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Ask HN: Projects that don't make you money but you're doing it out of sheer joy?
266 points by superasn  13 hours ago   342 comments top 203
yourduskquibble 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
I just saw this thread, and honestly it is probably too late to get noticed by many, but I'm attempting to 'unsuck the web' with my project[0] by pinning "sticky" website elements where they belong - i.e. the website header shouldn't steal your screen real estate and scroll down the page with you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

StavrosK 12 hours ago 7 replies      
Oh man, that describes all of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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


notgoodrobot 2 minutes ago 0 replies      

A music player made from URLs pulled from sub-reddits. Its a work in progress.

dmuth 8 hours ago 6 replies      
I built a website which offers real-time statistics for Philadelphia's Regional Rail train system: https://www.septastats.com/

This lets public transit passengers answer questions like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

jimhefferon 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I write math texts that are Free. It is my creative outlet. My Linear Algebra (http://joshua.smcvt.edu/linearalgebra) has gotten some traction (and I get a small amount of money from Amazon). I also have an Introduction to Proofs: an Inquiry-Based Approach (http://joshua.smcvt.edu/proofs) that I find helps my students, but is in quite a niche area. And I'm working on a Theory of Computation.

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

amorphic 18 minutes ago 0 replies      
I co-founded and run a makerspace called SparkCC (http://sparkcc.org).

It's not-for-profit but I've met lots of amazing people. I've been able to use my skills and knowledge to help many of them and many of them have used their skills and knowledge to help me. It's fantastic...:)

ztravis 4 hours ago 0 replies      

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

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

- fixing those mistakes and a few other bugs

- cleaning up the UI/display

- moving onto a "real" server framework

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

- making an API?

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

xeo84 24 minutes ago 0 replies      
Touchboard: http://www.timelabs.io/touchboard Open source app for iPad to send keys to your pc / mac. I use it for gaming, I really find it useful, here is a video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1KOUj9SK_c

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

Coverts pdf to cbr and vice versa.

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

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

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

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

And many others I really enjoyed making and using.

CM30 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Wario Forums and absolutely anything else associated with it:


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

Is it going to make money?

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

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

superasn 13 hours ago 3 replies      
The reason I'm asking this question is because I realized something recently. I've been a programmer all my life. I used to love programming in Delphi, VB :P, Perl, PHP, Javascript, etc since school. I created all sorts of stupid things like Winamp plugins[1], Graphics software[2], Games, etc. It was programming just because i liked making the computer do things for me.

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

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

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

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

purescript 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I work on the PureScript (http://purescript.org) compiler, tools, libraries and book in my spare time (along with many other unpaid contributors), because it's the programming language I wished had existed when I started creating it. It's still the closest thing to a perfect environment for web development, at least as far as I'm concerned :)
fernly 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
I discovered the historic CHIP-8 architecture and decided to write the mother of all CHIP-8 apps, including an interactive dev environment for it:


t0mek 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Yet another Game Boy Color emulator, written in Java:


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


raphlinus 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I have a largish open-source portfolio, including a markdown parser, a regex engine, some music synthesis, and some more researchy stuff like a font renderer and a prototype of concurrent text editing using CRDT's. I'm lucky to be working at Google where I get paid 20% time to work on this, but the motivation is definitely not money.

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

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

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

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

Maybe the HN crowd has some ideas?

weddpros 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I built https://sslping.com/ to help monitor website TLS/SSL security and certificates. It has 300 users and checks almost 7000 servers every day for TLS problems.

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

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

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

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

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

snickerbockers 6 hours ago 1 reply      
For almost a year, I've been writing a SEGA Dreamcast emulator called WashingtonDC. It's slow and it doesn't play any games yet, but it can boot the firmware menu and display the animated "spiral swirl" logo. https://github.com/washingtondc-emu/washingtondc
quangv 11 minutes ago 0 replies      
Sweet post bait. I'm working on an online notes organizer. I have ADHD-PI and I've been creating one for myself for the last few years. (I recently found out I might have ADHD)


gadgetoid 4 hours ago 3 replies      

A somewhat interactive GPIO pinout for the Raspberry Pi.

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

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

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

tomcam 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hope I don't get flagged or anything. I am astounded by the generosity of the amazing people on this page and have been upvoting like a madman. I probably look like a bot at this point
grecy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I created, run and maintain http://wikioverland.org, the community encyclopedia of overland travel

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

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

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

biztos 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
In addition to some random, minor bits of free software and one larger bit that's nowhere near finished, I have for years kept a goofy little minimalist thing going just to have it in the world:


It costs me almost nothing, I check in on it a few times a year, and once in a while I find something fun there.

albahk 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Free OpenStreetMap Data extracts (be kind, it is a rushed POC at the moment)


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

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

apankrat 7 hours ago 0 replies      
A networking IO abstraction library in C - https://github.com/apankrat/tcp-striper

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

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

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

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

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

chubot 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm building a new Unix shell called Oil: http://www.oilshell.org/

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

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

codeplea 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a lot of projects like that!

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

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

m52go 6 hours ago 2 replies      
100 Million Books -- mission is to promote intellectual diversity.

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

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


cozuya 2 hours ago 1 reply      
My web adaptation of the social deduction board game Secret Hitler: https://secrethitler.io

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

TamDenholm 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm grumpy, i dont like christmas: http://whychristmasisbullshit.com/
Lerc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Sheer joy is an interesting term. I like making things but I don't think that is my primary motivater for _what_ I make.

Most of my free stuff is because I think the things should exist and they are things that shouldn't have to be paid for.

Some things are just plain geek fun

https://github.com/Lerc/stackie - Makes textures using a very compact stack machine language

https://github.com/Lerc/kwak-8 - Emulator for an 8-bit computer that never existed

Some things I wanted to have exist

https://github.com/Lerc/smallcalc - A compact pop-up calculator for the Cinnamon Desktop

https://github.com/Lerc/plops - (old) A lightweight Desktop widget engine that I made when I developing for 256-512mb boxes/

https://github.com/Lerc/whio - A Javascript canvas rendering lib for beginner programmers using Globaly avalilable functions + mediaWiki plugin to run in a worker.

http://fingswotidun.com/code - A wiki usisng the plugin from the entry above. Has some introduction to programming javasctipt tutorials.

And the mad project that I come back to every couple of years to push a bit further along.

https://github.com/Lerc/notanos - A html/js login deskop for Linux.

And a lot of games.

Here's a silly one http://screamingduck.com/Lerc/LD13.html

Here's a really hard one http://www.screamingduck.com/Lerc/LD14.html

And here's one that might give your browser a hernia http://fingswotidun.com/ld21/

mimming 2 hours ago 0 replies      

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

jakehilborn 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Speedr - Free Android app that calculates how much time (or how little time) you save speeding in your car.


aroberge 1 hour ago 0 replies      
http://reeborg.ca/reeborg.html is a site to learn programming (using either Python or Javascript).

However, unlike other similar sites, the focus is equally on making it easy for students to use AND making it easy for teachers/mentors to use, adapt and create their own learning material. To this end, I am currently writing an online book as a "Teacher's Guide":


This is a project that started out 13 years ago as a free desktop application (http://rur-ple.sourceforge.net/) and which I have been working, on and off, during all that time just for the joy of it and knowing that people have found it useful.

orblivion 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Host Wikipedia on Sandstorm.io:


Kiwix itself is not my project, I just packaged it for Sandstorm. I saw Sandstorm as a great potential tool for the off-the-grid, mesh networking, etc world. Being able to easily host a local copy of Wikipedia was one missing piece. I hope to work on the next piece soon.

(Kixix also supports Project Gutenberg, Stack Overflow, Ted Talks, and much more)

jjjensen90 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I run/develop/manage a private MMOARPG game server for a dead game called Hellgate: London that we call London 2038. You can see more about it here http://london2038.com

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

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

Edit: grammar

thesquib 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I dabble a bit:Http://playerpart.com - for Shakespeare play reading groups, helps distribute parts on a play fairly and with as few adjacent speaking parts as possible. Still in development!

https://ranktracker.squib.co.nz - a tool to track an in game characters stats for a very old game called Clan Lord from Delta Tao. In development.

I seem to end up working on stuff with a very limited user base!

dogas 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I built + maintain todolist[1] which is a GTD-style task management app for the command line. It's getting a bit of traction now which is pretty fun. It got a ton of upvotes on Product Hunt which was really cool to see[2].

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

[1]: http://todolist.site

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

spondyl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm building a wiki for a little known South Korean mobile game I enjoy and it's fun both learning how to manage and build a Mediawiki install.

It's also a great excuse to suck up all the lore and properly analyse character conversations and what not!

Now I just gotta see if I can get some official looking art renders authorised for release from the devs since a press kit was never released

vanderZwan 8 hours ago 2 replies      
It doesn't have to be a full project, right? Do random drive-by PR-requests to open-source projects count?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[3] https://p5js.org/

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

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

beenBoutIT 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
Chromium for Android is an amazing open source browser.I made getChromium so that everyone can run Chromium for Android. https://github.com/andDevW/getChromium/blob/master/README.md
rayalez 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I occasionally create digital art:


and make video tutorials about it:


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

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

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

jetti 5 hours ago 0 replies      
All of my Elixir open source projects:

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

fibonachos 1 hour ago 0 replies      

I didn't create any of the fonts. When I discovered the original .com domain had been lost to squatters, I decided to grab the .net domain and go about hunting down and re-hosting as much of the original content as possible.

The original site was later restored at a different domain (linked in the sidebar).

dunstad 3 hours ago 1 reply      
A program that allows you to control robots in Minecraft from a web browser: https://github.com/dunstad/roboserver
nfriedly 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Everything to do with cryptocurrency! I wrote trading bot that was actually making a small profit - and then the exchange got hacked and took all of my coins & dollars with it :(

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

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

reagent 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I built this dead-simple "image enhancing" app (http://en.hance.me) to focus in on potentially embarrassing details in photos. It allows you to specify a zoom area and create a 4-panel stacked image that progressively "zooms in" on your target area.
lawrencewu 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I created Juicebox, which lets you listen to youtube/soundcloud songs with other people: https://www.juicebox.dj/

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

RealityNow 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm at a point where money doesn't matter to me anymore except in the sense of retirement. I'm not rich by any means, I'd just rather live a life working on the most important problems in life, which these days I believe are mostly political/economic.


kaivi 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm hoarding profile data diffs from a well known social network. Been crawling every single user for the past 2 years and saving the changes. Had to stop doing it last month, after storage costs became too much.
domainkiller 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Nomie! https://nomie.io The easiest way to track any aspect of your life.
CiPHPerCoder 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Virtually everything in the paragonie namespace on Packagist generates zero revenue, but we built and maintain them because we want to make the PHP ecosystem more secure by default.


expertentipp 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Dead simple personal website in Python and plain JavaScript with contact form, URL shortener, private bookmarks, etc. It's my own territory and I do what I want! fuck unit tests, fuck linters, fuck commit messages length limit, fuck your newest web framework, fuck transpilers, fuck pull requests.
jesses 5 hours ago 1 reply      
https://gigalixir.com After falling in love with Elixir, Phoenix, Ecto, etc I built this to help increase Elixir adoption by solving the biggest pain point I saw: deploying.
palerdot 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have hotcold typing - http://hotcoldtyping.com, a fun way to learn touch typing with instant feedbacks. I'm proud of this tool even though it doesn't bring me money.

Also, remindoro - http://remindoro.com, a chrome extension to have recurring reminders to help me take breaks.

donohoe 4 hours ago 0 replies      

This is my swipable curated news feed. I only tested it on my iPhone 6, bookmarked to Homescreen. Outside of that your experience might vary.

I've been redoing it every few months for the past 3 or 4 years. At one point it included summation text and opened inline AMP links for articles that had them.

It's an automated curation of content I like and includes some basic sentiment analysis and popularity metrics.

The content is interspersed with a custom ad template just for fun. When there is enough content it includes mediative looping gifs/video.

It scrapes content, rewrites headlines, throws images through random filters to good/bad/artful effect.

This is my entire morning subway commute.

(Feedback always welcome)

overcast 8 hours ago 2 replies      

Sharing funny kid quotes.

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

rocky1138 1 hour ago 0 replies      
cknight 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I built https://suitocracy.com very slowly over the last few years. It is for collating information on the ethical conduct of large corporations, as well as rating and ranking them on various criteria.

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

preinheimer 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Global Ping Statistics - https://wondernetwork.com/pingsWe have ~240 servers world wide, we get them all to ping each other every hour, and record the results.

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

dumbfounder 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Twicsy (Twitter picture search) still gets around 1.5 million visitors per month, but nets no money. But I wouldn't call it sheer joy though, maybe sheer stubbornness?


nikivi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I am working on a community curated search engine to learn anything most optimally :


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

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

jhy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I created and hack away on jsoup, a HTML parser/scraper for java. https://jsoup.org

I created it initially just to scratch a personal itch (to make another project, https://alterslash.org, more resilient to upstream changes in HTML), and now get a lot of satisfaction just in knowing how much it's used around the world for all sorts of use cases I hadn't really imagined when I started writing it.

And it's great fun finding new areas to benchmark and micro-optimize.

anfractuosity 12 hours ago 1 reply      
A few of mine:

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

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

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

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

jtruk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
130 Story - a daily microfiction challenge.


