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Ask HN: Share your projects and the stories behind them
40 points by cjbarber 1511 days ago | hide | past | web | 87 comments | favorite
From Show HN: Highlighting Efforts of Creation from Hacker News [1]

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6291348


- all posts must include a story explaining why you care about the project

- if you post, you should give feedback to 4-5 other posts

I'll start!

Me and a friend from Stanford built a tool so that you don't miss opportunities. Within gmail, it reminds you of emails you sent that weren't replied to.

The url: http://gmailunreplieds.meteor.com/

We are also building a site for full time meteor.js, node.js and golang jobs, comment or email me if you're looking :)

I've built PlaceUnit. I'm sole developer/designer.



It's an app that lets anyone build a mini-responsive website entirely from their iPhone/iPad.

I knew someone who needed a new site. So instead of giving him a fish, I got him a fishing rod.. :)

Looks pretty neat (don't have an ios device to try it for real). Not sure if is a problem with my browser, but the tour doesn't seem to work (can't click the iphone area down the bottom).

I liked the promo video, although I found the start camera clicking sounds a bit jarring (but could be because I am using earbuds). The music is great. Did you license that? Or is it creative commons? I'm curious to know if there is a good place to find such stuff?

Thanks for the debug input. Will look into it.

Music is licensed via http://www.themusicbed.com/

Tip regarding music selection - it takes a lot of time to listen, so it is more efficient to listen only to what can be licensed and skip browsing YouTube for pop songs you'll never be able to get...

Album here: http://romanandalaina.com/?page_id=22

Cool, will check it out. Out of curiosity, how much did it cost to licence the tune? And what are you allowed to use it for?

LICENSE TYPE: Business / Corporate // Streaming Use Only // Single Use | Perpetual // 0-10 Employees => 199.00

Awesome info, thanks.

Amazingly useful. I'm going to shoot you an email in fact. Suggestion: add something that shows where the clickable areas of the iPhone on the website for the demo are. I was clicking the center and wasn't sure why it wasn't working.

Also a link to an example site would be great.

I'll go too: I've been building a Hubot script for interfacing with Asgard from NetflixOSS.


I think the chatbot mentality is a good one, as it forces you to script/automate things so that a chatbot can accomplish them. That level of automation is a good target imo. It's also a great way to be certain that you can solve many issues remotely - since you can generally provide a meaningful chatbot command via mobile device.

In terms of scaling and cloud (aws) management, Asgard is awesome (seriously - if you're on aws and haven't checked it out, go now: https://github.com/Netflix/asgard/wiki). The biggest complaint I have about Asgard as a tool, is it feels like more than most organizations need; because it is. My goal with the hubot-asgard scripts is to wrap some of the more essential features, and hide the bulk of the solution that many orgs just see as excess tooling.

There's also the Cloud Prize...

If anyone is interested and needs assistance or wants particular features that aren't wrapped yet (it's still very young) I'd love to know. And of course - all feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Awesome stuff, I can see this being very useful.

I believe Airbnb has built an internal solution for this, I'm sure other people would be interested.

I'm building general-purpose spaced-repetition (flashcard) software for the browser:


It started with me wanting to learn Chinese characters and being annoyed at Anki's UI/UX (Oddly I also "accidentally" learned all US state capitals and World capitals while debugging the thing).

It's Meteor + Heroku + AWS S3 (user card review data via client-side signed uploads)

I think it's great! Although I haven't used a flash card app before, so I'm not sure how qualified a judge I am.

My only comment is that on screen widths between about 780px and 1200px, the text and fields in the two side widgets of the main flash card view overflow from their white backgrounds.

I like it, I clicked on US State Capitals and it started a card. My first thought was "I don't know many US State Capitals, how do I see the entire list to get started". So perhaps add a way to present all the info in a set so a learner can quickly be exposed to the "question/answer" pairs before actually being asked to provide answers.

Also, not sure if it was something I did, but after I cancelled a session, I could no longer start a new card set. I'd click them and they'd go into "my decks" but clicking the deck would only launch a context menu thingy to edit the deck properties. How do you run them?

> I'm building general-purpose spaced-repetition (flashcard) software for the browser:

Me too! But I'm at pre-alpha. I'm using asp.net mvc & knockout.js

Looks great.

I signed up and tried to create a new deck to study as a test, but that doesn't seem to work yet?

Looks nice, I submitted some patches to a similar project a few years ago (Mnemosyne, Python+PyQt). What algorithm are you using for scheduling the repetitions? The unmodified SM2 or Anki's derivate of it?

Incredible! I feel like meteor is so unbelievably perfect for this.

