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Ask HN: What is your content discovery daily routine?
235 points by smorac on Aug 3, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 155 comments
I'm quite curious about how people on Hacker News find interesting content along the day. What are the topics you are interesting in? What are the websites you go to? (HN is probably in there) Do you have some mailing list you are counting on to deliver you good content? Are there some tools you like to use to store and read later?

On my side, I like to read HN and getting a lot of information on subreddits that are related to my favorite topics : MachineLearning, LanguageTechnology, Node, GoLang, Cooking, Baking, CheeseMaking, Beer. In my perception, the more niche the topic, the more you can find quality stuff on.

When I find a link of interest I bookmark it on Chrome where I have Google's Bookmark Manager plugin to make it more sexy. Personally I'm not a fan of Pocket but I know a lot of people like it.

So, what about you?

I gave up on Twitter, as even after massive ongoing curation the signal/noise is far too low. There's no way to filter tweets from sources I'm following, and it's a constant source of anxiety leading to compulsive reloading of the feed. Other social networks are worse. Life's too short for this.

I've also cut down on the web sources I follow, as information overload is a real thing, and we rapidly run into diminishing returns.

For news, I now just peruse the FT, Guardian and Atlantic (+HN via http://hckrnews.com/ using the 'top 50%' setting) a couple of times a day, and Politico Magazine once per week. This covers a decent section of the political spectrum and if there's anything important going on I'll find it amongst those sources. I probably read half a dozen full articles each day.

For non-immediate information, I browse A&L Daily, and I have print subscriptions to the following: The Atlantic, Harper's, Sky & Telescope, American Scientist, Foreign Affairs, Philosophy Now, and The Philosophers' Magazine.

Additionally, I listen to a selection of podcasts when I'm in the car. These cover international relations and news analysis, history, philosophy and comedy.

That just about covers it; since I hit 40 and had a son my priorities changed, as did my outlook on life. Other than my family, I'm spending much more of my time on real hobbies and interests (in my case a bit of astronomy and photography, occasional writing, some cooking, and a lot of cycling and serious reading (books)), and less on time-wasting activities (social networks, web forums, television and video games).

It's amazing how much extra time you can find if you cut useless things out of your life.

+1 for hckrnews. Even if I miss a day, I can easily go back through the last couple days and see what's interesting.

If my backlog is getting too much for me to want to deal with, I simply reduce the number of articles to top 10 or top 20, and go from there.

If you have a lot of people you follow on Twitter, Nuzzel [1] can be useful. Basically, if people you follow are sharing the same article, it will get highlighted by the app.

[1] http://nuzzel.com/

> even after massive ongoing curation the signal/noise is far too low

Agreed. Even with programs like TweetDeck that can apply some basic filtering, you're still left with a bunch of junk content. (And the UX of TweetDeck is terrible in my opinion, but that's best left for another post.)

hckrnews is awesome. Before i found hckrnews i had no idea at what point to stop scrolling for more news if i missed looking hacker news a day later. The problem was since the feed is not linear with time and the newer articles can go beyond the articles you have already visited, there was no right way at what point to stop. hckrnews has addressed this issue very cleverly with the 20% , 50 % vote. Amazing.

I would add nautil.us to that list. But yeah, that's essentially the entirety of what's worth reading online in terms of traditional "news".

What international affairs podcasts do you listen to? It's an area I would like more analytical insights into.

CFR (the publishers of Foreign Affairs) have The World Next Week and The President's Inbox (and other more specialized ones)

Carnegie Endowment does The Carnegie Podcast

FT has World Weekly

BBC (e.g. Global News, Newshour, The Inquiry), NPR and PRI (e.g. America Abroad) all have a few to try out, and CSIS also have a good one. Universities like Oxford and Harvard have their own podcasts as well.

Try them all and pick your favourites. I just listen to CFR and Carnegie these days.

I also recommend war college by reuters http://www.reuters.com/podcasts/war-college

Thanks a ton for hckr news. Great resource.

I don't really have an answer for the source of good content but could tell you one of my logistical solutions.

I use BetterTouchTool to remap the "Three Finger Click" gesture to my Chrome keyboard shortcut for the "Save to Pocket" Extension and the "Four Finger Click" gesture to "Clip to Evernote"...

As I browse HN, read emails, and generally surf the web, I identify what content I might be interested in reading or might be useful later and click accordingly. Pocket for things I want stripped of styling and organized in a nice little FIFO list I can quickly pull up on my phone while waiting in line at Costco. Evernote for things I want the presentation in kept intact and searchable

My time at my workstation with a full keyboard and 4 monitors is a much better time to find content while processing content I could easily do on mobile during the day's numerous downtimes: listening on the ride to work, on the bike at the gym...

Pocket has a useful "Listen To" feature with variable speed settings and some other simple thoughtful additions.

Evernote for all its problems has the "Jump To" quick search and reliable multi-device platform-agnostic syncing secret sauce.

The system feels really good when I'm perusing an article with a bunch of hyperlinks to content that I should probably read eventually but will distract me from the task at hand if I were to follow them now.

Thanks for asking this, I love hearing about other peoples solutions.

I built this site: https://engineered.at

It's like HN, but powered by hundreds of startup tech/engineering blog feeds. It pulls in some really good stuff! Not a lot of users yet, just barely getting it going so far, let me know what you think.

