Demgames Collection – Learn About Democracy & Citizenship

The best citizenship games in the world!

Demgames is a collection of fun games, which are challenging and free to play. They’re a great, interactive way to learn about citizenship and democracy.

There are 3 games for you to play, along with additional information and citizenship teacher resources. The two main games are ‘Captain Campaign’ and ‘Councillor Quest 2’ there’s also a bonus secret game if you can find it!

Demgames are fun for anyone to use – Teachers: Demgames enables citizenship and UK democracy learning at key stage 3 and upwards.

Unfortunately they’re not available to play online, but we do have a good supply of CD-ROMs for PC / windows, so you can keep playing.

So if you want any for yourself or your local school, just let us know and we’ll send some your way.

demgames 300x225 Demgames Collection   Learn About Democracy & Citizenship

 

We are hiring: Sysadmin/DevOps role in Bristol

My name is Jess and I’m a developer at Delib, one of Team Rubber’s three companies.  We develop and host web apps for government customers around the world. Citizens use our apps to participate in decision-making.  I like being a part of that – it genuinely feels like we’re doing something that matters.

Things at Delib are exciting right now.  We have a big sales pipeline and we’re rolling out sites for new customers all the time on servers in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but it’s a lot for us developers to look after.  We are not sysadmins, and managing international ops in addition to improving and maintaining our apps is a bit like spinning plates.

Our customers have rigorous uptime requirements, and all our sites are monitored by Pingdom.  Pingdom often sends us texts in the middle of the night and then we have to debug server issues at 3am while half asleep (or, in a recent fiasco, from a service station on the M20).  Frankly, it’s beginning to piss us off.  We need these issues resolved once and for all.

What we’ll need from you

Essentially, we need you to keep our servers online, keep our customers’ data safe and secure, and help us scale our operations internationally, so that we developers can carry on with what we’re best at – developing our apps.

We aren’t looking for someone just to work down a task list that already exists. We have some ideas about the kind of configurations we like, but we expect you to be able to suggest improvements.  The first thing you’ll be doing is gathering requirements, investigating alternatives and coming up with a proposal to modernise and standardise our hosting environment.

You’ll be working closely with the development team – no “sysadmin in the basement”.  My secret hope is that once you’re here, I’ll never have to SSH into another production box or wrangle another apache config again, but realistically we all know this probably won’t be the case.  Therefore we need you to be able to document everything clearly and comprehensively.  Documentation is key if you ever want to go on holiday without us texting you to demand information!

As I mentioned before, the job involves on-call.  We pay a get-out-of-bed fee, although ideally you’ll automate all that nonsense away.

Our existing tech

This is what we use at the moment, so it’s vital that you’re familiar with it, even if it’s just so that you can capably manage the migration to something else:

  • Our production boxes run a mixture of CentOS and FreeBSD, with VMWare ESXi for managing VMs.  We need these to stay online, patched and monitored.
  • All our sites are served through Apache.  Ideally you can write Apache rewrite rules in your sleep.  If you prefer Nginx or anything else then you’ll need to make a persuasive case for switching.
  • We write our own software in Python, so if you have to write your own tools then Python is preferred.
  • We use Munin and Pingdom for monitoring, Redmine for ticketing, and a mixure of git and SVN for version control.
  • We’re not currently using ITIL or ISO 27001, but anticipate introducing at least ITIL in the next year.  If you have experience with these we’d be interested in hearing about it.
  • You’ll need to support the development environment as well as production.  You don’t need to look after the office laptops, printers etc; we have that covered.
  • We have servers around the world because our customers really need data (including backups) to stay physically in their territory.  You’ll probably need to become familiar with data protection and infosec requrements for all the different territories in which we operate.

General stuffs

We work from an open-plan studio in a listed building in Bristol’s historic King Street, which recently seems to have become the craft beer capital of the South West (the street, that is, not our office).  We’re a sociable bunch – we drink together and often go out for company lunches; there are plenty of interesting places to get food nearby.

It’s probably a full-time permanent position, but a lot of our developers and testers have part-time contracts with the option to work extra days by mutual agreement.  If this is of interest then it’s something we can discuss.  Most of us work 10am – 6:30pm but feel free to work 9 – 5:30 if that floats your boat.

