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.



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.


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!


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.


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.



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!



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.


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.



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.


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.



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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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!



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.


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.



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.”


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!


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.


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!


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.



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.


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.



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.


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 has recognized the modules popularity, writing a great article about 3 tool sets that have begun utilizing Flexbox and his experience demoing each tool.


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.


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.


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.


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.



Source = Kania,

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.



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!

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!


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.


Source =

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.



Source =

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”.


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.



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 22

Posted by James McDonnell & filed under Tips.

Even with the short week, it felt like a special treat making it back to Friday. From kitty DNA to yet another smart-watch, this shortened week provided plenty to gab about! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s Spry Hive!


By now, we all know that the world loves just about everything about cats. Well, KittyBiome loves cats so much that they want you to send them your cat’s poop! Using the latest technology in DNA sequencing, the company wants to help develop new technologies, medicines, and practices that will make every cat happy by creating a library of feline DNA & microbial diversity.

Ever since the second edition of their product released, which features the extraordinarily unpopular DRM technology, Keurig Green Mountain has had a lot of trouble selling their machines. Consumers have once again shown that they will not financially support technology that limits their purchasing power, sending Keurig’s sales plummeting almost 25% during the first quarter of 2015.

Source = The Verge

Watch out Apple, Olio Devices is coming for you! Created by former developers from Apple, NASA, and Pixar, this new smart-watch is compatible with both iOS & Android and sports the most stylish and customizable design on the market.


Designers beware! Your list of critics just got a little larger and a lot closer to home. From the creators of The User is Drunk, where your site’s design is critiqued through the eyes of a well-lubricated developer, The User is My Mom pits your site against the senses of those who are far from tech savvy.

Source =

Having to save and upload your files every time you want to share a file from Sketch is both obnoxious and tiresome. Thankfully, Sketch users can now easily share their artboards with the simplicity of sharing a URL using the new plugin EasyShare.

If you are a regular around Spry Hive, you probably noticed that we have been posting about and discussing Atomic Design with increasing frequency. For those who are unfamiliar with the process’ concepts, Brad Frost is covering the ins & outs of Atomic Design’s methodology & maintenance.


The developers at Facebook have been hard at work releasing a virtual machine called HHVM to use with their custom programming language Hack. Hack is a programming language that integrates seamlessly with PHP. What’s important, though, is that the language also includes type annotations, generics, collections, and lambdas, all of which PHP lacks.


Source = TechCrunc

This past week, some new data on female entrepreneurship was finally released. Evidently, the number of startups with at least one female founder has basically doubled since 2009!

Anybody that has visited or lives in St. Louis knows that the city isn’t lacking when it comes to bars and bar patrons. If you’re looking for anything from a brewery or sports bar to a restaurant or a place to find live, local music, the St. Louis area has you covered. This past week, Esquire Magazine named St. Louis the ‘Bar City’ of the year.

So, whether it’s a new found urge to tour this year’s ‘Bar City’, send someone your cat’s poop, or even just learn Atomic Design, we can all find something to take away from this past week. We hope you can make it back next week and 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!


Source = AMC


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.



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!


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.


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.


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.



Source = /u/Soggybrick on

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!


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.


Source =

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.


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.


Source =

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.


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!



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!