Ask HN: What is something exciting you’re working on?

I’ve felt strongly for a few years that there is a market (strong interest, if not financial) for a small computer designed to let you be creative and expressive and to learn how computers really work. Over the past year and a half, I’ve built up a BASIC-like system on my own bare metal kernel on ARM64, giving a boot-to-BASIC programming and prototyping environment in a few seconds. I’ve worked down the stack as far as building an SBC-based custom hardware with HDMI and keyboard that also works as a handheld portable with onboard display & speaker. You can also do inline ARM64 assembly and memory peeking/disassembly as well as instruction-level step debugging. Polyphonic audio, direct I2C/SPI/GPIO/etc. access (i.e. at the byte level), and more.

I have had this exact idea before, and agree with you on almost every front except for this seeing widespread adoption by non-hackers. 😛

“Radically freeing” is exactly how I’d imagine it too.

If you need any help at all on the non-technical aspects (logistics, fundraising, manufacturing/stock-keeping), please shoot us a message (email in bio). Not asking for anything in return, would just love to see something like this come to market.

So many creators overlook these aspects, and they’re arguably more important than the technical specifics.

Thanks, I appreciate this. I have thought of many of these factors, and am well familiar with many of the ways that non-technical aspects of technical projects can surprise/horrify/block/crush you.

Brilliant. In that case, please share your project here when it’s ready to go!

I’m sure it would reach the front page very quickly, and I’d love to buy one if only to support you!

I am making a Lovecraftian text editor called Tentacle Typer. It’s a text editor / game where you play as a tentacle monster with a magic mechanical typewriter.

Creative writing releases psychic energy that activates machines / opens doors and all sorts of other things. It also exports .txt files.

Depending on what you write, you’ll learn different sigils you can arrange into a circle that will activate when you’re in danger. Writing a romance novel gets you different powers than a horror or sci-fi short story, for instance.

It’s pretty weird, but I’m really proud of all that I’ve done myself this last year. Solo indie gamedev is a perilous, extremely stressful, maybe stupid career choice but I’m realizing a lifelong dream.

I also think I might be inventing/innovating a new genre of game so it’s fun to maybe leave a mark that way too. I hope it’ll squeeze some creative writing out of people they never would have written otherwise.

I started my own bioinformatics+AI services firm that specializes in cell-type specific biomarker discovery and immune-repertoire profiling (i.e. we use single-cell and NGS technologies). I have developed a pipeline that integrates/automates state-of-the-art algorithms, which I use to serve clients (biotech and academic labs).

My clients are mostly local (i.e. Switzerland) acquired through word-of-mouth. Client acquisition is a challenge because I have to juggle sales and execution. However I am super excited to be in this field because I believe this is exactly what precision medicine is.

The company is called YugaCell (

I’m having a lot of fun making a virtual ant farm as a side project.


I found some code written in 1991 for Unix (in C) and decided I would port it to React and get it running on the web. I have to implement persistence and iron out a few bugs, but it’s at least functional at this point.

I wrote the original coder and let them know I’m rewriting their code 30 years later. They’re stoked to see it come back to life and I find that motivates me to do a good job. Plus, some of my friends’ kids have started to take an interest in it.

I’m not sure which direction I’ll go with it long-term. I kind of wanted to get it running on an e-ink screen and have it sit on my desk or become more like a tamagotchi. I don’t have any experience working with hardware and think it would a cool way to learn some of that stuff.

I’m probably going to add some more features to it like a queen ant, food, pathfinding, etc. I saw this cool “ant-based solution to the TSP”… which I could see being solved by the ants over time and then introducing variables like weather or user-interaction which disrupt the path and then watching it get solved again, etc.

idk! I just played SimAnt when I was young and impressionable and am taking it way too far now. 🙂

I founded a YIMBY group where I live, because I did not want to be part of tech workers pricing other people out. Now we’re a chapter of YIMBY Action:

It’s interesting in that it’s very different from tech, but also rewarding to make a difference in people’s lives.

