Tag: google

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

oculus_rift_consumer-6

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 23

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

The first week of June brought out all the big names in the news. Between Facebook, Netflix, Paypal and Google, the week gave us a little taste of everything. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s Spry Hive!

Web

Facebook is far and above the social media site with the largest following. Because of this reigning popularity, the platform’s lack of support for the extremely popular GIF file type has always seemed a little odd. That shortfall is in the past, though, as the company now fully supports GIFs.

While Facebook remains the king of social media, Netflix is continuing to solidify itself as the king of the internet in North America. Evidently, during the evening hours, when internet usage peaks, Netflix accounts for 37% of all activity.

r2d2-590x368

Source = Geek.com

Blowing up in everybody’s face this week was the new Terms of Service that Paypal released following their split with Ebay. Evidently, Paypal failed to include a section detailing how customers can prevent the company selling their phone number or how to opt out of the obnoxious robocalls. Thankfully, for Paypal and their customers, the company has backed down and claims that it will provide customers with an option to opt out of the much unwanted service.

The digital scrapbooking website Pinterest has always be proud of the fact that their product helps people around the world discover new things. The company now seems to be taking things a step further, announcing the ability to buy the items you come across on their site.

Design

3045998-slide-s-3-inside-linkedins-new-empire-state-building

Source = FastCoDesign.com

Most news about the popular company Linkedin focuses on new features they offer or how to get the most out of their services. That said, the latest news pertaining to the business-oriented social media website is all about design! If you haven’t seen their stunningly hip New York office yet, then you are in for a treat.

While Linkedin was laboring over every detail of design for their office, IHOP was busy trying to make their brand smile. Unfortunately for the home of unlimited pancakes, people have already started describing their new logo as a “deranged clown”.

Development

Are you interested in learning how to code using Javascript? Well, you are in luck! Fellow developer Max Ogden has created a guide to learning the language that is so easy your cat could grasp it.

If you are more familiar with the vocabulary and grammar of Javascript and looking for a tool that will make your coding life easier, then look no further! The individuals at Konstantin Sokhan have come up with the website called JavaScripting  where you have access to browse and search through a multitude of libraries, frameworks, and plugins.

Tech

awklhfj

Source = Surrey NanoSystems

Have you ever wondered what a black hole looks like? Well, Surrey NanoSystems may have come up with the closest possible alternative. Named Vantablack, the material reflects 99.96% of all white light, making it the darkest object humans can observe with the naked eye.

Google recently held their I/O event for developers, and, as always, they featured a number of new, quirky technologies. Attempting to revolutionize the function of fashion, Google has been working on touch-sensitive thread and stitching that would turn any piece of clothing into a touchscreen.


And just like that, another week has come and past, leaving some new technological advancements, a few lessons, and every other type of news behind it. We hope you enjoyed the week as much as we have, and, as always, wish you the spryest of weekends!

 

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 21

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

It’s fair to say that with Memorial Day this coming Monday, we were all just working for the weekend. We were all left talking about whether or not we will be able to fill the void of not one, but two cultural icons. So, don’t worry if you happened to miss anything else from this week’s news! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s Spry Hive!

555b44acb80bcc99383a9b44_jon-hamm-mad-men-episode-14-season-7-part-2

Source = AMC

Apps

For many people, running has never been an activity that was easy to get into. Thankfully, there are apps like Zombies, Run which make running more engaging and entertaining! Think you can keep up with the story-line?

Just when we all seemed to be getting comfortable with Gmail, Google decided it was a good time to release their new platform for managing emails. Currently available through invite-only, Inbox by Gmail aims to create a more fluid environment for browsing and managing your electronic communications.

Tech

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Source = Gizmodo

Just a few weeks ago, we found the office talking about a new, time-consuming method for opening closed Master Locks. Before any of us could master the technique, we came across this 3D-printed device that will open the lock for you!