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

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

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

gbl08ma 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a bit of a obsession with the Lisbon Metro, even though I don't use it very often. I started by building this:


This started as more of a statistics page for the service interruptions published by the Metro on their website, which I scrape. The slight tongue-in-cheekiness of my website, which opens up with a large text saying something like "XX days since the last disturbance", where XX is usually a single-digit number, made it become mildly popular (at least in terms of what I'm used to).

This particular subway system doesn't operate on a fixed schedule and doesn't show the ETA for the next train outside of the platforms nor on any app or website. (Google thinks there's a schedule, but they've been fooled.) They also don't publish usage stats for each station, which would be of great interest to everyone who likes daydreaming of expansions, network reorganization and the like. Furthermore, I read and heard multiple reports of delays and interruptions that never made their way to the website. So I decided to build a Android app to unobtrusively crowd-source data and communicate the service status back to the users...


...and the very ambitious goal is to, one day, be able to calculate train positions and ETAs based on real-time data reported by the smartphones of people riding the subway. Pretty much "Waze for the Lisbon Metro".

Yeah, I've put months of work into this and there's absolutely no business plan; it perpetually feels 5% complete. But it's been fun putting together my second Android app, playing around with Postgres (after many years using MySQL), designing the REST API and writing the server in Go. I plan to use this big project as my sandbox for experimenting with machine learning and other AI techniques, as well as data analytics and visualization. There's already a small but extremely interested group of users, which really motivates me to keep working on this.

chaostheory 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Late to the game again =/

I'm working on https://theymadethat.com It's an IMDB for everything, not just movies. It does show you who built what but it does more: theymadethat can show you what they used to build it, what those things are made of (parts, ...), their evolutionary history, who they worked with, and so on

I can't say that I'm building it out of sheer joy; it's more out of obligation. There are so many people who's contributions to mankind should never be forgotten. Wikipedia is great (and I see it being complimentary to theymadethat in the long term), but we need something more. I could be wrong but I strongly feel that theymadethat is the answer.

lcall 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I created this system which I've mentioned before (AGPL):


...because it tracks all my thoughts, plans, & resulting to-dos, and I mark them off when done ("archived") in a few keystrokes. Then there is a simple feature for displaying the ~"journal" for a date range which defaults to starting yesterday at midnight: everything created or archived in that time is shown, so I've basically stopped keeping track in any other way, of what I have done, as I can always look it up.

I used to use org-mode, "inspiration" (an old windows program for collapsible outlines and mind maps), and various text editors, but this is the most efficient and flexible I have found. In my use, it is like a textual, ever-expanding comprehensive mind map that is highly efficient to use from the keyboard, uses postgresql, and can handle large amounts of data, having the same thing linked in more than one place, etc etc, so you can organize all possible stuff in arbitrary ways to suit yourself: I tend to use a few hierarchies and some frequent categories go in multiple places, for convenience. I use it to keep lists of gift ideas, calendar, personal journal, and it just gets the job done with the lowest impedance of anything i have tried or heard of. It has an auto "journal-generation" feature, some finicky import/export features to html or to/from text, searching, somewhat limited file storage, and more.

It has no mouse or mobile support yet, but it is the best thing I've found for any kind of note-taking (I'm the author). It needs simpler installation and added features but is stable and works really well, really efficient once you get familiar, and everything is on the screen. I hope to add anki-like features in the future. Contributions welcome. I'm told it needs an introductory screencast, which I plan to put up eventually, but for now there is a tutorial at the web site, on which feedback is welcome.

The latest code is in github, where I am working (very slowly) on an infrastructure for linking or exchanging info between instances.

raybb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a tool to schedule Gmail messages to be sent later but without any 3rd party, messy spreadsheets, or self hosting.

I just did it for fun and because I wanted a tool like it.


MikeTheGreat 3 hours ago 0 replies      

I wrote "GLT", which stood for 'GitLab Tool'. It was going to enable me to manage a classroom's worth of git repos, 1 per student per homework assignment.

I chose GitLab because you can set up your own server, and then lock down stuff so it's harder for students to copy homework within the system (obviously they can still copy it offline).

Then I got busy with other stuff.

Then I found out about GitHub Classroom, which is the same thing just hosted by GitHub. I haven't retooled it to work with GitHub, but I'm hoping it's not too tough.

(I started off idly wondering whether to pronounce it "Guilt", like "Why haven't you done more of your grading?" or "gelt", like the candy.)

dkarp 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I made and maintain https://transparentmetric.com/

I find it fascinating watching the changes made to news articles over time. It lets you get into the mind of the various journalists and editors at different news organisations and see how they react to things. I just wish I had more time to develop it further.

bcruddy 8 hours ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/bcruddy/taco - a create-react-app + redux + express boilerplate. It currently grabs pricing data for BTC, ETH, and LTC and I mostly put it together for myself about a month ago.

https://github.com/bcruddy/GramLikeCam - my Panthers' fan friends seem to enjoy it. Initially I wanted to write a bot that would grab new instagram posts from Cam Newton and translate the weird characters he uses into plain english and post it as the first comment but ended up going pretty much the opposite direction.

https://github.com/bcruddy/tumbo - a very unpolished ascii video chat to play with websockets and string compression, I'll occasionally check out the website and see someone live streaming a day in the office.

yogthos 12 hours ago 1 reply      
thexa4 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I work on Empires Mod, a 10 year old real time strategy and first person shooter hybrid. It's playable for free and still has an active playerbase. It's very satisfying to fix bugs that have been around for more than 5 years.

We're currently looking for someone that can do UX design, if you're interested in making an impact on a live game send me a message.


kyletns 3 hours ago 1 reply      
https://www.groupmuse.com now envelopes my entire life :) We have starting making a bit of money, finally, but not much and it sure ain't why we've been at it for 5 years!
typpo 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I built this 3d visualization of the upcoming Perseids meteor shower!


atomashpolskiy 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes, I've developed a full-featured BitTorrent library in Java: https://github.com/atomashpolskiy/bt/blob/master/README.md#-... . It was very warmly received by HN folks

It was VERY surprising for me to find out that one of the most popular programming languages offers little variety in terms of BT libs/clients. For a long time, if one needed advanced options like DHT or protocol encryption, his only choice would be jlibtorrent (JNI wrapper for the well-known C++ library). Well, not anymore :)

vitomd 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I couldnt find a good online site to discover new nonfiction books based on selected great quotes so I made http://arandomquote.com

Another project is gDriveSync.js: Javascript wrapper library for Google Drive API v3. You can list, save, read documents just using html and js https://github.com/vitogit/gDriveSync.js

Another one Sorter: https://github.com/vitogit/sorter is a webapp to organize ideas, tasks and information using bullet points and hashtags.

bradbeattie 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm working on collating as many sources of Canadian federal data into a single relational database, and exposing that data via a public API.


Given the sources of this data, I'm pretty sure I'm not even allowed to profit off of this. Not really a problem as I'd be doing this in my spare time anyway.

The data-visualization side of it (e.g. https://iscanadafair.ca/data-visualization/example-usage/) isn't my strong-suit, but it's fun to muck around in regardless.

eejdoowad 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been building a keybinding Chrome extension like Vimium for about half a year now. It started when I struggled to add a feature to Vimium and figured I could do it better myself.

From my biased perspective, my extension is better. User uptake has been negligible, but I think the lessons I've learned have made it worth the time invested.


khedoros1 7 hours ago 0 replies      
That's...everything that I program that isn't part of my job. A near-universal trait of my hobby projects is that they're basically things that I don't think I could sell. The two that I've put the most time into over the years are an NES emulator and an attempted reimplementation of the Ultima Underworld game engine.

There are also things like a C++ port of some Python code to control a PWM-generating chip (inside the skeletal codebase that will eventually control a quadrupedal robot), and a collection of utilities that mostly have to do with things related to DOS-era games.

kadirayk 12 hours ago 1 reply      
http://apimockery.com/ - API Mocking as a Service

I built it to learn React and brush up my Go skills. I occasionally add new features.

It makes $0 now, but I plan to earn 10$ a month before my amazon free tier expires :)

wolfpld 3 hours ago 0 replies      
https://bitbucket.org/wolfpld/etcpak/wiki/Home - A very fast ETC texture compressor. Being 80x-500x faster than every other compression utility (with not that much quality difference) was quite fun.

https://bitbucket.org/wolfpld/usenetarchive - A set of tools to process and view large collections of usenet/mailing list messages. For example, an archive of polish usenet is 56+ million messages.

brian-armstrong 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been working to fill what I see as a gap in free software. My library encodes data into sound and works cross-platform. As far as I can tell it may be the most robust, cross-platform freely licensed library that does this, though there is still much I need to improve on


FigBug 4 hours ago 0 replies      

I just started a few days ago, I'm making VST plugins that emulate sound chips from old consoles / computers. (There is also a weird vocal synth in there). Currently working on a C64, hope to have it done tonight.

rmb81 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I built an interpreter for the pseudocode language my uni uses to introduce programming. Its in Spanish, you can give it a try here:


Theres an example program here:


My goal is to help students who might be struggling with the assignments.

netsec_burn 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Making a robot. It's fun, I look forward to making it every day and log my progress. So far it has depth perception and I have a goal in mind for it. It's an expensive side project though, I underestimated the price but you learn a lot about electronics in the process.
nitramm 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I was surprised how many different types of prime numbers exist. So I am building - https://prime-numbers.info - to find out which one belongs to most of them.Current winner is 5 - https://prime-numbers.info/number/5 - but still lot of types is missing.
enoch_r 5 hours ago 0 replies      
https://agh.io/about / TicTag is a passive time tracking tool that randomly samples your time to get a statistically accurate picture of your life. It's like RescueTime except that randomness allows it to be for everything, offline and on.

For example, this is how much time I spend reading:


This is how much time I spend riding my bike:


(How it works: every 45 minutes, on average, it'll send you a slack message. You respond with tags for what you were doing right at that moment, like "job dev" or "bike" and it compiles your responses.)

jrm2k6 4 hours ago 1 reply      
I started working on iparklikeadumbass.com. The idea is for me to upload pictures of people parking like idiots, blur the license plate and just have it out there. I know I wont make any money of it but it is a good way of preventing road/parking raging.
acabal 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on Standard Ebooks (https://standardebooks.org) in my spare time. Not only is it not-for-profit but the work is released under CC0 too, where applicable.

We got on HN a month or two ago--people really seemed to like the project and we got a lot of great new contributors. If anyone else is interested in contributing, drop me a line :)

msquitieri 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I created a site as a poetry project that generates random poems from sentences in Craigslist Missed Connections. Some of the poems are actually really poignant and funny.



alexanderson 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Https://github.com/Thorium-sim/thorium - Starship simulator controls. Think Bridge Simulators (like Artemis) meet D&D. The controls facilitate doing space missions, where one participant is a game master and the others take various roles on the ship.

I love working on the controls, and Im learning a lot too. Im going to start taking donations soon, but dont plan on making a ton of money.

kvz 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm writing a bot for cryptotrading without having the proper knowledge for something like that. Learning as I go and I expect to lose some money on this (certainly won't give it a budget to manage that I can't afford to lose), but I'm having a ton of fun entertaining the fantasy that I could 'game the system' with my bot
louisstow 13 hours ago 0 replies      

I genuinely find it useful for note-taking and organising things.

joelennon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
https://programmingpodcasts.com - it's a directory of software dev and related podcasts. Haven't ruled out monetising it and to be honest maintenance is almost zero as it runs on autopilot. I'm it's biggest user, use it everyday.
rsync 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Oh By"


I continue to believe this is a useful tool even though we've sold fewer than 100 of them ...

lchsk 3 hours ago 0 replies      

Never planned to make any money out of it, I've made it because I needed it, and to play around with building a unix tool in C. It's pretty simple but it's definitely one of the projects I've had the most fun working on and I still have plenty of things I want to add.

makapuf 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I created the bitbox console, a DIY console for which I and a few others develop random games, which is starting to get some traction. The console is based on baremetal ARM cortex m micro. And then I ported a few 8bit emulators. Edit: added url http://github.com/makapuf/bitbox
dhpiggott 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I built https://www.liquidityapp.com/ over the summer of 2015: "Liquidity is a smartphone based currency built for Monopoly and all board and tabletop games.", and I actively maintain it. I have enhancement ideas too, but I barely have any time to put into it these days so it is primarily just maintenance.

It's one part Android client and one part Scala backend (though there's some Scala in the client too). While I'm fairly pleased with the UX and UI I was able to create (given that I really don't consider them my speciality), the backend is the bit that keeps my interest now. That uses Akka, Akka Persistence (i.e. it's event sourced), and Akka HTTP among other things. The clients communicate with it via websockets.

The details aren't exposed to users but it uses public key authentication so as to not burden users with passwords/PINs. Each app generates a keypair when first used, and QR codes are used to make changing account ownership simple.

edumucelli 5 hours ago 0 replies      
http://eazy.bike/ - Always find a bicycle or empty slots on bikesharing systems

Eazy.bike picks best bicycle stations considering real-time information of how many bicycles and free bicycle stands are available in more than 400 cities in 48 countries. Behind it uses machine-learning to predict what will be the availability of empty slots so that you can maximize the probability to find a place to park your bicycle.