How difficult was it? I’m thinking of doing something similar in my mid-sized mid-western city. There are so many growth opportunities stunted by zoning laws. I’m a big advocate for regulation but parking mandates and housing density limits present more problems than solutions.

In my case it’s been a gradual process. I made a web site, created a Facebook group, and started collecting emails. It helps a lot to get a few people who are interested in the same things you are. Strong Towns is another one to look into for allies.

Strong Towns is great. My hesitancy of this kind of activism is that I can’t track down and show up to every public hearing like grumpy retired homeowners can.

Just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you can’t do something!

It’s often possible to write in, rather than attending hearings in person. Get a mailing list of people and have them write in.

Two years ago I quit my SRE job and took a leap of faith to develop a game I would love to play myself. It’s a crossover between Factorio and RimWorld. It is by far the most complex software project I have worked on throughout my 20-ish years in tech, and I’m loving every moment of it.

It will likely flop, and I did ruin my career for this, but it was my childhood dream to make games, and I can finally say I’m doing it. If you’re interested to see the progress of my two years of work: – there is a demo on Steam.

I’m starting to get involved in the space industry (currently an undergrad student), and there are some wild things coming in the next few years. Be ready for people on the moon and Mars, commercial space stations with 50+ people, in-orbit manufacturing, and early asteroid mining by the end of the decade. I’m very excited for the stuff I’m working on, as well as what’s coming in general.

I’m trying to grok quantum computing, all the way down to the electronics. Watch/read lots of stuff over my head, until some little detail fits with my world view, then go back and watch/read stuff again… slowly figuring it all out.

I have a really good mental model of superposition. I’m pretty sure I understand quantum annealing. I’m working on the bloch sphere and quantum gates.

Once I’m sure I understand things, I’ll write up some code to simulate it, and then see if that code matches up with the stuff already out there, result wise.

I’m consciously guarding my ignorance of how it is simulated, lest I fall into the same mode of thinking about it as everyone else.

I think I can simulate quantum annealing with an almost trivial amount of code.

I love when technology intersects with non high tech environments.

So I built BuzzMeIn that hooks up to old school phone based apartment buzzers via a Twilio phone number and now the sky’s the limit of what I can do.

Plus it solves real people everyday problems, making life more convenient (which I’m also a big fan of)


I’m building a hosted data warehouse for different verticals. My goal is to target people interested in doing analysis, but acquiring data and setting up even datasette is too complex, especially if the data needs transformations to be easier to comprehend.

Then I’m building that into a platform where people can fork any query, modify, and publish with their own analysis in order to build a portfolio.

My first market is sports data. There are many aspiring analysts, and I want to 10x the number of people who do this work. And I think the best way to learn Analysis is SQL, and the best way to learn SQL is by building off other peoples queries (learn by example / exploration).

For analytics sometimes SQL is not the best query language. In many practical scenarios analytic queries require looking at most rows of a dataset, but only at a few columns.

This is what OLAP-like engines are built for.

When you have these types of queries, the relational model ends up degenerating in a star schema with queries issuing a join for each data column on the first projection, and then a pass on that projection for aggregation, typically working on a time range that’s relatively recent.

For these, native columnar stores are usually a better option. Things like Apache Pinot might be a better fit.

If you add a real-time requirement, it gets even more challenging, going into the realm of custom built query engines, such as those that back products as those built by Medallia or other customer experience companies.

It’s a really interesting niche.

Fully agree with everything written here. I’ve spent way too much time window shopping different database technologies, which are varied and super interesting. For my little hobby project, I’m just using a few gigs of data and am sticking with Postgres to minimize complexity – PG is just such a great tool!

Since I have you here, what do you think about MADlib from Apache? Basic ML in SQL is really appealing – one of my objectives is to teach people analysis using SQL, and it’d be great to only need to develop that one skill (rather than “learn SQL and python”).

