the basis for the small degree of mechanical sympathy I have because it makes me stop and think, 'why does someone else think this is the right way of doing things?'.

Good luck.

Tcepsa 2 ago 1 reply      
The ability to use Emacs with a decent degree of proficiency. I find its text navigation abilities beyond compare. This is huge for me since I write software and and the creation of software generally involves a lot of text manipulation. This is perhaps less of an edge now that other IDEs are better at autocomplete and jumping around the code than they were when I started learning Emacs.

On the other hand, the fact that I can write Windows applications, compile them using Microsoft's compiler, launch them, and follow their log files all within Emacs is wonderful.

So between the keybindings, 3rd party packages, and flexibility it not only makes me more productive but also helps me have more fun and stave off burnout.

(EDIT: Readability)

joshvm 2 ago 1 reply      
Laziness - though of course when hiring you would bill it as efficiency or "expertise in software automation". A PhD taught me that often the best way to do things is the way that lets you press one button and have everything else happen automatically.

Mostly it's to make life easier, particularly when 2 months down the line you need to make a subtle code change and reprocess huge volumes of data. Being able to start a script and go to bed, rather than continually change the inputs, is a godsend.

I think this is likely a side effect of the "smart but lazy" geek trope, except actually taking advantage of it rather than procrastinating.

rajacombinator 2 ago 2 replies      
Knowing how to use Google really well so I can find answers to bugs, tutorials, code snippets, etc. Learned the importance of this from a wise older Chinese programmer at my first job ever, an internship: "I don't really know how to code anything, I just copy it from Google."
lj3 2 ago 0 replies      
Pattern recognition.

When I started, all web development was server side preprocessing. This means debugging involved looking at thousands of lines of apache logs. After a while, you got good at picking out the lines you needed to see from the hundreds of lines of stuff you didn't care about.

This specific example isn't that relevant to today's web development processes, but being able to notice larger patterns in user behavior, in code use, etc is invaluable.

tmaly 16 ago 0 replies      
Self learning, being able to pick up a book and learn something new. My university had a trimester system, and everything was fast paced. My university really pushed this skill being on a trimester system.
flinty 5 ago 0 replies      
Empathizing, giving people the benefit of doubt and assuming good intentions.
kwhitefoot 2 ago 0 replies      
I don't think my skill is surprising but it is valuable nonetheless.

It is a willingness to see similarities instead of differences. This helps me write compact, clean code that is reliable.

corford 2 ago 0 replies      
Love this question!

Most surprising in terms of unexpected returns: learning to build my own PC (Pentium 120MHz) at age 14 or 15 with parts from a local computer fair.

Searching and selecting the components and assembling everything by hand gave me a very personal connection to the machine and turned a complex thing in to something I felt I understood from first principles and could master and not be afraid of. I've always hand assembled my main PC ever since and I credit this ritual with all sorts of stuff:

- Getting me confident early on to experiment and play around with the machine knowing I could fix almost anything

- Keeping semi current with hardware over the years and getting an early view at the future (shift to almost limitless RAM, shift to multi-core, shift to SSD) - and the implications for the software I write.

- Understanding subtle hardware trade offs and constraints. This has helped countless times when I'm speccing out servers or infrastructure for the code I write (helps too when picking laptops !)

- Making it obvious, fun and easy to indulge in things like Raspis, OpenWRT etc.

- Providing endless jumping off points to burnish my understanding of the universe that makes up computing (different architectures, graphics subsystems, disk controllers, network fabrics etc)

- Getting me interested in the hardware and software history of computing and what it looked like 20,30,40,50 years ago. This has helped me hugely in understanding why things today are the way they are (programming languages, operating systems, software abstractions etc)

That's just off the top of my head :)

marmot777 9 ago 0 replies      
Synthesizing information or ideas into something useful, such as a complete solution to a problem.
mbrock 1 ago 0 replies      
Debugging and the intuition for finding the cause of a problem. Well, part intuition and part efficiency and pragmatism in following clues but not getting stuck on bad leads. Willingness to go down in the muck with gdb and to go back up again and consider workarounds and rewrites or whatever it takes to fix the problem as cleanly and quickly as possible.

Another skill is learning my way around a code base even in an unfamiliar language in a very short time, through a process of intense grepping, skimming, guessing, taking notes, and so on.

Also a polyglot attitude that frees me from worrying too much about which language is good and which is evil, and lets me work happily with all of them. That's related to how I use Emacs without language modes (except paredit in Lisp) so I never have to configure modes or colors or whatever.

allendoerfer 2 ago 1 reply      
The believe that you can accomplish anything, just divide and conquer.
ak39 2 ago 1 reply      
Proper relational data modeling.
Ask HN: In what ways could the HN frontpage algorithm be improved?
15 points by baccheion  3 ago   9 comments top 2
simonpure 2 ago 2 replies      
I've been experimenting with an alternative ranking based on activity (votes and comments) [0]. I've definitely found some interesting stories because of it.

[0] http://beta.frontpageping.com

baccheion 3 ago 1 reply      
There definitely needs to be a more fluid/integrated means to discover new stories. The home page could be split down the middle, showing new stories to the right, or there could be a more feature-rich (and visible/accessible/usable/seductive/natural/etc) "upvote" page that allows searching, browsing, and filtering through submissions to discover ones to vote on. There could also be a slight weighting of votes (though not much) to create a bias toward more reliable (or longstanding) voters, or to infer which submissions the currently viewing user is likely to upvote. The bias likely has to be slight, as one part of the game is to show the global/absolute top stories, while also getting in stories the specific user is likely to find "upvote worthy."

Also, randomly surfacing new submissions to get a sampling of up or down votes seems essential. This would allow a greater spread/certainty when a submission does make it to the front page, and would also be fairer to promising submissions (they won't die prematurely due to lack of opportunity to be upvoted). It would also minimize gaming of the system and the relevance of "time of day."

Also, the gravity concept is good (so stories eventually die), but it's a bit too absolute/aggressive.

There should also be normalization by total number of impressions and up/down votes, such that raw volume doesn't overwhelm quality with lower volume. That is, even if confidence intervals are used (which I don't really like), then up/down votes are an estimate of overall up/down vote percentages, which is what's relevant (the submissions most likely to be upvoted (meaning "best") are what should be shown first). Also, maybe volume matters somewhat (many votes implying a lot of interest), but it's better to separate this out and factor it in independently.

