Niche web tools

Since my last post about Anya and her maker projects, I’ve been hearing from a bunch of solo developers and makers on what they are working on. I love the web! There are so many cool people, doing so many cool things!

Here are just a few of the awesome projects I’ve been recently:

  • BIN List – I didn’t even know what a BIN was. Apparently it’s the first 6 digits of your credit or debit card number? Anyway, this tool lets you look that number up and find out information about the bank, including the name of the bank, the account type, the country of origin etc.
  • Domains Index – This product came by accident. They were building a database for an SEO tool, and ended up with a database of over 200m registered domain names. They now sell this data in various sets for some pretty decent prices.
  • NoCode – Advice, tools and tutorials on how to build a business or become a “maker” if you have no code or web development experience. This is very inclusive for non-techs to create stuff as well, and I love it!
  • everyday – This is a habit tracker that I have actually started using myself and I love it. It’s so elegantly designed, so sleek and stylish. It just works and it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s $12 a year, which is so cheap!
  • Rest – A simple pomodoro timer that reminds you to take breaks during your work day. It’s vital for productivity and health and happiness if you work in an office. I’ve used pomodoro for years and this app just works.

Got any decent web apps you think I should highlight on the blog? Let me know!

Online makers and the future of the web

I’ve been noticing a big trend on social media that is rising in popularity every single day. It’s a group of very tech savvy, sometimes coders (but not always), people who call themselves “makers”.

They differ from entrepreneurs in a few ways but one of the most important is how they identify. A maker is somebody who bootstraps and gets things done. They often work on very specific and niche projects, and they also like to tweet and blog and share their journey of what they are working on, if it’s working, and why they choose to work on it.

My encounter with a maker

I met a 21 year old maker the other day in a Twitter chat, and after some back and forth DM’ing, I knew I had to blog about it.

Her name is Anya, and she’s an accountant, mathematician, and hobbyist web developer who is combing her passion for spreadsheets, numbers, development and writing with two projects:

  1. Crunch Numbers – This is a blog Anya has set up to provide help and tutorials for anybody interested in finance – personal, corporate, stocks/bonds etc. She’s focusing on financial formulas and ratios during the launch and is aiming to make it very simple to figure out exactly how these complex formulas work.
  2. The Calculator – This is a hobby web project where Anya is looking to create calculators for educational purposes. It’s really so she can learn PHP and JavaScript, but it ties in nicely with Crunch Numbers as she is looking to produce financial calculators here.

What I love about this is that Anya has a passion, and is making something. She’s learning as she goes. Her goal is to make $1,000 a month from her projects in order to pay rent and utilities, which in turn will give her more free time and energy to pursue new projects, whatever they may be.

Are you a maker? If so, please reach out to me as I’m looking to do some case studies on what makes them so different, and why I think they are the future of the web.

First post on the new blog

Welcome to Tom’s Printing. The only place to get musings on new and old media, edtech, the web, and more – all from a gormless gonk living in Truro, Cornwall.