Five Links: Fun and Games Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

As we kick off spring break season, let’s look at something a little lighter and happier: the gaming side of technology. Consumer design can be a huge driver even for enterprise technology; the simple UX of Apple products is now influencing design and experience expectations for backend systems. From nostalgia games to astronomical artwork, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on in the world. One of my favorite lines from Graceland (seriously, Paul Simon rocks, people): “These are the days of miracles and wonder.”

Pokémon Go reveals early prototypes, issues with cognitive dissonance (ArsTechnica)

Pokémon Go was essentially a skin over an already popular augmented reality game, Ingress. Only with adorable little beasts. This is a brief article, but it looks at some of the challenges that Niantec encountered when trying to take flat, cartoon-paletted images and having them blend in a way that would create a continuous user experience for players. This is a really interesting complement to the HBR article on design thinking — looking at a system or process and trying to anticipate (empathize with) the user experience.


Spring Cloud for Microservices Compared to Kubernetes (Developer’s Blog, Red Hat)

I love diagrams. I love lists. I love discussions of architecture. This post has all of the above. This is rather technical, but it is useful on two levels — 1) the comparison of Spring and Kubernetes, with a good examination of the strengths and weaknesses of each and 2) a higher level perspective on how to evaluate what you need from microservices, generally.


Is there an app that can detect waterborne diseases in your glass of water? (Popular Science)

This is literally a one-paragraph answer to a Facebook question. And it never uses the term “Internet of Things.” But this shows that technology, like science, is not a uniform and regimented thing; it is almost a cultural thing, springing from the creativity of a lot of different people. (The short answer is yes, there are sensors in testing that can hook up to a smartphone and let you know whether there are microbes in your drinking water.)


Design Thinking Comes of Age (HBR)

This is older, but I ran across this article recently, and it’s fascinating to read precisely because it isn’t earth-shattering — when you read it, you find yourself saying, “oh, yeah, I see that.” It articulates so many patterns very lucidly and simply. John Kolko breaks down five basic principles of design-thinking and explains how organizations can apply design-thinking as a way of mitigating complexity. This can be complexity in IT systems, in workflows, or in industry trends — the point is to have a mindset that allows adaptation and results in something usable.


NASA is cool: NASA free software downloads (TechCrunch) and 3D animations of an exploding star (Business Insider)

Technically, yes, these are two links, but they highlight some really interesting things about technology. TechCrunch has a link to all of the NASA software and app downloads and includes a round-up of some of the more interesting ones. Some are actually quite useful (depending on your field), like an HR assessment to match employee personalities / strengths to an appropriate project or a modeler for fluid dynamics problems (or an app to calculate the shape of sonic booms, because why not?). Some are just cool, like the browser for satellite images of Earth. And that is also the reason for the second link. Back in 1987, astronomers actually (and accidentally) recorded a massive supernova, and the Hubble has been photographing it ever since. NASA has created some animations showing the aftermath of the explosion, including one tracking the shockwave as captured by Hubble.

How amazing is that?

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