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Ask HN: What are you working on and why is it awesome? Please include URL
320 points by sebg on Mar 10, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 626 comments

I created a completely new branch of advertising, which basically superimposes advertisements directly over images in a way that actually benefits consumers: http://pleenq.com/.

Here's a demo video (fairly old, have to still update with the latest look): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GfKBvs53Ss

Say you have a picture on a blog post showing a car engine, explaining how to fix something inside of it. You could highlight/link all the individual parts in that car to where your users can buy them on O'Reilly Auto Parts, and make a commission each time they make a purchase (affiliate marketing). I think this type of advertisement is 1) beneficial for users for its informative nature, 2) leads to bloggers being able to focus on content instead of worming offputting advertising into their blogs (such as banner ads), and 3) could lead to a more interactive internet where things in any image can be purchased or even just linked to for informative purposes[1].

[1] A video showing how my product could link to wikipedia items: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwmbBa3TPgg

Edit: I appreciate the support votes! Feel free to ask any questions you have. There's also a support forum at https://www.reddit.com/r/pleenq/ if you want to subscribe and follow the progress along as we grow.

The scenario I'm imagining is that I just want to click on the image to view a larger version, but when I click on it, instead of getting a larger version, I'm redirected through an affiliate link to buy a product. Not my desired outcome and seems like a frustrating scenario.

How does your platform account for this?

EDIT: When watching the video, I see that specific items are highlighted and not the whole image, but I still envision a lot of visitors who have no interest in determining where they should click on image in order to avoid affiliate links.

Still looks like a very neat product, however.

The interaction is dependent on the website's settings, but one of the available options (which is the default) is to show a popup that lets you know what you're navigating to, such as on http://girlpowder.net/ -- I'll be adding a store logo to this soon, so you know you're navigating to i.e. amazon.

Since some websites might want to make it only have the hover effect, I leave that up to the website to decide best for their users.

Edit: I see that you just might be referencing the main functionality of clicking on an image. If the user clicks on the image and doesn't click on a highlighted area, the functionality will default to whatever happens on that website when a user clicks on an image. A parent <a> tag, for instance, will bubble up to its href as normal.

Thank you.

Good luck with the product. Looks pretty neat.


This reminds me of VigLink and other players in the space that essentially sell link inventory to e-commerce companies. For example, you mention Microwave Model #3023 in a blog post, create a hyperlink, and then e-commerce companies selling Microwave Model #3023 bid on each new visit to point the destination URL to their product page.

You, my friend, are spot-on with this. It's a part of the long-term plan of PLEENQ, but requires enough market penetration to make sense.

Seems like your offering differs in that it caters to visual inventory and you can segment an image by its pixels to distinguish unique products, which is cool.

What sort of customers are using Pleenq so far?

Blogs, a couple online forums, content sites (largest one we're testing on is worldlifestyle.com -- disabled currently) and a couple sites who are building their functionality based on PLEENQ (women's lookbooks, houzz-like functionality, etc.).

It's still impossible to search for a consumer good (say, a refrigerator, or a bicycle), and quickly see what brands are available in what stores in your town, and what they have in stock. Why are so many people in advertising trying to get people to buy stuff when they are just trying to read some article on the internet, while it is still hard to actually buy stuff when you want to and your wallet is wide open?

The vast majority of advertising is very active advertising that is designed to draw your eye to something. The difference between us and them is that this only does something when you interact with the image (hovering your mouse over it). If you don't do that...it's as if it doesn't exist on the page. The state of advertising I want to get to is one where it doesn't degrade the user experience and only enhances it.

While what you're talking about sounds logical, the implementation details of having a live inventory of stores that are local to you are so infeasible, as to be completely ruled out without a huge technology overhaul backing stores. Maybe in the future. But until then, we're here now.

PM me: youruserid at myuserid dot com

This seems quite similar to what companies like GumGum are doing as well (in image adverts).


Are you just going to use affiliate feeds or are you looking for advertisers. I am happy to test advertising for one of my clients (ecommerce home decor space).

Would love to test advertisers -- do they/you have a publisher available to test it on that makes sense? It could be a blog site that shows images about their products, or even their own home page linking to products within their catalog.

I'm always down to implement new ways to demonstrate the versatility of the product -- please email me when you get a chance (email in profile).

How has mobile use been with this concept? I could see it working well on desktop, but on smaller screens?

I actually have multiple interactions that I'm experimenting with, and the website owner chooses what interaction fits with their site design.

One of them is where the mobile user taps on the image, and all of the object highlights pop up one at a time. Tapping on a non-highlighted region hides the highlights.

Kespry - http://www.kespry.com/

We provide a drone to the (primarily aggregates/mining) industry that can create highly detailed survey quality maps. Our customers can use the data in measuring the volume of their material (stockpiles) and in planning a big project, construction, etc. Basically anything you can imagine someone would need information about a physical location from above.

We develop the full stack in house. In that I mean electronics (PCB board level), drone hardware (mechanical), low-level embedded software, and flight controller software. We also develop an iPad app that allows customers to easily operate the drone autonomously.

We also do all the data processing, using photogrammetry and open source mapping frameworks and tools (gdal) and provide users with a web interface via our Cloud platform for them to view, manipulate and download their data.

Surveying with drone fleets is going to be huge across many industries. Agriculture and animal husbandry, surveying hard-to-reach things like bridge structures, inside large engines and mechanical systems. Very neat

Hey that's pretty awesome have you thought about applications of this tech in agriculture? Perhaps keeping an eye out on crops and trying to predict yields or crop health?

My first thought was futures trading. I've heard of people using their own private satellites to do something similar. There was a company in SF building and launching small, shoebox-sized satellites inexpensively which could be used for it.

I suspect you're referring to Planet Labs: https://www.planet.com

That was it!

Yep, if you are able to gather data over near-infrared (NIR) as well as red channels, you can compute NDVI which is a kind of vegetation index. It's interesting stuff and I would look into using the tech for agriculture surveys, constant monitoring and automatic advisory compilation (where to water things etc.)

This is a great product.

It solves an actual issue (that I had never thought about since I'm very far from that field :-) ) in a simple and clever way.

You deserve the award of the most original and useful use of drone tech I've seen.

Here some practical applications for drones: https://img.readitlater.com/i/cloudtweaks.com/wp-content/upl...

Holy crap this is so cool. So cool! I'm a JR full stack dev, mainly proficient in JS technologies, and I have a cheap drone with a wifi camera. What would you recommend that I study to start getting involved with autonomous drone programming for fun?

There are many open source flight controllers. My best advice would be to research and decide on one, then build a small fixed wing, helicopter, or multirotor. You'll learn a lot in the process of building vs. just buying something and while a longer project, it's certainly within the realm of hobbyist and there are huge communities to support you.

Most of open source flight controllers support MavLink, a communications protocol that you can use to send path commands and receive telemetry info over a WiFi link. There are wrappers for many languages, including node.

It's good to have a project in mind of what you want it to actually do in the end before you start that will help guide you through the process.

Sounds fun! I've been thinking of ways and places to mix my database, software dev, and commercial pilot/flight instructor backgrounds.

Were you guys at the PDAC this week?

do you sell the cloud services? that'd be a neat niche too

This looks amazing.

Looks amazing

Spyce: Python in outer space!

Basically, a very much work-in-progress pile of code to plan orbital trajectories and interplanetary travel. Its also quite handy when doing simple computations:

    >>> # distance to the Sun, in light-seconds
    >>> Earth.orbit.semi_major_axis / c
    >>> # Martian year, in (usual Earth) days
    >>> Mars.orbit.period / Earth.solar_day
    >>> # ping to New Horizons (light roundtrip), in hours
    >>> (Pluto.orbit.periapsis - Earth.orbit.apoapsis) / c / 3600 * 2

The graphical interface does work though! (kinda) It's initially inspired from Kerbal Space Program, so it defaults to showing Kerbin and its universe. However, you can choose Earth instead. I like to just zoom in and out, and explore the Solar system; the vastness of that is so mindblowing!

How yeah, and a link: https://github.com/qsantos/spyce/

Awesome! Pretty easy to get it up and running, not counting OpenGL. What would be really cool to see is an example of how you could use this to interactively calculate, say, the path of some of the satellites we've launched into the outer solar system that needed complicated orbital trajectories.


