Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

About the show

A podcast about the design, development, and business of great software. Each week thoughtbot's Chad Pytel is joined by the people who build and nurture the products we love.

Episodes

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    17: I'm feeling full and Sassy

    October 21st, 2012  |  Season 1  |  25 mins 28 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Kyle Fiedler, a designer at thoughtbot, and one of the creators of Bourbon Neat. Ben and Kyle discuss responsive design, what it is, and how to implement it. They also discuss Bourbon (a library of Sass mixins) and Neat (a fluid grid framework based on Bourbon), what's wrong with Twitter Bootstrap and why Bourbon Neat is better, and the other reasons why Bourbon Neat was created despite all the other grid frameworks that are available. Kyle shares the most common design mistakes he sees developers make in projects, whether or not design is subjective or whether it can be more objective, his design process and how it has changed, what the Golden Ratio is, and how it's used in Neat. Finally, they also discuss the Design for Developers workshop offered by thoughtbot, which teaches the fundamental design principles and tools to developers, and much, much more.

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    16: Making it fast

    October 14th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  35 mins 29 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by William Josephson and Jay Moorthi from Solano Labs, the makers of tddium, the hosted, scalable continuous integration service. They discuss the architecture of the service, including how they're using Go to speed up parts of it, the surprises they've had in getting started, how they've gotten involved in the Ruby community, and how they validated their idea and get feedback from customers. Also, their experience working with thoughtbot, what has worked and not worked for driving public customers to the site and converting them, dealing with privacy, customer support, their goals and their growth plans, and much more.

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    15: Moving money should be free

    October 7th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  43 mins 34 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Seth Priebatsch, creator of SCVNGR and LevelUp. Ben and Seth talk about LevelUp, how it got started, how they make money, and what the future holds. They also discuss his daily schedule, maintaining focus, what he worries about, how your motives can limit your success, how to change the world by choosing the right thing to change, why he stopped hiding doubt and started being more transparent, and much, much more, including the most interesting question he's never been asked.

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    14: Say goodbye to that big guy

    September 30th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  30 mins 37 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Prem Sichanugrist, a developer at thoughtbot and the #31 top Rails contributor. Ben and Prem walk through the major changes that will be introduced in Rails 4, including strong parameters, the new built in queue, cache_digest, changes in ActiveRecord::Relation, and ActiveResource. The also discuss what people can do to ease contribution and issue submission to Rails, how can people get their first commit into Rails, and much more.

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    13: I'll disagree in just a little bit

    September 23rd, 2012  |  Season 1  |  30 mins 1 sec

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot, and Josh Clayton, developer at thoughtbot and the lead maintainer of FactoryGirl. In this Rails focused episode, Ben, Joe, and Josh dish on ActiveRecord callbacks, observers, state machines, and before_filters vs. middleware. They discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of each, and how to keep your app clean while doing the right thing. Then they touch on what's new in FactoryGirl, how using build_stubbed can speed up your test suite, and much more.

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    12: I think I'll be on a yacht

    September 16th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  38 mins 26 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Matt Jankowski, COO of thoughtbot. Ben and Matt start off by talking about how Matt came to join thoughtbot and his role at the company. They then discuss the typical thoughtbot sales process. How all problems are communication problems. How the way thoughtbot works is appealing to startups and how they hear about thoughtbot. How thoughtbot handles its 20% investment time in open source and our own products, how we preserve that despite trying to grow the business, and how that has evolved over time. The reasons why it's not always possible to work faster by increasing the team size. Goals, metrics, and things thoughtbot can do better. Plus, how project management techniques translate to child-rearing, his standing desk, and much more.

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    11: You want your system to bend, not to break

    September 9th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  54 mins 24 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Sean Cribbs, Software Engineer at Basho, the makers of Riak. Ben and Sean start off discussing the interesting overlap of programmers and musicians and why it seems to happen so much. They then discuss Sean's role at Basho, what Riak is, how it works, and how it differs from other NoSQL databases. Sean works remotely for Basho, which has several offices, so Ben and Sean discuss remote workers and remote offices, and the ins and outs of navigating that set up, and how he got paid to work on open source. Finally, they discuss Erlang, which most of Riak is written in. These topics, plus much more.

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    10: Isn't the last stage of grieving acceptance?

