Tag: Spry Hive

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 33

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Welcome back to another edition of the Spry Hive! Did you hear about the major changes to Google’s corporate structure or the exciting announcement from Winona Ryder, Michael Keaton, and Tim Burton? Well, then strap on your seat-belts and get ready to catch up on all of this week’s news!

Tech

s2 vs aw2

Sources = Samsung (left); Apple (right)

During Samsung’s Unpacked 2015 event, the tech giant announced their newest smartwatch. Dubbed the Gear S2, this model will use Samsung’s Tizen OS, a new (but familiar) user interface, and a traditional, circular watch shape. As they are clearly trying to one-up the already popular Apple Watch at this point, how do you think they will compare?

In other news, some technophiles are warning consumers to stay away from laptops released by the tech company Lenovo. Evidently, they have been using the BIOS to change Windows’ system files during a clean install. This means they are essentially making it impossible to clean the hardware of their bloated, unnecessary software.

Web

Over the past few years, Google has been scooping up small, innovative businesses left and right. Throughout this period of rapid expansion, it became increasingly difficult for consumers and investors to define what the once humble search engine company actually does these days. So, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google’s founding fathers, created Alphabet Inc. and announced that G is for Google.

For those of you using Mozilla’s Firefox browser, be sure to check which version you are currently running. In out-of-date editions, attackers are able to access and copy local files through a bug in their PDF reader. So, to be safe, make sure you are running version 39.0.3 or higher.

Design

wrf23

Source = Joe Freedman

If you haven’t seen the Cycloid Drawing Machine created by Joe Freedman, then you’ve been missing out! Luckily, Jim Bumgardner has released a digital simulation of the machine for anybody and everybody to try out online.

Most UX designers understand that the practices and methods used in the industry are in constant flux. As network connectivity continues to be built into an exponentially growing list of devices and methods of data collection become more abundant & sophisticated, some believe that users are becoming the new designers.

Development

Does your development team use Github to help collaborate on, manage, and organize their files and work? Well, you’ll be happy to know that Github Desktop was finally released on Windows and OS X this week, making the system faster and easier to use.

Recently, in an attempt to fight off the smug trolls in development, Chris Coyier, a writer at CSS-Tricks, sent out a fill-in-the-blank tweet that read, “Front end development is hard because __________.” While it may already seem like common sense, some individuals still need a healthy reminder that front-end development is development.

Misc.

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Source = Coloring Flower Machine

Next time you are about to do some shopping on Amazon, take a minute to count how many adult coloring books appear in their list of best sellers. You may be surprised to find more than a handful, but psychologists have been explaining that coloring acts as a form of relaxation, stress-reducer, and is actually comparable to meditation.

After twenty-seven long years, Winona Ryder has confirmed that she is finally teaming back up with actor Michael Keaton and director Tim Burton. While we will realistically have to wait until 2016 to see any glimpses of their work, fans can rejoice knowing that their beloved Beetlejuice will be back for round two.

This week wasn’t all fun and games, though, as citizens in the city of Tianjin, China were caught off guard by an unexpected, disastrous explosion. So, be sure to send your thoughts, prayers, and aid to our fellow humans suffering in China as they mourn those who were lost, begin to recover from the damage and rebuild their city.


And just like that, another week of exciting news has passed right by. While we can find joy in the announcements of Beetlejuice 2, Samsung’s Gear S2, and our new excuse for buying more coloring books, make sure you take some time and reach out to those in less fortunate situations. So, go make the most of your weekend and don’t forget to stop by next week!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 32

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

This week kicked off with rumor that Windows 10 had already reached 67 million machines, but Microsoft quickly quashed the tall-tale, announcing on Monday that the launch period actually saw about 18 million machines upgraded. We saw more than just rumor throughout the week, though, as Lexus’ hoverboard resurfaced and Jon Stewart made his final appearance on The Daily Show. So, hopefully you can find something to enjoy as we dig into this week’s news!

Tech

Just a few weeks ago we found ourselves drooling over the images and concepts of a real-life hoverboard announced by Lexus. Now, making some of us question reality, the popular luxury-car company has released the first video demonstration of their seemingly impossible device.

Web

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to come up with a color scheme, then we’ve found the website for you! Generating colors that looks sit well next to each other, either randomly or based on personal selections you’ve locked into place, Coolors.co is a great web-tool to use on your next project.

