Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ever wondered what we do at Naked Element?

Here at Naked Element we design and build made to measure, enterprise software and cross platform mobile apps.

What’s more our entire business has been built upon the quality of the work we produce as well as our collaborative partnerships with clients. This means that our clients not only get what they want, but what they need and what’s truly best for their business.

But, what does made to measure, enterprise software and cross platform mobile apps really mean? Let’s break it down:

Made to measure – Everything we design and build is truly bespoke. The market has shown that the one-size-fits-all approach to software development can no longer provide a solution for many of today's business needs.

Enterprise Software – is the term used to describe purpose-designed business orientated software solutions that are designed to satisfy the needs of a particular company as well as individual users. Our enterprise software can stand alone or be integrated as an extension of customer’s existing software so you don’t have to start from scratch.

Cross platform – imagine Apple and Android as two different countries with two different languages.
Most (developers) people from either country will speak the native language, or mother-tongue of that country. Naked Element live (create software) in a third country that has its own language that is understood by both the other countries, halving the effort of working in both countries at once.

So what does this mean in the real world?

It becomes much clearer if we apply this to real life and most of us use lots of different types of enterprise software everyday, perhaps without even realising it, such as:

  • The websites of e-commerce giants eBay and Amazon
  • Online payment processing systems such as PayPal
  • Booking platforms for hotels, holiday providers and anything else you can think of where you book online
  • Mobile apps that deliver a specific functions like ordering food via brands such as Just-eat.co.uk and Dominos Pizza
  • All social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Project management tools 

So, as you can see our made to measure, enterprise software and cross platform mobile apps are all about catering for that next level of functionality and delivering intelligent, high quality user experiences that add value to your business.

How We Work

As one of the select few companies across the UK to apply the tried and tested agile approach to our business, everything we do centres around effective customer engagement.

We design, build and take care of every detail involved in developing software, but you remain in control at all times. You get to see, feel and touch your software as it is developed. The software will be used in your business, so it’s important you have your say throughout the process. The benefits to our customers of this level of collaboration are that:

  • Expectations will be clearly understood, agreed and exceeded
  • Working and potentially releasable software is developed in short time frames
  • Functionality can be defined throughout, reducing the overall project lead time and in turn the cost
  • We can respond quickly to change and customers don’t end up paying for work they don’t need
  • Projects are broken down into manageable chunks, reviewed and agreed ensuring the client is happy every step of the way
  • Delays and any associated costs are reduced
  • You are in the driving seat and can directly influence the direction of a solution checking it is fit for purpose and addresses the need it was developed for in the first place.

We know that no two customers’ requirements are exactly the same and whilst we always pride ourselves on our effective internal and external communication processes we don’t over complicate things and encourage clients to just pick up the phone or pop by, as people solve problems not processes.

Our Process

Before we put pen to paper, or even cut code, we define a project’s user stories. This is a term used by Agile methodologies for the who, what, where and why of a project’s requirements and defines the features the software needs to include.

Every project we carry out is broken down into manageable development chunks called iterations. The user stories help us understand the features that are important to the customer and allow us to estimate what will be delivered within each iteration, how many are required and how long the overall project will take. This means our customers have a clear indication of a project's costs and never get any nasty surprises once a project is complete. This process also means that both parties can track progress and at Naked Element we only ever charge per complete iteration after delivering working software the client is happy with.

We have successfully used this process in a wide range of projects to date and we’re so confident that clients will be delighted with the quality of our work and the rate at which we deliver, we don’t usually require any upfront costs or commitment beyond the current iteration.

To see how Naked Element can help your business, please drop us a line or give us a call:

Email: info@nakedelement.co.uk
Phone: 01603 383 458

You can also follow us on:

Google+
Twitter
Facebook
Linkedin

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Breakaway Networking Norwich

There are loads of networking groups in Norwich, even more than there are tech groups! I haven’t been to that many. In fact it’s only four. There’s an breakfast club that I attend every other Thursday, another run my Lorna Burrows that I tried once, the BNI and now Breakaway Networking.

Breakaway Networking meet at the Refectory at Norwich Cathedral every Thursday morning at 7am. I was invited along to their ‘Big Breakfast’ by Nick Applin who is their current chairman and runs his business out of Whitespace, just like Matt and I do with Naked Element. The Big Breakfast happens every 6 months or so and involves inviting lots of guests and listening to a guest speaker. I believe that their regular meetings are smaller affairs, attendees being predominantly members. I’m looking forward to finding out.

