Introductions: 3 New Writers

We would like to introduce our new writers [Rachel Fee], [Greg Jacobs], and [Jacob Nahin]. They will be focusing on software reviews and tutorials in response to the daily requests for posts that don’t require that you be an electrical engineer to understand.

The Hack a Day community is growing very fast and we are happy to be a valued source of information to our readers.

65 thoughts on “Introductions: 3 New Writers

  1. What? I read hackaday _because_ it caters to my interest as a (semi-) electrical engineer. Things like software hacks frankly don’t interest me at all; of the tree OS-icons under the post there’s only one depicting what I use. Will there be a way to hide these posts in the feed, or is there any chance the beginners stuff can be posted to a different portion of the site so the advanced hackers here won’t get swamped with stuff that doesn’t interest them?

    Please don’t misunderstand me: I love the site, you’re the first I tip when I finish a project of my own, but the more you try to cater to the general public, the less you’re worth to the hackers that made the site big.

    1. @Sprite_tm,
      I understand where you are coming from. If I had my own personal preference displayed on the front page, it would be nothing but proto boards and duct tape. I doubt everyone would like that site much though. Not enough polish and forethought.

      The categories on the side are there to help people focus on their specific interest. The front page has always shown all of our content. I anticipate the new posts falling under “roundups” “reviews” or other obvious topics.

      This is happening because there was so much demand, so hiding them from the front page would be counter productive.

  2. @Caleb: Thanks for gracing my comment with a reply :) Still, I’m quite sure there’s a group that has about the same opinion as I have. Wouldn’t it be possible to make a sort-of preferences options, where you can choose to hide posts with some well-chosen tags in them?

    1. @sprite_tm,
      I don’t think we’ll be making any major changes to how the front page displays (it’s wordpress). However we’ve tossed around the idea of posting a how-to on creating a greasemonkey script to only display certain categories. Thoughts?

  3. So, are they posting generic software reviews, ala,, or are they posting software hacks(of the legal kind) and hacks involving software? Because one of those is extremely generic and not at all useful, and one of those is extremely useful but generally not seen on this site.

  4. First off, welcome to the new writers.

    Secondly, I have to say that I agree with Sprite_tm. If you are going to start to dilute the content with things like software/hardware reviews, please provide some way to filter them out if we choose to do so. I have never been a member of the “that’s not a hack”/”no more Arduinos” troll brigade, but there can be no doubt that, in fact, reviews and tutorial are the hacks for which this site is named.

    I’m not suggesting that the new content shouldn’t be here. I’m, simply, saying that as you start to broaden the type of content you post here, it will become harder and harder for people to sort through all of the stuff they consider fluff to find the articles they, actually, want to read. A working filter system is the only way I can see for you to fix this and not be spamming all your readers with content they aren’t interested in.

  5. Welcome aboard, its nice to read something different once in a while.

    @Sprite_tm I kinda understand you, but think about it. No site is ever made specifically for anyone. Take games for example. I absolutely dont care about once console but if I go to a site abaout games they talk about all of them. You just ignore the ones you dont care about and move on, its not a big deal.

  6. hmmm software reviews…..hackaday…..somehow I struggle to see the need on HaD, and I struggle to see the point of non-EE/mech posts and I struggle to believe that large quantities of readers ask for such posts. Most HaD comments are complaining that there’s *not enough* tech in the posts.

  7. @caleb: Individual filters for repeat readers doesn’t stop you from posting all of your articles to the front page. The only people that wouldn’t see them are the ones who have, actively, made it clear that they aren’t interested in sorting through articles on that topic.

  8. I think it’s a great idea as long as they keep the quality of the posts. I wouldn’t like to read a post abut creating files in Windows. In my particular case I’m a software engineer that happens to like circuits, but in general I think plurality rocks!!

  9. Caleb: That would help but imo it’s a giant pain in the lower back because I’d have to install it on every single machine I use (just counted; that’s at least 6 units in total) and would mean bloating my Firefox-install with another extension. Imo, solving the problem server-side would be a better option.

    Leo J: True, and I won’t ask one that’s tailor-made for me. If the site diverges from my interest too much, I might have to vote with my feet and both in HaD and my own interests, I’d rather not do that.

  10. “No site is ever made specifically for anyone”

    Yes they are. Websites are made to target specific audiences. By introducing three new software-only writers to hackaday sprite_tm and others, including me, worry that Hackaday will lose its appeal to its target audience.

