I’ve created an archive of hourly snapshots of the Hacker News front page. I started collecting these snapshots back in September 2010, but didn’t organize them into a browseable archive until recently.
The archive’s top level is located at hhn.domador.net. From there you can enter the folder for the year, then the month, the day, and the hour for which you wish to view a Hacker News front-page snapshot. You could also hack together the URL for the desired time. For instance, to look up the snapshot corresponding to November 12, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. you could type in the following URL:
Hours are expressed in the 24-hour format. The snapshot times correspond to Pacific Time (UTC-08 / PST or UTC-07 / PDT).
Another way to browse the snapshots is by month. The innermost folders under hhn.domador.net/source group all the snapshots for any given month in an individual folder.
The most-recent hourly snapshot can be viewed at hhn.domador.net/current
This is the initial version of this service, the if-you’re-not-embarrassed-by-it-you-waited-too-long-to-release version. As you can see, the navigation UI is rudimentary. Also, apostrophes and certain other characters are horribly disfigured by the snapshot-taking process. There are likely other problems. But it works!
(Feel free to report any issues. I may eventually get around to fixing them.)
The rationale behind this particular service
(I’ve already given you what you need to use this service, but read on if you’re interested in the motivation behind it.)
I’ve tremendously enjoyed Hacker News since I started reading it almost a year ago. It’s never short on fascinating articles and helpful discussions.
Like most sites, Hacker News is not perfect. Then again, perfection for a website is in the eye of the beholder. In my case, I don’t care for one aspect shared with many news sites: the inaccessibility of the past. It seems to me like articles essentially disappear when they drop off the HN front page. “Scattered in the wind” is a good way of putting it. For instance, if I didn’t check the Hacker News front page on Monday, it’d be very difficult to come in on Wednesday and reconstruct the contents of that page. There might be an article from Monday on page 1, another one on page 2, some more on page 3, and so on. Since the site’s articles keep moving around and the “More” link at the bottom keeps expiring, it’d be very hard to find the collection of articles I missed.
Sometimes I’ve wanted to look up an article I read a few days back, but have had a hard time recalling the title or the site where it was located. I’ll only remember that I saw it on Hacker News a couple of days ago. By having an archive, I can use that chronological data to help me find what I would lose otherwise.
I hope this new service is useful to you as well.