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All of my side-projects from 2012 (jazzychad.net)
147 points by jazzychad on Jan 1, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments

Jeez, I thought I had a lot of side projects, but I think you have me beat. You've inspired me to make my own list:

Scrollorama http://johnpolacek.github.com/scrollorama/

What The Heck Is Responsive Web Design http://johnpolacek.github.com/scrolldeck.js/decks/responsive...

Scrolldeck http://johnpolacek.github.com/scrolldeck.js

Scrollorama2:SuperScrollorama http://johnpolacek.github.com/superscrollorama/

Are You A Brogrammer http://areyouabrogrammer.com

BigVideo.js http://dfcb.github.com/BigVideo.js/

Channel of Awesome http://dfcb.github.com/channel-of-awesome/

Responsivator! http://dfcb.github.com/Responsivator/

stacktable.js http://johnpolacek.github.com/stacktable.js/

controldeck.js (2013) http://dfcb.github.com/controldeck.js/

Neat projects! A lot of useful things for developers in there. My projects for this year are less developer oriented, just random things I thought were interesting at the time:

Six Degrees of Bowie - http://www.sixdegreesofbowie.com/ - simple musical influencers graph

web-workers-fallback - https://github.com/typpo/web-workers-fallback - webworker compatibility layer

Github Participation Graph - https://github.com/typpo/github-participation-graph - chrome extension that improves some github aesthetics

World of Loot - http://worldofloot.com/ - pinterest-style mmo wishlists

Asterank 3D - http://asterank.com/3d - interactive visualization of thousands of objects in our inner solar system

Facebook Unsee - http://ianww.com/fb-unsee/ - chrome extensions that stops facebook from telling people when you've viewed a message

Asterank - http://asterank.com - a database of asteroids that catalogs their scientific attributes and potential economic value

GiftHorse - http://gifthorse.us - gift suggestion engine that barely generates revenue via amazon affiliate links

TextBelt - http://textbelt.com - free outgoing SMS API

KeepDream - http://keepdream.me - dream logging service

Your Asterank and Asterank 3d is pretty cool. How did you get the value of the asteroids ?

Thanks. I estimated the value based on spectral class, which gives us an idea of composition based on how they reflect light. I combined this with current prices for materials mostly from the London Metal Exchange. Other costs such as getting to the asteroid and mining overhead are factored in.

This sounds awesome, nicely done.

I've been planning to do a hack like this to demonstrate the realities of interstellar travel, modelled after a game I played as a child.

Have you shown this to Planetary Resources? Just for the fun and some PR of it (at least)?

Where did you get the data for Asterank? The visualization part looks pretty neat.

All my sources are listed on http://asterank.com/about. Most of the raw data comes from the Minor Planet Center and JPL. The intuition on how to calculate value and cost comes from a number of papers on the subjects of asteroid composition and other asteroid characteristics. The actual value calculations are just formulas that I created and tweaked based on several reference objects.

Asterank is frankly inspiring, thanks so much for sharing - well done!

I played with some of these, is scroll deck supposed to work in the iPad? I couldn't get it to do anything. I don't have a desktop to try for comparison. Amazing work with all this

Here are mine. All of them are open source:

- Punch - http://github.com/laktek/punch (my most popular open source project)

- Punch Blog Boilerplate - https://github.com/laktek/punch-blog

- Extract Values (JS) - https://github.com/laktek/extract-values

- Distraction Free Writing for Vim - https://github.com/laktek/distraction-free-writing-vim

- Go wrapper for Stack Exchange API - https://github.com/laktek/Stack-on-Go

More than that, I enjoyed blogging a lot in last year - http://laktek.com/2012

8 out of those 24 posts, got featured in HN homepage. Those discussion threads helped me to learn more and raise my bar. Also, I made lot of new friends thanks to HN.

Thanks for all the inspiration HN. Looking forward for a great 2013!

Currently using Punch to build up an MVP and loving it so far :) Hoping to contribute back a few boilerplates and helpers in the near future

I don't mean to be negative, but I've never been impressed with people who have dozens of side projects. Instead of writing 10 crappy side projects, who not make 1 great side project?

My side project, at the time is called Giotto: https://github.com/priestc/giotto. It's a python web framework. I started it in April, and still commit to it almost every day.

