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Ask HN: What is your “I don't care if this succeeds” project?
228 points by as89 11 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 484 comments
One where you don't care if it makes money or gets a lot of attention, but you are working on it regardless. I don't think I mean private hobbies, exactly, but projects that could or will be shared with others - you just don't care about the outcome.

There are amazing projects in this thread. When any of you is ready to post yours as a Show HN, email hn@ycombinator.com and we'll try to help. Read these first:



Some of you should consider applying to YC as well!

Terrain2STL - http://jthatch.com/Terrain2STL/

Creates 3D-printable elevation maps of Earth's surface. I originally made it because I couldn't find a tool to make a particular 3D model I wanted, and then decided to open source it. However, to use the code you need to download ~80 GB of elevation data, which I thought would be a stumbling block for a lot of other hobbyists, so I put together a little web interface and hosted it myself.

It sometimes breaks even over a month from the occasional donation, and I think it's gotten me at least one job, but the best thing is the emails I get from users showing me what they've made with it. Seeing these really cool art and education projects from people more creative than me is pretty awesome!

I'm planning on buying a printer soon elevation maps are one of the things I was hoping to print - thank you for the awesome tool! Assuming the users are okay with it I think it would be cool to show some of the pics people send you for inspiration.

This is awesome. My next print is gonna be a model of the mountains that surround my house

What data are you using for the DEM?

SRTM3! It's all available from the USGS. I'm in the (slow) process of upgrading to SRTM1, which offers 3x better linear resolution, so 9 'pixels' to each of the current 'pixels' I have now. The drawback for me, though, is that the file storage requirements are 9x higher with the higher-res data

It would be very nice you had some gallery with what people end up printing :)

https://github.com/akavel/dali was one (a fully hand-written non-Java, non-JVM assembler for Android .apk files); I managed to write a rudimentary flappy-bird-like prototype in it and did a presentation about the project: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr9X5NCwPlI&list=PLxLdEZg8DR... but it's on a shelf now, didn't get much attention, and I don't feel bad about that. Had some roadblocks, but managed to overcome them, and I'm honestly surprised how the core effort was basically easy to implement and how the formats were open and relatively simple. (The main real issues I had were that debugging via adb logs was tiresome when something was not working.) What was funny about this project was that I started it with basically a thought of: "there will be probably some annoying roadblock at some point that will make it unviable to continue; I accept that and will be ok with stopping once I stumble upon it; but I don't see one clearly from the start [I did some quick initial research how the formats & the bytecode look and they seemed rather simple], and I'm really curious how far I can get if I decide to not think about this possible roadblock". Turns out I was able to get all the way to the end :D

There is a wine grape varietal called St. Laurent which is cousin of well known Pinot Noir varietal and it originated from Burgundy, but curently you will find it mostly only in Austria, Slovakia and Czech Republic. It is interesting grape, but there are many problems with it: it is very vigorous so it take quite a lot of work to tend and the bunches are big so they tend to squeeze, crack and rot.

Thanks to cultivation dificulties as well as bad image from previous times (thanks to big yields it use to be used for poducing cheap table wines) make this varietal slowly dying: old blocks are being replanted by other varietals.

I think it is a pitty as St. Laurent wine is very interesting and quite memorable. Luckily I've bought few blocks with old vines and I am selecting plants with loose bunches and am trying to create new clone with more favorable growing characteristic.

I have never heard of this grape variety before, now I read this and the next thing I see is Lidl's next week's wine offer for St. Laurent/Spätburgunder wine. I will give it a try!

It is definitely a niche varietal, planted area is still shrinking, especially in my home of Czech republic where it was most planted red grape varietal, but there is growing interest among high end growers in Austria so I think the varietal has some future among wine geeks.

I love this. Are you using any techniques facilitated by tech?

Of course! I do hang NFC tags around preselected vines and I did wrote small iOS app that after scanning the tag I am able to attach photos, labels or other metadata that are interesting from breeder perspecitve. I am also able to track lineages and compare the stability of attributes I am interested in.

Most other breeders use pen and paper and they are fine, but hey I am programmer and I am going to write software.

A Lisp machine from the 80s from a parallel universe with hi-res graphics and sprites, built-in p2p networking on a rudimentary "WWW clone", sound engine, database support, etc.


It's quite functional but nothing to download yet. I expect it to be out of alpha by the end of this year. I plan to put it on Steam but I don't think it could be a "success" - it's, mildly put, quirky. Maybe I should add mouse support.

Honestly think this is brilliant. I'm about to start my lisp journey (at the age of 39!).

For me it’s the Zettelkasten/smart notes app I’m working on. I’ve been a frustrated with how I take notes from books, videos, blog posts, etc. I want to build a zero-inbox style workflow around organising my notes consistently so that I can start to blog with a wealth of research and ideas at my fingertips. So I’ve started building Flowtelic.

Early (no signup/in browser storage) version is live at https://app.flowtelic.com.