For example, each signed in user that clicks on a link has a probability/likelihood they'll vote, so that could convert their impressions into an expectation which could then be compared to reality (how many upvotes are actually recorded). The higher the upvotes (compared to what was expected), the better the submission. This can then be combined with the other scoring methods (and slight personalization-- maybe a certain percentage of front page entries are personalized and the rest based on absolute rankings, rather than having everything be personalized, or breaking them up into separate sections) to stabilize, refine, and make more accurate submission ranking/sorting.

There isn't a problem with a downvote button. And there isn't even a problem with it being abused (it being abused negatively affecting rankings is a sign the ranking algorithm is poor). The problem is with downvotes not being properly factored in (and weighed up or down depending on the source of the vote, and the user viewing the resulting front page articles). In fact, adding a downvote button would make it easier to rank new submissions (and it's also straightforward to filter (or normalize) out abusers of upvotes or downvotes).

Also, maybe passive actions could be factored in (or things could be added that would serve as good "signals" for "front page worthiness") to increase the overall number of votes, such that a handful of users don't control what makes it to the front page and to allow each article score to be more reliable/accurate.

Ask HN: Why is inter-device file sharing still a hassle?
109 points by the_duke  2 ago   84 comments top 31
jwr 2 ago 3 replies      
You are not alone. This is one of those problems that we seemingly can't solve, mostly because there is no business in it. Ask anyone if they have a problem sharing files, and most people will say no (witness the responses in this thread), even though you are perfectly correct that file sharing is a complete and utter mess. And when buying a new phone, practically no one will consider "easy file sharing" as a feature worth paying for.

Apple was traditonally better at this sort of thing ("just works"), but a) it doesn't actually "just work", because their software quality is not up to par, and b) the lack of interoperability means this is only useful if you live in an Apple-only world.

In general, I'd say it will stay like this. Unfortunately.

Other similar examples: E-mail (yes, SMTP and E-mail clients, it all sucks badly, and we can't agree on how to improve it) and instant messaging.

cs702 2 ago 2 replies      
Pretty much everyone agrees that if companies like Google and Apple made local file sharing easy and cross-platform, all of us -- all of society -- would benefit.

However, these companies have financial incentives to do the opposite: they want users to do everything within tightly controlled platforms like Google Drive and iCloud, and they want to avoid commoditization at all costs. The last thing these companies want is for users to be able easily to transfer all their videos, music, photos, work files, contacts, calendar data, bookmarks, etc. from one platform to another.

The behavior of these companies is analogous to the behavor of AT&T at the beginning of the 20th century. AT&T had the largest telephone network with the most users, and smaller independent phone companies wanted to interconnect with it, but AT&T refused to do so, causing users to leave the smaller networks for AT&T's. Users of the smaller networks were unable to connect with users of the largest network. It wasn't until after the US federal government challenged AT&T for monopolistic behavior that this changed. In 1913, AT&T settled with the government in the "Kingsbury Committment," which required AT&T to allow non-competing independent telephone companies to interconnect with the AT&T network.[1]

I suspect the only way we can get easy and cross-platform data portability (local and otherwise) is via government intervention -- that is, if the government forces companies to do it for society's benefit (for example, by legally requiring compatibility with open data-sharing and app-interconnection standards), at the expense of user lock-in and corporate profits.

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

creshal 2 ago 1 reply      
> Why is inter-device file sharing still a hassle?

Because every vendor and their dog wants to push their own proprietary toy solution to lock in users, instead of using any of the existing standards.

micro_softy 2 ago 0 replies      
There is a universally accepted standard. And I believe the usual suspects have each had it implemented on their manufactured "smartphones". Each device can put its network interface into AP mode.

I think the marketing term is "WiFi Direct". But good luck getting Apple and Samsung devices to both discover and associate with each other.

If it feels like you're continually being corralled into sharing files with the person next to you via a third party's servers and an open, insecure, untrusted network ("the internet"), then maybe you are.

It is not necessary to use the internet and third parties to do something as simple as transfer files to the person sitting next to you (without using removable media), but it's easy for companies to convince users that this is the only way to do it.

And in most cases no convincing is even necessary because users fail to consider the alternatives.

Odenwaelder 2 ago 4 replies      
What's the problem with Bluetooth? File sharing between smartphones and computers has worked every single time for me, and it's natively build into all devices.
curun1r 2 ago 1 reply      
Randall made the same observation some time ago:


jhanji 2 ago 2 replies      
I have been working on this area for 2 years now and created AirMount https://www.airmountapp.com. You dont need the cloud, internet, Bluetooth or USB. Today it works between iOS and Mac, and now we are building it out for Windows and Android. I dream of the day when sharing files with any nearby device will just work like AirMount does today, irrespective of their OS. The industry needs to collaborate to make open standards, but in the meantime I intend to push the limits of what is possible already.
qwertyuiop924 2 ago 1 reply      
The closest thing we've got is Beam, here on Android, which Apple and MS should seriously consider adopting. The only problem is that it does require some hardware support, IIRC.

Before that, the best thing for file sharing was Bump, which was kind of hacky, and required internet as a result, but did work. Sadly, Bump is no more.

As for sharing files with yourself, my answer is typically SFTP, which is excellent, provided it does what you want. It also works well for transferring files at conferences, providing your slides aren't to big to make the roundtrip in good time. A bit hacky, yes, but it works.

brownbat 2 ago 0 replies      
> implementations installed by default on every device

That's not a trivial ask. Security experts might wonder, "Wait, what new entry point are you mandating on my devices? To solve which problem?"

They'd caution that several subsets of this problem are already solved, lowering its urgency. You own both devices and have wifi? Dropbox. You have internet access? Email or other messaging services / file lockers. Both devices are the same ecosystem? Bluetooth / AirDrop / WifiDirect / Beam. You are near a gas station or in a house with a junk drawer? $1 USB stick. You didn't forget your cable? Cable. You are both developers? You may already have some arcane solution, depending on the platforms...

So, while it'd be nice to ensure two unacquainted technophobes who meet in the woods have the ability to move some file from one's mp3 player to the other's digital camera, despite never having installed any software or brought any drives or cables to help, we're slicing off thinner and thinner portions of salami here.

