We survived National Hot Dog day and Batman Day. We did do our patriotic duty and ate hot dogs for lunch and we shopped local at our neighborhood independent comic book shop for the latest Batman comic. We even attended the Internet Cat Video Festival, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like in the best possible way. The internet IS truly made of cats and we dearly love the internet.
Here’s our roundup for this week’s news for developers, designers, social media, and random bits of fun.
Code School is a startup that’s investing in a massive gamification of coding education. Using jingles and online games, they aim to get anyone interested in learning code, but specifically are looking toward young girls and minorities. They want to transform coding for the masses. Apparently, Google sees a lot of promise in their business model – they announced a partnership with them at Google I/O.
Google’s redesign of Google Docs gives us a sneak peek of Google’s new design language – Material Design. We mentioned Material Design a few weeks ago when it was introduced at Google I/O. Now, Docs is much more streamlined and turns user interface into a physical object. We’re in to it. What do you think?
If you can’t wait to get your hands on Apple’s Yosemite, the beta came out this week. Here’s how to install it. Use this knowledge responsibly.
Design and Content
A great landing page is the perfect marriage of elegant code and engaging design. And we’ve all seen some pretty cringe-worthy ones. Everything should lead toward the conversion – what do you want your audience to do or take away from your site? This article from the Page Fights podcast peeps picked apart 20 landing pages for their success or failure (that were owner-submitted) and offered insights that everyone will find helpful.
Even the best writers need another set of eyes to look at their content, even if they don’t admit it. Clear language boosts audience engagement and separates the USA Todays from the Dostoevskys of the world. One of our content writers has recommended the Hemingway App Chrome extension before and it has proved useful for proofreading and gauging reading level. Now, they’ve made their program available as a Desktop app. All the great features, plus available offline and adds the ability to save your work.
For you typography fans, we loved this art project that cleverly arranges mail to recreate iconic fonts in a visual representation.
We know that cat photos are one of the building blocks of the internet, but they also give away a lot of data on their owners. “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” is a computer project that can identify where pet owners live based on data encrypted within the photo of dear Mr. Fluffy. I bet you never considered your cat guilty of espionage.
Foursquare made news this week by unveiling its new makeover and finally giving us a better idea of the game plan following the appearance of sister-site, Swarm, in May. The new Foursquare ditches the check-in in favor of offering users recommended places to go based on their location. If you’re really itching to check-in somewhere, you’ll have to use Swarm for your fix after this week. Bad news? Say goodbye to earning badges. But we don’t need no stinkin’ badges.
Facebook is still facing some flack from the reveal last month that they were experimenting on users without their consent. If you ever feel like you want to cut the cord from Facebook, this social experiment gives you a way to do just that (with your permission, of course). 99 Days of Freedom encourages users to ditch the service for just over three months and see how they feel. Tempting, isn’t it?
But then Facebook goes and introduces the ability to save links and other interesting bits from your feed to check out later. We can’t say we’d mind that additional usability feature. Could this mean they’re eyeing Pocket (formerly Read It Later) next in their slow march toward internet domination?
Miscellaneous Bits (Mostly Science)
Turns out, our miscellaneous links from this week are nearly all super nerdy, but we’re ok with that.
Under 24 hours after a photo of a pretty blase lizard was posted on Reddit, it became a pretty solid meme thanks to PhotoShop. Check out some of the best incarnations of the unimpressed lizard meme.
The Guardian paper asked a bunch of scientists what would happen when robots gained sentience and took over the world and made a video of their answers. This is a serious question, people. We need to be prepared for Skynet. Forewarned is forearmed.
Speaking of super esoteric theoretical science – we present to you the in depth biology of the Sarlacc.
I bet just about any of you can identify the Millennium Falcon, but what about other Hollywood space ships? We admit, we did pretty well on the quiz. Office record was 9/10.
And finally, to bring this whole bit back to earth, take a look inside the workstation of the NASA computers that launched the Apollo missions. 45 years ago this week, it was pretty fly for it’s day. Not like this dual monitor set up, but then again, what is? So swag it hertz.
Another week, another SpryHive! We like keeping up with the current trends relevant to our interests. We hope you like reading them just as much! See you next week.