EDIT: Lots more planned for this site, just only able to spend free time on it:

1. Following users/messaging them privately

2. Notifications when users reply to you, follow you, etc

3. Self-curated front pages. I realize not everyone cares about all of the feeds in the site, so give the ability for people to hide certain feeds if they want.

That's a great idea and something that I would love to use. You should probably give some weight to blogs known for kick-ass engineering so that they surface up lot more. That would be a good way to seed articles to this service. Also, you need dark mode!

Both great suggestions! I think the weighting will be dependent on getting more engagement on the site overall, which is a tricky thing early on, but working on it!

> I built this site: https://engineered.at

Looks great. In fact, and I like HN's simplicity, it makes me realize how much better, cleaner, and more readable HN could look with a few minor design tweaks and better spacing.

Thank you!

One suggestion: can you provide a night mode toggle? Thanks.

wow, it's very similar to mine idea: https://one.betterdev.link/

But yours is more completed featured full. Kudo to it.

Very cool design!

This is how I discovered contents throughout history:

* Late 80's - pre-WWW era: Books, word-of-mouth, computer magazines (Dr. Dobbs, etc), snail-mail newsletters, USENET / newsgroups on internet via shell terminal

* 1990's: Web forums, Slashdot, IRC

* 2000's: Slashdot, Digg, RSS feeds from blogs / Google Reader

* 2010's: HN

Ahhh yes. I remember the good old days when tech books were half decent. Good times.

I regularly read Adrian Colyer's blog. -> blog.acolyer.org. Every single day. Simply reading through his reviews has increased my knowledge about Computer Science by leaps and bounds. Also, I see for new uploads in "Emerging Technologies" and "Hardware Architecture" section of Arxiv everyday. My daily ritual.

the arxiv tip is a very good one indeed

You might also like http://www.arxiv-sanity.com/

Looks amazing, thanks!

Is there HN for arxiv papers?(I saw the parent link has top hype sections, but it's not the same)

What value have you found in reading his reviews vs reading the actual papers?

The actual papers are 10 pages long, on an average. Reading 10 pages long hard core technical papers everyday is tough for me. His reviews are succint and easy to understand. Enough for me to get the gist of the work done. While my aim is to be able to read those technical papers everyday on my own, eventually, for the time being I could use his reviews.

Solid. And you feel like you still learn a lot? I've run into the same issue. Where the papers are super interesting, but I can't spend 2 hours per day reading them.

So what measures did you take for it? Any ideas on how do I improve? Any feedback would be much appreciated.

I find that the more efficient my daily content discovery routine is, the less efficient my life is.

And my daily discovery routine is very efficient :(

Since 60% of my job is finding content for our audience, this is what's been working for me:

1. Quality newsletters - they help you know what's important and aggregate commentary around it. My favorites - Mattermark's Daily Digest, Pocket hits, JS Daily/Weekly, Quartz Daily Bried

2. BUZZSUMO (paid but worth it) - helps you sort through the noise and see share volumes for each channel based on a domain (ex. wired.com) or you can set topics where it aggregates most trending pieces based on virality of shares. Also has content analysis tool that allows you to see what keywords are most common for a domain and analyze FB page content for shares and popularity. Does much more but that's the quick and dirty.

3. Of course HackerNews is great, especially if you cater your content to a techie audience.

4. Twitter Lists + Nuzzel

I read the Economist on paper to keep up with the world. There are multiple upsides I like about this approach.

- There's only so much to read per week, I can't unhealthily binge news through night. - There's a delay, most of the news are at least a couple of days old when the paper comes. I find it's a calming influence in the hectic world. Also, the reporting tends to be a bit more balanced vs. minute-by-minute live coverage. - It's on paper. There won't be any notification on it. I can throw the paper away, once done with it.


Right??? =)

I had the same problem of finding interesting blogs to read, so made a side project - https://www.discoverdev.io

Curated and tagged list of top engineering blog articles everyday! Do check it out :)

I love the idea but the design needs some work. If you can also display a quick summary and time to read an article, that would improve our reading efficiency quite a bit. That, and of course, dark design.

Thank you for the feedback! By a dark design, do you mean like a toggle of sorts - b/w a white dominant and a dark dominant UI? Or completely switch to a dark UI?

I would propose something like this to start with:


That's just a .dark class in the body tag:

    <body class="dark" onload="document.querySelector('.dark-switch > input').onchange()">
...a switch at the top right:

    <label class="dark-switch"><input type="checkbox" checked onchange="document.body.classList[this.checked?'add':'remove']('dark')"/> dark</label>
...and a bit of CSS:


I also find the yellow-on-white links in your Twitter theme difficult to read.

Oh wow! super cool :) Thank you for putting in the work for the demo! Really appreciate it.

Yeah, even a toggle works. But the design, in general, doesn't look appealing to my eyes. You can have a very plain design, which neither attracts nor distracts, but if you have a design that is distracting, it's hard to take it seriously.

Looks like a really nice project, but since you've been running it for a month now, I'd recommend switching to a weekly post. Otherwise, I think you might get burned or start skipping some days. Weekly is much more manageable in the long run.

Most of it is automated - I just do a final quality check. Takes about half an hour a day. Ideal case is to automate it completely via ML. It's just that it's hard to create a model that can tell a good blogpost from a spammy one. So as of now little bit of manual intervention is required.

