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Not all fires are destructive

Ingrid: The following, however bittersweet, is Collin Schaafsma's farewell to Quick Left. He will no longer be involved with the day-to-day operations of the company. While we’ll miss having him around the office, we wish him well and can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

This year in CO we've had a ton of fires. Lots of people have lost their homes. It's truly sad, but not all fires are destructive. Quick Left has been an amazing journey for me, however it's time for me to move on and start a new chapter in my career. It's time to start a new fire.

I've been on fire for Quick Left from day zero. When things were just getting started I was working like a machine and I literally calculated the minimal amount of time I needed to sleep so that I could work like crazy. Looking back I probably went a little too crazy. I did a lot of things wrong, but...

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How'd we get our name?

I'm often asked… So, where does the name "Quick Left" come from? We've gotten a lot of interesting theories on the origin of the name that are pretty fun. I admit we like to come up with fictitious origins ourselves, and it's true we have a LLC called Slow Right. When you search for "Quick Left" you naturally see a bunch of results linked to us and things we've done in the community. You'll also notice references to people punching someone with a "Quick Left." I love that. After all, we do pack a pretty good punch...just not from our fists (most of us have coder hands).

When we moved into our new space on Pearl, we started getting a fair amount of walk-ins asking us what the heck we do. Most of the time we tell them the truth. We realize that we don't have the words development, design, labs, or anything like that in our name and that it's not exactly clear what we do just based on our name.

So where does the name come from? In early 2008 I headed out for a normal training ride on the bike, and I was thinking about how to take the business to the next level (I do almost all of my serious thinking on the bike on solo rides or in the shower). At the time I was working under the name Collination. Don't laugh, I know it was a bad name. I also knew that no one in their right mind would want to work for a company called "Collination." As I was heading down Highway 36 towards Lyons, CO I said to myself I'm just gonna take a "Quick Left" on Left Hand Canyon and ride up it as quick as I can to Ward, CO. About five minutes later it jumped back into my head… "Quick Left." Not sure why I liked the sound of it so much, but I literally stopped riding, turned around and just knew that was it! I rode home as fast as I could, jumped on to Godaddy (ignoring their horrible UI) and was shocked that the domain was actually available.

As it turns out, when I met Ingrid (now our CEO) the name worked out even more. Ingrid is a national champion on the velodrome. She makes a lot of quick lefthand turns on the bike. So now you know, Quick Left came out of a bike ride in the mountains, like a lot of awesome things in my life.

Extra credit for the locals: Next time you're walking past our office, see if you can spot a subtle detail on our door that ties in the "Left" in Quick Left.

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Quick Left-Overs for Feb 2nd - Feb 8th

Isotope
Pretty impressive jQuery plugin for layouts by David Desandro.

Formtastic
Nice Rails from builder.

Some nice CSS snippets

Custom scrollbars for webkit

Awesome @font-face syntax

Killer JSON viewer

History of the User-Agent string

Another JS HTML5 Chart Engine

Rails 3.1 mountable engines
Really looking forward to this.

HTML5 canvas sprite optimization

Video on jQuery Templates

Quick Left-overs is a weekly series of things that end up in our "FancyBookLearning" Campfire room that we thought were interesting.

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Keeping your JSON response lean in Rails

Many folks are guilty of just spitting back everything on a ActiveRecord model in JSON with render :JSON in their actions. I've certainly been guilty of this. Problem is this pretty much sucks because you're sending down a whole lot more data than you probably need to. The end user suffers especially on a mobile device and that's just not cool. This can get really bad when you need to have multiple associated models represented in your JSON response. So how do you keep your JSON as lean as possible?

No one wants to add a bunch of options in your asJSON methods inside of each action. Makes your controller look like a total mess! To get around that I highly recommend using asJSON in your models and not using to_JSON at all on your ActiveRecord models when your creating a data result. Lets look at some code on how to best handle this.

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