Dispatches from the Spry Hive 2014: Week 45

Posted by Ben Scherliss & filed under Tips.

If you’ve gotten over Halloween’s candy corn headrush you’ve likely come to and realized that it’s already November. And that means two things. The first being we’re only a stone’s throw away from the holiday season. And the second being it’s time for another ever-friendly addition of Spry Hive, of course.

Here’s the buzz for Week 45:


Are you finding real life a little too “real” for you? Then take a gander at these insanely realistic Sims and Sims City creations. Now, the Seinfeld characters look a tad fit and and modern, but the Friends bunch is downright uncanny. But be sure to check out “Spiderweb town,” which is seriously righteous.

For everyone who has always wanted to know what an actual comet landing would look like in animation, you’re in luck! The European Space Agency has put-together a cute cartoon detailing the adventures of Rosetta and Philae, the space probe and robotic lander which are about to attempt the feat in real life. It’s nice to see that per the animation they’ll be conducting their mission with big smiles on their faces.


Apparently there is such a career as a Paper Engineer. And if you thought that was just a silly rhyme, you’ll be amazed at some of the functional objects Peter Dahmen has created out of paper. A bit of a happy accident, he learned his craft when he discovered it would be impossible to safely transport projects for his graphic design class on his train commute without damage.

You ever wonder how people with those giant phones are able to use them one-handed? Well, it’s not all possible due to any special skills or freakishly giant hands. As with any mobile technology, there’s a lot more than meets the thumb. People like Luke Wroblewski put some serious creative thought into design solutions for overcoming our “growing phone” pattern. This article by the man himself provides a really neat overview.


If you’re tired of spending hours searching for that perfect funny cat pic, then forgetting where you found it, you’ll want to go grab the Fetching.io plugin. This helpful tool searches the full text of any website you’ve visited from any device. It runs in the background, and more or less operates like your own personal Google. It works well even if you only recall a few keywords such as “funny, cat, pics.”

Skin Buttons

Now, here’s something which really pushes our buttons. Skin buttons, to be exact, which are working buttons projected onto the skin via small lasers on a watch. These “buttons” can then be engaged the same way an icon on a smartphone would be. Their size can even be increased or decreased depending upon preference.

We’ve all got too many passwords. They’re almost like the traffic lights of personal technology. And now there are a few proximity-based apps which want to help you run those traffic lights. There are a few we’ve been exploring such as Keycard and Proximator. The concept is simple: walk away, and your Mac will lock itself, walk back and it will unlock. Your physical proximity is sensed by using your iPhone.

We can never resist serving-up a little dose of creepiness. Well, more like about 73,000 doses, but who’s counting? A website by the name Insecam is taking advantage of IP cameras worldwide whose owners haven’t changed their default passwords. While this site is in effect aggregating these feeds, it is something which could be dug-up with a simple Google search


Next week on it’s 10th anniversary, Mozilla will be launching a new browser for developers. They are appropriately calling it fx10, and the intent is to allow developers to “debug the whole Web” without having to switch between tools. As for the rest of the details, they are playing rather close to the vest for now, but here’s a bit more info.

Google has announced the alpha launch of Google Container Engine, a new managed service for building and running Docker container-based applications on its cloud platform. Now anyone will be able to run complicated applications super-efficiently inside of Google data centers. With it, you’re also not locked into the Google Cloud Platform and can still continue to use other cloud providers.


One would think that all consumers see the same pricing whether searching by web or mobile. But a recent study found quite the opposite. Incredibly, prices listed by some major retailers as well as hotel/rental car sites were all over the board. Price offerings even varied according to the brand of device from which the searches were made. All a reminder of the not-so-nice side of how companies use big data.


Time to shut-down our session for this week. Everyone have a great weekend, and by all means please remember to change those passwords. Also on that note, that wallpaper behind you is a bit outdated, btw.

Comments are closed.