A video showing how to use it is here: https://youtu.be/Zo9hIuffz_0

I’m documenting as I build this over on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Martin_Adams

It's lovely. It's amazing how little things can make such a big difference. In your case, the index-card default size of the note subtly, but powerfully, encourages smaller notes. Typical new-age zettelkasten apps are still A4 sized pages, so this is a welcome change.

I'll add some more pointless two cents. I use, and love, Obsidian for the following reasons. I'm a research engineer, and it supports latex equations, markdown formatting, pasting images from the clipboard, and syntax highlighting. It is also beautiful from the get go (as is your app); the line spacing is just-right, the colour scheme is pleasant, the editor and preview mode typefaces are both delightful. But, I do use it as a full-fledged note taking app.

In your shoes (and contrary to the spirit of the thread, I admit), I would definitely spend time getting to know to whom you're targetting this app. Perhaps yourself, which is fair. But, for instance, it wouldn't work for someone like me. Still, I like what you've done here and I wish you all the best!!

Thank you so much for the feedback. I too am an Obsidian user which is really nice for technical documentation. I have to be careful that I don’t confuse the audience: those who want to collect thoughts for writing; and those who organise notes for research (i.e. technical knowledge). I actually do both and there are different needs in each.

The only things on your list that I hadn’t considered was latex equations and whether I should offer different design customisations of the cards.

I’m glad you picked up on the index card size default. I will offer both full-page notes as well, but there’s another reason why I want them as card sized—so you can lay them out on a virtual workspace to help answer questions from your slip box.

Honestly, there’s too many ideas that I can’t do everything. But it’s sure fun working on it and gradually making it better each release.

Powerfully simple. I'd love to be able to self-host this, or at least use it someplace with more persistance and sync across devices.

Thanks! Yes, this is quite important. I plan for there to be a desktop version which allows you to backup/import/export your notes automatically to your own file system. Getting 100% markdown compatibility might be a challenge with some future features (like embedded images). Then there's the sync so you can jump onto different machines and continue.

Oh man, I really want this. Are you collecting email addresses anywhere for when you’re ready for users?

Really happy to hear that! Great idea, I've set up a landing page which I'll use to let you know when it's ready for early adopters. https://join.flowtelic.com/

Thank you love this

I develop https://firedating.me - my hobby project and a place for FIRE (Financial Independence / Retire Early) enthusiasts to find friends and a partner. My goal is to help FIRE people build meaningful connections and decrease the amount of loneliness in the community.

I don't make any money, instead I've spent around $130 and 400 hours so far. It is actually a lot of fun to learn web development and encounter various unexpected challenges everyday. There are also rewarding aspects - 9 couples, who met through the site, have reached out to me and were grateful. This feeling of changing people's lives in this way is amazing! I have no clue where this brings me, but I enjoy it so much. I try to spend at least 1.5 hours a day in 2021. In 2020 I had a goal to spend at a least 1 hour a day on my side projects and that's how firedating was born ;)

What made you decide to show the ratio of male:female?

At 1/3 I think it's smart. I would have assumed a much worse male to female ratio without that.

I agree, I was also assuming a worse ratio. However, I tried comparing this with other dating sites and they report better ratios. At the same time, I suspect that FIRE community might be biased towards males (even though I heard that majority of Mr Money Mustache followers are women).

It's a really smart move regarding sustainable growth. Males will refrain of signing up without an "healthy" ratio. Not doing it would just cause early abandonments and decrease goodwill. Everybody wins.

I personally perceived this as a signaling to female users to motivate them to join more. But the way you phrase this is also interesting.

To be fair, the ratio was not public at the very beginning.

To be honest, everyone was always asking for this. I already had a public stats page back then, so it was very easy to just include it there (to save my time calculating this manually).

I love your analytics page! So cool to have a transparent view of what's going on on a website

Thank you!

I value transparency and happily share stats and why I make specific decisions.

I've got an idea of such "open" page from levelsio's https://nomadlist.com/open.

This is the sweetest and most wholesome thing I've seen in a very long time. Kudos to you!

Thank you for your kind words! I definitely remember the first 3 months of development when I had 0 users and how it felt. I appreciate your support!

Dude! I’m in!

Happy dating and let the FIRE be in your heart!

Any chance of open sourcing the code for others to contribute as well?

To be honest, I am not sure whether engineering is a bottle neck as of now. Site's functionality has actually pretty much converged and it already works. Full blown open sourcing seems like a large endeavor and I just spend 1.5 hours a day. I tried finding collaborators, but unfortunately people just get busy with time and don't contribute. If you are interested to collaborate (Django/Python) or have specific ideas/advice on open sourcing, I would appreciate to discuss more (https://firedating.me/feedback).

My previous experience was that it was taking more of my time to collaborate than to do stuff on my own. I agree that this might change and that's why I am open to explore :)

how did you get your initial users?

I've got an idea during a FIRE meetup, so there was already initial interest (~10 people). Once I had the site running, I made a post on Reddit and people just joined. In 1.5 months around 500 users joined (there is a graph here: https://firedating.me/open/). It was indeed a chicken and an egg problem, because a dating site without users provides 0 value. Fortunately, people joined even despite this. Nowadays, it is much easier. Just saying "we are 2800 users" is already much more convincing.

oh wow, this is peak FIRE

Each to their own I guess!

