Every week, residents of the Hacker House gather around a backyard fire while chatting about startups. It was a mind meld of professional programmers, designers, and entrepreneurs.
Two residents, Kirubakaran and Robert, were experienced consultants and accustomed to tracking their hours. I was a salary-man new to contract programming. Sometimes, I would forget to start my timer or log time to the wrong project. The possibility for human error left a feeling of uncertainty lingering, not to mention it was a pain in the butt to start & stop a timer all the time.
"Why can't this be automatic?" I asked my fellow hackers as we sat around the fire that night. A plugin for my text-editor would know exactly how long I was programming and a web interface would make it easy to graph and visualize the logged time. I could still manually track my time, but I would always have a source of truth in case I forgot to start or stop the timer.