Computers for kids

24 November 2015 Comments Off

This past summer we facilitated a great cause for the 40 children of the Social Services Center “Sfantul Gheorghe” from Romanasi, Salaj County, which lack all the needed IT infrastructure to allow pupils fast access to information.

Our friend & active TYPO3 community member Jochen Weiland, contacted us regarding a stack of computers that were being replaced by newer models, thus faced with a number of unused machines at JWeiland, we were asked if we can find someone here in Romania that could put them to good use.

 

 

We quickly looked around especially for children homes which were lacking PCs around Cluj Napoca and we came across the Social Services Center from the village Românași. Since the computers were located at the JWeiland headquarters – Germany, the cost of getting them to Romania was considerable, but thankfully our friends at BST Logistic shipped all the computers with one of their trucks covering most of the cost. The computers arrived first at our office where some volunteer colleagues prepared them for the children usage before shipping them to the village Romanasi.

 

Maybe the great part was before the T3EE 2015 event when Jochen visited the center and could see where the computers ended up and also meet their happy users.

Tomita Militaru

Arxia Summer Camp 2015

13 July 2015 § 1

There’s a pretty exciting summer tradition we have going on each year: ARXIA Summer Camp. Working all day with your eyes pinned down to a monitor can get exhausting, no matter how many interesting projects you get involved into and that is the reason why each year we prepare, for more than 6 months, a 4 day getaway together in a semi-remote area.

It starts off with the difficult process of picking the perfect location, a process into which all team members are involved during our weekly Team Talks. Some like mountains, others like the seaside while a remote few urban city breaks, but after weighing in all the pros & cons and several voting sessions, this year’s location was Baia de Aries – a small Romanian town with a population just a bit above 5.000 habitants. It was until 2004 a mining centre extracting, mainly for base metals, with tourist objectives like the monument of nature tree known as the “Emperor’s beech” and the Muncel Monastery, but also a modest waterfall and the well conserved forests.

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We rented a van (nicknamed “ARXIA mobil”) as we discovered that it is way more fun to travel the entire team in the same car and we departed ARXIA’s office on a rainy Saturday. It was a 2 hours drive from Cluj Napoca to our host pension Roua Muntelui (translation: Mountain Dew – no connection with the beverage with the same name :)

Day #1 – Arrival
Day one started with unpacking and some leisure time to accommodate with the location. The pension had a great pool, unfortunately we couldn’t use it due to bad weather. After a rich Romanian specific lunch, we played some interesting team building games.

Pool time
We got to know each other by playing “Personal Map” – a game where the team had to guess the life of a specific individual.
A team is nothing without good coordination, “The stick” showed us that working together we can accomplish so many things.
It was followed by a stormy debate about life & dead in the game “Lifeboat” – a game where we had to save people based on their profession.

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All those “serious” team building games called for a bit of unwinding & what perfect way to do than to play the old childhood game “The ducks & The hunters”. Rules of the game are simple, 2 people server as hunters, surrounding the rest while trying to hit them with a ball. Last man standing is upgraded to hunter.

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After a quick dinner it was Quiz time! Colleagues prepared a list of questions from various domains and we split in 5 teams – the team to get the most questions right, wins.
Ending the day was of course with a karaoke party – some colleagues showed their passion to music (and money, try to sing Bruno Mars’ – Billionaire), while others became a bit sentimental on the soundtrack of Titanic.

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Day #2 – Competition day
The day after is always the hardest, but the logistics team was prepared to give a wake call to remember – army style, trumpets & knocking on doors!
A bio-friendly breakfast charged our batteries as it turned out we would need lots of energy & creativity for the Photo Hunting competition. I’d say this is the most exciting game we play each year, we split in teams and receive the same list of items to photograph – from “ducks crossing the street” to “darkness”.

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Next game was inspired from Lord of the rings I guess, but we were surprised to find out that some colleagues do have experience or even own a bow – in our “Archery” games. Rule is simple – hit a bottle as many times as possible & your team wins. Not even our freshly operated colleague could stand this game out!
Lunch & leisure time followed the games, but even some pool time as the weather started to improve and our colleagues do love some quality time in the pool.

