Saturday Links

Started in bed, completed in the Library of Birmingham (which is as far from a “library” as possible whilst still retaining books), here are the links I’ve collected this week. There’s a real mix, from apps to nature videos to old stories and of course a tonne of tech. (Also, 36 days straight blogging!)

ShutterSpots – Neat new app from Andy for finding good spots for photos. Could have done with this in SF.

The Life of Bees – Speaking of artsy things, this is a very nice video but do not watch if you don’t like insects.

The Boat – Probably the best online presentation of a story I’ve seen. Yes it’s loaded with effects, but they work so smoothly it’s amazing. Benchmark.

The Taxonomy of Spaceships – My inner-geek geeking-out. Now you won’t be able to get your battlecruisers and frigates mixed up ever again.

Hackference 2015 – I went to the first Hackference and it was great, so including this so others can find out about it (and because I’m in one of the photos on the homepage).

Peeple – If there’s one person this is going to interest, it would be Leon. A webcam hooked up to your front-door. Need I say more?

HTML5 WAV – A great write up on using modern web technologies to make an app. Unfortunately it once again shows how far behind apps (not even modern apps) the web is lagging.

We have a problem with promises – Ok, I have to admit: I love promises. Which probably explains why I got all the examples right straight off because I’ve been bitten by every one of them. This is a great post and Pouch DB itself looks pretty sweet.

Graphics study of Deus ExDE:HR is still one of my favourite games, with a brilliant story mixed in with some of the best graphics on last gen consoles (not to mention some of the best ceilings). This breakdown is very thorough, explaining how the devs built up each scene to get the look they wanted. It’s always nice to see how another profession works.

Profession – Speaking of professions, this is a great short story from the master Asimov. Read it.

Tools don’t solve the web’s problems, they ARE the problem – A growing trend, and one I have myself echoed, is the destruction of the web through tooling. It’s good to see not only the problem being addressed, but also…

On writing real CSS again – … people are finding better ways now that the native languages are catching up. Cheers to Jordan for the link.

NYC Bus Visualisation – This one caught my eye because a. it has lots of data and b. it looks purdy (something I’ve been meaning to fix with GPS Heatmaps). A great way of visually showing something that could have otherwise been a nasty table of numbers.

Classifying genres based on their album covers – I don’t know how useful this would ever be, but classifying music based on the features used in the album artwork is pretty original at least.

The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks – In a similar vein to the above, it seems neural nets are really heating up now. Maybe there’s an opportunity in there for some of the bigger tasks we’re working on?

The First First-Person-Shooter – More games, but this time a trip way-way back. It’s amazing to think that in fifty years we’ve come from slow-as-molasses mazes to near photorealism in video games. Now, when do I get my VR goggles?

Using blog posts to develop features – A nice idea and one I know LinkedIn used for years (under the guise of press releases). Write the blog post describing the launch of your new feature and then write the feature to meet it. Sense checking and publicity in one.

Merging Underscore and Lodash – I haven’t touched Underscore in years, ever since moving to Lodash which is faster/better/modular et al. At this point, I’d rather see Underscore secede the title to the upstart.

Upsert in databases – With Postgres getting upsert support (only took five years), here’s a comparison of various DBs and how they handle it.

And now you’ve read all that, go outside and do something :)