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. Long time reader, long time fan.

    Been with it from the beginning, never wanna leave it.

    PLEASE! Dont change the colors or the logo!!!

    adding caps was bad enough…. but seriously, a fan, love you guys. lets see that forum!

  2. Been coming here for 3 or 4 years now and rarely post. Mostly because I don’t have anything constructive to ad.

    Anyway, yes I have indeed clicked on the ads from here time to time. Found some good places to get stuff (and ideas from the things available) from it too.

    Forums are a great idea and Q/A has real potential as well. If people don’t liek the forums or Q/A they don’t have to read ’em. Simple.

    tl;dr Good stuff HaD.

  3. I think that if you’re going to make categories for the archives, then things should be grouped by the severity of the project.

    Maybe have a section for simple projects for people who don’t have a lot of complex tools and are just kind of dabbling or looking for inspiration, and so on. This way the more elite can still find the good stuff and those of us who are still kinda clueless might still have a chance to do something cool with the odd things we have laying around gathering dust.

  4. @therian:

    I’ve gotta agree with your point about simply not seeing the ads – I know where they are because I come here often enough so I can easily skip over ’em.

    However, the site continues to exist, and having been a visitor for some time I’ve seen the posts that say “we’re hiring”, and that can only mean one thing: the site generates revenue, and that probably comes from *someone* clicking those ads, and actually buying stuff.

    Fact is that if advertising didn’t work, it wouldn’t be such a big industry, and sites like HaD wouldn’t exist.

  5. “Fact is that if advertising didn’t work, it wouldn’t be such a big industry”

    if there was no one idiot in million, who want to extend his manhood there wold not be spam

    I have a better idea to increase site income and quality. Find EE people, you don’t even need hiring them, there is more than enough EE students who will want this deal. Let them make project and kits, sell those kits here, here is income for site and those EE, and because they will be knowledgeable enough they will find good hack and also white articles about theirs kits

  6. @therian
    As a working EE, if more people like you dictate what goes on this site, it will die. Your extremely draconian views on constitutes a hack guarantees that HAD would be off putting to a majority number of people. Hacking needs to be an open community open to anybody, not just for an isolated ‘elite’ select few as you would have it. The Arduino is a big step toward this goal.

    Get over your Randian ass.

  7. Questions: This year’s “click fodder”.

    Notice how they’re asking you questions on the tech blogs nowadays?

    They already know the answer. The answer is “clicks”.

    It’s a click-driven web.

    1. @Strider_mt2k,
      Sure clicks do help us keep going. But the reality is that a simple page dumping information just isn’t enough now days. We realize that our readers knowledge and interaction with eachother can almost be seen as a feature of our site. Encouraging interaction between us and you is a good thing. It’s not purely traffic driven. That’s a big difference between sending out a magazine and having a site. We can interact with you here.

      If all we wanted was traffic, we could probably get it. We wouldn’t survive though. We need a strong community of passionate people who WANT to keep coming back.

  8. h-a-d project kits for popular projects would be really cool, I’m guessing they would sell fairly well. Over all I dig the new suggested features. A forum is a really good idea.

  9. I love the site, it on my list of things to see every day, and I like the idea of a dedicated Q&A forum for projects. Keep up the good work and tell the naysayers to f*&# off :)

  10. Just make an Arduino section already and get it out of the main page. It irks me the way BoingBoing goes on and on about “copyfight” blech.
    As per the “trolls” on here: way to Godwin a difference of opinion. If we were all “yes men” then we would never open our gear or wake up the mods enough to overhauling not only the page, but also the content. The “trolls” were merely questioning why somethings were considered hacks if they exist in the collective conscious of every carbon-based life form. As per the racist comments I saw a 4:1 ratio of one person making a negative comment towards “a downtrodden” and then four others jump on him because he is middle class; as if because he has money he could anymore choose where he was born. Drop it. If you want to use that argument, then all of you armchair EEs with schooling in the field are not real hackers either applying your store bought education lol.
    A little fire is good now and then, it gets things cooking as we see here now.
    I really did enjoy the page earlier but as others have noted, it changed over time. While there are still some REALLY neat hacks now and then it kind of shifted to http://www.PICAXEDUINOaday.com lol.
    Anyhoo best to all involved in getting HAD back where it belongs :)

  11. i had asked a while back for you guys to implement some sort of a help page or a place to go and meet “hackers” where i live. an answer has finally been given and i am oh so happy. bring it on.

