Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2016: Week 3

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

2016 is now in full swing with glimpses of masterful design and the potential for a new 9th planet (sorry Pluto). Enjoy the end of another work week by catching up on all the news with another dose of the Spry Hive.

The Web

Looking to hone in on your skills of writing online? Well, the Nielsen Norman Group is saying you should stop using these five words.


We really appreciate the way that digital agency Make Me Pulse has decided to ring in the new year with this immersive experience.


For those intrigued by the development of the design industry, dive into this fascinating interview with famed designer & master of typography, Erik Spiekermann.

Web Development & Design

Happy birthday, Drupal! Last Friday, Drupal, a content management framework that handles much of our heavy lifting for content and web publishing needs, turned 15. Founder Dries Buytaert had some words to share about the history and development of the platform.

Trying to build a physical product to accompany your digital efforts? Before you do so, check out Smashing Magazine’s piece on why nobody wants to use your product.


Debugging sites just became a little easier with DevTools Remote extension for Chrome that allows you to share a tab with others on your team.

Struggling to keep track of all those templates in Photoshop? Organize your work & get started on your projects quicker using Templay.


The security firm Perception Point reported that, for the past three years, millions of Android phones, pcs, and servers may have been afflicted with a Linux bug.

Whether it’s for instagram or for work, we can all use a few more tips on beautiful food photography.

Astronomers excitedly announced this week that they have found convincing evidence of a ninth planet, and it they aren’t talking about Pluto.

Skip the dog house and treat your dog with a pet trailer.

Just like Undercover Boss, where they show executives the dark side of their industry, SNL took Kylo Ren undercover to get an inside look at Starkiller Base.

That wraps up the 3rd week of 2016. See you all next week for another edition of the Spry Hive.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2016: Week 2

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

While the past week brought us Wikipedia’s 15th birthday and the promise of new technologies, it has been overall bittersweet as we find ourselves celebrating the lives of multiple cultural icons. So, join us in looking back at all of this week’s news as we work our way to the weekend.

The Web

Turn your next message into a work of art with this instagram font generator.

Do you enjoy the challenge of research & problem solving? Test your skills of searching with A Google a Day.

Speaking of Google, the company’s branch in Germany recently released a artistically beautiful promo for Google Maps.

There are very few websites as popular as the self-described ‘free encyclopedia that anyone can edit’, so be sure to show some love to Wikipedia on it’s 15th birthday.

Web Design & Development

Are you a fan of fonts and typography in general? Head over to Typewolf to find the most popular fonts of 2015, and which ones you should use instead.


Creating or editing a graphic without damaging the source file is essential to professional design, so be sure you know your way around blending modes.

For those who weren’t able to tune in live, Codeship released a webinar introducing users to the process of building apps with Docker.


Following a slower than expected holiday season and the announcement of imminent job cuts, GoPro’s stock plummeted by 28% this week.

The more people play around with the newest graphics engine, the more it seems, well…unreal. Get a taste of the action with a beloved classic as GoldenEye 007 Meets Unreal Engine 4.

The headaches of flying can easily be attributed to sub-par technological advances for commercial aircrafts, but that’s about to change as NASA continues building towards the future of flight.


Only two weeks into the new year, the world sits in mourning as some of the biggest stars of a generation have faded into darkness and are laid to rest. As you find time throughout the weekend, take some time to pay tribute to and celebrate the revolutionary life of David Bowie, the many faces of Alan Rickman, and the enormous impact Giorgio Gomelsky had on the music industry.

So, after a rollercoaster of a week, we’ve made it to another weekend. Don’t forget to stop by next Friday for your dose of the Spry Hive as we dig into all the important, quirky, and humorous news.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2016: Week 1

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

The craziness of December is finally behind us, and the beginning of the year has been packed with plenty of big stories. So, kick 2016 off right and stay up to date on all the latest news with the year’s first Spry Hive.


The original Fitbit was a real hit, but get fit in style with the Fitbit Blaze.


Inspired by the likes of Google Glass, Garmin has created a device that will bring delight to any cyclist.

News has begun to leak about the upcoming iPhone 7. Evidently, Apple is getting rid of the headphone jack and, in the EU, might switch to using a Micro Usb charger.

The Web

Still sticking to Internet Explorer these days? Be sure to update, as Microsoft is dropping IE 8, 9, and 10.


Twitter loyalist have been up in arms the past few days as the company announced their development of a 10,000 character word limit.