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They say coding is much like art, well the next game we had to go through truly proved it. “Movie time” requested that we draw a random topic and in 20 minutes we had to come up with a script & also film it, no props, only the objects we wound surrounding the pension. Topics ranged from politics to showbiz, we would publish the videos, but we won’t want to hard the artistic integrity of your colleagues ;)

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Our coordination skills were once again put up to a challenge it the games “Ski on grass”. Your team would be tied to the same 2 wooden boards while you “run” against an opponent team & time. A video can be seen on your Facebook page.

What is a camp without some sport? We’re proud to have over a quarter of our team composed of girls, but more importantly, girls which didn’t back out of a “Football” game! Teams fought for the ARXIA cup and luckily no red cards were handed during the game.

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Life can get dizzy with summer heat, lots of tasks, errands, but not as dizzy as we got in the game “Jump around”. Spin around a stick 10 times, run 10 meters and at the end drink a beer, all timed. Fastest team not fall / throw up wins!
We ended the day with a Mexican themed party or as we called “Fiesta party”. Everyone had to improvise a mexican / spanish inspired outfit and move their body on some bachata rhythm.

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Day #3 – Know each other
Everyone woke up on some Balkan music, thanks to the “wake up” agents – a delightful morning & breakfast.
Our CEO kicked-off the day with ARXIA’s long term strategy – the importance of knowing where our company is going and that we are on the same boat, trying to get to the same destination. Afterwards, we started discovering each team members’ vision of a perfect team by finding top 5 common characteristics.

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“Moving Motivators” helped us discover what motivates us, but more importantly to learn about other’s motivation when working together. Each individual had to rate a list of 10 words related to motivation.
Our cooking skill were challenged in the food contest “Bake a bread”. Each team had to bake a letter of the word ARXIA, but also to make sure it tastes really special. We had to vote the best bread and of course compose our company logo with … bread!

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As we got used, we finished the day with a party until the dawn.

Day #4 – Departure
After 3 days in a row partying, waking up in the 4th morning proved to be hard, but not impossible. Everyone started to pack their baggages and we headed towards Turda Gorge for some daytime trail hiking. Turda Gorge (Cheile Turzii in Romanian) is a natural reserve (on Hășdate River) situated 6 km west of Turda and about 15 km south-east of Cluj-Napoca, in Transylvania, Romania. The canyon, formed through the erosion of the Jurassic limestone of the mountain, is 2 900 m long and the walls have heights reaching 300 m. The total surface of the canyon is of 324 ha. Cheile Turzii contain one of the richest and most scenic karst landscapes in Romania. More than 1000 plant and animal species (some of them rare or endangered, like the wild garlic or some species of eagle) live here.

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We had lunch at the entrance of the gorge and everyone boarded back home to Cluj Napoca after 4 magical days of fun & new insights.

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Author: Tomita Militaru

Christmas gifts for needy children

11 December 2014 Comments Off

Christmas is approaching fast and with it, the magic of the holiday season is installed, together with the desire to bring joy and happiness to their loved ones.

Guided by the wise words of Emanuel Swedenborg, “True charity is the desire to be useful to others without thought of receiving a reward“, at the beginning of December, we decided to put a smile on the face of children from an orphanage. Our desire was to make them forget, even if just for a moment, about the difficulties they face every day.

This year we focused on the orphanage “House for street children – Aksza“, which houses 20 children aged between 7 and 20 years.

We had an exciting experience because we met some very special children who wanted nothing more than the barely minimum they needed. They enjoyed our visit as much as we did helping them and they rewarded us with a very nice carol.

We thank them for the very warm welcoming they showed us.

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2013 @ Arxia

31 January 2014 § 1

While most people are busy setting new year resolutions, we’d like to take a look back into the year that just past, as 2013 was an awesome year from all points of view!

Arxia Forest

In 2013 we started by getting dirty. Literally. Our hard working colleagues rolled up their sleeves and signed up for the project Plant your own forest or, how we like to call it, Forest Arxia. You know what they say, each man must plant a tree at least once in his life before they leave this life.
The project was organized by CERT Transylvania and more than 150 volunteers attended & seeded more than 5000 young trees!

Our next stop last year was to support the national computer science contest ITeam Net hosted by Tiberiu Popoviciu Informatics High School Cluj-Napoca in collaboration with Babes-Bolyai University. We feel strongly that it’s a great way to encourage high schools students to pursue an IT career, but also to learn new things thrum competitions like this one.

