He Was a Co-Founder of NWA. Now He’s Created A Platform to Get Small Businesses Back to Work

Arabian Prince

Kim Renard Nazel is best known as Arabian Prince, a founding member of the ’90s rap group N.W.A. whose raw lyrics on police brutality inspired a generation of West Coast rappers. But the producer and artist, who goes by his stage name, has long been a tech geek passionate about closing the digital divide.

This week, the Compton-bred rapper-turned-entrepreneur launched his latest endeavor, Covitech, a platform intended to get people back to work safely. The cloud-based suite of apps provides a protocol plan for small-to-medium businesses, giving them access to COVID-19 screening, testing resources and often hard-to-procure protective equipment. Read more

Role Based Design

Bananas - illustration

When designing custom software, designers often need to keep user roles in mind to make an efficient and effective user experience for multiple workflows. By taking a look at the needs of each user, we can design for multiple intuitive user flows while retaining a clean, cohesive look and feel.

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QA & Requirements Gathering: Why?

QA & Requirements Gathering: Why?

One of the most common misconceptions about software testing is that QA does not come into play until the development of a module is complete and ready to test.

In actuality, the earlier QA is involved in the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) the better. Studies have shown that up to two-thirds of defects can be attributed to requirements and design.

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A List of Remote Work Advice From the Team at Art+Logic

Illustration of home desk showing remote working.

Like many of you, we’ve been receiving daily suggestions of articles offering advice and insights on how to work remotely most effectively. A lot of these lists offer some great advice, and we’ve even been included in a few such articles ourselves (links below). What struck me, however, was that there was always something in a list that felt like it was missing or that might be overstated for my specific needs. Assuming that might be the case for others out there, I asked members of the Art+Logic team to offer their own insights into tricks, concerns, and changes that help them work remotely while still staying focused and maintaining a high standard. We’ve been working remotely for almost 30 years.

Juan Carlos Perez:
Noise-cancelling headphones can be a life and mood changer. You might also want or need to remind people that when you are typing, you are working. Or wear a hat that conveys the same message. 🙂

Ben Stevens:
If you don’t already have a home office, try to designate a place as your office.

If you’re going to work from home for a long time, it’s worth it to invest in ergonomics. You might regret using just any old chair or desk.

Bert Mahoney:
If you have small children and it’s possible to be in a room with a closed door it helps with interruptions.

Be clear with family members about respecting your work space/time. Interrupt only if an emergency. Tell the family “operate as if I’m not at home.”

If you’re having issues with video calls, etc. be sure to check what else is using bandwidth in your house—family members streaming movies, online gaming, etc. All of it will compete for the same available bandwidth.

Be aware of distractions that pull you away from work tasks (laundry, dishes, anything needing attention) Set aside time for chores after work.

Paul Hershenson:
Establish a routine or schedule and stick with it. Use rituals to reinforce it.

I almost always walk while I talk on the phone. Makes it much easier to keep my Fitbit happy that way.

You can read more about remote work from Paul here: "Remote-first versus remote-friendly: What’s the difference?"

Andrew Sherbrooke:
Maintaining separation between work and home life is important, even more so when it’s hard to go out for activities because of virus-related precautions. Self-care like exercise, walks, and interacting with others (even online) is key.

Kendall Wyman:
Because people can’t see that you are busy, make use of calendars and status settings to convey that you aren’t available. Also, calendar tasks you need to do so those times aren’t interrupted with “do you have a minute to chat?” It’s the distributed version of closing your office door to focus on getting a proposal written.

Because communication is asynchronous, remember that not everyone or everything needs your response immediately – we are conditioned to check up on notifications thanks to FB and Twitter, but in a collaborative workplace environment, responding immediately to every notification can eat your entire day.

I’d also encourage employers to set up a space/channel/group for community posts. People will want to update each other on things that they would normally share in the break room — to keep culture and connection strong, provide an avenue to do that.

Bob Bajoras:
Even during your designated work times and work space, try to avoid conducting work from a mobile device. It’s far too easy for your work to spill into your personal space if you get too comfortable working from a mobile device.