I am working to educate municipalities about the risks of building new gas stations as EVs begin to get market share. Gas stations are expensive to cleanup and the insurance to cover spills is often insufficient.

I envision a future 20-30 years from now as profits dry up the industry collapsing and leaving municipalities holding the toxic asset of an expensive to cleanup site. These sites will then require municipalities to write grants, hire construction staff, etc.


I’m working on alternative discovery methods for discovering websites. I’ve built a sort of semi-stumbleupon, but I’m trying to add more of a sense of control.

This is where I’m at now:

I’m leaning toward some sort of categorization or tagging system, but trying to figure out ways of designing it that are inherently resilient to sabotage and manipulation.

I’m playing to see just how much of a stack I can cram into postgres. Using postgrest functions that set custom headers to return html. And then…

I’m using plv8 to set up a deno-type runtime in postgres lol. It’s silly but so fun and weird-feeling to me.

It’s very finicky right now and most build tools are not ever going to work like this obviously but I have a little tiny “server” running out of postgres just using js tag functions for templating.

I’m building a little platform to experiment with embodied / real-time multi-modal learning. Basically I have an old boom box that I gutted, stuck a USB power bank and a USB charger in there, along with a Raspberry Pi. The Pi will connect to one or more cameras, one or more microphones, and a handful of other sensors to let it sense its environment to various degrees. The main ones I want to work with are accelerometers so it can sense motion, temperature, and possibly GPS.

The form factor was intended to allow for portability (it has a handle and I can carry it around with ease, and the Pi can run off of the battery when then AC supply is disconnected) and to have enough space to allow for positioning multiple cameras for binocular vision and multiple microphones for stereo “hearing”, as well as room for the other random sensors. Oh, and I’m re-using the existing speakers for the audio out so I can work on integrating speech synthesis into the whole kit and kaboodle.

For the software, I’m looking at starting with a super-simple BDI interpreter for the basic “cognitive loop”, using an RDF triplestore for semantic knowledge, neural network models where appropriate (object recognition for example), and then start trying to build up from there. Also looking at systems like SOAR, ACT-R, OpenCog, etc. for inspiration.

All in all, the basic idea is to have an “AI bot” that is alert, observing, and (hopefully) learning all the time and that will learn more like a child learns, compared to the way we train ML models today. That’s not to say that there might not be some batch mode training as part of this but I’m hoping to experiment mainly with learning modalities than can happen in real-time. There’s no fully fleshed out theory that I’m working off of, but I plan to tinker with a variety of things – Hebbian Learning, Reinforcement Learning, etc. Maybe I’ll learn something interesting, maybe not. But it should be fun in either case.

I am working on a project aimed at reinventing book discovery online… my goal is to recreate the feeling of walking around a physical bookstore (but reimagined for the online world).

It is called

I launched about 10 months ago we are slowly getting there 🙂

How does it work?

I ask authors to recommend five around a topic/theme (so every book on the website is personally recommended by an author who is passionate about it). So you get some great recommendations on things like:

The best books on artificial intelligence that are not full of hype and nonsense

The best books that tell a cautionary tale about world-changing technology

The best books whose dystopian visions were eerily prescient

Then, I build out bookshelves (aka topic pages) using NLP. This is very new and only 30 days old so I am still improving the engine / topics. But, it is all tied to Wikidata so you can search via Wikipedia topic (and some other cool stuff down the road).

Bookshelf on artificial intelligence

Bookshelf on neuroscience

Right now I am working to roll out a big improvement to the recommendation engine. And, then to integrate book genre data, which is a massive project. I want to be able to go to the World War 2 section and say “show me all historical fiction”, or on the AI bookshelf to show me all “science fiction”.

Let me know what you think 🙂

I’m trying to solve my addiction of refreshing tabs constantly to get updates from my social media profiles, by building something that does it for me instead

Think rss, but for my personal feeds.