Sure, to each his/her own. In my experience, one long running side-project does not afford the learning opportunities of doing many smaller (non-crappy, imo) projects. For me, that's the main motivation behind them: to learn new things and have an excuse to implement them. Also in my case, my day job is extremely demanding, so I don't have tons of time to devote to one giant project... thus many smaller bite-sized projects.

That's very negative, despite the disclaimer. And from what I've seen of the above, people aren't writing ten crappy side projects, many of them are excellent.

Staying focused on one thing is fine too, but for many of us, we like to dabble in many things.

If Giotto is your way of learning python and building another (python) web framework then that's fine too. One difference is that many of the above side projects are new and do things that we didn't have prior to someone building them, meanwhile yet another web framework a la bottle et al is really contributing very little new.

Its not about size, its about length of development. Great software takes more than a few days to create. I think the most direct indicator of software quality is number of commits. A project with 10 commits is probably full of bugs. A project with 400 commits has probably had enough chance to adapt really well to whatever problem it is supposed to be solving. Its not a direct correlation, but its usually true.

I've had co-workers who had 50 github repos all filled with 30 line "projects" with 5 commits each. Those types of projects don't make you a better programmer. Work on the same project all year. That will make you a better programmer. Craft the project. Let it adapt. Test it, deploy it. Tweak it. Deploy it again. Seek feedback from users. Tweak it some more. Going through that process will make you a better programmer.

Sounds more like the day job than a side project.

One thing I've learned from trying to learn drawing is that there's value in creating rough sketches in order to capture a certain form or gesture. It feels like coding small-scoped side projects is the coding equivalent of this.

That's a good list!

When I start a side project I tend to forget that after it's "done" I have to maintain it. In fact I've been delaying the inevitable and I should kill a couple of them ASAP (hey, that's a good new year's resolution!).

My 2012 list is quite short:

- A web based crossword app, content automatically generated from wiktionary entries; the puzzles require some review before can be queued (~30 minutes per week): http://crucigramas.usebox.net/

- Run CGI apps under Python WSGI protocol (PEP 333): https://github.com/reidrac/wsgi2cgi

- I've been working on an Arduino project (it will be a game console; audio done -XM player, 4 channels-), but I haven't released anything yet :(

- A Network Block Device (NBD) server for OpenStack Object Storage (technically a 2012 project because I started it in December, but there's a lot of stuff to do): https://github.com/reidrac/swift-nbd-server

All my side projects are in the "scratch my own itch" category. Sometimes I wish I could make something profitable (meaning: extra income), but learning new stuff and keeping my skills current is definitely a good value... so I don't mind.

I'm on the complete other end of the spectrum. No sideprojects. Doing anything other than working on the startup always made me feel guilty. Just my blog that I just rebuilt/designed in December: http://paulstamatiou.com Hoping to write more in 2013

There should be a healthy life/work balance. Doing nothing but work is unhealthy. Side-projects offer a nice break from the norm and the ability to be creative and learn new things. Usually my side-projects wind up helping me in my normal work later on. But, you don't have to do side-projects. Just make sure to not burn yourself out with work. Do you feel guilty eating, sleeping, exercising, travelling, meeting with friends? Hopefully not.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple, but:

- QtzWeb - https://github.com/daeken/Qtzweb (Quartz Composer -> JS+WebGL compiler; used it to partycode http://pouet.net/prod.php?which=60732)

- QuestCompanions - https://github.com/daeken/QuestCompanions (Online labor marketplace for help in MMORPGs -- complete failure from a commercial perspective!)

- SteelBreeze - https://github.com/daeken/SteelBreeze (Xbox emulation platform, mainly to test out new ways to write emulators)

- WebGLEnabler - https://github.com/daeken/WebGLEnabler (Enables WebGL on iOS devices)

- GenShaders - http://www.displayhack.org/2012/genshaders-part-1/ (failed experiment for evolving fragment shaders; still need to write a followup article)

What happened with QuestCompanions? Is it up still anywhere? haven't sen you on IRC in a while.

