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Ask HN: Tell us about your side projects.
49 points by anujkk 1900 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments
Let us know about your awesome side projects and weekend hacks. What are the cool things you have made or what you are currently working on or plan to work in near future?

Since I was a little kid I've played on text based "mafia" games, where the idea was like any other game, to be the highest rank, the richest, the one with the most "kills" or in the best "crew", etc.

I started learning to code because of these games in all honesty, over the last couple of weeks I've been working on an open source mafia game (with an installer and configuration page, control panel for moderators, etc) to allow inexperienced people to release their own version of the game (or to give experienced programmers a solid base to work from.)

At this stage I'm getting in the content, the gambling aspects of it, etc. and I am reaching the point where I will consider releasing it. About 90 hours have gone in to it so far at about 6 hours per day (I also have a 40 hour/week full time job with a 2 hour each way bus commute.)

I've come up against and defeated a lot of challenges, and the codebase is very clean and MVC based (I use php5, CodeIgniter and MySQL) so I'm genuinely proud that this revisit to my more youthful days has been a fruitful one. I plan to go live with a demo and release the source on github and via my personal website in about a week or two, depending on how I fare against what I have left to code.

Sounds cool, I used to play an PBM (Play By Mail) game called It's a crime... been waiting for a modern version of this since forever.. (http://www.kjcgames.com/crime/index.php)

If you would be amenable to it being realtime and not play-by-mail, I could send you a tweet with the source and demo (which will be running a live version and won't be closed (assuming I don't become homeless and run out of money for hosting any time soon =) )) link for you to take a look at?

sounds good. would be happy to give it a crack

I learned to code for exactly the same reason, i even started an uplink style computer hacking game while learning. Unfortunately it got a bit too popular for my skills and i had to shut it down because i didnt know enough at the time to squash the bugs and make it properly playable. One of my biggest mistakes was shutting it down. One day ive said ill start it up again now that i know my shit.

You should do it, it really shows you how far you've come when you revisit a project from your past, even only 6 months earlier, you can see how you have improved.

I have a terrible memory, and want to remember more about the little things that happen in my life, and remember the facts I come across that I find interesting. Spaced Repetition Learning is a proven tool for improving memory, but still isn't available in a well designed simple app. (I've tried them all!). I am busy building this app as a side project. I was excited when http://memstash.co/ launched but it doesn’t use spaced repetition, the key aspect of improving memory. There are so many fascinating things around me, and with this app I will remember everything I want to.

I was just looking for something like this the other day. Memstash looks like it sends you 3 text messages over a week. Are you doing longer term spaced repetition?

So the basic premise is that it would vary the spacing based on how well you remembered the fact. Would start daily, then if you know it well, go weekly, then monthly etc.. The idea is that it's dynamic and mimics your memory decay. Memstash doesn't get feedback from each alert, it just shows you. There is no interaction or feedback to know how well you remembered each item which would then inform the spacing. You can read more here if interested: http://www.supermemo.com/articles/theory.htm

Neat idea. Neat design too, however, the "thi" in anything blends into the background pic.

My side project is http://www.imobee.com.br, it's a real estate search engine for Brazil...

We are trying to build something close to Trulia because our real estate sites suck bad.

We are still on alpha and only the main interface is working, but we will add a lot of statistics and analysis to it so it can become useful.

Coding on my free time with a friend and trying to find some money to work full time on it, but it's very very very hard to do that here in Brazil.

Opnions are welcome.

I really like this idea. I hate how existing services limit regions, such as Trulia - it's not like the maps are hard to get - I hope your service works out.

Still hacking away on http://www.thetaboard.com on nights and weekends. Getting a good flow of signups. Trying to decide whether to charge for it (and if so, how to market it) or possibly just leaving it free (it isn't costing much to run).

As always would love to have some feedback.

Great great job! I love the demo and love the clean interface compared with Trello. I think eventually you'll reach a point where you need to decide if this is still a side project or there's some potential there. Leaving it free for now is perfectly fine but eventually as more and more people use it, it might cost you a whole lot more (in which case, it might be a good thing). Good luck!

Thanks! Glad you like it. Yeah, I've got some features I would like to add but am holding back b/c they would result in increased operating costs. I'll need to make a decision in the next 6 months or so.

What is your marketing methodology? Do you have any blog post that tells story of thetaboard : idea - to - inception - to - first few users ?

I write the odd blog post but have not done any focused marketing. I've gotten a few write ups here and there that provide a trickle of traffic that converts into signups pretty well.