  12. Excellent stuff – love the site and very pleased the hear the ‘question’ section is coming. Shame not a forum (from the sounds of it) but still, great idea!

    I am very non technical, but love reading about the stuff that people get up – and slowly inspiring me to get technical!

  13. The more I read this, the more I really think a content management system (Difficulty Rating, Ignore System, and Topic Tags) would really help out. Not just on the blog side of things, but on an integrated forum. I’m amazed at the number of posts above that just instantly had me reaching for the “ignore” button.

    Folks, some of these “beginner” platforms exist because they are so successful. They’re out there, they’re going to be hacked (The RFID attiny hack is a brilliant one), and they’re going to be there forever. Innovation and brilliance can be hampered by an overly complex pathway. If you have a brilliant, revolutionary idea, it still takes some sweat to implement it. If you can pick up an easy to use system, like an Arduino, and just run with it, then you’re going to be creating that much quicker.

    I use the Arduino as a proof of concept tool for multiple designs. If I get one that seems really worthwhile, I’ll sit down and learn everything I need to about the ATmega328, so I can package my device in a smaller, easier to use form factor.

    Look around you. Groups are finally selling devices that are meant to be hacked. Call it what you will, but a new era of permissive hacking is starting. Boards like this have ushered in the concept, and the people building and selling these devices started here.

    If you want to troll-out and attempt to tear down anything that doesn’t fit your exact definition of “Hack”, then you’ve already indicated that you just don’t get it. It’s open-source. It’s “Take this however you want to, do whatever you want to with it”

    Sure, you’re going to have someone that does his first basic hack, and screams it to the world. You take that guy aside, and say “Static, welcome to the club. Take a look around. You’ve only scratched the surface.” He’ll STFU, realize that he still has quite awhile to go before he’s accomplished the MUST-HAVE HACK, and go back to work.

    Because essentially, that’s what we have here. A board that highlights some of the interesting things people are doing out there. It’s interesting to them. Not to you. We have fathers, mothers, CEO’s, teenagers, IT professionals, IT idiots, all walks of life on here. These hack-en-bashes appeal to people. Maybe not you. So you can bitch, or you can shut up. Your choice. I can’t (and won’t) stop you.

    However, it would be nice to see how many registered users actually ignore another user. Maybe a user comment rating system that lets us see an aggregate score of the user’s posts. I’d use that.


  14. I enjoy the site the way it exists now. I’m probably NOT going to spend time looking through categories like “classic hacks.” I check the site very often for new articles and I scan through quickly for what is interesting to me. I don’t miss many articles that way.

    I am capable of skipping the ones that don’t interest me. I don’t want others mislabeling articles into categories. It will totally screw it up for me. Sometimes I even find new ideas in the really simple articles. I’m not capable of engineering my own CNC machine yet, but I find elegant solutions to common problems in the complex articles too.

    Personally, I love the site and I hope to be a contributor as my skills advance. Until then, I enjoy the site and the hard work of all who contribute. Keep thinking, learning and hacking! I’ve learned a lot from all of you and I want to say THANKS!

  15. For you guys who think that projects should be derated or even banned from Hackaday because they contain an arduino, let me say this:

    I agree! I am tired of seeing the same tools used over and over again! So, not only would I ban anything that uses an arduino, for the same reason, I’d ban any project that was built using a hammer, saw, tin ships, or a drill!

    Oh, I especially hate those drills! Every lame newbie thinks he is some kind of 3l33t hacker because he uses a drill!

    No more plastic! No more metal! I keep seeing solder used… over and over again. Geez! Puh-leez! Can we move on? And screws and nuts… give it up, already. Enough with the screws and nuts! And don’t let me catch you post another so-called “hack” that contains a transistor. Transistors are for art-tards.

    Atoms are OK, though. You can still post hacks that involve atoms… but nothing else!