    September 2nd, 2012  |  Season 1  |  43 mins 3 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Joe Ferris and Mike Burns. They start off with some recommendations for awesome programming books and then dive right in to questions about not following "Tell don't ask" in the view, how MVC and the Single Responsibility Principle may be at odds with "Tell don't ask" in the view, and what a more object oriented approach may look like. They also discuss "Class-oriented programming", what it is, why it is bad, how Rails does it, and how to avoid it. They take a quick trip through Mike's experiments in Ruby and Smalltalk in creating his own programming language. The three codecateers then take on the really important topic of method order and code organization, and finally they reflect on how their code has changed over the years, how no solution is foolproof, and how to move to the next level as a programmer. These topics and more, in this installment of the GIANT ROBOTS SMASHING INTO OTHER GIANT ROBOTS podcast!

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    9: TDD for Business!!

    August 23rd, 2012  |  Season 1  |  50 mins 19 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Chad Pytel, the CEO and Founder of thoughtbot. Ben and Chad talk about the history of thoughtbot, success, failures, lessons learned, the current growth plans for the company, and much more. They also answer listener questions about hiring, growing, balancing client and internal work like open source and products, and contractor rates and how to set them.

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    8: Wax on, Wax off

    August 16th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  30 mins 16 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Gabe Berke-Williams and Edward Loveall. Gabe is developer at thoughtbot and the product manager of the thoughtbot apprenticeship program, apprentice.io. Edward is a current design apprentice. Gabe, Edward, and Ben talk about apprentice.io, how it works, it's successes, and lessons learned. They also discuss how Gabe goes about mentoring new developers, and effective learning and teaching methods. Edward also gives his perspective on his apprenticeship how it went, his typical day as an apprentice, his advice for incoming apprentices, and much more.

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    7: Something Else Was Smellier

    August 9th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  34 mins 8 secs

    Ben Orenstein is once again joined by Joe Ferris, CTO of thoughtbot. Joe and Ben dive right in to a technical discussion about Objects versus Structures. They then discuss what Joe does as the new CTO of thoughtbot, and how his goal is to set up a system where everybody is teaching everybody. Finally, they discuss why Joe doesn't like using rspec's let and subject, and his strategy for writing tests without them.

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    6: MVP of Personal Hygiene

    August 2nd, 2012  |  Season 1  |  44 mins 50 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Dan Powell, founder of Abakas. Dan plays the role of Consulting CTO for his clients. They discuss the best and the worst of his job, his history as a Linux hacker, and what his experience has taught him about technology and technology trends, and how he stays on top of them. Also, how to create effective, well-written, maintainable software, the Rails talent crunch, developers getting promoted to management, maintaining work-life balance and how not to get burnt out, and much, much more.

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    5: My wife is getting really into whiskey

    July 26th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  48 mins 36 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by “Cowboy” Ben Alman, JavaScript open source developer and Director of Pluginization at Bocoup. They discuss how Ben Alman got started with programming and his crazy projects, the open web, favorite tools, and one of his latest projects, Grunt. They also discuss CoffeeScript, and why Ben Alman’s not using it yet, speaking at conferences and how Ben Alman got more comfortable in front of crowds, whether its important to understand straight JavaScript, or just jQuery, and more! Also, Whiskey.

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    4: I've got a little thoughtbot angel or devil on my shoulder

    July 19th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  37 mins 37 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by David Thyresson, the founder of Stattleship and a past client of thoughtbot. Ben and David discuss how he got started with Stattleship, how he came to work with thoughtbot, and what it was like to work with us. Also, how the idea of what he would initially build changed, and how through agile software development he discovered how it was wrong. How he learned Ruby on Rails from thoughtbot during his project. Finally, what has worked for driving visitors to the site, and important lessons learned about starting up, building an app, and running a business.

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    3: The FactoryGirl Representation of a Factory

    July 12th, 2012  |  Season 1  |  40 mins 22 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Josh Clayton, the maintainer of FactoryGirl, and a developer at thoughtbot. Ben and Josh discuss FactoryGirl: using it, its development progress, and features. What it's like to run an open source project, and how to contribute to open source effectively. Looking at your old code and being a better developer. Approaches to testing. And answer your questions about: FactoryGirl, How to write effective tests suites and whether integration tests are a scam, our process for upgrading between Rails versions, testing complex UI logic, and leaving code untested.

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    2: Design with a sip of Bourbon

    June 22nd, 2012  |  Season 1  |  35 mins 36 secs

    Ben Orenstein is joined this week by Phil LaPier, the creator of Bourbon and a designer at thoughtbot. Ben and Phil discuss the design process, fundamentals of visual design, common design errors, and how to be a better designer (even if you're a developer), and how to work with designers as a developer. They also answer some audience questions about design: How to handle feedback from clients, and HAML vs. HTML.