Hack A Day; Into The Future

Through the years, our reader base has grown like we never could have imagined. We thank everyone for reading, and owe our gratitude to all  who have sent in submissions. We live for them. The more high quality submissions you send in, the more we’ll post.   Along with you, we’ve taken part in some really great projects and enjoyed the writing of some really great people.

Now it is time to share our plans for the future with you. We have two announcements that we would like to get your thoughts on.

#1. Content:

Hack a Day first started as an offshoot of Engadget. It was a place where we were able to look at things from a hacker perspective. Contrary to what some people believe, it wasn’t all hardcore electronic engineering. It wasn’t even all projects.  We had fun, and discussed our thoughts on many things that weren’t that complicated.

As we move forward, we will be covering a wide variety of posts. From simple things, like teardowns to the amazingly complex projects that inspire us all. We intend to get you original content from the perspective of people who are not just consumers, but hackers of all different skill levels.

We are working to make it easier to browse the site, with your specific interests in mind. Our first motion was to add the “Classic Hacks” category which gathers up the more complicated projects.  We’re open to other ideas of how to best categorize the content to make your experience better.

#2. Social Interaction:

Since the beginning of Hack a Day, we have been inundated with questions and requests. People are asking for help on existing projects as well as trying to break into the complexities that can lay in front of a beginner. We’ve seen unofficial Hack a Day forums come and go, but we think it is time that we did something ourselves.  We’ve been working behind the scenes on a really slick system which allows people to ask questions, get answers, and even rate and give feedback.You will hopefully see this appear in a matter of weeks as we finish up the last bits.

We look forward to seeing some of you shine, sharing your knowledge with the hacker community.

95 thoughts on “Hack A Day; Into The Future

  1. Well, I guess now we know why Elliot left. Are you guys trying to turn this into lifehacker or something?

    I read the blog for technically sophisticated hacks. Recently, they’ve been less impressive [with the notable exception of the AVR-driven touchscreen].
    Turning this into a non-technical blog will likely lose my readership. I can get plenty of the “hacker perspective” at my local hackspace. I came here to see cool new hacks.

    I hope you reconsider your decision.

  2. It’s not a matter of the site being broken or not. This is the new direction that we’ve decided to take things. We hope that most of you will support us in this decision, but we know that it’s inevitable that some of you will not. Regardless, we’re excited to announce both the new direction that we’ll be going in and the upcoming release of our new answers system.

  3. Keep up the good work. Keeping the less technical hacks on, along side the ultra-tech hacks, allows for new users to “get their feet wet”, before jumping into the deep end.

    Perhaps allowing registered readers to rate a given hack on a variety of scales (or just one scale), might alleviate issues. The next step would be to give readers the ability to ignore hacks below a given “Hack-Level”.

    I check this site daily, I’ve implemented a couple. I’d love to devote some time to build something “Hackaday-worthy”.

    Thanks for the update (and the bit of history. Engadget is the site I read just before yours), and keep up the strong work.

  4. I like some of the ideas posed.

    I wish there was a Hack A Day forum. I could use a place similar to a Ben Heck type site. I have a few simple projects that I need to find someone to help build and usually a forum like that is a good place to get information or get someone to build for me.

  5. HAD has been going downhill for a while. Where are the lazy sundays? where are the hack a day links? and at one point, hacks weren’t even being posted every day.Keep it one good hack a day, some original content once a week, and intermittent “links” posts. I’m sorry, but it just seems like everybody got lazy. The team hackaday forums were great, yet there was almost zero participation from the HAD editors. I’m sorry, but this site started out great, and just kind of used the existing momentum without really try to put too much more in.

  6. Great Job HAD, glad to see you putting some effort into improvements. Also nice to see you prove the trolls wrong about the content.

    Please go back to wasting your potential? I’m not sure what you are saying here. They never put enough effort in, now that they are, you are complaining? wtf.

  7. Now that I’ve vented, let me say this. I haven’t been a regular reader for a while now, so take what I say with a grain of salt. Also, HAD links was my favorite post, I always liked at least half of the items in it and you could take information away from all of them. Bring back HAD links, no one cared if there was stuff in there that wasn’t a “hack”, it was just fun.

  8. This is NOT a hack! /sarcasm

    It’s actually pretty easy to skip the uninteresting stuff. I’m not sure who suggested it, but I agree that everyone should work toward submitting good hacks if they bitch about the content. Trolling is unfortunately a fact of life now. It would be nice to be able to “bury” trolls.

    I’ve found some good ideas even in simple hacks on the site. More content is a welcome sight to me. Even a simple hack can be elegant. Cheers!

  9. I remember the good ol’ Engadget off shoot days ^^.

    The Q/A system, as an addition, sounds good. That is if it’s not spam filled (or empty O:) and ratings aren’t for the sake of rating a comment (I wonder if this is inevitable).