Design

applewatchniceday-100602617-large

Source = Microsoft

The Apple Watch has been available for a little over three months, and we are finally beginning to see more third-party applications appear in the Apple Store. One of the biggest issues slowing down the production of applications for their smartwatch is simply trying to design a user friendly experience. That might be a thing in the past, at least for email clients, as, according to MacWorld, the design of Microsoft’s Outlook app shows other companies how it’s supposed to be done.

Pulling together as many icon fonts as possible, fellow designer and developer Tim Pietrusky has made it easier than ever to find, select, and integrate icons into your next web page. We really suggest you check it out because we love icon fonts!

Development

When it comes to implementing truly original and creative design on a website, most developers will agree that there are a plethora of issues that can arise, especially around Graphical Text Effects. Well, Sara Soueidan, a freelance front-end web developer, has reached out through Adobe’s blog to help you weigh out the pros and cons of solving these problems using SVG vs. CSS.

Are you looking to create a more formal web articles that elegantly and effectively utilizes data-driven graphics, tables, and side-notes? Well then look no further than Tufte CSS, a grouping of tools that will make it easy to style your next publication.

Misc.

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Photo by: Anuar Patjane Floriuk

After receiving and sorting through over 17,000 entries, National Geographic has finally chosen a winner for their yearly Travel Photo Contest. While the selected photo is expectedly stunning, one can find just as much beauty and excitement inside the photographer’s story.

Fans of Star Trek will be delighted to hear that actress Nichelle Nichols, famously known as Lt. Nyota Uhura, will be teaming up with NASA this coming September. Joining the crew aboard NASA’s newest, flying telescope, SOFIA, she will become one of the first humans to take on an active role in one of the agency’s projects as ‘non-essential personnel’.

In a teary-eyed celebration of the cast and crew behind the comedic genius of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart hosted his final show last night, bidding his adoring fans a fond farewell. While his departure certainly marks the end of a legendary, side-splitting era, we can rest assured that we haven’t seen or heard the last of him, yet.


Well, there we have it folks. This week’s news sent us looking to the stars as a Sci-Fi icon makes her way through the atmosphere and left us holding on for dear life as we try hovering for the first time. So, go forth, enjoy the weekend, and try not to get stuck in Philadelphia over the weekend or else you might end up like poor Hitchbot.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 31

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

After receiving plenty of hype over the past year, Windows 10 was finally released this week, seemingly avoiding any major hiccups during the process. While the new OS is definitely newsworthy, there were plenty of other stories to follow this week including some intriguing developments in virtual reality and the release of a teaser for ABC’s new Muppets sitcom. So, without further adieu, we present to you this week’s news.

Tech

nokia-ozo

Source = Nokia

If you haven’t noticed yet, the past year has seen some major developments in the world of virtual reality. While a few other companies have already announced their efforts to develop a camera optimized for capturing virtual reality, Nokia decided to finally enter the conversation this past week. Releasing pictures of a product that is slightly reminiscent of a probe droid from the Empire Strikes Back, the tech company excitedly announced their new camera called Ozo.

If you’ve been following the Spry Hive for awhile now, you might just remember us discussing how Amazon wants you to push its buttons a couple of months ago. Now, some of your everyday household items are literally one click away as the internet-based retailer has finally released the first series of Dash Buttons.

Web

As designers and developers continue to focus web pages on providing users with more options and more images, the average size of a single page continues to rapidly grow. Unfortunately, coupled with the rise in mobile browsing, this trend of ‘bloated’ websites is beginning to threaten the user experience on mobile devices.

Design

creativity3

Source = FiveThirtyEightScience

This week, we came across an interesting story from another creative designer that we just had to share. Hitting on the notion of ‘blind searching’, Christie Aschwanden discusses how such a research method could act as the foundation for a plethora of creative innovations. Detailing her experience working on a specific project, she came to the conclusion that, sometimes, you just need to stop trying to be creative.

Development

Do you manage or develop any websites using WordPress? Well, if so, then make sure secure your site by checking for updates as version 4.2.3 of the CMS was released about a week ago.

Whether you’ve been struggling to learn CSS FlexBox or you are just now becoming interested in learning more about the module, a little assistance rarely hurt anyone. Fortunately, you only have to search as far as their domain, FlexBox.io, where developer Wes Bos has put together 20 free, helpful videos for guiding users through the basics.