I know how much of a hassle it can be to handle even simple dependencies when you use a different system and workflow, so I tried to make it as seamless as possible.

There still is a lot of work to do. For now, I only implement patched conics (i.e. I only consider one planet/moon at once and ignore the influence of other celestial bodies on the trajectory), and it is not really easy yet.

Handling n-body physics would not be that hard, but I prefer to focus on having a simple model (patched conics) work well first.

Very cool - going to hand this off to some of my colleagues to play around with


Don't hesitate to contact me at either yoha@sinon.org or at the mail address on my Github profile, if someone have an issue installing. It should work on both Linux and Windows but I have not yet any nice packaging, so it might require some tweaking around (i.e. installing PyOpenGL on Windows manually).

Very cool! We're in the processing of building up an open-source stack for the space industry. Engaged with a few partners already. Would you be interested in having a chat?


You can contact me on the address listed on my Github profile, or the one on my Hacker News profile (yoha@sinon.org)!


Unlike 98% of the industry, we sell CPAP equipment for cash prices. This means that you, not the insurance company, are the respected and valued customer.

The "cash CPAP" space means:

1. A market incentive to build people first instead of billing code first products.

2. A market comfort items that would never be produced in a billing code world.

3. A system where it pays to pick up the phone and know all about the product you are selling, which is different from the model where I ship it, bill it and don't get paid to support it.

4. $189 CPAPs (way cheaper than your copay and deductible through insurance) and $1000 machines (way better than what an insurance provider could give you profitably). The best of both worlds, whatever you need it available.

Insurance is great for heart surgery and awful for OTC and sub $1000 medical products. We don't think that change is understood in our healthcare debate and we've built a sustainable market that is the change we want to see.

When we're done, people with Sleep Apnea will have access to buy CPAP stuff like they buy Amazon stuff and they won't think twice about it. It'll "just" work and be nothing special. That may not be as sexy as building a drone or going to Mars, but fixing a chunk of healthcare is difficult and worth it. If we can do it, and we will do it, we'll have a huge and lasting impact.

I tried to buy a CPAP the other day. Had to get one off craigslist. I thought it was weird that you can't just go buy one from the store.

I have a suggestion that you replace the box+ basketball image with box + a product you sell, so that dumb people like me who look first then read later don't think it is a sports site. :-)

Just did a quick price comparison of provents and masks compared to my local supplier here in Australia, and even with the high shipping cost the prices are comparable.

While I would still get the machine itself from the local supplier for the ongoing support and biannual assessment, this looks like it could be pretty good for the consumables. Good work!

Do you need a doctors prescription to buy?

Yes, but with your permission we will request one from your doctor at no charge. It is baked into the order process.

medical device insurance billing is crazy. Appears slanted toward covering unnecessary, overpriced equipment. Cannot get a $100 device covered, even though it may be the ideal treatment, so may as well buy this $1000 device that is covered, even though you don't need it.

Do you have any insight into how 1800cpap can offer 5 swiftfx pillows for $25?


No one talks about it but the Supreme Court neutered the disruptive power of the Internet with this foolish decision.


I've used this! Thank you!

I rewrote https://www.w3counter.com from scratch over the past month, and just put it online two days ago.

W3Counter was a 12-year-old website offering web stats reports and hit counters with 30-something-thousand users. I ditched all the old code, and the data model, and the business model, and started from scratch. New framework, new way of storing and analyzing stats that scales better and provides more value, and snazzy new design (I hope; design was never my strong suit).

The most awesome part for me was throwing out all the old code. Not having to continue developing in and supporting a framework that barely runs in a modern environment. It's going over well so far. The transition was pretty seamless.

You can watch the traffic from this comment as it comes in at https://www.w3counter.com/stats/1/visits

Very cool man. I don't want to hijack this and just say that back in the day I used w3counter on my blog before google analytics was a thing and it was awesome and I just want to say thanks for that. Now I have nothing on my blog and work uses google analytics, but it's very cool to see w3counter still in use!

Comparison between old and business model? Was it worth it to rewrite?

Old: Free web stats for one low-traffic website per user, in exchange for displaying a counter or badge on their site. Back when hit counters were more common, that wasn't a big ask, and seeing one was the way other people with websites found out about W3Counter. I included ads on the reports, and offered a paid subscription that would let you add multiple websites to the account and not display a counter on your site. All reports were based on a circular log of about 20000 page views per website.

New: Web stats reports for as many websites as you have for free, with no requirement to display a counter/badge, and no ads on the reports. It's no longer an ad-supported service, just freemium. Users can now upgrade individual websites in their account to paid plans while others remain free, like Cloudflare (I really like how their subscription model works). The per-website upgrade unlocks extended data retention so you can run reports further into the past (no more tiny logs), real-time dashboards, daily/weekly/monthly e-mail summaries of your stats, and conversion tracking features for businesses that sell things and want to track their advertising/promotions.

Was it worth it? From a business standpoint, I don't know if I'll make any more or less money this way. I take big risks that way sometimes. Time will tell. From a personal standpoint, I'll be much happier any time I need to dive into the code to add or change something. Old code needs to die eventually one way or another, just because you can't rely on old language/environment packages forever, lest they pass their EOL and stop getting security updates.

What was the old tech stack, and what did you replace it with?

Old: Just PHP (Symfony 1.x from 2006ish) and MySQL.

New: Node.js for data collection, Redis for data caching, Amazon Aurora for data storage, Cloudflare/ELB/EC2 for frontend serving, and the web app rebuilt in modern PHP (with Silex).

Any plans for a self-hosted version?

No. It wouldn't be very practical, nor very useful. The overlap between people who could self-host it (node.js data collectors, Redis caches, EC2 and Aurora instances, background workers, etc) and whose analytics requirements aren't more advanced than what it offers, is probably nonexistent. There's already a bunch of good self-hosted options out there.

Well, fwiw there is no well-designed and useful self-hosted analytics solution out there at the moment. Piwik is useful but not exactly a pinnacle of good design. Pretty, but inconvenient. Mint is well-designed, but functionally it's next to useless for anything outside of basic vanity metrics (I used it extensively, have three licenses). So there is a niche. Though I hear you on not wanting to deal with related support issues.

I wish Google never bought urchin...

Unable to connect

I recently finished a graphic novel about a robot lady dragged out of reality by her ex-boyfriend and am procrastinating on the Kickstarter for the printed version. http://egypt.urnash.com/rita/

"Seriously folks, if you haven't looked at "Decrypting Rita" yet you really ought to. Innovative, fresh, interesting, and it does my head in." - Charlie Stross (Accelerando)

"Deliriously confusing and addictive... It’s kind of wonderful." - Peter Watts (Blindsight)

I'm also getting started on two new graphic novels; one is a fantasy story about smart people making very bad relationship decisions, and the other is about a girl slowly turning into a monster while elves invade New Orleans.

> a fantasy story about smart people making very bad relationship decisions

If only it were fantasy ...

I'm enjoying this. Thank you for sharing. I wonder if you'd consider adding left/right arrow support for the page transitions.

Ooh! I started reading this a month or so ago, but never finished. Thanks for reminding me. I will also checkout the Patreon page.

Let's Encrypt CA - https://letsencrypt.org/

We made it free and fast to get browser-trusted certs and have already issued over 1,000,000 certs for over 2,500,000 domains, most of which have never had browser-trusted HTTPS before. Now many major hosting providers and platforms are in the process of making an HTTPS cert automatic and standard for every hosted site.

Let's encrypt is awesome. Thanks for making this awesome utility. I still have little idea how the ACME negotiation work, but its a pretty cool utility.


Bicycl is a calendar for your life's work. Record what you learn and accomplish each day (or week, month, etc). Organize these micronotes into stories of progress over time. See lots of cool data come to life.

Screenshots coming. I'm testing things out right now in beta, but if you want to give it a twirl, I can send out a few invitations to first comers.

A couple notes: As someone who's struggled with depression, I built this because I found at the end of a day, my mind was putting very little stock in what I had actually accomplished. Fixating on futures constantly would degrade my self-confidence. It's harder to ignore your progress when it's all right there in front of you.