Interested? Drop Tom a line with CV and covering letter: tom.blockley@teamrubber.com
No agencies please! We know where you are, we’ll call if we need you.

Burning rubber 2014 – some reflections

Friday saw the 4th Burning Rubber. Despite some slightly damp weather in parts, the fire was still alight, the bouncy castle stayed up and Landrovers were driven around the field (& became a little stuck..) here’s a few highlights:

Fire, fire, fire

After digging a small fire-pit, the bonfire was successfully alight.

Fire  e1407148685747 Burning rubber 2014   some reflections

Bouncy castle (add space hoppers)

As well as the challenge of trying to bounce without slipping over, the brave bouncy castlers were tasked with playing volley ball with space hoppers.

Bouncy castle  Burning rubber 2014   some reflections

Sumo suits

Liz and Sophie ensure that the sumo suits were safely delivered..

Sumo suits  e1407148795696 Burning rubber 2014   some reflections

King Street Totem!

Team Rubber’s office is located on King Street in central Bristol. Friday was a bad day for the ‘king of king street’ who became the 2014 totem for burning rubber. Hello fire.

King Street  e1407149004910 Burning rubber 2014   some reflections

Land rover fun

What else should the muddy ditch be used for at the side of a field? Learning of the day: always have 2 landrovers when driving through unknown ditches!

Landrovers  e1407148935186 Burning rubber 2014   some reflections

Many thanks to our Studio Managers Lorna and Jayne and to everyone in Team Rubber who made it a fun-filled day. Until Burning Rubber 2015..

 

Countdown to Burning Rubber 2014 – how to organise a summer party

We’ve learnt how to throw a pretty awesome summer party over the past few years. With the 4th Burning Rubber fast approaching, here’s some essentials we’ve previously included. Happy 13th birthday Team Rubber!

Space hopper races

Be warned: these can get very competitive. Release your inner child….

IMG 4809 1024x764 Countdown to Burning Rubber 2014   how to organise a summer party

A bouncy castle

The more people that get involved, the higher everyone can bounce. Until you start getting space hopper balls involved that is…

IMG 4781 764x1024 Countdown to Burning Rubber 2014   how to organise a summer party

A play park with death slides

Ensure you take the pic at the right time to get some real gems

IMG 8522 1024x768 Countdown to Burning Rubber 2014   how to organise a summer party

Retro or neon tents

Great for contemplation, napping and sleeping over

CIMG5565 1024x768 Countdown to Burning Rubber 2014   how to organise a summer party

A fire which burns all night

You can even sit and warm up next to it (spot the Corwin)

CIMG5720 1024x768 Countdown to Burning Rubber 2014   how to organise a summer party

Waking up outside

Enough said

CIMG5723 1024x768 Countdown to Burning Rubber 2014   how to organise a summer party

Until Friday folks

Easy Hotel – Redefining Hotel Expectations

I’m lucky enough to spend a lot of time staying in the finest (read: worst) hotels that London has to offer, particularly around Victoria, where our government clients are based. As such I think I’ve probably stayed in every ‘quirky’ room available, ranging from ones where you can easily touch all four walls at once, to basements with mysterious and unidentified sounds of running water. Recently, I couldn’t help but notice that an Easy Hotel had sprung up in my favourite strip of ‘unconventional’ hotels and I knew I’d have to book a room – what were ‘Easy’ going to bring to the hotel table? Well, to cut a long story short, it was a bloody revelation, changing my view about what a good hotel should be, from the process of booking through to checking out. Without further ado then, here’s some thoughts about the Easy Hotel experience:

Booking. As soon as you start the booking process, you know you’re in for a different experience. Ordinarily, you might be asked whether you want breakfast included, or maybe wifi, but not so with Easy. Instead it immediately asks whether you really need that window? They’ll happily sell you a single or double room without windows, and frankly, once you realise you can save a tenner by disposing of natural light, you wonder what you’ve been paying for all these years. I treated myself to a window, next time I won’t bother. Well played Easy Hotel.

Furniture. Easy Hotel is not just a place to stay, it’s also a way to imagine what prison is like. Do you really need furniture, they ask? It turns out, you don’t. With the use of only two hooks I managed to hang all of my clothes for the next day, with merely the smallest of crumples. And it’s not just the lack of cupboards that changed me, Easy helped me to realise that I don’t need a bedside table, a chair, a desk or any frivolous non-nailed down item.

easyhotelhooks 300x225 Easy Hotel   Redefining Hotel Expectations

No furniture? No problem – use the generous amounts of hooks available.