If you are a developer familiar with Drupal CMS, then you have most likely come across the heated debate currently surrounding the use and effectiveness of ‘Headless Drupal’. Thankfully, Andrew Berry from Lullabot has shed some light on the dispute, highlighting both sides of the issue and, instead of choosing sides from the beginning, asks the question, “Should you Decouple?

Misc.

Finding their way back to television, the Muppets are landing on ABC this Fall in what’s described as an, “office-style mockumentary.” Evidently, an 11-minute clip was recently shown at Comic Con, where it received so much fan-fare that the producers decided to release it the public.

While a Breaking Bad inspired coffee shop is far from the best reason to visit Istanbul, it’s definitely a novel reason. Born from a Kickstarter campaign, Walter’s Coffee Roastery has done a great job at capturing the shows aesthetics, even serving coffee in test tubes and beakers.


As you can see, the doers of this world produced a plethora of topics to discuss over the weekend. Whether it was gaining the ability to push Amazon’s buttons or the lesson about having faith in your messy, yet time-tested methods, we hope you found something of interest to walk away with. So, don’t forget to send your System Administrator some love today and have a spry weekend!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 30

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

In case you didn’t hear, NASA has once again captivated the world by announcing the discovery of a planet eerily similar to Earth. While everybody else may not have been performing rocket science this week, the founder of Wikipedia announced his plan to revolutionize social networking and a group of hackers figured out how to wirelessly control a car. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of this week’s news!

Web & Apps

tindog

Source = tindog

For those who aren’t adventurous enough to explore the popular dating app Tinder, the developers at Holidog have created an alternative that puts your canine in the spot light. Whether the app is really for the dog or the owner doesn’t really matter as both benefit from the genius of Tindog.

If you frequently engage major companies on Facebook, asking a question or even complaining about service, then you’d better look out! Evidently, a couple comedians out of Atlanta have taken the popular social media site by storm, providing customers with fake answers while posing as ‘Customer Service’.

Evidently, the founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, is preparing to launch a donation based social network in the United States. Allowing users to connect with and receive updates from participating charities and individuals, The People’s Operator, or TPO, is self-described as, “similar to Twitter, but better.

Design

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As creative teams everywhere continue to utilize and experiment with digital design for their clients, it’s become more and more difficult to remember how beautiful and fitting physical, visual art can be. So, to help jog the memory and provide some inspiration, take a look at these gorgeous examples of analog typography.

Businesses require design that is both intelligent and enjoyable. Like most tasks, though, such an accomplishment is much easier said than done. Alina from Zurb Blog writes that the root of the problem may stem from the inability of a company to properly utilize their own design team.

Development

Those who have never come across Sitepoint’s, “12 Little-Known CSS Facts,” now have some catch up to do! Following up to last year’s successful and helpful blog post, Louis Lazaris provided coders with 12 more little-known CSS facts.

Looking to add beauty, class, and powerful, data-driven widgets to your web-based dashboard? Then you have to check out this charming yet powerful framework called Dashing.

WordPress has served the web development community since its first appearance 2003, growing from a simple blogging system to the multi-purpose CMS it is today. Now, the system is on it’s way to becoming a fully integrated and functioning application framework, making it easier external, mobile programs to communicate with the WordPress database using the new WP Rest API.

Tech

Just as a disclaimer, stopping a vehicle on the highway in the middle of the day is never a good idea, and can probably end up with a ticket. That said, we should probably give a free pass to the team of researchers who showed the world how vehicles like the Jeep Cherokee are currently vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Have you been following the incredible progress Tesla Motors has been making with electric cars? Well, if you haven’t, then there’s no better time than now. Touting acceleration of 0 to 60mph in 2.8 seconds, the popular car company has announced the release of “ludicrous mode,” for the Model S.

While the technology behind music has expanded leaps and bounds in the recent decades, it took almost 500 years for someone to finally create Leonardo da Vinci’s musical invention. Dubbed the Viola Organista, da Vinci’s instrument combines the qualities of the harpsichord, organ,and viola da gamba.


So, while the likes of Tesla Motors and Jimmy Wales continue innovating life here on Earth, NASA might want to consider some creative upgrades for their rockets to expedite the journey to our planet’s newest cousin. We hope you were able to find at least one piece of interesting, informative, or just plain entertaining news. Don’t forget to stop by next week and enjoy a well-deserved break of the weekend!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 29

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Welcome back to the end of the week and another weekly dose of Spry Hive. While the majority of the world was busy looking at Pluto’s true colors for the first time ever, companies like Doppler Labs and Facebook were once again attempting to change the way we interact with the world around us. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of this week’s news.

