Blog

A journey to fitness and health

By Sebastian Gonzalez – Drupal Developer at Santex

My journey begins in early 2014, at the time I went to see a dermatologist for a few spots that I found on my legs. The dermatologist told me that it was acanthosis pigmentaria, and that they were due to my being overweight. At that time, my weight was about 110 kilos (242 lbs.) or a little more, had a very poor diet – lots of take out, lots of soda, many processed meals (bread, pastries), only a few vegetables and no fruit.

Sebastian GonzalezparablogchicaI signed up for a gym without a clear idea of what to do: that I should lose weight. At first, they recommended that I start on the stationary bike in addition to an exercise routine that was, at the very least, boring. Those were the first few weeks, and then little by little I began to like the routines that the coach was giving me and I started to enjoy training at the gym. In the meantime, the coach started demanding more and more of me.

When it came to my diet, I knew that it was the key to losing weight. Little by little I started changing certain eating habits. I started to plan my meals and set a day when I could eat more fattening foods (I still eat sandwiches and pizzas on my “cheat” days). I had to change my breakfast habits too – I used to not eat breakfast at all or just grab something quick on the way to work. I stopped drinking soda and eating certain foods at night.

Within the first 14 months, I lost almost 30 kilos (66 lbs). At a first glance, this seems like a large number, but I did some calculations and it evens out to about 500 grams (about 1 lb) per week. The truth is that weight loss is not a consistent progression. Sometimes I lost 500g per week, and afterwards weeks would go by where I would plateau and not lose even 1 gram. It’s times like that when you need to learn to be persistent and not give up, and just continue trying day after day. It’s not an easy journey that one sets out on to try to change or improve one’s life, but the people by my side supported me and encouraged along the way, and they didn’t let me fall. It’s also nice to hear when friends or coworkers comment on the weight you’ve lost and how they notice your body changing. That’s encouraging.

Today, my food plan is quite varied. My breakfasts usually include yogurt, fruit, granola, and peanut butter. My lunches focus on protein like beef, chicken, pork, and eggs, in addition to a healthy source of carbohydrates like broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, and brown rice. Dinners also revolve around a protein and lots of veggies like lettuce, tomato, carrots, arugula, cabbage, etc.

When people ask me how I lost so much weight and totally changed my body, the first thing I say is that you have to have persistence and the drive to keep going. There are going to be difficult moments in which you feel anxious and want to buy everything at the grocery store! But you’ll see how your body changes bit by bit and you’ll feel stronger and have more energy. You won’t get as tired at work – you’ll sleep better at night and feel more awake during the day. You can’t put a price on those feelings. I always recommend doing a physical activity, whatever it may be. If you like soccer, play it. If you like to run, go do it. If you’re a gym person like myself, be methodical with your training plan. Whatever the activity you prefer, the important thing is to stick to it.

My journey continues, and each day I strive to improve my diet and improve my training. I try to communicate my life experiences with others so that they feel motivated to become more physically active. With a little bit of perseverance you can achieve big things.

Trends for IT Execs and CIOs to Aniticipate

By Juan Santiago, CEO & Co-Founder of Santex

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Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world’s most important gathering of CIOs and Senior IT executives. Attendees gain an unbiased and insightful perspective on what the future holds for the industry. This year, Santex’s CEO Juan Santiago traveled to Orlando, Florida, to attend the Symposium in October. Here’s a peek at what he learned, and what trends we can expect for the IT industry in the near future.

 What were the 3 highlights of the Symposium?

My Key take-aways are:

Data is king!

Organizations that learn to maximize the value chain of their ecosystems are the future.

Digital Platform + Leadership + Business Contribution = Your Ecosystem.

The market is Customer-Value-Centric.

Customers that get value, and feel valued, will advocate for your business:

  • Create communities, user groups, and advocacy programs for customers.

  • Embrace a wide range of advocacy activities to let customers help you in ways that work not just for you, but for them.

96% of satisfied customers said they would be willing to participate in reference/advocacy activities.

