Cipele46: A recap of our first community hackathon

This July we hosted our first open hackathon in the office. The purpose was to bring together a number of clever and creative people to collaborate on a project for the community in a short period of time. And we did it! Although it took more time than we first anticipated. More than 40 volunteers have laboured long and hard to create and are still working on the project to improve the platform that connects people with low-income and those who could help by donating clothes, food, personal care items, school supplies, furniture, household goods and anything else that someone might need.

The Idea

The idea to connect people from both groups is not something new in Croatia. We joined forces with Silvija, Verica and Andreja from Cipele46 (en. Shoes 46) who started an initiative on Facebook in January 2013 that gathered more than 2000 people in a matter of days to help a disabled person who just needed a pair of shoes size 46 to get through the cold winter. Today, their Facebook page has almost 27 000 followers who are eager to help others. The organizers of the initiative get more than a thousand requests for help a month, and with different donations they were able to help more than 400 people and families so far. Read more

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The Android Cookbook

From small and affordable to powerful and large, nearly 80% of all newly shipped smartphones in the world use some version of the Android operating system. Primarily designed to be flexible, Android adapts to all types of mobile devices. Regardless of whether the device is a tablet or a smartphone, regardless of the screen size and built-in hardware features, the operating system must always provide the best possible user experience.

I talked about this specific topic at this years Mobility Day conference held in September in Zagreb. This article is just an addition to my talk on the basics for developing adaptable applications and describes the key features of the Android platform.

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Git tips and tricks

In a few short years Git became one of the most popular source control management system, especially for newly started and open source projects. If you’re a developer, you’ll eventually cross paths with Git. Here is a list of a few Git tips and tricks, starting from beginner and progressing to more advanced levels.

These tips assume you’re using Git from a terminal. Even if you’re using GUI every day, it’s a good practice to introduce yourself to CLI because it’s ubiquitous and consistent across all major platforms. Many GUI tools have simplified terminology and support only a subset of functionality, so if you encounter a big problem and need to resolve it from a terminal, it’s better to be familiar with it.

1) Supercharge your terminal

I find many people using Git from a terminal, but they don’t use the full power that is available. First of all, enable color output with:

$ git config --global color.ui true

It will add a line to your global .gitconfig file and will result in log, branch, diff and other commands much more understandable.

Most common shells allow expanding expressions or arguments with the Tab key. The same can work for Git commands if you have git completion set up. Just search install git completion for your chosen platform and follow the instructions.

Someone said that developers working in Git can be recognized by not knowing which branch they’re working on. That is true in some cases but can be completely avoided by having a branch name in your prompt. Just search for git branch in bash/zsh prompt; it’s very easy to set up.

If you’re using Git Bash on Windows, everything should already be set up. Read more

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Developing for Chromecast, a $35 Internet-to-TV streaming stick. Worth your while?

It’s been over two months since Google made a splash with Chromecast, a 2-in gizmo that plugs into your TV’s HDMI port and can be controlled by more than one device – phone, tablet and computer – if they’re on the same Wi-Fi network as the Chromecast.

One of our projects at Five minutes involved implementing the technologies on an Android and iOS app for a client. We gave an intro to developing apps for Google Chromecast a few weeks back at an Android meetup organized by the Google Developer Group Zagreb, hosted at the Faculty of electrical engineering and computing, but would like to share our experience for all those who couldn’t make it.

Google Cast is, essentially, a screen sharing technology that lets users send and control content like video from a small computing device like a phone, tablet or a laptop to a large display device like a TV. For instance, if you like to send a Youtube video from your phone to your TV you can do it easily, without on-screen menus to navigate, no extra devices.

How it works

The Chromecast stick runs a scaled-down Chrome browser with a receiver application that uses websockets to maintain a control channel to mobile devices or a Chrome browser running on a Mac or a PC. For video playback, Google provides an implementation of a special protocol, called RAMP (Remote Application Media Protocol), on top of this channel. When playing a video, the control device uses RAMP to send a URL pointing to the video resource located on the internet or local network, which is then loaded in an HTML5 video element on the Chromecast stick. RAMP provides means to easily send most common video control commands from control device to the stick and to send playback status in the other direction. This flow can be customized to facilitate authentication, DRM and other scenarios. Read more

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Hackathon no.2: Hacking with duckies

A duck on a robot
There is always something happening in Five Minutes. The beginning of December was a time for another internal hackathon. The spirits were still high from our first one and we wanted to use that before holidays. Read more

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Hackathon project: Presence detector

It all started a few months ago when the ping pong table arrived. It soon became the centre of office entertainment. Not long after that, we began to notice first problems. Eager players now had to wait in long lines to get their chance to demonstrate their skill. We all concluded there had to be some way to tech up this game and make it more programmer friendly. Our first hackathon was the ideal environment to present the solution of this problem. Read more

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Our first hackathon

It was Saturday and an early autumn rain provided a perfect setting for our first company hackathon. We gathered in a coffee room with a lot of caffeine. A feeling of excitement could be felt in the air. Read more

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Five Minutes Radio

Here at Five Minutes we LOVE music!
We love to talk about music, we love projects involved with music and quite a few of us are active members of music bands.

In this post I’ll describe how, why and what kind of music we are consuming in our office.
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How we’ve created the LaLa Lunchbox iPhone app

A few days ago the LaLa Lunchbox app landed on App Store. Even after such a short time, it got some great feedback. Things like that happen if you have a client that knows what problems need to be solved, but is flexible enough to let the professionals do their work. This post is about the design and development process of the app. Read more

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Be aware of the users in Spring!

I tried to be figurative in the header only to break the spleen mood of this rainy morning. This blog is about Spring Framework and keeping track of the session data, particularly logged in user.

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