Thinking » Topics » Good Thinking
Hi, I’m Anna.
I’m the Marketing Coordinator at Oomph. I actually started about two months ago, but since we’ve had so many new hires to highlight, I’m just getting through to you now. Since I tend to write most of the posts you read here, I thought for my “welcome” post we’d do something a little different. Time to get all kinds of meta and tell you about myself:
I grew up in the Middle of Nowhere–Kabetogama, Minnesota, to be exact. My family was very close-knit and all about Midwestern values, homeschooling my sisters and me and always having dinner together. My mom is a flautist/teacher and my dad is a park ranger, so I grew up in a weird tomboy-artsy-granola safe-space. I always loved reading and writing, submitting my first work for review at age 7–Unfortunately, Reading Rainbow wasn’t super excited about “Jake the Drake,” so I remained shrouded in anonymity.
I left Middle America to attend Harvard, majoring in statistics until my Junior year, when I discovered I hated it with all my being. My change to a philosophy major was somewhat arbitrary, but in retrospect one of the best decisions I ever made. It taught me not only how to write 1000x better, but also how to think analytically, approaching worn problems from a fresh angle.
Both during and after college, I naturally gravitated toward marketing. With nonprofits, artists, and clients in industries ranging from healthcare to retail, I did things like crafting website content, managing social media communities, and researching markets in both traditional and behavioral ways. Before joining Oomph I was at a software consulting firm, officially starting my present path in tech marketing.
I joined Oomph shortly after graduation, and was instantly infatuated with the team, culture, and company (the office’s views of Boston didn’t hurt either). One of my first projects was writing copy for Oomph’s upcoming site redesign, which really forced me to hit the ground running. With everything from branding to PR in the mix, It’s been a challenging and exhilarating ride so far, and I’m looking forward to our bright future as BFFs.
But enough about me. If you want to chat more, you can usually find me at a Boston proper park with my Frenchie Archer, or at the Fugu food truck whenever it graces the Greenway. Finally, take a minute to visit the communities I’ve been working so hard on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Leave a note and tell us how we’re doing; I’m in constant need of validation.
- Anna Remus
Coming to WordCamp Boston? There’s an app for that.
As hundreds flock to Cambridge for this year’s conference, we at Oomph are shining our shoes, charging our phones, and timing our coffee pots for bright-and-early Saturday morning. Our team mostly comes from the Boston metro area, but we know many attendees are traveling a bit farther and may not be familiar with all the eccentricities of Boston/Cambridge proper. To help out, our team came up with this list of useful apps to get you through every stage of this weekend, from parking to new contact follow-up.
Here are 8 apps to help you make the most of WordCamp Boston:
Widely regarded as the best app for Boston subway ( = “the T“) planning, OpenMBTA is not only free, but updated often for optimal user experience. Track a specific bus, or find when the next train leaves Kendall, and use that extra time to shake a few more hands at the WordCamp After Party on Saturday at Firebrand Saints, from 6:30 to 10pm.
*Expert Tip: Talk to an MBTA officer to get a hard plastic Charlie Card instead of a traditional paper ticket. You get a discount on each ride!
If you’re speaking at this year’s conference, banish butterflies with preparation. Prompster is a public-speaking app that keeps all needed speech docs in one place, auto-scrolls with speed options and a pause function, and helps you stay on-time. It even has an audio recorder built in, so you can practice on the WordCamp-bound plane, train, or bus.
Since you’re a digital maven, you probably don’t tote a notebook and pen around with you in a carpet bag. Cleanly organize your notes and get the most out of this year’s sessions with Evernote, a note-taking app that lets you include multimedia elements like photos, audio, and files.
WordCamp is all about networking, and for today’s conference attendees this is mostly done on social media. Keep track of all your social activity in one place, including things like Twitter mentions and Instagram activity. If you’re posting for a company, save genius quotes as you hear them, then schedule them for posting throughout the week.
*Expert Tip: Keep a tab of Twitter keyword searches to nab social traffic that used the event hashtag or mentioned @WordCampBoston.