Strategic marketing, sales and practice leaders must tell their story in the customer’s context. This suggests aligning messaging to desired business outcomes and related roles of their buyers both in IT and business.

Context in this case means explaining value in terms of vertical markets and business imperatives that could be externally or internally facing (e.g., digital supply chain optimization vs. collaborative engineering).

What are the most important trends in the IT world that were discussed at the Symposium?

Product Innovation

TSP CEOs are using innovation projects and leveraging digital business to drive growth through better engagement with customers. Investment is being driven toward sales and customer-facing roles instead of toward new product development or cost-saving measures.

Cloud Strategies

Strategic planners need to identify and address the opportunities and risks associated with the shift in IT spending due to the adoption of cloud computing. Providers must ensure they are the beneficiaries of cloud shift in order to minimize legacy revenue erosion and maximize cloud revenue growth.

Go-to-Market Secret Success

Technology buying teams, in both midsize and large enterprises, work on multiple categories of purchases at the same time. To improve marketing and sales effectiveness, TSPs must develop deep understanding of accounts to ensure that their offerings stay high on the enterprise’s diverse list of priorities.

These are the key trends I see in the market today.

 Strategic Trends:

1. Disappearing Data Centers
2. Interconnect Fabrics
3. Containers and Applications Steams

Tactical Trends:

  1. Business Driven IT
  2. DCaaS – IT Delivers Services, NOT Infrastructure
  3. Stranded Capacity
  4. IoT

Organizational Trends:

1. Remote Device (Thing) Management
2. Micro and Edge Computing Environments
3. New Roles in IT

How does Latin America fit in the market?

Huge opportunities!

With globalization as it has progressed today, many Latin American countries have fallen off the wagon due to their political and economic challenges. That is rapidly changing and as technology paves the road to lower costs of easier product and services adoption. Markets become less regulated, and more investments and more reliable infrastructure set the perfect stage for more countries to jump back on the trends and take advantage of them.

At the same time, may Latin American countries, such as Argentina, are extremely well positioned to provide the necessary talented workforce when it comes to IT development, due to its higher level of education, cultural fit, and competitive cost to countries, like the US,  where IT talent is scarce. It’s a known issue and companies see this as one of their primary roadblocks to scalability.

So, I guess it’s fair to say that Latin America, for the first time in many years, has it both ways.

What are the new challenges that CIOs have to face in the industry?

  1. Fear to change and how that will ultimately affect their job and organization
  2.  Access to talent
  3. Leaner processes
Most CIOs know they need to see these new trends deployed within their organizations or they could potentially be out of business. The questions is how you go about it.

Many CIOs have their strategy in place and are eager to implement some of these changes. Yet they are faced with lots of red-tape, internal politics, cultural resistance, and the right leadership in their key people whom they rely on for a successful outcome.

How can you apply what you’ve learned to Santex?

I see that we are moving in the right direction.

A few years ago, we embarked on a path of disruption and innovation –  both internally and externally. We set out to become a composable company, and we did it!

Today, I see that the foundation can propel Santex to face all these new challenges, as strong as ever before.

Our long term vision and organizational changes that we have faced in the past two years will prove invaluable to the company in the years to come.

Despite our relatively modest size as a company, I’ve learned we are at the cutting edge of many of these trends. All that is left is to continue the path we have chosen and expand upon it.

 

Dancing Doesn’t Have to be on the Floor

When people think of pole dancing, they may not realize what a challenging sport it is. This is usually because they know very little about what it involves. Here, Pamela Linera tells us a bit more about what her favorite sport entails and how it benefits both mind and body.

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How did you start pole dancing?

I started pole dancing 6 years ago. Growing up, I had never been an athletic person, mostly because sports bore me. At one point, I made the decision that I should exercise more and practice something,  so I Google searched and pole dance caught my attention. I signed up for a trial class and have been hooked ever since!

What do you feel is the most important takeaway from pole dancing?

I love pole dancing because it makes you confront things on a very personal level. When you present or compete, you’re half naked wearing skimpy clothing, and you look in the mirror and have to accept yourself for how you are. The challenge begins the first time you try it. You feel ridiculous and insecure, but it’s something you have to work on and improve.

