Apocalypse now, presents later

Friday Five: Christmas/End of the world edition

It’s just four days until Christmas Day, but the world instead seems a bit preoccupied with that whole Mayan apocalypse thing. I just want to get it all out of the way so I can open my presents. While you wait for the Earth to collide with Nibiru, why not have a peruse of what might be the final Friday Five of all time?


1. Qt reopens under new management

Having been sold off by Nokia - who, now they’re slaves to Windows Phone, have little use for it - cross-platform framework Qt is now in the hands of Digia, another Finnish company, who have this week launched Qt 5. Qt, pronounced “cute”, is an open-source application development and UI framework found in Google Earth, VLC and the Linux version of Skype.

Version 5 introduces a modularised code base, support for C++11 and HTML5 support with QtWebKit2. Here’s hoping that the ageing framework (Qt 4 was released seven years ago!) still has legs.


2. Liveblogging the apocalypse

Yes, yes, you’re probably sick of hearing about it by now, but in case you’ve been living under a rock: December 21 marks the end of a period in the ancient Mayan’s calendar, interpreted by many as the end of the world itself.

Here in the UK, where JAX HQ is based, several newspaper sites have been running liveblogs of the end of the world, consisting mostly of known jokes but also the occasional worrying fact - for example, did you know that 14 per cent of Russians genuinely believe the world will end today? For those taking the Mayan apocalypse seriously, JAXenter would like to kindly point to the Wikipedia page titled ‘List of dates predicted for apocalyptic events’.


3. Fox News interviews Santa


Fox News are infamous for going to extreme lengths to defend their political slant - even interrogating their own decision desk on Election night - but this surely must be a new low. Decrying that the politically-correct “Merry Christmas” is being replaced with “Happy Holidays”, they interview a professional Santa impersonator, in costume, who is outraged that he’s been asked to consider the feelings of those not celebrating Christmas. Must have been a slow news day.


4. Rival Santa Trackers

Speaking of the Saint Nick, this year’s Santa Tracker has launched, ready to chart Santa’s progress as he delivers presents all around the world. Except, this year there are two rival tracking services. North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) have been tracking Santa since 1955, and their efforts have reached a worldwide audience for the past five years thanks to a partnership with Google. However, this year they have parted ways - opting to go with Microsoft’s Bing.

Google have struck back with their own rival tracker, which can be followed via a dedicated site, on Google+, on Google Earth, in an Android app and via a Chrome extension. Insisting that they can keep up with NORAD’s decades of experience, Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps and Google Earth, said: “a team of dedicated Google Maps engineers [have] built a new route algorithm to chart Santa’s journey around the world on Christmas Eve”.


5. Doggy deals

And finally... this GIF has nothing to do with Christmas, or the apocalypse, or anything, really. We just found it hilarious.

Elliot Bentley

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