My goal with ThetaBoard is to keep it very simple and flexible. I think I've achieved that (which is good) but it makes marketing more difficult--it's hard to market "unspecific". And having Trello as a free 800lb gorilla doesn't help.

I have a full time job so it's not a huge priority for me right now--I'm just focused on building out new features people request (that make sense). It's growing on its own at a pace that keeps me interested.

Not necessarily agree.. the simplicity is what would make it use vs trello = you sell an EASY way to Trello =)

just had a quick look at it but i've had the best experience adding a paid option to it as soon as it works enough to support this. start with low prices, but get somebody to actually pay for it.

it might take weeks to get a payment, you can route up paypal for it, make it a yearly payment one off fee or something. keep it low.

as soon as you have someone paying for it, your speed will greatly increase, you'll be working and focusing more on working around that person to make their experience top notch. you'll most likely receive an e-mail from that person soon. it's not your regular type of customer. this person is special, he/her will start e-mailing you with ideas. work with them, see what you can do to make it happen.

the rest will be history. if you reach this point, it'll go fast.

edit: and just to add, in my last project, i've had to refund over 25 customers (my decision, didn't ask for it), since the service was down for a few days, some things went undetected, stuff like that. it helps making sure you work smarter and more aware moving forward.

I'm still slowly working on Hackerbuddy: http://hackerbuddy.com/ - fun fact, the user base is now at a level where I can find people on Hackerbuddy to help improve Hackerbuddy. Is there a name for apps that recursively improve themselves?

Trendy antivirus doesn't like your site

Website blocked by Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security Malicious website blocked http://hackerbuddy.com/ Rating: Dangerous Verified fraudulent page or threat source. What You Can Do:

Contact your administrator about security settings on your network Copyright © 2006-2011. Trend Micro™ Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Thanks for the headsup - first I've heard about it. I'll have to look into getting it unblocked (I guess it's because of the domain name?)


This is a great idea, I registered and already asked someone for help.

Writing the request was a bit tedious since it is limited to 400 characters and there is no counter.. so I had to open another browser window and find an online character counter.

Great idea

Thanks for the heads up - I definitely need to fix that. Thanks for the kind words, let me know how it goes :)

I used it several times also, both to give and ask for help.

The idea is great and people are really willing to help :).

Closet term I can think of is self-modyfying code (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-modifying_code)

I made my first ever Android app in march: https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=kiteflyingmo... It's a dice rolling app called 'Time to Die', I did it in about 2 months of evenings. I had never programmed in Java before.

I started making a website: http://www.talesfromthemoshpit.com/ What I've done there isn't really functional yet. It's taken about a month of evenings. I had never used HTML, CSS, PHP, SQL or JavaScript before.

I kind of lost interest in my website when my Raspberry Pi arrived, and since I have been working on a home media centre. It's going quite well so far, I'm doing it in Perl, which seems to be quite a fun language.

I put http://www.foundcamera.com together as a quick 1 day project a few months ago. I wanted to put an interactive map at the centre of it all.

It really is an MVP of a project currently and I would like to expand on it as I'm getting a backlog of cameras to list on the site even without any promotion - just good search engine rankings for popular phrases.

Lots of people are offering rewards in their posts too, a few people have said if I promoted the posts with rewards this would entice more people to help out but I don't think this is right.

I'd also like to monetize it in an unobtrusive way, just to cover its own running costs, as there's only so many projects that you can keep paying for.

I'd really appreciate feedback/suggestions.

Great project ! I really like both the idea and how you implemented it.

After clicking on a found camera pin-point, I was a bit disappointed : I closed the left frame showing details of said camera and hoped for the map to show every other pin-points again. I tried zooming out, before understanding I had to either go back in my browser or to chose a top-menu item. IMO you should automatically go back to the "whole map" upon closing the specific left frame.

nicely done. I noticed on the about, contact, add lost, I've found and I've lost pages, your background image is not coming through..... unless that's deliberate?

I've been working on http://www.hupland.com for almost a year. The idea is to help you to improve your Heads Up NL skill by playing, studying your games, and monitoring your ELO rating. I had this problem myself few years back when I was a graduate student struggling with financial issues. I was trying to earn some money on online poker sites but I couldn't afford learning by losing first. I'm pretty close to the MVP-version launch (only 1 feature: play with friend).

One thing I've learnt was that it is really easy to get distracted due to all context switches and conflict responsibilities. So I try my best to touch the code every day (even 1 line CSS change is good enough).