Tech

here-active-listening-at-bonnaroo

Source = Doppler Lab

Are you tired of hearing all drums and no vocals at a concert or that expectedly unhappy infant on your flight? Well, the team at Doppler Labs agrees and has raised about 17 million dollars to commercialize their revolutionary ear-piece that gives you full control of the sounds you hear.

Web & Apps

During this past week, one of our team members came across an awesome website that gives you a fantastic perspective of space, how far sound travels and how fast. The best part? The long list of tunes used to serenade you through space.

It seems like just yesterday that we were giving Microsoft a hard time for choosing the name ‘Edge’ as a replacement for their current web browser, ‘Internet Explorer’. In reality, it’s been nearly two months since then, and the first wave of speed and stability tests are beginning to surface. Based on it’s early performance tests, the browser’s new name might be more relevant than anybody could have imagined, especially Chrome.

We all know that as email became one of the most popular tools for communication, it also became one of the most powerful tools for sending and receiving spam. According to the security firm Symantec, unwanted and malicious email messages have continued to decline and now sit at an all time low.

Engadget

Source = Engadget

Those of you who use the Facebook app on iOS may have noticed an update to the software earlier this week. In an attempt to provide users with a more personal and enjoyable news feed, Facebook has made it easier to choose which friends and pages appear first as well as those you don’t want to see at all!

Design

Do you regularly use Adobe’s Photoshop and curse the image editing program for its inability to recognize and utilize custom set variables? The plugin Ditto is just what you’re looking for, allowing you to easily set variables for settings like fill, x/y positioning, and visibility.

Development

If you’re a digital developer that doesn’t follow Cubic Drone, where Curtis Lassam combines hilarious comics with the ideas and principles of coding, then you are missing out on some well-rounded comedic relief. His most recent piece deals with the constant cycle of issues and solutions with Javascript in what he calls ‘Relentless Persistence’.

As Sass gets more complex, with functions, variables, and control directives and expressions, it’s becoming clear that your Sass code should be included in testing. Sitepoint wrote up a nice tutorial on setting up unit tests for Sass.

Acknowledging how long it has been since providing a major update to their system, jQuery proudly released the alpha versions of jQuery 3.0 and jQuery Compat 3.0. Take a look at all the details release by the company and let us know how you feel about the changes.

Misc.

minion

Source = Youtube Screenshot

Apparently, McDonald’s recently encountered a bit of resistance after releasing a series of Minions toys in their Happy Meals. Standing their ground, the fast-food restaurant announced that they will not comply with the demands of irate parents claiming that one of the creatures is saying ‘WTF’.

A couple of people on our team, along with the rest of the USA, can’t stop talking about the new tv series Mr. Robot. Some are going as far as saying that it’s the most accurate portrayal of a hacker’s life, ever.

As noted in the beginning, humanity received the most detailed pictures of Pluto ever this past week from NASA’s New Horizons probe, and the world went nuts trying to figure out what’s happening on the surface of our solar system’s wannabe planet. While such news is obviously historic and important, our team’s favorite interpretation came from the comic genius of XKCD.


Well, as Porky Pig would say, that’s all folks! We’ve heard about topics ranging from augmenting sound in real time to seemingly vulgar toys, and even seen some major changes from companies like Facebook and jQuery. Hopefully you could find some form of entertainment or enlightenment in this week’s post, and, as always, we wish you the spryest of weekends!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 28

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Welcome back to Friday and another Spry Hive, folks! While United Airlines and the New York Stock Exchange dealt with some technical difficulties throughout the week, the likes of Mozilla and Boeing made some major announcements and Comic Con took over San Diego. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of this week’s news!

Web

actual-fear-and-loathing

Source = graphific on Github

Just about everyone that frequents the web has seen one of the photos shot out by Google’s artificial neural network, now being called Deep Dream. Well, after Google released the code, web applications for the public have begun popping up and someone was brave enough to run a clip from Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas through the program.

Since the rise of Chrome, Google’s popular web browser, Mozilla’s Firefox has been steadily losing its share of the market. Now, attempting to salvage their sinking ship, the company has released an outline of their strategy to bring the browser back up to speed.

Ever wonder what the most exclusive website in the world looks like? Well, then you’d better get in line now! For those with an unreliable internet connection or better things to do than virtually stand in line for an obnoxious amount of time, the rest of the web is teeming with talk of the site’s appeal and content.