Web Design & Development

Zeldman, as usual, has a lot to say on the current state of web design. Read his thoughts on the Year in Design.

Developing and testing for tablets just became a whole lot easier now that you can use top-notch front-end web development tools on the iPad.


An early contender for “Best Product Name of 2016”, Git Kraken is a cross-platform git client that makes working with Git easy and intuitive.

We’ve always enjoyed using Emmet with Atom editor, but their newest product looks promising in speeding up front end development tasks.


Evidently, Australians can now dedicate their night to a Hollywood favorite as they usher in a George Costanza themed bar.

The first full week of the year may have flown by surprisingly fast, but, with the help of companies like Twitter, Apple, and Garmin, 2016 is gearing up to be quite exciting. Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to stop by next week for another dose of the Spry Hive.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 52 & 53

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

With festivities galore, the end of the year is always the craziest, and the news seems to slip by even quicker. Thankfully, we are here to help you out with the best photos of 2015, SpaceX’s historic rocket launch, and much more. So, sit back and enjoy the year’s final Spry Hive.


A team in Australia has been running an ad to raise awareness for and educate others on the effects of multiple sclerosis by creating a bike that has all the symptoms.

After a taco joint in Las Vegas was robbed, they decided to make the most of the situation by using the surveillance footage to create a hilarious new ad.

While videographer DJI was able to capture the true beauty of a wedding by using a quadcopter in his original commercial, this spinoff helps make the experience a lot more realistic.

Web Design & Development

While crafting an immersive and useful experience for your users, don’t forget about being smart with sound.

night vision

Let your users set the mood (and rest their eyeballs) on your next website by creating a night vision mode.

This holiday season was extra special as we celebrated the 25th birthday of the very first website.


SpaceX made history this holiday season. After three failed attempts, the company successfully guided a reusable rocket back down to earth.

Weddings aren’t the only events feeling the effects of 2015’s drone revolution. Following a recent crash, the International Ski Federation has officially banned the flying devices.

This is what happens when you leave a gopro out on the sea ice The Photo was taken near Casey Station Antarctica, It was one of a series of captures by a gopro on time lapse that was set out on the ice near the site where we are running an ocean acidification experiment. We often get groups of Adelie Penguins coming to see what we are doing and this one was trying to peck the camera. I am currantly based in Antartica for the next eight months through the winter and would be happy to help with any photo's requests required for up coming publications.

Nobody can get around to all the posts on the internet highlighting the past year, but everyone should make their way through National Geographic’s best photos of 2015.

Who wants to stop riding their bike when the sun goes down? Cruise safely all night long with the ingenious LifePaint by Volvo.

And with that we conclude another magnificent year of the Spry Hive. We hope everyone has a wonderful New Years Eve and look forward to an even better 2016!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 51

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Even though the holidays and release of Star Wars Episode VII held most people’s attention this week, the forces behind web design and development kept up the hard work with numerous announcements and releases. So, find out what you missed with another week of the Spry Hive.

Web Design & Development

We’ve all heard and probably experienced the saying, “Mother knows best.” So, find out what this mom can teach us about UX.

Sharpen your skills in design with this massive bundle of free design resources.


Source = Webflow

Break into the next dimension on your website with these beautiful 3D CSS transforms. The best part? No coding required.

WordFence is giving back to the WordPress community in a big way this holiday season, announcing the launch of their free security learning center.


Take your music everywhere without wasting precious space by using the personal music streaming server, Koel.


Source = Joytree

Combining an evergreen, multicolor lights, and tree topper isn’t the only way to build a Christmas tree this year. Use emoji’s too, to digitize the experience with Joytree.

Can’t get enough lights these holidays? Tune into a live stream and control other people’s house lights.

Get hyped with Jimmy Fallon, the Roots, and multiple cast members from the new movie as they perform an a cappella tribute to Star Wars.

Waiting for mad rush to pass before seeing the Star Wars Episode VII, then keep away from all of the inevitable spoilers online with this handy Google extension that force blocks everything from the movie.

There’s only two more weeks left in 2015, so keep an eye out for an extra special, end-of-the-year edition of the Spry Hive.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 50

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Try not to freak out, but we are only 3 weeks away from 2016! Even with the holiday season in full swing, the world keeps chugging along with plenty of upgrades and news to share. So, catch up on everything you’ve missed and enjoy another dose of the Spry Hive.