Here are some of my little hacks: http://jgc.org/labs.html

I really liked http://getpopfile.org . I had a somewhat related idea where I wanted to use ML to filter incoming emails and assign/tag them as to-do list items.

Have you considered making a web/mobile version? Email overload is one hot topic these days.

Actually what I considered doing was making it a service. Since it can all operate transparently through IMAP (including training and filtering) it's trivial to make it work with any IMAP based email. I have it working against my own gmail through OAUTH, but I decided that the market was likely too small.

How small is the market and how much work it will take to make a web/mobile app for it? I think if done properly it can get some paying customers. Even if it doesn't become a big startup, it has the possibility of becoming a good source of passive income.

How about reimplementing the core logic in python and exposing it as library/API so that all kinds of web/mobile/plugin front ends can be built on top of it?

I actually have the entire thing rewritten as a C library that I have been licensing commercially to companies for years. That part's easy. The hard part (for me at least) is building the web site, billing etc.

May be you need a partner who is experienced and fluent in building modern web interfaces.

If someone wants to license my polymail library for this purpose I would be happy to do that.

It's small - I launched an MVP into this area recently. Business people who are inundated by email want a heavy, full-service solution like SaneBox, whereas consumers have been conditioned into thinking that everything regarding email should be free. There's not a lot of (paid) room in the market left.

I created a disposable email service - http://dudmail.com - this was a interesting exercise to attempt as I didn't have any experience dealing with mail servers before this.

It's been moderately successful (as far as disposable email sites go) - there's about 5000 registered users, a few hundred active users, and after a year or so am on the 1st page google results for "disposable email". (I'm number 7 on the page, but at least it's the front page =)

Currently working on a little app that sends email reminders for movies you want to see in theaters. It happens far too often that I see a trailer somewhere, think "woah I want to see that movie" then just forget about it, only to remember when it's no longer playing in local theaters.

Just finishing up the frontend, should be able to release this soon... if I find a good name, at least. Current working title is Filmnudger which I think is pretty damn bad, haha!

Hey, I wanted to solve a similar issue but I chose a different solution. I'm building an iOS app - it's in it's early stages but I've got limited time to work on it which is a shame.

I've got a few domains that I bought for it which may suit! Drop me a mail if you'd like to exchange ideas, or talk about naming/domains.



or movieminder?

New Orleans Music & Event Calendar: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wheredatwh... and soon at http://nolamusiccalendar.com

http://isshort.com - URL Shortener that uses publisher-provided short URLs (flic.kr, n.pr, wp.me, etc)

Started working on a SAAS concept recently, nothing solid to show right now.

My list of side projects from 2010, Android: Personal Finance Calculator (http://bit.ly/STAJ8n) helps you to calculate Loan Interest rate.

Baby Names (http://bit.ly/STAJ8n)Provides List of Baby names and their meaning

Mobile Number Tracker(http://bit.ly/STAIkI) provides caller info based on the mobile number (Only India).

Mobile Number Tracker US (http://bit.ly/PGakKz)

iOS Game: Juicy Fun (http://bit.ly/Ub7IRv) physics game Atom Ace (http://bit.ly/UxZ6F9) a different kind of puzzle.

iOS App: London Tube Map (http://bit.ly/QqAXo7) shows london tube statues.

Movie Theaters (http://bit.ly/SwedyD ) shows info about latest movies and movie theaters which plays them.

Nice Side-projects, but you're in definite need of a designer ;)

Thanks. Ya i know, my games flopped big time :D

1) http://my.sket.sh/ Paste screengrabs, sketch & add notes, share link with friends (can share read-only version or collaborative version where you can sketch together in realtime)

2) http://my.groceries.io/ Input your grocery stores, then aisles in the order you travel through them. Then make your grocery list and eventually through use remembers which aisles to find your items

3) http://www.gifttracker.net/ Family members each have an account, enter gifts they want, and reserve gifts to avoid duplicates. NB doesn't run under https, been meaning to take care of this. If you want to try it out keep that in mind, pick a test password.

I'm working on FreedomSponsors (http://www.freedomsponsors.org) - a micro-crowdfunding platform for open source projects. People can place money bounties related to the projects' issues, and pay after they're resolved.

Currently, payments are handled by Paypal. Right now I'm looking into Bitcoin and bit-pay to enable bitcoin payments into FS. There are a few user experience challenges that I have to work out first though (see https://github.com/freedomsponsors/www.freedomsponsors.org/i...)