Also consider other approaches. More ubiquitous (functioning) internet solves all of the above, along with several other problems.

Absent that, foresight would have prevented a few of the test cases. Foresight isn't trivial, I know, but that opens up other approaches. Like maybe an alarm on a device that rings if the device gets too far away from some other little chip, which you can stick on a cable you want to never forget. A shim to friend and create a temporary shared Dropbox directory with strangers nearby would require advanced installation, but might be useful.

I don't mean to diminish the frustration of these situations. If you were talking about developing some software to help local area sharing, I'd say go for it. But putting the bar at mandatory interconnection in all devices... it's a high bar. The mere fact that legacy devices exist makes it impossible to meet those constraints.

If you relax your constraints just a little, though, I suspect a few opportunities for interesting work open up.

kalleboo 2 ago 0 replies      
This was actually easiest for me during the end of the dumbphone era. All the devices around then had Bluetooth and supported the Object Push Profile, and there wasn't yet any DRM implemented on sending stuff like MP3 files. It was slow but worked.

Then Apple killed Bluetooth by never supporting it well on the iPhone, and then implemented their proprietary AirDrop (which is actually LESS reliable for me, between Apple devices(!), than Bluetooth OPP was)

ynniv 2 ago 2 replies      
A Y Combinator pitch:

[It] synchronizes files across your/your team's computers. It's much better than uploading or email, because it's automatic, integrated into Windows, and fits into the way you already work. There's also a web interface, and the files are securely backed up to Amazon S3. [It] is kind of like taking the best elements of subversion, trac and rsync and making them "just work" for the average individual or team. Hackers have access to these tools, but normal people don't.

The problem has been attacked many times, but only centralized subscription services and hardware vendor walled gardens have succeeded as businesses.


api 2 ago 0 replies      
There is no business in it. If anything there is a powerful incentive against anything that permits interoperation. The big guys all want to build closed vertically integrated silos, and probably more than half if all startups are trying to do the same or position themselves for an acquisition by building entirely within someone else's silo.

Open source is the only way this could be fixed, and unfortunately that is mostly the kingdom of developers who already think this is a solved problem via ssh, virtual networks, etc. Developers tend not to care about end user problems unless... well... there is a business in it!

buddapalm 2 ago 0 replies      
A few perspectives:

1). Agree with many that Bluetooth (or another open protocol) is really the way to solve, but the incentives are low to implement universally as the common operating systems in our devices have shifted dramatically in the last 10 years.

2) remember the brief peer-to-peer revolution? Bit torrent, kazaa and emule were (are) pretty effective but have a bad reputation from being used for file piracy.

3). Because of #2, it's been safer for businesses to conform to the SaaS models / garden walls. (Monetizing them is also better understood)

chrisamanse 2 ago 2 replies      
Bluetooth used to be common until vendors started implementing their own file-sharing or just focused on sharing files in the "cloud", which is really inconvenient when there's no internet connection (not to mention, even when there is internet connection, it's really an inefficient process, bandwidth-wise, to send someone right beside you a single file over the internet).

Maybe we should push a standard for local file-sharing so that all vendors will implement it in their mobile operating systems.

z3t4 2 ago 0 replies      
If you have IP network, It's pretty easy to setup a FTP(S) server. Just close it when you are done with the transfers.

The problem I think is NAT, witch makes everything much harder. But it also works as a basic firewall ... I remember the age when you used to connect your PC directly to the Internet, and if you didn't have the latest patches you would get the sasser virus within seconds. It would be scary running even Linux not behind a firewall. And many devices (smart-TV's etc) now a days expect a LAN and will be completely open.

Raise your hand if you would be OK with exposing your whole LAN to the Internet.

Whatever you do, do not use e-mail to send files! Your e-mail will go though many servers on the way, and will take up server disk space. And the data will be encoded to base64 witch will make them about 30% larger. Small files <20 Mb will be fine, but don't send Gigabytes!

jvns 2 ago 1 reply      
I don't understand this either. We've had the ability to transfer single files over a local network basically forever with netcat http://jvns.ca/blog/2013/10/01/day-2-netcat-fun/. This just uses TCP and is really really simple. I use it all the time if I need to transfer a video or something.

the problem with this (even though the basic capabilities are there!!!) is that netcat isn't super user-friendly so people don't use it. And it's not possible to do easily on a mobile device.

So why hasn't someone built a widely-used user-friendly application that lets you send files over local networks using TCP? I don't know. I don't think it's because it's too technically challenging though.

Dwolb 2 ago 0 replies      
I think you're right it's always a hassle. Personally at work (we make hardware) I take photos of our product or other products in thr market, want to highlight interesting design choices, and put the pictures on Slack.

So I taka a photo via iOS, connect to Wifi so Dropbox uploads the photo, open the file on my laptop, highlight and tag the feature, and put it on Slack. It's way better than a USB cable but there's so much more technology involved in the chain.

I think for me it's difficult to imagine a better solution though. So what's the ideal experience? Does it fit into the existing computing paradigm or no?

girzel 2 ago 0 replies      
On Android (possibly only Android, unfortunately) there's an app called "Share via HTTP" in the fdroid repositories. Basically if your devices are on the same LAN, you can get the file off your phone, either with an IP/port combination, or a QR code. Obviously it would be nice if there were a desktop equivalent so you could go the other way, but this app has really made things a lot easier for me to move files around.
the_duke 1 ago 0 replies      
Whoops, totally forgot to post the link in the first place: http://theduke.at/blog/develop/sad-state-of-file-sharing/.
janci 2 ago 0 replies      
I use HTTP, it works everywhere.On my notebook, I have a http server, on Android phone I use TotalCommander app with HTTP server that works both for upload and download.
edent 2 ago 0 replies      
Bluetooth. It is a bit slow - especially on large video files, but you can use it to send arbitrary files to just about any modern device.

Or, WiFi direct https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wi-Fi_Direct for larger files.

