A long time ago in an office far, far away… robot wars! I mean, budget surplus! We had a bit extra in the budget a while back and so we did what any responsible business owners would have done: ask the employees what they wanted us to spend it on. Here’s the list we got back:
<ul> <li>A fully glass floor so I can watch the people below me</li> <li>Currency valid only on Dean Kamen’s personal island</li> <li>A pony</li> <li><span class="caps">RFID</span> door key that plays my ‘theme’ when I enter the office.</li> <li>10 pounds of green M&Ms</li> <li>Portal gun from Half-life Portal so we can use the gun to create hole between tb kitchen and my kitchen – It’ll be great we can have toast.</li> </ul> <p>Right. Well, there was one thing on there that was actually possible (<a href="http://www.mymms.com/25colors/?sc_cid=DR_LV3">besides the M&Ms</a>), and it was the <span class="caps">RFID</span> theme song system. That’s not something you buy off the shelf, and since it was a budget surplus and not a time surplus, we shelved that. Time comes for us to move into our current office and, lo and behold, there’s an <span class="caps">RFID</span> door-lock system! But, you know, no theme songs. Well, since we were still busy it took a while, but I finally contacted the <a href="http://crosspoint.nl">manufacturer of the system</a> and managed to get an <span class="caps">API</span> and documentation (since it’s not publicly available, for whatever reason—if you want to get it, email their support).</p>
<h2>Gentlemen, behold!</h2> <p>Now, I tap my card to the reader: the door opens and my theme song plays! (Full disclosure: I lied in the title. My theme isn’t the Imperial March. It’s part of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGSqvZ8QelI"><span class="caps">TMBG</span>’s Space Suit</a>. But it <em>used</em> to be the Imperial March, so I don’t feel bad putting it in the title.)</p> <p><a href="http://github.com/jyurek/thememusic">The important part here is that the source is available on GitHub.</a></p> <p>The original version was a bit of a spike, as it didn’t have tests. This current version is much better and has tests. We don’t feel comfortable using other people’s code if they don’t have tests; we also don’t feel right giving you code without tests.</p> <p>It’s got a bunch of features, like reconnecting itself if you pull the cord out (theoretically) and only playing between certain hours, and, umm, working. Only playing between certain hours makes a big difference, because if you play all the time you’ll quickly get tired of it (and what’s the fun in that?). We have it set to only play between 6am and 11am, so it generally only plays when you first come in.</p> <p>It only runs on Windows, because that’s how Crosspoint supplied the <span class="caps">API</span>. It accesses the <span class="caps">COM</span> objects via the <span class="caps">WIN32OLE</span> library, which is thankfully standard with Ruby. After a few media players I settled on Winamp 2.95 because it was the only one that actually started playing as soon as you ran the command, go figure.</p> <p>Because not everyone at thoughtbot is in Boston, not everyone has a song yet, but here’s the current standing:</p> <ul> <li>Jon: Space Suit</li> <li>Matt: What’s My Name</li> <li>Chad: Audience Cheering Live Album Intro</li> <li>Mike: In the Air Tonight</li> <li>Jason: Stardust Fanfare</li> <li>Dan: I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’</li> <li>Joe: Liberty Bell March</li> <li>Nick: Limelight</li> <li>Fred: Kernkraft 400</li> </ul> <p>Note: If you happen to have an <span class="caps">XM3 RFID</span> door system and want to set this up, keep your music below 10 seconds or so, otherwise it gets really tedious really quickly.</p>
I just wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that we still have several positions open at thoughtbot.
