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Things we love 5

At FutureLearn, we’re always on the look out for new sources of inspiration. Each month, we share what we find in a “Things we love” post. Here, our team talk about some of their favourite things from around the web and a few events they’ll be speaking at soon.

One of the rewards for the Music of the Spheres Kickstarter: a bottle of DNA bubbles
One of the rewards for the Music of the Spheres Kickstarter: a bottle of musical DNA bubbles

Our inspiration

Music of the Spheres

I love the idea of this Kickstarter project! Music of the Spheres is a cross-disciplinary art project, where a piece of music will be recorded into DNA and suspended in soap solution. The ‘recording’ bubbles will fill the air, pop on visitors’ skin and literally bathe the audience in music. One of the rewards is a specially designed bottle of bubbles containing the musical DNA (see image above).

– Melinda Seckington, Developer

Lessons Learned in Software Development

As developers, we face many challenges trying to balance new features, fix existing issues or simply making our code more easy to understand and maintain. At FutureLearn we like to reflect on these challenges and share what we learned. We also like to learn from others’ experiences, and this post collects many lessons learned that are well worth the read.

– Ricardo Lopes, Developer

Rubular – a Ruby Regular Expression Editor

I’ve been using this for years. It’s an incredibly helpful little tool when trying to work out what’s going on with a regex (or if a regex you’re writing is doing what you think it is).

– Mal Pinder, Developer

Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything

Intertwingled was coined by Ted Nelson back in 1974, when he said “Everything is deeply Intertwingled. In an important sense there are no “subjects” at all; there is only all knowledge, since the cross-connections among the myriad topics of this world simply cannot be divided up neatly.”

In this book Peter Morville explains how everything is connected, from code to culture and discuss’ the importance of understanding the larger picture and natural connections that exist.
Although he is a leading light in information architecture, Morville shares so much more that he leaves you with quite a lot of things to ponder on. Intertwingled is a truly wonderful piece of writing and sharing, not just for information architects.

– Dereck Johnson, Designer

The Visit – a new film by Michael Madsen

In this film Madsen asks experts from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (a real UN department), scientists, ethicists and government officials to explain how they would respond to intelligent alien life contacting earth.

– Laura Kirsop, Product Manager

Adventure Time, Explained

I may be a 30-something man, but I don’t feel in any shame in telling people how much I love Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, because it’s just so good. It is a little difficult to explain, however, which is why in future I will simply point people to this article on Kotaku.

– David Thair, Social Lead

Designing Settings

Preference settings can be hugely important in how users engage with and get the most out of your website. This article offers a useful analysis on an often overlooked area of design and user experience.

– Kieran McCann, Visual Designer

You’ll Never Feel Happy until You Try

And finally, a cheerful little number to end on.

– Joel Chippindale, CTO

Us elsewhere

MOOCS and the Future of E-learning – 16 June

As part of London Technology Week, our Head of Product, Matt Walton, will be speaking at this event on Tuesday 16 June. He’ll discuss our aim of providing the best quality student experience of any of the MOOCs on the planet.

Responsive Day Out – 19 June

Alla Kholmatova, Interaction Designer, will be speaking about modular design, pattern libraries, and our design process at FutureLearn on the 19th of June.

Seen something lately that you think we’ll love? Share it in the comments below. Want to know more about the way we work? Take a look at all of our “Making FutureLearn” posts.

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