Courtney Hemphill Speaks at Lean UX SF Meetup

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Come check out Courtney Hemphill as she speaks at this week’s Lean UX SF Meetup this Tuesday as she gears up for her talk at this year’s FlowCon. Courtney will be talking about the weekly flow of product development at Carbon Five, including the importance of fostering integrated teams, establishing cadence, and gathering user feedback & validation.

Check out the Lean UX SF Meetup for more details and to put your name on the waiting list for this sold out event. If you can’t make it, or can’t get in, why not pick up a ticket to FlowCon?

Kablammo! The Ruby Robot War Has a Winner

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At this year’s GoGaRuCo, we ran a coding contest called Kablammo. Contestants submitted robot strategies and their ‘bots fought it out in the arena at for a chance to win a Printrbot Simple 3D printer. After more than 20 entries and 1,000 battles, we’re ready to announce the winner!



Congratulations to Jeff Moore (AKA jhmoore) for his robot Yashwantrao Holkar. Jeff works at Mavenlink as a software engineer, and his hobbies include riding motorcycles way too fast, podcasting about terrible things on the internet, and baking pies.

There were a lot of great entries, but after checking out Jeff’s code and pitting his strategy against all comers in both one-on-one and one-on-many battles, he emerged as the winner. He’ll be receiving his Printrbot in the mail and we look forward to seeing what he prints up with it.


We’d like to thank all of the participants. We had a ton of fun coding the tournament and hope you had as much fun playing. We’ll be running more Kablammo tournaments in the future, so keep an eye on the blog. In the meantime, feel free to check out the repo, run your own server, or submit a robot into the public arena.

GoGaRuCo 2013

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We are thrilled to be one of the sponsors of the Golden Gate Ruby Conference once again. GoGaRuCo is a great event, balancing technical talks with the meta-topics that are important to all of us. We’re very psyched about what Leah, Josh, Jim, and all of the volunteers and speakers have done. Their work helps make the Ruby Community the awesome place that it is today.

We are proud to be one of the sponsors. For our third year as a sponsor we upped our involvement by running a table and hosting one of the official parties with our friends at Sharethrough: the Hacker + Maker Lounge. Rather than throwing a party at a club where it’s too loud to talk or where the primary activity is drinking, we created an event focused on the other things we’re excited about: learning and creating new things (in addition to good food and drink).


The Hacker + Maker Lounge passport.

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Lean in the Enterprise: an Evening with Brant Cooper & Patrick Vlaskovits

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Please join us at Carbon Five in San Francisco on Thursday, August 29th at 6:30pm for a special evening featuring Brant Cooper & Patrick Vlaskovits as they share their unique perspective on entrepreneurship in the enterprise drawn from their own experience and as authors of New York Times bestseller, The Lean Entrepreneur.


Brant & Patrick will be joined by Bennett Blank, Innovation Leader at Intuit, and the three will share their insights into the particular challenges with bringing Lean to the enterprise. Topics for discussion include:

  • Legal & Branding – Existing enterprises incur significant risk by running experiments with their existing customers.
  • Human Resources – Behaving like an intrapreneur requires skills that are quite different from those of an enterprise employee.
  • Leadership – Your employees are not the only people in the organization that will need to behave differently.
  • Sales & Marketing – As your product teams embrace this new way of working they will need to learn how to handle their own sales & marketing.

The evening will include a happy hour, Q&A session, and book signing by the authors. Space is limited for this invite-only event, so please RSVP.

Details & RSVP →

Front-End Tech Talks Next Week

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Next Wednesday, June 26th, we’re hosting a Tinderbox event featuring three tech talks on various front-end development topics. We’re excited to have a guest speaker from Cue in the line up, plus two Carbon Five developers, including Erin who’s flying up from our Santa Monica office and Ingar, one of our tech leads in San Francisco. On the menu:

  • HTML5 Multiplayer Game Development (+ Node.js) – Ingar Shu / C5
  • New Browsers, Same Vulnerabilities – David Bloom / Cue
  • Backbone.Marionette – Erin Swenson-Healey / C5

If you haven’t yet been to one of the Tinderbox events, check it out. We aim for quality in both the talks and participation. Each talk includes Q&A and if previous events are any indicator, the Q&A can be as much fun as the talks. Come early to meet other great developers.

