Hacker News Daily

I've been a member of the Hacker News website (formerly "Startup News") for slightly over 3 years, and it has grown significantly over that time. Three years ago, I could read every article which was posted, and still have time plenty of time to work on Tarsnap. It's no longer possible to read everything; even reading a small fraction of the articles can take a significant amount of time away from other activities -- a fact which even the site's creator has said he "worries about a lot".

At the same time, there are a lot of very interesting articles on Hacker News. Several times recently I've read a fascinating article elsewhere and submitted it to Hacker News, only to find that it had already been on Hacker News several days earlier but had been crowded out by other articles before I noticed it. This suggests that there are probably also interesting articles which I don't discover in other ways.

To solve these twin problems -- of spending too much time reading Hacker News, and of interesting articles not surviving on the front page of the site for long enough for me to notice them -- I've created a new site: Hacker News Daily. Each day, this site will have the 10 highest-voted links which appeared on Hacker News the previous day and haven't already appeared on Hacker News Daily.

The code behind this is startlingly simple: It took me about half an hour and 100 lines of code to scrape http://news.ycombinator.com/ every 5 minutes, update a list of the day's top links, and then generate a digest at the end of the day; these digests are then fed into the 250 line "blogsh" script which I wrote back in 2005 for these Daemonic Dispatches in order to build the Hacker News Daily site.

I hope Hacker News Daily proves useful; depending on the amount of traffic it gets, I might get a separate domain for it rather than hosting it as part of daemonology.net. But even if nobody else reads it, it will still serve one important purpose: Allowing me to get work done on Tarsnap without the constant nagging worry that I might be missing a fascinating article.

Posted at 2010-07-14 08:55 | Permanent link | Comments

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