I kept meaning to write a blog post about it, but it kept getting pushed back. Short story is: we got a decent number of users signed up, but no one was willing to pay money, everyone just wanted to get paid to play games. And by "no one", I truly mean 0%. A few weeks in, the server died and when I brought it back up, I decided not to restore the site (I had backups) but rather keep it down and rebrand it a bit, in hopes of making it clearer and more appealing to people. But I ended up getting way too busy with work and all that, and that never happened.

I opened the source a while back; it'd be cool if someone took it and actually made it successful, but I have serious doubts that it could ever work. I always knew that few users would be willing to pay money for in-game help, but capturing those few turned out to be harder than I thought.

- PairMixer - http://pairmixer.com - Find someone to Pair with (got sued for this one had to take it down)

- Sink or Ship - http://sinkorship.com - Ship Your Project In Time, Or Else...

Can you say why you got sued for PairMixer? Was it patent related?

I probably shouldn't say yet, suit is still ongoing and isn't settled yet.

I just have one: unslideshow, a Chrome extension which takes slideshow articles and turns them into single page articles.


It's very rough because I'm the only one that uses it. It only works with one site (complex.com) because their slideshows are egregious (100 items with a full page load on each slide) and I got really frustrated one night.

I currently have plans to extend it to other sites and polish up the UI a bit so it's actually worth publishing, but who knows.

I had a lot of fun writing it and learned a lot, it was my first Chrome extension.

Bonus: I left my Ruby POC in the source tree because it was so fun to write. 17 lines!

This is awesome, I thought 3 was a lot of projects but clearly I'm way behind on this one. As a side note, I started learning to program early 2012.

Here is my list:

- CourseBacon: Find online learning resources (http://coursebacon.com/)

- NetworkMill: Help you transform contacts into connections (http://networkmill.com/)

- Roompatible: Roommate finder. It's the 1st webapp I built while learning to code (http://roompatible.com/)

Note: CourseBacon and NetworkMill are still work in progress.

You're quite awesome mate. I started learning to program since 2005, but this year i haven't finish any programming projects yet.

Thanks for the encouragement, much appreciated!

How about you aim to ship at least 1 project this year? You've got over 360 days to do it. If you want I'll be your accountability partner.

Edit: Feel free to email me at <hn_username>@gmail.com :)

I would pay for a site/newsletter that sent me side projects like these (and the others mentioned on this thread) on a daily basis. These are fantastic!

interesting... sort of like a http://builtwithbootstrap.com/ style site or newsletter? perhaps also a featured section for people to promote their projects... ?

Yup. That could be your next project :)

HN has really motivated me to start thinking about side projects seriously, even if just as learning exercise or solving my own problems. I only just started publishing them a few months ago, but I've had a lot of fun these:

Chroma https://github.com/seenaburns/Chroma - Python color handling and manipulation library

Desaturate https://github.com/seenaburns/Desaturate - Menu Bar app to force Mac OS X into grayscale display

Tungsten https://github.com/seenaburns/Tungsten - Wolfram Alpha API wrapper for Python

Open URLs In Tabs https://github.com/seenaburns/Open-URLs-In-Tabs - Port of John Gruber's OS X service to open links in tabs, modified to work for Chrome (/ your default browser).

Desaturate is definitely my favorite. Now for 2013, I have to learn to comment more and write more.

Wow, impressive list. Clearly I need to get off my backside and develop more. Thanks for the kick!

That's a very impressive list. One thing great about programming is the path from idea to product is fairly smooth if you can do it all by yourself. Great list.

Mine is much shorter. Didn't have time to do more.

- Jsoda, https://github.com/williamw520/jsoda, API unifying SimpleDB and DynamoDB.

- BoxupText, https://boxuptext.com/, pure browser side encryption.

- Daily Badge, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mhillsyste..., app for tracking daily goal.

Only three, but some are quite big.

Framer http://www.framerjs.com - Modern prototyping tool for web and mobile using javascript and css transitions.

Cactus http://github.com/koenbok/Cactus - Simple static site generator with s3 deployment aimed at designers.

Cavia http://github.com/koenbok/Cavia - Document store on top of sql modeled after bigtable/appengine datastore, and how FriendFeed stored data in mysql.

Truly very inspirational. I was wondering about the new year resolutions for 2013. Thanks jazzychad for a direction. I am still a long long way from creating and developing applications like the ones mentioned in your list. But someday I wish to get there too. Planning to start with a list like this year! What could be a better resolution than learn something new and then build something from that knowledge gained. So wishing myself luck for my endeavor!

