Tag: google

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2016: Week 9

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

With the Primaries commanding the headlines, it’s never a bad idea to take some time to catch up on all the new you may have missed throughout the week. That’s where the Spry Hive comes in, so sit back and enjoy!

The Web

facebook-reactions-1

Show someone how you really feel about their status with the new Facebook reaction buttons.

Design

The futura font is getting a lot of use these days, so mix things up with these 10 alternatives.

Cyber Security

Evidently, after 724,000 Americans had their data stolen during a cyberattack on the IRS in 2015, the IRS failed to upgrade their systems and the same data was hacked again.

It was also announced this past week that there is a major vulnerability in internet security called the DROWN Attack. Here is a list of the most popular sites affected by the weakness.

google-project-shield

On the bright side, companies like Google are still looking out for internet users everywhere, developing protective measures like Project Shield.

Web Development & Design

Put your Angular skills to the test with the 48-hour, online hackathon known as Angular Attack.

While not fully supported by all browsers (IE 10 and below), here are 6 good reasons to start using Flexbox

Let’s look at design systems like a living, changing product instead of a project with end.

Misc.

How long would it take you to bring society to a screeching halt? Find out with Collapse, a quick, interactive introduction to Ubisoft’s new game title The Division.

We got an “extra day” this month on Monday, February 29th! If the calendar never shifted we would be in the heat of summer (next year) right now. See what happens to the calendar
if we didn’t have a Leap Day?

Nostalgia has been a driving force of the movie industry for quite awhile now, and this is more present than ever with the announcement of Nikelodeon’s Legends of the Hidden Temple movie and the reboot of Ghostbusters.

Ever dreamed of owning a military grade flamethrower? Well, now you can for just $1,600!

From time to time brevity can describe an experience more powerfully and clearly than a paragraph, essay, or entire book. The University of Pennsylvania provides a beautiful example of this with their collection of Six Word Memoirs.


Well, that’s all for this week, folks. Enjoy the first weekend of March and don’t forget to stop by the Hive again next Friday.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2016: Week 8

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

The final week of February saw a handful of developments in technology alongside a plethora of news from the web development industry. So, dive into this week’s news with another exciting Spry Hive!

Apps

The wishes & dreams of millions have finally become a reality as the navigation app Waze will allow you to receive directions from Morgan Freeman.

Web Development & Design

The saying, “Never judge a book by it’s cover,” applies to more than just paperbacks and hardcovers. For example, while studies show that women tend to produce better computer code, their work is less often approved when the public knows they are female.

Robots don’t only exist in the physical world. Find out how and why graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are finally being replaced by bots on Slack, Facebook, and SMS.

Jump on Google’s newest mobile-bandwagon by enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on your WordPress site.

Software fixes can sometime lead to more problems than they solved. That’s because software maintenance is an anti-pattern that desperately needs more attention.

gif-facebook-itorch

Bring your code to life and get a better idea of how unique each piece of code truly is with Codeology.

Are you familiar with SASS? Well, you may recognize more of the features in ES2015 than you first thought.

Skip the constant bouncing back-and-forth between applications and prototype your design in Sketch with Silver.

Tech

Keeping up with the ever-changing computer industry can be quite the chore, but blogger Chris Dixon just made it a little easier with a comprehensive overview of what’s next in computing.

While the video game industry has already begun dabbling in virtual-reality and 3D scanning, Sword Art Online: The Beginning may be the first to combine these technologies with IBM’s supercomputer, Watson.

Boston Dynamics released a new video this week, announcing the newest version of Atlas and demonstrating the robot’s ability to navigate and manipulate objects.

Misc.

Cable cutters took a huge step forward this week as the FCC proposed that cable companies should allow people to access your favorite channels via devices like Apple TV, the Roku Box, or Amazon Fire.

Wish starting a business was easier? Most people agree, which is why Stripe Atlas launched a service that helps you easily incorporate your business, open a bank account, receive payments, and get legal advice.


And like that, February is now behind us as we push towards Spring. Enjoy your weekend and don’t forget to stop by next week for another dose 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.

fig-9--multiple-elements

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.

Misc.

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.

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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 2015: Week 42

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

While the first debate for Democratic Presidential Candidates took over our feeds this week, a world’s worth of news flew right by! So, sit back, relax, and catch back up with your weekly dose of the Spry Hive.

Tech

Dandelion

Boeing shocked the tech world with the lightest metal ever, which happens to be 99.99% air.