Tech

While the current trend in the smartphone market seems to be all about expanding screen sizes, not everybody is thrilled. Who would have expected the NBA to fall victim to injuries caused by this growing pattern?

While news about consumer technology usually gets the most coverage, industrial technology is where some of the biggest breakthroughs happen. For instance, just this week Boeing filed a patent for their groundbreaking airplane engine that runs on lasers and nuclear energy.

Design

Capture22

Source = Tyler Finck

In case you missed it, Kanye West showed his true designer colors a few years back after claiming that he “gets emotional over fonts.” Now, a couple of years later, a designer named Tyler Finck has created a $50,000 golden font, specifically for Mr. West, called Yeezy Display.

This past week the popular consumer technology company, Logitech, held a conference detailing their efforts to redesign and rebrand the company. While they still refer to themselves as Logitech, the new Logi brand and logo will accompany the company’s future product lines.

Development

Looking for a new or simplified method for creating and editing web images for your site? Well, you’re in luck! Imanee is now live, providing a library of PHP that helps consolidate and simplify the process of utilizing and manipulating web images.

Is Sketch your company’s go-to program for digital design? If so, then you need to checkout the new plugin Sketch-Flex-Layout, which allows developers and other users to utilize CSS Flexbox layouts in the popular program.

Do you enjoy both development and storytelling? Well, this week we came across ParkinT on Github who has released a guide and format for easily creating fully interactive stories and text documents.

Are you interested in joining the recent surge of companies utilizing Google’s Material Design? Well, the gaps in design have finally been filled and the job has been made a lot easier with the release of Material Design Lite.

Misc.

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Have you been keeping up with this year’s San Diego Comic Con? Well, in case you’ve missed it, this year’s show featured some awesome tech pieces, including a real life Star Trek communicator and a customized Snoopy Quadcopter!

The past few weeks have featured a plethora of news about the new music subscription service offered by Apple that is meant to compete with Spotify Premium. Now Spotify has emailed its users who subscribed through the Apple Store, urging them to cancel their subscriptions and to resubscribe through their site.

When you are walking through the tents and superstores full of fireworks, you never know what kind of crazy imagery you are going to come across. Evidently, a blogger named Cabel Sasser has enjoyed the names and artwork of fireworks so much that he photographs them, building a special 4th of July post ever year!


Whether it was seeing Snoopy fly, hearing NBA players blame smartphones for his performance, or the introduction of Material Design Lite, most of us can walk away with some enjoyment from this week’s news. So, thanks for tuning in and have the spryest of weekends!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 27

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Once again, with a summer holiday falling on a Saturday, we all find ourselves working for the weekend. Eyes fixated on the clock, counting every minute between you and the fireworks, it’s no wonder we didn’t hear about Chicago’s “amusement tax” or everything swirling around net neutrality! Thankfully, Spry Hive is here to fill you in, so sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s news.

Web

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Source = CNN

The world’s eyes were fixated on Greece this week as the government finally defaulted on its loans. After banks closed their doors to the public, the country’s citizens have turned to Bitcoin to protect their savings and Indiegogo to save their country.

Hosting well over a billion users, there is little surprise in the fact that Facebook is being used for malicious purposes. As blogger Fioravante Souza points out, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to protect yourself from such attacks.

In an attempt to increase city revenue, the Chicago Department of Finance has announced a 9% “amusement tax” for online streaming services. The unprecedented move is expected to rake in about $12 million annually, affecting the subscribers of popular services like Spotify and Netflix.

Digital Age Issues

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Source = arbyreed

With the entrance of the Digital Age, governments and their citizens around the world have been trying to figure out how solve the new issues that follow technological progress.  Weeks after the US Senate passed the USA Freedom Act, essentially abolishing mass collections of phone data, the word on the streets is that the secret FISA court has ruled that the NSA is allowed 6 more months of bulk phone surveillance.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, the European Union is attempting to deceivingly implement internet fast lanes. Essentially claiming that their fast lanes are specialized services and not ‘the internet’, a public utility, the officials are obviously trying to convolute the discussion of net neutrality.

While the United States was using secret courts and the EU was hiding behind redefined language, Britain’s David Cameron came out loud and clear about his stance on data encryption. Citing national security and fears of terrorism, Cameron has been fighting hard to outlaw encryption all together.

Development

This past week a member of our team shared an aging yet riveting list from Scott Murray. A fellow developer and blogger, Murray has compiled a group of almost 20 blogs, guiding programmers on how to use their coding skills to create art.