No matter where you are from, the warmer weather of Spring and Summer naturally comes with a heap of construction crews and detours. Luckily, the constant repairs to sidewalks and roads may soon be a thing of the past if a group of Dutch developers find a way to mass-produce their self-healing bioconcrete!

Design

When Apple was developing their new Apple Watch, they had to spend a good chunk of time figuring out how to make their font legible on any screen size. This dynamically scaling font called San Francisco is taking it’s first step up in size as Apple has announced their plans to update iOS 9 & 10.11 with the new font.

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Source = Luke Jones

For designers, it is a constant struggle between what the program says is correct and what looks/feels right. If you are interested in learning more about adjusting for the way an image is perceived, Luke Jones’ blog post goes into the subtle changes required for what he calls Optical Adjustment.

Development

The development team behind Meteor, a platform for web and mobile apps built around JavaScript, released some exciting news this past week. Evidently, the open-source group has announced a $20 million round of funding for the continued development and release of Meteor.

Did you know DrupalCon Los Angeles was held last week from May 11th to May 15th? If you for some reason missed the event, do not fret! A large number of the sessions and presentations have been posted online! This past week, our development team found a good video for those interested in beginning to use Agile development techniques with Drupal CMS.

Misc.

JDEonLU

Source = /u/Soggybrick on Reddit.com

Have you ever had to tell someone, “I can’t do anything right now, I’m in the middle of cups?” Well, if so, chances are you were sleeping. This past week, our team came across an individual that wrote down the best phrases that his sleeping girlfriend came up with!

This week our team came across yet another crazy service to use on your best friends or worst enemies. Evidently, potatoes are being shipped across the nation, leaving people messages ranging from “Happy Birthday,” to, “You’re being evicted.” Who wouldn’t want to receive a potato parcel?


So, while it’s about high-time time to find an alternative to Master Lock, Mad Men, and David Letterman, this week’s news provided plenty to look forward to as we move into the long weekend. We hope you make it back next week and that you have the spryest of Memorial Days!

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 20

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Well, we have made it back to the one and only Spry Hive, which means it’s finally Friday! This week, the office was buzzing with talks of pet cameras, Drupal development, curse words and more. So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s news!

Tech

Interested in keeping up with the development of Google’s Self-Driving Car? Well, after traveling 1.7 million miles, the team has plenty to share about their experiences thus far, including 11 minor accidents.

lily

Source = TechRadar.com

Ingeniously combining the characteristics of a drone, a self-driving car, and a Go-Pro, a group of individuals from the University of California – Berkeley has developed a flying camera that follows you! Named Lily, this ground-breaking device provides a hassle-free way to record your every move.

Web

This week saw another win for the Net Neutrality movement, and the internet in general, as the FCC has refused to budge on any aspects of their new regulations for Internet Service Providers. If everything goes as planned, the new rules should go into effect June 12, 2015.

In an attempt to regain their footing in the market of internet browsers, Microsoft has announced that they are shutting down Internet Explorer and releasing their new browser, Microsoft Edge. Hopefully the logo’s changes aren’t indicative of how much (or little) effort went into the new browser’s functionality.

wef

Source = imageidentify.com

While we have been able to search through Google using images for a few years now, Wolfram has now provided the internet with a tool that will identify an image for you! The web-tool isn’t perfect, yet, but this marks a huge step in the direction of legitimate artificial intelligence.

Development

Here in the office, our team uses a combination of Sketch and Photoshop for web-development purposes. This past week they came across Daniel Schwarz’s article about the various ways to extract HTML/CSS code from the two platforms.

As it is one of the major Content Management Systems used by our team, Drupal is discussed thoroughly around the office. So,our interests were piqued when we heard about the new Drupal Console, a platform built to help manage the complexities of Drupal CMS.

Interested in joining the Drupal community and learning how to develop using the CMS? Well, you’re in luck! This May 22nd, Drupal developers around the world are hosting a slew of free or low-costing training sessions for new & beginner users!

Misc.

