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Friday Five: Einstein drawings and experiments in space

Chris Mayer

Also featuring the latest specifications surrounding Google Glass and Twitter’s new music foray

Welcome to yet another edition of our irreverent glance at the week that was. Spring (the season, not the enterprise Java EE framework) has finally sprung in London and the rather clement weather has put the JAX editorial team in high spirits.

Here’s just some of the stories, tech or otherwise, that caught our eye this week.

1. Looking through Glass

With its end of year release date drawing ever closer, Google have this week finally released some important specifications surrounding Glass, their augmented reality eyewear project. From a (wearable) 5-megapixel camera capable of 720p video to a bone conduction audio transducer, Glass’s specs are certainly salivating, even with Google’s claims that Glass will last up to “one day of typical use”.

Much of the discussion surrounded Mirror, the API used to create Glass apps. Google have released quick-start guides for Java and Python, as well as more in-depth documentation and best practices, including some guidelines for building apps on the platform. Crucially though, early apps can only be distributed through Google’s Mirror API Client distribution channel, which is different from Android. Developers can’t charge or advertise in Glass apps either, although this may change in the future according to The Verge.


Google CEO Larry Page also let slip in a earnings call that it “obviously” runs Android, as expected, but didn’t reveal which version. With the first devices ready to ship, expect the hype to pick up that little bit further.

2. Twitter plays new tune with #Music

Social network giant Twitter have released their newest service in Twitter #Music, a new app which recommends tracks based on artist who the tweeter is following. So, if you’re one of the million people who follows a member of One Direction, you can listen to a track using the #Music app that is connected to iTunes, Spotify and Rdio. The app then tweets #NowPlaying, already a popular way of sharing music through the social network.

With so many artists using Twitter to connect with fans, the service is another way of generating exposure for the musician. It’s available to download from the App Store, while the web version is up and running too.

While #Music is neat, a few years back it might have been a third-party service hooking into Twitter’s API. Which is pretty sad, in a way.

3. Why your games are made by childless, 31 year old white men, and how one studio is fighting back

One feature certainly worth reading this week is Penny Arcade Report’s article on the unhealthy working conditions within the game development industry and the high turnover of staff. Bucking the trend are Nine Dots, who allow workers to work shorter hours under the proviso they work at home on their own projects. While this wouldn’t work everywhere, it’s a noble way of balancing quality of life with releasing games.

Your average industry professional is a 31 year old white man with one to three years of experience, and no children. This man will likely leave the industry in under ten years, and another young, childless white man will take his place

4. What happens when you wring out water in space?

CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield has appeared on the Friday Five before, after tweeting William Shatner from space and again when performing live with Barenaked Ladies. His series of outer space videos are a fantastic opportunity to see how difficult menial tasks are in zero gravity. His latest experiment however shows you what happens to a wet flannel when you wring it out in space. Strangely mesmerising and informative!


5.  How to draw Einstein’s face parametrically

Taking inspiration from Wolfram Alpha’s compendium of math drawings, here’s a step-by-step guide to creating the likeness of everyone’s favourite physicist. In case you ever needed to know.

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