<p>We’re looking to hire up to <strong>2 web designers</strong>, preferably one in Boston and one in <span class="caps">NYC</span>, and up to <strong>3 developers</strong> in Boston.</p> <p>Also, this summer, we’ve had Nick Quaranto in as <strong>a development intern</strong>, and he’s worked out so well that we’d like to get another, so we’re opening the internship position back up to find another.</p> <p>All positions include relocation expenses as part of the benefits. You can read more about these positions on our <a href="http://www.thoughtbot.com/jobs">jobs page</a>.</p> <p>Our team works in a relaxed and educational environment. We use the latest web development technologies, and embrace both agile development methodologies and a “getting real” project philosophy. We limit our work weeks to 40 hours, stock the fridge with free drinks, and provide lunch on Fridays.</p> <p>We believe in goal-driven business development (we want to understand what’s valuable to clients before we begin), design-driven product development (we want to know what a product will look like and how it will work before we start building it) and test-driven software development (we want to ensure ongoing quality and a successful post-launch existence for the applications we build).</p> <p>If you are interested, contact us at <a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a>.</p>
<p>Since <a href="http://giantrobots.thoughtbot.com/2009/5/15/product-launch-thunder-thimble">last weeks launch</a> of <a href="http://www.thunderthimble.com/">Thunder Thimble</a> we’ve received some great feedback from early users. Thanks to everyone who checked this out. We’ve deployed a few interesting changes since then, as well.</p> <h2>Bug fixes</h2> <p>There were times during a search update where one brand’s search having any issues (ie, it was an invalid search, or twitter was down, or twitter responded with an unexpected response, or there was a network timeout, etc) could have lead to subsequent searches not being updated. If you created an account in the first ~24 hours or so after launch and then didn’t see any results for a while, this is probably what was happening. We’ve added every error that’s occurred so far to the updating task, and we continue to add the new ones as they happen (thanks to <a href="http://www.hoptoadapp.com">Hoptoad</a> for some nice logging). So, if this is you and you gave up right away, you might want to check back for new results today.</p> <p>If you <span class="caps">STILL</span> aren’t seeing any results but think you should be, contact us via twitter @thunderthimble, or via the getsatisfaction help site.</p> <h2>UI changes
<p>Early last week we deployed a UI change to the “global dashboard” and “brand dashboard” views within the application. This change brought the “positive”, “negative” and “ignore” UI elements closer to the user, and now requires less back and forth between a “deep” page and the dashboard to do these common actions. It’s also easier to see recent trends and latest activity at a quick glance with this change.</p> <h2>New feature – tweet from the application</h2> <p><img style="float: right;padding: 15px 0 10px 10px;" src="http://ui.thoughtbot.com/assets/2009-5-26-magick2.jpg" alt="the magic key" /></p> <p>When we launched, you could send a twitter <span class="caps">REPLY</span> to a message we found for you with the monitoring service, but you could not initiate a tweet directly from Thunder Thimble itself. From our own internal use of the product, this was the one thing that we kept expecting to be able to do and finding we couldn’t (yes, we are surprised by the lack of features even in things we built!).</p> <p>As of today, you can use the “Post a new Twitter update” link from the brand dashboard page to initiate a tweet as any account you have hooked up to TT (at the account, brand and user levels, that is). We default to the brand you’re on, but allow you to change that prior to sending. You can also use the backtick key — <code>`</code> — as a keyboard shortcut to access this feature from anywhere in the application.</p> <p><br /></p>
<h2>Fluid.app icon</h2> <p>For users of <a href="http://fluidapp.com/">Fluid</a> we have a 512×512 <span class="caps">PNG</span> file for you <a href="http://app.thunderthimble.com/images/fluid-icon.png">here</a> which is guaranteed to look awesome in your <span class="caps">OS X</span> dock. This icon should be picked up automatically when you setup your fluid application for Thunder Thimble.</p> <p><img style="padding: 10px 0;" src="http://ui.thoughtbot.com/assets/2009-5-26-BYyWCJRDnno8gnauBc5BBRjYo1_500.jpg" alt="fluid icon" /></p>
“If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.” – Muhammed Ali
<p>Not since the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrilla_in_Manila">Thrilla in Manila</a> has there been a contest so hyped, with so much on the line. This is bound to be the most remarkable, exceptional event in Vegas all year.</p> <p>Of course I refer to…</p> <h2>The 2009 Railsconf Poker Tournament</h2> <p>We’re pleased to announce a no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament tomorrow night (Thursday) at 9pm at <a href="http://is.gd/xjNn">The Poker Room at Caesar’s Palace</a>.</p> <p>The buy-in is $65. Caesar’s takes $15 from each person to set everything up for us. We’ll have our own dealers, and the casino handles everything.</p> <p><strong>Winner takes the rest.</strong></p>
Send an @reply to @thoughtbot on Twitter. We’ll call Caesar’s at noon tomorrow with the final count. We’ve got 15 right now.