Millennium-Falcon-Fan-Build-1

Source = Titans Creations

LEGOLand Malaysia takes the 4th of May very seriously. So seriously that they hold a Star Wars event in honor of the aging “May the Fourth be with you” puns. What stole the show, however, was Titans Creations’ 10,000 brick model of the Millennium Falcon.

Do you find yourself cursing like a sailor whenever you get hurt? Well, keep it up! Evidently, researchers have found that an individual can strengthen their emotional resilience by cursing their way through pain.


So, with another week in the books, be sure to keep an eye out for Google’s Self-Driving Car and camera’s following people around, take a look into joining or engaging the Drupal community, and keep on swearing! We hope you join us next week and, as always, have a spry weekend!

“Mobilegeddon” In Perspective – What Site Owners Should Know About Google’s Latest Update To Search

Posted by Ken Moire & filed under SEO.

Back in November, I wrote an article titled Why Mobile-Friendly Sites Win at Search. The article described how the “Mobile-friendly” label would begin appearing next to sites that were deemed to be just that on all Google mobile search results. We now know that this was just the first step in the search giant’s emphasis on mobile ease-of-use as a significant search ranking factor.

In what some in the industry are describing as “Mobilegeddon”, Google has announced that starting April 21st it will be making a major update to its algorithm to “expand the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal.” It also said, “This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”

If you have a mobile website or responsive website, you will likely be ok (although Google prefers responsive websites as a general rule of thumb).

What does having a mobile-friendly site mean, exactly? In my earlier article I shared a link to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your web address and it will analyze whether your site is mobile-friendly or not, and why.

If your website is older than five years, it probably has not been architected to be mobile-optimized. What can you do? Explore what mobile strategy is best for your business, then work with your web team or web partner to make sure that your website is optimized for mobile devices.

Spry Digital can also help you determine the best mobile strategy for your organization. Reach out to us here to start the conversation.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 14

Posted by Ben Scherliss & filed under Tips.

April inevitably arrives with a few pranks, but also with plenty new to discuss. Amazon wants you to push their buttons while Facebook wants to create a social presence for your children. We’re no fools here, so let’s discuss it all in the latest edition of Spry Hive.

Tech

April Fools Day has now passed, and who wasn’t fooled by the 360 Selfie Ring or Google Fiber dial-up? But there were more than a few other enjoyable fabrications launched in the tech world this year and here is a fun collection of some of the best.

And in what was not a hoax, Amazon announced that it wants you to be able to re-order your products from any room, closet or corner of your house. So they’ve made it all possible with their new “Dash Buttons” which will instantly purchase an order and can be placed literally anywhere in every residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse.

Google had to kill about 200 different Chrome extensions this week, having to reclassify them as Malware. Apparently more than a third of these extensions which inject ads were, in fact,  deceptive and merited the reclassification.

If boring, traditional round pancakes are causing you ongoing morning depression, life no longer has to go on that way thanks to PancakeBot. The device pairs an electric griddle and a batter dispensing system which will effectively “print” pancakes into nearly any shape.

Social Media

We all know that there just isn’t a large enough of a social presence for babies on Facebook, so luckily the social media giant has announced Scrapbook. The company says this feature will “grow with your child” as you add photos of them. Nothing creepy here.

Facebook’s Engineering Director is now headed to the White House. 28 year-old David Recordon will join the administration as Director of Information Technology, a position which was created specifically for him.

Twitter has been showing ads in the news feed for some time now, but they’re about to take it up to another level — a personal one. The social company has apparently been testing promoted tweets which would begin showing-up on user’s actual profile pages, possibly appearing as tweets endorsed by or from that account.

Misc

A warning that this one may hurt your eyes a bit. Two of the most cringe-worthy fonts – Comic Sans and Papyrus –  are now merging to create Comic Papyrus.

SOURCE = Adweek

Moving on to some much more pleasant writings, you won’t believe how perfectly this calligrapher effortlessly re-creates the logos of iconic brands like Google, Adidas, Star Wars and Converse with pen and ink.