The moves require a lot of concentration, because you’re holding a specific position for an extended amount of time, and it can be painful. You have to find strength from different areas of your body to support yourself. At the same time, you’re trying to make this move look effortless and beautiful to the people who are watching you, and it’s almost like an act. You have to smile and pretend everything is ok!

Pole dancing is also challenging because of the risk involved. Complex moves take practice, and you’re body is always at risk of falling.

How do you get better at the sport?

I do a lot of cross training with different classes at my studio, Flow Studio. They offer classes on circus training, aerobics and dance, all of which help improve my technique and performance at the competitive level. I also use yoga to improve flexibility.

Practice really makes perfect. I train every morning at 6am and try to practice at home in my free time as well. What I love about pole dance is that you constantly strive to improve, and push yourself to the limit mentally and physically and try new things.

Tell us about the competitive aspect of pole dancing.

There are competitive shows and presentations. I participated in my first one last year, and I was so nervous! It’s all those feelings you have when you initially start the sport about insecurity, embarrassment, feeling self-conscious about your body… but in front of an audience! It went well in the end, but I hope to still improve. That’s where the addiction is – in perseverance and constantly trying to improve yourself.

What do you see for the future of pole dance?

Currently, they’re trying to implement stricter rules to get pole dancing to become an Olympic sport. Right now, there’s an Olympic sport that’s similar, which is Mastil from China. The goal is to implement more guidelines so routines are perceived as less sexy and more for the athletic challenge that they pose. I think it would be great to see it recognized by the Olympics.

 

Rethinking the concept of corporate management

Business Agile Management and Design thinking approach

By Walter Abrigo & Celeste Torresi

A new tendency is emerging in which software project management techniques and principles are taken outside of the IT world and applied to other forms of business. This is the idea behind Agile methodologies and design thinking.

Agile methodologies were first introduced in the ‘90s as a backlash against the strict and structured methodologies that existed at the time that were based on the Cascade model.

Specific cultural factors carry a lot of weight in being able to successfully implement Agile methodologies. Although Agile teams, projects, and individuals exist outside of the IT world, a change in mentality is required for those businesses that want to be completely Agile.

The concept of design thinking began at Stanford University in the ‘70s, where the concept was used to analyze and solve complex problems collectively by focusing on the viability and feasibility of ideas and putting people at the center of observation.

This theoretic framework implies that organizations should forget structured responses when tackling problems, and instead address them in a new way with an innovative solution.

The reality of businesses

Corporate processes help ensure that managers and directors make appropriate financial and management decisions to lead their teams effectively and control deliverables and quality produced in the final products.

 However, such processes can quickly become strict and rigid, centralizing all of the authority and information of a project or business. Such aspects are contrasted in the Agile Manifesto, which indicates that value should be places on: people and interactions related to processes and tools; complete client requirements with documentation; client collaboration in negotiating contracts; and response to change regarding concrete plans.

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An organization that aims to adapt itself to the changing needs of its clients requires an organizational structure that is as efficient as it is functional. An Agile organization meets these needs by reducing hierarchies and minimizing excess communication, creating autonomous groups that are interdisciplinary and transverse.

Our Focus

In conjuncture with our formal and conventional structure, Santex built an Agile framework from which three teams are formed to manage the core processes of the company: Sales, Human Capital, and Development, These teams work collaboratively to achieve common objectives.

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This demonstrates how Agile methodologies can be limited not only to development teams, but can be applied throughout the entire organization as a vehicle for improving the company as a whole.

Furthermore, maintaining the quality parameters of CMMI and ISO norms as a reference, we strive to reduce inefficiencies and obstacles with daily and weekly meetings, backlogs, and metrics.

This enables us to achieve extraordinary results for the three critical processes in the company. In examining our client relationships, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) that we earned during Q2 of 2016 is 87.5. Our rate or retention for clients and collaborators so far this year is 91.21%, and our development processes have achieved an efficiency rating of 85.3%, with an annual improvement of 12% this year.