For example it took me about 15 min to publish the links today. Just done, have a look :)

How are you handling the tagging on this? By hand, 3rd party service, algorithm?

Most of it is automated using some basic ML foo. you can read our about page for more info. All posts go through manual quality check and retagging if necessary!

Advice: probably someone visiting will be interested in a few tags only so a filter by tag would be useful.

Hey, Thanks for the advise! This was in the pipeline, but wasn't sure that the app itself would be useful to people (and was hence reconsidering working any further on it). But it looks like it is something people seem to be liking, so I think I'll go ahead and do that :)

Very cool!

I try to follow interesting people on twitter and Instagram - this uncovers a lot of book recommendations, which I save in an amazon wishlist.

For technology topics, the Cooper Press email lists are great - https://cooperpress.com/

I also subscribe to the Economist and Nautilus - with Nautilus sometimes the authors are active online (e.g. giving talks). Sometimes it is also interesting to follow citations in books or articles.

For talks, I "bookmark" good things I find by including them in a search engine I built: https://www.findlectures.com/

> including them in a search engine I built

Awesome idea. Is the content of the links also evaluated when you trigger search?

OFFTOPIC: avoid it at all cost. Energy, time, attention, focus = the most valuable resources out there.

Valuable content will find you anyway.

> avoid it at all cost. Energy, time, attention, focus = the most valuable resources out there.

"Attention is scarce. Information is not. Do the math." That being said, I've found valuable book recommendations here on HN and other select boards. I've found that switching from short-form reading, videos and podcasts to longer form reading not only leaves me feeling happier, but is also far superior for quality of information taken in.

TL;DR - stop wasting your time with "daily content discovery" and instead focus on gaining a deeper, richer understanding of the world through reading well written books.

I disagree. There are two types of content consumption/creation in the modern age. There is "flow" and "stores". Flow of content creation/consumption is seen in Twitter feeds or quickly updated blogs. This content isn't meant to last a long time, but corrects and updates minor facts about the world. In other words, it is good to allow quick Bayesian updating of your worldview.

The other type, "storage" of content through creation/consumption is through books, static webpages, or other historical sets of information. This is important because instead of updating former beliefs to be more true, it tends to open up vistas of information.

You can't function without either. As in all things, moderation is the key. Moderation is easiest if you set limits. For example, never set a "flow rate" thats higher than your consumption rate. So, if you use Twitter, make sure that you aren't following 1000 people. Be very careful. If you use an RSS reader, make sure that your feeds update at a reasonable rate (I give myself ~30 minutes in the morning to read them).

The same with books! Don't get sucked into the cult-of-reading. It is a cult, and reading "books" isn't actually useful unless you have a structured or semi-structured reading plan.

Valueless content finds you. Worthwhile content you really have to go looking for, or have a good social network funneling stuff to you.

My own answer is mostly HN, Twitter (including a couple of people/bots who are great link sources), and a mailing list of some old friends for this purpose. The latter is very good and low volume; eg latest post was from 18 July on org structure for software projects and lists

https://labs.spotify.com/2014/03/27/spotify-engineering-cult... https://www.infoq.com/news/2016/10/no-spotify-model# https://www.slideshare.net/AliKheyrollahi/microservice-archi...

I agree you need to seek out worthwhile content, but I think it's a mistake (one I admittedly often make) to have a daily routine of browsing stuff like Twitter/HN/etc. to idly seek out such content. It's easy to feel this is productive when it wastes huge amounts of time and turns up a lot of low-quality content. Imo the low-volume mailing list you mention, and maybe a weekly routine of seeking out other information, is a better approach. Also, I've started going to the library at least once a week, and have been very happy with this new addition.

A good book is weirdly refreshing after reading a lot of the kind of quasi-technical blogs linked on HN. There's so much info! Going back to a Medium post feels like someone found one piece of information from a book (maybe two) and is drip-drip feeding it to you painfully slowly with a clickbait title. At least in the two areas where I most often read books (computer science, and tech history).

> Valueless content finds you. Worthwhile content you really have to go looking for, or have a good social network funneling stuff to you.

Really valuable content usually comes in batches, points directly to other valuable content (i.e. good things tend to discuss and cite other good things), and/or is long form. There's no need to look for valuable content every day, or even every week. It might be entertaining, but it's not a good use of time. Exceptions for people who have to keep up with news-cycle garbage and up-to-the-minute trends, of course. Those poor souls.

I waste more time than I should on Internet garbage (ahem) and sometimes I find good new stuff, but if I stopped doing that it'd still take me years to get through the great stuff I've already found but haven't yet engaged with. Plus many things could do with a second look. I'm 100% certain that'd be a better use of my time than looking for even more good stuff on the Internet.

> Really valuable content usually comes in batches, points directly to other valuable content (i.e. good things tend to discuss and cite other good things), and/or is long form.

Bibliographies are highly underrated. Find a good book? Look to it's references for really good sources of information. Fuck, that's one of my content discovery routines: bibliographies.

> There's no need to look for valuable content every day, or even every week. It might be entertaining, but it's not a good use of time. Exceptions for people who have to keep up with news-cycle garbage and up-to-the-minute trends, of course. Those poor souls.

