Friday, 21 December 2018

Alastair Reynolds is on form with this steampunk meets pirates space opera.

Revenger
Alastair Reynolds
ISBN-13: 978-0575090552

Alastair Reynolds is on form with this steampunk meets pirates space opera.

The story is cliched and almost totally predictable, but very enjoyable at the same time. I’ve started wondering a lot recently, if they body count in such stories is worth the life of the person who is being rescued and I think that remains to be seen in the sequel.

Fura Ness is extremely driven and I struggled to understand a lot of her decisions.

As with much of Reynolds’ work, there is no explanation for why this universe is the way it is and it feels as strange as when the clock strikes 13 in 1984, but makes me want to read more in the hope of understanding.

While most of the story is linear and complete, there’s a large chunk towards the end which feels missing. The climax is a little brief and just like in terminal world there is suddenly a lot of new plot in the final chapter.

Where the story goes next will very interesting.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

nor(DEV):con 2019 schedule live now!


nor(DEV):con 2019
Thursday 21st to Saturday 23rd of February 2019
The Kings Centre, Norwich, NR1 1PH


Friday opening keynote: The Failure of Focus
Liz Keogh

We know that in our landscape of people and technology, aiming for a particular outcome doesn’t always lead to us getting what we want. Sometimes the best results come from approaching a problem obliquely. But in Agile our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software. We like to start with the outcome, meet the needs of our users, delivering high-quality working software with happy teams and true agility… but how might that focus be holding us back, and what are the alternatives?

In this talk we look at some different strategies for approaching complex ecosystems, starting from where we are right now, and allowing innovation to emerge through obliquity, naivety, and serendipity.


Friday closing keynote: Software doesn't always work out. 
Kevlin Henney

Looking at the number of software failure screens in public places, it can sometimes seem that software developers are the greatest producers of installation art around the planet. Software failures can be entertaining or disastrous. They can also be instructive — there's a lot we can learn.








Saturday keynote: Plain Wrong?
Heydon Pickering

I love writing JavaScript. The trouble is, so does everyone else. When people aren’t writing JavaScript, they’re usually writing frameworks for writing JavaScript in JavaScript. In fact, most of the JavaScript that’s around these days seems to either be written for, or within, a JavaScript flavor like React, Vue, or Angular. Frameworks make writing your own code faster and more ergonomic, but they do not come without problems. Code written with Framework A depends on the environment Framework A provides in order to work — and this dependency often represents a lot of code to transmit, decompress, parse, and compile. What about ‘plain’ JavaScript? Is it always na├»ve to think anything worthwhile can still be achieved just writing some straight-up code? It turns out this is a tricky question to answer, because the line between plain and flavored JavaScript is kind of blurry. It’s also not clear who should be the ones to get to write JavaScript, for what reasons, or when. But there’s no doubt the little we do as web developers is often done with much more than we 

See the full schedule here: nordevcon.com


Monday, 3 December 2018

Emerging talent at the DevelopHER Awards 2018!


A couple of weeks ago I was honoured to be asked to judge and present the overall winner of the DevelopHER Awards 2018. There are a number of categories in the awards, including TechStar which I also judged, and the overall winner is chosen from the winners of the other categories.

I believe that the best developers start writing code at an early age and continue throughout their lives and on through their careers. As well as learning all they can, all the time, they give back to community around them and help other people develop as well.

Federica Freddi, who also won the Emerging Talent award, is clearly passionate about software development and is fully deserving of the DevelopHER award and I couldn’t have been more delighted to be able to present her with it on the night.

Federica told me "It is fantastic to see so many women recognised for their contribution to our industry. It is a huge honour for me to be able to represent so many talented people that are making the difference in tech. As an Emerging Talent, I still have a long way ahead and I don’t know what awaits for me in the future, however I am sure I will never forget to stop along the way to give back to people and help the next generations of tech stars to grow too."

I am hoping we’ll see Federica back in Norwich very soon.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

What's Norfolk Developers all about?


In this video I explain what we do at nor(DEV) and why we do it.

Seren: Sync the City People's Choice Award Winners


Sync The City is an annual event that brings together budding entrepreneurs and developers to pitch and build a start-up in just 54 hours. This year Naked Element's Director Paul Grenyer was a mentor for one of the teams and they had great success with their idea ‘Seren’, taking home one of the prizes!

Paul says “John Fagan has asked me to be involved with every Sync the City since it started five years ago, but this is the first time I've been in a position to commit to the 2.5 day event. Originally I was providing technical support via nor(DEV): but Sync the City were short of mentors so I was embedded into team Seren. I had to put my work for Naked Element on hold but I was more than happy to do so to be part of the event. My only regret is that I wasn't able to do it sooner!”

Lily Beel, a trainee solicitor at Leathes Prior, explains the idea behind her winning pitch, saying “the general idea was to connect those beginning to suffer from mental health conditions with those who have recovered/are in recovery. The waiting time to be seen through the NHS is 9 months for mild/moderate conditions - which means that people are likely to get worse during that period. If they had someone to talk to, who had been through similar mental health issues, it might stop them from reaching a crisis point and harming themselves or worse.”