Lighting.

Do you really need a lamp, or alternative lights? I always thought you did, turns out I was wrong again. Actually a single, glaring hospital style light works just as well and helped me to imagine I was in the Heartbeat spinoff ‘The Royal’ which I certainly wasn’t expecting. I now question the former decadence of my life.

Colour.

I’d always assumed that a room for sleeping in needed to be a restful colour – magnolia, an organic green, maybe a soft blue, but no, it turns out that bright orange walls are extremely conducive to sleep. I couldn’t help but lie awake and think about all my future Easy Jet based holidays. I should point out however that by 3 a.m, not even the thoughts of holidays or indeed the bright orange walls, could keep me awake anymore. I am now, of course,  redecorating my entire house in line with ‘Easy Orange’ policy. As an aside to this point, the Easy Hotel urls plastered on both walls were really handy.

easy hotel walls 300x225 Easy Hotel   Redefining Hotel Expectations

The restful orange walls and handy branding

So, what did we learn? Hotels are ordinarily a pompous, overblown and frankly expensive waste of time as they currently exist. Do we really need furniture, windows, good lighting or tasteful decor? I would argue that are all redundant because these days we instead have Easy Hotel.

Happy Halloween!

Big thanks to Becci and Tiff for masterminding a brilliant Halloween party, with the help of Hannah too the ground floor looked awesome! So awesome that the decorations are still there. maybe it’ll be like our Team Rubber Christmas tree and just stay up for the next 12 months until it’s relevant again.

There was a very impressive effort in terms of Halloween costumes, even if some of us were dashing around Primark in a bit of a last minute panic on Wednesday night.I think Christine’s ‘sharknado’ outfit took the imaginary most brilliant costume crown.

Quite a few rounds of beer / vodka / wine pong were played…

pong Happy Halloween!

We also had zombie shoot out games, creepy bad old film screenings, a sudden delivery of pizza courtesy of Mr Barrell, lots of decapitated doll body parts floating around and some ducks were shot to death by deer hunter Max’s toy gun….

duck shooting Happy Halloween!

In summary, an awesome halloween night and a very quiet Friday morning 🙂

group Happy Halloween!

Team Time Train

Today we reassembled the office train set and used it to deliver a teabag and a spoonful of coffee to a waiting mug.
1396053 10153417231685323 1823577097 n1 Team Time Train
Under baked bean and bag bridge
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1381590 10153417232110323 259284250 n1 Team Time Train
More track needed.

Quality Assurance jobs in Bristol

This job has now closed.

Thank you to all who applied, we are reviewing the applications and will be in touch shortly.

 

This job is a full time, permanent position, working from our office in the centre of Bristol. Depending on your experience, we’ll pay a salary between £18,000 and £25,000. Really, we care more about your diligence and personal qualities than experience in QA. We are willing to hire people who do not have experience in QA at the low end and raise their pay as their skills develop.

Why I like doing QA for Team Rubber:

Hi I’m Stan. Originally, the thing that attracted me to QA was that it was a job, any job at all. I fell into it as a graduate who didn’t really know what I wanted to do. For quite a lot of the people who have been doing QA in Team Rubber, it was their first QA job. It generally works out quite well.

I started out in QA working for a company that made smartphone apps. I stuck with QA because I found myself learning new things about software development, technology and what people have to do to get good products out the door. It’s the same kind of learning that makes Team Rubber’s account managers enjoy their jobs.

It feels good to work as part of the team on making a thing better. Being part of the team that builds an artefact, instead of just processing lots of stuff, means that there’s always this nice thing that you’ve built. You can point at it and take pride. I always feel really involved in Team Rubber. People listen to the suggestions I make about how we should do things and how we explain things to people.

Inside Team Rubber, QA people work in several teams at once, so you’re never just stuck on one thing for months and months. You get to take on a range of different products, and it’s interesting to work with different sets of people.

 

testing mobile apps Quality Assurance jobs in Bristol

Andy and Neal testing a web application on a group of different devices.