Now there's a problem with discoverabillity and compatibility - but that's no different to trying to get CIFS devices talking to each other.

volkanh 2 ago 0 replies      
Check out https://www.mimik.com

Disclaimer: I used to work for mimik.

jemeshsu 2 ago 0 replies      
This search and download by tag app (https://www.coopla.com/filefile/) makes it convenient. However all files are public, its iOS only, no Android, no web and no desktop.
cynusx 2 ago 1 reply      
it's definitely still a hassle but there is this great free solution that is not very well known, at least for when there's internet on the devices: https://file.pizza/
amjaeger 2 ago 0 replies      
For a short time I had a windows 8 phone. That was the only time sending stuff over bluetooth from computer -> phone, phone-> computer, phone -> windows phone actually worked well. Unfortunately the rest of windows phone sucked.
AndrewKemendo 2 ago 0 replies      
Why isn't browser enabled Bluetooth sharing the answer? Every phone has a browser to use for the offline UI, every phone has Bluetooth as the transport mechanism. Seems like a pretty simple implementation.
cake93 2 ago 1 reply      
Easy solution for problems 2+3: tiny USB sticks. For example SanDisk Cruzer Fit 32GB ($ 9) on amazon.

They have a tiny loop, but I prefer to always keep it plugged in to my laptop.

Always works.

Except with smartphones.

basch 2 ago 0 replies      
because everyone insists on managing their own files by hand instead of storing them in a version controlled database with client caching
nxzero 2 ago 0 replies      
Forget file sharing, offline backups & recoveries are a massive pain on mobile, cloud, etc.
draw_down 2 ago 1 reply      
Hmm, Airdrop is usually fine for me.
Ask HN: How did you keep improving your typing speed after 100 WPM?
39 points by sixhobbits  2 ago   39 comments top 15
kanzure 2 ago 1 reply      
I rank somewhat high on typeracer: http://www.seanwrona.com/typeracer/profile.php?username=kanz...

Maybe I can provide some advice. The most important thing is to type very quickly. Heated real-time chatroom activity (read: flamewars) are also helpful for honing this skill...

But chats might not be your thing. One other thing that might help is going to conferences and typing transcripts. Here's a few that I have done: http://diyhpl.us/wiki/transcripts/ For example, this recently included a Bitcoin event where my typing was originally meant to be a community resource for after the event... but during the event this "resource" became a supplement to and alternative to live translation into Chinese (someone decided to throw it up on a projector while I was typing- no pressure): http://diyhpl.us/wiki/transcripts/2016-july-bitcoin-develope...

A long time ago I thought of myself as a keyboard snob, but the truth was that I hadn't tried that many keyboards. After experimenting with some expensive keyboards, I have found that for me the actual keyboard doesn't make too much of a difference, unless it's an exceptionally bad keyboard. I would recommend looking for keyboards that support n-key rollover, which would allow you to experiment with plover if you ever wanted to go in that direction for typing.

I use the default qwerty keyboard layout. It might be more productive to experiment with building alternative keyboards rather than changing keyboard layouts. Chording might be an interesting direction to pursue. Skip to using lots of MEMS accelerometer sensors and gyroscope sensors on a glove and get real-time motion capture of tiny finger motions. Use a few accelerometers per finger. You could spend a few hours making weird (easy) motions with your fingers, and then those state transitions could then be mapped to different symbols. You could also use a 3d model of the human hand, forearm and shoulder to compute the exact range of feasible and repeatable motions based on muscle anatomy, then sample from that range and assign symbols to different transitions.

Typing quickly isn't everything. It doesn't help you figure out what to say.

davekt 2 ago 0 replies      
https://typing.io/lessons let you type through code, which exercises the right pinky more than prose. The site also requires backspacing to correct typos. This adds realistic overhead not normally captured in wpm measurements.
w-m 2 ago 1 reply      
After looking for something similar some time ago, and also not finding anything suitable, I wrote a simple script that would let you repeat given phrases from a text file.

I gave it two modes: 1) show a new phrase to type and time the wpm. 2) of all already timed phrases, show the slowest one to be typed and timed again.

My observations were that you could in fact increase typing speed for certain areas of input, weak fingers or weak letter combinations.

Just showing the slowest phrase is very simplistic, but it does a surprisingly good job. You will only get to see a different phrase if you improved on the current one significantly and learned a new 'skill'. It also automatically does a form of spaced repetition as you normally only increase speed in small steps and will see slow phrases again and again.

It didn't bother me much to type in lots of phrases I was already fast at to single out the slow ones. But: after some playing around with it I saw that for many inputs it's mostly a concentration problem, less a finger-mechanical one.

How much C code can you type at 100 wpm before running out of things to type?

How much C code written by others can you read/parse at > 100 wpm before making a concentration lapse?

I haven't used the script in a while and went on to try to single out the slow patterns in every-day typing (mostly the error rate being to high) and then try to figure out why my fingers don't know where to go reliably. I then make an effort to train these patterns a little, maybe correcting an actual mistakes or lazyness in placement.

gcr 2 ago 0 replies      
Court reporters are required to type at 240WPM with zero mistakes, or they lose their court reporting license.

You can teach yourself to use a stenography machine. You can build your own steno machine with some open-source software and a fancy gaming keyboard. See this video by Mirabai Knight and the Plover project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpv-Qb-dB6g

I wanted to try this but I couldn't stick with it.

curun1r 2 ago 0 replies      
Disclaimer: I type slower than you (~80 wpm) and I have no idea whether this will help you, but it's helped me get to where I am without any formal training in typing. And I never went through a hunt-and-peck phase...it always felt natural to use all 10 of my fingers.

That said, have you thought about taking up the piano? I feel like the dexterity that I develop playing the piano, particularly the ability to very quickly play repeated and alternating notes, has helped me to type faster. It should also help with rhythm, since piano keys need to be correct in both location and time to sound correct. If you're only interested in the effect on typing, you can avoid music with lots of chords and focus mostly on songs that have a quick tempo.

saintzozo 1 ago 0 replies      
Typing ability is mostly neurological. After learning proper technique, you aren't going to improve much more. Sleeping well if you don't already is probably the only thing you can do.
cweagans 1 ago 0 replies      
Epistory (http://store.steampowered.com/app/398850) might be of interest.
mjklin 2 ago 1 reply      
Sounds like you're talking about stenography. Have a look here: http://www.openstenoproject.org
DanBC 2 ago 0 replies      
Most advice is to start correctly with proper touch typing, and then focus on accuracy and rhythm.

If you got to 100 wpm by that route all you can do is keep practising, maybe with a metronome. (Although that's going to be a horrible noise at that speed).