  11. Not to be jumping on the small bandwagon here, but I kinda agree with Sprite_tm. I don’t want HaD to turn into another Engadget or LifeHacker. :(
    — This has nothing to do with the new writers themselves. —
    I have been reading this site for a long time. For a while, all of the post was too hard for me to understand, but I appreciated the work and ingenuity of the hacks. As time went on, I became more knowledgeable and began to understanding what was being written because I was continuously being intrigued, and I WANTED to understand what was being done. Now, I realize that I am no longer getting smarter as I once had, but that the posts have become continuously more basic. This sort of trend will make your once-loyal readers that appreciated true hacking move on to another site. It is inevitable.
    Not that I don’t appreciate software hacking. I guess I can be looking forward to some extreme OS customization and complicated registry hacks?

  12. @andrew yeah I might have said that wrong. But still even a site targeted towards a specific audience gets its fair share of complaints. No site is perfect and there is always someone that complains about something. I mean I dont really care, I visit hack a day because I can, I am not technically inclined, I dont even know how to solder electronics properly, but I still visit the site to see the wonderful stuff others make, be it software or hardware.

  13. I have been reading HAD for a few years now. I would be very turned off by software reviews/hacks unless its like some really cool stuff and involved some sort of assembler and reverse engineering. I go to different sites for any thing software and I only go a few times as opposed to every day like HAD. I don’t think it has a place in HAD

  14. Not too sure how I feel about this one. The reason HackaDay is the first site I check everyday when I wake up, and several times during the day, is because I enjoy seeing some of the more esoteric and bizare projects people have done.
    If HaD is going to be bloated down with loads of ‘how to run a server on your PC’ type ‘hacks’ it’ll really put me off.
    There’s already loads of info out there for computer type stuff.
    HackaDay is at it’s best as an agrigator of wierd and wonderful homebrew tech projects.
    That said, I’m happy to wait and see, and of course, welcome to the team newbies, I look forwards to reading your posts.
    The Cageybee

  15. I would just like to say that I know one of the writers personally, and trust me you are in good hands. Greg is a very talented programmer, and is known to bust out some hacks (in the traditional sense) when needed. His code is neat, tidy, and he is awesome to have around for a laugh. So while I do understand your concerns about software, I know that Greg will be able to keep you entertained. I know I will be checking in more often to see where this whole software thing goes.

    And remember, behind so many of the more epic hacks these days there is some layer of epic software.

  16. Who said protoboards and duct tape aren’t good enough? I’d bet the “less arduino crap” brigade would shut up if you did that :) Also it would be good to have less arduino crap :))

    To be serious for a moment, as long as software/hardware reviews have their own well defined category I think we’ll be able to avoid them. Also, who the hell demanded software hacks? Are we talking hex editors and code dumps or firefox addons?

  17. I don’t remember seeing anyone asking for more software stuff.

    Honestly, as long as this doesn’t decrease the volume of hardware posts in any way, shape or form, I couldn’t care less.

  18. Welcome New writers!
    Ive been reading (silently) HaD for over 4 years now. Ive come across some software side hacks that were awesome and would love to see more if the idea of posting new and intrigueing hacks is followed. For example, years ago there was a Grafiti Projector Webcam tracking post (dont remember exactly which one) but it was awesome, informative and open source. I would love to see more of those kind. Then there was a post about secure thumbdrive which was vague and not even a hack(basically and advertisment). Anyway, what I’m meaning to say is that it will all depend on the writers. If they tackle detailed mods and programing Im all the more for it, and to tell you the truth if they dont, I’ll just not read the post. Usually its evident in the titles if its a waist of time or not. So I say Nothing to lose, only to gain!

  19. Perhaps there’s a little too much ambiguity in the “software” title, lets wait and see how they turn out. If I’m reading about the best new linux software to hook up to my PIC programmer in 2 weeks I’ll be happy, if I’m reading about the latest version of linux I’ll be looking for a filter.

  20. @Sprite_tm
    ” That would help but imo it’s a giant pain in the lower back because I’d have to install it on every single machine I use (just counted; that’s at least 6 units in total)”

    And you need to be able to check HaD on all of them? :/

  21. Am I the only reader who has the ability to simply *not read* the uninteresting posts without getting all wound up and agitated?

    It’s not like this site generates hundreds of posts and it’s hard to find the interesting stuff, is it? Too much angry nerd outrage in here at times ;-)

  22. “Don’t read the uninteresting posts” only works if they don’t swamp the interesting ones – if you have to spend all your time scrolling past boring (for you) posts to get to the one interesting (for you) nugget then it’s no longer worthwhile.