Vertical indoor farm to reach the highest throughout possible per cubic meter are, using only non-GMO plants by discovering the right phenomics- https://hexafarms.com

Vertical indoor farms are getting a lot of attention in the recent times, but the issue is the lack of plant expertise. Even if you were to go through all the literature, you would never find a holistic study that takes into account all the optimal factors for specific plant growth. For example, for lettuce, the best you will get would be EC, Ph, Light Intensity, CO2 ppm over an average range. However, approaching it from a perspective of 'systems' design where all these things play a role (often in an interaction with all factors) is still missing. For example, what part of the artificial light spectrum + nutrition level + air composition would be most optimal is still missing.

I'm a computer scientist by training and I'm trying to solve this with ML. It's a really hard problem, but I'm doing it. I have a mini-farm setup in my appt where I collect the data, but hopefully I'm getting some more seed-money to build a 10m^2 farm to be able to demonstrate the optimization. My goal is to hit as high as 370 kilos of herbs per m^2 (or 2.5 cubic meter) per year from only a four layer farm.

The Dutch are apparently the second largest vegetable exporter in the world (!) using these kinds of techniques. Lots of interesting research happening at Wageningen University and Research. A greenhouse that keeps getting mentioned is Duijvestijn Tomatoes.

Further reading here if you're interested:

1. https://www.dw.com/en/could-high-tech-netherlands-style-farm...

2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/holland-...

I agree though, there's not enough info out there about an integrated approach. Perhaps it's proprietary.

Ah yes, the Dutch and Belgian tomatoes: they're atrocious. I'm from Eastern Europe, and our local variety of tomatoes is way tastier. Or any other variety for that matter.

I agree about the taste, but I don't think it's caused by variety taste difference. Problem is that when tomatoes are imported from further away, they are picked and transported (more) unripe and later exposed to ethylene gas to ripen closer to consumer. Being grown using hydroponics or bags of mineral wool certainly doesn't help with the taste either.

I can agree that many people who eat salads, will not care about the difference in taste between hydroponics and well composted soil. Especially when it comes to the cost difference. But that doesn't mean there isn't a difference, because there is. Any home gardener can tell you that the exact same lettuce variety grown in well composted soil, over produced commercial soil void of natural nutrients (and biological ecosystem in the soil) and hydroponics, are all difference in taste. I think Butter Lettuce varieties are the most intense and shocking in difference (my experience).

Economically speaking, for wide scale production, most people don't care about the flavor of their lettuce or spinach. Which I understand and don't have a qualm with. I just have a problem with people who have never held a shovel in their lives try to act they know everything about farming and make wide sweeping judgements (what's that fallacy about lack of knowledge and thinking you know it all?). When you grow it yourself in a good environment, you enjoy eating leafy greens alone because you can taste actual flavor.

What a lot of people outside of agriculture don't know is the movement to recreating the top soil back to a healthy state. Commercial farmland soil is borderline clay and sand, especially compared to well maintained soil. Chemical fertilizers only go so far. A wide variety of decomposing organic matter is needed in soil to help maintain it. Along with letting a field sit for a few years with a cover crop (or variety of cover crops to speed up the process) is needed. Adding in grazing livestock is even better.

Mostly, I know you all think farming and agricultural science are stupid, numbskull pursuits because you're all techies. The obvious and only way to save agriculture is to use silicon chips, plastic and metal to fix it all. But "dirt" agriculture is extremely in-depth and complex. Especially the last 2 decades worth of research has been insane due to the realization that our "tried and true" commercial farming operations are more unsustainable than our dependency on fossil fuels. I don't see an inherent problem with vertical farming. I have a problem with the hubris that over commercialization is the only method of fixing these problems, even though that's the reason we have the problems to begin with.

I will also add the constant aggression by the scorching sun of Southern Italy. Why do you think they’re supposed to be full of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients? Coincidentally for your consumer pleasure, or did the plants evolve them to survive weeks upon weeks of implacable 40C temperatures and a flood of UVA-B.

From the first article:

> they grow almost 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of tomatoes per square meter. That's at least 10 times the average yield from an open field in Spain or Morocco, but with eight times less water and practically no chemical pesticides.

A promising method with a yield like this shouldn't be abandoned just because the taste isn't as good. This is just something the market will force them to improve, if customers don't continue to buy them. Personally, I've never tasted a tomato that I would label as atrocious so I'm now intrigued to try them :)

Please tell me "seed-money" was a pun intended moment.

Jokes aside, from a biology perspective why the aversion to GMO? From an ML perspective, what are you optimizing for - maximized growth rate?

It was!!! Personally, I have no aversion towards GMO. But in the end, it's the customers. It's already so hard to convince that food grown in clean and sterilized nutrient medium is far better than the romantic soil everyone is clinging to; GMO would take way more convincing. However, there are tastes that are indeed only found in the 'old' seeds, so there is do see the aversion non-GMO from customer side.

