Updates: September '17

October 23, 2017

Exciting September here at DesignHammer

As September came to a close, we reflected on a few bits of news: We published the final part in our blog series on Vue.js, won a DotCom award, and attended the NC conference for nonprofits. We also have some exciting news for one of our clients. Look forward to seeing you in the fall!

Featured Blog Post | Recent Projects | In Production | New Clients | Awards and Recognition | Tools and Technology | Conferences | Professional Development | Community Involvement | Around Town | Anything Else


Featured Blog Post

Series: Building reusable custom components with Vue.js

We have been using the Vue.js framework to build some new internal tools for project tracking. We learned a lot doing this and are sharing some of that in a new blog post series called “Building reusable custom components with Vue.js”.

The last post in the series is now live so you can check out all four posts now!


Recent Projects

Dunbar Educational Consultants

Dunbar Consultants works to help students find schools and programs that will help them be comfortable and successful. They work with both US and International students, and assist with secondary through graduate school applications and placement.

We’ve enjoyed a long relationship with the organization. We are excited about the opportunity to work on a full redesign to modernize their website, which will be live in the upcoming weeks.


In Production

North Carolina Center for Nonprofits

Supporting our community is important to DesignHammer. As such, we’re proud to be working with the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits to redesign their website. We’re hard at work migrating the site from Drupal 6 to 7, reimplementing the organization and user system, integrating with SalesForce, and building a new custom theme.


Awards and Recognition

DesignHammer wins dotCOMM Award

DesignHammer is proud to announce it has been awarded a Platinum Award honoring Web creativity + digital communication for the Interiors in Flight website. The dotCOMM awards are administered by The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP), an international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals who have entered AMCP competitions.


Tools and Technology

Antispam

The one Drupal module we use to combat spam is Mollom. Its main feature is blocking webform and comment submissions based on content. But unfortunately, it will be hitting end-of-life in April 2018. So, what is a good alternative? Well according to Mollom’s suggestion it’s the HoneyPot and/or reCaptcha module. And to their credit they are both very good at what they do. After testing those modules on our DesignHammer website we quickly discovered we needed a better solution, or at least something up to par with Mollom. We did some web searching and found a module called Antispam. What caught our interest is that it uses Akismet, the same third-party service most WordPress websites use. It cost $50 a year per (commercial) site, but it’s worth it when the alternative is dealing with 40+ spam email submission every day.


Conferences

Recap of NC Nonprofits

We exhibited at the 2017 Conference for North Carolina Nonprofits in Concord, NC. We were proud to support nonprofit education. It was a particularly exciting conference with the introduction of Jeanne Tedrow the new President and CEO of the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.


Professional Development

TriUXPA Durham Book Club: Practical Design Discovery

The September 28th meeting of the TriUXPA Bookclub found us discussing Dan Brown’s Practical Design Discovery, published by A Book Apart. At DesignHammer we firmly believe in the importance of discovery and planning, so it was great to read how others address the often ignored or underutilized process in design. Brown defines discovery as “a set of activities that yield shared knowledge to structure and inform design decisions about a particular project.” Most importantly, discovery isn’t a process, phase or methodology, but “Discovery is an attitude.” With this attitude, he suggests participation by designers should not be reserved for the execution of the project; they need to be involved during discovery so they can both contribute to the mutual understanding of the project by all involved, as well as begin the creative process.


Community Involvement

DesignHammer Sponsors AMA Triangle

We are pleased to announce DesignHammer has expanded its support for AMA Triangle, the local chapter of the American Marketing Association. AMA Triangle is the largest marketing association between D.C. and Atlanta, and two-time winner of AMA Chapter of the Year. DesignHammer was a sponsor of High Five Conference, AMA Triangle’s annual conference that attracts marketing professionals from around the country. As a AMA Triangle Gold Sponsor, DesignHammer will be helping to fund the chapter’s amazing events and activities throughout the year.


SAMSI - New Deputy Director and Location

One of our long-time clients, SAMSI (Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute), has been having some exciting changes this year! They’ve recently moved to a new location in the Triangle and are getting all settled in. In addition, they have welcomed a new deputy director, Elvan Ceyhan. Ceyhan shared his desire of increasing diversity in the programs, a continued support of data-heavy programs and science, and expanding education and outreach initiatives.


Around Town

Basera

Our go-to Mexican restaurant closed recently, and was replaced with an Indian restaurant called Basera. There are already a handful of good Indian choices in this area, but Basera happens to be within easy walking distance of our office, which is always a plus. And of course, we need to see where it fits within our current favorite offerings.

Our first Friday lunch trip to Basera, we were not the only ones with the same idea-- the line for the buffet was basically out the door! But we persevered, the line moved fairly quickly, and we discovered that the food was excellent; even the pickiest among us was impressed. The buffet is divided into 3 sections: vegetarian items, like gobi 65, dal tadka, and palak paneer; non-veg items like chicken tikka masala, goat curry, fried fish, tandoori meats, and various biryani; and dessert, including a number of Indian dishes as well as cakes (I did not partake of the dessert, but I heard it was good!). And who can forget delicious naan and basmati rice.

The food was so good, we came back the following week... and the week after that! And at least two of us decided to go again the next day with family for the Saturday lunch buffet. That's a lot of Indian meals in one month, but it almost doesn't feel like enough. :)

Basera has already become a staple in our Friday lunch rotation in its short tenure; you should visit and see why we love it so much. Yum!


Anything Else

2016 MacBook Pro

In any technology endeavor, it’s a truism that we must adapt with change. Recently, part of my adaptation has been a new work laptop, a 2016 MacBook Pro. While this upgrade has been very exciting, there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re looking at a similar change (2012 MacBook Air -> 2016 MacBook Pro).

Firstly, let’s talk about the good. The screen is amazing, the trackpad is huge, the touch bar is cooler than you might think, and the weight feels better than the older MacBook Pros. The touch bar includes a fingerprint scanner and the OLED bar that displays context sensitive icons in place of the function keys. In the case of Google Chrome, this is very well implemented; in the case of Firefox, not as much so (yet, anyhow).

On the other hand, there’s the ports. They’re not bad, per se, but it’s a change. There are four Thunderbolt3/USB-C ports and a headphone jack. So your external keyboard, mouse, monitor and hard drive? You’ll probably need adapters. Even the power supply uses the USB-C connector. What I’ve ended up with is two USB-C to mini DisplayPort adapters (the Apple branded USB-C to Thunderbolt2 adapter does NOT support mini DisplayPort), a USB-C dock with (2) USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, USB-C passthrough (for power), HDMI output, and Ethernet. I have one of those USB ports running to a USB hub in one of the monitors, and I have my keyboard, mouse, and a USB extension cable running off of that hub (I use the extension for external hard drives, thumb drives, etc.).

So, while it’s a pretty awesome machine, if you’re making the upgrade be prepared to need some adapters; for a bit more insight, check out the article here.


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