Still mvp, lotsa bugs, but if anyone has similar problems ->

I need my next project to be non-horror because my fiancee can’t even watch! Although we definitely aren’t complaining about the extra income.


Nice. How about cooperative gameplay? I get the combat appeal, but cooperation ala Minecraft can be truly appealing.

The only real gameplay is raiding and crafting for now. It is possible to build, but you have to be admin and the UX sucks, as it’s not intended to be a gameplay mechanic

I’m on and off spending some time on a (probably) completely useless and really bad idea: a filesystem based document “database” with very basic indexing capabilities, in nodejs.

It sounds so horrible, I can’t get my mind off it! 😛

I’ve been working on something (probably) similar in C#.

The idea is to tag files/documents with attributes like “auto”, “insurance”, “2022”, encrypt the file locally (using your manually entered key), copy it to a network share/cloud storage/etc., and add the tags and document information to a database.

Later on, you can search for documents based on the tags and get a decrypted copy of the file.

This doesn’t sound horrible at all, in fact tree filesystems look like an anachronism from when disk space was limited, and both the logical layer of naming and metadata of objects, and the management of the data on storage, were conflated into a single data structure.

A DB to contain all the metadata, and blobs or object storage for the content itself (perhaps with backup metadata). The database manages the namespace, object storage manages the storage layer.

You can easily and quickly search file metadata etc, there could be multiple copies of the content, perhaps distributed, etc, etc.

Not similar to what I posted above, but similar to another idea I had but didn’t pursue as much:

remote storage with local indexes, where the remote storage only holds encrypted data (can be postgres or s3 or whatever), and the only way to make sense of the data is if you have access to the local encryption keys and indexes.

The local indexes would function like your notion of tags, and also be somewhat encrypted (hashed probably) so you can find your data locally but only pull it from the remote when needed.

I’m researching how we can use technology to improve the way we learn and think.

I’m currently exploring how AI/Natural Language Processing can automatically organize personal knowledge and notes by tagging and linking ideas / content together [0], removing the friction of organization to help you find new connections and ideas.

If you’re interested in this domain, I’d love to talk to you!


I’ve been working on the EdgeQL query builder for TypeScript for around 6 months. This is part of my day job, but the prospect of taking point on this project is what first attracted me to EdgeDB.

The goal is to provide a library that’s autogenerated from your DB schema that can express any EdgeQL query and statically infer the result type.

I’ve done a lot of digging into various SQL query builders for TypeScript, and while some noble efforts have been made, there are structural issues with SQL-notably the fact that it’s tricky to write queries that return nicely structured results-that kneecap those efforts.

By starting with EdgeQL as our target query language, The problem gets more tractable. It still required some truly nextlevel TS wizardry. I’m the developer of Zod and tRPC too, so it’s not my first rodeo, but this is the thing I’m most proud of. Not to sound too grandiose, but this really does represent a “3rd Way“ beyond the usual “raw SQL vs ORM” debate.


I’ve started upping my woodworking skills. For years I would cut and screw together boards cut from construction grade lumber (cheap 2×4 pine for example). I now work with at minimum Poplar (still a bit on the soft side, but works much like hardwood), Oak, Maple, basically what I can get in the premium lumber section at a big box store, and did some alignment on my compound miter saw. What a difference that makes, have cranked out a hand full of desks and other furniture that is getting better with each piece I made.

Also got into 3D printing, using OpenScad for creating the models. It is almost magical when you can think of something that you want, but they don’t make, yet you can make it yourself (different brackets for holding accessories on a bicycle, clips that holds a plexiglass screen in front of the TV to protect it, etc, things like that).

These are a couple of ideas of things that a technical mind can work on (woodworking and 3d printing both require some amount of precision and design). Keeps things interesting.

I am working on meme tournament platform, which I am calling PlanetMeme. Bracket-style, single-elimination. The platform generates tournaments from current events and trending things on social media.

