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Friday Five: Data-driven coffee and bull running with Google Glass

Chris Mayer

Also featuring a crisp catalogue and the closure of a famous Ubuntu bug

Welcome to, what is, the final installment of Friday Five before JAXConf. If you’ve somehow managed to miss all the hullabaloo surrounding the US’s premier free enterprise-grade conference, firstly where have you been and secondly, there’s still time to get in on the action.

Amid last minute frantic preparation, we’ve somehow managed to put together our five picks of the week from technology and beyond. More often it’s the latter, but stick with us…

1. Crisp Catalogue

Admittedly a very British opener to this week but with the potential to go worldwide. Ever been overwhelmed by the plethora of choice in a shop when it comes buying a packet of crisps (chips to those across the pond)? For the JAX Editorial Team, this problem equate to approximately four lost hours per working year (not official statistics). Fortunately, there’s no need to fret any longer, thanks to this rather comprehensive crisp catalogue of British snacks. From Doritos to Discos, we think this might be the most creative way of using a Google spreadsheet yet.

2. The future of journalism is…coffee?

Left-wing, digital first newspaper The Guardian has been on a mission to acquire new readers from outside the UK, but catching our eye this week was their latest venture – a Shoreditch coffee shop called #guardiancoffee.

Pitched as both a place to slurp lattes and as a journalistic hub, the ‘data-driven’ coffee shop has, according to one customer, ‘iPads built into tables’ and is plastered with infographics on the walls.

A spokesperson for the Guardian said: “#guardiancoffee is a fantastic example of how we are bringing our open journalism approach to life, by taking our leading technology reporting to where technology actually is: driving real-time debate and engagement among the creative tech community.

Unfortunately, its launch day wasn’t without hitches. Twitter users managed to twig that any tweets with the appropriate hashtag would appear behind baristas, and it wasn’t long before the Tweet wall was commandeered. One user however may have misunderstood.


3. Ubuntu’s famous Bug #1 closed

Nine years on from Mark Shuttleworth’s opening mission statement, Ubuntu’s Bug #1 has been closed. Rather than being an actual error, the bug is a savage riposte at the closed source practices of the industry back in 2004, squared mainly at the door of Microsoft. Shuttleworth stated “Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace. This is a bug which Ubuntu and other projects are meant to fix.”

Nearly a decade on, Shuttleworth believes the world has changed in his closing comment, hailing Android as evidence for this.

Android may not be my or your first choice of Linux, but it is without doubt an open source platform that offers both practical and economic benefits to users and industry. So we have both competition, and good representation for open source, in personal computing.

4. Ok Glass, wish me luck

We’ve seen people jumping out of planes with it. We’ve seen Robert Scoble take a shower with it on. But here’s the most ingenious use of the new technology we’ve seen yet – Google Glass and running the Pamplona.

Yes, thats right. Why not test out the durability of Google’s latest project by attempting to outrun some of Pamplona’s fiercest bulls while wearing red? If that sounds like your idea of good fun, head here. It is all expenses paid after all, though this won’t cover hospital bills.

5. Stop being ‘disruptive’

And finally, an article which comes highly recommended. The word ‘disruptive’ is bandied about too easily these days in the technology sector and we agree with the assessment of Slate’s Matthew Yglesias that it is a “drained buzzword”.

One particular part stands out for us:

The moral of the disruption story is that this is often how progress is made. Some new ideas really can’t equal the best the status quo has to offer, but that doesn’t always matter.

JAX Editor in Chief Sebastian Meyen argued back in September that we don’t need another disruptor in Java, rather a more covert transformation in embracing new themes. Are we in fact sustaining innovation, rather than disrupting? Food for thought…

Image courtesy of Abir Anwar

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