“I pitched it by providing figures received from different organisations about mental health and how long it takes to be seen. I explained that it would be good to have venues which allow people to connect and chat (whether about their mental health directly or about other subjects)”

Lily and the team of eight worked together under Paul’s mentorship, to build the business start-up, but the process was not without its obstacles. “It was particularly difficult to work out how to reach those suffering and how to fund the charity. We overcame this hurdle using research and speaking to people. Contacts are invaluable - as you are limited to 54 hours, you need all the help you can get!”

But this wasn’t the hardest part of the process, as Lily had never taken part in Sync the City before, let alone made a business pitch, she found the idea of doing this in front of everyone a daunting prospect. “I wanted to make sure I got the point across as I feel really passionately about mental health and feel that more needs to be done - it was hard to keep my emotions in check when I was pitching. We had a performance workshop beforehand and my team were incredibly supportive, which really helped.”

“When we came out of the workshop with the performance coach” Paul adds, “I was really pumped up, as I knew Lily had something special and the drive and talent she exhibited had the potential to go a long way.”

Between Lily, her amazing team and the support of Paul and all the other mentors and experts, team Seren took home the People’s Choice prize and £1000 between them! Paul says “I put winning down to the amazing drive and determination of Lily BeeI and to listening to the other mentors and following their advice.”

“Sync The City is so important to Norwich and the tech community for so many reasons,  but mostly because it helps get new ideas off the ground and is great for the tech community, especially the collaboration with the UEA which brings so many business and computer science students to the event.”

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Crack the motivation code! at the nor(DEV):con 2019 Thursday Workshops!


Join one of our interactive workshops at nor(DEV):con 2019 on Thursday 21st of February from 9am, Get your tickets here: http://nordevcon-2019.eventbrite.com

Crack the motivation code! - Cassandra Andrews

Imagine if you knew precisely what motivated each member of your team, how motivated they were and what you could do to improve their motivation!
Cassandra Andrews interactive workshop focuses on motivation in the workplace and introduces ‘motivational maps’, an incredibly accurate and user-friendly tool which enables us to unlock and measure employee motivation.

Understanding exactly what motivates individuals in an organisation can be used with significant impact to support business growth and profitability by maximising employee and team motivation, retain employees and recruit the right people to complement existing teams.

At the workshop you will discover how to create high performing teams by learning:

  • What motivation is, how it can be measured and how it impacts the workforce.
  • About the nine motivators identified in motivational maps.
  • How to increase team performance by identifying conflicts in motivation.

To enable all delegates to get their own ‘wow’ moment from the session, when you register for this event you will receive a complimentary motivational map (worth £150) for completion prior to the event.


Day of Deliberate Practice - Jon Jagger.

During the session we will discuss and practice software craftsmanship, communication and creativity, focusing on TDD, pair programming, trying out new things and revisiting old ones. Deliberate practice involves careful repetition and reflection to master, explore and understand a technique, to know its boundaries, to make it second nature.

  • Hands on workshops & lectures
  • Shared Learning Environment
  • Effective coding habits
  • Collaborative Development

If you code every day, keep in mind that a change is as good as a rest — yes, there will be coding, but it’s not your workaday coding. We will be using cyber-dojo, an innovative, collaborative, open source environment. We are going to have fun — join us!

  • Test Driven Development – TDD
  • Pair & Mob Programming
  • Cyber-dojo

With time to look at different code, and code differently, this session will open your mind to different ways of doing things and new ways of approaching old problems with great rewards. Using Jon Jagger’s innovative cyber-dojo environment, you will get to re-examine coding habits and debate modern practices with experts and peers.

This session is open to individuals and teams of all abilities, the only pre-requisite is some experience of software development and a desire to learn:

  • All programmers who want to step back and examine how they can be better
  • Junior programmers who are looking to master their craft
  • Experienced developers who want to reflect on their own practices and hone their skills

Bring a laptop – wifi and access to http://cyber-dojo.org/ required.


Real time analysis of streaming data with Hadoop and Druid - Tom Barber

In this workshop we will build and deploy a Hadoop cluster along with Apache Druid which is an analytical database designed for high volume time series data. We will then work with the attendees to stream data into Druid, process that data and return it for real time analysis. This type of workflow is useful for log file analysis, intrusion detection, sensor analysis or similar and very relevant to businesses of today. All of the software used is open source and free to deploy, attendees will leave with a high level understanding of the various technologies used and a framework that can be deployed quickly and easily in the real world.

Level: Intermediate


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Deep Tech is affecting people’s lives without them even knowing it.


Deep Tech sounds like a character from the X-Files right? While it’s not a covert government agency, Deep Tech is affecting people’s lives without them even knowing it, but it’s not something we need to be afraid of. There are lots of very technical and wordy definitions of Deep Tech, but essentially it means technology that has an engineering aspect while having a demonstrable impact on people’s daily lives. Rather than a disruptive technology, like AirBnB or Deliveroo – apps that alter a service that already existed – a Deep Tech breakthrough could use technology to cure cancer or expand space travel. AirBnB is an intangible app, while Deep Tech often involves robots or breakthroughs in scientific or medical equipment.

