Notes on designing, developing and delivering great products

C5 Labs: Vrogger

By on in C5 Labs, C5 Labs, Culture

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For the last two weeks a few of us here at Carbon Five Santa Monica explored our latest love, Virtual Reality, by creating a game from scratch. We had a hard time limit of two weeks and our team was small. Just Bhavna, Sidney, Nicole, and Rudy working on a full game experience, with levels, sound and design.

This was completely an exercise in prioritization and exploration of a platform that only half the team had any experience with.

So, after just 10 working days, we present a variation of an 80’s classic and favorite: VRogger!

Continue reading …


DIY Pokemon Go: Our Experience Building an Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt

By on in C5 Labs, Development, Everything Else

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Thanks to PokemonGO, the streets are filled with people racing around cities, stopping to interact with virtual characters they could see through their phone camera. The experience is familiar to us at Carbon Five; 6 months ago we were doing the same thing on the streets of San Francisco playing our own augmented reality game. A game our tiny, three person team conceived, built and delivered in under a month, in and around our regular client workload!

This was no simple feat. In addition to the tight timeline, most of our day to day work focuses on mobile and web applications. Working in 3D was something only some of us have tried, with little practical experience.

So how did we do it?

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C5 Labs: Daily Ascent

By on in C5 Labs, Design, Development, Mobile

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There is plenty of research to show that taking stairs is one of the best ways to work out without taking time out to exercise. Taking the elevator wastes electricity, and the stairs are a great opportunity to improve overall health. With this in mind, we wanted to encourage people to start thinking about using the stairs over elevators.

Though there are lots of great social health tracking apps out there, we wanted to try using wellness as an excuse to build community around a physical location (the Edney building staircase).

Continue reading …


Rails, meet Phoenix: add Phoenix to your Rails ecosystem with session sharing

By on in Elixir, Microservices, Rails

You’ve resolved to build your company’s Next Big Thing in Phoenix and Elixir. That’s great! You’re facing a problem though – all user authentication and access concerns are performed on your Rails system, and the work to reimplement this in Phoenix is significant.

Fortunately for you, there is a great Phoenix plug to share session data between Rails and Phoenix. If you pull this off, you’ll be able to build your new API on your Phoenix app, all while letting Rails handle user authentication and session management. Let’s get started!

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Design by Listening Inside and Out – Carbon Five LA Talk Night July 20th

By on in Announcements, Design, Events, Los Angeles

Designing good UX is an iterative process that begins and ends with the same core action; listening. But who do we listen to and how? As the speakers of our July 20th design themed Talk Night will demonstrate, you listen to everyone! Whether they’re the person you believe your product is for or your fellow teammates facing the same issues you do, listening and processing their feedback guides you to designs that delight and deliver.

Kicking off the evening is Carbon Five alum Alexa Roman, giving a talk titled “Metrics That Matter”:

Design and engineering have value. We need to do a better job of proving it. Too often, we leave metrics to someone else, when we can directly learn and show the impact we’re having. Learn how to initiate and implement a metrics strategy from someone who really cares about money. And people. But mostly, money.

Then, LA design community leader Geremy Mumenthaler talks about his experiences with The Noun Project as they learned “The Largest UX Team is Also the Smallest”:

Noun Project created its newest product Lingo by listening to the of problems our community and empowering our whole team with UX tools to understand those problems. Through prototyping, iteration, and a scrappy attitude, we launched a brand new product that teams needed.

Our doors will open at 6pm with pizza, drinks (including non-alcoholic options), and of course wi-fi provided. The talks will kick-off at 7pm, with Q&A interspersed throughout.

So sign up on Meetup, and show up with your questions and ideas. We’re ready to listen!

Update: We have a change of speaker from own Nicole Thayer, who sadly could no longer present, to Alexa Roman, who generously agreed to step in. Thanks, Alexa!


Special Processes in OTP

By on in Development, Elixir

On a recent Elixir project, I needed to test some asynchronous behaviour. Doing so led me to learn about the basics of special processes in OTP.

Our project was using Phoenix Channels and had a need to keep track of all connected socket processes. We could have used the upcoming Phoenix presence feature, but we didn’t quite need all of its features. We settled on using a simple GenServer process that would monitor each connected socket.

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Elixir Extravaganza – Carbon Five LA Talk Night June 15th 2016

By on in Everything Else

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Excitement continues to grow around the functional programming language Elixir and it’s web framework Phoenix. Many are intrigued by the pair’s ability to scale due to the Erlang VM while remaining maintainable and understandable thanks to their Ruby and Rails pedigree.

But is it production ready? Should you consider it for your next project? Basically, is it time to drink the Elixir? It’s a question we’ve answered before and we want to continue that conversation.

That’s why we’re inviting you to our next Talk Night, centering on the practical use and adoption of this exciting new language.

Continue reading …


The 10 Practices of Healthy Engineering Teams – Part 2

By on in Culture, Development, Process, Startups

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced a high-performing engineering team at SuperStartupCorp that had automated repetitive tasks, codified its engineering practices, and adopted a learning mindset, resulting in happy engineers and happy stakeholders. Read on to learn more traits and practices that make this team so successful, and how they keep their bus factor high.

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Carbon Five & Heroku

By on in Development, golang, Java

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Check out the latest Heroku case study, featuring Carbon Five.

The article explains how we build 35+ Apps a year and use Heroku for 90% of our software projects for wide range of clients. Courtney, Erik, and David share their thoughts on the platform’s support for rapid deployment, language flexibility, and ease of use.

Find out more here.

 


Dr. Smarty or How I learned to stop worrying and love the bot?

By on in Culture, Development, Everything Else

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Twice a year, all of the Carbon Five offices congregate for our company-wide Summit. One of the funnest parts of these all company trips is the Codeo, which we have been running for the last few years and they have become an integral part of our DNA.

For those that don’t know, our Codeo (short for “Code Rodeo”) is a 2-day internal hackathon. The goal of the Codeo is to have fun creating a product with people you haven’t had a chance to work with in a while (or maybe ever).

The teams are made up of mixture of office locations and cross-functional groups so that everyone has a different role to play (developers, designers, product manager, and operations). The focus of this Codeo was “Slackbots” with the overall goal to create something that helps out our co-workers and/or Carbon Five as a whole. The only rule was to use an existing internal Slack channel as inspiration for the project.

Here is a snapshot of each team’s Slackbot, as told by the team. Continue reading …