I can't second this enough, and I feel no one has to keep up with the transient data that wastes so much time and energy. I've cut out TV, newspapers, magazines, twitter, podcasts, and all sorts of wastes of time and worry; I haven't missed it. The last addictions I haven't been able to kick are things like HN and certain other websites. HN I still get the occasional value from, but I honestly feel depressed after wasting time online, and I'm no better informed. I would argue no one is better informed by transient data - most people I ask can't remember something they learned from transient data from two weeks ago, and even if they can, it's valueless data.

> My own answer is mostly HN

But why should valuable content always be centered around "Hackers"?

What news sources would we be reading if we were physicists, or medical doctors, and wouldn't those be interesting even if we don't have these professions?

> What news sources would we be reading if we were physicists, or medical doctors, and wouldn't those be interesting even if we don't have these professions?

It is incredibly fascinating to delve into other professions' rich data sources. It's also sometimes hard to do. I'm very fortunate in my current job that I am surrounded by PhDs in the hard sciences, and I've been richly rewarded by looking at what they are reading at work, not least of which because being a simple software engineer, I need to have at least a basic fluency in their domains to be effective at implementing their ideas in code.

Much as I'm not a fan of print media or transient data, there is value in a piece of advice I heard years ago: every month, go somewhere with a wide variety of magazines and pick one at random, preferably something you know nothing about or have never heard of before, and read it (libraries are underrated for this). Online is nice and convenient, but we tend to get locked into echo chambers and have search algorithms (and just natural human linking habits) create bubbles that don't force us to think about new and different things.

I joined hackernews in 2010. I always thanks hn for broadening my view, thinking I would have chosen a different path if there was hn when I was in high school.

and yet, after surfing hn daily for 7 years, I'm still pretty much the same, tons of half baked prototypes. maybe it's time to focus.

You may need a friend or partner of some sort to finish stuff together. Make your effort accountable to each other.

Doing things alone almost always have that kind of risk.

I tried this for few times. but none of them ended well. either I helped my friends on their ideas or my friends helped on mine. and one of us will lose interest first.

there has been no single case where we, as a team, are interested in the same thing.

Maybe you need to work with non-friends.

I don't know how valuable content would find me if I didn't have a routine for looking for it. Am I doing something wrong?

Yes, probably expecting too much content to find you, all being valuable.

Valuable content will be a very small minority of content.

What the parent means, is that you really need to know, will end up rising from the pile.

Take React as an example. A fine technology, which some might have known about them from 2015 or so, by reading HN every day etc.

But you really don't have too catch them that early -- nor is there that much of a benefit in doing so.

Even with cursory and rare glimpses on technology news sites, or conversations with colleagues, you'll end up learning about React at some point or another.

The "routine looking for valuable content" on the other hand, would just bring in tons of noise (short term fads that die off, useless fanboyism, etc).

Maybe I have a different life to you, but content doesn't just find me in this way. Would you believe, I have never actually met another serious programmer since I started coding about 5 years ago? I don't have "colleagues" to have conversations with.

I feel ridiculous even writing that.

I'm a web dev, been doing it for 5 years, and I've literally NEVER met another soul who reads HN. This might say more about the companies I choose to work for and the people I choose to hang out with, though...

> Even with cursory and rare glimpses on technology news sites, or conversations with colleagues, you'll end up learning about React at some point or another.

> The "routine looking for valuable content" on the other hand, would just bring in tons of noise (short term fads that die off, useless fanboyism, etc).

This is the exact same reason I don't watch or read the news: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/10/01/the-low-informatio...

Rubbish confirmation bias.

Your experience does not represent a trend

That "energy, time, attention, focus" are the most valuable resources out there is not really arguable -- nor does it have anything to do with confirmation bias.

Nor is there much doubt that valuable content tends to trump shorter term fads and trends and find you in the end, even if you don't actively look for it. In fact, that's almost by definition, valuable content = stuff that endures over time, not the latest fad or nth "interesting" article that one can do without.

My strategy pretty much consists of subscribing to good creators and curators across all channels.

I have a bookmark folder (aptly named 1) which opens:

    - My Gmail "newsletters" filter view
    - My AOL Reader
    - HackerNews
    - MetaFilter
    - My Facebook "Must read" user list
    - My Twitter "Must read" list
    - My Reddit "Must read" list
    - My Youtube "Subscriptions" page
In each one of these there's my selection of profiles that reliably create or flag good content (to my standards).

If I have the time, I also go for the noisier and long-form channels in 2:

    - Newspapers
    - My YouTube "Watch Later" list
    - My Pinboard "Read later" list
    - HN Explain (in case I missed something big)
Being able to prioritize what comes into my "inbox" and being able to defer longer or more exhaustive content for later helps me always get a pulse of things quickly without spending too much time or mental energy.

Podcasts have a routine of their own because I listen during commute and workout but I treat it like my inbox: two daily scrubs of new content, and what seems interesting goes to the "Up next" playlist.

What is HN Explain?

A satire page that reviews HN's weekly top posts in a very condescending manner (the humor to me very much welcome but you may be put off by it)

If it is, it's actually quite funny and well written. Thanks for the link.

HN and Reddit mostly, friends/colleagues

I've been wrestling with this issue, though.

If I'm being honest, I still love RSS feeds, but I'm unhappy with all the implementations.

