Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots



A weekly podcast discussing the design, development, and business of great software. Hosted by thoughtbot CEO, Chad Pytel, and rotating cast of fellow developers, designers, and entrepreneurs, we delve deep behind the scenes of the products and technologies we love.


  • 18: Trading Hours for Money

    29/10/2012 Duración: 39min

    Ben Orenstein is joined by Brennan Dunn, author of double your freelancing rate and Ben and Brennan discuss transitioning from a freelancer to a consulting company, the issues he faced doing it, and how he overcame them. How he promoted someone to replace him in his consulting company and is focused exclusively on products now, where Planscope came from, how it works, and how he more than doubled the conversion rate. How content marketing was slow to work for him, and how he fixed it. How to effectively pitch and sell products, what victory looks like for him and what he's working for, and so much more. Double Your Freelancing Rate in 14 Days Planscope, Project Management for Independents Kalzumeus Podcast 3: Growing Consulting Practices, with Brennan Dunn Workshop: Start Your Own Multi-Million Dollar Consultancy Ramit Sethi, I Will Teach You To Be Rich The Brain Audit: Why Customers Buy (And Why They Don't) Bidsketch Freckle MicroConf Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, and @brennandunn on twitter.

  • 17: I'm feeling full and Sassy

    22/10/2012 Duración: 25min

    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. Bourbon Bourbon Neat Sass Design for Developers Golden ratio Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, and @kylefiedler on twitter.

  • 16: Making it fast

    15/10/2012 Duración: 35min

    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. tddium (Solano Labs) Go eventmachine Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, and @tddium on twitter.

  • 15: Moving money should be free

    08/10/2012 Duración: 43min

    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. SCVNGR LevelUp TEDX Talks, "Seth Priebatsch: The game layer on top of the world" TED Talks, "Iain Hutchison: Saving faces" Isis mobile wallet Reach the Beach Relay Killington Spartan Race Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, and @sethpriebatsch on twitter.

  • 14: Say goodbye to that big guy

    01/10/2012 Duración: 30min

    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. Prems Boston.rb talk and video: What to Expect in Rails 4.0 strong_parameters Queue cache_digests Russian (Matryoshka) doll Basecamp next Basecamp next RAM and caching hardware ActiveRecord::Relation Null Object pattern Tell Don't Ask ActiveResource Prem's first commit to Rails docrails Ruby on Rails Guides Follow @thoughtbot, @sikachu on twitter.

  • 13: I'll disagree in just a little bit

    24/09/2012 Duración: 30min

    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. Rails Guide: Active Record Validations and Callbacks Rails Guide: Action Controller, Filters Blog post: Ruby and KISS, Sitting in a Tree Method Object Feature Envy Rack: a Ruby Webserver Interface Rails Guide: Rails on Rack Rack::Cache Blog post: Use Factory Girl’s build_stubbed for a Faster Test Suite Blog post: Mind-Bending Factories Metaprogramming in the Wild: Source-Diving FactoryGirl Follow @thoughtbot, @joeferris, and @joshuaclayton on twitter.

  • 12: I think I'll be on a yacht

    17/09/2012 Duración: 38min

    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. Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, and @jankowski on twitter.

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

    10/09/2012 Duración: 54min

    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. Corpus callosum Riak Overview Basho Ruby client for Riak Dynamo: Amazon’s Highly Available Key-value Store - PDF Eventual consistency Riak: Read Repair BitTorrent Swarms Distributed hash table Riak: Ring Riak: Gossiping Cassandra Project Voldemort Strangeloop, Sept 23-25, 2012 RICON, Oct 10-11, 2012 Why Riak Erlang Programming Language Pragmatic Programmers: Erlang in Practice screencast Erl

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

    03/09/2012 Duración: 43min

    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! Structure and Interpretation of Computer

  • 9: TDD for Business!!

    24/08/2012 Duración: 50min

    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. Stand-up meeting Blog post: Keeping the Pressure On Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, and @cpytel on twitter.

  • 8: Wax on, Wax off

    17/08/2012 Duración: 30min

    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, Edward is a current design apprentice. Gabe, Edward, and Ben talk about, 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. Apprenticship Patterns The Pickaxe Red-Black Trees The Rise of The Software Apprenticeship Academy (BostInno) Lessons Learned From Our Development/Designer Apprenticeship Program (BostInno) "Gang of Four" Design Patterns Intrepid Labs Take the Interview Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, @gabebw and @edwardloveall on twitter.

  • 7: Something Else Was Smellier

    10/08/2012 Duración: 34min

    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. Object Mentor blog, Objects vs. Structures Robert Martin Shape Hierarchy (Open Closed Principle) Martin Fowler's Refactoring Code smell Case statement code smell Visitor pattern Shotgun surgery Method object Composition over inheritance paperclip Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests thoughtbot's Parkinson's Law of Triviality (bikeshedding) Broken windows theory rspec's let and subject Mystery Guest Follow @thoughtbot, @r00k, and @joeferris on twitter.

  • 6: MVP of Personal Hygiene

    03/08/2012 Duración: 44min

    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. Abakas Microway "Screamer 533" DEC Multia Abakas Follow @thoughtbot and @r00k on twitter.

  • 5: My wife is getting really into whiskey

    27/07/2012 Duración: 48min

    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. "Cowboy" Ben Alman Bocoup Ben Alman's enormous project listing Bocoup Sublime Text 2 M+ monospace font Ben Alman's dotfiles and gpr Grunt on github, Grunt introduction jake JSHint npm CoffeeScript Variadic function YUI Compressor Bulleit Bourbon The Macallan Big Ben Hillman @ The Big Easy Follow @thoughtbot, @cowboy, and @r00k on twitter.

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

    20/07/2012 Duración: 37min

    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. Stattleship Follow @thoughtbot, @stattleship, and @r00k on twitter.

  • 3: The FactoryGirl Representation of a Factory

    13/07/2012 Duración: 40min

    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. FactoryGirl The Pickaxe factory_girl_rails factory_girl Google Group FactoryGirl Tips and Tricks Integration Tests Are a Scam Lone Star Ruby Conference Follow @thoughtbot, @joshuaclayton, and @r00k on twitter.

  • 2: Design with a sip of Bourbon

    23/06/2012 Duración: 35min

    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. Bourbon Dribbble Dan Cederholm - Dribbble Lea Verou - Twitter Benjamin De Cock - Twitter Jason Santa Maria - Twitter Trent Walton Adobe Fireworks Bourbon Sass Bourbon Grid-Width Bourbon Font Stacks

  • 1: Polymorphism vs. Conditionals

    12/06/2012 Duración: 31min

    Ben Orenstein and Joe Ferris (and the surprise special guest Seana Quental) start the series off with a very technical discussion about Polymorphism vs. Conditionals. We also answer some of the audience questions we asked for last week. CVS SVN Git Feature branch code reviews Rebasing Composition over Inheritance Objects on Rails, Avdi Grimm NullObject Rails Refactoring Example: Introduce Null Object #try God objects Rich Hickey's Railsconf Keynote Kingdom of Nouns, Steve Yeggie Ruby blocks StrategyPattern CommandPattern Clearance Gang of Four Design Patterns

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