The Holidays

Looking for extra special gifts this holiday? Surprise your friends and family with one of these unique and local gifts.

For some, the best gift this holiday season would be better data and real insights.

Make Star Wars an even bigger part of your holiday tradition this year and introduce The Elf on the Shelf to Darth Vader.


Source = NPR

Nothing says it’s holiday season like a kitchen full of cookies. Thankfully, scientists have cracked the code for making your ideal cookie.

State of the Web

Can’t stand trying to keep up with how quickly things change across the web? Get lost in nostalgia and reminisce with the old web.

Notice anything different about Twitter recently? It’s probably because they’re generating their feeds with a new algorithm.

Spotify is also helping people reminisce as we close out 2015, guiding users through their year in music.

The FCC found itself defending their latest regulations surrounding net neutrality this week, and plenty of people are hoping that the third time’s a charm.

Web Design & Development


Source = Medium

You might not know what to call it, but you’ve probably noticed all the biggest brands using a specific style of font. Well, it’s called Proxima Nova, and there is a reason why it’s everywhere.

Looking for another coding challenge? See if you have what it takes to code these UI concepts.

Prefer using the latest and greatest languages and platforms? Well, you’re in luck because the two development team has announced the release of PHP 7 and WordPress 4.4.



Source = Kotaku

Teaming up with Verizon, Minecraft Youtuber CaptainSparklez has created the most extraordinary feature yet: a working video phone.

Life can feel a little surreal at times, but at least you can rest assured knowing that we most likely don’t live in a hologram.

So, 2015 might be coming to an end, but there is plenty left to get excited about before the year is over. Have a great weekend with your friends and family, and don’t forget to stop by next week for another release of the Spry Hive.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 49

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

The arrival of December means ridiculous deals & great gift ideas, a mad rush to hit end of the year deadlines, and (thankfully) plenty of cheer & laughter. So, sit back and try to relax as we take you through this week’s news in another edition of the Spry Hive!


Shopping for a designer or web specialist these holidays? Help them geek out with these brilliantly curated gifts.

Fancy bringing your feline anywhere you go? Check out these awesome cat packs that
lets your cat travel like an astronaut.



Source = The Verge

Ever wonder how wifi signals make it from the router to the palm of your hands? Well, now you can see for yourself with this amazing app that visualizes your waves of wifi.

Web Design & Development

If you haven’t heard already, Adobe Flash Professional is getting a makeover in 2016 and will be reborn as Adobe Animated CC.

Sketch also made a major announcement this week. Mac users will now have to download and update the program directly from Sketch as they have pulled out of the Mac App Store.

Interface designers have been embracing a softer look and feel in their designs, and nowhere is it more evident than in these lovely examples from the 100 Days of UI Challenge. You can also download the UI kit to use on your next project.


Source – It’s a Shape Christmas

The countdown to Christmas is merely mediocre without the joy of an advent calendar. Web professionals have more to choose from this year with 10 advent calendars for web designers and devs.

Hone your CSS Flexbox skills with a fun game, Flexbox Froggy.


While they are still one of the world’s biggest polluters, China once again invested more money into Clean Energy than anyone else. That said, Bill Gates is evidently preparing to create a multi-billion dollar fund for Clean Energy here in the States.

Bike theft is no joke either, especially in Europe. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with would-be-thieves though.


Source = Exploding Kittens

The delivery might be cartoony and cute (in The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman’s typical style), but the problem is no laughing matter. Head over to Exploding Kittens to learn more about lowering the number of Kitty Convicts.

Speaking of convicts, US Marshals hopped on the Cyber Monday bandwagon with great deals on forfeited assets.

Hopefully this gave you a tidbit of knowledge, news, or laughter to share with your friends and family this weekend. Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to grab another dose of the Spry Hive next Friday.

Make A Difference On #GIVINGTUESDAY

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under Events.

As we return from a holiday where we gave thanks and expressed our gratitude to others, today we embark on another day to show our generous spirit… this time not in saying thanks, but in giving back. #GivingTuesday is a global initiative to make the world a better place through the action of giving. Giving in the form of volunteering, helping a neighbor or donating to a charity.

Every year following Thanksgiving (and the double shot of Black Friday and Cyber Monday), #GivingTuesday aims to bring some attention during the bustling giving season back to the organizations that need it the most: nonprofits. Nonprofits have always been close to our hearts. Providing digital solutions to nonprofits is one of the reasons we formed Spry Digital and developed OpenDonor, a product that helps nonprofits track their fundraising efforts and streamline their activities.