If you ever look at the keys that's going to slow you down, so use a cloth over your hands to hide the keys.

The other problem is that typing tests require you to read. Try typing some spoken word - try typing a podcast or radio show. You may find you type that faster.

nso95 2 ago 0 replies      
The marginal benefit of exceeding 100wpm is quite small. Your time would be better spent learning other things, or just relaxing and enjoying your life.
jbpetersen 2 ago 0 replies      
I normally type around 110 WPM and have found I can hit 150+ sprints of a few seconds if I have real-time feedback on how quickly I'm typing without relying on how quickly it feels like I'm typing.

Unfortunately I don't know of any tools that go much further than that in providing useful feedback.

lousken 2 ago 0 replies      
For me the best training is vim. I have 80+WPM, peak 105. If you have keyboard that suits you, the only thing you can do is type more.
bitwize 2 ago 4 replies      
Switch to Dvorak.
Rainymood 1 ago 0 replies      
I peak around ~160 wpm, just practice. Work on 0 mistake and then after that speed.
throwawayReply 2 ago 4 replies      
What is this, humblebrag? Advert for typeracer?

You type at 100WPM. Unless you're transcribing can you really think at 100WPM?

I haven't measured it, but I think I type around 40 wpm (although adjusted much slower, I have poor typing accuracy) and I certainly don't feel like my typing slows me down, my typing more than keeps up with the speed of thought.

Maybe I just think really slowly.

But honestly, "Oh no I only type at <ludicrously fast speed>, what can I do to improve?" sounds a bit silly.

A Productivity Framework for Developers
7 points by sharma_pradeep  23 ago   3 comments top 3
saluki 2 ago 0 replies      
I think one of the keys is having solid blocks of time, if I have an hour or two without interruptions I can get a lot done.

It's the stopping and starting, people coming by, checking email, getting a text message.

I've been using the tab snooze chrome plugin to snooze gmail so it's only in my tabs every hour or so.

Blocking news and social sites in your hosts file, helps in case you wander over to a time waster of a URL. Mine redirect to Trello.com to remind me to focus.

Also listening to up tempo music with few lyrics helps, listening to a track on repeat can really focus my attention.

I also use the pomodoro method with the Tomato Ticker osx app.

That seems to help focusing on lots of small tasks, if a task is longer than 25 minutes and I'm plugged in I just keep going.

Also sometimes a goal is nice for larger chunks of work, get this knocked out and then get that game you've been wanting, lunch at your favorite restaurant, or take the afternoon off etc.

Most of these are handled by various apps but if you could integrate them together that would be a plus.

ruler88 7 ago 0 replies      
I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to build, it sounds a little vague.

But I can tell you which application has helped my productivity the most - Slack. Communication is the biggest roadblock for my developer experience. Unclear specs, asymmetric expectations, etc. Slack has significantly improved the ease and speed I can get feedback from teammates / product owners.

ThomPete 12 ago 0 replies      
What are you building it in?
Which Wordpress template do you suggest for a new technology blog?
3 points by Avianka  1 ago   4 comments top 3
saluki 2 ago 0 replies      
I would publish on your own domain but you can start using one of the out of the box included WordPress themes.

Like others have said it's the content, not the presentation that can be improved over time.

If you're including code snippets it would make sense to take a look at using markdown . . . this article is a little dated but a good starting point: https://css-tricks.com/posting-code-blocks-wordpress-site/

Also think about making it easy to double click to select all of the code or use another method to make it super easy to cut and paste the code.

adamwi 8 ago 0 replies      
As previous commenters has mentioned focus on content.

If you will run the blog in parallell with e.g. a product/service and need a consistent look and feel I would look at the _s stater theme [0]. You get most of the "nuts and bolts" and you can quickly style it to match your overall design.

[0] http://underscores.me/

brudgers 1 ago 1 reply      
Relative to the creation of interesting quality content, the selection of template doesn't matter. Given the ease with which templates may be exchanged, decisions regarding templates may be revisited later for little cost.

Good luck.

Ask HN: Labour of love projects
57 points by muhic  2 ago   45 comments top 25
ThomPete 2 ago 1 reply      
I know this is not exactly what the OP asked for but my favorite labour of love project is by a friend of my dad.

He started in 1979 building this:







Everything is handmade as in everything.One of the gears takes 400 years to rotate around it's own axis.

It's half size of this watch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jens_Olsen%27s_World_Clock

Besides that he managed to build a succesful security company, countless digital watches (big and small) and even a freaking small harbour and countless other things. He speaks assembler almost as well as he speaks his native language Danish which is why I feel ok posting about him in this thread :)

Claims that there are no modern day da Vinci does not apply to him.

chubot 2 ago 2 replies      
It seems like many or even most dynamic programming languages fall in this category: Python, Ruby, and Perl.

GNU bash has been maintained by Chet Ramey for decades (although he isn't the original author.) Most of the GNU projects probably count, although some of them have changed maintainers much more often.

R was started by a couple of stats professors, and I'm sure it wasn't their main line of research (as opposed to Lua, Haskell, and OCaml, which are definitely labors of love, but they are somewhat funded, if you consider an academic salary funding).

Julia seems to be a labor of love, although it has had some amount of funding.

Clojure and D both have or had some commercial element, but you can tell it's mainly the love driving it, not the business.

Java and JavaScript are probably the big exceptions, in that they were started by big companies. As well as C and C++, which both originated at Bell Labs.


And if you are really looking for single person projects, sqlite is probably one of the best examples. If I recall Richard Hipp has actually paid people to work on sqlite occasionally, but he's written almost all the code, and doesn't really accept patches.

Though I'm not really sure if "not accepting patches" like Knuth, Bellard, or Hipp is something to be admired... I have tend to want to control things too, which is probably a bad tendency.

sleazy_b 2 ago 1 reply      
The fact that Dwarf Fortress hasn't been posted here is shocking to me. Probably the coolest game I've ever seen in the sense that it excites me as to what video games can accomplish. Basically built by one guy, Tarn Adams, with some help form his brother I believe. Please take a look if you haven't. It has poetry.


mdadm 2 ago 0 replies      
TempleOS: http://templeos.org/

It's pretty well-known around here, but I still find it amazing to think about every time that I see it come up.

archagon 5 ago 0 replies      
Inventor Michael McGinnis started off making beautiful spherical ball-maze puzzles made of plexiglass and wood[1]. Later, he partnered with a toy company to produce a smaller toy version called Perplexus[1], and the lineup has been growing ever since. One of the most brilliant toys/games I've ever played!

