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Friday Five: Kids who code and with startups

Another week has flown by at JAX HQ and it’s time to celebrate - it’s the first day of meteorological Spring. You just wouldn’t know it looking out of a London window this afternoon, dull and overcast as ever.

Fortunately, we’re here to brighten up your day with five irreverent things that caught our eye during the week.

1. What most schools don’t teach

There continues to be a clamouring for computer programming in the curriculum, particularly here in the UK. Some countries are ahead of the curve, already teach coding to school children. Estonia for example began an initiative in September, offering coding lessons to six year-olds.

Now, there’s big backing from some of the industry’s biggest name for a similar scheme in the US, ran by Code.org. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey and even tech showbiz enterpreneur will.i.am appear in a new campaign video explaining to kids why they should learn to code.


2. Coding Confessional

This site has been knocking around for some time now, but is currently getting a lot of attention on Twitter. Got a workplace gripe that you want to get off your chest, but fear recrimination? Coding Confessional allows you to reveal some shameful industry secrets or admissions anonymously. Visitors can then absolve or condemn the confessor of their malpractice.

There’s some absolute crackers in there, which will make your jaw drop or chuckle. Such as this one:

I almost never write comments, and when I do, they're always both cryptic and deceptive.

3. Click your fingers and it’ll appear (in 12 months)

This week’s Hardware You’ll Want To Predorder™  is another gesture control system (yawn). However, rather than relying on dodgy cameras or silly gloves, Myo consists of a band wrapped around the forearm that detects muscle movements. The promotional video shows users switching on music with a click of their fingers, changing slides by swiping in mid-air and even directing robots.

How much is actually real is unknown, but the company is already taking $150 preorders to (supposedly) ship late 2013.

4. Nine years old, three startups

Entrepreneurs seem to be getting younger. Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he launched Facebook in 2004, yet he’s got nothing on Henry Patterson. The nine year-old has an impressive three ventures under his belt already. At age 7, he began selling bags of manure for £1, before setting up his own Ebay store containing items bought from charity shops (with parental guidance).

Now Henry has turned his attention to sweets, as any kid should, setting up his own children’s range Not Before Tea on his mother’s site Sherbetpip. Normally a lemonade stand is enough for those wanting extra pocket money.

5. Nude.js - Nudity detection with JavaScript [potentially NSFW]

Winning our hastily cobbled together Project of the Week (mostly because of its name) is this JavaScript implementation of a nudity scanner. Patrick Wied, the creator, isn’t on a censorship crusade and says the purpose of nude.js is “to detect nudity, nothing more, nothing less.”

It could be a useful piece of kit in child security filters and perhaps even on social media sites. He’s keen to point out that nude.js is a work in progress, with the detection rate at about 60% currently. For which reason we don’t recommend testing it at work.

Image courtesy of Marjan Krebelj

Chris Mayer

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