Without the help of Comcast, or any other large ISP, the town of Chattanooga, Tennessee now offers internet speeds of 10Gbps!

Web

Use caution with Adobe’s Flash Player, as the company just announced a critical vulnerability in the software.

Following Google Chrome’s lead, Mozilla recently announce that Firefox will stop supporting plugins.

It’s always nice to hear someone own up to their mistakes, especially when they are internet advertisers.

Apps

Math class just got a lot more musical with the newest mod for TI graphing calculators.

Design

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While it’s no hoverboard, Lexus’ latest design was inspired by origami…and cardboard.

Here are a few UX habits that will aid any designer.

The countdown to Halloween has begun! Get excited with 31 days of your favorite horror characters, illustrated and motion animated.

Development

While Foundation 6 is still in production, Zurb has released a Sass library for custom CSS animations, Motion UI, for free.

Once again attempting to create a more user-friendly experience on the mobile web, Google has announced a new project for developers aptly named Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Misc.

Ever thought you’d have a shot at graduating from MIT? Well, now you have a better chance than ever, as the university announced their first degree using free online classes.

Forget about water on Mars, astronomers may have just found signs of life in space.

Evidently, some people were surprised to find Microsoft using the Start Menu to display ads. Thankfully, this feature is easily turned off.


And with that, we have caught up on at least a few of the stories that didn’t take center stage this week. Keep preparing for the fast-approaching Halloween and don’t forget to stop by next week for another weekly dose of the Spry Hive!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 41

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

As we move into October, NASA has unlocked a trove of old mission photos and robots decorate beaches. Sip on that pumpkin latte and enjoy another dose of the Spry Hive!

Tech

As if it wasn’t already hard enough to find a job as an artist these days, robots have started taking their jobs at the beach.

From the company that advertises their device as, “The tablet that can replace your laptop,” we present the new Surface Book – Microsoft’s first laptop ever.

Web

What do you get when you mix Twitter, eBooks, and Music? A quirky yet awesome karaoke generator for any party!

Haven’t updated Internet Explorer to IE11 yet? Well, it might finally be time, as Microsoft is cutting off support to IE 8, 9, and 10.

See your face from a different perspective with this webcam manipulator that’s full of emotion. You’ll want to zoom in to see what’s really going on. (WARNING: do not click if you are prone to epileptic seizures or motion sensitivity).

Design

comet1

Source = Adobe

Hey, UX designers, Adobe is working on a new prototyping tool that works beautifully with Creative Cloud called Project Comet.

Development

Looking to put a little bounce into your next web animation? You’ll love Popmotion.

Some Google interface developers have shared how they create better user experiences by optimizing their web products using the RAIL Model.

We love Gulp for how it speeds up front end development tasks. Now it’s even easier to use with one of our favorite code editors. Check out Sublime Gulp.

The tickets have been selling fast for the inaugural WordPress Community Summit, WordCamp US 2015, so grab yours while you have the chance!

Misc.

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Source = NASA

Still don’t believe we landed on the Moon? Well, see for yourself with the 8,000+ photos from the Apollo missions, recently released by NASA.

Now, we know the internet is a place for cats, but this puppy playing with baby goats will steal your heart.

Fallout 4 is one of the most anticipated games being talked about right now, but nobody is as excited as this guy.


We hope you were able to lose yourself for a while with the baby goats, artistic robots, and other stories from the week. Don’t forget to come back next week to grab your weekly dose of the Spry Hive!

Spry Hive Week 34

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Welcome back to the Spry Hive! Between all the Star Wars hype, news surrounding NASA, and advancements in solar power, there is no doubt that we were all reaching for the stars in one way or another this week. So, sit back and enjoy the tales of this week’s dreamers, innovators, and thought leaders.

Web & Apps

emoji-mosaic

Nowadays, there seems to be an emoji for just about any item and any situation. Thanks to Eric Andrew Lewis, the illustrated text icons can now be used to build some of the cutest (and sometimes most disturbing) mosaics of your favorite pictures!

Have you been looking for a simple, legitimate solution to secure your company’s communication? Well, then Silent Circle was built for you. While they do offer a small number of silent devices, their heavily encrypted communication apps are the immediate innovators as they are available for desktop, Android, and iOS.

Tech

Evidently, Samsung is among those who believe bigger is better, at least in the market of storage capacity. The company recently announced that they will be releasing a Solid State Drive that features a whopping 16 terabytes of storage. That kind of size doesn’t come without an enormous price tag, though, as the device is estimated to cost somewhere between five and seven thousand dollars.