Feedback: once you've clicked on a deck, there's no way I can see to get back to the home page as shown when you refresh the page.

It looks well done. How was it with deploying Meteor on Heroku?

I am working on Jobrupt, a job search and recruitment tool for discreet job interviews. It helps you to make the first step for a job interview to work with an existing connection. http://www.jobrupt.com

Show HN is the suggested way, but a monthly startup roundup would be interesting. Show HN does not bring enough attention somehow recently.

http://www.hnshowcase.com/ and http://showinghn.com are good ways to get a summary of Show HN posts.

Thanks for the idea. Interestingly reddit /r/startups brings more feedback than HN. Maybe you may hunt there for side projects too.

here's another subreddit (less popular) for "show hn" type - http://www.reddit.com/r/SideProject/

Not a big fan of the name to be honest :(

Thanks for the comment. When I first got the domain name, the word "disrupt" was still fashionable. So jobrupt was "jobs for disruption". May I ask, what bad it evoked in your mind?

Bankrupt was my first association.

Good concept though.

I built a flickr client app for iOS. I have two flickr client app as my project to learn building iOS app since 2010. and This is my latest iOS app. You can see my own improvement between this two application. nearly three years apart.

[1] http://pureflickr.com

[2] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pure-for-flickr/id660272928?...

[3] https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/potretr-flickr-photos-browse...

I'm building a market place for side projects


I thought it would be great to not let many of the interesting side projects done by developers, entrepreneurs be abandoned like so many, but let them find home in the hands of others. It's early days and we are learning and figuring out our ways.

This feels pretty polished for an early days project. My few initial nit-picks:

The Help/Support feels a little buried within the FAQ section - "support" is in the menu, but Seller's Guide and Buyer's Guide seem important, and I wouldn't have thought to look under FAQ.

Also when money is involved, even if you're clear about not handling the monetary exchange, I tend to look for an About, or more concrete contact details. Favorites icon would be nice, too.

I second that. Be clear who you are and that you are a marketplace and not asking for transaction fees.

nice one! getting back to work. :)

Looks like a fantastic marketplace that's actually very usable, and already quite populated. Finding a co-founder is a really tough task, any instruments are welcome that can ease that.

Hope you gain great traction with this project!

Is this a side project for side projects? ;)

Nice work, and I really like the theme of the site. And this is definitely the perfect place to be promoting it :)

Have any projects been purchased yet? If so, you should market the hell out of that fact.

Excellent, I have been looking for this. I might use it for www.recovermywebsite.com

I've built Authic with a friend (http://authic.com). Authic is a SASS User Authentication, Management, Plans and Payments. Our aim is to make as service that is as easy to integrate with as Facebook Connect, but will allow you to authenticate your users, reset their passwords, configure payment plans and setup recurring billing with ease.

We really want this tool to make it much easier/quicker to let devs release and launch their own SAAS products, concentrating on their unique functionality and not waste their time with the boring stuff.

Very nice. I think your value prop/statement on the homepage should be something along the lines of "Saving you the time and stress required to reimplement user account tiers and auth."

The main value will be people who are doing plans and payments - because they are the ones with money, so focusing on them in the value statement might be good.

Also I'd say mention it's for rails and node.js on the front page, I almost left the site because I wasn't sure if it was for anything other than rails (also explicitly state rails, obviously most people know that gem == rails but still worth being explicit).

Thanks for the great (concrete) feedback! We definitely need to work on our homepage messaging and those are all great starting points.

Do you support Stripe?

It's definitely on the cards. We went with braintree to start off with because they were in more countries, but I was excited to see in recent news that Stripe has started in Germany and is also rolling out a their Beta in Australia.

I built http://algorithmic.ly, a company that helps you add intelligence to your applications by providing algorithms as a service.

I mentor a lot of startups in Boston. Between the Harvard Innovation Lab, CIC, Lean Startup Machine, Youth Cities and others, I've heard a lot about what problems early tech startups face. A big one I see with a lot of startups is that they have some idea that requires a relatively simple or at least well known algorithm, but they have neither the expertise nor infrastructure to implement it themselves or even install Mahout.

In an effort to help these companies, I created a service to help startups run algorithms without having to worry about the details. You just choose the algorithm you need and build a data model appropriate to your project, and then Algorithmic.ly generates an API for you to interact with your model and continuously runs the algorithm you need on your data. Then all you need to do is query Algorithmic.ly for the algorithm results whenever you need them.

This makes everything from spatial search to netflix-style recommendations within the reach of small startups who only have web developers or iOS developers and can't afford hiring data scientists to do it for them. Right now we're in a limited beta with several startups as we figure out how to scale, but we're looking for more companies we can help, especially in the Boston startup ecosystem.