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With special emphasis on our clients and aspiring to add value to every project from start to finish, Santex creates prototypes and project models with diverse technical content and close attention to detail. We try to observe the client and put ourselves in their shoes, brainstorming and testing different ideas to create the best possible solution for them internally and externally.

Overall, we concentrate our everyday management on the concept of continuous and incremental improvement while simultaneously forging space for creativity and innovative proposals with each project. Our three core competencies are applied throughout our organizational culture to reinforce the implementation of these concepts: effective communication, flexibility, and result-oriented performance.

INTO THE WILD

Manuel Varela has worked as a Java Developer at Santex for almost a year now. He is passionate about hiking and discovering new places.

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  • When did your passion for trekking start?

I think I was 15 years old. I lived all my childhood in Rio de los Sauces (a village in the Valle de Calamuchita – Córdoba) and for a few years my dad was a wildlife ranger in the region. He protected the trout from the area against poachers. I used to go with him sometimes and take long walks along the shores of rivers. That woke in me something I had never felt before, “the pleasure of enjoying nature in its pure state”.

My first outing was at 18 with two friends. We went to the “Hidden Village” at the base of Cerro Aspero.

It’s part of a mining complex that began its operations in the late 19th century and was abandoned in the mid-twentieth century, leaving most of the facilities and machinery intact and even some of the tunnels open.

I highly recommend for people to go. It’s hard to get to by car, but you can leave the car a few miles before and just walk :)

  • What was the most challenging adventure you undertook?

The most challenging trip I took was a couple of years ago in Patagonia, Argentina. I went with 3 friends to tour the early stages of the “Andean footprint“,  a path linking the different lakes of various national parks in Patagonia, near the town of San Martin de los Andes in Neuquén.

The trip lasted a week, crossing the trails within the Lanin National Park. Everyday we were moving places, walking between 10 and 15 km per day carrying all our luggage on our backs. Our backpacks weighed about 20kg each, considering that we had a tent, sleeping bags, food, water and clothing among other things needed to survive that week.

The adventure was unforgettable! The landscapes were incredible. During the trip, we went through different sights like the base of the Lanin volcano (whose peak is covered with snow all year), vast forests of native trees (such as Araucaria), rivers and lakes with absolutely crystal clear waters, rivers petrified by volcanic lava and we even walked for several miles in of volcanic ash, which made walking challenging.

  • What would you recommend to someone who wants to start trekking?

You don’t need to be an expert or be physically fit or have the latest tech equipment for trekking. You just need have desire to have a good time outdoors walking around and be very curious to discover new places.

I would recommend you start walking through parks and green areas around your city with a backpack, water, and some healthy snacks (like fruit, for example).

If that you like it, you can contact one of the groups that organizes hikes on the weekends. Here in Cordoba, for example, I know of at least 10 groups that organize trekking trips around the area to spend the day and with a low level of difficulty so that everyone can do it.

As for equipment, it is important to invest in good shoes, and secondly a good backpack that fits your body.

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Manuel and his friends camping at the base of Lanin, at the Huechulafquen lake.

  • Where would you like to go next?

In the near future I plan to go with a friend to Quebrada del Condorito National Park for 2 weeks.

In the long term, I would like to continue with the stages of the “Huella Andina”. I want to continue with the trails southbound of San Martin de los Andes to reach the Nahuel Huapi National Park until I can complete it someday (there are 24 stages).

TIPS

  • Trekking is a very relaxing activity. It takes you out of the noise and fast pace of the city to meet in a quiet place with pure, fresh air. It clears your head of your problems.

  • A great book to read as inspiration is “Into the Wild”. It tells the story of a young American who was fed up with society and materialism decided to donate all his money and start traveling through the U.S. living in an abandoned bus.

LET’S ENTER FANTASY WORLD

LORENZO SAUCHELLI – PHP and Front-End Developer at Santex

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  • Is Lucero del Alba your first novel? Have you written anything else?

Well, it’s my first novel in quite a while, and it’s also the first one I intend to actually publish once it’s done.