In terms of optimization, here are some:

1. What is the optimal time for getting a lettuce plant until harvest without juicing it up with nitrates?

2. What parameters could double the functional components of my mint (think about essential oils) and basil plants just by proper timing in stress and nutrition. These are already questions that botany departments have worked on- I want to bring them out in commercial setting (and may be a bit better).

3. Does back-radiation i.e. reflected light from plant leaves help in measuring plant well-being?

4. What's the right grow medium

5. In general, I BELIEVE, that there is a sub-optimal application (as in wastage) of light (which is roughly 20-30% of indoor farm expense), sub-optimal production in terms of the harvest we get. An improvement in harvest timing by a day would still be a very big volume once you scale it to bigger grow area; more importantly, I believe plant experts are good (even though very rare and expensive), but a DeepFarmer might be able to do better (and this is my main bet), both in terms of scaling and expertise.

The one place I'd be happy to see GMO utilised is in siloed and controlled indoor farms.

> using only non-GMO plants

What's the point in such restriction? AFAIK, GMO was never proven harmful.


OP here; not kidding, but once you get down to talking to your actual customers, one has only so much energy to convince people that GMO is not necessarily bad. May be I'm harming myself by being so honest here- but the general consumer is so pleased to know that our produce is so good and is not 'the plastic GMO thing'. This, so far, has been what I've found in over 10 restaurant/gourmet/general consumer interviews.

You are probably right. But directly advertising your product as "GMO-free" helps spread fake-news that GMO may be harmful. Please don't do it.

> fake-news that GMO may be harmful.

I would argue that saying all GMO products are equal and the entire concept is safe is also not correct. To me, "GMOs are totally safe" sounds a lot like saying "chemicals are totally safe."

There are multiple techniques, many possible product categories, with many possible safety outcomes. The safety relies on regulation by U.S. agencies which are mostly compromised by regulatory capture in a market with trillion dollar IP potential.

It is not insane anti-science to question the deployment of GMO products into the food chain and ecosystem.

See my link above with scientific references. In the same way you can add poison (or herbicides) in non-GMO crops. It does not prove anything.

See also: https://xkcd.com/641/.

I agree with your sentiment, but I fail to see how it applies to what I was replying to.

> I would argue that saying all GMO products are equal and the entire concept is safe is also not correct.

GMO products are as (un)safe as all other products. This label just has not meaning related to safety. You can create harmful products using GM or by x-ray irradiation (which doesn't count as GM) or by using fertilizers. The "non-GMO" label is simply misleading, it doesn't mean what people think it means.

> To me, "GMOs are totally safe" sounds a lot like saying "chemicals are totally safe."

So do you suggest to print on every product (food or not) "chemical-free"?

"By the year 2025, 63% of the world’s population will be living in cities" I wonder if Covid will revise those trends. Where I live (rural), there's plenty of unused land that needs a lot let contortions to farm (cheaper) but is indeed further away from the mouths to be fed in cities. How is the math behind urban farms vs simply shipping food into the city?

True, but I can't really predict the outcome due to covid. Just saw Dubai post-covid-onset, and to my eyes, nothing has changed much from food-supply-chain side.

I personally believe that permaculture would actually be the best solution overall, but our modern economy's pace and expectations would always keep such methods at bay. But at the same time, for leafy produce, and herbs, I think proper vertical farming would not only make it more affordable but also sustainable too. For the math, the rough estimates are production per m^2 (2-4kg on ground vs 70-400kg indoor farm), 10% lettuce in solid won't see the dining table i.e. they'd die, here there's no loss, off-season non-perennial produce, no problem for a vertical farm, the expenses on operations change too. Overall, if done properly, a very high-tech vertical farm should be able to break even in 2-3 yrs, even assuming a sales at no premium (which is very easy given the high-quality) i.e. at the shipped food i.e. the status-quo. But once people get used to the high-quality, and wholesalers get to enjoy the short supply chain due to indoor farms, I think the remote once will face a fierce competition, at least for select crops.

> Just saw Dubai post-covid-onset, and to my eyes, nothing has changed much from food-supply-chain side.

Forget Dubai, it's natural that a city in the desert that relies on tourism way too much will keep itself open. Government even mandated schools to open (no one's sending their kids, except the really desperate parents), mandated malls to stay open and cancel temperature checks, mandated employers to open up offices. They just recently closed up and put in all restrictions once again (although not European levels).

I think a lot of countries will see shifts from major cities to cheaper cities (as long as they are safer and have basic services). The only reason people (like my parents) are still staying in Dubai is because it has gotten cheaper - rents are falling, home prices are falling, there is a visible glut, and it's a buyer's market right now.

> I wonder if Covid will revise those trends.

I imagine COVID may possibly have an impact on our megacities trend (even though it had many dying signals already), but I don't believe it may push people into rural areas. Rural life isn't for everybody.

Rural areas are getting slammed pretty hard by covid. I don't think that will put the brakes on urbanization all that much.

perhaps you're looking at US? Generally I see a trend of people moving back to the countryside as remote work is by default now. London, UK is pretty empty too - all the restaurants and offices closed - means all the food that used to be consumed inside the city is now eaten somewhere in the commuter belt. That's a major shift...