FS is open source on Github. Any kind of collaboration and feedback is very welcome :-)

My today's 3 hours project is: https://ptweetcom.appspot.com/. It is thought to be a "How to" example project for Google App Engine. In general it is a micro service that gives twitter users ability to post private messages to anyone (not only for followers). You enter your secret message and addressee (@person) and get a link in response which you add to your tweet. Only addressee can follow the link and see your private message.

Next evening (now it's evening in Russia :) ) I replace this service to ptweet.com, make it more sexy and write "How to" for my blog (I guess).

I will start with myself. I recently introduced the first version of my wordpress theme "strapfolio" on HN [1]. Got lots of visitors, not so many sales and some valuable insights through comments and analytics. I will be utilizing my coming weekends to improve it.

I am also looking for ideas for my next side project that I will use as an opportunity to get a better understanding of Flask & Angular.js. So, if you aren't able to work on it yourself, let me know if you would like to get some web app that you wish existed.

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4753200

I just released Device Debug to Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.korri.andr... It reads Android device specs and device log and shows them to the user. It also allows the user to share this info through email or by writing it to a file.

The main reason for making it was to have a way to get information from devices you don't have access to. For example if your client complains that your app doesn't work with her device, you just instruct her to install Device Debug and email the info to you.

Working on my video game. It's a 2d platformer / adventure game, based on the show Community. It's open source if anyone is interested in writing Lua.


Yesterday I launched my iOS receipt management app, Simple Receipts. My goal was to make the absolute simplest app possible, as all of the (many) existing ones were complex.

By default it simply saves your receipt images to your camera roll. If you link with Dropbox, it will upload them there.

As of today it's $0.99 in the App Store. You can find it here:


I want to work on something where people can leave comments/reviews about rented property they have lived in. Whenever I move to a new place I always find myself wanting to ask the last person why they left, so I can be aware beforehand if the shower leaks, or the rooms are damp or the landlord is useless. I've found sites that have reviews of landlords or letting agents, but not of the actual properties themselves.

I'd love to know if anyone else thinks this is feasible/useful.

Useful Yes. Feasible? Depends.

Upon what would it depend do you think? From a technical standpoint I wouldn't expect it to need a huge amount of engineering, as I wouldn't expect a huge amount of concurrent users. I have been vaguely concerned about the legal aspect; would leaving a negative review be seen as slander/libel? I'm sure there must be some legal protection for this based upon the hundreds of product review websites.

I don't think reviewing a property will invite legal troubles but reviewing the landlord may do so. You need to check it with lawyer. There must be legal protection for this or you can simply transfer the legal liability to reviewer through your TOS. For example, people get sued for tweeting bad things about other people but twitter doesn't get into trouble.

As far as being feasible is concerned it depends on your resources and what you want from it. Do you want to earn money through it? Do you have the skills to develop and market it properly? Is there a paying market? These questions depends on research and lots of ifs and buts. So, it depends.

I created a service called https://www.cyphrd.com - previously called passwords.cc - which is a secured personal information service, let's you store passwords, notes, bank information, ssh logins, files/documents, and whatever else you'd like - securely, encrypted with an AES256 encryption client-side. The encryption library I've created is open source and the service is in a private beta stage.

I built http://thepaperboard.com/ with my wife over the weekend. It's a gallery of drawings people made with the Paper iPad app and shared on Twitter. We released an iPhone app based on it the next few days.

Wrote about it at http://hboon.com/how-a-developer-spent-a-weekend-with-his-de....

I've been working on http://www.weartolook.com for a while now, we're a fashion shopping mall with 250 of the best high street, luxury and department stores here in the UK, we just crossed 2m products and are gearing up for a proper launch over the next few weeks. Interested in any feedback.

(For you US guys, we're just about to add a wave of ~100 US stores)

edit: clickable

I am working on todo service and apps (yes, I know, yet another one world doesn't need, but I really enjoy it) where lists of tasks can be shared between devices and people. Starting point here: http://todoteria.com

I have written apps for Symbian, MeeGo and J2ME (not happy with the last one). As well I have BlackBerry PlayBook version ready for upload to App World.

You need Android and Iphone... they are the ones that matter.

I'm forced to learn both currently (I am not complaining). Android most probably will come first - still I can't give specific dates because my time is unpredictable.

I came up with a way to automatically modify your websites outgoing links with an affiliate code, useful for busy forums. Kind of like a lightweight, self run Skimlinks.



Edit: When I find some time, I'd really like to improve upon this and document it.

