This is a journey through sound

Friday 5: Skateboarding tablets, pull requests and Ceefax

Chris Mayer

Our weekly take on the week’s lighter news – featuring the mourning of Ceefax

Yet another week has flown by and the JAX editorial team are preparing for the upcoming holidays. Yes, Halloween counts and there’s certainly some chilling coding stories to be told (get in touch with those at [email protected] or [email protected]).

You know the score know – five irreverent things that caught our eye this week from the world of Java and beyond. Let’s get to it!

 1. Banking on Clojure

Probably our favourite blogpost of the week – Jon Pither recounts his team’s experiences of taking the plunge at the investment bank he works at, moving to Clojure from Java. Definitely worth reading if you’re in the financial industry and considering a similar JVM move.

 2. Github dating spinoff service?

Well this brings a new meaning to pull request. Noriko Higashi, a female Tokyo software engineer has used Github essentially as a ‘lonely hearts’ advertising service to find her Mr Right. It’s a pretty comprehensive list of what she’s looking for and unsurprisingly this has received much attention on Reddit. Currently, she has received 17 pull requests and 44 issues noted. You have to admire her for targeting the demographic she wants.

3. A journey through sound

It’s scratchy and fairly indecipherable but an important piece of musical history. Dating back to 1878, this first ever recorded musical performance, made on a Thomas Edison phonograph, has been digitally remastered and shown to the world. The recording begins with an unidentified 23-second cornet solo before a man recites two nursery rhymes, in which he gets Old Mother Hubbard wrong. Surely the oldest blooper in history. Personally, I preferred his earlier work…

4. Microsoft find new use for Surface at launch – as a skateboard

It’s been difficult to escape talk of Microsoft’s foray into the tablet market with Surface, but we’ll leave the reviews to the experts. It won’t take you long to find a lauding hands-on followed by a scathing piece from an Apple advocate.

Windows Chief Steven Sinofsky however managed to show on Twitter that there was another use for the durable Surface, as a skateboard. Just don’t expect to be Tony Hawk with it, pulling ollies left, right and centre.

5. R.I.P Ceefax

Ceefax 1974-2012


This one is for Brits and American readers may well be lost here, but bear with us. Back in 1974 in the UK, a TV-based text information service was launched called Ceefax, a forerunner to the interactive services we see today. Sure, looking at it now, its garish colour scheme make it an eyesore and its loading times were sluggish at best, but there’s still a charm about it. Live sports events would be conveyed over a pixelated videprinter, leaving fans waiting by the minute for news of how their team were doing.

After 38 years of long service at the BBC, Ceefax ceased on Tuesday 23rd October 2012 (in line with a UK digital TV switchover) and a national mourning period began. Even former Prime Minister John Major said it would be “much missed”. As the country struggles to come to terms with the departure of a faithful friend, Twitter users can ease the pain by ‘Tweefaxing’ their feed. A nice touch.

Have a good weekend. Mine will be Bond-based, I suggest you follow my lead.

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