Achievement Unlocked: Global Virtual Hackerspace

We’ve been riding the runaway train that is for about fourteen months. With over 60k registered user and  hundreds of thousands of visitors a month it’s hard to remember how we got from humble beginnings to where we stand now. But a big part of this is all the suggestions we’ve been hearing from you. On the top of that list have been numerous requests for more collaborative features. This week we’ve pushed an update that will change the way you interact with your fellow hackers.


This brand new messaging interface is beyond what we dreamed when we started development. Our goal with Hackaday has long been to form the Virtual Hackerspace, and this is it. Shown above is group messaging for the project. You can see that thread selected on the left among many other threads in progress. On the right is the list of the team collaborators. Each project on has group messaging availalbe, all you need to do is add your collaborators.

group-messagig-buttonNeed skills that you don’t have to finish the project? Just want to brainstorm the next big project? Jump on and get into it. Head over to one of your projects, invite some collaborators if you don’t already have them, and click the “Group Messaging” button in the left column.

This is not private messaging and it’s not just chat. This is new. It’s persistent, it’s instant, it’s long, it’s short, it is what you need to work with other hackers. We don’t even know what to call it yet. You can help with that and you can tell us what you find to do with it. We’ve designed it for creative abuse.

Configurable Notifications

When loading up the message page for the first time you’ll see a bar across the top requesting desktop notification access. This feature gives you a pop-up message when the tab with the messaging interface is not active.

If you don’t have the interface open you will receive an email when new messages come in. This can be toggled globally for all of your chats but we do have plans to configure these emails per-chat thread. Thanks to [jlbrian7] for the tip that users of Firefox on Linux need an extension to enable notifications. I’m using Chrome on Mint and it work just fine without adding packages.

Dude, Mobile

Screenshot_2015-04-21-16-57-07This Virtual Hackerspace goes with you and we’re not just talking out of the house. How many times have you been sitting at the bench wondering what the heck you’re doing wrong? Whip out your phone, snap a picture and post it so the collaborators on your team can help out. Right now it’s rock-solid on iPhone. Android requires a very quick double-tap on the image icon to trigger but we’ll have that fixed in a jiffy.

Of course images work from the computer interface as well, and there’s a code tool to embed snippets in your messages.

Team Invites and Requests

The only part we don’t have working is the ability to talk to yourself but that is coming. For now you must have collaborators to enable group messaging and this update makes that simple.

Each project has a team list in the left hand column. You’ll notice that a text box has been added to invite members. Just type their hacker name and click the invite button. They’ll get a private message with instructions for accepting your invitation.

Give it a Spin Right Now

We’ve set up the official Hackaday Prize Hacker Channel so that you can try it out right away. Casual conversation is welcome, but this is also a great opportunity to find team members for your Hackaday Prize entry. We’ll also be hosting regular events on the channel. More on that soon!

17 thoughts on “Achievement Unlocked: Global Virtual Hackerspace

  1. With all the registered users, it would be nice to have a feature to help find collaborators you need. Each user should have a skill attribute section where they can add self-proclaimed skills, along with an endorsement attribute where other users are able to “add/subtract a point” to their skill based on actual help with projects.

    If a user is in need of help from a specific skill set, they can post a wanted ad for their project and name the skill they require, and that ad will hit the stream of those with the listed skill. Alternatively, you can search for users with the skill you require and solicit users directly.

    The problem with this is how to make it a system that helps rather than a popularity contest where people just endorse each other because they can (ahem linkedin), not because they actually contributed to a project or demonstrated the skill. (kind of why the subtract a point option is there…). I want to find people who can help me, and its pretty hard to find the loner in the corner who is a master at …circuit layout… out of 60,000 people…

    1. … interesting feature to find the loner: When you search for someone, the search engine divides the rated skill by the number of projects they are involved in and returns the highest rating first. You may be a master at a skill, but if you’re involved in 50 different projects, the likelihood that you will help me on mine is slim.

    2. May be there should be a points based system for awarding users for helping others. Why would I or the community want to help someone if they only ask for help, but won’t return the favor to help others?

      Also may be the search should be for someone within similar skill level in a different area. It should be of mutual benefits to both sides. The last thing I want is it turned into a newbie ask for help forum drowning the call for collaborations between skill users.

      1. Yeah!
        Heaven Forbid somebody shares their knowledge and experience with beginners!!! They might “learn” something!! Next thing you know… Children, yes, Children will be hacking. Madness….
        What’s so hard about helping people, …because you can… Help…without expectation?
        Or not. If that is Your bag.
        You can take your knowledge with you when you go, but then you, like it are apt to be forgotten.
        A Rating system can stifle creativity by inhibiting those with less experience (points) from speaking up or being taken as seriously. IMHO

    3. Self proclaimed skills have significantly lower point value until endorsed.

      Endorsement is only possible FROM a project you are a member of, and which you work tagged in that project matches the endorsement.

      On you profile, it could say “analog design – endorsed by puppetmaster for anasynth” where the project name links back to the work you published in the project.

      It would essentially become an index of every collaboration you did.

    4. +1 These are some great ideas, and I completely agree with your last point. There needs to be to filter out just the people that currently have rating. Maybe some sort of randomization, or in conjunction with an online test by hackaday that people can answer with programming, or something else, and people can review the answer that person gave, and know whether or not they want that person.

  2. In a totaly different register, I miss a “/.”ish blog entry notation, with a thumb up / down. Why ? Because several times, I’ve tried to thanks the writer of an entry in a comment, but felt stupid to do it after having read all the clever answers already written (example : the entry about the crowdfunded guy who want to verify Newton laws : I’ve laught reading the article, thinked of leaving a little “thanks for the laugh, it has make my day !”, and … see all that has already written).

    [Wow ! I’ve left a comment \o/]

  3. I’d love to see this kind of platform federated.
    Think diaspora, where you can follow tags from other groups and cross-post.

    Many communities would prefer to self-host, but cross-publish, I think.
    (at least I would)

  4. “The only part we don’t have working is the ability to talk to yourself but that is coming” – you can actually do that – open a project you host and click group messaging.

    I’d love to have a “skull” button for articles here on the blog. Looking forward to what the API will bring.

  5. I believe what you wrote was very logical. But, consider this,
    suppose you typed a catchier title? I ain’t suggesting your information isn’t solid, however what if you added a title that
    grabbed folk’s attention? I mean Achievement Unlocked: Global Virtual Hackerspace |
    Hackaday is kinda plain. You could look at Yahoo’s home page
    and note how they write post headlines to get viewers interested.

    You might add a related video or a related picture or two to get people interested about what you’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it would make your blog a little livelier.

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