I still journal by hand and use Evernote daily. But found I also wanted somewhere to put my "nuggets", epiphanies, things I learn, etc.

As someone who's struggling to not fall into depression, I think this will do wonders for me. I've come to believe that the trigger-activity-rewards cycle[1] is the best for productivity and improving my focus.

This product might come in handy in the "rewards" phase of that cycle. PS: Requested and invite through your website. [1]: http://www.ted.com/talks/judson_brewer_a_simple_way_to_break...

A tip for that, similar to the service:

Create a file, where each day you enter a list of positive things that occurred or that you did that day. Can be really anything like "got out of bed again :)", "didn't argue with my brother", "cleaned the dishes", "made a plan to get better".

I did it for about half a year, it does wonders for your self-efficacy.

Wow, thanks everyone for signing up. I was planning on sending out a few invites by hand... Yeah, so now I'm in the middle of writing up a script.

I'll send out the first batch of invitations here in a little.

Me too, thanks!

I would love an invite...I already asked for this a few days ago on HN and Reddit, post it there :)



I'm curious when you say "publish to the web", do you have a specific output/platform in mind?

One key difference with Bicycl from those other tools is that it's based on micronotes (think tweeting vs blogging). This is intentional. I use Evernote to go into detail about my work. But that makes serendipitous discovery more difficult, when the jewel of your content is buried...

Also, this allows you to focus on just what's important. As any good procrastinator know how easy it is to sidetrack yourself in details. Of course, sometimes that's wonderful and creative. But there are lots of tools out there already for that.

By "publishing to the web" I mean an easy and automated way to show the world what you have accomplished, so for instance if you are getting hired, one can look at your page and have a feeling of your work process, what you care about, what you have accomplished, what kind of experiments have you done...

I agree that micro notes are the way to start this, but give the users ways to be able to extend these notes in oder to be able to further document their work or whatever they have accomplished.

Cool, thanks for the response. For now, want to make sure Bicycl is useful and empowering on an individual level.

Then, those ideas would certainly seem like a natural progression...

This feels like it would tie in extremely well with exist.io for reporting and trends analysis.

I'd love an invitation, gonna request an invite on your website to try out your product.

I would love an invitation too ! I just requested one through the website as well.

Sounds interesting, requested an invite

Love the design of the landing page.

I'd love an invitation too.

Invite would be great :)


Realtime telemetry for race and street cars. Open source firmware, hardware and mobile app. https://github.com/autosportlabs . Our tech is used by many people, from car enthusiasts, to professional race teams to even race boats that go nearly 200mph.

I focus mainly on the website and telemetry infrastructure. It's awesome because we work with people who are passionate about racing, we truly do mean 'realtime' when we say it and we get to race and go to track days :)

Most of the incumbents are using 1990s tech and have 0 web presence. The next available realtime telemetry systems cost > $30k, and ours is $600.

We have some big plans for the future, if you're interested in racing check us out!

https://github.com/autosportlabs - Code

http://www.autosportlabs.net - Wiki

https://www.autosportlabs.com - Store

http://www.autosportlabs.org - Forums

Does this work for motorcycles as well?

It can, as long as it has power. By default RaceCapture/Pro and RaceCapture have built-in GPS (location, speed, altitude) and a 6 axis accelerometer (x/y/z accel, roll/pitch/yaw). So all you'd need is power to get that data.

RaceCapture/Pro has 7 analog inputs, timer inputs, digital I/O and PWM inputs. Also it has 2 CANbus connections and a serial connection. So if you want to hook up more stuff directly you can. RaceCapture/Pro can be a little big depending on the motorcycle.

Wave Gliders: http://www.liquid-robotics.com

It's a wave-powered, autonomous sensor platform built for longevity at sea. We do things like monitor salinity in the arctic, circle oil platforms looking for leaks, track tagged mammals on migration, and do coordinated fleet maneuvers for ocean floor mapping and exploration.

Those are pretty cool. I suggested an idea to James Gosling that about 25,000 of them could be used to greatly remediate the Pacific Gyre[1] of its plastic. Sure the initial cost would be high but they would work autonomously day in and day out gathering and compacting plastic and dropping it off at a central collection unit where it could be decomposed into carbon with a solar powered incinerator.

Sadly not something you could kickstart.

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

The initial cost of 25K gliders would be 7.5 Billion dollars, and unfortunately, most of the plastic in the gyre isn't of a size you could pick up with anything more porous than a coffee filter. 25K gliders pulling nets would be amusing, but that's a lot of money for a partial solution!

Expensive yes, although I have it on good authority that I could get a discount on that quantity :-) Also in discussing this briefly with some folks the entrapment systems would be more complex than nets or coffee filters. But lets say your investment was, all in $10B over 10 years and you remediated 60 - 70% of the problem. Would that be, in your opinion, a waste of money? Understand the alternative is to live with existing fish stocks absorbing material as they feed in the area and to have the problem get worse. Seems like, if nothing else, it would make for a good NSF grant to understand the question better.

It definitely merits study, but I imagine the best ideas are going to be in plastic-digesting microbes, and measures to reduce the amount of new plastic that gets into the system. I'm afraid we're going to have a layer of microscopic plastic sediment on our crust, just as we have a layer of radioactive soil from atomic testing in the 50s and 60s. It will be one of the geological landmarks of our era.

Wow, your ASW platform is great. I'm assuming it's passive sonar? People definitely do not appreciate the fact that a single boomer sub could effectively end a country on 30 minutes notice.

We're researching a number of different ideas in that space, with a couple of different high profile customers, so I can't say much in public at the moment!


It started as HN's "Who is hiring" thread but on the map and with better search. Mainly to solve the mess with suff like: SOMA, SF, valley, San Francisco, there is way too many ways to describe this one location ;) Also there not much of a difference when you are looking from Europe if it's Palo Alto or San Francisco.

Although right now it is more than that, I've wrote parsers for 8 major IT related job websites, and more in progress.

At some point I was extremely annoyed by the fact that I have to visit many sites to see all interesting job offers.

"SOMA, SF, valley, San Francisco, there is way too many ways to describe this one location ;) Also there not much of a difference when you are looking from Europe if it's Palo Alto or San Francisco."

I would venture that the lifestyle is far different from one or the other, and that "valley" is distinct from the other three terms you list. Similarly if I'm looking at Dublin or Kildare there's a pretty substantial difference.

However, your site is AWESOME and I use it often. Thanks for making it!

Melbourne, Florida shows 299 jobs, beating out Seattle's 214 jobs. Probably caused by a bug that's confusing Melbourne, Australia with Melbourne, Florida.

I will call it a bug. On it.

Would you consider implementing a site that works without JavaScript?

What is your usecase?

I'm working on an incentivized mesh network. Basically, routers pay each other to forward packets. A routing protocol takes price into consideration and tries to get packets over the cheapest routes. Intermediary routers pay each other over payment channels. End users pay backbone connections with multihop (lightning) payments over the payment channels of the intermediary nodes.

End result is that last-mile ISP's are replaced by individuals with network equipment on their roofs, "mining" the airwaves.


Are you talking about money money, or some sort of cryptocurrency "data transfer karma" ?

Real money. Here's how we move it: http://altheamesh.com/blog/universal-payment-channels

I like this, any email distro signup to stay abreast of updates?

I should probably do that. I'll post a response here.

How do you handle illegal torrents, piracy etc?

Open source banking software written in Go: https://github.com/ksred/bank

The project is an answer to "what would a bank look like if it were built today?"

- iOS Client: https://github.com/ksred/bank-ios

- Visa package to hook into the bank: https://github.com/ksred/visa

- Articles on the process: https://ksred.me/tags/banking-infrastructure/?hn

What is your opinion on banks using bitcoin? Or Bitcoin as a way to route around traditional banking?

I'm not sure banking can get away from the traditional. I like the idea of a blockchain (or some version of it) being implemented to assist in interbank communication.

Banks will probably only jump on BTC way down the line, if they ever do.


Tracks my/your favorite TV shows.

I got tired of googling "Dr Who episodes" whenever I wanted to know if the next half-season was starting soon, or to see whether any more episodes remained before a hiatus.

