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Friday Five: Vine launches, meat gets printed and EMC discover Gangnam Style

Chris Mayer

As the weekend approaches, we look back at some of the web’s most interesting (off topic) links of the past seven days.

Good news, everyone! January is nearly at an end. Well, this time next week it’ll be February. In the meantime, hopefully this edition of the Friday Five will tide you over.

 1. Sergey Brin testing Google Glass on the subway 

Since its flashy demo at Google I/O last summer, anticipation over Google’s augmented reality eyewear project, Glass, has been high. Understandably, the company have wanted to keep technical details under wraps during testing, so it was bit surprising this week to see Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin testing out the glasses on New York’s subway.

Augmented reality enthusiast Noah Zerkin captured the moment and even managed catch a few minutes with one of the richest men in the world. Question is, what was Brin doing on the subway with one of Google’s top secret projects anyway? Seeing if he could connect to Wifi with them? If the signal’s as bad as the London Underground, we suspect his efforts were fruitless.  (CM)

2. Heard it through the grapevine

Twitter whipped up a frenzy yesterday with the announcement of their new standalone iOS-only video sharing service, Vine, allowing users to film six-second looping videos. The app is the result of an acquisition Twitter made back in October, before Vine even had a chance to launch – but instead of becoming an “acquihire” as speculated. Vine has been launched by Twitter as a separate brand with, surprisingly, Facebook integration. Somewhat less surprisngly, Facebook cut off access within a few hours.

Here’s our favourite so far:


3. Sharing the Obama magic

A “dream team” of Google, Facebook and Twitter engineers are sometimes credited to winning Obama a second term in the White House. However, The Verge this week reports that these developers have been left disappointed by the fact that their code – built on existing open-source efforts – has still yet to be released to the community at large.

“The gist of it is, they’re concerned that with the superior funding of the Republicans, if they had our software, they’d be unstoppable,” said Daniel Ryan, who worked as a director of front-end engineering on the campaign team.

It seems the messy politics of open source and ‘real’ politics can be a volatile mix. Who would’ve thunk it? (EB)

4. Please wait while your meal is printed…

As we all know, few “meat substitutes” match up to the taste and texture of the real thing. But what if you could create fake meat identical down to the muscle fiber level? A startup called Modern Meadow is attempting to use 3D printers to do exactly that, using “bioink” made of genuine animal cells arranged into muscle tissue.

Fast-replicating animal cells are cultured in vats to produce this bioink – so, if printed correctly, the artificial meat should be indistinguishable from real meat. The company have received a $350,000 investment from PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who was also Facebook’s first ever investor.

A 3D-printed artificial steak probably won’t come cheap while the technology is still in its infancy – but at least it’ll be 100% guilt-free. (EB)

5. EMC Style:


And finally… just when you thought Gangnam Style was dead and buried, as well as its countless parodies, up pop virtualisation experts EMC with their own – ‘EMC Style’. SVP Chad Sakac takes the PSY role whilst the ‘EMC Giddyups’ provide backup in a Big Data inspired cover that has big production values.

Choice lyrics include: “I’m the data, yeah/Data that spins you inside every day/ That data yeah,” and “I’m a VM, yeah/I start off small but then I autoscale/ A VM yeah.” It won’t win any Grammies for songwriting but it’s all good natured fun. Shame they’re about four months late to it. (CM)

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