WhatPulse is a development project I started 2003. It is an application that tracks your computer usage and reports it to the website (http://whatpulse.org) for some awesome looks into your activity around your computing time.
It all started when I was using an application from project-dolphin.net, which tracked keyboard hits. It was sort of a competition with a few thousand people in it. Project-dolphin.net closed it’s doors when the owner decided to shift priorities. Good guy as he is, he put the entire projects source code online, so someone else could keep it going.I decided to put it on a server for a pretty private community which was using Project-dolphin.
It took me about a year to get really interested in the C++ programming (while getting programming lessons in school) and start modifying the client to fit some server requirements and (most exciting of all!) add new features.
I added mouse clicks and distance travelled by the mouse and opened the website up to a large audience.
Reimagining the website and client several times, I used the project mostly to sharpen my coding skills and make the project my own along the way. A few years in, the project had grown to about 25,000 users.
It was pretty dormant between 2007 and 2010, while I was putting some focus on my professional life. The website was still online and people were forming a community around WhatPulse, which made the user count grow out to 90,000. At this point, I had done no advertising what soever and the client was completely free. This was achieved by some sponsors for hosting and only the word of mouth.
Around 2010, I wanted to extend the client further then just keys and clicks. I wanted to know how much bandwidth and uptime I was using as well. So development started with a guy from deimos-project.net, who had the framework for the WhatPulse client 2.0 already done.
With about a year and a half of development, WhatPulse 2.0 was born. By then, the user count had grown to 110,000 and was starting to grow more rapidly. After the launch of WhatPulse 2.0, it kind of exploded. At the time of writing this, we’re at 220,000 users and still growing with a few thousand a month.
To support the hosting costs, I started offering a premium subscription, which added a few awesome features. I’m most proud of the per application features, where you can drill down to each different application to see how much you work in that application.
WhatPulse is currently my favourite way of wasting time. Other people are joining the fun and offer their time to the development of the website or client and we got some cool ideas to keep the users surprised and gain a complete view of their computing time.