So I built a thing which monitors the data from Wikipedia episode list pages, normalizes it, and lets you easily view what's airing recently / soon. Also sends an (optional) email each week listing the upcoming week's schedule of my shows, plus a list of new / resuming shows.

Generally the only thing I need to do manually is to add primary network feeds. The show and episode feeds are scraped from there, with noise filtered out.

One of the coolest things is that it almost entirely heals itself -- canonical URLs and redirects are used to ensure consistent feed resolution, deprecated feeds are auto-removed after X time so long as it's a clear deprecation scenario, renamed shows are auto-updated, and an admin dashboard shows me stats about expected categories and outliers, so that I can easily investigate logic gaps from time to time.

There is followshows.com, I've been using it for over a year now and it has quite some features including an Android app. Do you wanna pitch your site vs them?

Yeah, we solve slightly different problems -- they focus on feature breadth and syndication coverage, I prefer data breadth (lots more anime in particular) and original airings only.

Personally I'm not really a fan of watching TV on my computer, or of trying to track online what episodes I've seen (ends up being more anal-retentively stressful than helpful)... so those features end up being just noise overhead for my tastes.

They've got a really pretty site for sure. :-)

Ah, thanks. I need tracking what I watched because I watch way too many shows (and barely any anime). And I have to watch stuff on my computer as I'm not in the country those shows are aired.

> They've got a really pretty site for sure. :-)

Well… I'd prefer your design with their features :D

Prelude - https://www.getprelude.net/

A progressive web app for improving music sight reading skills. (Also perfect pitch identification ability.)

I wasn't happy with my sight reading speed, so I've been building this to help myself practice. Some distinguishing features:

- Web MIDI, to connect to a MIDI keyboard you can use to "answer" the practice questions (works in Chrome for Android or Desktop)

- Web App Manifest, to allow adding to your home screen / desktop and getting a native app feel

- Service Worker (via sw-precache), for offline access (and cache-first loading when online, so it always loads fast)

- Web Audio, to synthesize pitches

- VexFlow, for rendering sheet music to SVG

Built with React, Babel, Webpack; hosted on GitHub Pages. Source: https://github.com/BHSPitMonkey/Prelude

That's pretty neat. I have been meaning to work on my sight reading skills. I will have to give it a try with my keyboard later.

Let me know if you have any feedback! Issues/PRs welcome.

Note that Android is still a bit finnicky about connecting MIDI devices (using USB-OTG); After accepting the permission request, you might have to go through some permutation of refreshing the page and unplugging/replugging the cable to get it to work.

I know it's for mobile, but you might want to center the page for desktop users, i.e. with a max-width.

Better layout for larger displays is something I want to work on, but you're right - it's an afterthought for my personal use case. Until then, scaling the page via your web browser does a pretty decent job.

That's pretty well done. I really need to practice my sight-reading more.

Thanks! If you decide to start practicing, let me know what works / what doesn't work.

PuPHPet: A web-based GUI that allows developers to quickly and easily create a highly customized virtual machine for local development as well as deployment to any SSH-enabled host in the world.


Instead of having to learn the ins and outs of virtualization, Vagrant and Puppet, you simply fill in some form fields, click a few buttons and download a zip archive containing your choices. A simple `vagrant up` and a few minutes later you have your virtual machine up and running, either on your local machine or on a remote host.

PHP 5.4 - 7.0, Ruby, Node, Python. MySQL, PostgreSQL, Mongo (and more). Apache/Nginx (or none).

Helps eliminate the tired "it works on my machine" excuse by allowing a team to share exact replicas of a VM. Any changes made on one VM can easily be shared with others because it's all driven through a single, simple YAML file. Just check it into your repo and push, and everyone else can then replicate your changes themselves.

It's MIT FOSS and contributors are welcome!

I use that for most of my projects. It's awesome. Thanks!

I work on the 1km short range and on the 2km medium range probabilistic weather model at MeteoSwiss that is scheduled to go operational this month. It is awesome because MeteoSwiss is the first national forecaster that is going GPU for their full forecast. See: http://www.cscs.ch/publications/press_releases/2015/meteoswi... My line of work mainly consists of porting Fortran code of the Dynamical part of the model to our C++ DSL (STELLA) and maintaining said port.

Before that I developed the Apple Homekit protocol for the OberonHAP devkit (http://oberonhap.com/ ). This is THE HomeKit Bluetooth implementation if you want to use really small and low-cost solutions.

That look like a very interesting field, thanks for sharing. :)

You're welcome.

EdScore - A school ratings website for parents. https://edscore.org/

GreatSchools has a monopoly in this space but their 1-10 ratings scale is opaque and their website hard to navigate. EdScore has a more granular 50-100 rating scale, modern search, better mapping, and soon will feature search filters by distance and home price so parents can evaluate, say, top schools within a 1hr commute of SF with a median home price under $1m.

I think it's a good idea. One thing I worked on in the past was being able to link school scores for my residential real estate startup. However, there's always been the question of "How credible are these scores" - are you guys doing the rating yourselves?

Yes these are proprietary ratings. This is typically the first question we get: how credible/accurate are these scores. Since this is HN I can dive into this a bit more than with a typical parent:

-There are fundamentally two data sets in play here, a national one, NCES, that provides basic school information: name, # of students, demographics, etc. And a State data set.

- Each state administers their own state assessment tests for most, not all, grades. So for example, Massachusetts does tests for grades 3-8 and grade 10. Other states do a different mix. To assign a "score" to an Elementary, Middle, or High School you combine the grades, but there is judgement around, for example, what constitutes a middle school? Grade 6? Grade 8? It varies by school district, let alone state.

-The subjects covered are typically Math and English. Some sites, especially for high school, also test Science or additional subjects. In our case, we include ALL available tests in the score calculation. GreatSchools provides no insight into whether they do this or not. SchoolDigger used to just use Math/English but recently added all tests to their rankings.

-The "results" for, say, Grade 3 English are typically broken out by Advanced, Proficient, Not Proficient, Failing. But this, too, varies by state, some include 5 buckets.

Any thoughts on providing special scores for:

- Special needs students. This could be a really active community for you.

- Arts/Music/Theater programs and participation rates.

- Innovative educational programs. One of the HS I attended had an on-campus fish hatchery that was almost entirely student run, it also had a professional choral program--as in, students in the "varsity chorus" got paid professional rates for a summer show series. Another that I attended had a pretty unique combined history/literature and later math/science program. I could imagine parents being interested in finding those kinds of things.

- University affiliation. Many colleges/universities are affiliated with K-12 schools where they are involved in applying the latest in educational practices.

- Early college programs. My wife managed to get her first 3 semesters of her Mech-E degree paid for through an innovative relationship between her HS and the local Community College. The local CC also has a great direct-to-university relationship (all credits transfer) with two local Universities. Allowed her to graduate undergrad a year early and with half the student loans she otherwise would have.

- Proximity to cultural institutions. Friends Select in Philadelphia is located on the Ben Franklin Parkway... walking distance to the Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences, Phila Art Museum, Barnes Foundation, Rodin Museum... It's almost embarrassing.

Standardized test scores are important, but they aren't necessarily the only thing parents are looking for.

I completely agree that standardized test scores aren't the only thing parents are looking for. The main issue is: What other data set is there that exists state/nationally given we're working with 100,000+ schools?

-Special needs: Hadn't considered this, but the data is there to break out numbers and performance of special needs students. Are there other factors we should consider?

- Arts/Music/Sports etc: Yes, would LOVE to include data on this. I'm not aware of a dataset that contains it. Manually it'd be tough to do for 100,000+ schools.

- Innovative/college programs: Yup, great idea. As we expand the site we want to find ways to highlight features like this. A simple example we can do now is Language Immersion programs. But we want to extend it in the future.

- Another "problem" with the education data in general is that there's no way to compare schools across states. Common Core might have addressed this but currently you can only say, This is a top high school in Massachusetts. What if I live across the border in New Hampshire? How do 2 schools compare?

> What other data set is there that exists state/nationally given we're working with 100,000+ schools?

You could try to crowdsource this information, or contact schools in an effort to get them to self report.

True, that has worked well for NPR's Playground app, for example. http://www.playgroundsforeveryone.com/

The two main issues when we've thought of this are:

1) how do you ensure the data is accurate/up-to-date?