In a move that had some managers and players calling for an instant replay, MLB’s commissioner, Bud Selig, had declared that smartwatches were banned alongside smartphones in the dugout. Luckily, the decision was overturned after further review, as the league’s front office finally learned how the devices works.

Google announced a new program this week that aims at saving you some headache and money. By combining their current Google Maps 3D modeling data with their new solar mapping data, the company has made the process of upgrading to solar panels a whole lot easier with Project Sunroof.

Design

While some attentive Harry Potter fans out there might be freaking out at the fact that someone tarnished one of their beloved books with the iconic Star Wars logo, everybody else can agree that these designs are magical. Founded by Yuto Yamaguchi, the company OruFun specializes in the art of folding book pages into amazing 3D designs, aka putting those dusty books on your shelf to good use.

Whether you’re designing an app for the desktop, smartphone or watch, the process just got a little easier and a lot more animated. With the introduction of Principle for Mac, you can create a beautiful user experience that utilizes animation, interaction, and multiple screens.

Development

Thankfully, flexibility within your web page doesn’t require daily stretching and yoga training like your body does. All it requires is Flexbox! For those of you that may have heard us raving about it in previous blogs, but still struggle with understanding the modules basics, here is a great explanation of how it works.

Are you using WordPress to fulfill your blogging or website needs? Well, you’ll be happy to know that version 4.3 of the platform, also known as “Billie”, has been released and comes packed with features that will make content creation so much easier.

Misc.

484160740

Source = Disney/Lucasfilm

When Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars brand and franchise, we knew there would be more in the works than the reboot of a legendary movie series. Well, this week plenty of fan undoubtedly wet themselves following the announcement of two Star Wars theme parks, one in Orlando and one in Anaheim.

Unlike anything affiliated with Star Wars, NASA is scraping the bottom of their funding barrel as budget cuts take their toll on the US space agency. While we knew that a few programs would have to be dropped, nobody expected that they would get to the point of raiding museums for spare parts just to fulfill prior obligations to the International Space Station.

If you find yourself looking for a visual aid to help ponder the complexities of life’s cyclical nature, or you just like trains, then you’ve got to check out this mesmerizing, bi-directional kinetic sculpture.


And with all of that, we find ourselves a couple of rotations closer to the end of Summer and the beauty of Fall. We thank you for stopping by and wish you the spryest of weekends!

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 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!

Why we choose the Zurb Foundation theme for Drupal

Posted by kGoff & filed under Web Development.

One of the most important decisions in building a new Drupal website, and, consequently, one of the first steps, is selecting a theme or theme framework. Currently, there are 1,316 themes available on drupal.org.

During our time as a Drupal developers, we have used the following themes: Omega, Zen, Bootstrap, and Foundation. While each of these themes has a variety of strengths and weaknesses, the Foundation theme by Zurb has quickly become our “go-to” theme.

The Foundation theme is built with the Foundation front-end framework. The Foundation framework is a grid-based, mobile-first CSS framework so one can greatly speed up the processes of front-end development for responsive websites.

feature-grid-1

The CSS-based grid system isn’t the only feature Zurb packs into the Foundation framework. It also includes several user interface elements and JavaScript libraries to enhance the user experience.

The fact that it’s a mobile-first framework is one of the main reasons why we chose the Foundation framework. Out of the box, the theme comes with standard breakpoints for mobile, tablet, and desktop. You can easily create your own breakpoint to supplement the default breakpoints.

feature-mobile-1

Another great feature of the Foundation framework is that it is built to work seamlessly with SASS. SASS is a pre-processor for CSS. If you are not familiar with SASS, then you are in for a treat. SASS allows you to use variables, nested rules, mixins, and inline imports to streamline your CSS development. SASS files are compiled into CSS via a SASS compiler. If you are new to SASS or would like to learn more about it, click here for a great resource to help get you up to speed.

But what we like best about Foundation is that it’s not Drupal-specific. In addition to several Drupal sites, we have built WordPress sites using Foundation, as well as custom applications built with PHP frameworks like Laravel. Using a common front-end framework regardless of platform means that front-end developers can work faster and smarter, and worry less about platform-specific methods to achieve the same functionality.

We encourage you to check out the Zurb Foundation theme before diving into your next Drupal project. There may be a slight learning curve if you’re new to Foundation, but learning the framework will be time well spent. Foundation has a great community that is always willing to help if you have any questions about the framework. That said, feel free to shoot us an email or comment with any and all questions!