    That’s the whole point of having a targetted blog; you find someone who posts stuff generally interesting to you so you *don’t* have to trawl through the entire internet yourself.

  23. your killing the audience. i read hackaday BECAUSE it is super complex, and DOES require a bit of knowledge, if you make it simple, like lifehacker, then you will kill of your fans, its bad enough You Started Using Caps In The Posts…..

    PLEASE dont dumb down the page… you will lose this cow, and I know i’ll stop telling others about it.

    keep it pure, keep it hacked, dont muddle your market with instrucatable crap…

  24. PLEASE dont dumb down the page…

    no jimmy you and the others are doing that quite well on your own, lets give them a chance, and if they suck THEN we can get our pitchforks and cans o gas

    besides its better to prepare, more gas = more fire

  25. I would have to agree with sprite. A greasemonkey script would be useless for me too not just for the reasons mentioned, but I don’t have firefox on my iPod so, that’s a no go; it’s allready infuriating to me that every so often I have to scroll to the bottom of the screen to disable the word press mobile page! Also I understand that you are trying to run a business here and more articles mean more advertising revenue, and that you can’t cater to any one person, but if your going to respect anyone’s feedback it should be sprite’s! I mean I shouldn’t even have to explain that statement to any of you!

  26. “the daily requests for posts that don’t require that you be an electrical engineer to understand”

    I’m in agreement with many of the other posters here. If you want software reviews, read lifehacker or slashdot or some other blog that covers those topics. If this is going to be just pure reviews of software that doesn’t have anything to do with hacking, diy, or being a maker, I don’t think that fits the HAD audience at all. On the other hand, there is room for a discussion of software that fits with the rest of the content of the site. If you’re reviewing Eagle, gEdit, and/or making a comparison between PC board design packages, that would be great, imho. I just don’t want to be reading about Office 2010 or other generic software on this site – it wouldn’t be technical enough.

    Maybe the original post is less than clear on what the real goal is?

  27. I’m with Sprite_tm, I came here as it interested me due to me being an EEE who worked on various week-end projects.

    I understand how the software aspect may be integrated into Hack-a-Day, my hope is that it doesn’t go into entire software programs level branching into networks and what not.

    I want to see the software people working with projects like DReaM, SDR (software defined radio), and improving/developing/etc projects like that.

    Regardless, welcome folks.

  28. Bah.

    I would be extremely happy if the front page was nothing but protoboards and duct tape. The entire reason I come here is for gritty technical details, obscure and arcane electrical knowledge, etc. Turning this place into engadget is going to be the final nail in the coffin. I don’t care about software, I don’t care about news, and I really, really don’t care about reviews. Whoever expressed “demand” for that kind of bullshit is not your devoted longterm userbase.

    As for the categories on the side, those are there for the people who haven’t read every post. Your actual regular fans, who’ve been here every day for years, who made this site what it is, have absolutely no use for the categories because it’s all things we’ve read already.

    Trying to make this site appeal to a wider audience will alienate your existing audience. Completely and utterly stupid move.

  29. Hacks are Hacks, software or hardware, who cares. the main reason for visiting this sight is to see what other people are up to, and get ideas for yourself. I think including software hacks is a good idea to wet the appetite of a future code monkey. but since there seems to be a mix of opinions on this, I hope HAD sets up a separate but affiliated sight dedicated to software hacks. I look forward to it.

  30. Brilliant.

    As long as you don’t start talking about how to dress your dolls thats great.

    I have seen so much complaining about non-hacks so I’m not sure that people have realized that Hackaday is not restricting the content but adding to it.
    It’s not like that a post replaced some other post that could have been better.
    Its a choice, you can ether ignore the post or complain about it. Additionally, its lose-lose situation Hackaday cannot fulfill desires of everybody so somebody is going to get offended and its their choice. SO WHAT if I have to scroll a little more just to skip over a post that I don’t want to read. Somebody else WILL probably want to.

    However, I think it good to have a well rounded variety of posts because there comes the time in which things just become redundant and all alike.

    One thing that I would really like to see is a yearly Hackaday Book(Hardcover).
    That would be totally awesome.

    Have yall ever seen those ‘How things Work’ Books?
    They are the coolest books and they contain the most random things. Like how a fire-hydrant works, how a coal mine work, how a jet-turbine works to even how a match works and are made. Typically each subject is two are three pages and lots of diagrams.
    The book could contain small snippets of the best way to do something. A couple of pages on how to analyze data. Small but useful things and keep the subjects to no more then three pages. There could be a couple of tutorials. The book could contain things that or easy and also horribly complex.