That's do to a comparatively lower rate of mask usage and fewer medical resources.

I think the advantage is more in the use of far less water and virtually no pesticides - 2 things which will become more important as the climate changes.

There are other considerations at play. We need to rewild nature and minimise human footprint if we want to keep the world livable.

I've worked on this in the past too (not as rigorous as it sounds you are). My main problem: how do we define our optimum function, and how do we quantify the variables going into it? How do you do it? I assume you're not sitting there and tasting, comparing and scoring 25 salad samples every 3 days...

What a great project! I was wondering if the details of your home set-up are available anywhere online?

Is the hardware and software used open?

Very interesting, I have a small traditional farm - have you done any work with staple crops?

I have been interested in this for a long time and also had a small setup in my apartment. I have been interested in getting back into this lately. What kind of mini farm setup do you have there? How big?

Right now (re-starting almost the fourth time), my goal is to get consistent 1. images 2. co2, ec, ph, temperature, humidity, light intensity/quality readings. Anyone putting in money (besides me) hesitated until now because they couldn't see what was in my head. So I'm remaking the setup with data-collection in mind first. It's almost shameful to confess that it is an 8 bed farm only :/ And this will be the setup for next 2 months. Once you've a 1200 plant bed (which is only 10 metre^2 with four layers), I think you will be able to demonstrate the efficiencies with the available data. ps: You can get a harvest every 19 days, roughly.

Computer vision is a big chunk here, and me being no expert, I'm trying to have the hardware setup right so I'd have to do little on the software side of data processing.

If you're doing on your own, and don't want to spend a lot, I'd just say that almost everything can be done with off the shelf boards and sensors.

How mature is this field? I get the impression that all the existing companies doing this have cracked a secret. Can a hacker-type really make significant headway in this space still? (I'm really really interested in this)

I love this! Is there somewhere where I could follow your project? Have you experimented at all comparing flavours? Could I purchase some of your herbs anywhere? This is super exciting to me.

> I have a mini-farm setup in my appt

Now this could be interesting...

Sounds like you care quite a bit. Although perhaps here you're defining success as monetary as opposed to adding reliable knowledge.

Sorry for bothering if you already know this, but a lot of resources on your site point to localhost:8000 and fonts are just missing.

Would you be publishing your research or data or both? Would you be interested in sharing it privately? I would love to know more!

I like this project and I like you. Thank you for sharing! I'll be sure to keep and eye on it and possibly contribute.

A browser based single player word game! See what score you can get and what level you can reach. :)


It's a remake of a game I made for Android years ago that I still get messages about for being really addictive. It was fun remaking it using only HTML5, while polishing the presentation and rules.

I also work on a freeium Chrome extension that crawls multiple pages at once to check for SEO, speed and security issues. Try it on your website or landing page to see what issues it can find:


This is nice. Reminds me a lot of SpellTower, which was quite big a few years back. Would like a mode without the time pressure.

Wow your game's website was blocked by my hospital

Looks like you've made it to the BIG LEAGUES

I'll check it out when I get home lol

Haha, guessing the whole of itch.io and other well known gaming sites are blocked? It's the first time I've used itch.io. It's cool for quickly throwing up a web game page.

Oh true yea I guess it's all of itch.io! What a shame

To be honest all my projects created till now. They are all super low-cost per month (around 10$ per month) and eventually they will grow.

- https://caseconverter.pro/app - a simple online case converter, could probably grow it with SEO

- https://getworkrecognized.com - app to keep a work diary and create self-reviews, actually paid for itself. Got promoted twice within 2.5 years at current company

- https://linkedium.com - app to schedule LinkedIn posts, mainly for marketing use of the other projects; its also not live yet

The concept of getworkrecognized may have startup potential..just a thought

Its similar to https://progressionapp.com. The difference with my project is that I try to target the actual employees. Its just a different targeting group but its really difficult to get people to pay for it of course. Will try to revamp onboarding/trials somehow in the following months and thanks for the encouraging words. Feel free to give me any feedback and if you wanna try it for free, feel free to reach out to getworkrecognized@gmail.com

How much do you make from your ads?

For caseconverter.pro? Pennies right now because yeah (per month), traffic is low because its not SEO-optimized. I would need to write a lot of content case conversions and optimize the page in multiple ways. Question is the motivation haha ^^

Probably also pennies but have you considered adding micropayments via Coil (it is only an HTML tag) and.


I use it on my blog with Uphold wallet and I get small payments in fiat currency.

This sci-fi [0] music player with automatically generated visualizations. https://glitchy.website/

Eventually I will make it more like an actual music player since right now it only plays one file and provides different seek points so you can jump to the song you want to hear. I think it will also be an interesting way to keep me invested in releasing new music that I can put on it.

