All posts in apps & geek

Piper: A Minecraft Hacker Toolbox

About Piper from With Piper on Vimeo.

Piper is an amazing little hacker toolbox based on a Raspberry Pi that shows you how to build electronics by playing Minecraft. Coming soon to Kickstarter so get ready to support!

Tinybop’s Human Body App


You know about Tinybop, right? They make beautiful apps for kids, and their “Loves” section on the website links to oodles of other wonderful things (books, apps, games, etc.) that you will absolutely love. I don’t have enough time to even try all the wonderful things I’ve found there with my kids.

They have three amazing apps of their own: Plants, Homes, and The Human Body. All three are wonderful, but if you haven’t tried The Human Body yet, do it soon because at the moment, proceeds from the download are going directly to (RED)’s fight against AIDS. You probably can’t do a better job spending $2.99 anywhere else this week. Get to it!

The Art of Design T-Shirt


Joel found this amazing shirt. I don’t think you can buy it, but boy I’d wear it. Info here.

Minecraft Mega City


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

Teaching Kids to Code


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.



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

Slack App


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 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


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


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


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

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