2) the graveyard issue where you don't want to show what's NOT on your site. As an example (and I know I'm probably picking on them unfairly) check out GreatSchool's crowd-sourced photos here: http://www.greatschools.org/search/search.page?q=boston%20ma)

Run contests for schools/clubs to incentivize people. Try scraping their websites to come up with guesses. Maybe go state by state initially, merge the data as it grows.

I think you're right that contests are the way to get reviews, at least, from parents/students. Niche is taking this approach actually, largely through FB I believe. It provides some interesting data. There is the same issue of timing--how relevant is a review from years and years ago--but it's interesting data.

Scraping sites is probably more of the way to go or just using Wikipedia as Google does, for example, in their school info boxes.

It's definitely something that, longer term, would be good to seriously look into.

You could possibly also try to partner with organizations that are focused on different special interest areas to get them to help coordinate getting the data.

Yes, I think for special needs students or subsets of that, this would be a good way to add supplemental data. For example, a parent wants to do a search of public schools with resources for autistic children near Boston. That's a good use case and there probably is an organization with that data.

Honestly, you might even be able to get some grant money or financial support if you commit to helping them include whatever data they have in a user-friendly manner.

It might not be the full-scope of what you are trying to do, but it might be a way to help bootstrap part of your development.

Yeah, those scores/features are huge. There are lots of great detail around schools that many people just don't know about.

If you can showcase that, your website could be a really powerful resource!

Awesome. It'd be a huge value if you can really help parents understand the scores and how to interpret them instead of giving a flat result with no explanation.

Thanks for this feedback. We will add info on this. Perhaps a high-level overview and then a detailed one for parents that are interested in delving deeper.

No problem - it was something folks shared with us when we soft launched. Good luck!

Some quick feedback:

When a user clicks on a map indicator, the school name (at minimum) should be a link to open the full description

It would be nice to have either a search next to the filter (so searching only within the city) or have the main site search maintain location. I expect a very significant % of your users will be looking at a single location, or at least one at a time.

It is a bit weird to start with a zoomed out view of a city and only have a few schools marked. Perhaps having lots of small indicators?

Might be interesting to hook in say sity or zip code demographic info from the census bureau

'Average household income' and other stats like it... I see a place for them on the site, but probably don't need to dedicate the screen real estate to them.

Just a few points from a quick overview.

This is fantastic feedback. Thank you!

* Yup, about to add a bigger hit radius on map indicator

* City zoom...we're working on some ways to improve this.

* Interesting about city demographic data...certainly have it. I can see how it would help. We display it on the school page a bit, but can do so here as well.

Thanks again for the feedback.

What separates this from something state sponsored like the Illinois Report Card (illinoisreportcard.com) that would make me want to use it?

It appears a flat % score is the main draw, but without any sort of information on what that score means, or how it stacks up, it's sort of useless.

The Illinois Report Card is a great resource. If every state had such a tool, I agree you probably wouldn't need EdScore, GreatSchools, SchoolDigger, etc.

I built EdScore out of frustration that this data is all public but buried in disparate state/federal databases and not accessible to parents, even though we're paying for it to be compiled/collected.

I think ratings (controversial as they are no matter what methodology you use) help parents do a quick sort of local options. And our goal with EdScore is to add search filters like commute distance, home price, school size, special ed offerings etc so that parents can search for the "right" school for their individual child based on various inputs, not a simple "best" rating or 1-10 scale that, absent other factors, is not very informative.

Scoop https://scoopanalytics.com

Automatically detects breaking news through social media (Twitter). Breaking news, before it breaks.

We're often able to beat the mainstream media by several minutes (sometimes hours), and we're particularity good at natural disasters, bombings, explosions, shootings and celebrity deaths. There's no human in the loop, no key word lists, just real-time algorithms figuring out what was unexpected.

You guys have access to the twitter firehose?

Unfortunately no, we have a sample at the moment. The majority of the time, if we're slow to pick something up, it's because the first tweets weren't in our sample.

There's a bunch of clever tricks going on, so even if we miss something we can still get the majority of content once we've picked up that something is happening, and of course, we'll use the search API to go back and get any content we missed.

Robot Turtles!

https://github.com/RobotTurtles https://github.com/RobotTurtles/home

These turtles use a raspberry pi + webcam to turn to a face, recognize "flash cards" via QR cods, and chase a ball. All parts are open source, so if you have a 3D printer, you can pretty much build one yourself. (The pcb you would need to order from dirtypcbs, though I have a few spare if needed).

There is already a popular board game named Robot Turtles.


Yup, well aware, I had originally started this idea before Dan Shapiro came out with his excellent game. I haven't however bothered to change the name of the project yet... If you have a good alternative name do let me know ;)

Speech recognition and search API: https://app.loverino.com/ Highest quality engine out there. Personalized radio: https://loverino.com/beta/ everyone should have their own radio channel that they listen to.

> Speech recognition and search API

I've been wanting to make something like this for a while. Really nice product you have!

I think this kind of service will really take off in the future. Imagine having an app that constantly records everything and allows you to search it later. Questions like "What did James tell me last November about traveling to Europe?". It would also eliminate hearsay, since you would no longer have to trust one person's word against another — you could simply search the transcript of that moment in the past. In the very long run, I almost wonder if such a tool would make lying obsolete.

Yes however there are laws in some states such as California that disallow the recording of conversations without consent. I like the idea though, I once thought what we might discover if we just put a mic in every coffeeshop.

That technology has been commercially available at least since 2003 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xj8jQy4nqLA

That video is hilarious! Yet it also captures the essence of something that I really want to exist...

I like idea of personalized radio. I made one for myself too: https://party.esthetic.io/.

It takes tracks from my SoundCloud and all users online listen to the same tracks at the same time

Do you use any open source tools for the speech recognition?

We trained our own models. We have ASR PhD students on our team.

Would you be interested in licensing the models for offline speech recognition?

Sure, please shoot me an email (it's on my profile).

ClickRouter - because it allows me to use all my affiliate accounts (CJ, Skimlinks, Viglinks, shareasale, etc) at once. This has nearly doubled my affiliate revenue.

At first it was an internal tool I ran for a long time, but been working to make it a service.


Small error at the bottom of your FAQ page, you mention it's free up to 5,000 clicks per day rather than per month.

Looks interesting. I'm curious why you built this. Prosper202 is the canonical approach used by most affiliates. It's got both self-hosted and hosted options.

From your landing page, I can't tell what missing features led you to roll your own.

Maybe I don't get Prosper202 but it seems quite different.

ClickRouter makes a realtime decision where to send your clicks based on your affiliate accounts.

Say you have a forums with thousands of posts which have thousands of links. "Affiliatizing" them all would be a huge and nearly insurmountable task.

With ClickRouter, you install a piece of javascript in your footer. Every click is intercepted and sent to the best Affiliate account you have. It also tells you what affiliate accounts you SHOULD create because you're losing revenue.

The issue for me was just that, trying to affiliatize thousands of links that users put on my site. Now it's done automatically and if I signup with a new affiliate network, it knows automatically those affiliates are available.

Thanks - completely different use case than Prosper202. Very cool, I'll add this to my bag of tricks.

Can you explain how this works a little more than the main page & FAQ? I'm not familiar with the companies in the FAQ.

Omg, this has me so jealous. I am working on something very similar as a side-project. Good Luck!

Any plans to sell a self-hosted version?

what's with the misleading Twitter link at the bottom of the page?

Woops.. that's called a typo (mispelled "twitter"). I said I was working on it !

edit: fixed the link!

Zatresi - http://www.zatresi.si/

It's a map of sport clubs (gyms, karate dojos, swimming pools, etc) in Slovenia.

Why I made it?

After moving back to Slovenia I started looking for a traditional Karate dojo. My choice would be constrained by hour of training and dojo philosophy (traditional karate vs sports karate). It turned out to be really difficult to find all the dojos nearby, as they neither on Google Maps, and many have very poor website (and terrible SEO). I spend two days Googling for all the possible hits, and I had created a list of Karate dojos. After selecting one (which turned out to be great), I thought that other people would be able to benefit from the list. So I made this website, where all the karate dojos were plotted on a map. Later, I started adding more categories.

Why it's awesome?

