Software Development Job in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes

rrlhiringRectangle Red are recruiting as of March 2014 – we are looking for another talented developer to join our growing team.

Click here to see the main job specification and advert here and apply.

If you’re a prospective job candidate, hello, and welcome! Please look at the main advert above for lots of details about skills we’re looking for, but here I will summarise, and give a few extra pointers about what we look for in a successful candidate.

If you can show us each of the following, you will do well:

1) You’re a natural programmer. Some people can program, and some can’t – we don’t particularly mind if you don’t have much experience, or have it in areas that aren’t directly related to what we do, but you will need to be able to demonstrate that you are a natural programmer – that you can write code without thinking particularly hard about it (about the coding anyway, about the business issue you’re trying to solve is a different matter!).

2) That being said, you should have a solid knowledge (at least) of the fundamentals of writing programs in a procedural language (e.g. Basic/C/C# etc), databases and how to query them, and web technologies (HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc). If you have good or expert knowledge in these areas, all the better.

3) You can figure out new things quickly on your own initiative. Or even by using Google! We often come across issues in systems where there is no training course to help you learn how to maintain it; we have to figure it out with our intelligence and experience. Sometimes, the art is knowing exactly what question to ask Google or similar, and how to pick an answer out of the mountain of information that is returned.

4) You are good with people and can communicate clearly with all types of customer. We deal with everyone from CEO’s to technical and admin staff at customers, and you will need to be able to change your approach and language instinctively to communicate effectively.

5) You will need to be presentable. This is an office based job, and we don’t meet our customers every day, but from time to time we do. You need to look and act in a business like manner, and to be the sort of person a customer wants to work with.

6) You care about the quality of work, and that the customer is satisfied with work that you have done for them.

7) You must be either a EU citizen, or have a valid work permit. Sorry, but if you don’t, we legally can’t employ you, so please don’t waste your time.

If you believe you match each of those, you should be a very good match for what we’re looking for – send us a CV on the job page. Tell us a bit about yourself, and why you’re interested in this job in particular.

If you’re an agency, and you’ve read this far, you’re welcome to contact us too… but with 2 provisos. Firstly, please be aware that we don’t pay agencies “silly rates” – if you work with a high inflexible commission rate of the sort that large companies pay without thinking, you’re not for us. Secondly, please mention that you’ve read this page, and include the word “dogbot” in your message, just to show you’ve taken the time to read the page to the bottom!

Good luck, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Clive Williams, Director

How Strong is Your Password?

7190315846_b9dd87ee60_oHere’s a rather neat online tool which you can use to measure the strength of your passwords, which is directly related to how long the password is, and what character set you’ve used (a to z, or symbols, etc).

https://www.grc.com/haystack.htm

Give it a password… or rather something that is like your passwords, but not your actual password (!), and see how many guesses on average it would take for a hacker to brute force (i.e. keep guessing until they find it). I think you’ll probably want to choose a stronger password?!

Some password choosing hints:

- Assume any name or word that can be found in a dictionary is insecure, regardless of length. It’s *very* insecure. Password crackers come with built-in dictionaries.
- It needs to be memorable, so you don’t have to write it down. If you must write it down, write it on a physical piece of paper, and put it in a safe well away from the computer. Not in a text file on the computer itself!
- Length is more important than the use of strange characters – it’s better to use a long phrase of simply a-z than a short phrase with $!# in it. You can make the phrase memorable – a sentence perhaps, e.g. ‘whenigrowupiwanttobeanastronaut’. Putting numbers and symbols in such a password is nice, but not strictly necessary when a password is so long.
- Consider using a quality password safe application to keep website passwords secure and under the protection of a strong master password – for example

New Starter News

The Rectangle Red team expands again, with our new starter Andy Laird joining us.

Andy brings considerable experience with over ten years experience in Microsoft development technologies, including .NET, together with an excellent knowledge of web technology and databases, a track record of developing innovative systems to tight deadlines, and has both an excellent customer focus and a can-do attitude.

We’re very pleased to have Andy on board; welcome to the team!

Announcing Rectangle Red’s First iOS App

Here it is – we’ve finished the app we’d been working on in our spare time; a melodeon simulator for the iPad and iPhone!

What’s a melodeon? A form of button accordion, which is played in many different styles around the world – see www.melodeon.net for more (much more) info!

Does the world need a new melodeon app? Of course not! But where would we be without a bit of fun? Our app has quite a few firsts over other button accordion simulators:

  • Simulates both ends of the instrument (melody and bass/chords)
  • Can automatically transpose and play in any musical key
  • Has a sophisticated polyphonic reverb capable sound engine

Particular challenges addressed when working on this project:

  • Sophisticated multi-touch key press handling
  • Integration with a 3rd party Objective C library (ObjectAL)
  • Native iOS 6 integration with Facebook and Twitter
  • A dynamically built menu system for the settings screens

You can find the app, and view screenshots and a video demo here: http://www.mymelodeonapp.com

This project was coded in Xamarin iOS; if you would like to talk to us about building an app for your business whether on iOS or Android, please contact us!

Rectangle Red are Hiring (Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes)

We’re expanding and looking to hire a junior and a senior application developer!

You’ll need experience and skill with Microsoft technologies (.NET in particular), relational database systems (e.g. SQL Server or MySQL), and to be a dab hand with the latest web technologies (HTML5, CSS3, JQuery, etc).

We offer all you would expect – a competitve salary, opportunty to learn the latest technologies, and a very pleasant working environment – we’re in the middle of Stony Stratford High Street.

Click here to read more and to apply. 

Build your own QR code!

A QR code for Rectangle RedA QR code is a (usually black and white) square graphic, like the one on this page. Typically, it holds a description of a web address, so that if you point a smartphone at it, it can decode the web address from the pattern, and jump straight to that web page. Try it with the one on this page!

You can make one yourself for your own web address – just follow these steps.

  1. Go to the Google URL shortener, here: http://www.goo.gl
  2. Enter the address you want a QR code for, and press ‘Shorten URL’
  3. This will make you a URL like this, http://goo.gl/SJTP9 which if you click on, will take you to your website. Copy that, and paste it into your web browser’s address bar. Before you press ‘Go’ to load the URL, put “.qr” on the end, like this: http://goo.gl/SJTP9.qr
  4. Load that address, then one with .qr on the end, in your web browser.
  5. That will take you to a page containing your QR graphic. Right click on the image to save it to your PC, and from there you can use it on your website or promotional material.

Done! Now try it out. On some phones, a QR reader is built in; on iPhones, “QR Reader” is a simple and free QR code reader that you can get from the AppStore; on Android, try “QR Droid”, another free app.

Adventures in WordPress

I’ve been doing a few custom tweaks for the Stony Means Business website with Andrew from Meticulous Design this week; Andrew is the graphic guru behind the site’s look and feel, and I’ve been getting the online event registration module working properly.

We’ve used the WordPress Event Registration plug in which I’ve modified slightly to make it work as we wish; WordPress is a powerful tool for getting 95% of what you want, but that extra 5% can require a bit of work in our experience.

No problem though; the new booking system is now operational and open for business! Stony Means Business is the forum for local business in and around Stony Stratford; we meet very third Monday – see the website for more information.. You can read more about Meticulous Design here – it’ a pleasure to work with Andrew.

Garish Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

I was at a particularly interesting talk yesterday at http://www.stonymeansbusiness.co.uk where Tracy Spence of WSI Internet Marketing talked about the latest thoughts and trends in using social media to grow your business.

A blog, such as this, is a good start, but it starts to become powerful once we give readers the ability to easily share information they find useful to their friends.

So, we need a simple WordPress plugin that adds Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter icons to each post or page. The only problem is that the vast majority of them are overkill, and plaster share garish buttons all over every screen. Not good.

Until we found the Hupso Share Buttons for Twitter, Facebook & Google+ plugin; simple share buttons, and nothing more. The share button is still a little garish (bright blue!) but a swift rework with a good graphics editor such as Gimp will easily restore it to a neutral grey like you see below.

A New Coat of Paint for the Website

We’ve just finished a long overdue update of the website’s appearance, and we’d like to thank our friends at Landmark Mayo Communications who worked on the graphic design for us.

For the technically curious as to how it’s done, it’s a custom WordPress template that we’ve written ourselves, using custom web fonts from fonts.com. If you’d like to know more about the nitty gritty, send us a message and we’re happy to share a few tricks and tips.