Good examples are artificial wombs to increase the survival chances of premature babies, or brain implants to improve the independence of stroke victims. It’s not just medical advancements that are benefitting from Deep Tech, but improvements to smart homes and cleaner cities as well as energy efficiency are all developing areas of Deep Tech. Self driving cars and lithium-ion batteries could vastly improve the environment and how we live in it and are both examples of Deep Tech. Since

2015 European investment in Deep Tech has been growing three times faster than B2C investments (Wavestone) and it’s easy to see why when the impact that technology of this kind can have is made clear. Rather than just making it easier for people to order the weekly shop, or interact with a video on social media, discoveries in the Deep Tech arena make fundamental changes to how we live and survive. Researchers and scientists working in Deep Tech have not only created machines that can replicate human actions, but improve them. Like something from a science fiction movie, ‘HoloEyes’ are goggles that can provide a surgeon with a patient’s anatomy before the first incision is made, right there in the operating room. Harvard scientists have gone one further into the science fiction realm and created a brand new material, never before seen on earth. Metallic hydrogen was formed after 45 years of research and tests and has enormous potential, from space travel to superconducting abilities.

Deep Tech is technology at its most advanced and it’s most useful. While it may not affect all of us at once, the advancements being made in this field have a huge impact that will influence and hopefully improve daily life on a global scale.

Talk to me about Deep Tech.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Event: nor(DEV), TechEast & Barclays Eagle Lab present the digital technology showcase



Event: nor(DEV), TechEast & Barclays Eagle Lab present the digital technology showcase

When: Monday, 29th October @ 6.30pm

Where: The King's Centre, King Street, Norwich, NR1 1PH

RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/Norfolk-Developers-NorDev/events/252875683/

Ever thought that technology could help your business but weren’t sure how?

Have you wanted to talk to experts about the advantages of business software but were afraid of being given a hard sell?

Do you have questions about software and technology but were unsure who to ask?

Our Technology Showcase is here to help! Norfolk Developers, along with TechEast and the Barclays Eagle Lab Norwich have put together an evening of talks and introductions to help companies access technology firms on an informal basis. No sales pitches, no pushy sales people, just information and introductions.

The evening will be free from complicated jargon and tech-speak and questions are actively encouraged! This is an evening designed for people who run businesses, not IT experts.

The Technology Showcase is your chance to understand the advantages that technology can offer your business, and an opportunity to pick the brains of the regions best software companies, without obligation.

The evening will begin with introductions to Norwich’s supportive tech community, who offer support, workshops and discussions to novices and experts alike.


  • SynchNorwich help promote startups and enable local tech businesses to grow.
  • DevelopHER promote equality in technology and host the successful DevelopHER awards, recognising women in technology.
  • Norfolk Developers are a group focussing on practical skills and hardcore software developing and run the annual nor(DEV): conference.
  • Hot Source are a creative community group that aims to promote digital enterprise in our region.


The second half of the evening will give tech companies a chance to explain what they do, how it can benefit you and answer any questions you might have.


  • Candour are a creative digital agency that harnesses the power of open minds and honest feedback to create engaging experiences for users and powerful platforms for business growth.
  • Neon Tribe develop software in three stages, using ‘Discovery, Development and Delivery’ process to ensure they get the results businesses want first time.
  • Selesti are a digital marketing agency who pride themselves on strategies that help brands achieve extraordinary things. There will be one final featured company.
  • TBC.


We hope you will join us in what promises to be an informative and informal evening, designed to help technology help your business.

Calling Companies - Showcase your Tech at Sync the City 54 Hour Startup event


Sync the City is a great event in which you can promote, share and test your API's, Tools and Services.  You could provide the vital ingredient that helps the startup teams Build & Launch a Startup in 54 Hours, and win the amazing cash prizes on offer!

Sync the City 2018 is a 54 Hour event that brings together local entrepreneurs, developers, business managers, marketing gurus, graphic artists, students to pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo & final pitch (to win cash prizes).

More details syncthecity.com

In the past, we have had companies providing free access to address lookup API's, customer surveying services, hosting services, sentiment analysis API's and much more.  Its a great opportunity to publicise your own SDK / APIs / Products to be used at the event, and put them to the test and get direct feedback.

If you are interested in getting involved, then email syncthecity@norfolkdevelopers.com.


Saturday, 6 October 2018

Win an Echo Dot with Naked Element at the Norfolk Chamber B2B



On Thursday 11th October Naked Element will be making its yearly pilgrimage to the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s annual B2B event at Norwich City Football Club. We’re looking forward to seeing clients old and new, meeting new people and most of all YOU!

This year we have stand number 85 on Top of the Terrace (Level 2). All of the Naked Element team will be on the stand at various points throughout the day and we’ll looking forward to Rain Crowson helping us out at lunchtime and during the afternoon.

We’ll be raffling an Echo Dot in exchange for your business card and offering new potential clients £500 off their projects over £10,000.

Come and see us, we’re looking forward to seeing you!