The Big Breakfast started off with the usual informal networking over tea and coffee. I met some new people and bumped into some of the usual networkers I see everywhere (you know who you are!). At around 7.30am we all took to our tables in groups of about eight and Nick welcomed us all and suggested we did a quick round table to get to know each other before the food arrived. This we did. On my table I was joined by someone from the Benjamin Foundation, Breakaway’s charity for 2014, someone who worked in Health and Safety, another who cleaned computer workstations, a bathroom designer and fitter, someone in HR from Office to Office, a recruiter and singles matcher and a security consultant (the traditional kind, not internet security). All of them had a story to tell and all of it was interesting.

Following the breakfast Nick introduced Lee Todd, director at Just Regional, a local news magazine. Lee gave a fantastic talk and described how he saw the way news is consumed changing and suggested to Archant that they start a publication that concentrates more on local news. They weren’t interested so he left Archant and started up on his own, working a number of jobs to fund his dream. Just Regional is now very successful and employs a number of people.

The morning was rounded of with a presentation of £1000 to Break. About £350 was raised from the Big Breakfast and the members of Breakaway made it up to £1000.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Gone Girl

Don’t bother. Gone Girl, although clever, is overly drawn out and nothing new. It’s 18 rating appears to be due to a single bloody scene and some serious language towards the end. Neither added anything to the story. The second quarter of the film is extremely slow.

Ben Affleck doesn’t really make the lead role his own and is completely overshadowed by Rosamund Pike and Carrie Coone.

Go and see Dracula Untold instead. We wish we had.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

NorDev: Natural Language Processing & How to diagnose SQL Server performance issues

What: Natural Language Processing & How to diagnose SQL Server performance

When: Thursday, 6th November 2014 @ 6.30pm

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

Sign-up: http://www.meetup.com/Norfolk-Developers-NorDev/events/198132992/

Natural Language Processing of A&E Patient Notes
Richard Astbury (@richorama)

Richard will be talking about a recent project where he took 7 years of patient data from the A&E at Leeds General Hospital, and ran it through some natural language processing algorithms to extract rich information. This helped to inform clinical decision making, save money, and support the wider community of services in Leeds.
He'll be talking about the challenges on the project, and the tools, tricks and techniques used to extract useful information from hand-typed notes.

Richard helps software businesses around Europe migrate their applications to the cloud. Richard is a Microsoft MVP for Windows Azure, an experienced Node/js and .NET developer, and Senior Consultant at two10degrees. He lives in Woodbridge, Suffolk.


How to diagnose SQL Server performance issues like a Pro. 
Mark Pryce-Maher (@tsqltidy)

In this session, Mark will run through the tools that Microsoft use to track down performance issues with SQL Server. He will demonstrate how to use these freely available tools; SQLDiag, SQLNexus and ClearTrace to not only diagnose your SQL Server issues but make to look like a SQL god to your boss.

Mark is the owner and principle consultant at Iceni Solutions, a SQL Server Business and Oracle  consultancy in the UK with clients in a variety of sectors from banking to aerospace. He specialises in Administration and Performance tuning. Mark is a MCITP and MSCA in SQL Server 2008 & 2012 and has spoken a a number a a number of SQL Server conferences in the UK.

NorDev: An Evening with AWS video now online

Norfolk Developers was delighted to welcome Ian Massingham of Amazon Web Services (AWS) to Norwich last week to give an introduction to AWS. The video is now on our YouTube channel and you can also watch it below:


Introduction to AWS

What it is, why is was created and what are the fundamental services that make up the service.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Girl with the Curly Hair - Aspergers and Me

Alis Rowe
ISBN-13: 978-0956269324

We were recommended the Girl with the Curly Hair soon after our eldest son was diagnosed with Aspergers. I read about 70% of it while I was at Bloodstock this year. It was very easy to read and immediately gave me insight into some of the things that our son was feeling and why.

Alis Rowe is clearly an extreme case and it was also reassuring to know our son isn’t. I am very grateful to her for writing this book. It makes it clear that people with Aspergers sometimes struggle to understand how people without Aspergers feel and why they behave in the way that they do. It also made me realise people with Aspergers who may seem very selfish, are not really.