QA work requires a lot of diligence and a bit of curiosity. You’ve got to have a kind of imagination that helps you dream up ways to break things, especially in ways that other people might have missed. You have to be completionist and to take pride in making sure that the thing you’re working on is completely finished. You’ll need some self-direction to be able to do things like clear bug tickets for one project while you’re waiting for the developers on a different one to react to something.

In this job, you will spend most days flicking between different mobile and desktop browsers, looking at three or four different apps. You’ll do testing of new features and some manual regression testing. We’ll teach you everything we know about QA over time: how to do it, how to look for interesting types of bugs, more ways to break things, how to spot accessibility problems, how to automate as much testing as you can, and so on.

Because it’s a small company, you’re quite autonomous. The company is quite flat and you pick up responsibility very quickly. You’ll get told, “You have responsibility for doing this. If you can think of how to do it better then tell us and do it.” There’s authority that comes with the responsibility; you will be expected to say, “that’s not good enough to give to customers”, and no one (except possibly the boss) can overrule you.

The people here are really friendly. Lunch is great! The Bristol office is surrounded by a lot of really good lunch places and there are loads of cosy pubs too. The whole product development team is quite tight-knit; we invite everyone to come along when we go out to drink together in the evenings, usually about once or twice a week.

The atmosphere is pleasant. We don’t have anything like a really stuffy, segregated cubicle office. We’ve got a colourful open-plan office. About half the time, someone has music playing. There’s always something going on.

Contact details:

If this sounds good to you, please get in touch. Send us a cover letter (to services@rubberductions.com) and your CV. We’re more interested in covering letters than in CVs. If we like the look of yours we’ll get you in for a standard hiring interview.

We will not accept applications via recruitment companies.

Programming jobs for nice, friendly human beings

This position has now been filled but thank you for your interest 🙂

 

Hi. I’m Richard. I write software for a company called Delib, which is part of Team Rubber. We make web applications for governments to ask their citizens what they think about things. If you like to write computer programs for making strangers’ lives better then I would like you to come and work for Delib, too.

I’m going to write briefly about the job, then the reasons why I like to work here, and finally about what I would like you to do for us.

The job, briefly:

We have some web applications written in Python, running on Linux and FreeBSD. I am one of 3 programmers employed (plus one freelancer) to work on and improve them. We want to hire more programmers to work on them so that we can remove bugs and add features more quickly. This means that we need people who understand or can rapidly learn Python, HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Git. Familiarity with Unix-like operating systems and networking would help, too. Depending on experience, the salary for this job will range between about £25,000 to £35,000.

Why I like to work here:

We have a pleasantly-informal atmosphere. The dress code for programmers is, roughly, “wear clothes”. In Delib, the word “professional” refers to being conscientious about your work, not how you look. Our sister company VAN has one programmer who works here specifically because we didn’t ask him to cut off his dreadlocks. 🙂

On most days, we’ll have music playing in the office. About once a month, on average, someone will bring in a pet dog or a small child, at which point productivity plummets in a fit of cooing and doting. We are always grateful when this happens.

We’re a pretty tight-knit group. We lunch together about half the time and go out for drinks or dinner about once a week. We are still friends with most of the people who have worked for us in the past and moved elsewhere. For instance, Adam, who moved on from Team Rubber recently, comes out with us about once a fortnight. We usually spend the evening at Renato’s next door, enjoying the pizza and cider.

burning rubber 2013 beautiful Programming jobs for nice, friendly human beings

The bonfire at Burning Rubber in 2013. Burning Rubber is an annual party that we hold every summer.

Delib has a mostly-flat hierarchy. We’re led by a managing director (and co-founder), Andy Parkhouse. Mostly, people report firstly to their team and secondly to their boss. We’re not a vertically-oriented get-promoted-or-you-get-fired kind of organisation. We also don’t do the whole miserable “fire the bottom 10% of the company every year” thing made famous by high-pressure financial firms. We prefer to hire good people and then stay friends with them.

We practice a couple of different agile processes. We use variants of Scrum and Kanban, for managing tracks of work with different types of deadline and delivery date. We insist that people try to stick to the process that their current assignment uses, but we also make sure that every two to four week “sprint” of work includes a meeting to talk about how it went, where anyone can make any suggestion to make the process that they have to follow more useful. If someone convinces the room, we’ll start working with the changed version straight away.