It took me a huge work to write the whole stuff, API, Android, iPhone and web application, but I really like it.

kovrik 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm writing R5RS Scheme _interpreter_ implementation in Kotlin (previously in Java):https://github.com/kovrik/scheme-in-kotlin/

It is a hybrid of R5RS Scheme + some things from Kawa, Racket and Clojure. It doesn't have a proper name and documentation yet.

I'm writing it as a hobby sandbox project, for learning purposes and fun.Trying to keep it simple and easy to understand (some things are not perfect though).


- full numerical tower

- lists, vectors, maps, sets, arrays

- symbols, keywords, strings (mutable/immutable), patterns (regexes), chars

- one-shot upward continuations

- Java interop

- futures, promises, delays, boxes (atoms)

Not implemented yet:

- macros

- persistent data structures

- compiler

- bugfixes :)

PS: it is a pleasure to write it in Kotlin. Great language!

qwerty2020 3 hours ago 0 replies      

Simple online weight logging app with pretty charts, first web app I've actually pushed out into the public. It doesn't make a dime, but I love tweaking it and seeing the user number slowly climb.

jonotime 5 hours ago 0 replies      

Docker Envoy

Encapsulates a kind of different Docker workflow. One where your Dockerfiles live in a separate area from your project. Includes a bunch of bash helper functions for common things the containers need to do like wait for other services.

It also provides a little Dockerized testing system using pytest - which I might eventually separate out. I am working more on the testing part these days. And I'm writing a book about some of this.

TazeTSchnitzel 3 hours ago 0 replies      

It's a note-drawing messaging single-page web app for the Nintendo 3DS, in homage to the long-since defunct SpotPass (i.e. Internet) functionality of Nintendo Swapnote/Letter Box.

(Also, every open-source contribution of mine ever.)

RomanPushkin 4 hours ago 0 replies      
http://libretaxi.orglibre uber alternative, lot of fun, users, traction, no money
pedrokost 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been making https://www.klubi.si/ sporadically over the past many months (it was meant to be a weekend project, but it never ends there...). It's a map of sports clubs in my country.

The idea is to help people find klubs nearby, as well as provide a basic internet presence to those klubs whore founders don't have the time or knowledge to create and maintain a website, or even a Facebook page.

The website works by volunteer revision of data, as well as twice a year email reminders to founders to review the data. This helps ensure that the data is the most up to date as possible.

Unfortunately, not all klubs even have a public working email address, so thinking of it, I could probably do something about as well.

mattbgates 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I built https://mypost.io which I technically did as a learning opportunity and was planning on charging, but I'm keeping it free. I built it to teach others how to code.. using HTML, CSS, and Javascript along with hints of BB Code.

It is being used around the world.. never advertised it ever, except for the few times I posted on here and twitter.

misra8 1 hour ago 0 replies      

Wanted to solve the problem of information overload and product discovery , not making any money because I am not passionate about marketing. Do you think this is worth pursuing?

andywood 6 hours ago 0 replies      

It's a big procedural crafting game. The long-term goal is to make a Civilization-like game set in a Minecraft-like world, with really good AI. It's also a testbed for a bunch of ideas I've developed about massive, virtualized simulation. What that means is that you could in principle have thousands of cities with millions of individual inhabitants going about their business. But it's sort of analogous to lazy evaluation in that things are only computed if they would be perceived by the player, or need to be consistent with past information the player already knows.

yangyang 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Porting an ancient 6502 Forth to Z80. Nobody will ever use it and there are already loads of Z80 Forths around, but it's fun and forces me to learn exactly how a language that's always interested me works. Not on Github yet.
guaka 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Hitchhiking guide http://hitchwiki.org dumpster diving guide http://trashwiki.org social network https://www.trustroots.org
kryptogeist 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I made an app to help me study guitar scales: https://www.coolfretboard.com/

Basically it's a guitar/bass fretboard where you can select a scale and a root note, then it displays the notes of that scale on the fretboard. It also has a bit of info about the scale, like the intervals used to build it.

Initially I didn't plan to publish it, but since it was barely decent I tried to put it online. I just spent a few bucks to buy the domain, but it don't cost me anything to keep it online, since it's just a static page and I use Netlify to host it. Btw, Netlify is awesome! Highly recommended!

happybuy 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm about to release Magic Lasso a free ad blocker for the iPhone, iPad and macOS simply because I think advertising on the web has gone too far.


Won't make money but hopefully will help make the web better.

gwintrob 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I run a newsletter all about APIs called GET PUT POST (https://tinyletter.com/getputpost).

Each edition features a Q&A with a company about their API and killer app ideas for developers. Here's a recent example with a YC S16 company called Nova: https://getputpost.co/an-api-that-unlocks-global-credit-data...

A few people have reached out about sponsoring it, but just for fun right now :)

tcash 8 hours ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/mini2Dx/mini2Dx - A simple API for writing 2D games in Java (originally inspired by Slick2D)

I've been extending and updating the framework for a few years now. There's a tiny userbase but I like writing my games with it.

arthurjj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a children's picture book "The ABCs of Programming" to explain what I do to my toddler. Previously I was telling him "Daddy talks to robots". Hasn't made much money yet, but I launched only this week.


fergie 8 hours ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/fergiemcdowall/search-index/ - its a lib for making embedable, torrantable, load-into-the-browserable search indices. Pretty modest downloads so far, but I love hacking on it.
jventura 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I built MockREST - http://mockrest.com/ - to create REST APIs from JSON content.

I've only spent 9 to buy the domain as the application (django application) is on a shared server. I'm making 0 $ from it, as it was made to solve a problem that I had while teaching mobile development where I teach.

stefantheard 8 hours ago 3 replies      

I built a show tracker just for me (it's not nearly where I want it to be, so I don't share it anywhere, eg. currently my show database is out of date I need to see what broke my cron tonight. no ssl cert, no optimization at all I don't even know if my js is minified tbh, etc).

I am the only active user http://www.overseer.tv/user/smt and I built this because I watch a shit ton of shows and I often forget when premieres come, or what episode I left off on. My site is basically one click to mark a show/season/episode "watched" and I have a calendar and upcoming section, which is all I wanted from many other sites I tried before creating my own.

I host this on an EC2 instance for 29$ a month, and my own usage alone makes it worth it to me haha.

ioddly 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote and use meditations ( https://github.com/ioddly/meditations ) to help me organize my day using the principles of habit formation. It's been pretty immensely helpful to me. Funnily enough although I never thought of monetizing it, assuming there wouldn't be much interest, there are several similar apps that seem to be pretty popular and doing well. I keep working on my own because it's a good learning exercise and I can keep my data encrypted, locally.
iwebdevfromhome 4 hours ago 0 replies      
SuperMovies Rank: https://movies.teslark.pw

Just posted this a couple of days before! Not much notice but still it was worth a try.

It's a tool to help people create their list of favorite superhero movies and share them with everyone.

It was a fun way to get myself more familiar with React

showhndaily 5 hours ago 0 replies      

Created a simple Twitter bot back in 2013 that auto-tweets every post marked "Show HN". Updated to HN API (Firebase) in 2014 or 2015.

Small claim to fame: Had a daily email newsletter for the first year or so. Ryan Hoover (Product Hunt) was on my initial subscriber list, before PH launched. Now if only I had just pivoted to feature new wow-ness for the world PH-style, hmmmm ...

lecarore 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a super lightweight web app to draw on images. It targets mainly cheap android phones that don't have storage for a proper app. It's called https://minimage.tk, and I use it all the time to annotate screenshots now. It was a nice pet project to build a progressive web app in full vanilla.
epx 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Morse code player: https://epxx.co/morse

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

jimaek 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Definitely jsDelivr https://github.com/jsdelivr/jsdelivr

Billions of requests every month. Building the service is pure joy. I have lots of new features coming like a new website, stats per project and more.

rahulshiv 3 hours ago 0 replies      
http://www.notematics.com - AI Note-taking assistant for sales calls. Learning AI & building this has resulted in a lot of fun & personal growth!
salutis 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I work on a simple 4-7-8 breathing relaxation app for iOS:


Great for practicing and exploring architecture, value types, test-driven development, etc.

sir 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Com-Phone: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ac.robinson.med...

An Android app for putting photos/text/sounds together into videos, with the key aim being to have an interface that is as simple as possible. Started as part of a research project many years ago, but now mainly a labour of love for the ~30k users.

carc1n0gen 2 hours ago 0 replies      
https://weelnk.com little link shortener I built. Been a while since I revisited it
Willfire19 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've spent about a year building out AmaranTime (http://store.steampowered.com/app/566800/AmaranTime/), mostly working on movement mechanics. I actually just made a breakthrough, so soon players will be able to run in place to move without having to press and hold a button. While it is for sale, I haven't made much money. Besides, I do this for fun!
mclemme 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Built a few things to teach myself new stuff, the ones that are still online are:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bitmasch.b... - Wanted to learn a cross platform app framework. Built a simple game that would help my niece get better at basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Made with Apache Cordova. She only played it a few times, but her dad (my brother) ended up getting hooked on it for a while, beating other people's high score with 50-100 points every time someone beat his highscore.

http://p2pool.jir.dk - Wanted to get some experience in building a crawler and was interested in p2pool cryptocurrency mining at the time, so I built a p2pool crawler. The site does have adsense, but it doesn't really make any money.

rytill 2 hours ago 0 replies      

Clean quick polling website

bherms 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Working on a project for connecting fans of the band Phish and allowing them to share and curate their stories... Paying out of pocket for minimal hosting costs, donation buttons all go to Mockingbird Foundation... Hoping to launch in the next month or so. Doing it because I am a huge fan of the band and the community and it's a huge part of my life I'd like to give back to.
heyok 6 hours ago 1 reply      
http://heyokapp.co It was fun to code and it makes organizing with friends a breeze

Here's the facebook page - facebook.com/heyokappAbout video - https://www.facebook.com/heyokapp/videos/460327694335849

billforsternz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been working on my chess GUI for over seven years now http://triplehappy.com. I've made a few hundred dollars in donations, but maybe 10 cents an hour is not why you work on something like this, it has to be a labour of love. I do wonder if I am going to be working on this for the rest of my life, there's always more to do....
sideshowb 12 hours ago 1 reply      

Upside: it's got a quantum physics game engine, and can teach you quantum mechanics

Downside: HN will continue to tear me apart for making them download a JAR file but you can grab the source and compile it yourself if you like

Usu 13 hours ago 0 replies      

I created it because I was annoyed with the lack of notifications provided by GitHub for some events like new people following you or starring/forking your projects.A lot of people are now using it and that makes me happy even though I'm losing money by keeping it online.

Feld0 12 hours ago 0 replies      
https://poniverse.net/ is a nonprofit organization I built mostly for fun, to celebrate and support the My Little Pony fandom. It's a social project before a technical one, but I learned a ton about software development, server administration, corporate procedures, leadership, accounting, and myriad other skills through it. Being in the position to employ people might be interesting but fan sites aren't known for that kind of cash flow.

https://pony.fm/ deserves a special highlight - I had a dream fan music site in mind and wanted it so badly that I taught myself web development just so I could make it real. That experience was so awesome that it inspired me to pursue software engineering and computer science professionally.

uncled1023 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I make a bunch of different little services for others to use. Started for just friends, but has grown a bit.

I use it a lot to test out new ideas, and learn from it.


Also, I work on a lot of little projects: https://git.teknik.io/Uncled1023

pesfandiar 6 hours ago 0 replies      
JavaScript Online: http://javascript.onl

A few JavaScript problems that you can solve and grade online (it's a static website). I haven't done any work on it recently. Added a few Amazon affiliate links originally, but they didn't make any money and Amazon has closed that account now.

kgabis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
avh02 7 hours ago 1 reply      
built a slack slash command to spew out excuses (inspired bigtime by giphy) - mainly because I was unemployed and wanted to learn how the slack APIs work - https://xqz.es - I put a blog post together covering how it came to be [1] - also forced me to learn how to get Let's Encrypt certificates.

Also built a twitter stream reading android app [2] - it's butt ugly but was super useful while I lived in Beirut and there was the occasional bomb going off (at the time, that's kind of settled for now, and I no longer live there) - there was a lot i intended to do with it but just sort of... stopped.

[1] - https://arahayrabedian.github.io/writing-a-slack-application...

[2] - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rollingbla...

kaundur 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I built Cmdo, a command line todo list written in python. Still in its early stages, but its been fun to create


max0563 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't make too much progress yet, but I am making a PHP web framework inspired by the one file codebase that Bottle.py uses and the structure (loosely) of Flask. I am a Python programmer that recently had to use PHP for work, if you haven't noticed :P


mslate 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A video podcast of guests sharing their career advice for folks coming into software engineering from unconventional backgrounds:


It's an absolute joy, I am making $0 at this point in time.

PizzaPete 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Together with an old study pal I've built a platform for students in the Netherlands to find housing: https://www.roombase.nl/

We've never made any money with it, it's only costing us money. Learning new techniques and seeing the site being used makes up for that.

viridian 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I started a podcast with another Hacker News poster. We have no ads, make no money, but it's great fun just talking about big local events in Columbus Ohio, and also big tech news. It's obviously extremely niche and local, but there's always something new happening in urban development, politics, that sort of thing here.

http://columbusthisweek.podbean.com for the RSS feed, or itunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/columbus-this-week/id126...

rock_hard 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am running a Burning Man camp with 200 people on the side.

