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Interesting stuff club

Our monthly roundup of anything we’re doing and learning in our own time.


Ryan

Ryan

Senior Frontend Developer

“A blog article I read recently that’s worth checking out was Martin Fowler’s Refactoring a JavaScript video store. He takes a Java example from his book Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code and walks us through a refactor of it in JavaScript instead. It’s a really accessible and practical guide using several techniques to refactor a long method that handles movie store rental statements into something more sane and manageable. He also links to his refactoring.com site to elaborate on some of the patterns he’s applying to the code. Most importantly for me is the critiquing of several approaches to evaluate which may be the best. A lot of software design and refactoring articles / books focus on more ‘mature’ languages such as Java so it’s nice to see some practical examples in JavaScript.

In another self improvement effort – and in an attempt to wake me up in the morning – I’ve been using a fun app called Peak. It’s a beautifully designed app containing sets of daily brain training games which match against some goals that you set for yourself; be it arithmetic, memory recall or spatial awareness. It’s backed up by scientific studies and you can buy in-app programmes from Universities, whether thats true or not I’m not sure – but it’s definitely a fun way to kick your brain into gear on a morning.”

Kirsten

Kirsten

Director

“I’ve been following the advances of quantum computing over the last 12 months with particular interest in a Canadian company who’ve built the D-Wave quantum computer, one of which has been bought by Google and another by NASA. It’s mind boggling how powerful quantum computers could be so I wanted to try to put it into some context in as simple a way as possible.

A traditional ‘classic’ computer is made up of transistors – bits that are either on or off – and the relationship between the number of transistors and the number of states a computer can be in at the same time is a 1-1 relationship (a computer with 1000 transistors can be in 1000 states at once). With quantum computers however, the theory goes that through a process known as quantum entanglement, the equivalent to a bit – subatomic particles known as a quantum bit or a qubit – can be on, off, or on and off at the same time. So the relationship between the number of qubits and the number of states a computer can be in at the same time is exponential. It might not seem like a big difference when the number of bits/qubits is small (1 bit = 1 state, 1 qubit= 2 states, 2 bits = 2 states, 2 qubits = 4 states) but consider what it means when talking about 1000 bits Vs 1000 qubits: a 1000 bit computer can be in 1000 states at the same time whereas a 1000 qubit computer could be 21000. That’s 10300 states at the same time. To put that number into context, there are only 1080 atoms in the entire universe.

If quantum computers can be put into practical use – and there are still doubts – we’ll see the biggest revolution in computing and science we’ve ever seen. As an example, scientists will be able to model theories such as the multiverse theory to try to uncover the nature of our existence.”

Eddy

Eddy

Lead Developer

“I’m still plodding along with learning Elixir at home, and so far I’ve covered lots of theory, but not a lot of practical. I have got as far as OTP, which is where I wanted to be by now, but I needed a break and wanted to build something. I bought the recently released Programming Phoenix, which is the main framework for Elixir. This book is much more practical then the other Elixir books I have, which is what I feel like I need at this stage in the process. I’ve also created a nice seed repository for an Elixir and Elm project on GitHub which I’ll open source soon.”

James

James

Frontend Developer

“I’ve just moved house, so I’ve not had a lot of spare time recently, but I have been playing around with React Native at home. I made a bleep test, which was really fun to make, so it would be nice to do more with that. Kirsten mentioned that he would use it, so I guess the next thing for me to do would be to get it on my phone..”

Rachael

Rachael

Marketing and Design

“We’ve got a new project coming up that’s going to probably involve a web app with some pretty cool interactions, so I’ve been having a look at the best prototyping tools to test out any new UI / UX with end users. I began with proto.io as we used that for another client recently, but I found that it struggled to import some of the smaller details on the page. I had another look around and was recommended Pixate, but in the mean time I’ve been learning After Effects as it’s also good for editing screen recordings, or creating GIFs for dribbble too. So far it seems quite in depth, which is understandable as it’s aimed at video editing, but I’m yet to find a happy medium. Fingers crossed InVision’s Silver Flows in Craft will deliver!”

Alex

Alex

Developer

“I’ve just added an SSL certificate to the UVD website, and the staging and testing environments. Traditionally this would have been really expensive, but AWS have just launched a free one. I’ve written a post on how to set it up on your AWS load balancer. It was really simple, so I think that it’ll become really popular soon.”

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