Using the force

Friday Five: PyControversy and Chrome gaming

As we head into spring, the weather outside of JAX Towers looks as grim as ever. Never mind - the Friday Five is here once again to brighten your day!

1. The chattering classes

HipChat is Atlassian’s ‘IM on steroids’ service, incorporating drag-and-drop file storage, searchable history and integration with GitHub (as well as their own Github competitor, BitBucket). Previously only available with a subscription, HipChat this week became free for teams of up to five people. Best of all, this news was broken with the following image.

Genius marketing.

2. Chromeball madness

Speaking of marketing - Google Chrome’s is a mixed bag. Sometimes it consists of soppy stories of happy families, but other times they use bleeding-edge web standards to great effect in so-called “Chrome Experiments”. The latest is called World Wide Maze, which generates a Super Monkey Ball-style game out of any website, and connects the desktop browser to your smartphone, allowing the game to be controlled with its gyrometer. Definitely worth checking out, if only for its use of WebGL and WebSockets.

3. PyControversy

It was a week of big headlines in the world of Python. The good news is that the Python Software Foundation managed to settle a dispute with PO Box Hosting, a British company attempting to trademark the name ‘Python’ for their cloud services. After Python users around the world descended upon the company with hundreds of angry emails and heavy traffic, PO Box agreed to drop the trademark claim - a stunning victory for the open source movement.

Less happy, however, is the “Donglegate” mess that occurred at PyCon this week. SendGrid evangelist Adria Richards tweeted a photo of two other attendees, accusing them of making “jokes about forking repo’s in a sexual way and “big” dongles”. With 12,000 followers, Richards’ tweet spread quickly, and... oh, it’s all too stupid to bear repeating. Ars Technica have done a good writeup. I’m going to go cry over the state of humanity.

4. This was a triumph

We’ve seen the future... and it’s somewhere deep within Uncanny Valley. Researchers at Cambridge University have this week shown off Zoe, “the most expressive controllable avatar ever created”.  Imagine Siri, but given a photorealistic face and the ability to convey emotion through changes in her (its?) tone of voice and facial expression. Zoe’s ability to feel emotion, though, is maybe a bit further off.

5. Drunk as a skunk

And finally... Let’s lighten the mood with a bit of schadenfreude. BuzzFeed have compiled a collection of GIFs of “the drunkest people of all time”, those poor souls in the small hours in the morning unfortunate enough to be caught on camera.

JAXenter promotes responsible drinking, if only to ensure you never end up immortalised in one of these hilarious GIFs.

Elliot Bentley

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