Cards Against Humanity has ironically found a means by which to benefit humanity. The popular, typically raunchy game is now releasing a science themed expansion to benefit women in STEM.

Development

Bloomberg’s been cooking-up a new single-page application framework called Brisket. The company is billing it as having “the best perceived speed, the greatest code freedom, and the strongest search engine optimization.”

If you’re a beginner with AngularJS you may get some good value from the interactive book Angular Basics. It covers Directives, Modules, Services, Controllers, Routing and is free.

Docker marked it’s second birthday this past week and as this article suggests, we should continue to expect big things from the open source software project.

SEO

With “mobilegeddon” fast approaching, many businesses and website administrators are scrambling to get in front of Google’s upcoming new mobile-friendly algorithm. Google is stating that it will impact more sites than their previous Panda or Penguin updates did, with the bottom line being that you’d better get mobile-friendly and fast.

Spam bots cause multiple annoyances such as corrupting your analytics data and using-up your server’s resources just to name a few. But there are some effective steps you can take to stop them from ruining your analytics referral data.


That’s a wrap for the first week of April. See you next Friday and we’ll have another go ’round again.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 13

Posted by Ben Scherliss & filed under Tips.

Social media grabbed some headlines this week with a few exciting new announcements from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And after 13 years Fox announced the return of one of our favorite detective pairings — but do we have Netflix to thank? The answers to that and more in this week’s Spry Hive.

Social Media

At its annual F8 Developer Conference this week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that “Now Facebook is a family of apps” rather than a single service. The company announced a whole series of features and updates and introduced Messenger for Business, which could rival some of Twitter’s customer service capabilities.

This week Instagram announced it’s new collage feature called “Layout,” which takes the content on the app to another level. Users will now be able to combine as many as nine photographs together into one (thus for cat lovers, the sky’s the limit).

Twitter has always offered the ability for anonymity to run a bit rampant, and unfortunately that can open the door for abusive behavior. But the company is now taking steps which may bring that activity to an end with a new ‘quality filter’ which removes threats and abusive tweets.

Also on Twitter, Elon Musk recently tweeted that photos from a recent SpaceX mission would be made available for non-commercial use. One user then pressed him to go a bit further, and Musk obliged.

Tech

According to an Executive at Microsoft, they don’t have nearly the connectivity between their products that Google and Apple have engineered. That said, the company has a plan which it hopes will allow it to better compete.

Google likes to watch you watch TV. Users of Google’s TV service Fiber shouldn’t be entirely shocked, but the company gathers data based upon viewing behaviors and then serves targeted ads more likely to grab attention. If it creeps you out, you have to opt-out.

They say one of the keys of good UX is that you’ve got to design like “the user is drunk.” If you like, this guy will actually get drunk and do exactly that (for a fee).

GoPro is everywhere nowadays, hence it’s concept. But if you’re not filming an extreme sport, it can be awkward and difficult to hold steady by hand. CAMPanion provides a mounting which merges your phone or tablet to Gopro for your “less extreme” needs.

Most people are aware that devices capable of license plate scanning exist on our streets and highways. What you may not know is that depending upon municipality, they may also be available via public record.

If you’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to fly like a bird, a new simulator uses Oculus Rift to make that experience very real. Birdly provides a full-body simulation of flight, and the rig even uses a fan to simulate wind to put the experience over the top.

Development

We are excited for the imminent arrival of Drupal 8 for many reasons. The latest improvement to catch our attention: improved media management. Even kittens approve.

Another announcement at the F8 Developer Conference was the open-sourcing of Facebook’s React Native Framework, now available on Github. This framework may not end the debate between web vs native, but certainly provides another option in the ever-growing array of app development frameworks

If you learn by doing, Code4startup is an online resource that lets you clone and hack copies of real services you already use on the web in order to help you make something new. In addition, it also offers video services for instruction.