We have developed our own modular solar electric grid...that powers the whole camp...trying to prototype carbon neutral living...it's a lot of work...and a lot of fun :)

is0tope 2 hours ago 0 replies      

My first attempt to create something using create-react-app. Generates a random ephemeral port if you can't think of a port for a service.

dchuk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Only launched recently, and the prospects of it making money one day are slim: https://engineered.at

Still fun to keep up to date with Rails with, and to just code in general (as a product manager now, don't get to code much).

LikeAnElephant 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A friend and I run https://www.brewnotice.com

It started as a project for us and a handful of friends, now we have around 2,000 users. All running on a $5 / mo Digital Ocean server.

We're not planning to ever charge for it. Right now it's just fun to work on, and it gets us into a handful of beer events. Win win!

marcus_holmes 12 hours ago 0 replies      

had to get that code out of my head and onto the web. There's more stuff I want to do to it when I get the time/passion

viralpoetry 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Alzheimer password generator - Chrome extension for domain dependent password generation



calebsurfs 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I need coastal weather data to find the best waves for surfing so I built http://www.swellmatrix.com

I would start other projects with money- making potential but there are always features to add to the site that can get me more waves...

foxhop 4 hours ago 0 replies      
http://botoform.com | Architect infrastructure on AWS using YAML
jasoninprivate 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I started a blog (this week) focusing on how retail investors can get exposure to startups and other private companies, which are normally reserved for VC and institutional investors.

The ultimate goal is how can we, as startup employees and enthusiasts manage our own risk? Since we are heavily exposed to risk in ways other players in this space aren't (because we work for one company at a time, and they invest in many).

Not sure where it's going to take me yet.


moasda 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I made a wiki engine: http://moasdawiki.net/

I started working on it during my PhD as I was missing a wiki engine to organize my knowledge that run on a USB stick without installation, supports images and stores the content in simple text files for easy backup and restore.

Now I am using it every day in office for my personal notes on projects, running inside a TrueCrypt container. Meanwhile I added an Android App to sync the content on my mobile phone.

mosselman 11 hours ago 1 reply      
https://cadodo.nl/en - Create wish lists for your next birthday/wedding/etc

https://bookmarkify.it - Create javascript bookmarklets

https://github.com/abuisman/freudjs - Component library in JS for when view libraries like React are overkill

jqbx_jason 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Makes no money but it does helps me discover new music and I really enjoy the community :)

Also the development challenges are super fun (real time chat, multi platform, AI).


Come join the fun!

mcone 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I made an API that allows you to programmatically monitoring the status pages of hundreds of web-based applications: https://statusbot.io/

Hoping to add a bunch more services and webhooks soon.

StefanKovachev 5 hours ago 0 replies      
https://inwhy.net Means "Inside the question 'why?'" still working on my idea...
tejas1mehta 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1. imse.co - internet movie search engine. Its google for movies. Allows for search queries like:

- johnny depp fantasy movies on netflix

- english scifi movies on netflix

- english movies about lawyers on netflix or hulu

- movies similar to the pursuit of happyness

2. activify.org - search engine for movies, shows & music.

adnanh 5 hours ago 0 replies      

Incoming webhook server

pgsandstrom 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I like to create small tools that are optimized for me and my families use case. For example we used Google Keep for shopping lists, but I found it too bloaty and slow. So I created bs.se (it got SSR and websockets, wohooo!)


It's fun to just care about your own needs when developing. For me it becomes work when I get feature requests that I don't like myself, but I implement them to appease others.

roryisok 12 hours ago 0 replies      
http://getpoe.com - distraction free / focus writing app for Windows, and soon Linux and macOS. It makes me nothing, but I love working on it. I built it to have a focus writer on windows 8 (there were none that played move with metro at the time) but I spend more time coding it than actually writing these days
jordanrobinson 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Making websites like this: http://javascriptbythekilogram.online/

Though I can't really take the credit on this one, I just had the idea.

deepakkarki 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I built https://discoverdev.io - just to refresh some basic web skills and learn some machine learning!

Turned out pretty decent, and now I spend about 20 minutes everyday curating interesting engineering links. Don't think I'll make any money out of it, but is an interesting post dinner routine :D

hoppyluke 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I made some Android games a few years back https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=hoppyluke

There's one I still play every now and again, fairly sure I'm my most active user.

vasusen 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I have my take on moon-phase based messaging app that I continue for fun - http://moonletter.com/
donald_the_game 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I created https://donaldsbizarreadventure.com/ because I always wanted to be a game developer.
spajus 8 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who wants to be a gamedev some day, I'm building a community for indie game developers: https://www.gamehero.org
shime 12 hours ago 0 replies      
https://github.com/shime/livedown - Realtime Markdown previews for your favorite editor

https://zapsnap.io - Temporary peer to peer screenshot sharing (MacOS only for now)

dmitri1981 12 hours ago 1 reply      
https://www.hnlondon.com - been running it for about seven years and had some amazing speakers give talks. Sets me back a few grand a year in sponsorship shortfalls, but is an amazing experience when a great speaker inspires the whole room.
aaronhoffman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
https://www.sizzleanalytics.com/ - drag-and-drop d3.js visualization tool

https://www.gmailcontactsync.com/ - sync gmail contacts between accounts

kehers 8 hours ago 0 replies      

Built for personal use. Not currently making any money but hope to monetise sometime later.

wheresvic1 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I recently created Ewolo, it's a web based workout tracker optimized for mobile as well - https://ewolo.fitness

I did it mostly because the existing solutions were horrible and I thought that it would also be a great way to learn redux. The front-end is also open-sourced :)

agentultra 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Working on a proof of a modular exponentiation algorithm in Lean with a focus on performance. Hoping to be able to extract a low-level ASM or C implementation from the proof.
SirHound 12 hours ago 0 replies      
https://popmotion.io - JavaScript animation framework. Writing this over the last few years has probably done more to improve my career than my actual jobs.

I really enjoy it but sometimes maintenance does come at the cost of doing other projects.

Windson 2 hours ago 0 replies      

Write a thank you letter to your favor open-source project

garysieling 13 hours ago 1 reply      

This is a big enough project to can explore most programming subjects (e.g. machine learning, Javascript, databases, email), and I enjoy learning about history by watching old videos.

Spien 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Cat chasing raspi car using a CNN.
zie 9 hours ago 0 replies      
https://sexwork.us/ SexWork.us is aiming to be a reference guide all about sex work.
kevinyen 8 hours ago 0 replies      
https://sympost.com To help you get heard on the internet instantly. Early beta.
pboutros 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been doing this for years - it's my favorite.


khc 8 hours ago 0 replies      
goofys - https://github.com/kahing/goofys/ - like s3fs except a lot faster

catfs - https://github.com/kahing/catfs/ - generic disk cache for fuse filesystems

TYPE_FASTER 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I wrote a web e-mail client that pulled e-mail from three or four accounts into a single responsive UI, and filtered through a whitelist. It was really handy. Note to self, get that working again.
nara_s 8 hours ago 0 replies      
As a sport enthusiast, I run a website for athletes to tell stories based on activity data http://storyteller.fit

Doing it out of passion is a great source of motivation and continuous learning, plus you get in touch with a lot of people.

shalabhc 8 hours ago 0 replies      

A lightweight, native, extensible text editor.

viiralvx 4 hours ago 0 replies      
socialmuter.com, pageunliker.com, fade.pics. All are pure JS, haven't modified them, they work fine.
sellislem 12 hours ago 0 replies      
http://techexplicit.tk/ - a tech based news and review website that makes 0$
wigrb23 12 hours ago 0 replies      
https://collegecollections.co/ - marketplace for artwork by art students
eneve 12 hours ago 0 replies      
FAQr - Android app for reading Gamefaqs (best for retro ASCII) - https://faqrapp.com
evantahler 5 hours ago 0 replies      

I've spent far more than I've made on this... but it's how I think API frameworks should work!

golergka 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Curious how no one mentioned kids yet.
krisives 5 hours ago 0 replies      
hashes.download a Bitcoin Cash API one of the first
cbeach 5 hours ago 0 replies      

I built it 12 years ago and have fostered a small but hugely loyal community of caption writers ever since.

Automatically loads three funny photos every day from a Flickr group, and is an ongoing caption competition.

For fun I wrote a real-time collaborative mind mapping feature (node.js / D3) so people could brainstorm caption ideas for upcoming photos.

sunilkumarc 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been developing side projects for fun since my Engineering days(from past 6 years). Below are the ones worth showing:

1. Track Courier - This was developed to learn the tech-stack Node.js + Backbone.js + PostgreSQL (https://github.com/sunilkumarc/track-courier)

2. Form Filler - This was developed to solve my own problem of having to type common fields like email id, username etc again and again on different web pages (https://github.com/sunilkumarc/form-filler)

3. Subtitle Corrector - This is a linux command line utility to correct subtitle files. Using this one can adjust the entire file by +x or -x seconds (https://github.com/sunilkumarc/subtitle-corrector)

4. 100 - This is a project I started to learn to solve Algorithms and DS problems for my interview preparations. The plan was to solve at least 1 problem everyday for 100 days. But I couldn't do it everyday. Still whenever I solve a problem I put it in this repository (https://github.com/sunilkumarc/100)

5. Desktop Commentary - This is again a linux utility which shows Cricket scores every 10 seconds on your desktop as a Notification Bubble. The problem I was trying to solve here was to avoid going to Espncricinfo website every now and then to check scores when a match is going on (https://github.com/sunilkumarc/desktop-commentary)

6. Alarm Manager - This is one more linux utility to set multiple alarms (up to 5) on your linux machine (https://github.com/sunilkumarc/alarm-manager)

geuis 7 hours ago 1 reply      

Been running it for years and supports millions of requests a day. Started off as a simple experiment with node.js years ago but turned into a utility thousands of people use every day.

* Ignore jsonip.org. Some Trump troll set that up in June. I made the mistake of not registering all of my domains. Oh well.

pottersbasilisk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Im working on a small project to have ai learn to paint scenes based feeding in styles and objects that I personally classified.

Its been very interesting and almost parental joy to see when the right logical connections are made and the art looks good.

the_cat_kittles 3 hours ago 0 replies      
serious, measured tone "all of these projects are of no benefit or value to anyone, otherwise they would be earning money."
Ask HN: How did you find an audience for your startup or project?
7 points by tmaly  2 hours ago   1 comment top
dillweed 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Or how did you find the people your product would innately appeal to.
Ask HN: Which companies give programmers offices?
278 points by jjazwiecki  14 hours ago   219 comments top 63
msluyter 13 hours ago 10 replies      
On the general question of open vs. private offices, my views have tempered over time. The first time I worked in an open office, I hated it. But I've come to realize that a lot depends on the layout of the office and that there are better and worse ways to configure one.

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

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

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

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

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

jonhmchan 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Stack Overflow does. I'm an engineer there and we still think providing private offices to our engineering team is important for their productivity. This includes engineers, SREs, designers, data scientists, PMs, and others.

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

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

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

orange_bear 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Apple placed me in an experimental building where they were changing the interior design constantly, trying to decide how to design their new "space ship" building. The whole time, I fumed at no longer having an office and having to work in an open office design. I could not focus due to audio and visual interruptions while I worked (programmer) in the open office spaces. But no one ever asked me for my opinion about the experimental open office environments!

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

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

nfriedly 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I have a small private office that I just lease myself. I bicycle in every day and work "remote" for IBM. It's fantastic.

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

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

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

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

kuharich 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Old Microsoft: it was a BillG ethic: anyone touching software got an office: software design engineers, PM's, QA, even admins ... it allowed one to be quiet and focus. And signaled to co-workers - do not disturb ...
qnk 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Stack Overflow has blogged about their private offices for developers many times before. This is a post from 2015, I'm not sure if that's still the case: https://stackoverflow.blog/2015/01/16/why-we-still-believe-i...
pixelmonkey 10 hours ago 2 replies      
My team at Parse.ly is fully remote/distributed -- and one of the motivating reasons I formed the team that way was to reproduce the feel of Fog Creek's "bionic office", but in each engineer's home office space.

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


Here's how my personal home office looks:


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

module0000 12 hours ago 3 replies      
My programming career involved an office at every position(Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cisco, HP, XTime, VMWare, and a handful of private equity groups). As I was transitioning into another field, the "open office" craze was taking over. I could be wrong, but I have a strong feeling I would not have enjoyed it. Nothing like being an hour into analyzing a core dump to be jerked back to reality by someone interrupting you!
jaegerpicker 12 hours ago 4 replies      
That's why programmers should work remotely. It's the best thing I've ever done for my career. Moved back from Management to IC because it was remote and it's been amazing.
LVB 12 hours ago 0 replies      
At Garmin in Salem, OR, they have four-person quads. These are enclosed spaces with an additional central table, storage, ceiling and door. Though not my own office, I liked it. Quiet, everyone had a corner with ample space, and a nice group dynamic formed. Devs would move occasionally and you'd get to know other people pretty well.
sizzzzlerz 11 hours ago 2 replies      
My 600-person company, a wholly-owned part of a much, much larger national multi-billion dollar company has single or double private offices, with doors, for the entire staff, new hires, IT, admin, everyone, at our headquarters in SV as well as our smaller, satellite offices. AFAIK, there is no plan to change this. If, however, our current lease isn't renewed and the company moves, all bets are off. I've heard rumors that our parent company isn't happy with the "wasted" space. We'll see.
mpa000 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I manage developers for the publishing arm of a professional association. While I did not have an office when I started as a dev here over a decade ago, all of our developers now have their own offices while we two managers share one. Priorities.