Our development team has been leveraging Sass Maps lately for defining groups of related styles. There are many uses for Sass Maps, from defining groups of related colors, to handling repetitive declarations. Smashing Magazine recently published a helpful article on how to manage font sizes with Sass maps.

Image-2015-06-29-at-8.43.10-PM

Source = FourSquare

Ever wonder how FourSquare is able to get its users the right notification at the right time and place? Well, their development team has released the secrets to their location technologies and shows you what the world looks like to smartphones.

Are you getting bogged down or distraught over the process of accessibility testing? Well, thank the team at Khan Academy for releasing the toolkit called tota11y that is attempting to simplify the process and educate developers along the way.

Misc.

Securing more than 4.6 million subscribers, Adobe’s Creative Cloud service has inevitably made some enemies over the past few years. Rami James, a UI/UX and web designer, is undeniably a part of that list following his blog post extensively denouncing Adobe’s subscription based program.

In case you haven’t heard, there will be another movie about the late Steve Jobs. This time around, the film is being written by Aaron Sorkin, directed by Danny Boyle, and Ashton Kutcher is nowhere to be found. For those interested, the official trailer was released on July 2nd.

In a day that saw his house taken over by white tents and black suits, popular comedian and podcaster Marc Maron had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing President Barack Obama. While last week was commanded by all the talk about decisions made by SCOTUS, we all finally have the time to sit down and enjoy the podcast featuring POTUS.


And just like that, we are all caught up on this week’s news, having once again enjoyed the tales of a net neutrality, Bitcoin, Drupal development, and more. From everyone here at the office, we hope you have a safe and spry 4th of July weekend.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 26

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

While the past seven days have brought about a handful of innovations and changes in the worlds of technology, design, and the World Wide Web, this week’s most notable news came from the United States Supreme Court. Too busy and productive to keep up with the ever-changing news cycle? Have no fear, for Spry Hive is here! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s news!

Tech

side

Source = Lexus

In case you’ve forgotten, we are finally living in the year Marty McFly visited during the second installment of Back to the Future. While we unfortunately lack some of the technologies they conceived, like self-lacing shoes and flying cars, Lexus finally announced that they are currently making the Hoverboard a reality.

Are you tired of paying $200-$800 for a phone that was literally built to break? Well, so were the Dutch developers behind the Fairphone. Built and manufactured with the highest of ethical standards, this phone is easy to repair in your own home and brings upgradable parts to the mobile market.

Web

Have you ever wondered which companies are fighting to protect your data from government requests? Electronic Frontier Foundation has put together an in depth analysis that systematically ranks the leading digital brands from around the world.

It seems like it was yesterday when the news and media industries were moving from print to the digital, web-browsing era. Well now, thanks to popular apps like Flipboard and Apple News, it seems as though we may be quickly moving away from web-browsing all together.

For those of you who haven’t jumped on the Inbox bandwagon yet, Google is still releasing some new features for their aging Gmail service. This past week, Google officially enabled the ‘Undo’ function for emails, providing users with a 30-second grace period after clicking the send button.

Design

kebab

Source = @LukeW on Twitter

The disconnect between designing a new, unique user interface and the ability for a user to understand such a redesign provides a constant stage for improving upon past headaches. Thankfully, Piotr Koczorowski from Usability Tool has put together a collection of mistakes from 7 UX experts which every designer can learn.

During the past week our team came across the design standards for NASA in the 1950’s. Housing everything from their old ‘worm’ logo to how our national flag appeared on space shuttles, the designers hoped to portray a, “modernist vision for an optimistic future.”

Development

Here at the office, we love developing with the help of Git. Are you interested in learning about the system and what it allows a team to accomplish? Well, give it a try with their 15-minute guide to Git!

maxresdefault

Source = Github

We’ve been big fans of the Atom text editor since it’s release by Github just over a year ago. So, you can imagine how excited we were to see the official 1.0 release! It’s come a long ways in a short amount of time, and now that the foundation is pretty solid, the team is pondering some of the following questions for future features:

  • Under the “what goes around, comes around” category, some developers are questioning the need for CSS.
  • Fueled by React, some developers are reducing or even eliminating stylesheets altogether.
  • Ever the voice of reason, Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks wrote up a summary of the debate.

Misc.