When I was younger I used to spend most of my day writing (either in Spanish or English, whatever fit my mood at the moment). I wrote and completed one fantasy novel, started others that I never finished, in addition to several short stories.

I have to admit that I have recently re-read a few of my older stories and figuratively puked. My writing back then wasn’t all that good. It wasn’t bad. But I certainly thought I was better than I actually was. I hope I have grown since then and that my current stuff is actually good and not just ‘good’ in my opinion.

  • What is the novel about?

Lucero del Alba is a fantasy story about two girls who, when their parents send them to camp for the duration of their summer break, get lost in another world. One of these girls finds a strange-looking morningstar – basically a warhammer with spikes. Soon they realize the world they’re stuck in is not exactly Lord of the Rings, but a kind of prison-world for all the supernatural monsters that roamed through the ages. One of these monsters is responsible for bringing them there and intends to use them so they can break out of this supernatural prison.

  • How long have you been writing it?

I started it four years ago, plotted it, wrote some scenes, created characters and the rules of the world. However, I didn’t touch it for all of many years until recently, when I dusted off my rusty writing skills and notes and decided to go ahead and write the whole thing.

  • What inspired you to write it?

Dreams, movies, cartoons, books. Everything inspires me. I don’t think there was any one particular thing that inspired me and made me say, “Yes, that’s going to be my book!”

For instance, the concept of a girl lost in a strange fantasy world perhaps came from “Labyrinth”, which was a favorite of mine as a kid. The concept of the snarky girl protagonist came from Daria. The rest… it just gets foggy in my mind. A lot of it is inspired by stuff I wrote when I was younger: there’s this creature that’s a hulking monstrosity and it has cobras coming off its back, and it has a mask that covers its face completely. It’s my rendition of a gorgon. I wrote about this monster when I was 15, and I decided to recycle the idea into this novel, because I like how it looks in my mind’s eye.

For a while, before I finally decided to write it as a novel, I wanted to make this story into a videogame, “Battle Wizard Morningstar”. A lot of the ideas I have written in the current iteration of the novel come from this ‘gaming’ phase. I had some character models and everything set up, but discovered that the time needed to make a game is completely different from the time needed to write a novel. You can write a novel if you dedicate some fifteen minutes a day to it, but you need several hours every single day if you want to make a game.

When I finally decided that I was not making a game, but a novel instead, I started writing in English, with the working title of “Morningstar”. I thought that it would have a better chance of finding readers if it was written in English. However soon I scratched that idea and translated everything back to Spanish, and consequently it became “Lucero del Alba” again.

I will probably write it in English sooner or later, but for now I’m focusing on finishing it in Spanish.

  • Who are your favorite authors?

There are way too many to make a list. But the ones I like to read and re-read quite often are probably Borges, Tolkien, Hemingway, Doyle, Christie, and a few others.

Currently I’m a fan of Max Landis, a writer who has an amazing ability to pitch incredible stories in the blink of an eye. He’s also behind two of my favorite short movies of all time: “The Death and Return of Superman” and “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling”. He also wrote “Chronicle”, a fantastic story about kids who gain telekinetic powers.

  • What’s your dream as a writer?

To publish my book and have people I know read it and tell me what they think. Does it suck? Is it good? Did you like that thing that happened in the sixth chapter? I want to have this conversation with people in real life.

After that? I will hopefully start another novel right after the first one is complete.

You can read some of Lorenzo’s work here

QA, A Misunderstood Role

By Gabriela Chaves – QA Analyst at Santex

Why it is important to fully understand the role and it’s benefits

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If you have been close to the software development process, chances are that you have experienced working on agile projects where it is common to conduct a small waterfall model in which the QA runs tests on late stages of development or perhaps there’s no QA assigned at all. In my experience, I find that this reveals only a slight notion of what a QA does and the impact his or her work has on an agile project. I believe it’s beneficial to share deeper insight on the responsibilities of this position.

The QA applies an analytical mindset throughout the complete process with this concept in mind:

“Are we building the right product, and, if so, are we building it correctly?”