This is awesome. I worked a bit on a recommendation system and it was so much more complex than I originally anticipated.

Wow. Unbelievably cool. Best of luck - I can see this doing very well. I'll shoot you an email: team@foldr.co?

Thanks! You can send me an email either there or brendan@algorithmic.ly .


A tool for seeing the relationship between chord & scales on the guitar. I built this a few years back to sharpen my Silverlight skills. (stop chuckling). Just rewrote it in HTML & JS, with help from teoria.js.

I love this. Thanks!

Please have a look at,

http://www.bugscore.com/ and let me know your feedback & suggestions.

You can use Bugscore to score a product you have used or seen, a business you have worked at or one that has served you and finally, people you have met or seen. It's a platform for you to express your opinion on almost anything on Earth! Similarly, you can see what others think about products. The same goes for businesses (including schools and colleges).

Here is a bug:

1- Click on "What is Bugscore" link

2- Close the video popup while it is playing

3- Navigate to another page via bugscore search

4- Click back button

5- Video starts playing in the background

Another "bug":


So this profile belongs to the Founder of modern Turkey. Who died on 1938. But there is a button for sending a "message" to him.

Thanks, we will look into both the issues.

I created a wikipedia-style language learning site[1] starting with Japanese and English.

It was inspired by a trip to Japan last year[2] after having been away for a while and seeing how badly my reading comprehension had deteriorated.

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

[2] http://denis.papathanasiou.org/2012/06/10/yokaben-read-write...

This is a nice solution for motivated individuals, and serves as a good practice tool for translators.

I'm not sure which OS's come with Japanese characters installed these days, but I ended up here pretty quickly: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Installing_Japanese_chara... , a link or similar instructions might save a couple searches (unless it's just me who didn't have them installed already).

I remember seeing this awhile ago - http://www.coffeestrap.com/ - similar, but maybe a different approach to the whole language learning industry. Thought you might find it useful!

Very well done - though I'd suggest refining the value statement/homepage tagline (maybe look at Duolingo.com for inspiration), and also changing the font color, the orange feels a bit strong.

Great site though, I can see the value it provides.

I built a leaderboard application for teams that lets you track your & your team's progress on various "scorable" services such as HN(karma), project euler (problems solved), spoj(score), stackexchange(points) and lots other services. It was meant to be used as a game-board for all of us, so we can track everyone.

Its open-sourced at github.com/sdslabs/leaderboard and uses github organizations for authentication (anyone in your org can login).

Sounds great, the demo appears down for me:


Any plans to show the movers and shakers/those who are improving fast? Or maybe the top players at the end of each week? I could see this being repurposed to company metrics like tickets closed and such to gamify certain aspects of productivity.

I'm building a business process modelling and workflow automation tool. https://flowplane.com

I tell my wife I'm obsessed with models.

A directory for APIs: http://www.apiforthat.com/

It's been getting pretty good traction thanks to decently high Google search rankings for API related queries. A decent amount of large companies have submitted their APIs or requested to claim their page.

I haven't been able to spend a lot of time on it recently to add features but I have a lot of cool stuff in mind.

This is a good idea. I seem to remember a couple similar directories, but am having trouble digging up links this morning.

From an API-consumer perspective, things like verified user ratings, verified implementations/testimonials, updates, and library/wrapper details would be awesome. That said, I see how these features wouldn't make it into an early cut, or why they'd be avoided; just my 2 cents.

Thanks! Ya, I definitely want to make the site more consumer focused. I get a lot of interest from the producer side but not as much from the consumer side.

Nice job! Have you monetized the companies contacting you to claim their page?

Thanks! Nope, claiming is free. My monetization plan is charging for featured rankings on the home page and search results.

I need to build a larger consumer audience before I could justify charging for that though.

I built a tool to help with scanning books in a more efficient manner:



With it, going from a physical book to a digitized, postprocessed and OCRed PDF takes around 30-40 minutes for an average 300-400pg book with no pictures/illustrations.

My (rather lofty, I ad mit) motivation was to make it as easy as possible for people to free printed information from their pyhsical shackles and enable them to share it (I'm currently working on a plugin that allows the user to directly upload a scanned book to the Internet Archive).

The inspiration for it came after I purchased a kit for Daniel Reeds' incredible DIYBookScanner[1] and built it on a free weekend. Upon toying with it, I realized that, while there was a lot of great software available for helping with the scanning and postprocessing, using it required a lot of often tedious manual interactions that could easily be automated.