What I want to be able to do is seed an RSS reader with a set of sites I want to be aware of, and then have it recommend other sites and stories based on what I give it, maybe even pull in random things from time to time. I want to read what I'm interested in, but also to be made aware of things I wouldn't otherwise because of the myopia that kind of comes from a human left to their own devices.

I haven't found anything quite like that. What I have found has either (1) is great at letting me customize it, but then doesn't suggest anything, or (2) suggests crap I'm not interested in at all, or (3) has some other problem, like eating up bandwidth with no way to control it.

It seems like you could take an open-source RSS reader and slap some sort of p2p recommender system on top...

I always was a religious RSS user and put all the interesting feeds in there. But I realized that it just becomes too much work to get to "inbox zero".

So now I have some feeds left with acceptable volume (games: Eurogamer, Polygon, Kotaku..; Apple feeds; Webcomics; Deals).

The rest I just browse throughout the day: Guardian, Arstechnica, Reddit.. Little exception for HN: I use hckrnews.com now because there I can choose whether I want to see all homepage entries or -if I don't have the time- only the top 20%. (every site should have that!)

I used to use bookmarks as well but now I just dump it into iOS Notes although I'm not fully happy with that.

"All problems in computer science can be solved by another level of indirection."

I have a friend that is a collector. Every now and then I ask him what's new. By far the most efficient use of my time.

This has been asked in a variety of more targeted ways, such as:

Favorite Podcasts: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9207360 Favorite Tech Podcasts: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13747563

Mailing Lists: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14086259

etc etc

Since RSS is not a mainstream thing anymore, it is getting harder and harder. My best strategy so far is creating twitter lists on topics that I am interested in an curate them with people who are engaged in their focus area. Still tricky to discover interesting people who don't just hype their personal angle. More and more the conversation seems also to shift from Twitter to LinkedIn.

Yes, it used to be quite easy with Google RSS Reader and Feedly to keep track of the stuff thanks to RSS, but a lot is happening on not in public anymore going to Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups. I gave up on Twitter a year ago because to much ads and feed got too crowded too quickly but I'm going back to it and their algorithm is doing a better job at curation for now.

As former heavy RSS users, what do you think of a site like this one I put together? https://engineered.at

It sort of "hides" the RSS feeds behind a social news interface, using a ranking algo like reddit/HN.

Mind if I turn the question upside-down? What would be features of a site that you would like for news?

In browsing the comments:

Personalization is super important. How would that be defined? How personal? How impersonal?

'Signal-to-noise' is important. What does that mean for you? What is signal? Do you know before hand? Can you rank a few items that are more 'signal' than 'noise'? What is noise? Does that vary from day to day for you?

Addiction is important. What is 'addictive' to you? Is that a good thing during some parts of the day and not others? Do you want your nephews to have access to that addictive news service? Do you want ot have a 'stop it' button to stop yourself?

New content is important. How new? What is content to you? What type of medium, like videos or text? A mix of many media? What languages and from what countries?

Any other ideas/important things to grep from this comments section?

My daily content discovery routine is a slowly mounting sense of horror.

Tech stuff:

Hacker News

Pinboard Popular https://pinboard.in/popular/

Podcasts (specifically Hanselminutes) https://hanselminutes.com/


Reddit (occasionally)

Food: Good Eats http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/good-eats (and I'm happy to hear it may be coming back on air soon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovc2Q-zdoyM )

Have you heard of the stack overflow podcast? Pretty good

Some others

Embedded - Coding blocks - Artificial Intelligence - Ted Radio Hour - Changelog - Masters of Scale - Indie Hackers - Hack the Entrepreneur

Pretty much listen to any coding/programming/entrepreneur/news related stuff.

Good Eats is coming back? You just made my day. If they replaced Alton I won't watch, in protest

Watch the video. Pretty sure that's Alton (and his old props)

Oh, on food there is something fantastic that I like to look at: http://www.seriouseats.com/. I remember their video on the perfect cooking for baked potatoes and their meta-recipe for soups.

I have the standard list of newspapers and magazines that I browse right after hitting the morning alarm.

Instagram for design. A few other art publications..

My bookcase is also extremely well-stocked. Not that it reflects my intellect - most of them are unread! But it makes an excellent discovery engine as I can pick up any book of any subject I happen to fancy in moment x. Which is why as amazing Google is, it can never be that kind of discovery engine, heheheh.

And I rationalise to myself that surely, given half a century of dipping in and out, I'll eventually read all of them.

My daily go-to source is a custom RSS reader I built a few years ago and host on Amazon's free tier. It is still the best for me and I haven't had to touch it's code in years. I follow the run of the mill tech blogs and I always like finding new independent bloggers to add.

I find myself visiting HN on a daily basis as well. I believe there is a HN RSS feed so I will probably work on adding that my reader at some point.

I visit (sub)Reddits only when I'm looking for something specific, but not for periodic news.

This is going to come off like a plug, but I really enjoy the webapp I wrote:


Im developing it for investing, and am about to release the first version of the robo-financial advisor.

However, in the process of developing it, I added the feature to follow topics. Then it sends users email updates of top news articles when either:

(A) Opinions on those topics change

(B) A spike in discussion occurs

That is to say, if bitcoins price goes up, the sentiment will be positive, but if the sentiment was already positive I wouldn't get notified. However, if for instance there was a recent coin split - I'd get notified because the sentiment would change.

