Goodbye Hackaday Subdomains


We’re sure some of you will be sad that the LIFE and HANDMADE Hackaday subdomains are going away. Others will be happy, and many won’t realize they even existed.

We tried a little experiment in diversity this summer, launching the two outliers of our main focus (which is engineering oriented hacks). Each was interesting in their own way, with steady streams of readers and small conversations. But this diverted some of the attention away from what we do best, and that’s why we’re closing them down.

Handmade has already been absorbed. The features which highlighted craftsmanship and artful creations like blowing glass are tangentially interesting. We’ve imported all of the articles and will continue to feature this sort of content from time to time if it fits in with what our readers are normally after.

Life was a little bit outside of what we normally focus on. These sorts of hacks are interesting tidbits to have bouncing around your brain. But you probably won’t see them hitting our front page. Don’t let that discourage you though. If you’ve got a tip or trick to make daily life less mundane you can always let us know on the tips line. At worst we will ignore you. But you might end up seeing it in a Links post, which is our weekly Sunday column that showcases things which weren’t compelling enough for their own post.

Just to be clear for those that are really paying attention. We’re not cramming this content onto the front page with everything else. We’re phasing it out except for those things that go hand in hand with our lust for tech hacks of the highest caliber.

51 thoughts on “Goodbye Hackaday Subdomains

  1. Reading Hackaday is part of my daily check, sometimes several times a day. But I’ve only clicked on LIFE or HANDMADE like, twice since launch. I knew they were there, but nothing in it really caught my interest enough to pursue like the stuff on the main page. Though I did like some of the content posted and wouldn’t mind still seeing a few of those pop up on the main page.

  2. “this diverted some of the attention away from what we do best, and that’s why we’re closing them down.”

    Boooo. Hissssss.

    Spouse equivalency:

    “I know I bought you that reflow station for your birthday, but I wasn’t getting enough attention so I threw it out.”

  3. For those who already miss, you might check out There used to be a LOT of great advice on there, but they seem to have gone a lot more liberal since Gawker acquired them.

      1. I don’t get the more liberal comment.. I do, however love (sarcastic) when people try to pin/point/argue that website ‘x’ is better/worse because of their political stance.. ROFL.

        Onto the subject at hand. It was nice to see HAD branch out – Why not continue the subdomains, unless they meant extra hardware I don’t quite get (does it not create more revenue streams for the new owners to pipe ads down at as???), why you’re shutting them down, I also never understood why HAD felt the need to “compete” with lifehacker. Handmade, far as I know, was authentic, fresh and new (am I wrong?), and I liked reading that content.. But Life, well, like I said.. I felt like it was a “this is the HAD version of lifehacker”, nice, but un-necessary..

  4. As long as Retro.Hackaday stays around! Personally I think it’s fun to see what ancient or horrendously underpowered devices people can get to load that page. (It doesn’t even need any manual attention to run…)

    Though I would like to see a “no dumb terminals” rule appended to the Retro Roundup entries. It’s much more interesting when the actual device is rendering the page, rather than just spitting out the TTY console of a modern quad-core desktop machine.

      1. I know it’s off topic, and I even know why you do it. But it bugs me how you say “we” so often, Mike. So I just have to ask, somehwat tongue in cheek, “How many personalities do you have anyway?”

        On topic: I am going to miss .handmade. Such a shame.

    1. Yup. The ZX Spectrum, 48K RAM and a Z80, has connected to the net running it’s own TCP/IP stack. Among a few others. Connecting some old computer to a PC through a serial link, and doing all the work on the PC is not really good enough. Anyone could do that with 3 bits of wire and some D connectors. You can write a terminal emulator in 3 lines of BASIC (the third is for GOTO 10)..

      I think from now on, the computer itself must’ve connected, via TCP/IP and SLIP or whatever, and handle the packets and the rendering (even if it’s just dumping text to the screen) itself. It can be done, it takes a bit of brains, and that’s why it’s admirable!

  5. Why not keep them in a sort of tab on main hackaday, so you can just click at the top between the feeds? They’ll be a fair bit more visible that way. You could even just make them automatically detected via what they’re tagged as

    1. This. I knew those other subdomains existed but there was never any clear/easy link between the three pages I noticed. If there was I would have clicked through it to pass the time between updates here.

      If you’re going to branch off and make a subdomain you need to promote it and link it through from the main site in a way that’s apparent.

      1. There was mention of the other two on every page! The “recent comments” for one. It’d be really hard to miss something to click on to get to them.

        I didn’t read them much, cos I don’t care about crafting, and I prefer to ruin my life in my own way, ta. But I like tech and hacking.

        I think that’s the problem, not as much crossover between the interests as one might have thought. Still, valiant effort! Though it did smell a bit of “growing the brand” or somesuch horribleness, to try pump up the price before the sale.

  6. Why not just have them in tabs at the top, and differenciate between them with post tags?

    It’d make them easier to find/sort between, but not extra work and or hard to find.

  7. I know that most of the people who are going to reply are going to voice their dismay at this decision so I’ll even out the numbers:

    I enjoyed a large portion of the life. and handmade. posts, but I’ll admit I only checked those subdomains a handful of times. Certainly not 2-4 times a day like I do with the main site.

    1. I noticed life. seemed a bit neglected in that if someone asked a question it would take so long for the comments to be approved there would be four more or less identical answers from different people

  8. When they showed up, I kind of figured you were trying to fatten up the site in order to sell it to Yahoo while they were in the middle of their spending spree.