In the digital world, tiny little numbers acting as unread notification indicators have taken over almost every platform. Whether it is from a minor case of OCD or sub-conscious training, most of us have become conditioned to tap or click such numbers into non-existence. This little designer’s trick that makes us all tick may have met it’s match following the release of so-called Deconditioning Stickers.

Are you tired of feeling like your voice isn’t being heard with regards to the controversy swirling around the Confederate Battle Flag? Well, if your device features a microphone and you’re feeling a little ghostly, then now is your chance to speak up!

AAc7cWh (2)

Source = AP Photos

Following a pair of landmark rulings for citizens across the United States, SCOTUS has voted in favor of using subsidies to fund national healthcare as well as allowing same-sex marriage in every state.

While officials in D.C. were busy tackling universal healthcare and marriage equality, the Department of Consumer Affairs in NYC was busy catching Whole Foods with their pants down. After a thorough investigation, the DCA concluded that the popular grocery store has been consistently and illegally overcharging customers on pre-packaged food.

So, there we have it, folks. In a matter of days, the Supreme Court has brought a general sense of equality and care for citizens back to our government, the Hoverboard of our dreams is finally coming to reality, and the end of web-browsers may be in sight. As always, we appreciate you tuning in and wish you the spryest of weekends!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 25

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

While many people may have been caught up in the excitement of E3 this week, the worlds of technology, design, and the internet kept pumping out announcements of their own. Between Net Neutrality going into law and a few more security breaches, we’ve all had plenty to talk about around the office. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s Spry Hive!

Web

Before entering the cell-phone market, developing a feature-packed web browser, and becoming  an internet service provider, Google used to be a company simply dedicated to creating the best search engine. They were so successful that their name became a verb synonymous with ‘to search’. Well, this reigning supremacy might finally come to an end as Apple has been slowly preparing their own search engine that aims to one-up Google in every way possible.

The new Net Neutrality laws went into effect exactly one week ago today. In that short amount of time, the FCC feels that it already has enough evidence to charge AT&T $100 million for misleading unlimited data plans. Not only that, but Sprint announced that it will stop throttling customer’s bandwidth to avoid being fined in a similar manner.

This past week the Federal Trade Commission set some intriguing precedent following their first settlement with a failed crowdfunding campaign. Siting a severe mismanagement of funds that led to an incomplete project for investors, the FTC is requiring the irresponsible organizer to repay the vast majority of $120,000 that was crowdfunded.

If you are one of the millions of users saving your passwords through LastPass, you may want to know that the company discovered some suspicious activity this past week. While they are assuring their customers that their passwords are safe, they are recommending that most users change their master password.

Tech

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Source = Oculus

Just before Microsoft stole the show at E3 with their stunning demo of the Hololens, the company Oculus quietly announced that they are attempting to push virtual reality beyond its visual barrier. Their newest task in the pursuit of creating a legitimately virtual reality seems to be the implementation of physical touch.

This past week a report was released detailing how specific Samsung mobile devices contain a serious security flaw in their Swiftkey keyboard software. The vulnerability, which affects nearly 600 million Galaxy S4, S5, and S6 owners, is most worrisome because users have no way of uninstalling the software.

Design

In an attempt to prevent your website from looking bland and slow as your images are being fetched and loaded, a group of developers has created and released the platform called Gradify. The program takes any image that you upload and generates a gradient based on the images’ most prominent colors, creating a transitioning effect as your site loads.

 

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Source = Manu Cornet/Bonkers World

For the longest time, it would have been crazy to compare the design of Google’s products to those of most other their competitors. Now days, though, thanks to their “all directions” approach to innovation shown above, their design team has thoroughly stepped up their game. According to Fast Company’s Cliff Kuang, Google may have even surpassed the design of Apple software.

Just the other week we were here talking about Adobe’s announcement that they were bringing the ability to create and use multiple art boards in the same file to Photoshop. Well, the time has come with the feature being released alongside a slew of other features in a major update for Creative Cloud.

Development

Have you ever heard of the programming language named Julia that was created and released to the open source community by MIT? Well, if you are interested in developing programs for technical computing, then you’ve got to check out Julia Language (and no, we don’t mean the way our founder speaks). The language provides a comprehensive library of mathematical functions, a dynamic type system, and a slew of other features built for high performance computing.

If you haven’t learned AngularJS yet, then now is your chance! Code Academy now offers a 5-hour online course about how to code using Angular.

Alongside AngularJS, Flexbox Grids have been taking the development world by storm. George Martsoukos of Sitepoint.com has recognized the modules popularity, writing a great article about 3 tool sets that have begun utilizing Flexbox and his experience demoing each tool.