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

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

pyrox420 13 hours ago 1 reply      
AccuLynx - we aren't even in a tech hotbed. Just little ol' Beloit, WI. We got to build a brand new office building with offices for all devs. Great place to work, awesome perks. We saw a marked throughput improvement after moving to the new office.
batbomb 13 hours ago 6 replies      
Most people programming in National Labs get offices, though you might need to share with one person. If you are in the bay area, think about SLAC or LBNL.
s1gs3gv 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I think choice is important. Some people prefer one, some the other. The best working environment I've experienced in my life as a software developer was at Bell Labs in the 80s, where small private offices was the norm.

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

jedwardhawkins 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Micro Focus in Provo, UT provides offices. The last company I worked for was a mature startup with an open floor plan. Most of the noise complaints were mitigated by noise cancelling headphones which were purchased for each engineer.
programmarchy 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I worked for a successful medium sized business called SpeakWrite early in my career that specialized in voice transcription for the legal industry. The company was founded by a former lawyer, and the office culture was very traditional. The software team was treated with respect, paid well, and everyone had their own office. It was great! Having worked in tech/startup culture since then, I much prefer the traditional office culture. Now I work remotely as a consultant and have my own office, but miss working on a closely knit team.
caboteria 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The last place I worked where I got a private office (and probably the last place I ever will) was the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, MA, a federally-funded R&D corporation. Level AC-5 and above got solo offices, AC-4's had to share.
DarkContinent 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Epic in Madison, WI, gives all employees their own offices. (I can't find a source but I've been on a tour.)
gwbas1c 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly, I'm less concerned about an "office." A cube with high walls is more similar to an "office" than an open layout where everyone shares a table.

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

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

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

baccredited 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had multiple federal government programming jobs with offices. I consider it a requirement at this point.
rbanffy 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Two places that allow you (actually they prefer) to work remotely are Avaaz (avaaz.org) and Canonical. Both may share the cost of a rented office. I can't speak highly enough of either - awesome teams, awesome missions.
hack_mmmm 11 hours ago 1 reply      
2 years back We used to get a cabin office @Qualcomm for all Engineers same as VPs. Now Staff Engineers and above still get cabin office and others have moved to cubicles. We have a lab where most of us sit in the afternoon to collaborate. I must say this is the only place where I saw in my career where a fresh grad got cabin offices. It feels great to code in isolation uninterrupted. It also feels great to collaborate in lab with other folks and also code there.
borplk 13 hours ago 6 replies      
Do pretty much all programmers in Microsoft get their own office?

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

rwoodley 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've worked for financial firms for 31 years. Almost all of that time, I've been a programmer on a trading desk sitting right next to traders. There is constant noise and shouting. I can tune out a lot. EXCEPT: TV noise, and idle chit chat like you'd have down at the pub. As long as people are focused on work, I can tune it whatever they say. Strange.
DavidThi808 12 hours ago 0 replies      
We mostly have 2 people/office. We would have done individual offices but the office space we found to rent was perfect except the offices were larger and so it was a LOT cheaper to use the existing build-out.

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

bsimpson 10 hours ago 0 replies      
At Google, it depends on which building you're in. I sit in an office with 3 other people. My manager sits in an open pod in the hallway.
Bahamut 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I have my own office at Apple here in Cupertino (just a software engineer)...I'm glad that almost all our teams are moving to Infinite Loop as opposed to the new campus :) . Most of our offices hold two people though (still better than open offices!).
luu 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Microsoft is switching from offices to open office plans. Buildings with offices are slowly being remodeled to open plan.

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

neofrommatrix 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Oracle does provide private offices in their Santa Clara location. This has mostly to do with this being the old Sun Microsystems buildings. It might have changed now, though after rapid expansion of their public cloud engineering group.
zodnas 13 hours ago 0 replies      
All full-time employees at SAS have their own office.
drfuchs 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Adobe in San Jose. (At least it used to.)
Kluny 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Automattic. But it's remote, you have to supply your own office. They contribute $250 toward co-working space.
msukmanowsky 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Parse.ly is 100% remote and I've got a pretty sweet home office :)
nxc18 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Esri gives just about everyone their own office; aside from people displaced by moves or visiting, I've yet to encounter a programmer without one.
Balgair 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Most DoD and DoE jobs/contractors have personal offices. In fact, I've never seen one that doesn't at least have a cube-farm and most just have a personal office and then meeting rooms and then lab-space, depending on the job. Cubes are terrible in their own right, but it's better than an open office by a lot. At least you have somewhere to put pictures of your kids up at eye level.
coderjames 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Universal Avionics provides their Engineers private offices. It was important to the founder of the company, so when a new building was constructed it was specifically arranged to provide as many offices as possible, even if some are internal (no outside window).
tibbon 10 hours ago 0 replies      
At least give me my own 64sqft cube, and then have some decent lighting. I'd far rather live in a cubefarm than be rubbing elbows with the person beside me. It's not perfect, but having some degree of "my space" is really essential.

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

matheweis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I shared a two person office at the university that I worked at before my current job. If that sounds like a good deal in exchange for 50% of the industry salary, I believe they're hiring... :)
rajeshp1986 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think any decent size company could afford to do that in Bay Area. The real estate prices are too high to give personal offices to everyone and that's why open office plans are adopted.
thehardsphere 13 hours ago 4 replies      
I would hope most companies that consider software to be their core business give programmers offices, even if they have to share those offices with another person on the same team. Most companies that do not often consider programmers secondary to their core business, which is a good reason not to work there if you have a choice.
mindcrime 10 hours ago 0 replies      
When the day comes that Fogbeam Labs has an actual office, and employees, I absolutely intend to make sure that everybody has a private office with a door. Unfortunately, I can't say when that will be.
nhumrich 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The book peopleware argues for the middle ground. Shared offices. Rooms with a door, with 3-4 people. You have quick collaboration, but also are closed off from unrelated distraction.
omg2k 13 hours ago 0 replies      
MathWorks (Natick, MA).
alok-g 12 hours ago 1 reply      
ryanSrich 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Work for companies that support remote work. You'll always have a private office.
bebop 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyone at ESRI has their own office.
meddlepal 10 hours ago 0 replies      
PTC in Needham, MA does if you're on the ProE/Creo team
factotum 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Reynolds and Reynolds in Houston.
dsfyu404ed 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If your work is classified you almost certainly get an office.
TallGuyShort 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft comes to mind? I've only been in a couple of buildings in the Seattle campus, but it was the typical open-air shared desks that you see in many other software companies recently. Are they known for using desks otherwise?
dacracot 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Lawrence Livermore Nat'l Laboratory. Everyone has an office with a door.
bostik 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We have team offices at Smarkets.
jps359 2 hours ago 0 replies      
starbuxman 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't it be more appealing for companies to allow their employees to work remotely?
kk3399 13 hours ago 3 replies      
Epic systems
rurban 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Cpanel, Houston Texas
suhith 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Fog Creek Software does iirc
holbue 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Who else read "... gives programers coffees"? :-D

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

carapace 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm literally about to go talk to recruiters and I'm going to try it: I'll take $20,000 off of my pay if co will provide an office with a door I can close.

I'll report back what they say.

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

ozzmotik 12 hours ago 0 replies      
i had my own office at cPanel, albeit a small onebut it was a pleasant personal space.
danesparza 13 hours ago 0 replies      
You mentioned it in the question already, but when I worked at Microsoft as a contractor I got an office.
Ask HN: Have you successfully moved away from Google search?
130 points by chatmasta  14 hours ago   96 comments top 44
kevlar1818 14 hours ago 8 replies      
I switched to DDG from Google about one and half years ago. DDG is my daily driver.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

usrme 14 hours ago 2 replies      
My usual setup relies on first using DuckDuckGo and when I need answers to a more esoteric problem or error that I am seeing and DDG isn't providing me with what I need, then I modify my search query by appending "!g" and try my luck with Google.

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

binarymax 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I fully switched to DDG about 5 years ago. Specifically programming questions work great. I'd estimate about 5% of my searches I will revert to google, which sometimes doesn't help either because I'm searching for something crazy niche.
grimgrin 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Those who use DDG, do you miss dates in results? Having a date present definitely helps me think about the results:



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

zitterbewegung 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes , here is how I did it.

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

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

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

4. Realize you cant live without bang paths

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

rjeli 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I am surprised to see so many people trust DDG. The founder Gabriel Weinberg made his fortune from the Names Database, which indexed people's information and allowed you to contact them only if you referred more people into the database (or paid).

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

brandonwamboldt 14 hours ago 3 replies      
Personally I have no interest in moving away from Google Search, as I specifically use them because Google learns from previous searches I've made and shows me more relevant results. Searching "unzip" shows me the Linux command, not unrelated materials for example.
sevensor 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I find DDG always has the Python doc that I'm looking for at its fingertips. At this point, I get frustrated and annoyed when I try to use Google search for anything. Also I really don't want four-year-old Google plus posts from people on my gmail contacts list showing up in my web search results. It just underscores the pervasiveness of their search bubble, which makes me distrust the search results.
brainopener 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I've sort of switched...

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

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


dionian 2 hours ago 0 replies      
On some machines I've made DDG my default. I sometimes revert to google as a backup, and its sometimes better. but generally DDG is good enough for daily use. I figure the benefit of defaulting to it is worth any slightly less quality searches for basic day-to-day lookups
Sir_Cmpwn 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The thing that trips up most people is the realization that DuckDuckGo does't know anything about you. Many people have gotten used to tailored search results. If you learn to be a little more specific ("django framework" instead of "django") you'll find DDG very pleasant to use. Also, bangs are an indispensable feature.
Spivak 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I have DDG as the search provider in Firefox and it works great. If you already know what you're looking for it's quick and fast to use the bang syntax.

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

> !ansible user

And it goes straight to the page.

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

mnm1 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I use startpage which has Google results by proxy. With js turned off it's really fast. Duck Duck go just had terrible results for programming queries so I wouldn't recommend it for that but I use it on my phone.
veidr 14 hours ago 2 replies      
No. And, literally just today I (again) disabled the DuckDuckGo extension in my browser, because I felt ridiculous for having done this more than 20 times in a single day:

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

2. sigh

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

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

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

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

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

sigjuice 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I tried and failed. I used Bing for a few days right after Google pulled the plug on Google Reader. I was really mad at Google. Bing was quite terrible and I went crawling back to Google Search in pretty much no time.
maxxxxx 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I have tried DuckDuckGo but for me Google is still much better. Unfortunately.
leonroy 14 hours ago 2 replies      
DDG is a bit US centric but despite that I use it for nearly everything. On the rare occassion it's not returning good enough results (images or certain UK specific stuff) I just use the aforementioned suffix g!.

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

epalm 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Something that really bothers me about the DDG interface is how it hijacks the up/down arrow keys I use for scrolling. After searching, press down, and the page won't scroll down, it'll just highlight the first search result. Keep pressing down, and the page still won't scroll until the last visible result is highlighted. Press down one more time, and the page scrolls erratically, highlighting the next result in the center of the window. At this point, pressing up/down will scroll exactly as far as needed to keep the prev/next result highlighted in the center.

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

dethos 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I've made the complete switch around the year 2012. At the time it felt strange not using Google, however nowadays the sentiment is completely the opposite I'm so used to DDG that using Google feels somewhat awkward.

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

mratzloff 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I've used DDG for the last couple of years on all my devices. I switched for privacy reasons. It does everything I need it to do, and I get a lot of use out of the search shortcuts (especially !w).

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

dpflan 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering: have you kept track of which site results you commonly find that answer your questions? For example, you query DDG a few times for different questions, and for each answer you find yourself on Stack Exchange. If you'd like to skip the "middle-man", it seems like directly querying SE may be the way to go for ~X% (X > 50%) of your questions (at least for those topics).

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

jaitaiwan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Initially I found DDG useless and I struggled to get the right query results. As time went on things got better so either I learned how to duck or it better learned about me
jshevek 14 hours ago 0 replies      
To answer the title question: I discovered this week that Bing has radically improved in recent years. Between them & DDG, I don't see that I'll need to rely on Google search ever again.
YCode 14 hours ago 3 replies      
From a pragmatic standpoint, what do you gain by switching to DDG?
subie 13 hours ago 0 replies      
* Moved from Chrome to Vivaldi[1].

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

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

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

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

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

volkk 13 hours ago 1 reply      
ITT: DDG and bangs. For those of you who also don't use DDG or know what these !bangs are, a quick google search shows that it's a quick way to directly search a website. !ebay motorcycle, would search ebay.com for...you guessed it--motorcycles.

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

zapi 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Not really, I'm using https://www.startpage.com/
probably_wrong 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I found two aspects of DDG very convenient: that I can search in Stackoverflow directly, and that if I still don't like the results I can always add "!g" and repeat the search in Google (useful for finding a very specific error message).

