Christmas Cheer with Bytemark

For the last eight winters, we at Three Rings have sent out Christmas cards – and sometimes mugs! – to our clients (and to special friends of the project). The first of these was something I knocked up in Photoshop in under an hour, but we’ve since expanded into having an official “company artist” in the form of our friend Ele who each year takes the ideas that the Three Rings volunteer team have come up with and adapts them into a stunning original design that we’re proud to show off to our clients.

Three Rings' 2009 Christmas card
Our first Christmas card, in 2009, was knocked-up quickly and printed only a couple of days before the Christmas posting deadline, but it kicked-off a tradition that’s grown every year since.

This year’s card is still winging its way to some of our more-distant customers, as Three Rings is used in six countries, and so it doesn’t yet appear on our gallery of previous cards. But here’s a sneak peek:

Three Rings' 2017 Christmas card
Last week, I helped stuff a little under 400 of these into envelopes and put stamps on them all for delivery to our UK customers. (Our international customers needed slightly more-careful attention.)

For most of Three Rings life, our server’s been hosted by the awesome folks at Bytemark. We had a brief dalliance with Amazon Web Services for a while but had a seriously unsatisfying experience and we eventually came crawling back to Bytemark (complete with a conveniently-timed Valentines’ Day message expressing our love for them and our apologies for our mistake). What I’m saying is that we’ve made a habit of sending seasonal greetings to our buddies at Bytemark – and this Christmas was no different – but what surprised us was what we received from them this year:

Christmas card - and cake! - from Bytemark.
Bytemark sent us not only a Christmas card but a fancy-looking fruitcake! Thanks, Bytemark!

Not only did Bytemark send us a delightful Christmas card (with a pixel-art picture of Sana literally burning the logs) but they included a fabulous-looking fruitcake. Thanks for bringing a little bit of extra cheer to our Christmas, Bytemark!

One of my favourite hosting companies is recruiting using anonymous online interviews, in an effort to combat industry sexism

This link was originally posted to /r/girlsgonewired. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

So, in May 2015, we made the huge decision to start an anonymous recruitment process. The biggest change compared to tradition recuiting is this – your first two interviews are truly anonymous. We conduct them over instant messaging and run our skills tests remotely too.

You won’t even have to give your real name or a CV in the initial stages. We don’t know anything about you that you don’t choose to present in the interview.

That makes us work hard for explicit goals. We want to know about your:

Most valuable skills
Ability to learn
Ability to work effectively in a team

We make decisions based on those factors. Avoiding the “X factor” of cultural fit, which we’ve seen as an excuse for all kinds of implicit and explicit bias across industries.

We also want to be respectful of your time, your enthusiasm and your interests – we’ll test not just what you know but what you can learn. Our focus is on letting you put your abilities to the fore, without fear that you’ll be judged on irrelevant things. We define the job, we define the skills, and we want to test those without bias.

Our culture comes from you, the best person for the job at the end of the process. Of course we still need to meet you, we want to meet you. But we will start our interviews on the solid foundation of anonymity. Only at the final stages will you be asked to come in for a face-to-face interview.

Sian wrote:

Going to be registering a website thingy tonight to mess around with. Any hints/tips/advice from all you people who know about this stuff would be gratefully received. I am, after all, officially computer illiterate.

Register your domain name with somebody respectable (won’t rip you off or otherwise fuck up) like Easily, who’ll give you a domain name (whateveryoulike.co.uk) for as little as £9.99/2 years.

As far as hosting is concerned, I can’t say a bad word about the fantastic DreamHost, who now provide hosting for me, Paul, Claire, Matt (from SmartData), JTA & Ruth, Statto… etc. etc.

I’m not sure if it still works, but if you sign up for their Crazy Domain Insane offer ($9.95/month), paying for the first year up-front, and use the promo code “777”, they’ll give you the first YEAR for the price of the first month. Which is nice. And as it includes a free .com domain name of your choice, that’s pretty fab, too (saves you heaps of cash, no commitment to stay with them more than a year anyway, etc.). They’re pretty damn good.

Drop me an e-mail if you want any specific help/advice on such geekibits. Will see what I can do.