Last Week’s Tech, Today (Nov 30- Dec 4)

Mark Flowers

  • Reading Time  Min Read
  • Publish Date December 7, 2015

In this blog series, Skookum’s Director of Development, Mark Flowers, shares a sampling of news stories that caught our attention last week. Check back every Monday for a quick rundown, in case you missed it.

What can a technologist do about climate change?

If you’ve never heard of Bret Victor, you’re missing out. Let’s just say Bret has an impressive resume, including designing the original UI for the iPad and other unreleased experimental devices. I would call this Bret’s magnum opus, but it’s only one part of a portfolio of innovative interfaces. I see this article as not just a call to action on climate change, but also a call to action to stop being passive and thinking that there isn’t anything that you can do about big problems facing humanity. Spend the 30 minutes to read through this. My favorite part is the interactive parameters example, which gives readers the ability to manipulate stats in a news article to better understand the claims that are being made.

Shiftwear Shoes

What’s cooler than a pair of Nike pumps? Shoes that change color whenever you feel like it. Shiftwear are shoes with a built-in flexible color ePaper display wrapped around the outside, and a companion app that lets you adjust the images on the outside. A crazy concept, but I can see these being a huge seller if they’re successfully produced. Pretty soon I’m going to need a USB charger in my closet to recharge all of my shoes at night.


Swift is Now Open Source

This week, Apple met the deadline they set for themselves at this year’s WWDC—to open source Swift by year’s end. All of the code is on Apple’s official Github account. And while they aren’t allowing issues to be opened against the projects, they are actively reviewing and merging pull requests from people outside of Apple, proving that this will be an open project with community input. Long term, this means that Swift can now be used on any Unix based platform as a general purpose language to create anything from a GUI app to a web server. This puts Swift on equal footing with other major programming languages such as Python, Go, Ruby, C++, and Java. It will be very interesting to see where this goes in the years to come. IBM has put together their first efforts to participate in moving Swift forward as well by building a sandbox to try out Swift in your browser.