The tool basically handles all communication with the capture devices (cameras, but the code is kept rather general as to allow for the usage of mobile phones or flatbed scanners) and calls a bunch of 3rd party applications to deal with postprocessing and output generation.

I learned a lot about multithreading/multiprocessing in Python, got to brush up my PySide knowledge and am currently learning AngularJS by developing a webinterface for it, to allow the headless control of Raspberry Pi-connected scanners.

[1] http://www.diybookscanner.org/

I once lost a website, no backup or anything. There is a saying that "Real men don't do backups, they cry", well I guess I learned my lesson.

I had to crawl the search engine to restore some of the pages, which led to the free service www.recovermywebsite.com.

I don't have much time to develop this further, so if anyone are interested in buying it, contact me at support@recovermywebsite.com.

Maybe you can post it on http://www.sideprojectors.com/

Thanks, I will do that.

I launched http://bootcamper.io 9 months ago. BootCamper is a database for all the technology bootcamps/workshops/schools out there. I myself was trying to get into a bootcamp but realized that there was no single place where I can make my research on them, information was scattered all over the net and Quora didn't cut it. Thus my project was born - it was a perfect opportunity for me to build something that I knew would help others, in addition to being able to show my work to prospective bootcamps. Initially, it was very slow to pick up, but today I am getting some sensible traffic and a lot of praise, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. To this day I am keeping it up-to-date and have future plans to improve it.

I built http://www.aquarium-manager.com to: a) teach myself to code and b) give a little back to society.

I don't have plans to commercialise it, and keeping in mind the costs to run it are low (less than $30 per month) I'm happily resisting the temptation to place advertisements all over it.

It's been live for about a year and a half, in the tens of unique visitors per day (hundreds of page views, 5+ minute avg session times) and certainly keen to get it more publicised.

I thoroughly enjoyed making the application (and enjoy supporting it still), and learning about all the cool tools/tech most people on HN get to use in their jobs full time!

Feedback welcome - and if you have an aquarium be sure to keep doing you water changes, your fish will thank you for the effort ;)

EDIT: fixed url

I built http://www.virtsync.com to allow me to backup sparse virtual machine disk images to other servers across the internet.

I've only sold around $1,000 of licenses so far, so maybe this post will help...

I built a reddit client on the iPhone for viewing image posts. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/flippit-reddit-pics-client/i... Image posts are really popular and I've found that about 70% of the posts on the front page are image posts. Sometimes I just want to look at some funny images for a quick laugh and read some witty comments.

http://www.scrabtionary.com - simple sowpod scrabble word checker and cheat tool

I built it because I was tired of getting in arguments with my family over what words were acceptable. You can use it to check a word or insert wild card characters and tile delimiters to find the best words. I was unimpressed with how unfriendly existing tools were so I built my own in 14 hours. If you like scrabble you should check it out!

Hey, that's really neat.

Also I checked out your http://www.goodfilmsproject.org site, I love the design. I'll try to use it next time I'm looking for a movie to watch. The first world challenges we have nowadays - unlimited movies on amazon instant video and netflix, yet finding something to watch seems so incredibly difficult.

Haha, serious first world problems (my portfolio is all first world problem solving). Thanks for the kind words- Goodfilms is still very much a work in progress. I'm optimizing it in spurts. I'm thinking i'm going to turn it into a proposal for a better discovery engine for films...

I'm really impressed by aquarium manager! I used to have a salt water reef tank when I was younger- what a pain to keep those water conditions right! You should look at arduino kit integration (if you haven't already) so you could add dosing, feeding, lighting management etc... would be helpful for people going on vacations.

http://www.sayafter.me - Interactive pronunciation helper

Why I built it?

My wife was struggling with pronouncing certain words while learning English. So I built a webapp for her to practise pronunciation by herself.

Later on her classmates also started using it, now it has quite a few users.

Let me know if you are trying to learn English as well, I will bump your account so you can use it indefinitely.

I 've built


to create your own gift certificates as a business.

You can also use it to create a thank you card, a happy birthday card...or whatever comes in your mind!!

I am the developer and a friend of mine the designer.

Please check it and report any wrongdoing! ;)


You should make a comment with your starting proj, so that others can reply to that with feedback. This will keep top-level comments reserved for 'Show HN'-type data (except of course this comment), if I'm reading your instructions accurately.

I built a customizable ambient sounds radio: http://asoftmurmur.com

I built it because I was tired of manually mixing together ambient sound to block out background noise when I work in public spaces.

I'll quote from my comment in my unsuccessful Show HN:


This is the first thing I've ever 'coded' (if you can call it that), so it's pretty rough around the edges. It's pretty similar to RainyMood [1] and Coffitivity [2] but with the added feature that you can play more than one type of sound at the same time and adjust the volume of each to find a mix that suits you. I was inspired to make this because that's something I ended up doing manually quite a bit.