    I’d better stop… I’m starting to froth.

  16. Huge love to all at hack-a-day, whatever you do; editors, contributors, trolls – you’ve all been making me chuckle for years and I wish you all the best with the new plans, arduino implemented or otherwise ;-)

  17. looking at all the nasty not-a-hack and this-is-overkill comments (some of them by me) — it is all about the variations in defining a “hack”. so categories would help! and arguments could than be about whether an entry belongs into “beginner”, because it is so basic, “hardcore”, when you have to mine your own lead before soldering, or “prototyping”, because an interesting idea is tried out on a popular prototyping platform although something much simpler also would have worked…
    other ideas: “re-discovered” ,”bent”,…

  18. So to add more, please don’t implement a CMS though…I started taking a look around instructables.com the other day and its a f*cking mess…HAD has a nice simple layout, I visit every day and can quickly check what has been added and I can use the tags when I partially break some gadget and what some ideas of what I can do with it.

  19. HAD, I’ve been with you from the beginning. Of late you’ve been “dumbing” the site down. Don’t do this, otherwise you’ll end up as just be another in a pool of many. I don’t want to come here and see every other post about iPhone or Arduino. Keep your core followers and you’ll live forever. Do that by staying true to your roots.

  20. there are some possible problems with user rated content: reader != hacker
    someone at sl-dot raved about their system and called it peer-reviewed. well, it’s not. readers aren’t necessarily the author’s peers. it’s “majority-likes-it” reviewed. which works for easy accessible content or if your main goal isn’t quality but popularity (which is good for ad revenue). just imagine an ubuntu help forum that bases linux knowledge on reader popularity.. – if you can’t, have a look at yahoo-answers.
    peer reviewed journals don ask all of their readers, they ask experts. i can’t imagine how this could be done in a forum without being biased in some form or another.

  21. OK, now I need to go look at the Content Management/Analysis system I had at a previous job.

    The system was nice, but not something I was familiar with at the time. Essentially, the system let you (a registered user) “lock-on” to other users that you tended to agree with. If these other users flagged an article highly, then it appeared in a customized site feed. If they low-balled it, the site feed only showed you the headline on the top page.

    The site worked because it was incredibly similar to Hackaday, as it is displayed now. The home page was a dynamically generated stream of “articles”, and you could browse it. It also had custom pages generated for specific users (the “Ranked Highly by Peers” page was just one example). The system was a JOY to use, and delivered information relevant to my specialty, while delivering general information that the entire user-group needed to know.

  22. @tantris
    “peer reviewed journals don ask all of their readers, they ask experts. i can’t imagine how this could be done in a forum without being biased in some form or another.”

    Registration by university/college email

  23. A high-caliber Thank You for opening the ability to ask questions for newbies or someone like me, a born-again hack. I used to be quite proficient at several types of mods and hacks. But my hacking education took a way back seat to heavy-duty, formal, post-secondary 6-yr stint in college in a non-techie field. And then that was followed by a teaching job where my hacks were always last-minute necessities and only for providing low-level science equipment when the REAL equipment wasn’t available.

    Now I feel totally out of my element in the hacking world and completely in awe of even some of the simpler things I see on Hack-a-Day! I definitely need a RE-primer into the world! I have so many parts and things I’d love to repurpose and use in novel ways… I can’t wait. (I’m friggin’ “giddy.” [Yes, I really said that… sad, huh?)

  24. Caleb; On unofficial hackaday forums I was only aware of one. In that the activity there was nonexistent, and that Hackaday seemed disinterested in creating a forum for beginners, I created one more Yahoo group that may get lost in the crowd of Yahoo groups, than again maybe it won’t. I hadn’t made an effort to promote it because I hadn’t yet really prepared the group for promotion, but today I will be associating the Group URL with my signature more often. Not that I would rather to see the Yahoo group as complementary not competitive with Hackaday or others. In hindsight Hackday should have not created the classic hacks catagory, leaving those ntries on the first pages, and required those looking for the simple projects to do the extra effort to placate those who need placating. Perhaps a first page where visitors can choose what direction they desire to go might satisfy the most people? Fight it fair…

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