LinkedIn’s CardMunch app scans business cards and converts them into contacts automatically, making it easier than ever to follow-up with new leads, potential hires, and friends.
If you’re attending WordCamp on business, you’re sure to have piles of saved receipts by the end of the weekend. Take photos of them in ShoeBoxed to save them, remotely submit them, and see all expenses cataloged.
Missing your favorite game while at WordCamp? Download theScore and load it with your favorite teams and sports to stay updated on the real-time game results most important to you. In a city of sports fanatics, you’ll be in good company.
Boston/Cambridge parking is notoriously hard to find. Luckily, the N.E.R.D. Center has its own garage for you to use during WordCamp, but for after-hours fun and overnight accommodation, try ParkMe to see real-time availability at many locations.
No matter which apps you keep in tow, we hope your time at #WCBos is fulfilling, relaxing, and a great overall experience. If you’d like to say ‘Hi’ to us this weekend, please stop by the Oomph table, or catch up with us at the after party on Saturday night at Firebrand Saints.
Do you have a must-have conference app that we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.
Version control systems like Git are a necessary part of any reasonable software development workflow; there are many options out there, the most common being Git, SVN, and CVS. People become passionate about their choice of VCS, and entire stacks of procedures, policies, and politics become entangled in what should be a simple and mostly transparent toolchain choice.
The honest truth is, they all work. All VCS options have distinct quirks, advantages, and disadvantages. Some perform better than others, but if you state your goal in English, most tools in existence will accomplish that goal. The missing component in an unsuccessful system tends to be company buy-in. I have seen many excellent technology efforts fail because the whole team didn’t buy-in, and I have seen some terrible tech tools provide long-term valuable services because the team was on-board. The bottom line is that if a team is willing to use a tool, they will make it successful.
Everyone at Oomph was interested in moving to Git, but there was a lot of concern about disruptions to commenced business–It’s simply not acceptable to tell a client that you can’t deploy their site because you’re in the middle of a VCS switch. Additionally, the number of distinct repositories Oomph manages made the migration daunting: If you have a single repository, it’s pretty straightforward process, but if you have 10, 20, or over 100, it gets a bit more challenging. Our path forward was to migrate the highest-traffic repos, then set a system in place to sort at the smaller and less active ones over time. All new projects start with Git, and all the old ones on SVN are in the process of being migrated, based upon activity level. If a project sees very little activity, we have no immediate reason to change it over.
The migration has presented the team with a learning curve and some new challenges, but ultimately this new step has resulted in greater speed and efficiency across the organization. The education effort is ongoing, as we continue to migrate old projects and integrate new team members. Oomph now has the Git foundation to build upon, and the right people positioned to help this migration remain a long-term success.
Oomph team members Nick Blanchard and Alex Vallejo attended the third annual DrupalCamp New Hampshire last week, on September 21st-22nd. The two enjoyed Q&A sessions on site-building and maintenance in Drupal, practical application seminars for all skill levels, and extensive previews of Drupal 8.
Developer Nick was impressed with the bold and enterprising Drupal 8. “Drupal 8 is very forward thinking and I am really excited that they added in features from the PHP framework Symphony.”
Oomph developer Alex Vallejo mentioned that there is no definitive release date set for Drupal 8, and that program use is going to be, “dramatically different in the way you code templates, as you’re using Twig. The idea is to provide a lower barrier of entry into theme-ing in Drupal and be more designer-friendly to create cleaner template files.”
This year’s DrupalCamp NH also featured the first ever Code Sprint, which gathered developers and coders alike to help beginners learn Drupal, contribute to the stabilization of Drupal 8, and work on various projects associated with the CMF.
Thank you Portsmouth! Here’s to a fantastic DrupalCamp experience.
This past weekend the Oomph team took part in Automattic’s WorldWide WordPress 5k, from right here in Boston. It was a gorgeous day on the Charles River Esplanade, so we gathered on Sunday, September 29th for a leisurely pace and some post-track drinks. WordPressers from all over the world participated in this year’s event, and we at Oomph were excited to be a part of it. Here are some photos from our 5k:
The homepage of www.Code.org spells out, very simply, a sentiment echoed around the world: “Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science”.
