Notes on designing, developing and delivering great products

How to write an RFP

By on in Everything Else

Requirements lemonade stand

You’ve got a software projectyou just need the resources to do it.

So you start writing an RFP (Request for proposal). You put down the budget, timeline and deliverables in an effort to properly scope the initiative. After all, you need to find the best qualified team which means you need to be as specific as possible.

Then, you sit back and read what you’ve outlined.

After your brain gets back to its normal speed, you realize that if you can’t keep yourself awake, you have little hope of keeping potential teams engaged long enough to gain interest in your project. Continue reading …


Adventures in Searching with Postgres: Part 1

By on in Database, rails, ruby

For a recent project, we built a live-search for over 60,000 records which used both simple pattern matching and full-text search. The records we needed to search were diagnoses that are used to assign patients to a therapy. I had never done full-text search or anything real-time with that many records, so I ended up doing a lot of experimentation. These posts will cover my experience, and I hope they’ll be of value to anyone implementing their own Postgres search.

Safari

The Problem

The records we were searching were International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes. Each record consists of a 3-7 character code, a short description averaging 11 words, and a few other data and association fields (for this post, I generated 100,000 records matching the real ICD format). We needed to be able to search by code and description, and users would be changing their search query quickly to find the right record, so it needed to be responsive. In part one, I’ll cover the code search where a user enters one or more codes (which may be partial).

Continue reading …


Come hang with Carbon Five at Techweek LA

By on in Events

Interested in the current state of tech in LA and meeting key leaders in development, startups, media, fashion and more? Join myself and several Carbon Fivers from our Santa Monica office at Techweek LA, Nov 20-21st to hear from top thought leaders in LA and attend a variety of events and networking opportunities.

Register for the event through our City Partnership and get a 15% discount.

Techweek Los Angeles

Carbon Five will be participating in the judging of the Launch competition and hackathon where we see what next big thing will shape the future of LA and beyond. Interested in competing? Rally your team and apply today!

Techweek LA runs from Nov 20th – 21st in a custom built tent on the Santa Monica pier. Check out the full schedule and contact us if you want to meet up with one of our developers and designers at the event.

 


WebRTC Made Simple

By on in Web

WebRTC is a set of JavaScript APIs that enable peer-to-peer, realtime communication between web browsers. It offers some pretty amazing capabilities, but getting through even a basic introduction to it can be daunting. The variety of new APIs and protocols is a lot to digest. This post is a simple guide to getting up-and-running with WebRTC.

pushrtc

Continue reading …


Needles in Haystacks: Find The Job that Fits You Best

By on in Everything Else

Steve McConnell wrote a book called “After the Gold Rush” that was published back in 1999. He wrote about how the software development industry would benefit by maturing and becoming a professional industry that had learned from the mistakes made during the tech bubble of the late 90s (Steve is actually better known as the author of “Code Complete,” a great book that influenced very many developers). We, as an industry, have learned a lot since then and there are far fewer colossal failures, but we still have plenty to learn about building successful software products. This is especially important when you’re considering your next gig.

The (tech) Gold Rush is still going strong, having dipped only a bit in the mid-naughts. If you’re an experienced designer, developer, or product person… you have more opportunity than most people out there. That’s a great position to be in and we should all be thankful.

All that opportunity makes deciding where to exercise your talents harder. There are many factors at play when you’re looking for a job, some of which may be obvious (e.g. size and location) and others which require looking inwards (e.g. culture, work style, and hierarchy). If you’re looking for a new gig, here are some tips that will help with the process.

Continue reading …


Bash-pocalypse 2014!

By on in Everything Else

Hopefully by now everyone has heard about the Bash remote execution vulnerability, and is sufficiently terrified. We here at Carbon Five all use Macs, and so we are all by default vulnerable. Here are the steps we took to secure our computers. Maybe they can help you too.

Continue reading …


Junior Jump – Speaker Panel

By on in Everything Else, Mentorship

Here at Carbon Five, we have been making an increased effort to reach out to the growing junior developer community to provide guidance and mentorship. We piloted an event series dubbed Junior Jump, catered towards helping entry level developers prepare for their engineering careers. A few weeks ago, as a part of this event series, we brought in a group of junior developers and had an fishbowl-style open conversation about various topics concerning the current climate of junior developers including: the current difficulties of job searching, what kinds of expectations should be placed on a junior developer, and what the heck is a junior developer anyways. You can find the full video of this event below.

Continue reading …


Stickies.io Updated – More Color, Less Shadow

By on in Everything Else

We’ve heard lots of feedback from those of you using Stickies.io. Today, we launched a few small updates. Here’s what’s new:

1) New landing screen – with an easier way to give us feedback

Feedback

2) More color, less shadows – for a brighter day

Colors

3) New background – behold the dots!

Dot background

4) Most importantly – we dropped the name Boardroom. You might be thinking – what’s Boardroom? Exactly.

For those of you who don’t know, Stickies.io is Carbon Five’s free online, collaborative brainstorming and retrospective tool. The project started as a Node Knockout submission years ago (originally called Boardroom…well, originally-originally called Retroflection which was a mash-up of…nevermind). Anyhow, we’ve been slowly work on it – responding to Tweets and pull requests on Github ever since.

Try it out and feel free to send us your thoughts at stickies@carbonfive.com. We have a couple of big new features in the pipeline, but we’re excited to hear your thoughts as well.