What I would like you to do for us:

I want you to join our team. I don’t care what your age, gender, race, or religious, spiritual or political views are. We don’t even discriminate on grounds of text editor choice. I use both Emacs and vi (not vim) myself, but most people in Delib are using TextMate.

I want you to write succinct, beautiful, self-documenting Python code with sensible unit tests whenever it is possible to do so, and carefully-thought-out Python code with comments describing all of the invariants and extra tests specifically for the fiddly bits when it isn’t.

 

our king st studio Programming jobs for nice, friendly human beings

Our studio office in the centre of Bristol. We share this office with two sister companies, Rubber Republic and Viral Ad Network.

I want you to write HTML fluently, without really needing to think about it. I want you to write JavaScript with the same level of care as you write Python. I want you to write CSS that can be maintained easily. I want you to be able to follow our not-too-overcomplicated Git workflow so that you can share your excellent work with me.

I would like you to be able to use Unix-like operating systems. I will insist that you use a laptop with OS X or Linux on it for development, even if in a virtual machine. All of our development team do customer support on a rotation, so you will eventually be asked to make changes on production servers, most often to change some or other piece of Apache configuration. I don’t expect you to know Apache off-hand when you arrive; you will be able to get by by learning on the fly, as we only use a small subset of its configuration language on a day-to-day basis.

I want you to be nice enough that the account managers won’t be scared of you except on Halloween. I’d like it if you came out with us in the evenings every once in a while, but that’s not mandatory at all. I definitely want you to smile widely when I buy you a silly Christmas present once a year. (I don’t want you or anyone else to reciprocate; handing people small amusing gifts is my own hobby, not anyone else’s!)

I want you to be flexible about what your next task is and capable of learning on the fly. We have a lot of different systems to look after. I want you to be willing to ask questions to get at all of the information that people have never thought to write down. I will love it if you are conscientious about making sure to write it down immediately afterwards!

Contact details:

If this sounds good to you, please get in touch. Send us a cover letter (to services@rubberductions.com) and your CV. We’re more interested in covering letters than in CVs. If we like the look of yours we’ll get you in for a standard hiring interview.

We will not accept applications via recruitment companies.

Programming and development that doesn’t suck

This position has now been filled but thank you for your interest 🙂


We’re looking for a Developer to work with either Viral Ad Network or Delib. These companies are part of Team Rubber; you can find out more from our blogs. We think we have a pretty good environment in which to write software. We have a big airy studio in a listed building in Central Bristol. It’s not perfect; it’s a bit busy, but we care and say thanks, and we go out for lunches and drink together after work and I reckon that counts for a lot. We’ve got pretty good at using agile development processes like Scrum and Kanban. We also have version control, testing, and decent chairs (or sofas to work on if that’s more your style). Bring your own laptop or we can supply one – you’ll get a decent quality Macbook Pro.

 

Typically we work well with people who’ve got a Computer Science degree and have been coding since at least their early teens. YMMV. We prefer people who can write.

 

We need to get some web app and operations stuff done, here’s the outline:

– We generally use XHTML, CSS and Javascript. There may be other ways to do it, but we’ve found these ones are pretty good and not too much hassle. We have to support a wide range of browsers including, increasingly, mobiles and tablets.

 

– We generally use python. Generally python doesn’t suck. We work with python frameworks including Pyramid, Zope and Plone. You don’t need to have used these, but experience with a web framework might be useful.

 

– There are some database things to do. Sometimes in various flavours of SQL or NoSQL or whatever.

 

– We have lots of devops things, including deployment automation for servers around the world; sysadmin and shell scripting ftw.

 

– We’ll like you more if you can combine programming and UI/UX; we try to avoid silos, I prefer working with people who can solve an interesting computational problem and put together a good GUI to hide the computation from the humans. Being a photoshop guru is not essential though.

 

Could be full-time, part-time or freelance scenario. There’s a bunch of things to get done right now. They’re usually interesting. There’ll probably be some more things to do after that. Sound interesting? Senda cover letter and your CV to team@teamrubber.com. We don’t place too much faith in CVs, the covering letter is really what we look at. If we like the look of yours we’ll get you in for a standard hiring interview. No applications will be accepted via recruitment companies.

 

Cheers,

 

Andy (Director) and Jess (Developer)