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Cognition

Articles By:

Mark Huot

  1. Switch Programming

    Posted on 1/23/14

    There are countless sayings about fresh perspective: “A little distance will give you a whole new perspective,” “You need to step away for a while,” etc. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where that’s not always possible—or practical. I have a very hard time getting up and walking away from my computer when I’m in the middle of a problem. My mind wants to sit and work right through it, no matter how long it takes.

    Luckily, I work at a company that encourages collaborative problem solving. Someone always walks by my desk, hears my mutter, and asks me what’s up. Typically, explaining the issue is enough to help solve it (or at least put me on the correct track).

  1. Automating Your Deployments

    Posted on 11/14/13

    Deploying a website to a web server is hard. Not “It’ll take some extra time” hard or “We’ll need some help” hard. It’s “Get a whiteboard and plan out the thing A Beautiful Mind-style” hard. It’s easy to look at your code, look at your server, and just drag/drop files to production. It’s a lot more difficult to set up an automated system that will do that for you.

    At Happy Cog, we work in a variety of technical situations, and our deployment strategies must be extensible enough to suit each and every need. We deploy to Windows servers and to *nix servers. In some situations, we deploy code as well as content. We deploy PHP websites on some servers and Ruby web workers on others.

  1. Sweat the Small Stuff

    Posted on 6/6/13

    Time and time again, we’re told “don’t sweat the small stuff” and focus on the things that really matter. Typically, we hear this when we’re obsessing over a pixel here and a pixel there instead of concentrating on the direction and concept first. Most of the time, this makes sense and is sage advice—except for when it isn’t. At some point in every project, you have to focus on the minutia and work through the small stuff. For me, this typically comes in the implementation phase (and that’s okay).

  1. Expanding The Box

    Posted on 10/18/12

    I always hear stories of managers pushing employees to “think outside the box“—to go beyond their day-to-day and find that idea that is unlike anything else. This is a tall order and maybe even a bit unrealistic. If our comfort zone is A, B, and C, how can we expect to find X without first understanding D–W? Because of this, I like to think in terms of “expanding the box” instead of jumping entirely outside of it.

  1. It’s Tech

    Posted on 7/12/12

    If you’ve worked in the theater, you’re probably familiar with the term “tech week.” It’s that magical time when an entire production comes together in a matter of days. It’s a whirlwind week that culminates in a big opening night performance.

  1. Clippers

    Posted on 3/8/12

    I recently went on the hunt for a new barber closer to home. You see, I’ve been fortunate enough to have my hair cut for the last six years from the same barber every time, a friendly man named Joe. Over that time Joe and I have gotten to know each other quite well. We both have dacshunds, we both enjoy the theater, and we both know exactly how I like my hair cut.

  1. Knowledge is Power

    Posted on 10/13/11

    Earlier this year I started the P90X workout regimen. The program is 90 days long and emphasizes “muscular confusion” through a variety of cross-training exercises. Throughout the program, Tony, your lovable yet demanding trainer, reminds you again and again to write down how many reps you do. Whether it’s 10 pull ups, 30 squats, or 15 push ups, you’ll be reminded to “write it down” each and every time. It gets monotonous, sure. It seems silly at first, yes. But in the end it’s probably the single best way to ensure you get the most out of the program. The worksheets are designed for quick comparisons of your success. With these worksheets, it’s easy to track your progress over time and see that your upper body is getting stronger or that your lower body is remaining stagnant, for example. With this information, you’ll know what areas need work and what areas need rest.

  1. Not everyone’s a technophile

    Posted on 6/16/11

    When you engage Happy Cog in a full scale web redesign, you typically come out of the project with a fully integrated content management system (or CMS). The implementation of a CMS implies that you and your team will have access to a tool that will facilitate updating content across the entire website. The system creates an abstract of the website using simple forms to enable content entry. Completing those forms will generate all the necessary callouts, sidebars, related links, archives, etc. from which your site is built.

  1. Typecasting Ourselves

    Posted on 3/3/11

    In the movie business when an actor plays the same role over and over, he is considered “typecast.” A word that carries negative connotations and general disdain. The typecast label implies actors only play one role well, emoting the same expressions throughout projects, and presenting the same personality no matter the situation. Generally, being typecast is not something an actor strives for.

  1. Responsible Development

    Posted on 11/18/10

    When Happy Cog undertakes a development job, one of our goals is to empower our clients with the necessary knowledge for them to help themselves. We’re not passing the buck — we’re planning for the future. No one likes writing or receiving panicked emails about urgent updates to the legal speak of the footer, or that so and so’s aunt just looked at the website and couldn’t find the button that adds an item to the cart. We work with our clients every step of the way to ensure that, even in those panicked moments, they are able to help themselves.

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