FindDay #6

Every Friday I share the five coolest things I’ve found on the web in the last week.

1 – Beautiful Programming

http://beautifulprogramming.com/

Screenshot_20170414_103338

This is a really cool collection of computer-generated art. One of the neatest parts is that each piece is interactive, and you can view the source code to see how they work.

2 – Ballerina

http://ballerinalang.org/

Screenshot_20170414_103456

I’ve just started to scratch the surface of Ballerina but what I’ve seen so far is very exciting. I ran across it while searching for beauty in programming, and I have to say it’s quite elegant. Ballerina aims to provide a better way of building server-side things like API’s, scheduled jobs, etc. It does this through a specialized programming language and visual development environment.

I haven’t seen a lot of people talking about Ballerina yet, which is surprising. It appears to provide a very useful solution to a very common problem in developing web-based and other network applications, and I look forward to spending some more time with it and seeing what it can do.

3- Rebble

http://rebble.io/

I’m very excited about Rebble.io.

I was very disappointed when I found out that Pebble was shutting down. I was also disappointed when I found out that what was left of them was getting bought by Fitbit. I’ve always thought that the “pivoting” of Pebble toward the fitness tracker market was a mistake and a squandering of the far-more-broad potential of the device, even if the market wasn’t ready for that yet.

Rebble is an ambitious effort to continue the Pebble platform by recreating the parts that went away (apps, the appstore, even firmware) as open-source software. They count several notable “Pebblers” amongst their ranks and have already made impressive strives toward these goals (there are even proposed hardware designs for future devices).

4 – Siemens record-setting electric airplane

https://blog.adafruit.com/2017/04/12/record-setting-electric-plane-tows-glider-up-into-the-sky-in-seconds/

isiemens-airbus-electric-plane-world-record-glider-3

I’m a fan of pretty much anything EV, and also airplanes, so it’s no surprise that I thought this was cool. There’s a number of applications where the advantages of electric drive make sense for aircraft, and in some cases they are a lot more practical than electric cars.

(via Adafruit )

5 – Mastodon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastodon_%28software%29

220px-mastodon_social_logo

Over the last week I started experimenting with the Mastodon social network. Mastodon isn’t new, and the underlying network tech. is even less new, but for whatever reason it’s getting traction, and as an open-source, decentralized alternative to things like birdsite I’m excited about it.

I think the easiest way to understand what makes Mastodon different is that it works more like email, where there are multiple, independent servers (they even adapt the same name convention, user@domain.com) which interact with each other via a standard set of protocols. This makes the users on a given server akin to “neighbors”, who can also follow users on other servers and as such distribute their messages.

There’s a lot more to say about Mastodon and its usefulness has less to do with the technology than the fact that there seems to be a lot of interest in it at the moment. Perhaps it’s just a bubble but I’m always excited about the idea of people migrating away from closed, private, proprietary and centralized systems and moving to something open and more autonomous.

I’m currently camping on a server hosted by a friend-of-a-friend (@jjg@resistodon.com), but if there’s any interest I’m considering setting up a server of my own and welcoming any friendly refugees to join in.

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