Users create memes and enter them into their preferred tournament(s). Other users on the app are invited to judge the memes. Eventually a winner is chosen, and they can win a real prize like a digital gift card. Tournaments are free to enter for all users. Each user is given free daily tokens to enter as many tournaments as they want.

Users can also host their own tournaments (for a fee). Users can be regular people, social media influencers, and companies big and small. Users can give away whatever prize they want.


Social links on the website.

I’m working in a spiritual successor for the dBase/Foxpro family of languages (

I have published my initial attempt, and now trying to get serious on the parsing (the internals are far more powerful than the porcelain let it see). This is to be able to show errors like in (yesterday finally the first!) and get some type inference/checking.

Plus, lossless parsing so it could work well with a editor.

This have proven to be harder than expected!


After it, I wish to work on the UI and embed a DB (sqlite) but also wish to build my own rdbms, how hard it could be? 🙂

I am building a browser runtime for Animate CC exported animations, kinda like Lottie. It can be utilised by a web component for simple use-cases. It is designed to integrate nicely with React, Vue, or immediate mode contexts, and run on a 2d canvas context (although it is quite simple to facilitate other “targets” like the DOM, ThreeJS, etc).

I am building this because the Texture Atlas exporting feature from Animate CC is actually pretty awesome, yet only an Adobe Air runtime currently exists for it. I find Lottie restricted in its use-cases, can’t handle many animations, and I require raster images. My library can be used from loading spinners all the way up to entire games, with a simple but powerful model for manipulating animations dynamically at runtime.

I’ve been working on a job board for startup jobs[0]; if you want to work at a startup, there are more companies than ever, but it’s also harder than ever to know which one to work for. I track number of job posts over time so jobseekers have some data about how much a startup is growing, and I’m hoping to add more types of data as time goes on. Why should investors be the ones who get all the data about startups? Job seekers should, too!

It’s been fun to work on, plus it’s a challenging technical problem: in order to scrape job posts for many companies, you need to make a very generic scraper since they all have different formats and you can’t rely on HTML structure.


Roughly, Reason is OCaml, Derw is more like Haskell/Elm. Derw wears the Elm influence proudly, with similar design decisions and goals, and similar standards for tooling. Reason is maybe more appealing to people from JS or OCaml backgrounds, with support for things like JSX. Derw is like Elm: functions and values.

I’ve been working on an encrypted note taking web app called ‘fieldnotes’. It’s designed to remove friction for writing down everything I might want to reference later by having a very clean and uncluttered interface.

It started out as just a side project for myself and to learn the full scope of software development: From concept to design, architecture, implementation, deployment and monitoring etc. It’s been extremely valuable as a learning tool and has increased my confidence in my own skills quite a bit.

Some weeks ago I realized that I was so happy with the result that I will pursue monetizing it. There is still some ways to go but I’m very exited with the whole project 🙂

The current project in that direction is a timeline-maker targeting research labs. Imagine joining a research lab (for MS/PhD) and getting a timeline of key papers in their field. This will set a baseline for “literature survey”. Some of my professors from my college have already shown interest.

It is nothing fancy though. A python script that take YAML input and produce an HTML output. Now producing that YAML input with all the data from 100+ papers is the tedious task. I am currently doing it for my field – speech recognition.

A secure, encrypted, containerized microservice to store personally identifying (pii) data (contact info, names, govt id info etc). The idea is for it to be a drop in microservice that can keep all PII in one place for compliance, security, and convenience.

Not much in the grand scheme of things, but our research firm works in a specialized field and I recently decided to put together a little package and database API for internal development — especially R&D — that encodes all the domain knowledge present in the company into rich representations of the subject matter at hand, along with efficient ways to manage the data for analysis, inspection, training, etc. It’s more exciting than my current day job and it gives me a chance to explore the DevOps-y side of things in the company.

Social & local still has room for new useful solutions.

Most people don’t need new randos in their lives. They might have time to be in group chats with peeps of value. Selecting interests by unverified people isn’t the solution, even though most apps go this route.