[0] Built it using arwes.dev for that sci-fi feel

I’m working on restoring a couple of old H.320 ISDN terminals and integrating them with something more modern. As part of this I’m building basically an entire ISDN stack including a software switch and H.320 multiplexer. Everything except the hardware (well, DAHDI is pissing me off rn, so I’m praying the non-Sangoma hardware I purchased is easier to set up). I have no idea how far I’ll get given the terminals are odd and mysterious in their own right and all the stuff is legacy and not really supported much anymore. Impossible to really monetize these days, but I plan on doing an extensive write up both of my analysis of the terminals hardware/firmware as well as releasing my stack/utilities under and open source license. I plan on it being extensive, but one step at a time. It’s starting to get difficult/expensive to find some of the hardware I need and as I mentioned earlier these terminals are kinda odd and I’ve kinda sat on them for months with just a little reversing.

In the meantime since DAHDI is giving me so many issues and I’m waiting to receive some alternative hardware, I’ve been working on a very, very rough software simulation of a.DS0/DS1 interface so I can at least start developing the ISDN stack on something.

https://loodio.com - A smart device for bathroom privacy

I built it for myself because I just hate not having privacy living with my girlfriend. Then some other people enjoyed it and I made it into a product that is launching on Kickstarter soon.

This is a very niche product. It also solves a quirky issue, so finding people who'd be willing to actually pay for it is going to be a very big challenge. Also, and to be blunt, it is not terribly slick looking, so the $99 sticker doesn't seem to be well-justified.

Basically, your target audience are people (1) with this particular issue, (2) motivated enough to do something about it, (3) willing to pay the price and (4) liking the design/aesthetics. I realize that this is a "don't care if this succeeds" thread, but I'd still encourage you to not get your hopes high for the KS campaign.

My parents just had the radio hooked up to the same circuit that was driving the bathroom lights. You enter the room, turn on the lights and there was instant audio. Makes sense to put this into a product.

It's amazing how we are repeatedly going full circle: we managed to stigmatize a completely natural farting sound (you are in a bathroom so the smell is contained), and then come up with "solutions" to feel free to produce the same sounds.

It took me a while, but I've convinced my wife that farting is ok, and that you should only worry about subjecting others to lousy odours, and even that only when you are visiting someone or some place (indoors). Closing the door usually resolves this. The stigma is especially bothersome with a naturally shy toddler who wouldn't take a dump anywhere but home.

FWIW, music does not stop people walking into smelly toilets, but to each their own. :)

The product likely even makes sense, I just find the phenomena curious and sometimes infuriating (like with my toddler).

Well, the bathroom hasn’t always been existing in our own homes. We used to do our business in privacy away from the living quarters. So it’s great we can use technology to help us be comfortable again in the modern world.

That’s my understanding of it anyways.

My room was next to said bathroom with rather thin walls, so I always appreciated the sound at least be a bit played down by the music.

Another side effect was that you always knew when the bathroom was in use (aside from someone forgetting to turn the light off, which you now had radio playing to remind you off).

Oh, I am not disputing the fact it was likely helpful (and I only replied to your comment since it was one of the examples of "solutions" yet to get a reply; if anything, that one is pretty neat).

But why and how did we become bothered by the _sounds_ of it? Are you bothered by the coo-coos of birds, or morning rooster calls. Cats purring, screeching cat calls or dogs barking? All of these can be similarly annoying, but we are not "solving" them.

It's weird how our association of sounds with smells and dirtiness of taking a dump has made sounds which are rarely that bad in objective sense (loudness, pitch...) so unpleasant.

It's also how it's considered impolite to slurp a soup, and some people are outright disgusted by hearing it being done.

Yeah I wanted to do that but I was scared of playing with electricity so I built the first prototype with a raspberry Pi and soldered on a PIR-sensor to it.

Do you know of the Japanese version?


Edit: In a Shared Apartment we once connected a Radio and a Disco Ball to the light Switch. It was a windowless guest bathroom, we completely painted it black. Fun times.

Yes I bought it and tried it but it kinda sucks because you need to hold your hand against it and it’s pretty obvious what you are doing.

Loodio always plays music when you enter the bathroom unless you mute it.

IIRC just sitting (joking not intended) is enough to play Sound Princess. Maybe you put the machine on wrong place?

The one I have (latest model I think) you need to wave your hand in front of (closely).

It would be really funny to play some audio clips from south park.

Back the Kickstarter and if we reach enough funding we are adding support for your own music on a memory card ;)

I want something like this, but for dining rooms. If I were the king of the world, this would, by mandate, be built into every table.

I have a quirk that I can't stand eating in silence - hearing the biting and chewing sounds of other people, and of the utensils in operation, is causing me extreme discomfort (this also applies to my own sounds, but I usually have computer fan noise to accompany me when I eat alone). I need a source of noise - intense table conversations, or background music - anything that stops my mind from focusing on the sounds of food being eaten. My wife knows about this, and whenever we visit our families, she secretly arranges for some sort of music to be playing by the time we sit to dinner.

There are audiologists starting to work with misophonia patients now; you should see if there are any in your area and if they can help you with this at all. I've had some promising success so far.

I solve that problem by turning on the hairdryer. My wife thought I'm weird but she's starting to realize the benefits

Haha everyone has their own strat! My buddy runs down to the washing room in his apartment building whenever he has a date visiting...