It's a time saver, and I am trying to convert it to a community maintained website. And it's all open source. To exist it requires zero maintenance, and hosting costs 0.30 EUR per month.

Going forward

1) I want to expand it to more categories 2) I am looking for partnerships with sport organizations who would like to place a Zatresi map on their website for their visitors to more easily find related klubs (e.g. a the karate organization could show the map of all karate klubs in Slovenia) 3) Even more brand awareness - this requires more time investment, so it's tricky. I am trying to identify clusters where I could have the most impact (sport forums, etc)

You're using Mapbox map tiles with an API key of another company (that's costing them money). You're also not showing the Mapbox and Openstreetmap copyright which you are required to do. http://www.openstreetmap.org/copyright

You're right. Fixing this is on the top of my TODO list

To exist it requires zero maintenance, and hosting costs 0.30 EUR per month.

Whoa, cool! How is it so inexpensive? That's an order of magnitude cheaper than a DO droplet.

Or to put it another way: I'm curious where the 0.30 comes from. It seems like it would be either 0.00 or >1.00

That's about 4USD per year, which is about the cheapest you can get a VPS with its own IPv4 address: http://lowendstock.com/

You can even get cheaper than that. Although LowEndSpirit does not offer a dedicated IPv4 address, they use haproxy to send requests to the correct VPS based on the host header.

I use the free Heroku plan for the backend. Given I am limiting myself to just 1 country, the sleeping rules don't bother me, and the 14k row limit is good enough for now.

So the cost comes from serving the JS and CSS files from S3. And that's 0.30 per month

Sentinel Marine Solutions - http://www.sentinel.hr/

A boat & fleet tracking solution, tailored fit for chartering companies.

What is it?

The device, once installed on a boat, starts tracking the GPS position (high frequency measurements) as well as all the sensors which are connected to it (bilge, battery voltage, motion sensors, etc. All this data is presented to the charter owner on web and mobile dashboards. Additionally, the service sends push notification if anything unusual occurs (like the battery voltage being too low). It also offers virtual anchoring and locking functions, which add an additional layer of safety to boats.

Why is it cool?

It improves safely on board. You are instantly notified of anything bad happen, like the battery depleting rapidly. Who wants to get stuck in an island without replacement battery?

It helps resolve conflicts between charters and guests in the case of an accident. If a guests damages the boat (for example by cruising in shallow waters), the charter can quickly find this out by glancing on where the boat was travelling.

It produces beautiful data (trip history maps which can be shared by the charter/guest on social networks) and enables services previously impossible to imagine.

As a boat owner, it helps you keep a peaceful mind while you are away. You are notified of the bilge operation, so you know it was working correctly during a heavy storm.

We are soon releasing a B2C boat monitoring solution - stay tuned (bookmark the website)

nice! I was actually considering building something like this, for batteries and bilge activity while away. great work!

Rddt.tv - http://rddt.tv

Reddit.tv was an app to watch videos posted to reddit but shut down back in January. Haven't been able to find a replacement that I liked, so I built my own. Made the videos full-screen by default and added extra stuff like support for Soundcloud embeds (so you could listen to music subreddits), a directory of video-posting subreddits, multireddits, keyboard shortcuts.

Neat, now I can browse /r/listentothis and discover new music easily! Thanks for sharing this, I'll be using it today. :)

UX idea: I'd make the subreddit list alphanumerical. I had to look through it a few times to find the subreddit I wanted.

Another UX idea: If a video/soundcloud fails to load, is it possible to detect that the tab isn't playing audio (say after 10-15 seconds) and skip to the next item in the list?

Awesome, thanks for the feedback!

The subreddit list definitely needs some attention. The aim was to bucket them into categories, so I either need to flesh that out or sort them.

Skipping media that doesn't load is doable. Some content won't play or advance automatically because a lack of an api to control the api (gifs, Liveleak, Basecamp, iTunes, spotify) but I didn't automatically filter them out because a lot of it is good content. Probably a good option to add to a settings page.

http://www.vumble.com/ is doing the same thing with a different UI FYI.

Yea, my goal was to make something closer to the original reddit.tv ui. Also, in addition to youtube and vimeo, rddt.tv supports playback for content from soundcloud, instagram, vine, vidme, sendvid, streamable, dailymotion and a few others.

Wow, this is such an awesome idea!

I'd never heard of Reddit.tv.

Thanks, glad you like it!

That seems to be the general case, a lot of people never knew about it. I used it just as much as the homepage and it was a great way to just sit back and absorb content.

Election Runner - https://electionrunner.com The idea came to me after my wife (a High School teacher) told me about how her students complained that the school's election software (Voting4Schools) was hard to use. After doing more research I found that every single competitor in this space sucked (ElectionBuddy, VoteNet), so I decided to build Election Runner. It started as a fun side project, but has taken off A LOT faster than I anticipated. Next step is to hire someone to handle sales to K12 Schools and Universities, but I'm not sure how to start that process.

Edtech startups are #7 on the list of "requests for startups" YC published a few months ago [1]. From what I hear it's a good space to be in right now.

[1] https://www.ycombinator.com/rfs/

Very cool! I had no clue. I had been wanting to launch a SaaS company for the last few years and realized that it's easier to get people (school administrators) to spend other people's money (district, university, tax payers, etc), than to spend their own money.

Personally: http://pentacular.com - Draw/paint a song. I think it's fun to play with.

Professionally: https://tailorbrands.com - Algorithmically designed logos and branding assets. It's great for side projects, inspiration, or any other situation where you want something quick and usable.

Tailorbrands is great! I'd love to see move than 6 designs though. Previewing the generated brand on various objects is a great idea!

Some examples for tailorbrands that don't require interaction would be nice.

pentacular seems fun, but it's a bit too unpredictable for my taste.

painting the song is actually fun! ^^

I'm working on BankBotsBank (https://github.com/bankbotsbank/bankbotsbank), an open effort to develop a collection of open-source bots that provide API access to accounts on any bank.

I developed the first bot, which can be used as a sample, with JavaScript (ES6, and ES7's async/await) and Nightmare (based on Electron, so on Chromium).

It's awesome because free API access to this data for any bank in the world may enable new and interesting fintech apps (actually, for me this project is a stepping stone towards another project that I plan to build on top of it), and I think that the open-source approach is the most effective way to achieve that (i.e. free and comprehensive API access to accounts data on any bank of the world).

I've actually been thinking about such an effort because I was sick of Mint being more geared at selling me loans than giving me the tools that others and I have requested, and none of the other services that automatically pull in bank data are much better.

Have you thought of making some sort of framework that can handle security and aggregate the data, and have developers plug in the bank specific bots?

My idea is to keep it simple: just a collection of bots that accept any required credentials and return accounts data in a common JSON format. Storing credentials and aggregated data is not in the scope of this project. If that's needed (not all applications may need it), it has to be handled by the client app.


I'm currently experimenting with classifiers to make semi-automated expenses classification. My bank don't offer API access (of course. Because they still live in the dark ages), but they do have an "usable" CSV export. What would be really awesome is a raspberry pi running a bot once a day to grab a fresh CSV, then parse, classify, aggregate and historize it.

The funny thing is, they do have mobile/tablet applications and other "new" stuff, but they just completely sucks.

Symmetry Labs! http://symmetrylabs.com/

I'm working on a new paradigm for creating generative content for 3D displays (at the moment with LEDs). I'm also working on real-time, single-angle virtual reconstruction and registration of 3D LED structures using computer vision techniques.

Maybe not so computerish, but it reminded me of the Biathlon World Championship 2016 Title Sequence


Result: https://youtu.be/a1jHiptBZoo?t=594

Holy crap, those are some beautiful designs.

Why thank you! Everyone on the team is an artist in some way, so we tend to agree :)

I saw that Symmetry Labs did the Generate music video! I honestly thought that was CGI! Do you have any tips of getting started with the type of LED display work you do, with regards to the control software?

I would check out these 2 libraries:

Fadecandy by Micah Scott: https://github.com/scanlime/fadecandy

LX and P3LX by Mark Slee: https://github.com/heronarts/LX

They both provide good starting points to working with LEDs arranged in arbitrary 2D and 3D configurations.

You can also check out the code for 2 different LED art projects I've worked on, both built on top of LX.