[1]: http://superplexus.com/history/

[2]: http://superplexus.com/perplexus/

biztos 2 ago 1 reply      
Two that I use almost every day, and which continue to be developed as labors of love despite no longer being the "fashionable" things:

1. The Perl Programming Language



2. TextMate, a Text Editor for OS X.



For what it's worth, some of the things that have decreased Perl's popularity have also made me use it less, usually in favor of Go; while similar factors with TextMate make me "test-drive" a new editor every six months of so, but (so far) I always come back to TM.

The two are, to my mind, different kinds of labors, though both clearly labors of love. TextMate was the Mac text editor that embraced the Unix underpinnings of OS X: BBEdit for programmers, if you will. Its balance of Mac and Unix feel is, as far as I can tell, still unique; and I think that's why it's still actively developed despite a rather troubled history.

Perl, on the other hand, is two things: Perl 5, which still powers a lot of software in the quieter realms of commerce and research; and Perl 6, which is absolutely an aspirational, striving new language.

My take is that Perl 5 is developed further because so much depends on it, and because so many people are attached to their software written in it. Perl 6 on the other hand is developed -- by many of the same people -- in the belief or at least hope that a highly expressive, hacker-friendly general-purpose language will find its audience over time, buzz & PR be damned.

rufius 2 ago 1 reply      
Lugaru Epsilon, an emacs-like editor from the early 80s that is still sold today. It's one guy that developed and it's an excellent editor.

Features include extremely fast, extensible via a C-like language, excellent docs, excellent support, tagging/bookmarking, formatting, etc.

I switched to it after first picking up emacs because I found ELisp frustrating to work with and Emacs itself was dog slow on a modern computer. Haven't looked back since.

Only down side is the somewhat steep cost of $250. That said, I firmly believe it is worth the cost.

tomstuart 1 ago 1 reply      
I find Chris Patuzzos solo Sentient language (http://sentient-lang.org/) inspiring, so much so that I got him to tell the story on a podcast: http://whyarecomputers.com/4
p333347 18 ago 0 replies      
MINIX. Particularly for this reason

"Years later, I was teaching a course on operating systems and using John Lions' book on UNIX Version 6. When AT&T decided to forbid the teaching of the UNIX internals, I decided to write my own version of UNIX, free of all AT&T code and restrictions, so I could teach from it." Source: http://www.cs.vu.nl/~ast/brown/

azeirah 2 ago 0 replies      
The Joe editor comes to mind. Just one guy, Joe, who made his own editor in 1988, and maintains it to this very day. Rather impressive
jcbeard 2 ago 1 reply      
The Raft library -> raftlib.io

Not sure if it's inspiring or not, but it's my labor of love. I kept it going after grad school. I work on it a little bit every day, and slowly but surely it's becoming what I originally envisioned as my ultimate parallel programming system.

Silhouette 2 ago 0 replies      
Someone really ought to nominate Sebastian McKenzie, who made a little JS tool called Babel that one or two people reading HN have probably used.

[Edit: What's with the downvotes? Surely Babel qualifies as an inspirational project of this type, and Sebastian himself is impressive for producing something that has arguably shaped an entire industry at such a young age and, for a considerable time, developing it pretty much all on his own.]

walterbell 1 ago 0 replies      
LuaJIT by Mike Pall, one of the fastest, even compared against compilers by commercial teams. After 10 years as a one-man project, it is being migrated to a community effort with stewardship by CloudFlare. Over the years, companies sponsored Mike to add new features to the open-source codebase.
GFK_of_xmaspast 2 ago 0 replies      
Knuth's funding was a little tight in the beginning but he got $20k from Addison-Wesley, a sabbatical year from Stanford, and then a cool million from the NSF:


viraptor 1 ago 0 replies      
Adom - http://www.adom.de/home/index.html - I believe that's still made only by Thomas Biskup. It was on hiatus for a few years, but now it's back on track after crowdfunding and with a Steam version.

Total commander by Christian Ghisler (https://www.ghisler.com/) - it's still commercial/sharware, but existed for years and still doesn't have a proper competition.

steve_taylor 2 ago 0 replies      
Psytronik Software is a developer and publisher of games for old computers such as the Commodore 64. http://www.psytronik.net/
markvdb 2 ago 0 replies      
The work of Joey Hess on projects like git-annex and recently keysafe.


CM30 1 ago 0 replies      
A strange answer, but I find a lot of fan games and game mods good examples of this. You've got an individual (or perhaps even an entire team) working for free on a project that could potentially be shut down at any time with no expectation of any compensation other than other people enjoying their work.

For example, the SMW ROM hack Brutal Mario (whatever you may say about the level design quality) is an insane technical achievement.


The fact some random Japanese guy no one knows the identity of spent 10 years turning a single game into a strange crossover title with hundreds of technical gimmicks based on other games (including some uses of mode 7, 3D, etc) is nuts. A team of 20 or more people working full shifts might have trouble replicating a lot of the stuff in this game.

Or how about Project M? Before it was shut down, they basically turned Smash Bros Brawl into a clone of Melee with new mechanics, stages, characters, graphics and music, pretty much everything:


Or heck, Mushroom Kingdom Fusion in general. It may be an extremely buggy, often poorly balanced game, but damn it's a crazy ambitious premise with a level of variety not seen in pretty much the entire industry outside of it.


300 levels, around 10 or 20 characters with their own play style and mechanics, about a hundred power ups, thousands of enemies and bosses, even more random gimmicks and level mechanics and a massive amount of graphic and music from everything you can think of. All by what? Less than 20 people in their spare time?

Either way, the fact people can work on stuff like this purely in their free time and ending up dedicating years of their lives to a project that can be on par with a commercial one without any means of making money off of it... that's got to be pretty impressive.

And I haven't even mentioned that guy whose spent so long on his mod that Duke Nukem Forever actually started and finished production while it was still in development. With said project still being ongoing and unlikely to finish within the next few decades.

arsenide 2 ago 0 replies      
Going to plug http://online-go.com.