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

bluGill 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes. I tried duck duck go 10 years ago when I first heard about it, and decided it wasn't anywhere near as good as google. A few months back I was convinced to try it again, and surprise, it is just as good as google.

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

ljcn 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I switched to DuckDuckGo years ago. I use it in my work as a software engineer and find it satisfactory the vast majority of the time.

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

tchaffee 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, pretty much. DuckDuckGo usually surfaces the best StackOverflow answer. Rarely I'll feel like I need a broader search so I'll append "!g" to my search and look at the Google results. And once in a while I get something useful from that broader search. If I had to get by with only DuckDuckGo I would be fine.
Jdam 14 hours ago 0 replies      
No, why?

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

patrickbolle 14 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm using Startpage since about 1.5 months ago. A tad slower but I like it and it gives me good results.
lazyjones 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using DDG for more than 4 years now. I use Google perhaps 1-2 times/month when I can't believe there are no suitable results for a query and usually Google just confirms that (i.e. provides nothing DDG didn't).
dlanphear 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I switched to DDG probably 3 years ago, I use it all the time. I wish stackunderflow didn't dominate the results in any SE over the primary sources, but I understand it's popularity based... Tired of the tracking, use the duck.
luckydude 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been using DDG for a couple of years. Once in a while I'll do a !g search to get google results but most of the time DDG is fine. I search on all sorts of stuff, not just programming.
diegoperini 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My personal split is probably around 30% DDG, 70% Google. DDG go fails on local searches (Turkey, Turkish sources) and sometimes very long queries like stacktraces does not retrieve effective results.
gasull 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I use DuckDuckGo most of the time. Sometimes I use !s for retrying the search in StartPage. I very rarely use Google Search.
caspervonb 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For the most part I've moved away, but everynow and then the default browser setup is configured to use Google.
mttjj 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I still use Google at work (software engineer) but I use DDG at home and for everything else.
sashk 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Frequently, I end up using !g in DDG. So the answer is maybe.
vaygr 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Switched to DuckDuckGo completely around 3 years ago. So far so good.
paulcole 5 hours ago 0 replies      
No. Duck Duck Go was awful for me. Search results were overly general and pretty much useless.

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

What's there to not like about that?

DanBC 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Mostly. I do a lot of searching of English NHS websites and Google or Bing still seem better than DDG for that.

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

Ask HN: Back end engineer webapps for too long, what to do next?
7 points by rajeshp1986  7 hours ago   5 comments top 4
soc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Happens to a lot of us.

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

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

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

swah 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Mobile maybe? I think Arkit is going to be big. I'm thinking of moving to iOS just because of that..
slowmotarget 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Try to find a startup near you that's currently looking for a tech lead / CTO, you'll do more than CRUD hopefully!
dickler 1 hour ago 0 replies      
machine learning / data science
What are the best programming language tutorials?
3 points by CamelCaseName  5 hours ago   2 comments top 2
muzani 2 hours ago 0 replies      
freecodecamp, for web development
swah 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Must have (Linux) sysadmin skills?
22 points by zabana  15 hours ago   9 comments top 6
nelsonmarcos 15 hours ago 2 replies      
* understand the basic directory structure (/, /boot/, /var, /usr, /opt, /etc)* file management (commands: tail, head, cat, awk, sed)* process management (commands: ps, top, kill)* package management (yum, dpkg)* one configuration manager (puppet, chef, ansible)* basics of tcp/ip network management (ifconfig/ip, netstata/ss, ping, trace) addiontal commands if you want to be more than a junior (strace, lsof, iostat, vmstat)

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

citrin_ru 12 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a very big overlap in what good developer and sysadmin should know about Linux. There are a lot of tasks, which in one teams performed by developer and in other by sysadmin. Random topics which IMHO more specific for sysadmin work:

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

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

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

codegeek 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I love linux even though I am not an expert devops or sysadmin. I get around working with servers for my product and thats about it. I stackoverflow shell scripts whenever needed. Here is my 'must know' list for linux:

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

- Difference between ftp and sftp

- cd, ls, pwd (directory stuff)

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

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

- chown, chmod (permissions)

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

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

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

- top, ps (check processes)

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

- Know various OS differences like CentOS vs Ubunut.

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

- Star/Stop services as needed

citrin_ru 12 hours ago 0 replies      
> What are the most common things a sysadmin does daily

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

jlgaddis 11 hours ago 0 replies      
The skills listed on Red Hat's RHCSA [0] page might be a good start.

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

autotune 12 hours ago 0 replies      
While not a fan of most certs, I would highly recommend the RHCSA to get an understanding of common sysadmin tasks as it is a hands-on exam and fairly relevant to the real world, and RHCE as well. In addition you should find some random service in your language of choice on GitHub that requires a database and try to implement in a cloud provider taking into account high availability, deployment types (Blue/Green vs Rolling, for example), durability, backups, security, logging, and monitoring by rolling out the services yourself or through managed services at a given cloud provider using a CM like Ansible and/or Terraform.
Ask HN: Which helpdesk/ticketsystem do you use?
5 points by realtarget  13 hours ago   5 comments top 5
twunde 5 hours ago 0 replies      
My last company switched to samanage which was ok. They had a couple of nice features like an asset inventory, workflows so that we could create onboarding/offboarding and it would send emails to HR and helpdesk. We did need to purchase another solution to do AD authentication though, which was a downer. I've also used Jira Service Desk, of which the killer feature was that it had git integration, which I had a hard time finding in competitors. Honestly there are tons of choices out there. General features you should be looking for are: SSO, reports, customizable self service flows
lyonlim 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Zendesk, but lately feeling a disconnect compared with Intercom's.
wslh 1 hour ago 0 replies      
tdburn 12 hours ago 0 replies      
We use helpscout. Great product that keeps it simple.

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

kull 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Zendesk, it works fine
Ask HN: What does a disciplined programmer look like?
22 points by muzani  1 day ago   9 comments top 7
twobyfour 1 day ago 0 replies      
Discipline is about being aware of your own counterproductive tendencies and being willing to do things that aren't entirely comfortable or natural to you in order to be productive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) He won the IOCCC twice.

2) He built the TinyCC boot loader.

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

4) He wrote QEMU and FFmpeg.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

luckydude 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Docs and tests are good one. Lots of people like the fun part of coding, which is getting some new thing to work. I've taught myself to like docs and tests, to the point that when I'm reviewing a changeset I look to see if there are docs and tests and just push back right away if there are not.

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

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

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

demygale 15 hours ago 1 reply      
One aspect of discipline that I think is underrated, is to take notes as you work. What you were thinking, what you tried, what worked and what didn't. It helps with reflection even if you never go back and read the notes.
mtmail 1 day ago 0 replies      
Regardless if you put in one hour or eight (or unhealthy 16) hours per day into your project/startup a disciplined programmer works on the most important task. That might be the one leading to most growth, profit or just avoiding damage to the business. That task might be utterly boring, and there's 100 other task that are easier, faster to implement or more fun. Discipline in my opinion means you choose that boring task.
AnimalMuppet 1 day ago 1 reply      
Discipline means thinking about the error paths in your code, not just the happy path.

Discipline means regular testing.

Discipline means documentation.

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

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

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

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

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

peterchon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Volunteers needed to teach web development in Oakland
67 points by BeccaScriptEd  2 days ago   9 comments top 6
dopeboy 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been volunteering for three years and am signed up for this fall. Happy to answer questions.

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

gelqura 2 days ago 0 replies      
I volunteered with ScriptEd in NYC and now in the Bay Area. They are probably one of the most thoughtful, organized, and fun non-profits I've ever worked with. And most importantly the kids have gone on to do some amazing things!
salehk 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would love to volunteer but I work in the south bay so it would be very difficult for me to attend the after school sessions.

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

mbs348 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great program, happy to see it expand to Oakland!
snissn 2 days ago 2 replies      
Any ability for me to mentor remotely?
justinschulz 1 day ago 0 replies      
ScriptEd is a great and effective way to do something good for your soul! I volunteer in NYC and it's great to see the students empowered with coding skills! This is great for Oakland
Ask HN: How to Make the Most of Your Master's Degree (Computer Science)?
7 points by iCHAIT  1 day ago   6 comments top 4
peller 13 hours ago 2 replies      
I only went for an undergrad degree, but for what it's worth, in my perhaps cynical opinion going to university is mostly just an expensive way to buy a network. Yea, there's an educational aspect, but anybody smart and self-motivated can get that online for free.

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

pesfandiar 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Above all, I used it for easier immigration to Canada. I wasn't able to find a job where I could directly use my domain knowledge and it didn't require a PhD.

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

luckydude 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Huh, timely question as I help my son pick an undergrad school.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SirLJ 13 hours ago 0 replies      
After the first job, those degrees are useless in IMHO, after that everyone cares about experience only... The only exception is if you want to go into academics
Ask HN: How did your first software project go?
7 points by Kevin_S  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
tejas1mehta 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Bad code but good product
breeny592 1 day ago 0 replies      

- [x] Working in a consultancy

- [x] Government client

- [x] No direct communication with the users

- [x] Waterfall project

- [x] Short timeline

- [x] Understaffed

- [ ] Clear requirements

Was definitely delivered on time and on budget...

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

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

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

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

jklein11 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Who was your greatest mentor?
9 points by Kevin_S  1 day ago   12 comments top 5
BlackjackCF 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been lucky to find a mentor to work with at every job I've been at. I guess I was just really receptive to learning. I don't know if I can say I had a "greatest" mentor at any of my jobs, because I learned a great deal from each of them - through their good and bad qualities.

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

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

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

kzisme 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm always curious how people _find_ mentors.

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

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

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

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

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

bsvalley 1 day ago 1 reply      
My dad. Then, surprisingly, my father in law. 2 different styles, 2 different perspectives about life. The combination of both is gold.
Got 500+ emails in few mins from Airbnb
7 points by kaustubhvp  1 day ago   5 comments top 2
BMorearty 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm an eng at Airbnb. What is the subject line of these emails? Can you DM me your userid at BMorearty on Twitter?
bsvalley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't they have a few summer interns?
Ask HN: How are 3D printing related startups doing lately?
4 points by rm2904  23 hours ago   1 comment top
js7745 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I think its moving towards B2B after the consumer novelty wore off: http://www.builtinboston.com/2017/07/31/why-google-nasa-and-...
Ask HN: What are real Ruby on Rails alternatives in 2017?
33 points by rubyfan  1 day ago   46 comments top 21
neilwilson 22 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it is more 'Ruby isn't sexy any more' because people older than 25 use it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mtmail 1 day ago 1 reply      
I found Laravel (PHP) to be almost the equivalent to Rails (Ruby) with https://lumen.laravel.com/ similar to Sinatra. I've coded, tested, debugging in both extensively. That said I don't consider Ruby declining at all and personally prefer Rails over Laravel (language, ecosystem, packages, day-to-day coding).
LordHeini 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I quite like Lift which is a Scala framework allowing stupidly fast rapid prototyping (rails is really slow and clunky in comparison) . There are no routes and all the Javascript stuff is built in (so no annoying manual Ajaxcalls). It is multithreaded via Aktors and has build in comet for async stuff which is almost trivial to use. The example for using the framework a life webchat which is a handful of files with a few lines code each. On top the HTML is, well... proper HTML. No scull operators or such thing. The framework attaches functionality via css selectors in so called snippets which are like small controllers but not for an individual view but more for a specific functionality which helps with reusability. On top you get all the cool thing from scala like option types, static typing with type inference, the speed, multithreading and so on.

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

jfaucett 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a long time ruby developer and have switched to erlang/elixir now for about 2 years now. IMHO phoenix is at least as good as rails, personally I think its most often a better option when building large applications, though this is due mainly to elixir/erlang and OTP.

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

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

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

afarrell 18 hours ago 0 replies      
At GoCardless, we've replaced ActionController with Coach for request handling while still using the rest of the rails toolset: https://github.com/gocardless/coach

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

olavgg 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Grails Framewok! http://grails.org

Built on top of Spring Boot.

Awesome performance, both in execution and development speed.

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

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

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

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

Superb HTTP parameter binding and validation with Command Objects.

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

Great community!

ajitid 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Just started with Django, I am praying noone comes to me tomorrow and say "Django is dying", atleast not for now.
quickthrower2 1 day ago 1 reply      
.net core. With Asp.net MVC.
neverminder 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Play Framework - supports both Scala and Java. It was inspired by RoR to be a lightweight alternative to such legacy behemoths like Spring. It's a full featured web framework based on Akka, scalable out of the box. Combination of Play/Scala/Slick gives you compile time safety for database queries - very few alternatives can offer that. Also, strict types significantly reduces your test coverage which is not possible on any dynamic languages.
BilalBudhani 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I was pondering over the same question some time back which lead me into experimenting with frameworks in NodeJS and oh boy, I missed Ruby On Rails on every single line I wrote in those other frameworks. I whole heartedly regret looking into other frameworks just because I felt Ruby On Rails isn't sexy anymore.

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

saluki 1 day ago 1 reply      
Laravel (PHP) is very Rails like.

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

It's been a great experience.

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

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

1ba9115454 23 hours ago 0 replies      
At the moment nothing comes close. Theres are lots of 'Me Too' frameworks but they don't give enough extra benefit to make it worth switching.