And why not? Today’s STEM-dominated universe of big data, technological ingenuity, and globalized inter-connectivity certainly calls for such measures. In fact, by the year 2020 there is to be an estimated 1.4 million computing jobs available for roughly 400,000 computer science students. And those lucky present computer science graduates? Their diplomas represent the single highest-paid college degree, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistcs.
Yet elementary, middle, and secondary school students around America fall victim to the extrinsic ramifications of budget cuts. Physical education, arts, and technology classes are rapidly being removed from the public curriculum; unfortunately some school districts can’t afford textbooks, let alone software. In a system still recovering from economic downfall, computer science simply isn’t recognized as a priority.
Enter: Our (nonprofit) Superheroes.
www.Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to helping spread the education of computer science. Its main feature is CodeAcademy, an entirely free interactive coding platform with new users and teachers from all corners of the world. They also offer free online university courses through Coursera and dozens of free middle school, high school (both public and private) and vocational school programs. Luckily for those of us out of school, many of Code.Org’s courses are offered as seminars open to the public.
Another nonprofit dedicated to spreading the love of code is CodeNow, which benefits youth in the inner-cities of New York, Washington D.C., and the San Francisco area. Taking a project-based approach to the teaching and learning of computer science, CodeNow responds to the STEM demand with an emphasis on training women and minorities.
Dave McKinley, CTO of Oomph Boston, says that programs like these are providing the accessibility piece of the proverbial puzzle. “Software development as a career is a great choice for anyone with the intelligence, discipline and desire to join the field. The only remaining barriers are access and opportunity, which these programs address in an admirable fashion. These organizations level the playing field so that a new era of students may enter the workforce as highly employable, well compensated, high-tech workers.”
The future looks bright in the world of web, and we at Oomph couldn’t be more proud.
Oomph’s graphic designer Lizzy Hartley is a true triple-threat: graphic designer, jewelry maker, and roofing specialist! These days she sticks to design, but her past work has given her creative chops rooted in conceptualization, making her a huge asset to both internal and client projects. This past year Lizzy was tasked with designing some artwork for the Boston office: a 7′ x 10′ mural that represented everything about Oomph, from its love of the digital space to its larger-than-life clients. Now that we see the finished product every morning, we thought it would be nice to take a step back and learn more about its inception.
Here is the conversation we had with Lizzy about this extraordinary project:
First of all, which program did you use?
This mural was created entirely in Photoshop, because the original images needed to be cut out pretty extensively, and the eraser and lasso tools are the best in the industry for that.
How did you choose which pop culture icons to incorporate in the mural?
When the Marketing Team was discussing the branding of Oomph, we kept circling back to the idea of being, thinking, and doing “big.” The clients we work with, the projects we do, and the impact we have on the digital space were all things we wanted to be “big.” This concept led us to using very iconic, timeless, yet current imagery. Each image in the mural represents not only an important moment in cultural history, but also an Oomph client. For example, the Dali Lama represents our project with Buddhist web mag Tricycle.
We chose to include Miley Cyrus as a representation of our client Radar Online, a celebrity gossip publication. This was long before the twerking incident and controversy, but I think even then we knew that she was going to do something crazy.
What was the process like in regards to your usual projects?
The technical process of making the mural was totally different than what I do on the day-to-day. After finding the photos and cutting them out, I focused on making an interesting composition, placing them together like a puzzle. It was really fun to work with such powerful images and find a way to best represent them based on their placement. I thought it would be easier than most projects since I didn’t have to start from scratch, but it turned out that wasn’t the case at all!
What was most challenging about creating the piece?
The most difficult part of this project was making the icons as large as possible without pushing any other figures into the background, or making any of the images unrecognizable. 7′ x 10′ seems like a big amount of space, but when you have to put so many huge figures in one area you quickly realize it’s not nearly enough!