Tabula - https://github.com/squaredproject/Tabula LED fins on the side of a building in Palo Alto, visualizing earthquake data. Construction starts later this year

2Squared - https://github.com/squaredproject/2squared 50-ft LED trees created in 2014 for Burning Man and Coachella

Awesome, thanks!

Wow. That's fucking awesome. I want one in my backyard. :)

Composer's Sketchpad — http://composerssketchpad.com

It's basically an iPad sequencer with the UI of a drawing app. You're given a canvas that can be panned and zoomed like any scroll view, with a grid indicating time on the horizontal axis and pitch on the vertical axis. You draw notes with your finger, and although you can snap to the grid like in most sequencers, you can also choose to start your notes at any point and bend them to any pitch. This makes it simple to experiment with things like guitar solos and complex rhythms. Usability was my primary goal through and through: I wanted almost anyone to be able to pick up my app and start making music in an instant. In a way, I see it as a kind of modern take on sheet music!

More about the design here: http://beta-blog.archagon.net/2016/02/05/composers-sketchpad...

The app is out but I still have a ton of features I want to add, including iPhone support.

You might enjoy this; it uses a similar visual representation, but for sample playback: http://at.or.at/hans/solitude/

Nice, will have to check it out soon! Always on the lookout for similar projects; also recently discovered Stephen Stephen Malinowski's Music Animation Machine[1] and the Piano Roll toy[2] from Google's Music Lab. (Though I don't think either one actually lets you create music.)

[1]: http://www.musanim.com/

[2]: https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Piano-Roll

Looks great but the App Store link doesn't seem to work FYI

Nuts — the app uses Apple's appstore.com/<appname> forwarding service, but I guess it's down? Here's the real link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/composers-sketchpad/id978563...

http://rationalfiction.io - collection of rationalist fiction(if you don't know what that is - http://rationalfiction.io/story/rational-fiction).

http://webcomics.io - online webcomics publishing platform.

I also have a dream of building a youtube competitor, video hosting platform with a better design, functionality, and discovery system. MVP is almost ready but not online yet.

We are setting up a trailer at 7th & Red River for SXSW doing cell phone repairs and selling external batteries, cables, chargers and cases.

Why it is awesome: I have done a lot of things as an entrepreneur, but I've never street hustled before. As an introvert, this is pretty intimidating, but I think it will be good practice for doing more sales in the future. Plus, it gets me out from behind the computer and into the real world, talking face-to-face with folks! :)

Sounds like a cool idea for personal growth. Good luck.

Wow, great idea for the personal growth aspect! It certainly tickles the brain on my end, being in much of a non-sales/people person! Here's to wishing you great success on both fronts!

A Scientific Workflow (Batch and Stream Processing) System written in Go:


It right now supports batch processing via local files as well as streaming through FIFO files, but the architecture is extremely open, and connectors for docker containers, mesos etc are planned.

What is awesome with SciPipe IMO is that half of it is not even a framework or engine, but rather a pattern of how to use the concurrency primitives in the Go language to build a dataflow network which also becomes an implicit workflow scheduler.

This means that there is not an aweful lot of code, and since it is mostly just Go language primitives it will fit in nicely with basically anything else. Great orthogonality you could say. That is, as long as you can accept to read and write on Go channels or write wrapper that does that for you. But who wouldn't?

It is a bit rough yet but we are just starting work on putting it in production later this month, so things should improve fast.

Very fast open source road routing engine GraphHopper https://github.com/graphhopper/graphhopper/ Apache Licensed. Try at http://graphhopper.com/maps

The challenge is to make money from open source. But so far we are successful :)

Yeobot, a Slackbot that's a SQL interface to the Amazon API and soon a whole lot more.

It's cool because it works across accounts and across regions, which their API doesn't do, and it adds new information like cost, so you can do stuff like 'select instance_id, monthly_cost from ec2.instances order by monthly_cost desc'.


Oh and we had to make a bunch of tools to make this work, since we're building it all on AWS Lambda, so there's these too:



It's a simple way to send any document (form, letter, receipt, invoice, tax document) via USPS mail, right from your browser.

We built it because we're too lazy to go to the post office at times, and we've since realized that most documents sent in the mail begin as a PDF on a computer, so now we're working on bringing down the cost (currently we have to pay both Lob and stripe for every mailing, which means lots of fixed costs).

Our next step will be enabling you to automate sending physical mail, the same way you can automate sending emails (for invoices, thank you notes, receipts, mailers etc, which lots of small businesses still use)

You can use the promo code "LIFEHACKER" to get 20% off. Would love your feedback!

I'm spending some time creating a logo generator tool targeted at idea/early stage products and companies, or for side projects, open source projects, etc.

It's called Logocaster - https://logocaster.com

Logocaster is meant to help you explore a huge universe of logo designs when brainstorming your brand/logo. It makes it quite easy to scan a bunch of style/font/palette options and then "drill down" and see designs which only incorporate the features you like.

Right now it's a playground for testing out fonts, colors and a few logo styles. I'm planning on incorporating graphics from the Noun Project and giving a bit more of a rich experience around tweaking a specific design.

You can explore the functionality without registering, and save/download your favorites as SVG if you do register (edit: for free, at least until I've incorporated Stripe).

I'm looking for any feedback on the direction the project is headed, or interesting use cases where the API that powers this whole thing could be put to use, cheers!

Dude, that is perfect timing! We need a logo for NeuralObjects (see my other thread here), so this is great for us.

I'd totally pay for this if you had your Stripe integration going. But since you don't, I can offer this: if you plan to use Machine Learning for anything, shoot me an email and I can offer up a discount or something once NeuralObjects is live, or maybe some free consulting or something.

Do you have a feel for how the pricing is going to work yet? Will you charge per logo, or will it be a monthly subscription, etc? FWIW, I'd definitely be willing to pay a monthly fee if it came with unlimited (or a large number) of downloadable logos. I say that not because I need zillions of logos, but because I think you'll always want to iterate and experiment with a lot of different permutations until you find the "Just right" fit.

Thanks! Glad you can put it to use, hope you find something that works for NeuralObjects. Pro tip: all of your saved logos as well as SVG downloads are found on your profile page.

Re: pricing. Not quite sure about details yet. But the high level is that 1) the design page and functionality (https://logocaster.com/logo-design/) will always be free to use and explore, 2) I'll sell one-off logos at a price point that is competitive with anything out there, 3) as you mentioned, offer a monthly option for people who want to use the tool regularly and produce logos at some moderate volume and 4) offer up the API for other interesting use cases.

Re: (4) it's quite easy to see the API in action, eg.


Try playing with the style param (text,bubble,outlined), or letter spacing (works only with style=text).

Metadata on a logo is tucked away in the HTTP headers for the curious.

Very cool stuff! Was just playing around with it for a while, saw (and saved) some nifty compositions! Better yet, what I noticed is that, not being a designer, it had palette options/varieties with the logos! YAY!

Sadly, after saving a few to my profile, the only thing available is the SVG of the logo itself, but none of the details. I was hoping for at least the palette too, so to have some to toy around with. I know this pushes it from a logo generator to more of a brand/identity, but that's not necessarily a bad thing!

Ultimately, not an issue, and still very cool stuff!

Thanks for the feedback. Keep on playing around.

I plan to surface the font, palette, etc info for each logo just as you've described. Specifically so that you can use it to drive design/branding decision further in your product/company/site.

For now (and seeing that you're a "code jedi") I'd recommend just scoping out the X-Logo and X-Meta HTTP headers for the logos you've saved, eg:

  $ curl --head -s "https://api.logocaster.com/v1/logos/new.png?action=recreate&name=companyco&style=bubble&palette_id=1643&font_id=438&bubble_width=18" | grep "X-"
  X-Meta-Permalink: https://api.logocaster.com/v1/logos/new.png?action=recreate&name=companyco&style=bubble&palette_id=1643&font_id=438&bubble_width=18.0
  X-Logo-Name: companyco (edit)
  X-Logo-Style: bubble
  X-Logo-Palette-Id: 1643
  X-Logo-Font-Id: 438
  X-Logo-Bubble-Width: 18.0
  X-Logo-Drop-Spaces: false
  X-Logo-Text-Transform: none
  X-Logo-Font-Category: sans-serif
  X-Meta-Palette: #72ab1a #2aade4 #9ed4d6
  X-Meta-Palette-Background: #fdfcfc
  X-Meta-Font-Family: Montserrat

Thanks for posting this- it's really neat. I'm not much of a designer (or developer for that matter!) I used one of your logos on a site that I put together with wordpress. It's my own little link aggregator. Instead of bookmarking something, I post it on my link site for future reference.

http://geekymug.com (re-used domain name, not relevant to what it is) if you'd like to see your work on my site :)

Great, and thanks for the link back. I like the idea of a public personal bookmark site, especially if it serves to help you level up your design and dev skills.