    Seriously, I would love to have couple of Books on my shelf and that I could handle and look up stuff.

  31. “…in response to the daily requests for posts that don’t require that you be an electrical engineer to understand”

    I read HaD daily. If anything the posts I’ve seen are exactly the opposite. When HaD posts some lame blinky LED brainless nonsense, the natives go wild with rage.

    I’m insulted by this. Dumbing-down HaD is a very dumb thing to do. You would be far better off hiring four EE’s instead.

  32. Besides since when did this become electrical project a day? A break from having an arduino in every post will be nice.

    I can understand that some people are frustrated by the “dilution” of hardware hacks, but honestly hacks aren’t necessarily all hardware.

    If the writers can provide good tutorials for various pieces of software that are used often for creating hacks/projects then I think they will be a valuable addition. There are a lot of awkward programs out there, and sometimes all it takes is a good how to. I had a hard time learning how to program PICs with the MPLAB IDE for example. Using assembly I was fine, but when I moved on to C I had difficulties. It turns out certain bits were set by default I didn’t know about.

    Anyways I think it would be best if we hold our criticism until after they’ve had a chance to demonstrate their potential.

  33. You guys sure get your panties in a bunch fairly easily. Why don’t we just off the outrage until we have actually seen the content of the new software articles?

  34. “They will be focusing on software reviews and tutorials in response to the daily requests for posts that don’t require that you be an electrical engineer to understand.”

    But I want posts that DO require that you be an electrical engineer to understand. Why would I want ro read about cooking if Im EE

  35. i haven’t read the whole thread as it is really freaking long but @Caleb check out (there are probably others) they sort their articles by key words as well and they have a control panel where people can hide things. don’t like game reviews? you can hide them etc etc. love the site and i welcome the newness glad this site is taking off.

  36. well heres to the software hacks being over the EE’s heads.

    i personally read both HaD for the EE and hacked gadgets for the ME, now if HaD can cover the SE too
    i’ll be able to fill all my addictions.

  37. I have also been reading Hackaday for a really long time. I read it because it not afraid to be technical and it had a nice, small, vibrant community. I even wrote for Hackaday for about 6 months. When I was brought on, Eliot (the former editor) was explicit to all the readers and writers about the change in content. Everyone still bitched and moaned which I understand because people who have been reading and commenting for a long time feel strongly attached to the original community and purpose.

    The thing that people forget is that Hackaday is essentially now a business. Hackaday even has a parent company, Mahalo, which honestly seems kind of sketchy because I have no idea what they actually do… The point is, these writers get paid and someone high up the ladder gets paid. And although I doubt any of them actually live off the money, I know I never could have, the money is a big part of keeping this alive. All this being said, don’t be so surprised and distraught when you see Hackaday start to shift it’s focus to a more mainstream crowd, how else are they supposed to stay alive? Hackaday won’t ever be the same, and some may say it is dead, but as long as you people are still out there creating good content, Hackaday won’t be turning it down. I assure you.

    It is getting old and I think it is an amazing thing that it has kept such integrity for this long. I just think it is ridiculous to demand that they must weigh your comments heavier just because you were here first. Business works on democratic principles. I guess all I am really trying to say is that Hackaday is no longer a small community run purely on sweat and free time, there are money interests somewhere in the mix, and that is okay because what most people probably don’t know is that Hackaday would not have survived without the shift in content to appease more readers. I know it is tough to watch it change but thus is life, get over it.

    Wow this thread is long, no one will read this. I don’t even know why I wrote it.

  38. “I don’t even know why I wrote it.” me neither

    “Hackaday would not have survived without the shift in content”
    Lol you are stupid like my ass and have no oversight of online business at all. You do realize that 1 hosting+domain+ssl+mail << 50$/year. Even if your site is a complete fail you can easily get this back from ads.

    I have site chains where I pay for content writers from india 1$ for 30-40 quality articles :D

    I doubt this site would be so monnie oriented like many other tardshit sites such as so stop whining.

    Nah anyways I just wanted to say it would be better keeping it HARDWARE focused not SOFTWARE. I only want to see useful hardware hacks here and possibly free energy shit in the future.

    I very much like that the articles are so detailed that you can build almost everything at home from scratch.

    Just some ideas for the future:
    -make a standard file upload for content writers who can attach stuff to the site
    -make some field where we can dl the PCBs sprint layout files and if there isn't any available then get a guy to make them

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