Misc.

Heinz recently learned a valuable lesson about holding onto domain names and outdated QR codes. Evidently, the company failed to keep a domain registered for a QR code from an old campaign in Germany. Now, scanning the QR code unfortunately leads unsuspecting customers to an adult site.

For those who haven’t heard, the FBI has release a report detailing an investigation into the St. Louis Cardinals organization. The agency claims that a pair of Cardinals officials gained access to player data and scouting reports on the Houston Astros’ closed network that were supposed to be classified and confidential.


And like that, we’ve almost made it to another weekend; a weekend that is packed with both Father’s Day and the Summer Solstice. We hope this busy week’s news and lessons gave you at least one thing to get you through the next week, or maybe even a last minute gift idea for dad. Don’t forget to stop by next week, and, as always, have a spry weekend!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 24

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Before jumping into this week’s news, we would like to take a minute to honor a film and heavy metal legend. Known to the younger generations as Count Dooku and Saruman the White, and to the more seasoned generations as the one and only Dracula, we were all sad to hear that Sir Christopher Lee has passed.

This past week did feature some more uplifting news as there were some big announcements from Apple, Pizza Hut, and another great Kickstarter. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy the lighter side of this week’s news.

Tech

Don’t worry if you missed any news from the Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference this past week, as Engadget live-blogged the whole thing.

WIRED | Apple WWDC 2015

Source = Bryan Derballa

Some of the biggest news to come out of Apple’s yearly conference so far has been swirling around their new iOS9. Evidently the tech company is moving their user experience away from the grid-based Home Screen, and will be leaning heavily on various notification panels that act more fluidly and intelligently.

While Apple was holding WWDC, Microsoft decided it was time to announce the price point and timetable for their new Surface product, the wall tablet. Fortunately, for those of us who don’t have $20,000 laying around for a 7-foot touchscreen computer that hangs on the wall, they are offering a 55-inch version for a mere $7,000.

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Source = Holus

This week we came across a company’s Kickstarter campaign that shows a holographic display device being used to play games with the family, create 3D models and bring conference calls to life. While this device might not make a life-size Tupac, the Holus seems to be the first major step for integrating holographic display technology into both your house and the office.

Design

If you’ve ever had an interest in laser art, then you’ve gotta check out this new method. Using a specialized laser system, this machine can etch nearly 100,000 vectors into a chalkboard in under three minutes.

Most designers have a preference between Adobe’s Photoshop and Illustrator due to a number of defining differences between pixel vs vector-based illustration. Adobe is finally crossing one of those differences off the list, as they are finally preparing to add Illustrator’s Artboard feature to Photoshop.

Development

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Source = Kania, Medium.com

We always enjoy some good development humor around the office. Thanks to the team at Medium, we now have a list of 25 classic comics that speak to hearts of coders and portray the field in it’s rawest form.

Developers trying to code for Apple products have always had to pay $99 for each set of developer tools (iOS and OS X). Now, with the release of their watchOS toolkit, Apple is packaging all three dev programs into a single yearly payment of $99, significantly cutting the cost to develop software for their products.

With the recent and massive push towards mobile-friendly and responsive websites, there are still a number of coding elements that haven’t been developed to take advantage of an adaptable framework. Alleviating the headaches of some developers, Smashing Magazine has released a guide on finally getting iFrames to work within websites that have been designed responsively.

Misc.

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Source = Pizza Hut

Well, Pizza Hut has accepted that their “Artisan” branding has failed. Now they’ve decided that their best course of action is to port a fan favorite from South Korea and Canada to the United States. On June 18th, we will all be able to get our hands and tastebuds on the hot dog stuffed crust pizza!

Over the past week our team came across an amazing visualization of space for the Chrome Browser. Providing an interactive, 3D visualization of our cosmic neighborhood, the project includes a realistic rendering of over 100,000 nearby stars!

This past Tuesday, British biochemist Sir Tim Hunt brought upon himself an early retirement from Cambridge University following a string of inflammatory and sexist remarks about his fellow female scientists. Thankfully, his female counterparts are taking his comments with stride, responding to and mocking the Nobel Prize winner all across Twitter.


So, from holographic boxes to Microsoft’s wall-sized tablet, this week was stuffed with plenty of exciting news and stories to keep up with. As always, we hope you gained something from your visit and enjoy another weekend that couldn’t come soon enough!