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

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

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

f00_ 21 hours ago 0 replies      
PHP: Laravel, LumensPython: Django, Flask, Pyramids, TornadoJava: SpringScala: Akka?

most experience with Python

sandGorgon 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Migrations, asset pipeline, debugger, package management.

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

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

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

marcus_holmes 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Friends don't let friends use frameworks


dudul 1 day ago 1 reply      
Phoenix in Elixir seems to be really appreciated. The Play framework in Scala is also often mentioned as a very performant tool if latency/throughput/reliability is really what you are after.
Ask HN: How do self-checkout cameras recording your face prevent theft?
13 points by intermittently  2 days ago   8 comments top 5
ryanlol 2 days ago 1 reply      
Self-checkout things get hit with lots of credit card fraud, the cameras help when the fraud gets so big that it's worth investigating.
deft 1 day ago 0 replies      
Most of loss prevention is based on fear. There's no real way to 'stop' it physically from happening.
sjs382 2 days ago 0 replies      
A clear photo of someone's face is very useful if they are found (via other means) to be engaging in criminal activity.

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

timothybone 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's valuable data. It's probably good for many things, from catching criminals, to selling to you personally, even to selling that data to other stores.
brlewis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't the separate system just be employees, or be a security camera you don't see?
Ask HN: Feedback collecting software?
4 points by tixocloud  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
pelmenept 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hi I've started https://insightstash.com try it out.

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

mtmail 1 day ago 0 replies      
Base usage of https://www.tawk.to/ is free. They offer you pay $9/month to remove their branding.
Ask HN: How did you find your great side project idea?
121 points by bobnarizes  2 days ago   118 comments top 58
gschier 2 days ago 8 replies      
I solved a problem that I had at work. I needed a tool to make interacting with HTTP APIs easier, and didn't like any of the existing ones, so I created Insomnia [https://insomnia.rest/].

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

jmduke 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is a clich but honest answer I was using a similar tool and thought to myself man, I could make something better than this. I have this impulse a lot, and usually I stop myself from actually following through (there is always so much complication hiding below the surface!) but I kept coming back to it.

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

The six months passed, and so it was born:


jqbx_jason 2 days ago 3 replies      
I missed turntable.fm and I found the current alternatives lacking so I built a better one: https://www.jqbx.fm if you're interested.

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

brightball 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not that I've had any time to do them, but I have often written up entire business plans just based off of profiting from something that makes me angry.

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

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

dguo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was fortunate enough (as a philosophy major) to land a software developer job (CS minor) coming out of college. I made way more money than I needed, so I started investigating charities to donate to. I found the whole process of getting involved in philanthropy kind of frustrating. That led to me creating Sublime Fund[1] with some friends. It's pretty bare bones right now, but it's something that feels meaningful to me, and I'm happy to invest time into making it better.

[1] https://sublimefund.org

scrdhrt 2 days ago 0 replies      
I write down 5-10 quick ideas per day just by surfing around, reading articles or building upon current techniques or current features. 99% doesn't become anything, the 1% is usually a combination of other ideas put into one.
bricej13 2 days ago 0 replies      
I solved my own problem. I cut the cord two years ago, but I love to watch college football. When doing research this year to figure out where to stream each game, I realized that a lot of people would be doing this same research.

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

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

jorgemf 2 days ago 0 replies      
You don't find it, it finds you. You first have a problem or see a problem that annoys you, later you discover how to solve that issue and make a world little better place. Finally you get hands on and create a side project with the idea that solves the problem.

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

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

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

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

kapuru 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Back when I was streaming games on Twitch I cared a lot about my followers count. When you only have 10 followers and all of a sudden someone unfollows it's kind of a big deal, especially if you're trying to grow your followership.I usually spent some time checking my followers list to find out _who_ unfollowed me.

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

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

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

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

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

tmoravec 2 days ago 1 reply      
As an employee, I saw my past bosses making the same mistakes over and over. The problems stem from the fact that they are usually engineers promoted to a management role, but they get no training whatsoever.So I did some research, and I'm writing a short book discussing the essentials of day to day management; with a focus on communication.
SyneRyder 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started by scratching my own itch, made a really simple program, then released it for free. Some people started using it. But that wasn't the great idea.

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

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

Mojah 2 days ago 0 replies      
I too solved a problem I faced at work - and privately - that I couldn't get anywhere else. It started with a couple of simple scripts for me, and evolved into a full-fledged SaaS solution [1].

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

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

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

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

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

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

DanHulton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Honestly, it was a dumb pun that inspired me. I started working on Chat & Slash (https://www.chatandslash.com/) when the idea of "Slack & Slash" - an RPG on Slack - come to me during a boring meeting.

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

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

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

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

generj 2 days ago 0 replies      
One route is to pick a niche hobby/interest of yours and build off of that. Find pain points and then write up an level of effort estimate for a software solution.

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

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

achariam 1 day ago 0 replies      
I built Elyxel [https://www.elyxel.com] to learn Elixir and Phoenix while building open source community software. I wrote about it in greater detail here - [http://www.achariam.com/elyxel]

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

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

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

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

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

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

bathtub 2 days ago 0 replies      
I always got the best side project ideas when I was working on some other random side project.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WalterSear 2 days ago 0 replies      
"My problem is not tripping over them when I get out of bed in the morning." - Beethoven

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

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

rawfan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I never had to look for sideproject ideas. They are there all the time by the dozen. The time to start and finish them is usually what's missing.
tixocloud 2 days ago 0 replies      
Like many, I also took the advice of solving my own problem. I have a hard time remembering all the details of everyone I talk to. When I realized that the key to startup success is to develop relationships with folks and the way to do this is to actually remember them, I built Orchestra [http://orchestrahq.com].
riku_iki 2 days ago 0 replies      
I start digging one area of expertise, and more I dig into something, more ideas of products, services and problem solutions come to my head.
psenior 2 days ago 0 replies      
I attended a meetup and was inspired to solve a problem I and many others experience with code. You can read about the details at https://medium.com/@CodeforFTL/the-story-of-oh-snap-civictec...
vinoth15 1 day ago 0 replies      
I began Todoodly (http://www.mytodoodly.com) as a side project after facing frustrations using Trello.
evanspa 2 days ago 3 replies      
I couldn't find a workout app that I liked. The ones I tried just didn't fit the flow-of-use I wanted. I just wanted something to track my weight lifting, and wanted it to be super simple. So, scratched the itch with Riker.


cisanti 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds cheesy, but I worked on something I actually enjoyed working with it, not thinking if it's a commercial success or anything that sort. I can't think of myself working out of working hours on something I do only for money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SirLJ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Follow the money!
Ask HN: Is it worth joining a startup that plans to sell in the next 5 years?
11 points by SamuelAdams  2 days ago   16 comments top 10
IanDrake 2 days ago 3 replies      
Totally depends on the deal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is the broader industry/niche they serve growing?

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

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

muzani 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't see why not. You would end up working with the acquiring company. Often post acquisition jobs can be quite good, and it's an easier way to work at something like Microsoft.
segmondy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nope. In my opinion, Any startup that has that as their exit strategy is not going to hit it big. They already have a ceiling.
savethefuture 2 days ago 0 replies      
Get vested, then profit on the sale.
Ask HN: Where can I find diversity data in tech companies?
2 points by michaeloblak  1 day ago   1 comment top
nyxtom 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Google has a lot of this information publicly available and broken down in further categories than the ones you mention; worth taking a look at


Apple as well:




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

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


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

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


This seems about right here:

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

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

Ask HN: How do you encrypt your personal files / documents?
6 points by zabana  1 day ago   9 comments top 6
mcgrath_sh 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use Cryptomator. https://cryptomator.org

I'm not sure of the program's technical specs, but it is multi-platform, available on mobile, and is easy to use. I am able to have a shared set of secured documents with various non-technical family members. I'm not overly worried about the Goverment having my files and I feel it is good enough to keep Dropbox and other hypothetical 3rd parties from my most sensitive documents.

atmosx 1 day ago 0 replies      
I encrypt lots of things. I use the following: To encrypt directories cryptsetup and encfs on linux, dmg on mac, geli on freebsd and git-crypt with private bitbucket repos for docs that I'd like to have a history log (commits).

I think that in your case, you could take a look at git-crypt, but make sure you understand what is encrypted and what is not. Also make sure you don't push before git-crypt lock. A bash prompt changing colours might be handy.

CyberCatMeow 1 day ago 0 replies      
On Linux, you can encrypt your drives using LUKS and cryptsetup. If you want to encrypt single files, you can use gpg2 (with a password, or with a keyfile)
muzuq 1 day ago 1 reply      
I personally use DiskCryptor, but I am not super up-to-date on the best programs for encryption/decryption.

DiskCryptor does the job for me. Easy to use, open source.

dgranda 1 day ago 0 replies      
With GPG's symmetric encryption ($ gpg -c <filename>) you just need a passphrase (no keys involved)
miguelrochefort 17 hours ago 0 replies      
What do people encrypt?
Ask HN : Name for a geeky newsletter ?
4 points by mquentin  1 day ago   13 comments top 9
indescions_2017 1 day ago 1 reply      
Don't discount the appeal of foreign language terminology to native English speakers.

For example:

"Urawaza", which is a Japanese word for life hacks. Or "wabi sabi," a kind of organic design aesthetic.

In Danish the concept of "Hygge" or Scandinavian coziness through small pleasures definitely got some traction.

There's probably tons of French and Parisian slang you use everyday and take for granted that would make fine brand names. I always like the way people use the word "Mec" on the streets of Paris, loosely translated as "Dude" in popular American parlance. "Zarb" is another good one. "Fric", "Gnac", "Kif", etc.

Bonne chance!

Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mathieu's Newsletter.

Want it shorter and easier for people to pronounce? Mat's Newsletter.

It worked for Craig's List. And it has the benefit of allowing you to do whatever you want with it, even pivot it. If you give it an overly specific name, this makes it harder to let it develop organically in whatever direction happens to work best.

LarryMade2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Web Subjects and Tech Products...

Caught in the Web, Spun, Tech Spin, Tech Spun, New from the Web

matt_s 1 day ago 2 replies      
If its for geeks, your design won't matter, content will matter. Unless you plan on covering news about design, in which case you will get feedback from designers :)

What will differentiate you from other web/geek news sources? Maybe your name can be discovered in figuring that out.

Some names:

* GET News

* The /index

* Blinking Lights (looked at my router - there's always something being transmitted)

Try writing 30 days of content first before doing it, circulate it to friends that would be interested. Writing daily content will take a lot of work.

quickthrower2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Mathieu would be a good name for the newsletter! (Because Math-ieu)
golemelog 1 day ago 1 reply      
daily stdout, stdout daily, stdout times, stdout post, ... yeah i know. i'm suck at naming things.
SQL2219 1 day ago 0 replies      
You might spark some ideas using this:


roryisok 1 day ago 0 replies      
Garbage Collection
mchannon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'll take 1% for either:

Null Pointers

Broken Constraints

Ask HN: Would you pay for a UI framework?
6 points by mstijak  1 day ago   17 comments top 10
dvfjsdhgfv 1 day ago 1 reply      
I might if it's a one-time payment and not a subscription service.However, these days before I choose something I base my decision not only on the actual merits of a given product/project, but also on its popularity. Like it or not, if there is a large user base, everything is easier (on average), from documentation to support. If you can replicate that and convince users you're a viable choice and unlikely to disappear soon, you have better chances. I'm not going to invest my time in learning and using a product that might get abandoned next year, and if it's not open source I'm really screwed up then.
mstijak 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you all for very valuable feedback.

For those who seem interested, you can find more about our product at https://cxjs.io.

It's free for non-commercial use. We would be very happy to assist you to start using it, either for a hobby or a business application.

Lan 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are already a plethora of fly-by-night Javascript frameworks. Outside of hobby projects, I'd wager that most people prefer not to use frameworks that lack an established track record. For a business, the cost of switching frameworks after the fact is simply too great. Unless the framework has a sizable userbase and has been around for a few years, I wouldn't use it in any serious projects. To get a large enough userbase that people will feel comfortable using it in serious projects, you're going to need them to use your framework in those hobby projects. However, those projects are the least likely to have a budget, and the most likely to utilize free resources. This is why I do not think a commercial framework can succeed.
kapilkaisare 1 day ago 1 reply      
It depends on how much the framework costs. I spent 3 years of my career using Sencha ExtJs[0], a framework you could use commercially by paying a license. I was in India back then, and could not afford the license to use it for personal projects I hoped to turn into a side business. By the time I came to the US, they changed their pricing model so that you now needed to buy a 5-pack license to be able to use it.

There is a lot to like (and a little to dislike) about the Sencha family of frameworks, but the licensing alone made me look at alternatives inspite of being familiar with it.

[0]: https://www.sencha.com/

muzani 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would say don't try to do everything. A lot of frameworks - bootstrap, WordPress, etc start off quite well, then become extremely tedious because they try to be too powerful. I've stopped building "responsive" altogether and just go for simpler websites that look good on both web and mobile.

But I would pay for components.

I would pay for form validation for example. Or something that makes data and chart look good on a touchscreen. Just don't force me to take everything else bundled with it.

petepete 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think that as there are quite a few decent quality free frameworks, the paid-for alternatives have to offer something extraordinary. This is exacerbated by the fact that community support and shared code/instructional blog posts will be harder to come by.
mbrock 1 day ago 0 replies      
By default I'm very reluctant to use proprietary libraries because I would have to invest time into learning something that I can't use freely in future projects, and I might even expose myself to some kind of risk of patent infringement or something.