A person in this role is someone who constantly questions all parts of the development process to ensure the team is producing the desired output. Kenny Cruden indicates this in his article “The QA Role – What Is It Really?” It is also referenced in international quality norms and standards such as ISO 9000 and CMMI dev with the name “Verification and Validation”.

Adding detail to the already known activities, a QA also thoroughly analyzes the product to be developed, and from sprint zero starts suggesting improvements and changes, polishing unclear aspects, detecting possible discrepancies and bugs, and bringing attention to items that may have been overlooked, with the aim of avoiding issues before they come up. Working side by side with Business Analysts and Developers, a QA and his or her team will not only develop an usable product, but they will also deliver one that suits the client’s needs. By constantly keeping in mind the business and the user perspectives, the QA helps build a better, stronger, and more reliable product, resulting in a satisfied customer and a greater appreciation for the company’s work.

There’s an internal benefit as well as Stephanie Dedhar points out in her article “Six irresistible benefits of real quality assurance.”

‘A focus on QA helps to develop a culture of continuous improvement. Colleagues will help each other develop, challenging things and preventing complacency setting in and leading to carelessness. In my experience, high standards are infectious – if one or two members of the team set the right example and pick up even the littlest things, these good habits will spread and you’ll develop a true QA culture.’

From all of this we can infer that the work performed by quality control specialists has a bigger impact than assumed by the people outside the project, providing an increase in quality and helping make the client happy with the end results. It can also be noted that starting the work early as previously described can result in increased client satisfaction and a reduction of rework, in turn reducing the total costs of the project.

About the Author – Gabriela Chaves is an experienced QA Analyst at Santex,  passionate about her work. Great analytical skills and quick learner.

Sources

Kenny Cruden – https://www.thoughtworks.com/insights/blog/qa-role-what-it-really

Stephanie Dedhar – https://stephaniededhar.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/six-benefits-of-real-quality-assurance/

The Concorde Fallacy

By Annett Koegler, Co-founder at Santex

Why we finish movies we aren’t enjoying, stay in bad relationships, hold on to investments that are underperforming.

 

When you lose something permanently, it hurts.

In order to avoid this negative feeling we do irrational things. You probably have been to a restaurant and ordered something terrible, but you ate it anyway. You didn’t want to waste the money, so you suffered through it. Or you went to a concert even though you did not feel like or something else was more interesting. You still went in order to justify spending money you knew you could never get back. If you can identify with any of these stories, you fell victim to the sunk cost fallacy, also known as the Concorde fallacy.

The Concorde was a joint development program of the British and French governments that continued when the economic benefits of the project were no longer possible. It was designed to be a supersonic passenger aircraft but its lasting legacy resides mostly in game theory, where it has been adopted as a description of irrational behavior.

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The fallacy is known for valuing a project based on how much you’ve invested, its “sunk costs”, rather than on its real present value.

If its value is negative and future costs outweigh future benefits, you should abandon it, regardless of how much you’ve already invested. No decision can influence what you’ve already spent, and only future costs and benefits should be allowed to affect decisions.

It is difficult to overcome our own irrationality, we take general good rules and misapply them. We tend think of money we’ve already lost as being ‘still on the table,’ and if only we increase the commitment, we could get it back. To leave would force us to admit our mistake and deal with the cost.

“Pride goeth before destruction” - Proverbs 16:18

Why?

One explanation is the reward that is placed to fall pray of the fallacy by our institutions. In politics for example we do not pay the price for being wrong individually, since not one person decides the election. We usually make voting decisions that are biased and ill-informed. Unlike politics, the market does often punish those who fall for the sunken cost fallacy. Companies are rewarded for overcoming people’s biases, while vote-seeking politicians are rewarded for gratifying them.

Another explanation is loss aversion. From a psychological point most people prefer to keep their losses low, even if it means enduring a bad experience.

We humans are unique. We like to hang on to investments that we know are going to fail, in an effort to recuperate the money already invested.

We stay in careers that make us unhappy, since we are already with the company for 10 years and it has to get better as some point.