You should save some electricity with a Loodio instead ;)

Do you want your wife to think you are washing your hair instead of taking a dump?

I got a motion sensor that plays audio files on Amazon and put a waterfall type noise on loop. Only had to charge it every couple months. I think it was like $50. I hate random music in my life but maybe more people would prefer a variety of music

I’m the opposite because I’m tired of all the choices today. Just pick for me! Anyways Loodio will have a memory card reader so you can upload your own music. :)

And honestly I don’t care if it takes off or not.

I urgently need it.

However it would be nice to get back those 50k I’ve spent on the development process but in either case I learned a lot.

Curious if there’s some way I can contact you regarding questions about getting a hw startup off the ground. I have an idea for a small household electronic which would be similar in size and (probably) complexity to yours.

Of course! Shoot me an email on carl@loodio.com

Good luck with your launch! Have you settled on a price yet? I didn't see one one the website.

Thanks! First 100 backers get it for $99.

Is 'privacy' code for 'being able to fart' in this context?

Farting is the least annoying of bodily sounds that happen in the bathroom.

Such as? I honestly want to know, because I've never experienced any sounds from others that were particularly annoying.

Someone trying to force out the contents of their bowels out? The sound of said contents making contact with the water in the bowl? Etc.

Fair enough, I can't really get upset about that. Everybody poops, man.

Everybody farts, too.

Is it more of a problem for you to hear others taking a dump or others hearing you?

For me: both

My project involves turning an old Saab into a racecar, and using it to explore moonshot ideas like creating a composite from natural materials instead of fiberglass or carbon fiber. The racecar part keeps it fun, even if the ideas don't pan out.

Documenting it here: https://surjan.substack.com/

Fantastic! You're such an engaging writer. Subscribed.

I've gotten a tad weary of only reading programmer's blogs. You can only transfer over things like stateless application design so far into other fields. Mechanical Engineers deserve some love too! Sadly, the closest I've come to a "Hacker News for Mechanical Engineers" is the FSAE forums, aka, not close at all. So your blog is very welcome!

A little nervous sharing this, since it is a work-in-progress, but here goes nothing :)

I'm currently learning about sales and marketing and think I can share my modest knowledge on the topic in a way that is fairly systematic.

One of the draws of programming for me—and I believe this is true for a lot of developers—is that software development is fairly a systematic discipline to get into, unlike sales or marketing, for instance.

The path to learning how to program is fairly systematic i.e. learning follows a well-defined path where you learn your first "hello, world", then learn about constants, variables, expressions, conditionals, loops, functions etc. Making recursion the first lesson is a recipe for confusion for most beginners to programming.

My goal with the guide is to explain sales and marketing—in a well-defined way similar to how programming is learnt—using plain language, while avoiding jargon, as much as possible.

Learning this way has been helpful to me and I think a guide like this would be helpful to developers out there that struggle with answering questions like whether to do sales or marketing first, build an audience before building a product etc.

I'm on the free tier of ConvertKit so I'm trying to figure the easiest way to automatically email subscribers a copy of the current draft of the guide.

Here's the current landing page: https://guide.ayewo.com/

I've seen a couple marketing guides pitched at engineers, and I think there's more potential in this space for sure. The value prop is intriguing to me.

Quick feedback: if you want more early reviewers, perhaps put up an example post. That would answer a few things for someone like me: is the writing good, what level is the material (beginner or intermediate), can I walk about with at least one non-obvious insight.

Thanks for the feedback.

I’ll put something up.

Hey, I’m also very interested in this! Just an FYI, IME using hello@domain or any similar role-based or impersonal email from an unproven domain OR while using a service that lumps you in with a bunch of other accounts will make it really hard to end up in a primary email inbox. Most of the time you’ll get diverted to promotions (Gmail) or spam (a bunch of others).

Thanks for the feedback, octostone! I'll keep this in mind and definitely fix it, if I do move to another ESP.

A bit of context: I set up the landing page with some basic copy two days ago (February 1). I saw this Ask HN on the front page yesterday (February 2) when it was about 7 hours old, so I made several edits to the copy to make the message clearer, before sharing the link here.

So, I was plenty surprised by the number of subscribers‡ I got from this comment alone. Thank you to everyone who subscribed to be a reviewer!

‡If anyone is curious about my numbers, yesterday, I got 17 subscribers, currently at 20 subscribers!

In the spirit of transparency, these are my current numbers for https://guide.ayewo.com/:

  - 164 Visitors
  - 20 Subscribers
  - 12.2% Conversion Rate

To play devils advocate why should someone learn marketing and and sales from someone that doesn't have real world experience? The noise to signal ratio is already so high in the field. Good luck regardless.

> To play devils advocate why should someone learn marketing and and sales from someone that doesn't have real world experience? The noise to signal ratio is already so high in the field.

The same way you can't become a programmer, if all you have is knowledge gained from reading a book on the topic; you have to put in the work by learning from your mistakes in a programming environment.

My goal with the guide is to help a technical audience gain a basic, but clear understanding of the concepts that constitute sales & marketing that they can build upon. The guide is not promising readers that they'll become a highly-sought after sales person or marketer, overnight.

