That Friday feeling

Friday Five: Hallowe’en apps, universal hacking and the passing of Nyan Cat

Elliot Bentley

Once again, it’s very nearly the weekend – time to kick back, relax and have a read of our increasingly-off topic Friday Five.

Once again, it’s very nearly the weekend – time to kick back, relax and have a read of our increasingly-off topic Friday Five.

1. Bringing Hallowe’en to life using PhoneGap

While sound effect apps are ten-a-penny, this Hallowe’en-themed sound board is a little bit more interesting, since it was made in 48 hours using PhoneGap. Behind the scenes, it’s a Frankenstein’s monster of freely available parts, utilising sounds from, a free font from and the Zepto, iScroll and MustacheJS libraries. The mad scientist behind the creation is Andrew Trice, an evangelist for Adobe (the company that originally developed PhoneGap), who has released the source code. It’s a great advertisement of PhoneGap’s capabilities – rapid, cross-platform development utilising native tools.

You can’t do iFrames :/ 

2. Stephen Chin drives into JFall

Having left London – after a great talk with the London Java Community – Chin has made it across the channel to embark on his epic European tour. One of his first stops is JFall conference in the Netherlands, and it seems he made quite an entrance: driving his motorbike through the main conference hall to help host the opening keynote panel.


3. Hacking is a universal language

The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project made headlines for the first time in quite a while as founder Nicholas Negroponte revealed the results of an offbeat experiment. Motorola Xoom tablets – presumably going cheap – were distributed to remote Ethiopian villages, sealed in boxes without any instructions. Within a few months, not only were the kids using the tablets to teach themselves to write, but had managed to circumvent the device’s locked-down software to customise their desktops and even activate the (accidentally deactivated) cameras. The OLPC CTO noted: “The fact they worked around it was clearly the kind of creativity, the kind of inquiry, the kind of discovery that we think is essential to learning.”


4. Presidential rap-off

It’s not long now until the US go to the polls, and by this time next week we should know who will be sitting in the White House for the next four years. For those voting next Tuesday, if the televised debates have yet to sway you in either direction, this “epic rap battle” might help. If only all of politics could be quite so earnest.

No iFrames???


5. RIP Nyan Cat

And finally… what would the Friday Five be without something cat-related? Unfortunately, this week it’s the rather tragic news that the real-life cat that inspired one of the internet’s most brilliant/awful creations, Nyan Cat, has passed away.

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