Misc

People who are colorblind live in a very different daily world than the rest of us. Now, thanks to specially developed glasses by EnChroma these videos are able to capture their reactions when they experience colors for the first time.

To raise awareness about internet censorship, the company Psiphon commissioned a paper poster series of various social media icons crafted from paper. While the point is well-taken, the visuals are rather enjoyable in themselves.

Just what separates “old Millennials” from “new Millennials?” The answer is an innumerable amount of things, but this list paints the picture in a very amusing and thoughtful manner.

Signaling that the truth is in fact still out there, this week Fox announced it is rebooting it’s hit series The X-Files. But as this article details, we may have Netflix to thank for it’s return.

The Netherlands-based designer Florian de Looij prides himself in trying to create a new form of GIF each day. What he’s been doing with these hypnotizing geometric GIFs is nothing short of amazing.


 

So, that’s a wrap on Week 13 and the month of March for us here at Spry Hive.  Let’s reconvene a week from now with a new month and a whole new slate of topics.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 12

Posted by Ben Scherliss & filed under Tips.

With SXSW coming to a crescendo this week there has been no shortage of interesting news bubbling up to us from Austin. We’ll be taking a look at some of it, as well as the rest of what’s fun, new and interesting in this latest edition of Spry Hive.

SXSW

As noted, there’s always a gamut of new exciting things to see, touch and feel at SXSW. One of those things this year that provided all of that was a robot petting zoo. The particular robots featured in this exhibit were designed to assist humans in the event of a natural disaster.

According to one Google exec, Google Glass may have been a victim of it’s own fast fame. Speaking at SXSW, Astro Teller explained that Google’s “explorer” program had intended to get feedback, but may have prematurely created false impressions.

If you feel like you missed the action at SXSW Interactive, not to worry, there’s an online tracker that provides a visualization of what was the most talked about keywords and trends.

Tech

The whole process of 3D printing is pretty badass in itself, but kicking things up a notch, here’s a printing technique that is 25 to 100 times faster than anything on the market today and is inspired by Terminator 2.

Web

In a rather eye-opening move, CNN, The Financial Times, The Guardian and Thomson Reuters are combining their ad forces against Google and Facebook. They are calling it Pangaea Alliance, and their hope is that by pooling their audiences, their ad inventory can better compete with the reach of these giants.

SOURCE = Ars Technica

If you really want to tell the world how much something sucks, you’ll soon be able to purchase a “.sucks” domain to make it official. More interesting is the fact that companies with registered trademarks will have to pay a heftier price to purchase and protect such domains.

Gmail has a new extension that allows you to see if the email is being tracked before you open it. It’s called “Ugly Email,” and it seamlessly integrates with Gmail. Currently available for Chrome and Firefox is apparently in the works.

Hike.io is an open source platform which allows techy outdoorsman to find, map and view photos of beautiful hikes. With a bit of a Wikipedia-like approach, the information is free and entries can be added and edited by the public.

Development

For those interested in learning to code in Swift, you can do it via your phone. The Swifty app provides a simplified approach for experimenting with code as well as access to over 200 interactive lectures.

If you desire to advertise your expertise and passion for your preferred dev frameworks you’ll likely enjoy browsing ShirtJS. After all, it has become a bit tricky lately to find those “Eat, Sleep, Angular, Repeat” t-shirts at Target.

Libraries.io is an open source massive database of programming libraries sorted by language, platform and license in periodic table form. The site also offers a popularity list so you can view just what libraries others are using.

CSS sans is a font implemented in pure CSS and is definitely worth a look.

Apps

If you’ve ever lost your wallet you know that replacing everything is a treacherous ordeal. Where’s Wallet is a line of wallets which come embedded with a small sensor that alerts your phone if you leave it behind you. Now, of course if you misplace your phone, then we don’t even know what to tell you.

The wallpaper for your phone doesn’t have to be dull or even static. TapDeck offers smart wallpapers that can be changed at any time and swiped to provide story and facts behind each image.