> Good luck regardless.


I have been working for years now on Exomind[1], a personal knowledge management tool that takes the form of a unified inbox in which you can have your emails, tasks, notes and bookmarks organized into collections. I have an iOS and a web/electron client at the moment, and a simple Chrome extension for bookmarking. I plan to eventually add files (blobs), definitions and support extensibility via WASM applications.

Its backend (Exocore[2]) is built on top of a personal / private blockchain and is made from the ground up to be hosted in a semi-decentralized fashion on your own personal devices (your computer, raspberry pi, a cloud instance, etc.). It is written in Rust and has iOS, C and Web (WASM) clients.

It has very rough edges, but I'm using it daily to organize my life. It has also been my learning playground to improve my Rust skills over the last two years (it was on another tech stack before).

[1]: https://github.com/appaquet/exomind [2]: https://github.com/appaquet/exocore

Could you possibly share some screenshots, including of the gmail integration etc.? Or are they already there just I couldn't find?

I just added a few screenshots in the README: https://github.com/appaquet/exomind

As for the Gmail integration, it is quite crude at the moment. I use it mostly to organize incoming emails, but I still use Gmail to send or reply to my emails. Exomind inbox is synchronized with Gmail, so all emails that you remove from one or the other get removed / archived on the other side. It also supports multiple accounts.

If you are interested to try and not afraid of the rough edges, just let me know. I added Discussions to the GitHub repository.

I wrote a meal scheduler - https://gitlab.com/dustin-space/meal-scheduler. It tracks ingredients we have at home, it has a database of recipes, it knows where we can buy ingredients online (for delivery).

It schedules meals for my shared household. I can give it a request like: "next week I want to cook 4 vegetarian meals with 3 portions, and 1 vegan meal for 8 people for big shared dinner, and I want <=2 of those to be noodles.

It thinks for a bit with a planner (implemented in Minizinc - https://www.minizinc.org/ - with OR-Tools for a solver), and out pops a plan, like: "OK, you need to check you still have 500 g of potatoes, ..., then buy 1 kg of carrots, 1 liter of coconut milk, and here's links for the online store; I also checked those ingredients in stock; I also need cayenne pepper, you'll have to get it yourself because I don't know how to get it online".

The planner can understand things like "there's risotto rice, jasmine rice, arborio rice, etc.; some recipes ask for specific type of rice but some recipes are OK with any kind of rice". And there's more things I plan to support in the future, like ingredients that allow "use this ingredient or this other ingredient", or optional ingredients.

When we get a plan, we then check we have all the needed stock, and if we don't, we update the stock and replan. And when it's done, it generates an ICS file with calendar entries we add to our shared calendar ("today we're cooking gnocchi with pesto for 4 people, here's link to the recipe"). It also generates stickers, which you print on sticker paper, and you put them on the ingredients that will be needed to cook. The stickers ensure someone doesn't accidentally eat too much of them before we need them.

It's given us a lot of utility for our household. It lets us make tasty fancy meals without the toil of planning. It's quite rough around the edges - no fancy UI, lots of "you have to enter this textproto here and there's next to no validation". But I'm slowly improving it in my spare time to make it more convenient and useful for us.

Right now, the published part of it is not useful, it only includes like 8 recipes that we manually entered. But I'm trying to design it so that it can eventually be a platform, and ideally easy-ish to use for households.

That sounds like a fun application, both the usage and the implementation.

I wonder if you have any interesting example data-files that could be used with the model, preferable both something small and something larger? Would be fun to test the model locally to see how it behaves.

Notes: I'm assuming here that https://gitlab.com/dustin-space/meal-scheduler/-/blob/master... is the model used.

Unfortunately the model is wildly unoptimized. You can extract small minizinc inputs by `blaze test //plan:wrapper_test` which tests the model on simple use cases, the temporary files will go to `--test_tmpdir`.

I don't have a big minizinc input on hand. In our database it takes about 2 minutes to plan for a weeks meals. The model is probably wildly inefficient and optimizing it is one thing on the long term bug list.

Cool, I'll try that out later on.

If you have the time, extracting a large sample would be nice. Real-world usage is always more interesting than academic examples. Something that takes around 2 minutes feels like a sweet-spot for optimization as well, long enough to matter but not long enough to be annoying to experiment with.

This is cool I have a similar thought in mind as well as far as having specific meals/ingredients to buy and suggest at random with cost for next grocery run.

Looked at the repo, any screenshots of the UI/interface?

I don't have any on hand, but it's extremely bare bones. Plain HTML, no CSS, no JavaScript. Also I don't have a permanently running server yet, I just boot it up with a sqlite db in Git when i need to use it. Might respond later with screenshots if i remember when its more convenient for me.

I just wasn't sure like how you use this, is it expected to be CLI or there will be an interface. I just skimmed the readme.

There's a very simple web UI (bare HTML elements), and some things still have be done via command-line.

This would be fantastic for households with multiple dietary constraints.

Yeah, that's our thing. Big rationalist/EA apartment with many vegans and vegetarians and one meat eater.

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