Think of it as automated and accurate news curation.

To get the most recent news I used to visit HN every day, subreddits, and I follow blogs on Feedly. Now, the system I described actually targets my interest and sends me topics super well, so I don't have to scan HN or Reddit. Better than I thought it would, actually. I still visit HN obviously and will visit Reddit, but much less so and only when the topics I'm interested aren't changing (i.e. I'm not receiving an email of curated content).

The only pattern that hasn't changed are specific blogs such as loweringthebar.net which is still content I'm interested in, but not one that the piglet app I wrote can identify as interesting for me.

Over the course of my day I skim Reuters, Bloomberg, The Wallstreet Journal, Vice, Reddit(Front page, news, and worldnews), and Hacker News. I'd say 70% of the time I'm browsing those sites I'm just skimming headlines. On websites like Vice or Reddit's frontpage, I'm really just there to see what topics are generally hot and rarely read too deeply into the articles. I do something similar for the r/news and r/worldnews subreddits but more on that in a moment. For hard news, I go to Reuters, Bloomberg, and WSJ. If I recognize a topic from r/news or r/worldnews I'll give that article priority over others that look appealing. This strategy is generally enough to maintain an awareness of pop-news while allocating more attention to news that matters with regard to the economy or international events. The rest of my time is whimsy reading which might include articles I passed over before or it might be browsing articles from other sites like BBC or Al Jazeera. Whimsy reading comes at the end mainly to keep myself from wasting too much time reading appealing/popular but ultimately vapid articles about things like what the President just tweeted.

Tl/dr Hacker News, Podcasts, RSS, YouTube and Reddit.

Perhaps because I've been on internet since early days I still use RSS (self-hosted Stringer + Unread app). I keep RSS feeds as selective and few as possible. I have a couple of dozen podcasts I listen to, some of which deliver daily episodes. I subscribe to a fair number of YouTube channels which is (mostly) good for conference talks and tutorials. Reddit I am getting close to ditching.

I bookmark the personal pages/blogs of professors and follow their grad students pages/blogs in fields I'm interested in like Robert Harper's blog Existential Type. Once a week I'll go through stallman.org too, sometimes RMS will write a really good historical analysis on something in the news and also to keep up with the state of free software.

Local news I listen to the radio for a few minutes during the day, international news I read journals (through sci-hub) like Oxford's Foreign Policy Analysis journal, a good recent article to check out is Analyzing the Foreign Policy of Microstates: The Relevance of the International Patron-Client Model.

On the weekend sometimes I'll go through the NY Times weekend edition or Wall Street Journal physical copy. Daily news for me unless it's local is a waste of my time resources. As for daily content discovery it's pretty much just this site, stallman.org, and my friends who feel the need to spam text me every single article they find that I've tried to ignore to get work done.

I’m using my own site redigest.it (https://www.redigest.it/), which is a configurable digest for HN and Reddit. It’s nice not to miss anything relevant without regularly checking these sites and to easily limit how much content I see.

In addition, I’m following the work of specific people regardless of where they publish (e.g. their own website or YouTube, mostly by RSS). I find the signal to noise ratio to be higher than on HN and Reddit. Discovery also happens via linking, endorsements, collaborations, recommendation algorithms (e.g. YouTube).

Sites like HN and Reddit seem to reinforce daily routines to not miss out, which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. I’m also questioning how effective the popular voting systems of these sites are in bringing content to the top that I find relevant. This is probably the main reason why my content consumption shifted away from them.

I do like Pocket a lot. I have a few IFTTT recipes that automatically enqueue articles from RSS feeds I like into my pocket, and at any point in the day if I read something interesting (from here, from reddit, from something sent by someone), I just add it to my pocket queue and I read it as the day goes.

I relied on Mailling List. I subscribe and create rule to tagged on of them wit `devnews` tags.

Then during my commute to work I started to checkout them.

Then later on, I personally paste links into a Evernote note to make them searchable for later. I then decide to share with the world and start my own mailing list[0]

I also use Hacker News as a way to keep up with development trend and technology. I learn so much stuff on Hacker News by researching on thing people say that I don't understand.

One thing I found really helpful is I stopped worrying about how to find content but more about how to consume content. We're never lack of content nowsaday and if thing is good or worth to know, they will appear in your eyes at some point in some form.


[0] https://betterdev.link/

Breaking the cycle of compulsive checking and distracted browsing is important to me.

There are two places I consume content:

  1. When working at the computer, I read from Pocket
    (or Kindle Cloud Reader), and
  2. After hours, I read only my Kindle Paperwhite.
The discovery and delivery for me:

  - Stream RSS feeds (HN[*], Xkcd, local news, etc.) to Pocket
    (possible with IFTTT)
  - Add links from coworkers to Pocket
  - Buy books for Kindle
  - Subscribe to The Economist[†] weekly on Kindle
  - Use Pocket to Kindle nightly[‡]
    p2k creates an e-book from random unread articles in Pocket
    archives them, then delivers to Kindle at a set time.
So, in the evenings on my Kindle, I have a mix of articles to read from Pocket (delivered at 5pm) and The Economist, plus other books, but much less rabbit-trail browsing and wandering the web.