Do you ever wonder how Spotify does what it does, or better yet, how they pay so little for the ability to serve all that music? Jack Stratton provides a brief, but measured take on how many artists are unhappy and why he believes lite listeners should be too.

And thanks to a new partnership with the music streaming service Rhapsody, users of the Twitter app can now stream full-length songs for free. The ability only exists within the app, however, and if you do try to access via web you’ll be rerouted over to Rhapsody’s site for a shorter clip.

Misc

The National Science Foundation is pushing to make more research public more quickly. This week it did so by announcing a plan for comprehensive public access to research results.

If you tend to think simplicity is beautiful when it comes to art and design, here is a great showcase of single weight line art illustrations.


That brings us to a close for the first day of spring 2015. We look forward to seeing you same time, same place next week.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 11

Posted by Ben Scherliss & filed under Tips.

This week had Wikipedia tangling with the NSA and the FAA tangling with drones. And we also said goodbye to one of the world’s finest writers. That and so much more in Week 11’s edition of Spry Hive.

Tech

Google’s “Project Loon” which would effectively put cell tower balloons in the sky has continued to make progress towards becoming reality. Initially the balloons were able to remain in the sky for about 5 days, now this period has averaged over 100 days along with the ability to provide 4G to an entire state.

And as Google prides itself with boldly going where few have gone before, it has continued with a recent addition to it’s popular Street View. After partnering-up with mountaineer Apa Sherpa, the company is now able to offer stunning views of the Mount Everest Region.

Even Apple isn’t short of it’s share of outspoken critics and in this enjoyable write-up noted as “off-the-cuff,” Matt Wilcox details why he believes Apple has a software problem.

MySpace had a variety of internal flaws and made a series of bad moves before finally succumbing to Facebook’s popularity. These were some of the topics discussed in a conference last week where the former VP of MySpace offered some insight as to what went wrong with the social network.

The FAA is sending letters to some drone owners ordering them to take their videos off of YouTube. This coming as it appears that the agency has found a manner to extend the meaning of “commercial flights.

Wikipedia is suing the NSA. The non-profit which prides itself on being “founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information” says it believes that the agency’s surveillance practices violate the US Constitution’s First and Fourth Amendments.

Apps

In a move likely to align with the trend towards larger screens, Twitter announced that it’s official app for iPhone will now feature revamped profiles and display larger photos.

Topps Star Wars Cards, SOURCE = Gizmodo

 

Digital has brought the world of trading cards to a universal level, literally. Topps, the company which once provided chewing gum with it’s trading cards now offers the ability for users around the world to trade their Star Wars cards via mobile app.

If you obsess about getting the best possible deal on airline tickets, you’ll likely want to have a look at Hopper. The app provides useful price predictions and will notify you of price drops.

Development

If someone told you it could actually be possible to scroll or control your computer’s sound with a wave of the hand, would you be interested? It is a real possibility when motion detection and the Doppler Effect are combined.

The release of Drupal 8 is nearing and some new essential Symfony components will be arriving with it. If you’re interested in learning more about them this article offers a nice run-down.

With all of the deserved excitement surrounding the Apple Watch, many third party developers are wondering “What about us?” With the device being so new and uncharted, this article explores the struggle some developers are facing in getting prepared for it.

Misc

We know how much you love Cards Against Humanity. The only drawback is that you have to wait until you’re drunk in the comfort of a friend’s home to play it. But now thanks to the web app Cards Against Originality you can take the game any place you like.

There’s a remake of the famous Disney classic Dumbo coming and believe it or not, it will be in the form an actual live-action film. On top of that, news now that Tim Burton has signed-on to direct it.

With 1,100 yards of real scrolling paper built into it’s legs, the Analog Memory Desk was engineered to record years of random thoughts and ideas the old fashioned way. The student who designed it has no intent of putting it up for sale and offers the blueprints for free.

If you’ve got an infinite amount of time to kill, you should really spend at least some of it staring into this infinitely zooming image.