Solely developed by one guy for a while but they have since expanded. It's something that was really needed for the English go community.

If anyone wants to play, send me a challenge. I'm Mongorians on there :-)

contingencies 2 ago 0 replies      
iTerm2, various fonts, a huge proportion of the world's most impressive visual art, a great number of books, a huge proportion of music, home cooking ;)
naveen99 2 ago 0 replies      
Autohotkey: chris mallet / Steve gray, autoit team)
zem 2 ago 1 reply      
even though i no longer use windows, i still have a soft spot for winmerge [http://winmerge.org/?lang=en]. beautifully polished open source project, especially for a platform where there's not much open source around.
dontJudge 1 ago 0 replies      
luajit. Better than things like V8 javascript with millions in funding.
Annatar 1 ago 1 reply      



Now, the last one, illumos, is the perfect example of a labor of love: the original company has been assimilated and subsequently destroyed, the world at large is overwhelmingly using a competing product, Linux, the competition has seemingly endless time and infinite resources, and yet the kernel engineers persist, even though they quit Oracle, and are working at different companies around the world! On top of that, they managed to come up with revolutionary products which now generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue (Delphix comes to mind).

What kind of love does a person feel to keep working and continue against all odds?

What is the best android emulator for mac os?
3 points by fimparatta  1 ago   4 comments top 3
ruler88 4 ago 0 replies      
I vote for genymotion. The performance is amazing, and very useful features that are actually easy to use (location mocking, camera mocking, etc.)

The default android emulator always ran kinda slow for me. There are some performance hacks online, but why bother!

csmattryder 1 ago 0 replies      
The one that ships with Android Studio is pretty rock solid, ensure you're using x86 Android images and you'll have a close-to-native Android experience.
mutaaf 1 ago 1 reply      
Genymotion is great as well! Only caveat is needing to side load Google Play Apps and Services.
Ask HN: What percentage of your salary are you paying to health insurance?
21 points by sharemywin  14 ago   42 comments top 25
egberts5 5 ago 0 replies      
We really cannot compare until we all give 4 sets of numbers:

1. Amount your pay is docked for health premium;

2. amount your employer pays for your share;

3. total family deductible before insurance pay; and

4. the percentage that your insurer will pay after hitting deductible.

Any thing short of that makes for poor comparative.

cauterized 5 ago 1 reply      
~1%. Not including employer's portion. Small non-startup company in NYC. High deductible plan via TriNet.

Last place (small startup) was 0%. For the PPO. Smaller startup. Also TriNet.

Maybe the employment market for engineers is tighter in NY than SF? Or the competition includes more traditional companies that are accustomed to fully covering insurance? Or more company founders/execs, instead of being fresh out of college, are older and have families and want their own insurance covered?

Or I'm a cheapskate and choose the cheap plan?

cylinder 7 ago 2 replies      
People who think you are paying such a low amount -- you're not. Your employer is paying it for you. That would have gone to salary instead. Check your W-2.
adviceadam 11 ago 0 replies      
I work at a startup in SF. I get reimbursed 100% for my health insurance costs, which includes dental and vision insurance as well. It's about $550 a month, or $6600 a year.

We would have a company plan, but we're small enough as to where it's more cost effective to reimburse everyone.

sharemywin 14 ago 1 reply      
I'm also not part of the health exchange. And my deductible is 2.9% of my salary. So, before the insurance company pays in 1 cent I'm expected to pay 20% of my salary to insurance. Something doesn't seem right about that. People are on here are looking for problems to solve. Well, here's one that needs a disruptive solution.
Grangar 6 ago 2 replies      
I pay around 4,5% in the Netherlands, with the smallest 'own risk'. I don't know the English term for it, but if anything happens the first 350 in healthcare costs for the year are on me (excluding family doctor visits). I could choose to pay more for a lower monthly cost, but I don't.
stannol 12 ago 1 reply      
Like most people in Germany I pay 7.3% + 0.2% supplemental.I decided against private insurance due to the recent massive premium hikes, even though right now it would be cheaper for me. (It's hard to get out of private insurance and back into statutory insurance)
patrickgordon 6 ago 0 replies      
Living in Australia, private health insurance, 1% of gross income, ~$1,000 pa.

This is a the cheapest plan at the time that was offered by this provider (NIB) and I only did it so I didn't have to pay extra tax as part of the medicare levy surcharge.

kspaans 8 ago 0 replies      
In California I'm paying 3.4% of my gross pay for a high-deductible health plan covering myself and my spouse.

EDIT: that's for health, vision, and dental.

sharemywin 8 ago 0 replies      
Not sure how it would work out but I think there should be cap on premium plus out of pocket that's capped based on income. I think Obamacare expects premium to be capped at 7% until your each median income. To me something like 7%(premium) and 10%(total out of pocket) based on income for everyone would be reasonable.
umlaut 9 ago 0 replies      
I pay ~7.5% for myself and my spouse. We have four children covered by the state's expanded Medicaid provision. State and federal taxes and budgeting make it impossible to estimate not only how much I am paying for that portion, but how much anyone is paying for it... Probably not another 10 percentage points, though.
tmoullet 9 ago 0 replies      
I'm in the US and pay roughly 3.5% of my gross salary as my portion of the insurance premium. I opted for the cheaper HMO (Kaiser) insurance though. My employer pays the other 2/3rds of the premium. (I'm single, no kids)
ajtaylor 8 ago 1 reply      
Zero. My employer pays 100%. Yes, they are awesome!
ruler88 7 ago 0 replies      
Did you have a choice to the type of health insurance that you can choose from? 17.6% is ridiculously high by any standards.
Sevii 12 ago 0 replies      
I pay under 2% pre-tax with another 2% exposed to the deductible. Employer covers around 80-90%. 401k + health insurance is pretty standard for devs. Sounds like you are paid under market and have meagre benefits.
kl_r 8 ago 0 replies      
Sweden, roughly 10.5% of gross. County council tax (out of which 76% goes to healthcare) and private insurance.
csdreamer7 6 ago 0 replies      
OP, you should have requested people put their country in the comment.
lgieron 11 ago 2 replies      
In Poland, it's free (i.e. covered by your taxes) as long as you have a taxable income. If you don't pay any taxes, you can opt-in for around $90 a month.
HerpDerpLerp 12 ago 0 replies      
In the UK my national insurance contributions are about %8 but that does just go into the general tax pool and is not hypothecated to be spend on the NHS/health.
leojg 12 ago 0 replies      
Here in Uruguay I think its about 7,5% for the unified healthcare system, called FONASA