Assuming that you survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we encourage you to reach out to a cause that is close to your heart and give today in the form of volunteering or a gift. To get you in the giving mood, there’s a slew of activities and virtual meetups happening all over Twitter. You can learn all about today’s events at givingtuesday.org.

When you give, don’t forget to share with others how you helped today with the hashtag #GivingTuesday on Twitter and let us know in the comments below. The world is a better place when people come together for good.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 48

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! Now that we are all done stuffing our stomachs and regretting that second serving of pie, it’s the perfect time to catch up on all of the news from the holiday week. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this special Thanksgiving edition of the Spry Hive!


Interested in learning more about specific products, brands, or user experiences? Head on over to the Case Study Club.

If you enjoy web-based games and learning more about the technology and logic behind programming, then you have to check out Empire of Code.

Writing released in the digital realm is a lot harder to preserve than pieces released physically. As the topic’s discussion is mostly happening digitally, the conversation of digital preservation is becoming ironic.


Think you know the difference between a font and a typeface? Here is a handy quiz from AIGA to prove yourself.


Source = Emoji Oil Paintings

Initially created to easily express emotion in the digital realm, Emojis are finally making their debut on canvas.

There are a lot of variables to keep in mind when designing for the web, so take advantage of these tips for creating and exporting better SVGs.


Looking for an alternative to the standard Lorem Ipsum? Use a bunch of happy little accidents as filler with Bob Ross Lipsum.

While most web developers have been focused on the release of Drupal 8, let’s not forget that Foundation 6 is finally here.

If you are in charge of managing and maintaining multiple WordPress sites, then head over and see the new WordPress.com.

Star Wars


Source = Imgur; Guitarfarts

Trying to prove you’re the biggest fan of both Star Wars and Christmas? Well, you’ll have to one up the guy who built a Tie fighter out of Christmas lights.

Hype yourself up for the newest Star Wars movie and personalize your Google Experience by deciding whether you’re on the Light or Dark Side.

After choosing which side you’re on, go see what happens when you Google “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”. You won’t regret it.


Writing poetry can be quite intimidating for newcomers. If you are one who enjoys interactive learning, then check out Elegy for a Dead World, a videogame that teaches poetry.

The madness of Thanksgiving is behind us, and it’s time to sit back and enjoy some time off our feet. What’s a better way to relax than with the best Thanksgiving episodes you can stream?


Source = John Atkinson

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of an extended holiday season filled with food and family, both of which bring plenty of fodder for laughter.

So, again, we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and appreciate you stopping by today. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and don’t forget to stop by next week for another dose of the Spry Hive.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 47

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving, and everybody knows that the Holiday season is also Blockbuster season. Before heading to the movie theater this weekend, though, catch up on all the other news from the week with another dose of the Spry Hive.


Forget about self-driving cars and hoverboards. The real future of technology lies with this robot that will eradicate weeds on the farm.


Source = Samsung

While everyone is caught up in the smartphone sensation, Samsung is appealing to those who just want another flip phone.

Web & Apps

With the likes of Spotify and Apple Music reigning over music subscription these days, the services that helped build the industry, Zune, Rdio, and Beats music, have officially shut down.

Do voice commands and taps on a screen to control your smartphone seem too tedious at times? With this new app you can control your smartphone by simply drawing.

You’re mobile searches are about to look a lot different, as Google has begun streaming apps in their search results.


Slack is commonly recognized as the best platform for communication among design and development teams. Now you can send your team a doodle with the integration of Sketchboard.


Source = Medium

Not all mobile web design is created equal. This post points out some of the more commonly misused mobile UX patterns.


Help diversify the world of development and spread the word about App Camp For Girls.

Getting up to speed on version control can go far in meeting your project deadlines, so learn Git and Github in a snap with these self-paced exercises.

Building a large application using Angular is no easy task, so here’s a closer look at the developmental process.


Plan to rock your way to the grave? Well, this company will press your ashes into vinyl.


Source = Lionsgate

Almost everyone has seen a movie that was a disgrace to the book it was based on. Here are the worst offenders of all time.

It’s no secret that the US Government spends billions of dollars a year on Information Technology, but what happens when one of these projects fails?

And with that, we have wrapped up another week of work and the news. Don’t forget to head to the grocery before it gets too crowded and stop by next week for a special Thanksgiving edition of the Spry Hive.