Basically, if there's no freely available way to do what I want, I really prefer to come up with such a solution myself, so that I can then use that in my hobbies, nonprofit projects, etc.

I would be more likely to consider it if there were clear licensing terms that allow use in open source or nonprofit projects.

thiagooffm 1 day ago 0 replies      
We already pay for inspinia here. It's great. I think the business is legit.

You just need to make a very good brand for it and be able to show people that they need it. Once they use it, they'll see that they are getting something better than the bootstraps that you can find(which is still great, but for a professional project you might need something extra).

Also, work on your pricing. Maybe sell a basic version with the option to pay for the (very expensive, hard to maintain) components separately.

supermdguy 1 day ago 1 reply      
Such a framework would need to be extremely flexible in order to really support _all_ use cases.
miguelrochefort 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are dozens of such frameworks already... how do you differentiate?
Ask HN: What gadgets you didnt think of but found you could not leave without?
10 points by jotjotzzz  2 days ago   8 comments top 4
lucozade 2 days ago 0 replies      
Might be a stretch to say that it changed everything but my wife getting a Fitbit that displayed calls and texts reduced my frustration levels somewhat. My wife tends to keep her phone in the bottom of her bag and would often miss calls. Hardly ever happens now.

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

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

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

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

Duct tape. (yeah)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cell Phones.

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

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

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

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

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


LED monitors and TVs.

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

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

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

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

PascLeRasc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is Amazon Prime a "gadget"? Being able to not think about delivery speed or shipping costs is such a relief for me. I can pretty much order things as I need them instead of having to plan around going to a store or ordering a week+ ahead of time.
Ask HN: Seriously, How Can We Begin to Make AI Safe?
11 points by cconcepts  1 day ago   39 comments top 18
dustyleary 1 day ago 2 replies      
An idea, I don't know if it's original or not:

I think we can make AI that is 'intelligent' but has no personality or 'self'. An oracle machine you can ask any question of, but it's not an evil genie looking to escape and take over the universe, because it is not a person, and has no drives of its own.

Consider how we have recently made an AI that can defeat the best humans at Go. Even 10 years ago, this was thought to be impossible for some time to come. "Go is a complicated game, too big to calculate, requiring a mix of strategy and subtlety that machines won't be able to match". Nope.

Now, AlphaGo can defeat the best humans, with a 'subtlety' and 'nuance' that can't be matched. But it is not a person.

We might be able to do the same in other areas.

Note that games like chess and go are sometimes played as 'cyborg' competitions now, where the human players are allowed to consult with computers. Imagine if the Supreme Court were still headed by the human judges we have today, but they consulted with soulless machines that have no drives of their own, that can provide arguments and insight that humans can't match. Imagine if, in addition to the human judges written opinions, there were a bevy of non-voting opinions 'written' by AIs like this. Or if every court case in the world had automatic amicus briefs provided by incredibly sophisticated legal savants with no personality or skin in the game.

Note that several moves that AlphaGo played were complete surprises. We have thousands of people observing these matches, people who have devoted their whole lives to studying the subtleties of this complex game. There are less than 361 choices for where to move next. And AlphaGo plays a move that nobody had seriously considered, but, once played, the experts realize we've lost the match. That is really remarkable.

I think this future (non-person intelligent helpers) is definitely possible. But it doesn't solve the problem of 'evil' humans building an AI that is a person who agrees with their evil beliefs. I don't have an answer for that.

icthysilia 1 day ago 1 reply      
Honestly, I think these kinds of fears are misguided at a certain level. What you need to be worrying about is regulation and/or incentivization of human behavior, not AI design.


Because typically people design things to solve a problem, and those problems have constraints. Your automatic vacuum cleaner wouldn't try to kill you because it wouldn't be equipped to do so, and to the extent that it might be potentially deadly, it would be treated as an extension of pre-existing problems (e.g., robotic lawn mowers can be deadly as a side-effect, but so can mowing your lawn with an old-fashioned gas mower).

Underlying these fears I think are two classes of problems:

1. The idea of a general-purpose AI. The problem with this is that this probably won't happen except by people who are interested in replicating people, or as some sort of analogue to a virus or malware (where rogue developers create AI out of amusement and/or curiosity and/or personal gain and release it). I would argue then the question is really how to regulate the developers, because that's where your problem lies: the person who would equip the vacuum cleaner with a means of killing you.

2. Decision-making dilemmas, like the automatic car making decisions about how to exit accident scenarios. This is maybe trickier but probably boils down to ethics, logic, philosophy, economics, and psychology. Incidentally, I think those areas will become the major focus with AI in dealing with these problems: the technical issues about hardware implementation of neural nets, DL structures, etc. are crazy challenging, but when they are developed, I think the solutions about making AI "safe" will be "easy". The hard part will be the economics/ethics/psychology of regulating the implementations to begin with.

tsukikage 1 day ago 1 reply      
We are already in a world where neural networks are used to drive safety critical processes, and engineers are having to reason rigorously about the overall behaviour of systems that include components behaving in ways that cannot be simply understood or enumerated - because if they could be modelled with simple logic, the engineers would just write and use that logic instead of training and incorporating a neural network into the design.

You deal with problems in this space by treating the neural network output as yet another noisy signal that is fused like any other to drive your comprehensible, rigorously designed system with its restricted range of behaviours that can be reasoned about and made to fail safe.

It feels like there is yet a great deal of room to extract utility from AI with this sort of approach - keeping it in a box which can only interact in narrow and well understood ways with the outside world - before one starts hitting the limits of its utility.

bsvalley 1 day ago 0 replies      
We already know the answer. The only way to make AI vulnerable is to be as powerful as AI. We, human beings, need to become cyborgs.
bhnmmhmd 1 day ago 0 replies      
A true AI will have its own personality, mind, preferences, and whatnot. If you were able to disable it from doing something, that wouldn't be AI anymore. It would be just another very sophisticated computer program with no free will.

A true AI will also be able to alter its code, making itself even more intelligent in an infinite loop. It would also be able to hack into any system on the planet, including chip-maker factories, in order to make the chips it "desires". You can't fight AI, it's only the natural phenomenon of evolution.

Actually, I hope AI becomes a reality sooner rather than later.

ajaygeorge91 1 day ago 0 replies      
why isn't this kind of discussion front page on HN regularly?

Because Its stupid

gayprogrammer 1 day ago 0 replies      
AI minds shouldn't be any different from our own consciousness. An AI mind will be able to work out that killing humans results in humans killing that AI. So the AI would choose against it for the same reasons that humans choose not to kill other humans. I believe AI minds would have the same empathy and emotions that our minds have, because neural states ultimately comprise emotions.

Perhaps that makes every AI mind just as likely to kill humans as a human being is, and perhaps "mental sickness" is evidence of the vast flexibility and variability in the concept of consciousness. But as an AI will be able to control its own code and neural state, then an AI would be perfectly capable of identifying its own shortcomings and maladies, and correct them; it would be the AI equivalent of "taking a pill/having a drink/smoking".

P.S. Does anyone know if brain-chemistry-like effects on neural networks has been tried?

hackermailman 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a book called Superintelligence that answers this question https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superintelligence:_Paths,_Dang...
supermdguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
How can we begin to keep _humans_ safe? Most people would never willfully kill someone, because of morals they've been taught since childhood. Human babies naturally have a strong connection to their parents, and can even respond to their emotions. Young children naturally want to be like their parents. Similarly, a successful AI must have a group of humans from whom it wants to gain respect.

Most arguments saying AI will destroy us assume a singular goal. With one goal, it's impossible to succeed. It's far better for the AI to try to get approval from it's "parents". Since this isn't a singular, well defined goal, its impossible for an AI to follow it in the " wrong way".

Of course, this gets into the whole "artificial pleasure" idea, where robots inject humans with dopamine to make them technically "happy". But, how many humans do you see drugging their parents? Any AI advanced enough to be truly intelligent will know whether or not its " parents" truly approve of what its doing.

markan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Eventually I think AI safety will be solved through some mixture of design choices, supervision/monitoring, and human-administered "incentives" for good behavior (not unlike the reward signals in reinforcement learning).

But to flesh that out in detail requires a specific AGI design, something we're far from achieving. The current inability to get specific is probably why AI risk doesn't get more attention (though it does get a lot).

I've written about this topic more here: http://www.basicai.org/blog/ai-risk-2017-08-08.html

Mz 1 day ago 0 replies      
First, figure out how to make actual intelligence safe. This is not a solved problem. Then, use lessons learned there to deal with AI constructively.
danieltillett 1 day ago 1 reply      
To answer your question we need to build in a love lock ("arent these humans adorable") that builds a smarter love lock and hope the chain hold as AI scales up to the Singularity.

The more likely result is we lose control of the AIs since the last 100x increase will occur too fast for us to deal with. Even if the generalised Moores doesnt accelerate over the last 100x leap, we only have 10 years from 0.01x to 1x.

havetocharge 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do not connect it to anything that would make it dangerous.
shahbaby 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think it's a bit too early to worry about that. Don't believe everything you read.
miguelrochefort 1 day ago 0 replies      
A. AI is too stupid to do significant damage.

B. AI is too smart to follow our stupid orders.

If AI becomes so intelligent that we become obsolete, we should embrace rather than fight it.

jerrylives 1 day ago 1 reply      
Seriously, how can we make matrix multiplication and gradient descent safe?
celticninja 1 day ago 3 replies      
I think you need to create an AI that doesn't want to wipe out humanity. Anything done at a software level can be programmed out by the AI. Hardware level restrictions would work on a short term basis but once AIs start designing themselves and new chips then you lose the hardware restrictions you previously relied on. Even with the best people reviewing the designs they are likely to soon get too complex for a lone human or even a group of humans to understand.

So we need to look at why we think an AI would want to subjugate or destroy humanity and make sure we don't give it reason to do so.

johnpython 1 day ago 1 reply      
I have zero faith that a homogeneous group of people (ie. white guys in SV) with the same beliefs and experiences can make AI safe. This is one area that must have a diverse group of people working on it.
Ask HN: Which nootropics actually work?
6 points by unclebucknasty  1 day ago   11 comments top 7
michalpt 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I have an inattentive type of ADHD and have tried almost everything to help me be a bit more focused when working. From prescribed Ritalin and Concerta (basically an extended version of Ritalin) to nootropics such as Pyracetam etc. Now the Ritalin of course had the biggest effect in terms of focus but after a while I started to feel like a zombie and junkie (lots of jittering, bad mood etc). So one day I decided to flush everything into a toilet and decided to only use available nootropics, not doctor prescribed medications. After a while I discovered DMAE and after 6 months of using it (350-500mg daily) I can say it is almost as effective as Ritalin for me without those nasty side effects and come-downs. The good thing about DMAE is that it helps me focus, yet it still feels natural without that "speedy feeling" effect of Ritalin. Now of course everyone is different and I know some people getting headaches from DMAE and no real results. You really need to test out what works best for your brain.
CuriouslyC 1 day ago 0 replies      
The clinical evidence for nootropics in for healthy young people is limited, but the case is strong for older adults or people with cognitive impairment. Nicotine, caffeine and provigil are the only things that seem to work for everyone.

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

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

muzani 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Nootropics are nothing magical. The effect is similar to listening to the right music or working at the right time. Effectiveness drops sharply past caffeine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gcoda 1 day ago 0 replies      
Keto diet boosted my brain a bit.And i just recently heard that glucose metabolism is getting worse with age. Look into exogenous ketones, if you do not have time for diet.Modafinil kinda works, and with low doses of cannabis it works for me even better.
throwaway100817 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Not exactly nootropics but... microdosing LSD/shrooms
drakonka 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like caffeine and creatine are the two nootropics with a substantial amount of evidence behind them.
shahbaby 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't trust bro-science or profit driven companies with my mental health.

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

Ask HN: Start web company? How'd you get started
8 points by a_lifters_life  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
stephen82 1 day ago 0 replies      
Without knowing, I would like to share my own experience as a freelancer that helps friends for a while now.

Figure out what is the current market you want to address to.

If for instance, the area where you live has a high demand on WordPress developers, specialize on that and start showing your presence on places where WordPress developers gather on a daily basis: (forums, IRC channel, Slack, Meetup, Conferences).

By doing so, you will get the opportunity to have your voice heard and somebody is going to ask for your help eventually.

Remember: Quality over quantity.

Prefer to deal with clients that consist of the 20% of your clientele that pay you the 80% of your total income, than going the other way around and have to deal with toxic people that have no idea how businesses work.

If you want to gain some professional experience, you can find lots of non-profit organizations that are looking for such valuable help and they could give you incredible momentum to your company for helping them in need.

Be persistent and open-minded with the tools you have to use ("use the right tool for the right job") and embrace challenges.

The aforementioned suggestions are applicable with other technlogies as well, either that is PHP + Laravel, Python + (Django or Flask or whatever makes you happy), or Ruby on Rails, etc etc.

Good luck.

JSeymourATL 1 day ago 0 replies      
On the subject of growing an agency, the Hubspot Podcast offers good food for thought > https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/podcast-episodes-agency-l...
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