It's HTML5 with jquery and jquery-mobile, mainly for the slider elements (which I didn't know how to make myself). I wish I could have avoided using jquery-mobile because it was quite a headache trying to deactivate a bunch of the default features and just use the slider.

It uses the standary HTML5 audio player. When the play button is pressed, all the audio streams play. When the value of each slider is changed, the volume for that player is updated with JS.

iOS devices don't support changing the volume via javascript in any fashion, so this won't work on any iOS device. I don't see a way of getting around that. It should work in most other modern browsers. Seems to work in IE10, FF, Chrome and the stock Android browser.

The only slightly tricky thing was getting seamless looping for the audio samples. The HTML5 audio player has a "loop" setting, but in every browser I tried it in there was an audible gap between the end and start of playback. Very annoying in this kind of application. To get around that, each audio track fades in and out at the beginning and end. When the player reaches the beginning of the "fade out" section of the main track, about 10 seconds before the end, it triggers a 25s "glue" track to start playing, which fades in as the main track fades out. When the glue track begins to fade out, it triggers the main track to fade in again at the beginning. The end result is something approaching a seamless loop with constant volume. I think it works quite well for ambeint noise, but it obviously wouldn't work for anything with a beat.

The sounds are all CC licensed samples from freesound.org [3][4] that I did my best to mix and clean up. In the unlikely event this ever became popular, I'd love to make some field recordings myself to get a bigger range of sounds in higher quality, but that's a bit of a pipe dream.

    [1] http://www.rainymood.com/
    [2] http://coffitivity.com/
    [3] http://www.freesound.org/
    [4] http://asoftmurmur.com/info.html

If I have time and I find anyone who wants to use it, I hope in the future to add more sounds, better initial presets, saving presets, stop-playing-after-x-minutes, fade-out-over-x-minutes and support for (10+2)*5 [5]

    [5] http://www.43folders.com/2005/10/11/procrastination-hack-1025

Its great. I actually paid 5$ for a babbling brook mp3 from somewhere recently, so if you are thinking of monetising, try recording my settings over an hour and then bundle it as a mp3.

Then again it is just cool. I'm impressed. HTML5 keeps surprising me.

ohh - suggestion - set a low volume, rain/waves mix as the default and get it playing onload(). (maybe AB test the bounce rate). I assumed it would play and had a moment of waiting to see if it was just hanging

Also, I am getting some stuttering. That's not good. How would i debug that ? Let me know, its probably a decrepit machine / browser combo.


I agree, the current defaults are poor and need to be changed.

As for the stuttering, I'm not sure - does it sound like a buffering issue or a decoding issue? It's on a low priority shared hosting package and I had to turn off cloudflare because it wasn't working properly, so it's possible the server isn't keeping up.

I have a guess - its the overlapping 30 second fade in / fade out. But that's a guess.

I love it, I'm bookmarking it to use it instead of Rainymood. Just the thing to drown out my noisy kids when coding :-)

Did you create it as a creative outlet? Or is there some plan to generate revenue?


I created it mainly to scratch an itch, as an excuse to learn a little about web programming and HTML5, and because I'm currently working on a very long project and felt the urge to finish something.

I don't really have a plan to generate revenue at the moment. If it ever became popular, I might look into creating an offline desktop version and selling that for a few bucks.

Probably the most obvious way to monetize would be building a mobile version and selling that, but unfortunately that's totally beyond my abilities.

This is awesome! Seriously, really, really good job. Add some facebook like and twitter share buttons :) Best place to promote: whenever there is another reddit thread mentioning rainymood, post yours as a child comment (I believe metareddit tracks word mentions so you could find mentions like that).

That's a great idea, thanks!

This is fantastic.

I've never really used ambient noise before although I've been interested in trying; your site made this painless and immedidate. The design is clear, simple, and effective, and (for me at least) it just works.

For a first major programming project, you've knocked it out of the park. Bravo.

This is really cool. As a new father I have just learned that loud ambient noises help put newborns to sleep... perhaps that's another user type for you to consider! :)

This is a very nice project - bookmarked. Did you consider making the sliders vertical, so all of them could fit on a screen without need for scrolling?

Thank you!

Vertical sliders might not scale well if I wanted to add more sounds in the future.

Did you try reducing the width of the window? If the responsive design works as intended you should be able to fit everything on one screen in a narrow window. [1]

[1] http://i.imgur.com/uTnTm03.png

Right, I didn't think about additional sounds. Resizing works fine for me.

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