* I filter HN by points using https://edavis.github.io/hnrss/

† The Economist has a "The World This Week" section that sums up the world's politics and business from the previous week with a paragraph for each subject, and it's more refined and less sensational than the daily news cycle. It's enough to keep me in the loop, and there are more interesting articles deeper within the magazine.


Pocket is really great for saving articles and they have some good recommendations too. I listen to a lot of podcasts like 99% Invisible, Planet Money, Reply All, Up First, WWDTM, Why Oh Why, and Embedded.fm. I also follow a lot of PhD students on Twitter who can write really well.

Pretty much only HN at this point. I've been trying to also use Feedly to follow plain old websites with RSS feeds, but the content is much slower to come out, much less exciting usually, and there are no comment sections, which are the best part of HN imo.

I've reduced my twitter followers to 15 - I follow only these accounts who are sources of new content that belongs to my interests - all of friends and other accounts has been moved to twitter lists.

I've follow @newsync150 - a HN feed that tweets about threads that has +150 points. If there's a day where I feel unsatisfied with amount of content, I go straight to first 1-2 pages of HN and read what seems interesting.

I also follow some inspiration accounts, such ash TheUltralinx etc. and local (Polish) Tech websites - don't really like TechCrunch or Wired - they're focused too much on business side or things that I'm not interested in.

I have found content on HN and if deemed worthy add it to my feedly list of blogs/sites.

Feedly is great in that you can scan headlines and mark as read and if there is something of interest read it in depth.

I don't do twitter since it seems like 99% noise or echo chamber. Same with Facebook lately other than seeing what actual people I know are up to it is just noise.

I have subscribed to a few Youtube'rs and do the same (scan titles of vids), if it is of interest I'll watch them. Mostly those are DIY types of things so at some point searching thru them will become handy depending on a project.

I subscribe to weekly newsletters for languages I'm interested in learning, so right now that's how I find my Go, Rust, Ruby, and Elixir stuff.

HackerNews and the programming subreddits so far have done the trick for me.

I've built Anders Pink (https://anderspink.com) to help with content discovery. It allows you to follow topics just by entering a search term, or by creating something more specific (e.g. must contain term X, but not term Y). New articles get pulled in every few hours, and get emailed to you every morning in a digest.

It also allows you to pull in content from rss feeds, then filter it. There's boards to save articles to, and team features to allow collaboration if needed.

I subscribe to The Browser [1] and Audm [2], which are both story aggregators. The editors pick higher-quality, often longer-form writing. Audm provides articles read by audiobook narrators, and I've found it a good alternative to podcasts.

Both of these will email you with recommendations so the discovery "work" it outsourced.

[1] https://thebrowser.com/ [2] https://www.audm.com/

I recently re-discovered newsletters as a good source. Let the news come to you!

Things like https://www.cronweekly.com etc. are gold.

Echo most what mentioned - add:

The Economist audio version - to cover a broad view of world affairs for general awareness but not in-depth analysis

Pocket - I use Pocket app which recommends based on articles I saved into it. Their AI seems good for relevancy.

Google/trends - hit and miss but occassionally useful stuff Medium digest - even less hit and miss but occassionally Project Syndicate - again, occassionally https://www.project-syndicate.org/

+HN of course - this is daily must

I built Virwire to auto curate news from thousands of sources worldwide 24/7.


Original motivation was to to scratch my own itch for news. I found I was spending far too much time foraging for content so decided to automate discovery and relevance filtering. The app is web based but formatted for mobile.

The story stream is increasingly global, random and tolerant of competing biases, I hope a new way to experience news and see the world.

This is cool.

The only addition I want to make that I haven't seen in the comments yet is http://nuzzel.com/.

I've had a hard time finding a news source like yahoo news digest once it had shut down, so I've been working on a side project: http://bluebookcasedesign.com/Pages/AktaDigest.html

For tech it's all the usual; Hacker News, reddit, Also I enjoy going through GitHub trending to see what is currently popular/new.

For listening to Hacker news in the car, or during your commute try: http://hackerwave.com

Obligatory: HN, Reddit

I also use a Discord chatroom with me and a couple of my mates where we all post links from our various feeds. I introduced a Discord chatroom at work too and everyone seems to love it so it might be a good idea for you as well.

Also I do another music discovery / link discovery chatroom on https://www.jqbx.fm.

Long story short, I just realized I'm not very productive...

Before I settle into a day of staring at screens, I like to listen to the news on the BBC World Service[1] (it's an old habit, I used to listen to it via shortwave years ago), as I find most of the news outlets in the US lacking.

1: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/bbc_world_service

I usually browse through HN & different subreddits. Random articles also get saved to Pocket, but I never actually read any of them.

There are always 'spur of the moment' articles I find throughout the day using a handy Chrome extension that gives me hand curated content everytime I open up a new tab (https://zest.is/)

Oh, I forgot podcasts too!

Reddit and HN. There's more quality content in those two sources than I can consume. My problem is the opposite: how can I manage/organise the huge amount of stuff that's out there. Posted this to get some input from HNers https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14919027

I do my best not to read the internet, but I have compulsive habits and I find myself looking at sites like this one without really intending to

I don't have any specific routine. There is a large list of various sources in my head, which I check randomly when I feel I need to read something. I don't bookmark things, but occasionally write down my impressions from some sources and posts, which helps me to remember them.

ps Oh, I actually bookmark links on HN, probably this is the only place where I bookmark anything

I've been using this lately http://serializer.io/

If you're interested in developing good content habits, and not just content tooling, I highly recommend The Information Diet. Short read and very thoughtful. You won't likely agree with everything (I didn't), but it's worth your time:


1. Feedly

2. Hackernews

3. Google News

4. Refind (I am in marketing)

I have a blog post about what I read via RSS here (http://bit.ly/2s6ghd4)

Also as a side-note about Twitter: I find that if you only follow human beings, and create lists of brands and other accounts that you like, your feed narrows, your engagement goes up, and real networking can occur.

