Thursday, 25 August 2011

Random office musings and musings of office

I was looking around the office the other day and realised something. Our offices are awesome. I may have become slightly jaded after seeing the same things every day but I still feel we’re lucky to work in such an awesome environment. We might not be the Google offices (yet!) but we’ve certainly got a comfy thing going for us: Foosball, Air Hockey, Guitar Hero and one of the coolest and comfiest boardrooms ever.

When you can nap on your boardroom couch (after hours of course) you know it’s comfy.

Most of the art in the office is the creation of our very own Kyle, who in some quiet patches (sure he wishes he had some of those at the moment) a couple years back started doodling on our walls. Over the years we’ve added more and more until we have the awesome artwork you see below.

Air hockey table (about to be put to good use in our latest air hockey double’s championship):

The Fishbowl (Our 2nd boardroom /lunch room when not in use):

We also have a showroom for our sister company Firewater Light which pictures really don’t do justice. Come and visit us and we’ll show you all our cool toys (including the homebuilt canon – we blew a tennis ball almost over the river once).

Oh and let’s not forget the developers’ best friend: the cappuccino machine! One can’t be a brogrammer (no, that isn’t a typo without a great cup of really strong coffee.

All of this along with the awesome people mean I still wake up most mornings excited to come to work. Watch out Google, Firewater's on your tail!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

An Ode to Kettle

An Ode to Kettle.

Alas poor kettle I knew you well.

4 Years of dedicated service. Constantly being pushed to boiling point by all who work with you but never exploding. Over the years you have serviced hundreds of clients and employees alike, never wavering in your duty. We know we put you on a pedestal but you never failed to live up to the faith that we put in you.

Over the years of dutiful service you have gotten weary. You have endured much abuse. You have spent many a day working overtime with the team, often the only companion to a poor team member working late into the night.

You may often have felt neglected or ignored. We brought in shiny, flashy new replacements: coffee machines, espresso machines, water coolers but, in the end, we always returned to you.

You will be missed dear friend.

Your parting was sudden and left us all bereft.


The Firewater Team

Thursday, 11 August 2011

What do you love? An initiative by Google

The Google team wanted to be able to show people more of what they do in a fun and engaging way. They posed the question: How could they connect people with products they may not know of but might find very useful?

Trying to find a solution to the challenge the Google team produced a website which we at Firewater find very interesting and thought we should share.

The website is called: What do you love? And you may access it through the URL:

Try it out, input the subject you are most passionate about and click on the heart button to start the search. Basically it aggregates the products and tools that you may find useful. We believe “applications” like these have an excellent future in the ever changing landscape of the online space.

What do you love?

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Initial views on Google +

Last month Google launched their new social media platform Google+. Not being a fan of social media in general I was sceptical at first about the NEED for another “Facebook”. Surely one such platform was enough? But nevertheless I finally gave in and accepted one of the many invites I received. After playing around with it for several weeks I finally feel confident enough to give it a decent and fair review.

First Impressions:

Google+ is quiet. Not quiet in a bad way mind you, just quiet. It’s fantastic to see my user page and not be bombarded by millions of apps and adverts. It has a nice, clean and simple UI. One of my big issues with Facebook is the sheer amount of clutter that has built up over the years. Maybe it’s just my specific OCD coming into play but the clean layout that Google+ presents me with allows me to focus more on what the people I follow are actually saying.

Another new innovation is the idea of circles. Google lets you add people to different circles. It has preset circles in place: Friends, Family, Acquaintances and Follow. However it also allows you the ability to create your own circles. On Facebook everything I share is available to everybody on my friends list. On Google+ I could create a new circle, add those people I want to that circle and then only send messages to them.

There are a number of ways to add people to circles. You can click on their name which will give you a list or, and this is one of my favourite features, you can just drag and drop their portraits into the circle you want to add them to.

Here is a cool little vid exploring circles on Google+

Something which has always bothered me about social media is there is no way to retrieve all your information once it’s on the site. There is no way to download all your photos off of Facebook or all your tweets off of twitter. In fact anything you post on Facebook is partially owned by them too! Google+ allows you to download all your data. Want to download just the images from your albums? Just your comments or statuses? You can do it in a bulk download or as separate smaller pieces.

Google+ Mobile App

Both Android and iPhone have come out with mobile apps for Google+. While I haven’t unfortunately had the opportunity to download one myself I’ve had several report backs. A friend of mine stated: “Simple and elegant - no clutter or confusion. I found it to be much more intuitive than Facebook apps for android. Sharing photos and locations is smooth, no bewildering ‘eek, where am I now?’ moments.”

Here is a simple intro vid for the mobile app.

Some Interesting statistics

Google has mostly throttled access to Google+ and still they have reached 20 million + users within than a month of its extremely premature release.

As one would expect the majority of Google+ users so far are based in technical occupations such as Engineers and Developers

1. Engineer 28,886 (24.56%) (24.56)

2. Developer 15,962 (13.57%) (13.57)

3. Designer 12,669 (10.77%) (10.77)

4. Software Engineer 11,818 (10.05%) (10.05)

5. Writer 5,734 (4.88%) (4.88)

6. Web Developer 4,972 (4.23%) (4.23)

7. Software Developer 4,317 (3.67%) (3.67)

8. Programmer 4,095 (3.48%) (3.48)

9. Photographer 3,586 (3.05%) (3.05)

10. Artist 3,276 (2.79%) (2.79)

11. TOTAL 117,620 (100%)

As such due to these professions being mainly dominated by males the current gender split of users on Google+ is not evenly distributed at all.

Male 3,143,433 (71%)

Female 1,226,716 (28%)

Other 42,077 (20%)

TOTAL 4,412,226 (100%)

Latest statistics put the male female split at around 66% male/33% female.

Top 10 Countries

United States 433,545 (55%)

India 142,339 (18%)

Brazil 41,605 (5%)

United Kingdom 38,917 (5%)

Canada 29,490 (4%)

Germany 26,494 (3%)

France 22,613 (3%)

China 20,766 (3%)

Spain 19,370 (3%)

Taiwan 19,280 (2%)

TOTAL 794,419 (100%)

It would also seem as if most Google+ users are loyal to the brand with 59% of people accessing Google + through Google chrome.

We here at Firewater are looking forward to seeing how this new environment develops. I personally believe that I have found my new social media home.

All the above statistics are courtesy of and