Then you affiliate to the health society you want(many privates and a public one)

sunstone 7 ago 0 replies      
I pay 1%, though most people here pay 0% other than their income tax.
miguelrochefort 6 ago 1 reply      
In Canada? Roughly 15%, which doesn't include much (no dental, no vision, etc).
VOYD 9 ago 0 replies      
Almost 10%, for myself and a child.
cm2012 10 ago 0 replies      
8.4%, my portion, NYC, for my wife and I.
keefe 8 ago 0 replies      
of my gross salary? <1%
Ask HN: Improving the Hacker News Frontpage Algorithm
6 points by baccheion  2 ago   3 comments top 2
brudgers 2 ago 1 reply      
Curious regarding what problem[s] such changes are intended to solve.
baccheion 2 ago 0 replies      
There definitely needs to be a more fluid/integrated means to discover new stories. The home page could be split down the middle, showing new stories to the right, or there could be a more feature-rich (and visible/accessible/usable/seductive/natural/etc) "upvote" page that allows searching, browsing, and filtering through submissions to discover ones to vote on. There could also be a slight weighting of votes (though not much) to create a bias toward more reliable (or longstanding) voters, or to infer which submissions the currently viewing user is likely to upvote. The bias likely has to be slight, as one part of the game is to show the global/absolute top stories, while also getting in stories the specific user is likely to find "upvote worthy."

Also, randomly surfacing new submissions to get a sampling of up or down votes seems essential. This would allow a greater spread/certainty when a submission does make it to the front page, and would also be fairer to promising submissions (they won't die prematurely due to lack of opportunity to be upvoted). It would also minimize gaming of the system and the relevance of "time of day."

Also, the gravity concept is good (so stories eventually die), but it's a bit too absolute/aggressive.There should also be normalization by total number of impressions and up/down votes, such that raw volume doesn't overwhelm quality with lower volume. That is, even if confidence intervals are used (which I don't really like), then up/down votes are an estimate of overall up/down vote percentages, which is what's relevant (the submissions most likely to be upvoted (meaning "best") are what should be shown first). Also, maybe volume matters somewhat (many votes implying a lot of interest), but it's better to separate this out and factor it in independently.

For example, each signed in user that clicks on a link has a probability/likelihood they'll vote, so that could convert their impressions into an expectation which could then be compared to reality (how many upvotes are actually recorded). The higher the upvotes (compared to what was expected), the better the submission. This can then be combined with the other scoring methods (and slight personalization-- maybe a certain percentage of front page entries are personalized and the rest based on absolute rankings, rather than having everything be personalized, or breaking them up into separate sections) to stabilize, refine, and make more accurate submission ranking/sorting.

There isn't a problem with a downvote button. And there isn't even a problem with it being abused (it being abused negatively affecting rankings is a sign the ranking algorithm is poor). The problem is with downvotes not being properly factored in (and weighed up or down depending on the source of the vote, and the user viewing the resulting front page articles). In fact, adding a downvote button would make it easier to rank new submissions (and it's also straightforward to filter (or normalize) out abusers of upvotes or downvotes).

Also, maybe passive actions could be factored in (or things could be added that would serve as good "signals" for "front page worthiness") to increase the overall number of votes, such that a handful of users don't control what makes it to the front page and to allow each article score to be more reliable/accurate.

Ask HN: Isn't machine learning just a special case of curve fitting?
10 points by noobermin  2 ago   5 comments top 2
tlb 2 ago 1 reply      
Yes. But curve fitting is qualitatively different with millions of dimensions than with just a few, and it's only recently that we've gotten good results in the 1M-dimensional case. For example, modern image captioning can successfully assign 1 out of 1000 semantic labels to images from ~1M pixels. There's no interpolation in that 1M-dimensional space that corresponds to the sort of curve fitting operations that work in a few dimensions.
minimaxir 2 ago 2 replies      
That's like saying curve fitting is just a special case of calculus.
Ask HN: Breadth vs. Value in product design
4 points by ErikVandeWater  3 ago   6 comments top 2
endswapper 3 ago 1 reply      
You appear to be missing the point of the sentence and your question demonstrates this.

It's more valuable to have unbridled enthusiasm from a few users, than a bunch of users who don't care, and would easily swap you out for an alternative. Those enthusiastic users will be your champion, your marketing, your calling card and perhaps your best sales presentation. I think that is straightforward.

Using your Google example, their focus, initially was very narrow - search. Anyone might need it, but if you do that one thing really well, they'll love it and other people will hear it and have to try it.

It sounds like you are twisting up model, focus, opportunity and value.

PaulHoule 3 ago 1 reply      
Is Reddit really broad? It seems to cater to a certain sort of person.

For instance, my mother in law is into Oprah Winfrey and might get that itch scratched by something a bit like Reddit but that is appealing to her. Maybe Pinterest is closer to that.

Ask HN: Are you happier with your day to day life after starting to freelance?
6 points by tsaprailis  2 ago   1 comment top
borplk 25 ago 0 replies      
I have not yet properly begun freelancing (however I am working quite hard on side projects).

I was getting - more - overweight but since I quite the 9 to 5 I have lost 6kgs and it's only going down.

I'm not sleep deprived I sleep when I feel like it and wake up when it feels natural. I no longer get depressed on a Sunday night thinking about how I'm going to tolerate another week until I get a good chunk of time to myself again in the weekend.

I do what feels natural I work hard then take a nice quick shower, then lie down for a while, do more work whatever, I'm only accountable to myself. I can go take a walk around the park while thinking about how to solve a problem and that's a win win. I don't have to worry about the "perception" like you do when you are clocking in and out.

I was a bit afraid that I'm going to feel lonely however that hasn't happened at all. I'm saving my commute time and public transport cost.

I hope I can sustain this because I can really hardly imagine myself going back to an office 9 to 5.

And hell my job wasn't even a bad one by all standards.

I think my personality is deeply incompatible with the 9 to 5 life so I just with I never have to go back to it again.

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