The Fubra Blog
Last year a group of us here at Fubra set about a 20% time project to teach children to program. The idea originally came from our Head of Product, Hannah Bird, and a number of us followed suite to help her achieve her goal. We got in contact with the local Scout group, Aldershot 2nd, and asked if they would like us to teach them how to code to earn their computing badge and they delightfully accepted our offer; that’s where we started Fubra Universe.
Fubra, and trading style CatN, have now been working with Thomas Cook Online for over three years. It has been an important period for both our companies. Thomas Cook have been rebuilding investor confidence by restructuring their business, and we have been growing our business and productising our R&D efforts, bringing them to market.
The relationship began as a ‘skunk works’ project. Thomas Cook immediately required colocation for a small number of development servers. We were able to respond very quickly and provided the servers within 48 hours of the initial request.
Clearly Thomas Cook recognised the benefits of working with a hungry, responsive SME and from this first engagement the relationship grew. We were asked to host ever larger development and testing environments all the time delivering an agile and incredibly responsive service, led by an expert technical team in CatN.
Over three months ago one of our websites – World Airport Codes – has undergone a full revamp, focusing on design, functionality and user experience. The change hasn’t stopped there: the team has been working hard on improving two airport pages – New York’s John F. Kennedy International and Chicago O’Hare.
Both airports are among the US top 10 busiest airports, and we felt there was too much useful information to cram into just one airport page for each. For example, getting to and from the airport is a commonly shared headache for most travellers, not to mention international guests who don’t live in the country and can’t imagine all the subtleties that apply to the local airport transfer services. That’s how a dedicated Chicago O’Hare Taxis page was planned, aiming to explain how various taxi options work, what you’d expect to get in terms of service, and how much it would cost. Similarly, an important international business hub such as New York was bound to have a rather complicated taxi market, and Andrew spent quite a bit of time researching and finalising the John F. Kennedy Taxi page.
For those who prefer their own means of transport for getting to and from airport we thought it’s essential to know car parking options at both airports. On JFK Airport Parking page we looked at various services available both on-site and off-side, as well as details of pick-up / drop-off parking which can be a stressful process if you’ve never driven to an airport. Some practical tips (such as making sure your tank is full of petrol in case you get stuck in traffic, who would have thought!) may seem obvious, but always worth knowing. You can also view all airport parking options on one map, allowing you to make an informed decision when deciding on the parking provider.
Chicago O’Hare Airport Parking page goes into a little bit more detail on how to book the airport car parking, how to get to the parking site and what’s the process of collecting your vehicle upon your return from travel. We were also interested to know what the Airport and City laws for airport parking are, as well as charges and local parking providers. Read the rest of this entry »
This adventure started one day when, I can’t remember why, I decided to show Nick (Fubra’s head of design) some of the videos I’d done before I came to Fubra. It seems that he had been waiting for this, because the next day he came back to me with a lot of ideas to do different videos.
The possibility of doing videos in-house seems to be something Fubra was waiting for for a long time, but no one ever started it. So, from just that one simple comment, a lot of ideas started to come up. One of them was to create a video which represents us as a company, what Fubra is and who the people working here are. A video with the ability to transmit the enthusiasm with which we approach all projects (including this one too!).
In almost two weeks, everything started shaping up. Jurga joined the project and she ended up being a mainstay of it. Thanks to her, we started to structure all the work and bit by bit we collected all the technical equipment (camera, lights, microphone…) and put all our points of views together until we created a set of questions.
Maybe the most difficult step was fighting with the sound tasks, because we both had limited knowledge of it. First, we started recording our first interview with the microphone turned off (yes… a foolish mistake… we know that!). That forced us to re-do the whole interview but there were still problems with the quality of the sound.
We didn’t realise that the microphone was not the best one until that moment. It added a terrible white noise onto the voice which could be removed in post-production using software like Adobe Audition (with all the lost time it involves), but not without loss of quality; however with low voices like Dana’s (the victim of all these errors) it doesn’t work because at the end what you have is an incomprehensible and poor quality sound.
That is when you realize that not everything can be resolved in post-production and, at the same time, that a good sound always falls through the cracks but a bad sound doesn’t, which also damages the quality of the video. ”When sound is better, image is better” (Walter Murch).
So, we re-filmed it A-G-A-I-N with the new wireless microphone we didn’t know we had in the office until Paul Maunders told us, and also a few parts of other interviews we had already done, because the differences in quality putting all videos together were quite obvious.
We also had to deal with the cloudy UK weather, with capacity problems of our computers, cards and hard drives, as well as with Adobe Premier’s inhospitable errors which always come when you least expect, at the most inopportune moments.
But despite this, after two months of hard work we have what we think is a really good video, and also it has been a rewarding and enriching experience in a professional and personal way. Now we know more about our colleagues, who delighted us with really good stories about themselves or the company, and now we also feel more ready to approach the next new challenge. In fact, new ideas are already emerging, so probably we will see you soon on a new blogpost.
Hope all of you like the video and it helps you to know a bit more about Fubra and people who make it possible. Enjoy!
Following the success of our World Airport Codes app and to celebrate the site’s 10 year anniversary, the team at Fubra decided it was time the site received a complete frontend and backend overhaul. The website provides airport codes and information on nearly 10,000 airports around the world.
Over the years World Airport Codes has gradually increased traffic at an astounding rate even though the design had received little attention and had only been changed once:
We could not believe quite how popular it became and realised the data we were providing was valuable to visitors, but who were these visitors?