Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Obama learns to code, an addictive digital spirograph, Behance's year in review and more in our weekly look at the web


1. Obama Learns to Code

Last year when President Barack Obama delivered a YouTube speech encouraging young kids to learn to code, he hadn’t actually had any coding experience himself. To kick off this year’s Computer Science Education Week, Obama took on the task. While he didn’t complete the entire tutorial, Obama did build a modest program that drew a square on the screen, making him the first president to ever to write a computer program.

2. Nat Geo’s Custom Gear Specialist

Tucked away in the basement of National Geographic, Kenji Yamaguchi tinkers fervently as he dreams up gadgets to help the publication capture its famously striking photos. When a near-impossible angle or new photography technique calls for equipment not available on the market, Yamaguchi is the first one that photographers turn to. National Geographic recently visited the camera wizard in his natural habitat—a workshop containing nearly every imaginable type of machine, material and motor—to discuss his 32-year-long journey “to accomplish the photograph that’s never been done before.”

3. Nathan Friend’s Digital Spirograph

With musician and programmer Nathan Friend’s “Inspirograph,” it takes zero artistic ability to create mesmerizing geometric designs. Friend’s digital version of the elementary school art toy adds infinite color possibilities, and the simple click of the erase button allows you to undo mistakes. An online gallery lets you upload your masterpiece or view designs created by others. Make sure to set an alarm if you do decide to test it out though, because you might find the work day over by the time you look up.

4. The Father of Video Games Dies at 92

Ralph H Baer, “The Father of Video Games,” died on Saturday, 6 December 2014. Baer held various positions within the realm of electronics engineering before coming up with the idea of a home television-based gaming system while sitting at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. He is widely known as the man who sparked the booming $90 billion gaming industry with his invention “The Brown Box”—the likely predecessor to the now ubiquitous Playstation, Xbox and Wii. Baer will forever be remembered for his contributions to the technology and science worlds.


5. Scugnizzi

After his first visit to Italy’s seaside city of Naples, photographer Brett Lloyd was hooked. Captivated by the vivacity of the families frolicking among the warm summer waters, Lloyd began snapping photographs, hoping to capture the carefree scenes playing out in front of him. NYC-based publisher Dashwood Books took notice of Lloyd’s work and commissioned him to further document his Neapolitan experiences resulting in Scugnizzi, a photo book dedicated to the playful children seen throughout Naples’ streets.

6. Behance’s Year in Review

On a mission to “empower the creative world to make ideas happen,” Behance has quite the impressive online community. Their Year in Review reveals many of the amazing projects born from the digital portfolio platform. Looking back at 2014, photographers were discovered, book deals were signed, comics were commissioned and concepts were turned into reality. Take a peep at their most commented-on creations and maybe you’ll be inspired to contribute in 2015.

7. Dates for Math Lovers

If you ever find yourself making wishes when the clock hits 11:11 or 12:34, you may want to take notice of 13 December 2014 (12/13/14), as it’s the last sequential calendar date of the 21st century. After that, we’ll have to wait another 89 years until we can revel in the nonsensical wonder of the next sequential occurrence on 2 January 2103. Luckily, Smithsonian Magazine has compiled a list of other upcoming numerical arrangements to celebrate for those of us who can’t wait (or won’t be here) for 01/02/03.

8. The Cicret Bracelet Concept

The new Cicret bracelet concept wears like a Jawbone Up while offering the functionality of your favorite smartphone. Utilizing a “picoprojector,” the wristband hopes to emit your phone’s display directly onto your skin and then tracks your interactions through multiple sensors, giving you full scrollable, swipe-able and pinch-able functionality of your phone. While the project is still just a concept, the Paris-based team is currently crowd-funding to make the prototype a reality.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on Twitter, and rounded up every Saturday morning.