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IT companies Christmas Special.
Categories: General

by Andrew Naibauer

#it companies
#Microsoft ugly sweaters
#Nutanix SaaS game
#Santa uses MongoDB

Christmas eve was always related to the grand planning process – how we should organize a proper celebration and make those holidays as comfy as we can. At ISS Art we start preparations during early Autumn to make every detail in time. Today we are completely ready to celebrate our 19th Christmas.

And we're pretty sure that all our IT colleagues around the world are at the same point. In this article we've collected several examples of how the biggest IT companies celebrate Christmas.

Twilio's SantaPhone

Twilio is an American company that develops and provides cloud-based PaaS services. Thanks to the Twilio platform, third-party developers can use the company's platform to make calls and send text messages.

One of the Christmas traditions that children have is giving Santa Claus a big list of presents they want to receive on December 25. Twilio's project makes it possible for kids to share their Christmas wish lists without going to the mall to see Santa himself. It's called SantaPhone, the feature is designed to let kids call and leave a recorded message that is emailed to parents in real time.

As a part of this release, Twilio has promised that it will donate $1 for each of the first 10,000 calls made to SantaPhone.

Adults and children can visit the SantaPhone website and schedule a call with one of Santa's "elves". After that a text message is delivered to verify the authenticity of the phone number provided. At the arranged time, a phone call will be made, and a pre-recorded message will ask the children what they want for Christmas. Afterwards, the recording is forwarded to a pre-designated email address to let Santa's "helpers" know what their kids' are dreaming of. It can also be forwarded to family and friends just by sharing the link or downloading the audio file. Finally, an MMS from the North Pole will be sent to the phone number, using Twilio's Programmable SMS product.

Why was SantaPhone created? Well, it's the holiday season and it seems Twilio wanted to build something lighthearted and fun while also giving back to those less fortunate — it has a pattern of doing that. It's also likely that SantaPhone was a byproduct of a hackathon host company and was too great to pass it up.

Nutanix SaaS game

Nutanix is a company who develops hardware and software cluster virtualized complexes. The main product is the Virtual Computing Platform software and hardware complex, built on modular principles from standard x86-64 architecture server nodes. The nodes operate under the control of one of the server hypervisors and are combined into a single pool using software.

In collaboration with ETWorks, Nutanix published a SaaS game – Santa As A Service. The game is available at Nutanix' website right now.

By playing the game, any external or internal person can compete with each other, overcoming the greatest distance by Santa running on rooftops to earn points (I've earned 2562). In the end, players can publish the results in leaderboards and receive a nice chance to win special prizes from Nutanix.

New possible prizes are being revealed every day until December 25'th.## Microsoft's ugly sweaters

This is Microsoft's fifth year of Windows-themed ugly sweaters and the third year the company has been selling them to the general public.

"It started back in 2017, we had posted three made-up sweaters and said 'which ugly sweater would you wear this year?' and it was our best performing post for the entire year," says Megan Muehleman, senior social media manager at Microsoft, in an interview with The Verge.

This year, Microsoft has turned to Clippy, which is more Office-inspired than Windows itself. Born in Office 97, Clippy was resurrected in 2019 for Microsoft Teams before being quickly killed off in a move that one Microsoft insider described as the "brand police" not being happy that Clippy had returned. Microsoft has loosened the tight Clippy brand shackles in recent years, with its Groucho eyebrows now the default paperclip emoji in Windows and stickers in Microsoft Teams.

"Clippy has always been in the back of our minds. We've always discussed it every single year," says Muehleman. "It was just always never the right time." After a resurgence in Clippy usage inside Microsoft, the talking paperclip is now on an ugly sweater you can wear around the dinner table at Thanksgiving or on Christmas Day.

Santa uses MongoDB

MongoDB is a document-oriented database management system that does not require a description of the table schema. Considered one of the classic examples of NoSQL systems, it uses JSON-like documents and a database schema.

Due to Christmas eve, MongoDB has revealed how Santa could use their MongoDB software to deliver 6 billion presents in one night. How he could collect all those "Dear Santa" letters, read them one by one, make sure that there are no mistakes, no missed presents, and no inconsistent state.

For example, here is how Santa maintains a record for each one of us, where he keeps track of where he needs to deliver the presents. He uses MongoDB with geospatial information to understand where to deliver the gifts. Each record looks like this:

And since Christmas is celebrated at different times across the globe, Santa needs to remember about it when delivering presents. Santa knows, time zone is an important field to take into account.

MongoDB allows making changes to the application without migrating the data. Santa and his team can easily adopt the evolving needs of the holiday season without ever asking the world to reschedule Christmas:

There is actually a whole guide of how to become the most efficient Santa using MongoDB at Mongo's website. Such a detailed approach only makes it more interesting to investigate further.

All represented companies are making Christmas eve something special, just as it should be. At ISS Art we completely share that approach and wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!