We don’t realize that the time and money you’ve sunk is irrelevant, because it is a backward looking decisions.

The exact reasons why people pay attention to sunk costs are not clear, but the smartest choice is most likely to walk away and cut your losses, something most are not will to do. Our decisions should be for the future and not for justifying the past.

“After a crisis we tell ourselves we understand why it happened and maintain the illusion that the world is understandable. In fact, we should accept the world is incomprehensible much of the time.’” -Daniel Kahneman

About the Author – Annett Koegler is the co-founder of Santex. Former web developer and now managing the global financial affairs of Santex. Growing up in Communist East Germany, building a company in the United States, Argentina and Peru, and living across multiple continents, her life is far from basic. If you can’t find her behind her desk or on the next airplane, she is running, paddle boarding or exploring some undiscovered parts of this world.

5 WWDC ’16 Announcements Every Software Development Company Needs to Know

By Coleman Miller – iOS Developer at Santex

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Apple made a lot of announcements last month in its annual World Wide Developer Conference, and introduced the latest versions of its operating systems and developer tools. Here is a breakdown of the most important announcements that will affect software development companies moving forward.

1. SiriKit

In my opinion, this is the most sought-after functionality developers and clients alike have requested over the years. Well, its finally here. Apple is providing a public API so third parties can develop iOS extensions that trigger in response to Siri. The only drawback is that it is limited to the following categories:

  • Audio or video calling
  • Messaging
  • Payments
  • Searching photos
  • Workouts
  • Ride booking

In addition to these new features, its worth mentioning that Siri already supports automotive control features with CarPlay, and HomeKit has allowed allowed Home Automation with Siri since iOS 8. This new API is going to help usher in a wave of innovation and new categories of mobile apps we haven’t seen before. It will also greatly improve the UX of existing apps like Uber and WhatsApp.

2. Swift 3

Although this should be #1 on this list, I believe Swift will bring more changes to software industry in the long term, but short term, Swift 3.0 is a huge improvement from 2.3. One of the biggest breaking changes is Apple adding “Swift Overlays” to its frameworks (some of which were originally written in Objective-C in the 90s) to make Swift a first-class citizen for iOS development. Another breaking change that will affect every single iOS app (with any Swift code), is the move by Apple to forgo classes in favor of structs and value types in its Foundation framework. This is more than a simple API change, it’s in fact, a huge paradigm change for current Apple Developers and programmers coming from other languages like Java, C#, and JavaScript. C developers should feel at home though. Unlike last year, Apple is letting developers chose between Swift 3.0 and Swift 2.3 for publishing apps to the App Store, so developers can take their time migrating to the new version of Swift.

3. Home App

When HomeKit was announced in iOS 8, it took a while for companies to make their existing IoT products HomeKit-compatible. Fast forward 2 years, and now HomeKit is a first-class citizen of iOS, even shipping a beautiful `Home.app` on your home screen. HomeKit’s goal is the unification of IoT and Home Automation products by adopting an Apple-defined protocol so they can easily talk to each other. This allows you to control the lights in your house via Siri, and setup home automation rules (Apple calls them “Scenes”) similar to what IFTTT does with apps. While Apple has accomplished this goal protocol-wise (by providing both HTTP and Bluetooth variations of its HomeKit Accessory Protocol to encompass all manner of devices), besides the Siri integration, Apple provided no user interface for HomeKit, and on the app side, that experience was fragmented. With the new Home app, centralized home automation is easier than ever, and you won’t need to download the specific third-party apps for each HomeKit accessory you purchase. This should boost HomeKit’s popularity and demand with hardware developers.

