All posts in apps & geek

Minecraft Mega City

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The Minecraft Mega City has been in development for two years, and is simply amazing. Don’t miss the video.

Teaching Kids to Code

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Hongkiat has a great collection of apps and other tools to help teach kids (well, anyone) to code. My older son and I use Hoptscotch, but I’m excited to try some others listed I didn’t know about.

Wildcard

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Brilliant. Best of luck (not that they need it) to these savvy folks: Wildcard.

Slack App

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Slack re-imagines the way team members communicate in a lovely, efficient way. I’m into it (particularly the channels option, allowing you to follow conversations on different project types) and am looking forward to trying to get on board.

And Now, Pandora’s Algorithms

“It’s becoming quite apparent to us that the world of playing the perfect music to people and the world of playing perfect advertising to them are strikingly similar,” says Eric Bieschke, Pandora’s chief scientist.

“Listen to Pandora, and It Listens Back”

Felix Salmon: Netflix’s Dumbed-Down Algorithms

The original Netflix prediction algorithm — the one which guessed how much you’d like a movie based on your ratings of other movies — was an amazing piece of computer technology, precisely because it managed to find things you didn’t know that you’d love. More than once I would order a movie based on a high predicted rating, and despite the fact that I would never normally think to watch it — and every time it turned out to be great. The next generation of Netflix personalization, by contrast, ratchets the sophistication down a few dozen notches: at this point, it’s just saying “well, you watched one of these Period Pieces About Royalty Based on Real Life, here’s a bunch more”.

Read the rest here.

Noisli

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Noisli is a beautiful web app that simply offers a variety of high quality sounds to relax to. Wonderful if you’re on the go, or if you’re not into trying many of the apps offered in the store that are a couple of dollars with no promise of quality. Highly recommended!

Must Have App: Tile

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Uh, so this is a really big deal and my husband is going to only be partly insulted when he receives it this holiday. Tile App locates “laptops, wallets, keys, guitars, bikes, you name it. Just attach the Tile on to an object and locate it with the included app, it allows you to check how close you are to the missing item, within a 50 to 150-foot range. You can monitor up to ten Tiles on your smartphone.” They also happened to make a really great video to show how it works which you can watch over at Bless This Stuff.

UX Archive

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UX Archive logs screenshots of various apps performing their functions, and enables users to browse and easily view how they each handle certain protocols. Categories like Onboarding, Searching, Reading, Purchasing and Creating enable designers to make connections between what works and what might not, and to really synthesize the different experiences across various apps. All this information allows the most information possible to advise those of us working on new projects, and as more screenshots filter into the archive, the better off we’ll all be!

Capo 3: Reverse Engineering Rock ‘n Roll

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Capo 3 is a fun looking iOS application that takes a ‘song to note’ approach towards learning to play the music in your iTunes library. Pull in almost any kind of audio file, and let the app show you note by note how to play. You can even slow it down without sacrificing pitch. Looks fun!

Baldur Bjarnason “Computers are too difficult and people are computer illiterate”

That blogger also demonstrates his linguistic ignorance when he explains that he likes to be an arsehole whenever somebody uses the term ‘internet’ to mean ‘my access to the internet’ instead of the internet itself. As in ‘the internet isn’t working’.

I mean, just how stupid do you have to be to not realise that almost everybody who says this knows very well that the entire internet hasn’t stopped working? It’s analogous to saying ‘the TV channels aren’t working’ when your cable TV set-top box is on the fritz. It doesn’t mean you think those channels aren’t broadcasting. It means that you don’t have access to any of them.

It isn’t just stupid to misunderstand language like this, it demonstrates a wilful ignorance of spoken English, wilful because he’s clearly heard the phrase often enough to understand what people are actually trying to say.

Please read.

Why Mobile ROI Is So Hard

“So what’s preventing advertisers from understanding the ROI of mobile advertising? Two things: (1) consumer shopping behavior on smartphones, and (2) fragmentation of consumer Internet usage. The first item affects the digital conversion rates that advertisers see from mobile device usage; the second item affects the ability to measure conversions from mobile devices.”

–Ameet Ranadive

Macaw: Interface Design as a Native App

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Was tipped off to Macaw this morning. It’s still in preview but looks like an amazing tool for interface design. Very much looking forward to testing it out, as it functions as a web design tool, but also spits out real code. Take your wireframes and turn them into full-blown mockups that have real code you can transfer to your developers. Just amazing. Lots of amazing features to check out on their site, like absolute positioning within the interface, but static document conversion flow upon export, reusable components, saving of common styles, default percentage CSS, and fluid canvases and grids.

Have a look at the sneak video here – functions as a tutorial and preview of what Macaw can do. And don’t forget about Sketch, which already exists and works in a similar way. You can read what Khoi Vinh had to say about Sketch here.

Hopscotch: Programming App for Kids

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Via Tinybop: Hopscotch is a graphics-based programming language for kids (they recommend 5+) that uses really colorful, easy to use little tool that kids can pick up and figure out quickly. From the review:

“In it’s current incarnation Hopscotch is focused on basic programming concepts and on drawing, but the developers have ambitious plans to turn it into a robust environment especially geared for mobile (for geeks out there, the plan is to make it Turing complete). Hopscotch is easy, approachable, and fun.”

Get it at the app store.

DIY.org

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Maybe I’ve been sleeping but I just discovered DIY.org today. It’s a site where kids and adults alike can learn skills in a wide variety of areas using simple, how-to (well-done) videos. It’s super easy: jump in and check out the skills area, where you can choose to learn about being a sailor, a cardboarder, a sys admin, an animator, farmer, beekeeper – you name it, you can learn the skills. Then you do some challenges and earn skill patches along the way. You can also follow other people’s projects. I am so excited to do some of these with the family and compete.

Oh, and check out the app.

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