Sometimes we see a demonstration that makes us stare at the screen for minutes trying to figure out how it was done. Other times we find ourselves refreshing the page again and again to watch a delightful new trick. On very rare occasions, something comes along that feels like a giant leap forward for the web. We're using this post to share our daily favorites and keep a log of the demos that made us change the way we think about software.
April 16, 2013
Co-browsing is an inevitable evolution of the way we surf the web. That's why we've been watching apps like Juntoo with great anticipation--it's an iPad app that allows two people to co-view PDFs, websites, documents and images. But sometimes you just need something light and web-based to get your point across.
That's the concept behind the Pensieve screencast, a simple utility that lets you draw on the screen with your Wacom tablet (or cursor), capture the screencast and send it as a link or embed. This isn't exactly co-browsing, but it's a much faster form of asynchronous demonstration that fits somewhere between a WebEx and and an email attachment (or some other delayed message.)
The point here isn't that you can solve all your collaborative challenges just by capturing your screen--but rather to demonstrate that there is a lot of territory between "real time" and everything else, with room for lots of different bespoke tools for different jobs.
April 12, 2013
Charts included are:
- Simple Line
- Scatter / Bubble
- Stacked / Stream / Expanded Area
- Discrete Bar
- Grouped / Stacked Multi-Bar
- Horizontal Grouped Bar
- Line and Bar Combo
- Cumulative Line
- Line with View Finder
- Pie Chart
- Bullet Chart
- HTML Indented Tree
Play with the code behind these charts here.
April 10, 2013
Hyper-lapse videos are taking the Internet by storm, but creating them is a time-consuming and difficult process because it requires taking many photographs from precise angles and stitching them together in editing software. What if you could tap into a source of preexisting photos of nearly the entire world, taken from predictable angles with location data already embedded in them?
April 9, 2013
Thanks to 3-D printers, we may be rapidly approaching a time when most physical objects have forkable source code. It makes sense that GitHib, the most prominent host of open-source projects, is leading the way with a new viewer for STL files, the most popular 3-D CAD format of the maker community. The technology behind the viewer isn't particularly new, but the combination of GitHub's popularity and the 3-D printing projects already being tracked through the site's repositories makes this feel like a giant leap forward for the home fabrication movement. Plus, it's just incredibly fun to browse through massive repos of STL files (this is our favorite so far) and see 3-D versions of the physical objects these digital files represent.
April 5, 2013
After a couple of miles, us humans start to lose our sense of scale. Take, for example, interplanetary distances. At its closest, Mars floats about 35 million miles from the Earth. Can you visualize that length? Of course not. To understand the distance in human terms, try this demo, which reduces the Earth to a 100-pixel-wide sphere and then flies you to Mars in your browser. After watching and scrolling through it a few times, you'll have a sense of just how far away the red planet really is (spoiler alert: it's not that close).
April 4, 2013
How many hours have you wasted pulling data out of PDFs? Those days are over, thanks to Tabula, a project from Knight-Mozilla Open News. The software is still a work in progress, but for anyone who works with government data, even this initial prototype will be a panacea. Check out the restricted demo or fork the project on GitHub.
April 2, 2013
March 27, 2013
[Fly Image: Craig Taylor via Shutterstock]