Doors open at 6:15, and the talks start at 7 sharp. Learn more and RSVP on the Tinderbox event page.

Meet up with Carbon Five at SXSW 2013

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It’s that time of year again. Mike, Don, Christian, Erik, and David will be in Austin for SXSW Interactive from Friday, March 8th through Monday, March 11th. If you’re in town, shoot us an email so we can meet up for a slab of ribs or a snort of whiskey.

Our own Christian Nelson will be speaking on a panel with Dennis Palmieri of ITVS, one of our most innovative clients. They’ll be talking about a recent collaboration called OVEE. Swing by on Friday, March 8th at 5pm at the convention center in room 12AB.

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Introducing Tinderbox

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Check out our new meetup Tinderbox.

We created Tinderbox because we wanted a forum about creating products using software (and sometimes custom hardware). Tinderbox is technology agnostic because we all use a variety of tech to build things. At Carbon Five, we’re building with Ruby, JavaScript (client and server) and Objective-C/iOS, but we dabble with other things and in some cases use them on real projects. We know great products are built with other tech too.

Tinderbox is also a place for designers and product folks to collaborate with developers. We believe that the best products are built by a balanced team, possessing all of the skills and talents necessary for success.

The goal is to tell the story of using tech to build products. The narrative is as interesting as the outcome, if not more so. We hope Tinderbox grows into a place where people talk about what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and how they’re doing. All of Tinderbox events will have an eye towards these goals.

Upcoming Events

Hack Night at Carbon Five – November 28th

Our quad-weekly hack nights continue, now cross-promoted through Tinderbox and the SF Ruby meetup. The event is great for experienced and new developers. We’re going to continue to experiment with the format. If you want to give a mini talk or run a casual workshop, let us know.

Design & Thinking, a film screening with Q&A with the film’s producer – December 3rd

By now you’ve likely heard the term “Design Thinking” being bandied about in various ways throughout disparate disciplines; yet the term is still ambiguous. What exactly is “Design Thinking?”

The documentary Design & Thinking addresses this very question by courting the insight of designers, businessmen, professors, and social change-makers. Interviewees stem from Ideo, Standford’s, AIGA, Mission Bicycle, and Metropolis Magazine to name just a few. Taken together, their criticism—both pro and con— of the burgeoning practice helps situate it theoretically and pragmatically. Is design thinking a novel and useful methodology applicable across diverse problem sets, or, rather, is it just a newly coined buzzword and an empty concept?

Official film trailer:

Project and Technology Showcase – December 11th

Let’s check out some neat projects and hear the stories behind them.

Box2D Deathmatch – Alex Cruikshank, C5 resident mad-scientist.

Deathmatch is evolutionary simulation built using HTML5 technologies as an exercise in creative coding. Alex will be demonstrating the results of this application while discussing the motivations behind building it and some of the ideas and algorithms used to construct it. Tech: JavaScript, HTML5, Riak

Other projects to be announced. Contact me on Tinderbox if you have something you want to show off.

Hope to see you on Tinderbox and at the events!

Test-Driven C with Ceedling

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Recently, an Arduino project forced me to brush up on my C. Like many programmers of my generation, C was my first programming language; but it has been a while since I wrote anything in it. After a quick K&R refresher, I immediately began looking for a unit testing framework. I found several, but I had trouble setting them up. Finally, I came across Ceedling.

Ceedling is a Ruby gem that takes care of all the setup, building, and running of C unit tests. It comes with a simple testing framework, a mocking library, and uses Ruby’s Rake to build and run your C tests. Let’s take a look at how to install and use Ceedling.

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