Interview: TimeWheel Sports Timer App, Gennadii Dudarek

Gennadii Dudarek

Sometimes, the people around us can be a source of inspiration towards our success. That’s what happened to Gennadii Dudarek, who ended up creating an iOS application because there was no suitable existing app for his wife.

TimeWheel is a fully functional interval timer for high-intensity trainings. It has a very simple user interface which allows you to set it up for any workouts: Tabata, weight training, HIIT, or any other interval training, with just a few easy steps. It is designed to look like two physical wheels corresponding to high and low intensity time intervals in HIIT and Tabata trainings. The app is super simple and quick in use, which is important for sports, and it also looks great.

Gennadii is a professional MacOS/iOS app developer from Ukraine. He worked at Apple Inc. for three years as a User Interface Engineer for professional video applications and iPad Address Book.

TimeWheel screenshots
Read more ›

Posted in Interviews

Interview: Garage Barge Social Bookmarking Site, Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson

What do you do when you find yourself frustratedly repeating the same Google searches, looking for that article you know was there before? Yes, that’s what bookmarks are for. But what if you use several computers, and also want to share those links with friends?

There are multiple solutions. Some people use Delicious, some prefer Evernote. But real men build their own social bookmarking websites. That’s what Richard Jackson did with his hobby project Garage Barge, a social bookmarking website optimized for his research activities.

How did you come up with the idea?

I wanted to create a simple site where I could find my previous links without doing a Google search. I actually like Google for its randomness but I think its general search is not always the best fit for research projects. That is why I often refer to my own list of favorite sites. This started as an Excel spreadsheet, then an Access database, and now it is a full-featured website with its own search engine for bookmarked sites (no crawler).
Read more ›

Posted in Posts

Interview: Work-Related Project as a Hobby, Willy Tchi-Yuan Ha

Willy Tchi-Yuan Ha

As I wrote before, a work-related topic can be a great choice for a hobby project. That’s what Willy Tchi-Yuan Ha from Montreal did. Unfortunately, Willy cannot disclose too many details about the project so far, but he can share his experience with finding the time and organizing the work.

The project deals with system integration and is implemented in Java. It borrows a few best practices that Willy learned from .NET development and brings it to the system integration world. Willy came up with some ideas combining his experience with Software AG webMethods, .NET and Java.

What motivated you to work on this, despite being busy with other tasks?

I wasn’t good at school, from elementary school to university. No matter how much I studied, I’d always get “C” grades. It was quite depressing for me to see how easy it was for other people to succeed. I hated myself for being so mediocre. With all the bad grades I had, I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to compete with others and that I would end up working at McDonald’s forever. When I finally got my Bachelor degree in Computer Science I decided that I wouldn’t leave it to faith or God (who made me how I am) or anyone to decide what I can and can’t do. Psychologically it all had turned into a matter of fighting for survival against destiny that seemed to have condemned me to mediocrity.

So, my motivation stems from my fear of mediocrity.

I realized later that school grades don’t define the person that you are, and that working requires entirely different skill sets. Despite this realization, the feeling of needing to be better (and not mediocre) has sticked with me.

I didn’t want to drive you into my psyche but this is where my motivation comes from. I actually have several different projects on my mind and/or in the works and what drives all that is my need to prove to myself that I’m not mediocre and that I can be great. For me, being great means that I was successful at creating something unique that will enable me to distinguish myself.

Apologies if it all sounds corny. I feel broken. My hobby might not be a hobby as much as an attempt to fix myself.
Read more ›

Posted in Interviews

Poll Results: Best Books to Learn Programming While Having Fun

Where do you start if you want to learn programming as a hobby? It really helps to have some friends in the field, but a good book is also important. And there are thousands of programming books, so which ones are the best for the hobbyists?

I ran a poll in several LinkedIn groups to find out. I asked about three well established and popular programming languages: C#, Java and JavaScript. Here you can see the poll results and the selected comments.