Our colleague Daniel Homorodean tested the Netherlands’ TYPO3 “waters” by attending the TYPO3Camp Venlo, a TYPO3 community event with over 75 attendees. One might think that most of them were Dutch, but surprisingly enough around 70% of the attendees were from across the border. Here Daniel had the first opportunity to speak about TYPO3 Romania Usergroup’s special & dear project, TYPO3 East Europe (T3EE), but more details below.

Arxia @ Masca

We love to do out of office activities and thanks to World Vision Romania, we had the opportunity to spend a fun weekend at 50 km outside the big city and help out some beautiful kids in a village near by with school supplies. A picnic in nature was most welcome during summer, games and lots of surprises for the 17 children from Masca, Cluj.

In May, Daniel went to explore the Brazilian market for our product PlanningWiz, in Sao Paulo – the business heart of the country, in Porto Alegre where Arxia attended the BITS IT fair, the South American equivalent of CEBIT, and in Rio de Janeiro, where he met with various potential partners and witnessed the kick-off of the Startup Brasil program at a local incubator.

The summer of 2013 caught some of our colleagues at the most important TYPO3 event for developers, the TYPO3 Developer Days, held in Hamburg, Germany. The sessions were great & the socializing was even better!

Team Arxia

Team Arxia

Speaking of nature, we’ve made it a tradition every year to organize Arxia Camp, a 4 days trip around the country with lots of team building games & bonding. In 2013 we decided to visit Maramures region, an area where Romanian traditions are well maintained even today. Perhaps the highlight of our trip was the trip with the “mocanita“, a small steam locomotive that has tracks between & uphill the mountains. The long 6 hours trip was a great opportunity for everyone to practice their singing skills & mime.
Last day of Arxia Camp was dedicated to the Barsana monastery which is build entirely out of rock & wood. We were lucky to manage a quick trip to the Happy Cemetery and the Memorial Museum, an opportunity to remember the events from the communist period.

It is very refreshing for us to see initiatives coming from the younger generations, so it was natural to support the 5Edu project, a program of informal education organized by highschool students for highschool students, as a summer school.

TYPO3Camp Mallorca

TYPO3Camp Mallorca

Since we love TYPO3 events, we couldn’t miss TYPO3Camp Mallorca 2013, one of the most fun TYPO3 events out there, with a really special & charming location. Several of our colleagues signed up for the flight to the Spanish island Palma de Mallorca where they meetup with people from the TYPO3 Community from around the world. We were glad to notice that the Romanian presence of attendees is increasing every year!

Thankfully, not all TYPO3 events are so far away and, not long after TYPO3Camp Mallorca, we attended the first TYPO3Camp Poland at our Eastern Europe brothers.

Like Walk

Like Walk

You might ask yourself, does Arxia have time to do some work? Of course! We had some great projects in 2013, like for example Cluj Napoca 2021 – portal for the European Capital of Culture (candidate city), Epistemio - platform for the management of scientific paper portfolios or LikeWalk – application where users can present their outfits to the world and find similar products on online shops.

We do our best to support the good practices in our industry and to promote them in Romania and everywhere where we can. So in 16 October, Daniel presented the importance and beneffits of the web accessibility standards to the attendees of the annual FRATEL reunion, held in Bucharest. That was also a good opportunity to polish his French grammar.

We couldn’t miss T3CON 2013, especially since it was announced that it is going to be a different CON than last years. The sessions were interesting & engaging, but we also enjoyed the networking part of the event, were we reconnected with old partners or made new ones. It was also a great opportunity to pitch TYPO3 Romania Usergroup’s own event: TYPO3 East Europethe first international event in eastern Europe.

TYPO3 East Europe

TYPO3 East Europe

Which brings us to the most important TYPO3 event in East Europe in 2013: TYPO3 East Europe. Together with TYPO3 Romania Usergroup, we gladly supported the University pre-event and the 2 days main event. Our colleague Bodor László has been one of the 12 speakers.
The event had 22 sessions, but also a record of 4 parties at different locations in Cluj. We couldn’t help but noticed how people from outside Romania are still fascinated with Transylvania & vampires!
The event was a success, with 100+ attendees from 7 countries and we look forward for T3EE 2014

All around the year of 2013 we tried to give back to the community by hosting the monthly Bug Day events where we encouraged local developers to contribute to TYPO3 projects.