4. WatchOS GPU-accelerated Games

WatchOS is in a special category of iOS development due to the lack of native APIs like OpenGL and UIKit. While most attribute the App Store’s success to the proliferation of mobile games, that innovation and boom would have not been possible had the iPhone only allowed Web apps like Steve Jobs originally planned. Due to the issue of battery life, the Apple Watch provides a very limited API for native apps, in fact, its more limited then making an average website. One way Apple wants to lure developers to its WatchOS platform is by allowing them to make OpenGL accelerated 2D and 3D games with its SpriteKit and SceneKit frameworks. Since this is what many developers have asked for since day one, it will promote a boom of WatchOS games, like we see on the iOS and tvOS platforms. One drawback is the fact that those platforms can use OpenGL and natively port their code from Android, to iOS. WatchOS game developers will have to rewrite their rendering code for Apple’s platform.

5. Message and Map Extensions

With the introduction of iOS extensions in iOS 8, Apple has allowed third party apps to embed a part of their app in Apple’s stock apps (e.g. Contacts, Photos) and other third party apps. Now in iOS 10, developer’s can write extensions for the Message and Map stock apps. This will allow users to use apps like Uber and Yelp in the stock `Maps.app` without having to switch between contexts. The Message extensions allow all manner of custom content in the stock iOS messaging app, again, allowing for a new category of mobile apps.

About the AuthorColeman Miller is an experienced iOS Developer at Santex,  passionate about his work.  Coleman is continuously learning and training to investigate new technologies.

Key ingredient to success: being stuck with lazy workers

By Annett Koegler, Co-founder at Santex, Mentor at Incutex

We all remember at least one of those moments when traffic seemed to be backed up for no reason. When you finally pass through the cause for all of this commotion, you find a small road construction. One worker is digging furiously in the hole and three or four coworkers are chatting and watching on. What follows next is the classic car conversation, “Really, do they need that big of a ‘mental’ support team?”road-closed-excused-from-work-300x289 (1)

Let’s look a little further, at your office. How many coworkers do you know that hardly ever work while you run behind from one meeting after the other, from one deadline after the other? They seem to have endless time talking to others about life, drinking coffee, and staying up-to-date on Facebook.

It turns out that we are not alone – the same scenarios happen in the insect world. To be precise, in ant colonies, according to Eisuke Hasegawa, a professor at Hokkaido University in Japan.

On average about fifty percent of ants are absolutely doing nothing. They’re resting, grooming, or walking around.

How can colonies with such inefficiency survive and thrive? However, Hasegawa’s study, which was published in February 2016 in Nature, shows that colonies with a significant percentage of inactive workers are actually more resilient. They benefit from a reserve workforce to replace tired worker ants.

“In insect colonies, some tasks are considered to be so critical that they must be performed continuously. Once a catastrophic disaster happens, all active workers are to become completely fatigued simultaneously, so that no tasks can be processed by these active workers. If there are no inactive workers, no worker could engage in such crucial tasks, resulting in serious damage to the survival of the colony. However, if there are sufficient numbers of inactive workers with very high thresholds for task stimuli, they are capable of performing those crucial tasks when all active workers become completely fatigued due to the disaster. Then, the colony is effectively buffered from experiencing such dangerous conditions. Thus, colonies with a high proportion of inactive workers are likely to persist considerably longer than those without such a ‘failsafe’ system, even though the short-term productivity of such colonies becomes much lower than those with no inactive workers.”

This can also be applied to humans if we use the inefficiency as a backup power. A wise person once told me, if you want your project to be done on time and the most efficiently, give it to the laziest member in the team.

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In today’s culture, we value work that is done fast, but is it better?  You receive an important email in your mailbox and you want to answer it right away to show how productive and fast you are. How many times have you reread that email later and thought of all the things you forgot to add?

Thoughts and analyses need time, and for that we have to slow down, focus, and gain perspective. Otherwise we burn out and won’t have an inactive “ant” there to help us.

And in the case of the construction site, maybe you do need 4 workers to dig that hole. Imagine having to dig for hours to repair the problem and put the hole back together… alone, in 90F heat and no shade…

About the Author – Annett Koegler is the co-founder of Santex. Former web developer and now managing the global financial affairs of Santex. Growing up in Communist East Germany, building a company in the United States, Argentina and Peru, and living across multiple continents, her life is far from basic. If you can’t find her behind her desk or on the next airplane, she is running, paddle boarding or exploring some undiscovered parts of this world.