Hacker News Wall Street Journal New York Times If I had more time, I'd read the economist.

Newsletters: Javascript Weekly Python Weekly

Mattermark Daily (https://mattermark.com/category/mattermark-daily/). Best curated startup/VC news, once a day in your inbox, done in 5 minutes or less. No affiliation.

This service is not Free. It's quite expensive in fact. What do we get for the free service ? Advertisement for mattermark ?

Prismatic was awesome at this. I mean really amazing. Nothing I've tried since they shut down has been anywhere near as good. Nuzzel, the News app on ios, flipboard, whatever. None of those had the right combination of new/interesting/important/high quality/etc...

Mostly podcasts, because they boil a week's worth of info on a particular domain down to an hour and also tell me what i'm supposed to think about it. I tried giving up hn for 6 months and didn't feel less informed. I'm here for the proceastination, not the information.

Tweetdeck is a useful tool for this kind of thing. You can just set up some keyword searches.

Frontpage of HN, reddit, then check certain subreddits. Browse Twitter to check up on what certain devs/companies are saying.

During the day I periodically check certain Discords, IRC, HN, and reddit (I add items to Pocket if I see anything interesting).

RSS, email subscriptions (mailing lists), and content aggregators for specific topics like HN or www.freepo.st

I used to read reddit years ago, but nowadays it's just too much noise and bad content (even the slower subreddits).

I have a hn clone at https://hn.etelej.com/ quite minimal, mostly on frontpage items I wouldn't want to miss

HN, Reddit, Imgur, Newsblur - http://www.newsblur.com/folder/global-blurblogs

FeedBin and constantly updating the feeds (adding and removing) when I come across an interesting feed.

I only visit actually websites if I really need to.

So spend most of the time in FeedBin.

What RSS feed I have is my competitive advantage!

>> Twitter on the train >> Internal chatroom & microblog platform once in the office >> HN in a permatab in Chrome thorughout the day on a 10min refresh

Mostly, I browse HN for random tidbits, then do directed searches for things that come up in my work. I don't have time to spend much more of it surfing randomly... :-(

Someone submitted a Show HN where the site showed the top HN articles sorted by points for each day. Anybody remember the name? It was like an HN daily best of.

About 2 years ago I made http://serializer.io - I still use that

HN, Economist, Amazon. What? Yes. The fact is, there is an amazing amount of high quality literature on the most amazing of topics. I'm currently on a 'I'm soon 40, I have a MSc in an STEM subject and I don't know shit about how the modern world works or was built' reading binge. Much more interesting than new stuff to consume, IMO.

I've found Blendle quite good (after HN). Based on your interests, it offers a somewhat curated selection of articles from a variety of magazines and newspapers via micropayments so you don't need a load of subscriptions. I think it's better reading a few in-depth articles than trying to keep up with the random fire-hose of social media.

This is something I've recently restructured in my own life. While I am aware that reading on a laptop display does not cause any harm to your eyes (1) I rather like the entire experience of consuming longer text on e-paper. So I went out an bought a Kindle. My favorite part with the Kindle is that I can email myself articles which are interesting, as well as browse text-based websites on the experimental browser.

I essentially have the following setup: - Laptop runs my 'morning coffee' script before work, scrapes my favorite few blogs + HN for the latest articles and adds them to a queue - All the articles I shared (via email) to family and friends get added to the queue as well - Script sticks top news headlines and content together in 1 PDF file and emails it to my Kindle

Now I can read comfortably with my coffee in and hand and even see how much "progress" I've made with the content I plan to consume.

(1) NYT blog post on e-reader eye -strain behind paywall https://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/do-e-readers-cause...

I use Instapaper for similar purpose. I set it up so it sends me 10 articles from Unread every morning in a digest form.

Twitter Lists that I curate myself, The Old Reader (RSS), Hckrnews, Google News

HN, Datatau.com, Reuters, Software Engineering Daily, SwiftedNews and Youtube

A bunch of poisoned waterholes: HN, reddit, Facebook.

I need to reevaluate my habits...

shameless plug: I run a weekly, curated newsletter for keto/low-carb enthusiasts. Niched, interesting content.


hacker news > TheOldReader (RSS) which includes, Techcrunch, Verge, Smashing Magazine, Signal vs Noise .. sub reddits /options > tastytrade (more options) ..

I use news.ycombinator.com and tiplash.com

HN and Purpose driven internet search.

HC + some specific audio podcasts.


- Messenger

- Email

- Hacker News

- Reddit


- YouTube

- Pocket

- Chrome tabs

rss feeds and mailing lists.

-Daily WSJ 10 point newsletter


-New Yorker

-NYT Magazine

-Bloomberg Businessweek



Google alerts every morning works well for me. Then Reddit and then HN.

Reddit, HackerNews, and Facebook.

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