C# poll results

Read more ›

Posted in Posts

Interview: Herculeum Rogue-Like Game, Tuukka Turto

Tuukka Turto

Herculeum (or pyherc, as the project was initially called) is a simple dungeon adventure game, where the player explores randomly generated dungeons. Currently there are only a few basic features ready. The author, Tuukka Turto, is gradually adding new things there. The idea for the game came from playing all sorts of computer games, like Ultima and Excelsior when Tuukka was younger. He found the idea of writing a turn based game easier to grasp than one that would be actively running all the time. Originally Tuukka wanted to create something as grand as Ultima, but after a couple of tries he decided to try something a lot simpler first.

Read more ›

Posted in Interviews

Interview: DropBox Alternative as a Learning Project, Jonathan Speight

Interview (microphone) - image from Wikimedia Commons

A hobby project is often the best way to learn new skills, in particular, software technology. That’s the way Jonathan Speight, a 21 years old programmer from Southampton, UK chose for extending his C# proficiency.

Jonathan’s project aims “to facilitate the upload and storage or sensitive data without compromising the system (under the assumption that someone may try to upload a contaminated file).”

How did you come up with this idea?

I was introduced to DropBox a while ago, and that is what inspired me to attempt to create something similar in the hope of expanding my development skills. When I first used DropBox I was puzzled how their system worked and wanted to replicate the environment to improve my understanding.
Read more ›

Posted in Interviews

How to Find the Time Part III: How Much Time Do You Need?

Time Management. Image credit:

How much time do you really need for your project? Did you seriously think about it? Before discarding your idea saying “I don’t have the time”, try to estimate it and think if you can make it faster.

In the previous two parts I wrote about finding the time for small tasks and for your main efforts. Today, I want to make you think how to make your project smaller and easier to fit in your calendar.

This mainly boils down to a few things:

  • managing the scope of your project
  • making sure you move in the right direction
  • being productive
  • staying motivated

Read more ›

Posted in Posts

Interview: Andrey Kuzmenko, Free Writing Service

Andrey Kuzmenko

Have you ever been stuck with your next blog post, or a letter, or some document you needed to write? That’s the problem that, a project by Andrey Kuzmenko, is trying to solve. It can help you overcome the writer’s block and start with the article draft. It can help you become a better writer by writing regularly. It can also help you clarify your thoughts on any problem you are trying to solve, by putting it in writing.

Free writing means writing down things as quickly as possible without really thinking, for a short amount of time (10-15 minutes). During that time you shouldn’t care about your spelling, grammar, or finding the perfect words. You should write exactly what you think, without judgment or editing. In this case you’ll be able to generate breakthrough ideas and solutions.

How did you come up with this idea?

I created my first blog six years ago. I was a student at the time and had a big passion for writing about the technical things I learned at work. Later I decided to create another blog to share my life experience with others. Blog is a good way to communicate with people I know. In real life it’s hard to meet them often, so I like to write and share certain things in a blog.

At some point I noticed that it takes too much time for me to write a blog post. Also, I left my posts unfinished too often due to the lack of time. After another failure I was upset and wrote on my home blackboard: “I want to write posts faster!”

Read more ›

Posted in Interviews

Poll Results: Who Needs Time for Hobby Projects?

I ran a poll in several programming-focused Linkedin groups, asking “Do you wish you could find some time for a hobby project?”:

Hobby projects poll

(You can still vote in the Five-Hour Projects group until May 2015)

The poll was received with enthusiasm, collecting many votes, likes and comments (see further down). The results are not really surprising but impressive nevertheless:

Poll results
Read more ›

Posted in Posts

Interview: Mike Meyer, Arduino RC Hovercraft

Mike Meyer

Did you see the amazing RC (radio controlled) toys you can buy today? What is even more amazing is that you can build one yourself, revisiting some science and engineering knowledge in the process. I can only imagine what it feels like, when something you have built turns on the engine, and you can control it from your phone or computer.

That’s what Mike Meyer – a software consultant from Norman, Oklahoma and a citizen of the
Chickasaw Nation – is building. And no, it’s not some “assemble these parts” type toy. Mike is using universal parts and he programs them himself, so he can apply this knowledge to multiple other exciting projects. In fact, he does that already.

Read more ›

Posted in Interviews
Get new posts:

- or - Subscribe to RSS