And an RIP to Sir Terry Pratchett. The author of the Discworld series and over other 70 titles died this week after losing his battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. As Pratchett wrote in his novel Good Omens,”Don’t think of it as dying,” said Death. “Just think of it as leaving early to avoid the rush.”


That will do it for already our second Friday the 13th of 2015. As always, if you have any thoughts or comments please do share them with us below.

Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2015: Week 6

Posted by Ben Scherliss & filed under Tips.

We’ve finally drilled our way into February and scratched-out a few more minutes of daylight for ourselves. Let’s reward ourselves by drilling-into the week’s hottest topics in our latest offering of Spry Hive.

Tech and Email

Werner Koch wrote email encryption software that is currently being used worldwide, but he’s not paid for his efforts. As one could imagine he’s now running out of money, and his story is one which needs to be seen.

As if Amazon wasn’t dipping its toes into enough various pools already, the company has now announced that it will offer it’s own email service as well. The service will be called “WorkMail” and includes features that present some fitting competition for Google and Microsoft, such as a $4 per month per inbox price and a tool to ensure that your email is stored only in designated geographic regions.

For everyone who has never experienced the joys of assembling IKEA furniture, a new video game has arrived which simulates those charms in your own virtual home. The game presents you with all of the flat boxes and random pieces you could ask for, and lets you get down to work. It’s currently free on both Mac and Windows PC’s.

Cable and Cellular

Cable bills have become hurtful enough these days, but a (now former) Comcast customer received further insult-to-injury when his bill arrived with his name changed to “A-hole.” Undoubtedly one of the best means by which to get your cancellation fee waived.

When it comes to smartphones we’re always wondering what the next big thing will be. British chip designer ARM is pushing towards giving your phone enough muscle that it closes-in on  the PC experience.

With as much as we can instantly achieve with our camera phones, printing is one process which has been left out of the mix. But Prynt wants to become the first instant camera case for both iPhone and Android, and it’s well worth a look.

And Verizon may be learning how to pick it’s battles the hard way. After it initially sued the FCC over its original net neutrality regulations, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has now turned around and proposed new rules which will regulate ISP’s much like utilities.

Art Technology

British artist Nick Smith has done some pretty amazing things with Pantone color swatches. For starters, he’s recreated famous works of art by Van Gogh, Da Vinci and others using swatches as his medium.

“Time Sliced,” SOURCE = Bored Panda

One of many fields constantly evolving along with technology is photography. Using a technique that allowed him to stitch 36 images from different times of day into one, this photographer captured the changing light from day to night cast upon famous buildings.

 

Misc

Have you began noticing a bit of a visual trend with how most modern movies appear? It may not come to mind immediately, but after you see this collection you’ll be wondering why every movie looks sort of orange and blue. As you may imagine, it’s no accident.

If you’re a designer or just someone who enjoys visual culture, there are quite a few notable options on Netflix for you to digest. This collection called 22 Movies Every Designer Should Watch On Netflix is a great place to start.

The topic may avoid regular discussion, however it’s been long understood that the poo emoji is just downright charming. And since we all can agree on that, we can all now purchase this gorgeous Poo Emoji Button-Up Shirt for the low cost of $80.00.

Everyone knows that Japanese fashion can be known to push the limits here and there. Because nothing screams “I’m an intellectual” more than walking around with a small kitten straddling your head, one designer has now created “Cat Hairbands.

Development

If you’re just getting started in coding, or thinking about taking-on a career you might be looking for an idea of what to expect. A good place to start might be this write-up appropriately titled Why Learning to Code is So Damn Hard.

A few Spry Digital employees had the privilege of attending Twitter Flock 2015 last night. The social media giant has taken to the road (flashy bus included) for a second year to meet developers across the country. The main focus of discussion was Fabric, the company’s new mobile Software Development Kit which aims to make it easy for developers to build great apps.


 

That brings us to the end of this week’s collection. Let’s set a date for the same time, same place next week and we’ll refresh the full rundown on the latest and greatest.