Our work year came to an end near Christmas with a trip to a near by village called Ticu, where, with the help of World Vision Romania, we had the opportunity to give back some joy to the 20+ children there from a day care.

The year of 2013 has a great year & worth to remember, we are eager to see what new challenges has 2014 prepared for us!

Bug Day @ TUGRO Meetup 2012

19 December 2012 Comments Off

TYPO3 is something we speak every minute here at Arxia, but during the 3rd edition of TYPO3 Usergroup Romania Meetup 2012 we had the opportunity to get our hands dirty with some TYPO3 core code.

Inspired by the TYPO3 Bug Day event which used to be a monthly event, the national TYPO3 Romania community reunited the second day of TUGRO Meetup to solve & better understand the release flow of TYPO3 CMS.

We hosted the event at our office with free coffee & Internet for anyone who wished to give a helping hand. The different levels of difficulty of bugs helped us to find a bug for just about anyone, either frontend or backend coding.
But before we dived into code, we had to learn about the legal and infrastructure of the TYPO3 CMS contribution process.
The Contributor License Agreement (CLA) is a license based on Apache CLA, which allows contributors to keep all rights on the code and it allows the TYPO3 Association to handle the distribution & further development of thier code inside the TYPO3 project.

  • TYPO3 CMS 4.x – 6.x = GNU General Public License version 2
  • TYPO3 Neos = GNU General Public License version 3
  • TYPO3 Flow = GNU Lesser General Public License version 3

The CLA document can be downloaded here and after it was filled in, it must be sent via fax to the TYPO3 Association: +41 041 511 00 39. After it was reviewed by the TYPO3 Association, an email notification will be sent informing about the result and, if approved, the account on typo3.org will be marked as contributor.
But from our own experience, signing the CLA document is mandatory only if you plan to contribute to the NEOS project, as for TYPO3 CMS it is recommended, not mandatory.

The TYPO3 code is managed by Gerrit, a web based code review and project management for GIT based projects. TYPO3′s Gerrit interface is located at review.typo3.org and you can use the typo3.org account to login.
A review request can get:

Verified:

  • -1: Fails
  • 0: Have not tested
  • +1: Code works by testing
  • +2: Verification approved

Code Review:

  • +2: Verification approved
  • +1: Could commit, needs more approval
  • 0: No opinion, just adding some comment
  • -1: Please do not commit
  • -2: Veto

Note that “+1″ plus “+1″ does not add to “+2″. The +1 is only a indicator of how many people agree with the change (even anonymous reviewers). Only a core developer can ultimately give a “+2″, approving a change and unlocking the “Submit” button. But more on this can be read here.

Setting up the enviroment can be a bit difficult, but if you are using TortoiseGIT (as we did) and follow the instructions on setting up the enviroment, you will be ready to push things to TYPO3 core in less than 10 minutes!

The following links will help you:
Apache CLA
TYPO3 Release Workflow
TYPO3 Review Workflow
Coding Guidelines
Contribution Walkthrough Tutorials

Once everything is ready, head up to Forge (location where bug reporting is done), based on Redmine, a flexible project management web application written using Ruby on Rails framework, and choose a couple of bugs to solve.

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Solving bugs in TYPO3 turned out to be an easy task given the wide range of problems, a great way to learn more about the TYPO3 core and, of course, for the TYPO3 Romania community meant a great team working exercise!
We are looking forward to turn the Bug Day event into a recurrent event, not only at every TUGRO Meetup, but more often, maybe even monthly with the help of the TYPO3 Romania community.

Author: Tomita Militaru

Santa’s Helpers: Operation Share and Care

5 December 2012 Comments Off

We believe in the importance of giving back to the community and creating positive changes by helping others. Mother Teresa said it best: “do small things with great love.” We consider ourselves to be proactive and believe that love makes life better. That being said, this year we have partnered up with World Vision and delivered Christmas joy to twenty four children in need.

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Do you remember the feeling of excitement and surprise, waking up on Christmas as a kid to unwrap the super cool gifts? It was an amazing feeling wasn’t it? Unfortunately there are many underprivileged kids out there, who can only dream to experience this joy on Christmas day. This year we have changed that for all 24 children from the small and poor village Ticu-Colonie, about 50 km away from our location in Cluj-Napoca.

