How to subscribe to keyword mentions in HackerNews via RSS

If you’ve ever wanted to get notified via RSS every time a keyword is mentioned on HackerNews, there’s a neat service called HNApp that allows you to do just that. You can use it to follow mentions of your product or even just to follow discussions related to topics you’re interested in.

For example, I subscribe to a feed for the term “Strong AI”. This happens a few times a week and is almost always is part of an interesting discussion about the future of artificial intelligence.

If you search for “Strong AI” on HNApp, you’re presented with a list of recent discussions that include that phrase as well as links to subscribe via RSS or JSON:

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You can then plug the RSS URL into your favorite RSS reader and voilà, you’ll now be able to keep track of future discussions that use that term:

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I usually add the RSS URLs in the Feedly web app then use their iPhone app to read when I have downtime.

Here are a few other examples to get you thinking: WordPress, Calypso, Tesla, React.

HNApp searches occasionally time out so if you perform a search and it errors out, just try again later (RSS readers should automatically do this so there’s no issue there).

HNApp also supports following specific users which I use to learn from insightful commenters such as Patrick McKenzie, Ed Weiss, Jonathan Rockway, TokenAdult, and several others.

If you get use out of HNApp, give a shoutout to Nikita Gazarov on Twitter for the work he put into building it.

I’m going to write more often. For real this time.

One of my coworkers, Luca Sartoni, is trying an experiment this month: every day his goal is to publish a post on his blog but spend no more than 10 minutes writing it. He sets a timer when he begins and at the 10 minute mark he puts a quick final polish on it and hits publish.

I really like that approach because it forces you not to overthink things. The majority of recent posts on this blog took a long time to prepare (I’m looking at you, backpropagation tutorial) and while I enjoy writing longform technical posts like that, if I limit myself to those then it’s unlikely that I’ll post very often. This year, for example, I’ve only published 8 posts which is less than ideal considering I work for a blogging service :).

I’ve tried this before, but always wind up falling back into the trap of spending too much time on the posts which leads me to not write very often. So lets try this: Joel, Ryan, and Adam, oh great coworking buddies, if I go more than a week between posts or if I start only publishing long posts, I’ll buy you all coffee next time we meet up. Hold me to it!