Only one true sideproject for me in 2012:

CallMeMae.be: http://callmemae.be

Business Card sharing and exchange. Built it at an eight hour hackathon and won the grand prize, making it my only profitable project to date! In the new year I'm hoping to rewrite from the ground up as a telephone proxy service, but still need to do the customer validation.

> In the new year I'm hoping to rewrite from the ground up as a telephone proxy service...

Would you mind elaborating on that a little bit? I'm working on something similar and would love to hear what others are doing.

Mine are mostly incomplete, but my main one so far has been:

Knockblock: https://github.com/agentultra/knockblock

and I guess http://mug.io -- but I haven't touched that one in a while. I guess 2013 will be the year that I get a few of these projects finished!

Given that mobile photo sharing has been done to death, I'd be interested to hear what you think makes Pixit a significantly better solution than all the other apps out there for some usecase.

(Not trying to sound confrontational--it's just not a space that I thought had much more innovation left in it, so I'm curious to hear what you've come up with.)

That's a fair question. It could be that this is a solved problem by some other system/app, but I couldn't easily find one while my problem persisted... so I did what every over-active nerd does: I just built my own solution.

I think Pixit is different because it is solely for quick photo sharing between friends in 3 steps. Simple, quick, and effective. However, I'm not sure how much mass appeal it would have. It works for my usecase, but increasingly I find that I am an outlier when it comes to consumery stuff.

I don't get it?

"I thought up an app that would make it extremely easy to send many pictures to a group of friends in one go."

Isn't that email?

yes, it is. however, accomplishing this with email on iphone is extremely tedious (many steps) and error-prone.

Not in my experience, camera roll, select photos, share, email, auto-complete friends email address's, send

This isn't in any way tedious or error prone.

"I wanted to improve my life skills in some other fashion than programming ... I needed a way to train myself since there are many rules to learn. So, what do I do? I break my rule of no more programming and write my own training software."

Things like this confirm for me that I am in the right profession :)

nice list! I also did a similar post, and since people seem to be posting theirs here, here's mine: http://blog.mroth.info/blog/2012/11/11/the-year-in-side-proj...

I'm loving this stuff! It says you went on a domain buying spree after the emoji find. Can I ask what Other domains you got? Is there something special about the .ws or does it work on .com too?

for .ws, as far as I can tell, most TLDs don't allow "fun" things such as emoji, and the software most registrars use also sometimes barfs on it, so it was definitely specific to that registrar/TLD/point in time. Not sure if it will still work. The registar was iwantmyname.com

No easy way to cut&paste the domains I have here, but my favorites other than the star are the spiral, bomb, storm cloud (which I want to turn into a weather service) and fork&knife.

hi - just wanted to say i loved your blog post, I am taking a look at setting up a prototype of pigstream just to get a feel for Ruby and Heroku. It is going well though I got stuck at installing the dependencies for the project. (bundle install...erm wat)Ill figure it out soon. All good fun though!

Hey there -- if the `bundle install` command isn't working when you are in the repo, you probably need the bundler gem installed, which is kind of like a package manager for ruby project deps. Just do `gem install bundler` and you should be able to run commands with it afterwards. Feel free to email me if you need any help!

I really like the formatting of your list, especially your detailed notes on each project.

StepStats is great! I just got a Fitbit for Christmas and these graphs are a lot better than the ones on the Fitbit site. The best part is they work on iOS devices unlike the Flash ones that Fitbit uses.


- PayLib https://github.com/rutherford/PayLib (about to be gutted and rebuilt)


- Kickstartit http://kickstarter.greatsuccessmaker.com

- Ghost Messenger https://facebookghostmessenger.appspot.com/


- nltk on app engine https://github.com/rutherford/nltk-gae

My one and only side project - http://www.cheekynote.com (WARNING NSFW)

Could you share the reasons for your choice in technologies in the stack?

i.e node.js, mongodb, heroku, php, ruby etc.

BankersBox looks nice! A shame you didn't "finish it" with the implementation of hashes & co.

I'd still like to... or for someone else to! In 10 months nobody has done it, so it might be up to me after all.... or it means that nobody really wants/needs it. It would be fun as an academic exercise, though.

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