Value + ease, is key to this. The are clever ways to group people and semi verify that have not been exploited yet.

What I am working on. If you are a skilled iOS dev or backend pro (cloud functions to be written!) and interested, DM. (or anyone else).

I’m working on an online reading group centered around the classics where people can see each other’s notes and highlights and start conversations within the book.

Very slowly working on implementing AWS/cloud-like APIs on my homelab (EC2, EBS, S3, DNS) running Hyper-V, TrueNAS, and opnsense written in Python and some go

I’m trying to create a ML model which can detect if my dog is in pain just by looking at its face. Maybe, I’ll create an app for it too if it works well.

Currently, I’m approaching this from another angle. Instead of giving training data, I’m trying to use the same inferences vets use to determine if the dog is in pain. For ex: if the dog has flattened ears or grimacing look.

I’m still reading research papers to figure what’s the best way to approach this problem. This is just the first step and I’ll see what can be done regarding collecting data later on.

When a dog is in pain, it makes a short high pitched noise.

Reference: my dog has problems with his hips and likes to jump… Suddenly the pain kicks in.

Hope it helps

Thanks for asking, but it’s not going well at all. I dumped US$250 into Facebook ads targeting Business Page owners and didn’t get a single customer.

Neat trick, but it’s a tough market to crack.

Fortunately, I have other side projects that need attention. 🙂

Next up is Headlamp. It’s a Chrome plugin for web test UI coverage & test team monitoring/coordination. It’s been offline and broken for years:


I quit my job to work by myself full time on an application development platform that I plan on using to roll out several developer/founder applications and services with. Eventually, I plan o building a no-code solution around and on top of the libraries and infrastructure I’ve been building. Also, will use it to relaunch my budgeting application @

I am not working on anything specific but I have three ideas around a interesting alternative for google maps/yelp, a dating app that addresses the unbalanced experience of men/women, and a crypto idea that helps reduce your chances of your funds getting seized by the likes of the Canadian govt.

But ideas are cheap, a minimally viable product would be more impressive.

I’m building, a platform to create, publish and sell longer form rich content. The vision is a cross between Substack and Github.

I mention Github because much like code, good content and knowledge should change and improve over time and have lots of commits and pull requests.

I mention Substack as users can subscribe to authors (they can also buy individual books).

I’m working on a free tool for job seekers.

1/ To protect them against not meaningful recruiters messages

2/ To help understand what values are important for them.

It will be called No central website but each user will have its own and [email protected] email

I’m working on a no-code platform [1]. Given that this space is getting crowded I am starting to investigate adding the ability to create NFTs and make the web3 space more friendly to non-developers which is exciting! (at least to me! 🙂


Setting up a platform/cloud agnostic PaaS that a scrappy preproduct/early stage/pre-revenue startup can use without incurring large, spiky, unpredictable costs.

Because at this stage the startup has too much going on, this PaaS is very low overhead – so no Kubernetes complexity.

Think EC2/EBS/ELB at flat predictable rates.

Home automation with arduino and Nodered.

I have already implemented the garden lights and the heat on off. I get temp and humidity data from the garden and i want to add some security features and implement a morning routine (warmup the espresso machine, start the heat, open the curtain)

Holy! I’ve longn been interested in working on a side-project like this. How do you interface with the game? Do they have exposed APIs? I’d love to know more! Please give us some more details/Github/Bitbucket/blogposts!

I love table tennis. I am fiddling around trying to make a 2d table tennis simulator that is focused on tactics, I am excited to find out if it can increase IRL table-tennis skill.

Welcome! Vue is such a pleasure to work with! Love how you can drop it into a page and add JS interactivity inline OR create large scale component based apps!

I’m converting my whole mindset and toolchain to reactive with Vert.x and Mutiny. It’s really inspired me to build cooler things, with such convenient access to concurrency.

I want to build something where people can publish their own blog via their browser using webrtc and indexeddb. but i haven’t started yet

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: