The fall of Ace Technology

If you have been with us for about a year you might remember something called Ace Technology or what if you know me in person was referred to as “Ace Tech”. This was really a great point in Arlix History. Even some of my friends still ask me how Ace Tech is doing even though it is no longer something.

The reason Ace Tech is so significant was because it setup Arlix and some of its fundamentals. Ace Tech was when I got into Android development with the release of products like Radar Browser and our most popular Colouring Things and was also the rise of our first team. A few people in my class had roles like “Head of Global Operations” and “Finances manager” and they got sort of payment in “Ace Pounds”.

Those were good times and I did kill Ace Technology when I thought about giving up coding and stuff because I never really felt good by it but I saw the meaning and decided to turn Ace Tech into a real business and make it professional rather than just a class mucking around. That is how Arlix was born and the company that you know today.

The story behind Learn+

So Learn+ is our next big project and you will see it arrive later this year but it leaves many of you wondering how it came to be and what inspired the idea.

I guess for me it was a few months ago and it was just a normal day and I was thinking about what I wish I could do. There are so many talents in the world and I hoped that maybe I would be able to master a few of them myself.

The talent I wanted to learn was dancing. If you want to learn to dance, you had a few options. You could maybe ask a friend to teach you or you could join a dance class but what if you didn’t have the time to be able to go to a dance class or didn’t know someone who could teach you.

So it came to my mind about how we share so much over the internet and maybe instead of billions of selfies (not that they’re bad), we could share knowledge and talent with one another.

Continue reading

An even bigger Arlix Team

The Arlix team is now well in double digits and is the biggest it has ever been. It is also great how diverse our team is now with us being spread across 5 continents. Our team practically never sleeps now as when its time for me to go to bed in London, everyone in the US is still doing stuff.

So for your interest I created another world map of all the countries in which we have or used to have a team member in.

Black_and_white_political_map_of_the_world

As you can see that is a lot of the world.

One of my aims in my latest recruitment plan was to get more gender diversity. Before last week Arlix was only male.

Now we have 4 girls in Arlix and I definitely that is a good step. You can read Lauren’s post before mine on women in tech.

 

Alex

Women in STEM

Women in STEM is a very new subject that is brought up pretty often now in society. Most tech firms/companies are made up of mostly men. Even I am a minority in ARLIX. The reason I got into STEM is because (at first) my parents. I wasn’t very excited at first and basically dreaded the week I would be spending at an IT camp. My opinion totally changed after those 5 (weekdays) days. I learned that basically everything is made with code and how thinking like a programmer made me smarter. I learned about details and checking everything carefully. That was almost 3 years ago, and look where I am now. I consider myself to be advanced in java, I’m learning HTML and C++, and learning about databases. I’ve dabbled in VB, but it’s not my favorite language.

I feel like not many women are in STEM because the idea is intimidating. But a fun fact is; a woman invented the very first programming language and her name was Grace Hopper. But back to the subject – mostly men dominate STEM as I stated before, and as you probably know. Many factors contribute to this; but now is the time for this to change. I’m not saying women or men should dominate the industry. But this gap should be closed. Part of this “problem” started back during the wars (WWI and WWII). Women took men’s jobs when they went to fight whether it be in computers or not. When the men came back however, the women were forced to quit or were fired so the soldiers could attempt to return to their everyday lives.

I personally believe that everyone should learn how to code a little – not just men, not just women.

Arlix: The Early Days

Oh, old Arlix. Back in late 2014, Arlix wasn’t very old. Alex had just switched identities from Ace to Arlix, and started getting people on the team. I remember when Alex came to me, making the second post in my very own Google+ community (which is no longer up), asking if anyone wanted to join. I thought it would be fun, coding with other people for fun, and besides, who doesn’t want to say they work for a company? Of course, I replied very positively, and before I knew it Alex was asking me to start a Google+ Hangouts conversation with him, so I proceeded as such, and pretty soon I got introduced to the rest of the team of about 3 or 5 people–I can’t exactly remember the number–and began just saying “Hi!” and “I look forward to being with you guys!” like any induction into a group of people. Not too long after, I was making graphics, like the Arlix Messenger and Radar Browser logos. After those two, I really stopped doing work, since I had no idea what to do. Since I had the sudden free time, my life took back over, and when I was asked to work on other Arlix products I said I would but never could. Back in January of 2015, shortly after Arlix began to transfer over to Skype from Hangouts, I got a message from Alex, saying I was no longer a part of Arlix. I also received an email, finalizing the statement.

How was the team?

I remember the Arlix team, made up of not too many people, I can’t exactly remember all of them. They were all very nice, kind, and welcoming upon my inception, and they were easy to work with. The whole thing was very new and different for me, but I enjoyed it because it was the same people to come back to every day, not like it had been previously, where I was constantly talking to different people, and I’m not saying that meeting new people is bad, but it was so scattered for me that I never had any real lasting friends, just knew most people for a few hours. Maybe two days if I was lucky. As I recall everybody was very kind but there was very little productivity; the cause of my virtual ‘pink slip’ in January.

A short summary

The old Arlix team was very nice and pleasant to work with. The people were nice, the atmosphere easy. There was little productivity in those old days, which is why a chunk of the team was cut out. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow Arlix on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google+.

- Haden

Twitter | Google+ | Website

Why we ditched Google Hangouts

When working a remote group of developers, you need a good source of communication. When Arlix first started and formed its first team, we used Google Hangouts as our main communication method, undoubtedly it works great as everyone can access it easily from the web and the communication is quite fast but even after using it for a while we eventually turned to Skype.

So what we did not like about Google Hangouts

We found Google Hangouts to lack many features that Skype does and here are some of them:

Not many statuses. On Skype you get a wide range of status availability options such as online, away, do not disturb etc. but Google Hangouts automatically puts you on the online status if you are just connected, not being allowed to let people know that even though you are online, you are not able to talk.

Clunky on mobile. I have a low-range Android smartphone and especially when Google is building for its own platform I found Hangouts on my phone to be slow and clunky and our very own Arlix Messenger runs faster on it.

Video Chat plugin is glitchy. Although the video chat quality in Hangouts is generally quite good but I still found it a bit glitchy here and there.

Moderator options. Hangouts basically does not have moderator options which is annoying because unfortunately I do come across people who join Arlix and want to have a laugh. On Hangouts I would have to migrate the whole team to a different chat. There are so many more moderator options too which really make Skype a breeze to use.

So those are my main reasons for not using Hangouts and I wonder if you have experienced any of the same things I have. If so, don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

 

Alex

 

A message from an employee

Hello, everyone! I know that all the previous posts on this blog have been written by the CEO of Arlix, Alex Choi. It’s time for a change. Something… different. I now present to you a post from an employee! That’s right, not every post from now on is going to be from Alex. I’d like to introduce you to myself. Let’s start from the top.

Hello there! I’m Haden. I’m an American Arlix employee, website developer, graphic designer, video game player, and, most importantly, a human being. I love computers and have a huge passion for them. I love code. Code is my thing. I code in almost everything I do. I also like to write. Writing is nice. Thanks for getting to know me more, and I look forward to seeing you more in future posts!

- Haden

The Arlix Team – How we work remotely

One of the most amazing things I found about our team is how many of us do not actually know each other in person yet we still all managed to come together online and create things.

Where are we all?

At Arlix we are name our base as the UK but only myself and two others actually live there. The other 12 or so people live in other country’s all around the world.

Below is a map of all the country’s (or states in the USA) where we have had a team member.

WorldMap_PLAIN

How do we communicate?

Unlike main companies, we cannot just sit down in a room together and talk, we have to communicate thousands of miles apart, we also have to coordinate everything across loads of different timezones. When it is midday in the UK, everyone in the US is just waking up and everyone in India is having dinner. This means it is extremely hard to find a time where we are all free.

To overcome this we have 3 coordinators, two company coordinators and one head of the project. Normally at least one of us is online which means that things sort of run smoothly. We often use online chat to communicate and occasionally use video conferencing to discuss more complicated things.

How do we find our team?

This is one of the questions I get asked most. To find a team of people I have never met and to get them to trust you and for myself to trust them is really some achievement.

In brief, social  network mining is the answer. I often think where would I go to find these people, where would they be. If you search “teen developers” you don’t really get anything useful apart from news articles talking about a few. To really find the correct people, I had to mine massive lists of people who possess interests that a type of person I am looking for might have. It takes time but it pays off and you never know where you might find someone.

How we manage workflow

When you don’t have physical connections, it is not easy for you to just pass papers across the table. We host all our code online and have to use special cloud tools to manage data. It all sounds very long-winded but it actually works surprisingly efficiently.

So in conclusion I am extremely grateful for how great my team are and its an amazing thing to do!

 

Alex

Social Media – Friend or Foe?

Many business now try to attempt to connect with potential and current customers through social media. It is also supposed to be a easy and fast way to promote your business. Despite the numerous advantages that are shown, I will tell you about my thoughts though Arlix’s experience with it.

Case 1: It’s your friend

Social media can be helpful indeed and the costs are even better. Many social networks do make their money out of advertisements and you can reach out to the audience you are trying to reach out too. Arlix itself has never actually paid for social advertising but our marketing team definitely want to spend something on it! Probably the biggest reason we use social media is that it is one of the most efficient news broadcasting methods available with one being able to get a message out to loads in seconds.

Case 2: It’s a foe

Social media can be a pain too. There is spam, there is people trying to get help all through mentions and also there is often a whole lot of hate. Arlix has experience all these things through the time that we have been on social media and we have not enjoyed it! Our support team cannot count the number of times that people want us to reset a password just going from their Twitter information and I cannot believe the amount of hate we get too.

I guess that the social media path is one that is treacherous but can have great rewards along the way.

 

Alex

 

Learn+ – The future of learning online

We have not released a product for quite a while now and you are probably all wondering what has happened but we are still here and we are still doing stuff!

You might know of Leach (its codename), that is now becoming Learn+.

The concept

Have you ever woken up and wished you could do something?

Learn+ aims to be a service in which you can learn (almost) anything, from dancing, DJing, coding, writing, poetry, maths, engineering, quantum physics and everything else, the aim is that anyone could put a course about what they know on Learn+ and anyone with internet anywhere could learn that course!

We also wanted to make learning a much more social experience (a bit like real school) so want users who are interested in the same sort of things. There are also chat and shoutbox features on he courses you can ask for help if you don’t get something in the course or make new friends with people all across the world!

Will it be as good as it sounds?

Any investor has to bare that question in their mind every time the go on a venture. Personally, I think this could work, it is hard building it and it takes time, patience and money but it will pay off.

I think one of the biggest things that a user will bare in mind when trying Learn+ is the user experience so we have attempted to make an extraordinary design for Learn+.

You can also help us with this by crowdfunding this when it is available.

Release?

That is a big question. If you are lucky enough to gain early access then you can probably do so in Autumn and if you are anyone else then the end of the year is our best estimate.

Form

We hope to release Learn+ on the web but also as a mobile app. We are even building an API so anyone can use certain instances of Learn+

 

We hope you will enjoy this amazing product!

 

Alex Choi