You can read more from Bob about remote work here: The Bosses Who Prefer When Employees Work From Home and here 7 tips for using Zoom, Google Meet, and other remote work apps as more companies mandate employees work from home amid coronavirus outbreak

Amy Cox:
One routine that helps me is to "get ready" as if I were going to walk out the front door. Select a comfortable work-appropriate outfit, brush/comb my hair, double check whatever is in my background if I’m going to be using a webcam.

Daisey Traynham:
The Pomodoro technique! Grid your day into half hour increments — 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of stretching, breathing, resting. Not only does this keep you from being slouched at your desk for hours on end, but it’s also a nice way to manage your time.

Bradley Macomber:
Keep the machine you use for work separate from the machine you use to read the news about the apocalypse happening somewhere outside. TURN OFF the apocalypse machine when you’re ready to work.

Putting a lock or anti-baby doorknob cover on the office door does not (necessarily) mean you’re a bad parent.

Working remotely might be seen as a prompt for a company to write down information that was never written before, making it more visible/appreciable to more employees — regardless of whether they’re remote or not. Depending.

A Note Regarding Coronavirus/Covid-19

Coronavirus / Covid-19

I wanted to share with you an update regarding the current situation with novel coronavirus/COVID-19. As you probably know, Art+Logic is a fully distributed company, which means that everyone, from our sales team, to our designers and developers, works remotely. As a company that has been working remotely for almost 30 years, we are fully prepared to continue to work on your project without disruption.

We are closely monitoring developments and are aware that the impact of the virus could impact your own team and also result in school closures and social distancing recommendations that could impact workflows.

For the immediate future, Art+Logic is discouraging company travel. Unfortunately, that means we were not able to make our presentations at SXSW, which was cancelled, and will not be attending TechDay NY.

If you have a project you would like to discuss with us, please fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you in a timely fashion. We encourage everyone to stay up to date on the latest Coronavirus information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

MIDI 2.0 Specs Released!

sxsw graphic

After over a decade of work, the final specification documents for MIDI 2.0 have been released to the public!

There’s a fantastic article on the MIDI.org site that explains what the hubbub is all about that I’ll just point you at rather than rewriting — check it here: Details about MIDI 2.0

When MIDI 1.0 was released in 1983, the complete document that detailed all you needed to know about it was eight pages long. Expect to need to read a bit more than that in 2020—the full spec for MIDI 2.0 is five separate documents, each looking at a single part of the system:

M2-100: Overview of the specifications
M2-101: Specification of MIDI-CI, the Capability Inquiry portion of MIDI 2 that’s required to enable devices to query each other and determine how two devices can work together.
M2-102: Common Rules for MIDI-CI Profiles explains how to define and work with MIDI 2 profiles to define controllers and other configuration data to permit devices to automatically adapt to the capabilities present in the currently connected instruments.
M2-103: Rules for Property Exchange, the new provisions for querying current settings and capabilites of connected devices
M2-104: Definition of the new Universal MIDI Packet data structure and the high-resolution MIDI 2 message protocol.

Before you can access these documents, you’ll need to create a (free!) account with The MIDI Association, which is an organization of MIDI users. If you’re not already a member, the link to access the docs will redirect you first to the login/account creation page.

Download everything here and then go make cool stuff with it.

Remote-first versus remote-friendly: What’s the difference?

From SiliconRepublic.com:
With remote working becoming more common across many industries, it might seem like a recent trend. But for nearly three decades, Paul Hershenson has been at the helm of a company that is remote-first.

Hershenson co-founded US software development firm Art+ Logic in 1991. Given his wealth of experience in managing employees outside a traditional office space, he gave us some insights into the world of remote-first working.

Why Vue?

Art+Logic chooses Vue

For web development, when all other considerations are equal, we recommend choosing Vue.

Here’s why:

Excellent Documentation

Executive Summary

High quality documentation leads to better results – less time is spent wrestling with the framework or head-scratching about why something is working the way it is, and more time is spent making your project its best.

More Details
The Vue documentation is well written, comprehensive, and instructive. In addition to a Guide which introduces the various concepts of Vue with helpful examples, looking under the hood is encouraged and supported via a full documentation of the API.

Vue then goes the extra mile by providing a style guide which, for an organization which already has an established style guide, is most useful in illuminating certain potential pitfalls when working with Vue, as well as providing some simple examples and recipes. (more…)