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The kids singing and sneak picking to Santa's full bag

With the support of the great people from World Vision activating in the village, the children wrote colorful letters to Santa, containing their “wish-list” for Christmas (the little-ones were filmed – as they are too small to write), and Santa answered each letter in part, with the help of his little elves – us. Answering the letters was quite cool, but not by far as great as dressing up one of our colleagues as Santa and delivering the presents.

The surprise factor was the incredible show prepared by the children for our visit. It was over an hour of Christmas plays, carols, songs and poems. It was unbelievable how much work and effort the little children put into this, just like real artists.

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Few of our colleagues and the man of the day - Santa (aka Alex)

We wish we could put into words the gratitude in their eyes when Santa offered each one of them the gift they dreamt of for Christmas; and oh, their smiling faces when they met Santa – priceless!

Author: Ramona Isai

Certified TYPO3 Integrators at Arxia

30 January 2012 Comments Off

certificationLast December Arxia sponsored the 2nd TYPO3 Usergroup Romania Meetup. The event was a great success and was followed by the first ever TYPO3 Certification Event in Romania. The certification exam was conducted by officials of the TYPO3 Association.

Three of our colleagues registered for the Certification Event and participated in the exam. Today we received word that all 3 passed the exam. As a result in the Arxia team there are 3 Certified TYPO3 Integrators. So our congratulations go to:

  • Fleșer Alina
  • Bodor László
  • Militaru Tomiță

Arxia is as good as its people are, so that’s why we invest in trainings and certifications in order to be able to deliver quality services to our customers. Having three Certified TYPO3 Integrators is another important step and a guarantee of the quality of our work.

Arxia Camp 2011–part II

18 August 2011 Comments Off

Between the 30th of July and the 7th of August the Arxia Team was on a teambuilding camp. The first part of the camp was covered in my last blog post so i will concentrate on the second part.

While we were working in this camp with a reduced schedule we also had lots of other activities together. One of the most interesting ones was when we split up in 4 groups and went on a photo hunt mission. Each group had to take at least one picture of some predefined objective. For example one of the hardest objectives was to take a picture that symbolizes egoism. All the teams worked hard and we did made a few noteworthy pictures during this exercise, some of these can be seen in the photo album attached to this post.

Other common activities included making an egg fly or telling a story about yourself. But also individual personality tests were conducted and these had quite a success among the team members.

On Wednesday the team travelled to Baile Homorod (a local resort) where the majority of our colleagues went to horse riding. None of us ride a horse before but thanks to the staff of the Lobogo Panzio we managed quite reasonably in the saddle.

In the evenings people come together and some played Citadels for long hours, others played Poker and some were just having a beer and a pizza together with the colleagues.

The week ended with another trip to the Balu Adventure Park and to the Sfanta Ana crater lake near Tusnad Bai. Here we slept in tents in the camping site near the lake, made a campfire in the evening and talked late into the night. On the last day of our camp we visited the Mohos lake and then started our long trip back to Cluj Napoca.

Its safe to say that this was the most successful Arxia Camp to date with people having lots of fun and work together. Also this camp raises the bar for the next years and will be quite a challenge to find a location like this and to organize the camp. But challenge is the reason why we are here at Arxia!

And here are the photos:

Post written by: Bodor László (Arxia TYPO3 Team)

Arxia Camp 2011

2 August 2011 Comments Off

As of 30th of July 2011 the Arxia team is out on a teambuilding camp, second time in the last two years. This time we have chosen the Laguna pension in Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania. For 9 days our team is combining work with fun and leisure. Our teambuilding camps are somewhat special because we have to assure that our customers have permanent support for their websites so usually we do work in these camps but with reduced schedule.

What else we do ? We travel and visit tourist sights, we participate in teambuilding exercises and most important of all, we have lots of fun together as a team. This year the camp started with a short visit to Sighisoara – an UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the Medieval Festival was just starting in this unique still inhabited citadel of Europe.

Sunday on the 31th of July our team went to visit the Balu Adventure Park in Harghita Bai. We have climbed up into the trees and did several adventure routes of lower or higher difficulty but i think its safe to say that the highlight of the day was the tyrolean traverse over the blue lake. Well there is a lot to say but i will let the pictures tell the story.

And this is just the beginning, more to follow as we are just in the beginning of the camp.

Update: Click here for the second part