I bought http://livelystocks.com and I'm rebuilding it. It's a live streaming news service for stocks and shares. If you want to know why Apple shares have tanked, you go to livelystocks and check the live news as well as the latest headlines.

It's a little like stocktwits but many more sources and much more focused on just news, as fast as it happens.

I've been working on http://experimatch.com - a site for matching academic researchers with potential test subjects. Most researchers resort to posting flyers around campus, thus missing on a lot of people who are willing to participate for compensation (that is offered anyway). Already being used around London, and slowly growing.

I am working on http://getprivatizer.com , an open source chrome plugin, that allows you to encrypt everything you send to facebook and decrypt everything your friends want to share with you. The server and the plugin are here: https://github.com/wolfv/privatizer

I've got http://placeguitar.com - Guitar Image Placeholder written in python on google app engine

http://themepiggy.com - Open source themes based on bootstrap - written in padrino - still a work in progress - I really need to get more themes up there as well and finish off some of the code

Going slow on http://www.migrainevibe.com (a migraine journal) on weekends mostly. I've been on HN a while now (just reading, no comments), and I have to say that it really is worth going after your dreams one line of code at a time.

Thanks for the thread, I would never have the guts do a "Show HN" post with my project.

It's not much, but I've been working on http://nflscorebot.github.com for a while now. I built it mainly for myself; I always have a Twitter client open and wanted an easier way to get football scores. I've since built versions for hockey and college football, as well as French versions.

I'm trying to finish up a logger app for iPad. Based on NSLogger (https://github.com/fpillet/NSLogger), my goal is to build an app that could be useful out in the field when you're to debug or monitor how your app is behaving.

I've been working on http://www.thenpsx.com/. It's a prediction market for consumer products. I'm slowly growing the number of products represented and getting a bit of market activity. Though it's pretty thin at the moment.

I've written a greasemonkey script for reddit that pulls directly linked images, resizes them and displays them inline. I recently updated it to include flickr links as well.


My two side projects:

http://www.sizeall.com site for comparing things by real size on screen

http://www.newswebreader.com web Usenet client (three pane, like Thunderbird)

sizeall not working for me. I tried with my phone. It was almost right size when loaded but when I clicked "Actual size" it was 1.4 times bigger than actual.

Check if correct monitor size is selected (in upper right corner).

Yes, that's better. That control was in my blind spot. Maybe you should do something about that.

Sizeall That's a cool idea, how do you get the images?

Thanks :-). I get images usually from the manufacturer website.

I'm writing a book on how to get seed funding with a team and an idea _for no equity_ in exchange (up to 120000 eur). There are three methods, all EU based, but you can apply no matter what nationality you have. I'm preparing a launch page now.

I'm a newbie to Rails, yet every free time I can get around to I try to build a Kickstarter for charity in Vietnam. Still in development (http://charitymap.herokuapp.com)

Nothing mind blowing.

GameBalls.info Keeps track of viewer counts of video game streams.

ExtempEngine (.com) A mobile and chrome news database app for a very specific niche - high school extemporaneous speech students

Why .info?

The .com was taken, and of what was left, .info made the most sense contextually.

Information about eyeballs on video games.

Was debating .TV too but 25$/year was a bit too pricey for a one off side project.

Working on a cross-platform Java-based command line shell that aims to be better than the powershell's available and bring the goodness of user prompts to commands.

In order to learn Django and web development, I'm trying to build a simple website for tracking weightlifting workouts.

http://geospeak.co.uk - talk about places on Google Maps.

nvPY is my ugly but cross-platform (Linux, Windows, Mac) and open-source (new BSD) simplenote-syncing keyboard-friendly realtime-searching note-taking tool! https://github.com/cpbotha/nvpy

wrote my own scraper for stock prices, now im writing my own chart analysis app in ROR and jqPlot

also going to pull Twitter and FB updates to see if i can determine the influence social media has on stock price movements

I'm not sure what the point of this question is? Usually, if HNers have a project that they want to show to the world, they submit it as "Show HN"... But seeing as you're here for almost two years, I guess you already know that.

1. Not all side projects are posted as Show HN. For example, I know some cool hardware hacks that never get posted.

2. Not all side projects are yet developed. Some may never be ready for a Show HN but I want to know about them.

3. I find it informative to talk to developers when they are still developing it. This is the time they talk about problems and solutions and don't make a marketing pitch.

4. Main reason : I want to know what problems people are currently working on. It helps me in brainstorming and getting ideas for my own side projects.

Fair enough. Thanks for answering!

I wouldn't 'show hn' something I knew had known defects that I was still working on for example.

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