Application Programming Interface. Um, Please Explain.

We worked on an infographic recently launched on the Rackspace blog that illustrates what an API is, how it’s used and how quickly the use of API’s has grown. Now, you might be thinking, what is an API? Well, welcome to my world – the world of acronyms. API stands for application programming interface. The trend and the reason why it’s so easy for us to use the web – when a company launches their application (like Facebook), they usually expose their code. Why? Well, so others can develop things to work with that code – to make “calls.” So all those games you play on Facebook, um, they used an API to develop. Take a look to learn more.

Rackspace® — API Adoption And The Open Cloud: What Is An API? [Infographic]
Rackspace® — API Adoption And The Open Cloud: What Is An API? [Infographic]

Gruene and Austin, Texas

One of the great things about living in San Antonio is that there are various towns within an hour’s drive surrounding our big city. With family in Austin, we frequently take a day’s trip to Austin, even to just eat at a local favorite. We kicked off June with a weekend in Vegas so I can’t include that on my monthly round up but I can comment on our trip to Austin and my team trip to Gruene, Texas.

Gruene, Texas

Gruene, Texas
Gruene, Texas (Photo credit: Austin Appraiser)

Team outings are a must for Rackspace. Our department lead planned a team outing in lovely Gruene, Texas.  With part of our team in Austin, Gruene was a great, midpoint for everyone to meet. As a child, my parents would take us to the Gristmill in Gruene as a treat on a family weekend. I hadn’t been since then and wow, this little town was bustling. There were all sorts of stores and restaurants. You could do some wine tasting or have a beer at the old pub. The vintage stores had some amazing, one of a kind things – stuff you see on those TV shows. We did a scavenger hunt so we had to walk around and learn the town. And, the river was right there so after some wine tasting (or a beer), you could grab a tube and float down the river. Although it was a very hot day, it was definitely an enjoyable time. I am definitely going back with my family and will probably bring the grandparents along.

Austin, Texas

Austin Texas Lake Front
Austin Texas Lake Front (Photo credit: StuSeeger)

Many people like to compare Austin to San Antonio – some say one is better than the other. I think it’s comparing apples to oranges and rather than compare the two, I think they compliment each other. The great thing about these two cities is that they are only an hour drive between so whichever city you live in, it’s easy to visit the other. My brother and his family live in Austin so we often take a drive up to visit, especially now that they have a little one. This last drive up to Austin was for my dad and brother’s birthday (land on the same day). We met up at Kerbey Lane (my favorite!) for breakfast and headed down to Zilker park afterwards. Although I love Barton Springs, I have to say Brackenridge is way better than Zilker – in more ways than one. You have to pay for parking and the kid’s train was such a bummer – it had no shade and was far from scenic. So San Antonians, be very thankful of Brackenridge park and make sure you spend some time there to full appreciate what we have.

July is already a busy month – already working on my next post!

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Bartels or Bartelses? TinyPrints Knows.

This is our fourth year sending holiday cards and all four years I’ve used TinyPrints. This year I was reminded why I always choose them to do my holiday cards.

I placed my order on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I received a call from a Phoenix, Arizona location. I answered and it was a rep from TinyPrints. My initial thought for the phone call was that maybe they have to verify my credit card information. The rep goes on to talk about my order and how on my return address labels, it said ‘The Bartels.’ She asked if it was referring to my family (more than one) and I said ‘yes.’ What could she be getting at?

She went on to say that the proper plural form would be ‘The Bartelses’ but she recommended saying ‘The Bartels Family’ since the ‘es’ looks a little funny. She asked if I wanted to have it updated.

I had her change the name and she went on to complete my order.

Wow. I’ve always liked using their service because:

  1. They have tons of unique designs from lots of designers.
  2. They have an amazing web interface, from the initial search to customizing your order.
  3. They have great customer service.

They always say that a designer reviews each piece and I can attest to that.

I prefer to do my cards online to save time but still want the feeling of dealing with my own personal designer. TinyPrints gives me that.

To top it off, after I wrote this post, I received a personal, hand written card from Lorien (the lady I spoke to from Phoenix) thanking me for my business.

Here’s our 2011 Holiday Card. Happy Holidays!

Careless Whisper in Full Force at Rackspace

I am sitting at my desk with my head deep in the weeds and all of a sudden I hear the start of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” by a saxophonist. I stood up to see what was going on, along with everyone else around me. Rackers slowly stopped doing what they were doing, stood up and searched for the origin of this music. From afar, I see a shirtless man jamming on the saxophone. Was he a Racker? Was it someone’s birthday? He slowly started making his way through the office and as he continued, more Rackers started following. It was like the scene of when Forrest Gump grew his following by running and not stopping. Nobody knew why they were following but they were sure there was a purpose.

Later that day, snippets of the video started popping up on the interwebs. I really thought it was a Racker that was dared to do this. I went to the source and found out that he wasn’t a Racker. A Racker actually asked him to pay Rackspace a visit. He thought Rackers could use a few laughs on a Monday.

This is what makes Rackspace a special place to work. Putting a smile on someone’s face doesn’t take a lot of work, just some thoughtfulness and that’s what Rackspace is about. This is also why customers love us.