What to expect from product and visual design in 2020

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Happy New Year from the Grio design team!

As we kick off 2020, we’re hearing a lot about new and recurring design trends that are likely to dominate the next 12 months. I’ve put together an overview of key things to look out for, focusing on the areas that are most relevant to our work at Grio — namely, technology product design and visual design for web and software interfaces. 

An Introduction to Kanban

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Kanban is a project management framework that works especially well for small, fluid teams working on fast-paced or short-term projects. In this post, I’ll give a quick overview of the kanban process, discuss the 6 core practices of kanban, and talk a bit about the key differences between kanban and the more ubiquitous scrum methodology. I’ll also provide some tips for determining whether kanban is a good fit for your team or current project. 

An introduction to smart contracts

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You’re probably familiar with the basic idea of a contract. Let’s say, for example, that you’d like to buy a house. In the simplest case, you’d need a seller (someone who is willing to sell their house) and a lump sum of money; you and the seller could then create and execute a contract stating that you agree to exchange the money for ownership of the house. 

SIM swapping: Do hackers have your number?

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Recently, I was browsing through the archives of the podcast Reply All (well worth doing, if you’re interested in unusual stories about how technology impacts our lives) when I came across an episode titled “The Snapchat Thief”. 

The gist of this episode is as follows: a young woman reports that her Snapchat account has been hacked, and asks asks the hosts of the show to help her investigate. She’s received emails from Snapchat telling her that her password has been changed and her account is now associated with a different phone number — and she’s also received threatening texts from the hacker, warning her not to report the hack to Snapchat. She’s spooked, and has no idea how the hacker gained access to her account, or even why they would want to. 

What’s new in iOS 13

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On September 19, 2019, Apple released the latest major update to its iPhone and iPad operating systems: iOS 13. This iOS version introduces several significant changes that developers will need to be prepared to handle going forward. In this post, I’ll give a quick overview of the most impactful new features, and then dive into two especially important updates: dark mode and scene sessions.

Building a modular iOS app

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At Grio, we’re often asked to improve our clients’ existing web and mobile apps — fixing problems, adding features, etc. — but many of our most interesting and exciting projects involve building a brand-new app entirely from scratch. I’ve had that opportunity on a recent project, which means that my colleagues and I have been thinking through some of the foundational decisions that can really only be made when you’re starting fresh. One of those decisions is monolithic vs. modular. 

You Need a Supervisor

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Several of our folks recently attended ElixerConf in Colorado, where Grio’s John Palgut gave a lightning talk on protecting your app from crashes by using a Supervisor – enjoy!

 

Test, Never Trust: Dealing with external services when using Elixir and Phoenix

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In his short story Thin Cities 3, author Italo Calvino describes a city reduced to its plumbing — a network of pipes, stripped of the streets, walls, and floors that would ordinarily conceal them. I like to picture this “thin city” when I’m testing software; diving beneath the superficial layers to probe the essential connections that keep information and experiences flowing.