    I have some faith in the people of HaD xD. I’d advise myself to keep quiet about my initial response ’cause it’s usually one of repulsion and let the changes grow on me– which hopefully they will. I trust the HaD feel and hacks will not be lost?

    P.s. I’ve got the HaD in my “Bookmark Toolbar” along with teh rss feed. ^^

    Haha ragmoroling. Eat my wall of text. xP

    1. @uchi,
      It’s actually not a big change in content. Just a clarification for those who think everything should be of the most complex variety. We never were that, and we don’t intend to be that.

      The Q/A system looks really cool. We hope we can keep it running smooth but only time will tell. I think it is a good thing that it will require more involvement from us, the HAD staff.

  10. I’m excited for the changes! overall this is a really good site. It’s true some of the posts have been questionable. However with multiple posts a day, there is usually something that catches my attention.

  11. I like the site though I definitely prefer reading about more complicated technically detailed projects. Why not let the rss be tag filtered and give yourselves the option to have an unfilterable post? That way people could add tag=!teardown to their rss url and drop those posts.

  12. People keep using the word “complex” to describe hacks that appeal to the more knowledgeable readers. I might be nitpicking semantics here, but I don’t think this to be the case. I think the “brilliantly simple” hacks are the ones that appeal to everyone, beginner to advanced. The perfect example was the attiny13 that emulated an RFID tag. It had just two components: an MCU and a single inductor. The inductor acted as an antenna, a power source (rectified by the I/O pin protection diodes), and the clock source. If I was asked for the perfect example of a hack, I’d point to this.

    As long as stories like that continue to be posted, I’ll keep reading. I don’t care for the yet-another-Arduino-powered-noise-machine-with-blinky-lights posts as much, but I know that brilliant hacks are few and far between.

    Just don’t let this site turn into lifehacker.

  13. Had no idea how long I’d been a reader till referring back to some of those old articles. The number of commenters has grown dramatically, so hopefully the new system will give a better place to congregate. Keep on keepin on hackaday!

  14. The changes sound like positive steps, taken for the right reasons, and I fully support them.

    Accepting that different people have different skill-levels and different tastes in hackery, I agree there’s some mileage in the idea of making filtered RSS feeds if it’s feasible – that way the ones who run on rails and only like one sort of hack can read only one sort of hack without the rest of us having to listen to them bellyaching about everything else… that way we can all enjoy what you’re doing without the naysayers continually pissing in the coffee. :-)

  15. One thing i love about HAD that it hard to find these days is simplicity. This site is so streamlined (and i check it multiple times a day) that i dont know if ive ever clicked the sidebar. If the site starts getting too convoluted, it may detract from the “to-the-point” atmosphere that i love this site for.

    A forum is a great idea in theory, but how often do you see posts that arent like “I dont have any idea what im doing, but i want to build a rocket ship! Give me instructions, plz!” Anytime someone does post some useful information, its lost to the ages in flames on the 4th page of a 10 page thread which you are never going to find.

    I dont need any social networking from HAD, just good hacks and how-to’s, from the simple and benign (like mine) to the crazy complex grad-student level. It provides good experience and learning for everyone.

    Hope the changes dont piss too many people off :D GL, HAD

    1. @xeracy,
      The question answer system should help limit some of the “I have no idea what electronics are but want to build xx”. It will simply drop off the bottom since it won’t get any action. We will have to be proactive though. We’ll see how it works out.

  16. add article rate system, so people dont have to look like dicks to show what
    they think.

    and maybe instead of having “classic hacks” category there should be “lame hacks” category and classic hacks on front page ?

  17. Hey team- remember that people are way more likely to comment when annoyed than when pleased. I suspect that the “not a hack” crowd and those who post threats about not reading the blog if some imagined standard of technical difficulty isn’t met are a small but vocal minority of readers. (The threat of not reading something is pretty silly in itself, come to think of it.) I check HAD every day, and it keeps me totally juiced and inspired. I even canceled my subscription to Make magazine– with project porn this good, who needs print?
    I welcome the addition of more social features, I just hope the haters don’t have the team too worried.

  18. Well, I may not matter, but I am from Brazil and I don’t know much o of electronics but I access this site everyday and it gave me inspiration to follow the path of Engineering, so I thank you a lot, and hope you guys make this site even better, when I begin to understand the things a little better I hope I can help.

    Thank you a Lot, really!

  19. @Caleb Kraft: what about a point system i.e. minus xx points for Arduino usage, + for custom PCB, + for SMD components, etc – would certainly require more effort and categorizing, and is impossible to retrofit the old content. I’m not even sure I think it’s a good idea, just throwing it out there.

    Also, I think it’s really awesome the staff here actually takes the time to read through the comments, makes me respect this place that much more.

