Best of the Week – Peace Pagodas, Little Printers, and Google Glasses

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the long-weekend if you get one. The weather has been fairly shoddy here but @antoniamoreno and I still managed to take a quick visit to Willen Lake, where the first Peace Pagoda built in the western hemisphere resides.

  • Github announced their Pages generator this week which allows you to automatically create ‘beautiful’ project pages for projects on Github. I’ve already seen loads of repositories in the wild using this, and they definitely look really nice. I’m still a big fan of the Bootstrap docs style we used with Shead.
  • Of course, everyone is talking about Google’s Project Glass video released this week. It could’ve been an April fool, but it looks like they are real! People are acting like the video is indicative of what Google have now, but I doubt that is further from the truth. They’ve probably got a simple heads up display, nothing more. But maybe Google will prove me wrong! At least it’s a product from Google to get excited about again…
  • Github released another ‘product’ this week – a style guide. I’m not convinced by part of their Javascript style guide though:

    Write new JS in CoffeeScript.

    Avoid adding new .js files.
    — Github style guide

    I don’t really see what’s so bad about writing JavaScript. Writing CoffeeScript is a pain if you have a team where not everyone has the necessary tools to compile it. And of course, hardly anyone understands it. Despite this, their style guide is a useful resource (their Ruby style guide talks a lot of sense).

  • As part of the new GOV.UK website, the team behind it have released a ‘Government Digital Service Design Principles’ document which talks a lot of sense and is well worth a flick through. Not to mention it is somewhat beautifully designed.

And finally, this week I helped release another open-source project through the News International R&D Laboratories: The Internet of Things Assistant. It’s a Ruby on Rails app you can host yourself or on Heroku and it turns an Adafruit Internet of Things Printer into a personal assistant: Once a day or when you like it can print out a ‘receipt’ of a bunch of useful stuff including your calendar for the day, a summary of your inbox, recent tweets, and news from The Times. It resembles an open-source version of BERG Cloud’s Little Printer, except it’s far more DIY.

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