Really nice! Would be cool if there was some sort of categorization of the styles, i.e. "serif", "sans serif" etc.

Thanks! Hit the blue "Refine Font/Color/Style" button the left :) (edit: wrong left, link)


Cool app. I found a bug, it ignores '<' character

Thanks for letting me know, I hadn't tested names with anything beyond alphanumerics.

Certainly some of the fonts in the system are lacking those glyphs but this seems more related to the application logic than font issues. It's especially odd that it intermittently discards the text to the right of the bracket (eg. https://logocaster.com/logo-design/less+%3C+more?seed=784036...)

Sequiturs: https://sequiturs.com

Sequiturs is a platform for rigorous and civil discussion. Discussion revolves around arguments, which consist of a series of premises and conclusions. This argument format requires coherence, which improves the quality of the views asserted, and makes it easier to identify where one might disagree.

I think I've seen a few attempts at this before -- do you have some awareness of the previous ones and a comparison of how yours is similar or different?

The name is clever; as a Latin-speaker I keep wanting it to be "sequuntur".


But I bet that would be a lot harder for non-Latin speakers to remember!

Thanks for your comment! And for the suggestion of sequuntur. My experience thus far does suggest remembering spelling is an issue. Relatedly, I've registered misspellings (sequiters, sequitors, sequitirs) and am redirecting those to sequiturs.com.

As for other attempts in this space, I've encountered argüman [0], TruthMapping [1], debategraph [2], and Rationale [3]. I like a lot about those projects, and Sequiturs certainly shares with them the idea that there's enormous room for improvement in the way we discuss ideas online, and that structure is key to that. They all have an important difference with Sequiturs, though, which is their emphasis on mapping. I see the format they use as attempting to generate a sense of what the 'argument space', so to speak, looks like: the format is basically saying, "Here are all these different claims someone could make around this topic and here's how they could feed into each other or conflict with each other".

By contrast, Sequiturs' format emphasizes logical coherence in the series of steps that comprise an argument. It highlights the reasoning that leads from starting point to conclusion. By putting the reasoning in focus, the platform facilitates iterative refinement of an argument into its strongest form. Here's how that works.

Suppose I make an argument like: https://sequiturs.com/arguments/tech-companies-should-not-be.... Someone could come along as they did today and comment on step 3: https://sequiturs.com/arguments/tech-companies-should-not-be.... That comment on step 3 makes me realize I could word that step better, so I revise the argument: https://sequiturs.com/arguments/tech-companies-should-not-be....

What emerges from discussion on Sequiturs is an argument for some position boiled down to its essence--to its most digestible, shareable form. If I want to convince you that backdoors are a bad idea, I can send you a link to my argument on Sequiturs, and it's immediately clear what I think you should believe and why. That's not the case with the other, mapping-based tools, because they are more about charting the space of possible points and counterpoints, and less about yielding rigorous sequences of reasoning (you could call them proofs or syllogisms, but those terms connote a bit too much formality and strictness for my taste).

I'd love to know if you know of other attempts in this space. And I'd love to know what you think about Sequiturs!

[0] http://en.arguman.org/ [1] https://www.truthmapping.com [2] http://debategraph.org/ [3] https://www.rationaleonline.com/

ZynAddSubFX - a musical software synthesizer http://zynaddsubfx.sourceforge.net/

Right now everything is open source, but I've started work on a replacement user interface which would be temporarily released under a proprietary license. I think the project is awesome as understanding workflow in a complicated application is a challenging task and at some stage all work will be released back to the open source version.

I used to mess around with ZynAddSubFX quite a bit... glad to see that there's still some development going on!

IoT Foosball Table - http://www.pointsource.com/blog/pointsource-foosball-buildin...

The table uses break beam sensors, an Arduino, and a Raspberry Pi to send score events to Node-RED instance running in Bluemix. A StrongLoop server in Bluemix acts as the app server, and a Cordova/AngularJS app allows users to identify themselves as the game players, follow the leaderboard, and monitor game scores remotely.

We're using this to get better acquainted with various technologies so that we can make the right decisions for our project work.

I make a word-processor for fiction authors: http://www.shaxpir.com

There's a quick walkthrough video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFG8fpYkDxA

Every project includes a notebook alongside your manuscript, where you can organize all your character notes, plot outlines, etc. It's especially great for scifi or fantasy authors who do a lot of world-building.

Everything is stored in the cloud and synchronized between devices, and we keep a version history of all your edits, so that you never lose any of your work (even if you change your mind).

It keeps track of your daily word-count, so that you can set daily writing goals and stay motivated, and it lets you export your writing projects to HTML for publication (epub & kindle export are coming soon).

Out of curiosity, why an ongoing monthly fee for a desktop app, instead of a one-time purchase?

All the data is stored in the cloud and synchronized between multiple devices, with version histories of everything you write.

As we flesh out the software, we'll also be building realtime collaboration, writing groups, etc... So in the long run, philosophically, it's more of a service than a single piece of software.

One other important reason:

We're a brand-new startup, and we're iterating the product fast. It's better for the customers, and for us, if we offer frequent updates to all subscribers, rather than releasing one big new version per year, and hoping our users upgrade.

Very cool thing.

One thing that I didn't see and would be easy to implement is a map of connections between objects such as characters with the chapters etc. It'd be great for the writer to see such connections in a visual way.

Very nice project.

An automatic parallelizable language:

RxWrappers: https://github.com/RixianOpenTech/RxWrappers

MonadSharp: https://github.com/RixianOpenTech/MonadSharp

This is an idea in progress, but the idea is that by using the observable pattern (ReactiveX implementation) you can describe a sort of 'meta' program that breaks down function boundaries to automatically run your code in parallel. Here is my initial paper describing the idea: http://rixianopentech.github.io/MonadSharp/Documents/Computa...

The Work Explorer - http://theworkexplorer.com/

It's a personal photojournalism project to learn more about different occupations and the people who work in them.

"We spend about 30% of our waking adult lives working. During that time, many of us experience only a small fraction of the available varieties of work. We may have some understanding of the occupations held by our friends, family, and coworkers. Outside of this subset of jobs, we likely have little insight into the work lives of millions of other people.

Why do we work? How did we choose our occupations? Are we happy with our jobs? I created The Work Explorer to answer questions like these through interviews and photos. I hope to find interesting stories, jobs, and people along the way."

Cool! I've had this book on my to-read: "Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do" (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1565843428/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl...)

Cool, I'll have to check that out. Thanks for sharing!

I like this a lot! I'd be interested to see a few more candid photos of you subjects actually doing their work too.

Hey, thanks! I appreciate your feedback. That's a good suggestion.

Nice work - I enjoyed reading the front page posts!


Stacktical, a Scalability Prediction platform! https://stacktical.com - Awesome because to be able to accurately fit the increasing and decreasing computing needs of your digital services, you must nail down your capacity planning strategy.

But making informed capacity planning decisions involves repeated cycles of defining, collecting and interpreting load testing campaigns until you get actionable results.

That's exactly where we can help: Stacktical uses predictive technologies to generate a scalability report of your infrastucture within seconds, using just a dozen load testing metrics.

We're currently in beta, and our penny-pinching startups and DevOps love it so far! We still have a couple seats left if you're interested.

We (rsync.net) just added attic and borgbackup support to our cloud platform:


This is awesome because attic (and the more polished successor, borg) is quickly becoming the new de facto standard for remote, encrypted, you-hold-the-keys backup:


Best of all, we provide these remote server-side functions on our cloud platform without adding any new attack surface or complications to our platform: there is still no python interpreter on our platform.

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