    1. @Skitchin,
      A point system is interesting. The problem with automatically detracting because someone uses an Arduino is that it might take away from a truly nice project. You never know. We see them everywhere. Maybe one day you’ll see one in your favorite post ever. It’ll just be used for something more than flashing lights, or taking a picture when two hot wheels crash.

      Should we take points off for people using power tools? I mean it takes more knowledge and effort to do it all by hand right?

  20. Force signup before posting comments. Then allow filtering of users comments so I can filter out the trolls and moaners, complaining about “another arduino feature”.

    Aside from that, I was a comp. sci grad never touched a piece of hardware in a hacking sense unless it was a slight case mod when building/Frankensteining a PC.

    I’ve now gotten into hardware, not quite hacking yet (yes arduino – to start with, then I hope to progress some).

    That was directly because of the stuff I read on HAD.


  21. A Q&A sounds nice; there are many things I want to do but I have little to no experience. I hope I don’t get ripped apart with my nubbish questions I’ll be sure to have :D

    As for the posts which some commenters complain is “not a hack”; it generally is interesting, technology related news, that usually doesn’t turn up on other sites. Keep up the good work!

  22. I like the idea tehgringe posted about signup for comments. I know it would be a lot of work, but implementing some sort of login system where we can ignore the trolls would be nice.

    As for the Q&A, I know many of us would be glad to help answer questions, and to read responses as well. I know I’ve learned as much from reading Q&A/forum posts on electronic sites as I have from reading books and tutorials, or attending classes. People are often able to share new insights and more creative ideas through these informal channels than through a book or website dedicated to a generalized topic.

    I’ve been enjoying HaD for quite a while, and like the content the way it is. The mix is great: some really complex, some really simple. Even the occasional arduino post is fine. I think this site offers something for just about everyone. Keep up the good work, and ignore those who just come here to find an outlet for their anger at life.

  23. I like the idea of a Q/A side to the site. Should be fun to hear what sort of roadblocks others are running into and maybe get a few of my own figured out. It would be nice to be able to have an ignore user button next to each comment so we don’t have to keep hearing non-hackers and non-submitters say that anything using a learning platform isn’t a hack, but in the end, HaD has a site to run, and I would much rather you continue to find good posts and not spend time on moderation or trying to add the latest wiz-bang to the site. I love the articles, and love the RSS feed. I’m on every morning and every night. Keep up the good work!!!

  24. Hack-A-Day is the reason a Drafting/CNC Machinist Student is now enrolled in PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controllers) and Digital Circuits next semester after taking intro to DC/AC Circuits this semester in addition to his required courses.

    So really Hack-A-Day can be credited for contributing to taking a perfectly well Mechanical Engineering career path student and sending him careening head first into Electrical Engineering.

    PS. Thanks for sending me the DWG of your logo about a year ago. It didn’t end up on this PC Case but may be on the next one!

  25. I was just thinking the other day that I wish there was a forum associated with HaD. I too think that it would be a place to ask questions and share ideas and criticism (seems there are few of us left that can take some!). Let’s face it – some of these 50+ post blogs could easily fill a forum.

    I also commend the efforts to putting in more than one hack per day. I like to visit at least once a day, and while there are hacks that don’t apply to me (not interested, too complex/simple, whatever), having more than just one improves the odds there *will* be something of interest to me.

    The site needs to make money, and to do that it needs viewers that click on ads. No viewers, no money. Simple as that. That being said, you can’t please everyone – ya just gotta please *most* everyone. I’m pleased, and I hope others are as well – I’d like to see HaD grow even more.

  26. H-a-D forum? yes please!

    I used to quite enjoy posting on the Revision3 Systm forum, until they killed off Systm (gits!). Reading this & a couple of other hacking sites is nice but leaving a comment or two on a hack doesn’t quite feel enough, I’d really like to see and engage on some quality posting/discussions on hacking projects & topics.

    I’ve recently started posting/reading a PICAXE forum because I’m enjoying programming them and it’s nice to share knowledge and I’m learning quite a bit from reading interesting problems/solutions – but it’s mainly geared towards microcontroller programming, I’d like to read/contribute to more general stuff.

  27. “The site needs to make money, and to do that it needs viewers that click on ads.”

    does anyone click on ads ? can someone confirm than he/she click on ads at least once in past 5 years
    there is research that confirm that internet users in 3-7 month develop unconscious reflex to not even look on adds and have blind spot on them especially bright and flash ones. Because of this sometime sites menus recognized by brain as ads and people have trouble navigating, they simple not noticing site menu which somehow look simular to ad

  28. My USD$0.02: love the site, always have, and don’t have a problem with the occasional Arduino popping up :-) SRSLY it’s the internets, people will show up to complain that it’s too pretty and dry on a beautiful Sunday if they think it will get a reaction. I like what you’ve been doing.

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