    Imagine my shock when the For Sale sign went up.

    I’m glad this place didn’t end up purple and white.

  9. The “handmade” page had some, but very few things that I found interesting, but not really a place I would ever check out often. The “life” page wasn’t as good as the website Lifehacker, which is really good at delivering life-hack’s.

    Focus on what you’re good at, and I do not think that the two sub-sites will be missed that much.

  10. Less than a month in, and the new owners are already rocking the boat. Really wish the community could have bought hackaday. Next thing you know, the place will end up like Engadget, aka the cellphone blog.

    1. Actually, shutting down subdomains was a request from editorial side :) From purely commercial standpoint, these made sense (pretty much for the reasons that ChalkBored mentioned), but the feeling was that these were distractions to the core mission of Hackaday, so we (the new owners) didn’t say no to the idea.

      1. Well, that’s perfectly reasonable and not at all in line with my first thoughts of newownerphobia. Boo change! Rabble rabble rabble!

        On a serious note, my biggest fear is that hackaday will slowly go the same way so may other formerly great blogs have. Personally, I visit hackaday on very nearly a daily basis, as I once did with Engadget, amongst others. I really don’t want to see this place go down hill as they did, so I’m wary of change at the moment. Which I think is pretty understandable. Though I did think handmade was pretty interesting. Kind wish it’d get spun off to an independent site if you guys are just going to shut it down. But… Que surah and whatnot.

        1. I think that’s a healthy fear that I certainly share! I’m quietly liking what I’ve seen of the new writers contributions and am hopeful that the new owners will keep this site ‘as is’ (apart from the 2 subdomains, obviously) which is what has kept us (certainly me) coming back for years and years.

          I just hope someone in the new office was paying close attention to the design-change fiasco a little while ago that certainly rustled a lot of feathers!

    2. This heard of cats? yeah, HAD would have crashed in a burning heap if the community bought it. It’s a Noble idea but reality states you need to have someone with some business skills running the show or it will catch fire and burn to the ground.

  11. So, you like retro so it stays. We like life/hand made but it doesn’t matter, lets just trash it. I enjoyed that section because even though there were less posts and comments, there wasnt as much trolling going on.

    Or is this because you’re targetted ads dont reach the right people on there?

  12. Subdomains were a failed implementation of a good idea. Keep trying.

    Half the stuff that makes it to the front page wouldn’t be described as the “highest caliber”. Ooh, someone made a not-very-good copy of a thing that someone else made previously? Be still, my beating heart! A new-product announcement? Useful, but not a hack!

    That’s the thing, a lot of the non-hack content is nifty, and hackaday caters to a diverse audience. It would be great to have a way to post more of what gets submitted, but hide the run-of-the-mill-DIY content for the folks who really just want the high quality hacks.

    I imagine some sort of reddit-like up/down voting thing, but on multiple characteristics: hack-vs-lame, fresh-vs-dupe, tech-vs-not, text-writeup-vs-just-a-video, etc. Then let visitors set their own filters.

    That way, editors could post whatever they find worthy, the tags would sort themselves out, and we could each view the hackaday we each personally want. And, as long as something was rated appropriately, nobody could complain that it didn’t belong on the site? Oh, your filters let it through? Then I guess it DOES belong here!

  13. I understand shutting them down but think it would be cool if they could end up as round up on the weekend or spaced through out the week. Say life on Tuesday and handmade on Thursday.

  14. Personally I welcome this decision! I always felt it was a fragmentation of HAD and that neither really had a place. I felt that a lot of the posts featured on either would have sat nicely as a main page feature or at least worthy of the weekly “Hackaday Links” post which seems to have become a nice regular thing. Equally, I feel that there were a few posts that didn’t really seem to contribute anything, more like tips and tricks (like the recent one about earplug germ statistics?), which is fine, but I personally didn’t feel or recognise that was the point of the subdomain sites or even know that it is/was? (is it?)

    It’s nice to see the HAD staff soldiering on with what they know works. Maybe there is a future for the subdomain section but I don’t think it was really working in it’s current form.

    Hopefully that made sense to someone, obviously i’m not referring to the retro subdomain which has been a favourite for years.

  15. Good move. Handmade had decent content but I can find that kind of stuff anywhere. Life was the kind of crap I would expect to see on Pintrest. Frankly, Life made me worry more for the future of HAD then new ownership did.

  16. I don’t mind the minor changes to the site, but taking away content isn’t cool!!… If anything you should be expanding and sorting appropriately; then placing the best on the home page! I’ve had Hackaday on my IGoogle page since there was one to have. I removed it day.

    1. Ouch, that hurts.

      On a serious side, I have to agree with mjrippe a bit up, on the part that post like that would make it to HaD on a slow day. Both Life and Handmade seemed a bit promising, thought the posting was so slow that I visited them a lot less than Hackaday.

      Also not all hackers and nerds are about computers electronics and what’s between.

  17. I’m really going to miss handmade.hackaday. Even *if* the stuff that was posted there shows up here, it gets lost in signal to noise ratio.
    FWIW; “arduino” is an example of the latter.

  18. I suppose one would have to be professional hater to hate handmade.hackaday and/or life.hackaday. I wouldn’t know how they could have been any less obtrusive on Hackaday’s main page. No doubt beeching will commence when content that was a good fit at those two areas starts getting posted here. Oh well tomorrow is a new day and a new week.

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