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Ask HN: What do you do during your commute?
17 points by alltakendamned 601 days ago | hide | past | web | 31 comments | favorite
Hi HN,

I'll start commuting one hour by train each way this week.

What do you do during your commute by public transport to keep yourself busy or the commute pleasant ? Do you use any specific mobile phone apps ? Preparing reading material for later reading ?

Shoot !




10-20 mins bike ride via bike share - I use Overcast to listen to podcasts at 2x+ speed, shorten silences, and voice boost. Since I'm biking, somehow the speed of bike matches really well.

On Caltrain, I tether my wi-fi. If you're on the fastest bullet, don't bother trying to get internet, it doesn't work. Otherwise, the moderately fast bullet or the regular trains will give you reasonable internet to answer email.

Oh, I also use VLC with a tv show or movie and watch at 1.25-2X speed so that I can watch a whole thing in a fairly short span of time. You'll realize it works pretty well.

Additionally, I swear by Pocket (which also reads articles to you), Voice Dream (which integrates with a bunch of other things and can read to you as well at a fairly fast clip). If I'm reading, I'll also use the Kindle app or potentially have my Kindle with me.

If I'm reading an online article, I've been trying to train myself with Spreed so that I'm reading faster.

I've seen others just play games on their mobile devices or use dating apps - both of which seem to magically make the commute disappear.


Now I am stressed from reading this


My style is to consume less but more deeply. I wouldn't get anything out from a fastened show.


I commute by bike through central London (Zone 4 to Zone 1). While I try to avoid busy roads (and roads at all, when I can), I don't feel like I'd be able to listen to something while biking and still be safe.

Is your bike route quiet enough that you feel safe listening & biking?


I have this habit of saving articles which takes longer than 2 minutes to read to my Pocket(any other reading app for you) and I go through the list while I commute.

Other than that, I like to watch 20-25min TV Shows ( Older ones like Futurama, or Rick and Morty ) if I don't want to read.


I'm fortunate enough to have a 5 min commute each way (20 min if I walk), however I recommend to approach this like an enormous gift: you suddenly have ten hours every week with no distractions. What do you want to learn but have never had time to? What have you always wanted to do but didn't have time? Write a book? Start a blog? Learn a language? Read all the classic books? Learn to knit?

Think about what you want to accomplish with all that time and then build from there- do you want to use the hour in the morning to get a leg up on your workday? Do you want to use the hour in the evening to relax from work fully so you can jump into chores/hobbies when you get home?


I work from home, but I'll still often do a "commute" if the weather is nice.

Here's a recent one, involving a quick six mile mountain bike loop in the hills, with a pause in the middle to fit in a 36 problem bouldering circuit:

https://www.strava.com/activities/196113578

As nice as it is to have that extra couple hours of free time each day to spend with the family, it's still a good plan to fill it up with some time for yourself every once in a while.


I read books, catch up on news articles if need be, or doze off. Special phone apps? Just a RSS app of your choice.


I like to listen to podcasts. Here's my list: Welcome to Nightvale - has to be heard to be understood. It's very strange.

Cat & Cloud - It's a podcast about the specialty coffee world & community

I Brew My Own Coffee - A podcast about coffee brewing, tasting, and lifestyle.

Lore - A Podcast that explores the facts behind scary stories, myths, and stuff.

Radiolab - An awesome podcast that is super cool and rad.

This Developer's Life - Like This American Life but for developers. Stories from around the development community on different topics.


Well, it is a 40 foot walk from our bedroom to my home office. During my commute I stop to play with our pet parrot for a few minutes and get some coffee.

I used to have long commutes when I lived in California and when I travelled by train or in a van provided by my company I considered the travel time to be work time, bringing whatever materials I needed with me. Listening to music or fun reading seemed like a waste of time. When driving to work I would organize my work day, as much as possible.


I picked up a macbook pro in July and I work on my side project about food offline. I optimized my setup so I can startup all the pieces I need with a single iterm script. The backend is all in go, so using godoc with the -http option makes it easy to lookup all the docs in your browser without having to have a internet connection.

When I have to make my connecting train, I just close the laptop and can quickly open it back up when I get to my next seat.

On days where I do not want to program, I use the amazon kindle app with the whisper sync so I can listen to audio books. If I just want to listen to music, I use the free version of Spotify on my phone.


I normally work on side projects. In my GitHub repositories I have defined several tasks which can be performed within 5-15 min. I may not get much done on a single day but small tasks add up quickly.


I use my laptop to do home projects or writing (eg for InfoQ or books/blog posts). The trick is to be able to partition work and be able to stop and start quickly - plus to use a laptop efficiently you need to be able to get a table seat and a power socket.

If I'm not travelling with my laptop then I will typically read a book or magazine.

You might also find noise cancelling earphones and a supply of music useful if you have noisy fellow commuters, but it's not strictly necessary.


One of my commutes involves driving 30 minutes each way. I usually listen to local AM talk radio (Bloomberg or AM 770).

The other commute is a 1.5 - 2 hour trek each way broken into legs. I use my laptop on the safe leg unless crowding prevents it. On the unsafe legs, I read a magazine or book. I was reading the latest issue of 2600 today and will do so for the next commute or two. I listen to music the whole way.


I listen to podcasts. Recently got into Welcome to Night Vale, but would also recommend anything by Gimlet.


Been listening to audiobooks for the past 7-8 years. My commute by car has been between 30 minutes to an hour each way, but audiobooks have also been great when I'm doing chores at home or exercising. Have gone through tons of fiction and non-fiction that way.


Instapaper, to state the obvious example, was developed for this purpose.

Other apps I use: Pocket Casts, Safari To Go, Feedly, Play Newsstand (subscription to New Yorker), Boston Globe (subscription), Amazon Kindle.

One thing to know is that your local library has free ebooks and audiobooks for download.


I read books on my kindle (mostly fiction), listen to podcasts or sleep.


20min by car. Audio podcasts (the amp hour / chaos radio via Antenna pod app) or find new bands/songs in the sxsw music archive. Create a todo for the working day, coffee, ...


My old train commute was where I did all my reading, subscribed to science fiction magazines. Then my train commute ended and my reading dropped off. Now I do podcasts and audiobooks.


I telecommute so it's just a few seconds of walking mostly.


My commute is about half an hour door-to-door by bus, an hour walking. When I catch the bus, I read. When I walk I think or daydream, or just look at what's around me.


I code or read. Usually a physical book, for the latter.

I specifically take the slightly-slower bus rather than the slightly-faster train so I can reliably get a seat even at busy times.


I listen to Howard Stern on SiriusXM (there's a 1 month free trial for the smartphone app). It's my morning indulgence while sitting on the T drinking a coffee.


I listen to audiobooks.


I just got my laptop out and treated it as part of the working day. And I got the train around 9 to compensate so it didn't turn into a longer day.


I usually do some lessons on Duolingo. Quite useful! Apart from that I mostly spend my time reading books.


What do you do with an hour at home?


If you work on a computer all day in an office you are stuck in past. Do you still use fax machines too?

The Internet has been fast enough to make remote work feasible for at least ten years.

Commuting is a horrendous waste of resources.


I drive my car, two hours per day :-/


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