In Alis’ case there is a clear understanding and acceptance that people without Aspergers feel differently to her. I am hoping that as our son (11) matures he will come to understand the world around him as well as Alis does.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Top Ten Albums (Post Ice Bucket Challenge)

I was recently asked on Facebook by Matt Roach to list my top 10 albums. I’m a huge (rock) music fan with a collection in excess of 1,500 albums (which, interestingly doesn’t include any INXS) and although I managed to put a list together I was kinda happy with in about 10 minutes, it was a hugely difficult task for me. Here, in no particular order, is what I came up with.

Misplaced Childhood by Marillion

This is a fantastic musical and emotional journey. Fish’s 35 minute description of his broken heart together with Steve Rothery’s better-than-gilmour guitar playing is just incredible. I love listening to this album, but i have to be careful as it always puts me in a melancholy mood which can make behaving like a normal human being difficult for the rest of the day.

The Crimson Idol by WASP

It’s difficult to explain why this is such a good album. The way WASP use BC Rich guitars, the drumming, the chorus hooks and the story to this magnificent concept album are certainly part it. The highlight is the best guitar solo ever which forms part of The Idol, followed by the gentle come down of Hold on My Heart and the final emotional roller coaster of the Great Misconception of Me. But really the whole album is fantastic and I was very lucky to be able to see WASP perform it all the way through.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd

Thought by most as the poorest of the Pink Floyd albums, A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the first not to feature Roger Waters and is mostly a David Gilmour solo album. Some of Pink Floyd’s more experimental albums fail to be anything more than rubbish. Momentary brings together classic rock arrangements with experimentation that just blows you away on every listen. The guitar playing and lyrical content is fantastic.

Inner Circle by Evergrey

Inner Circle is everything a progressive metal album should be, but without any of the Dream Theater-esq technicality. Openers A Touch of Blessing and Ambassador are the masterpieces of Thomas Englunds career. It’s difficult when a band write an album as good as this, because they inevitably fail to better it and everything they do is compared to it.

Aeronautics by Masterplan

This is a straight power metal record and the highlight of Masterplan’s career to date. The great guitar riffs coupled with Jorn Lande’s impressive vocals make this unbeatable in the genre. There isn’t a bad track on the album, but the highlight is the love story played out by Headbangers Ballroom.

Critical Mass by Threshold

There had to be a Threshold album in here somewhere and it’s so difficult to choose between Critical Mass, Hypothetical and Subsurface, but it has to be Critical Mass. Mac’s vocals are fantastic all the way through and although Richard West’s lyrics are often overly religious and preachy, each song flows into the next and Karl Groom’s guitar playing is at it’s best.

Ghost Reveries by Opeth

It’s difficult to choose an Opeth album because most of them are so good. It would have be easy to default to Blackwater Park or the first of their albums I really got into, My Arms Your Hearse, bit Ghost Reveries is fantastic all the way through. Death metal bands are often cast as talentless and tuneless, but you only have to listen to the first track of this album to appreciate the skill and talent of this group.

The Arrival by Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy were the first death metal band I got into and they have remained my favorite since. Most of their albums have had an element progressive and The Arrival is progressive all the way through with every track as good as the previous one. As usual for Hypocrisy this is a concept album based on alien abduction. It has a different sound to their other albums, it’s still crushingly heavy, but many of the riffs are played higher up the fretboard.

Dusk and Her Embrace by Cradle of Filth

This album was one of the saviors of the 90s. It’s the first of the full length Cradle of Filth albums with the huge gothic, orchestral production that they and the Black Metal genre became famous for. Every track is superb and has a slightly different feel. Although it’s a good 50 minutes long, it usually leaves you wanting more.


Doomsday Machine by Arch Enemy

There had to be an Arch Enemy album in my list (I wish there was space for an Amon Amarth album too). All of the albums featuring Angela Gossow and now Alissa White-Gluz are fantastic and it was difficult to choose. Doomsday Machine was the first of their albums I really got into and I think it has the best riffs, even if it is quite over produced in places.




Monday, 29 September 2014

Epic Hootup Review

It was over breakfast, early one morning, that Julie ‘Jobhop’ Bishop asked me if I’d speak at the upcoming Epic Hootup. It was only for 15 minutes, so I said I would. The  Epic Hootup is a relaxed gathering during Social Media Week with speakers describing how social media is changing business today. I didn’t really have much that I could say directly about how social media was affecting Naked Element, but social media is how we got SyncNorwich, Norfolk Developers, etc. going and how we keep them going. Naked Element’s support of Norfolk Developers has a clear positive effect on Naked Element so I decided to talk about the Norfolk Tech community and meetup.com. Especially as I think meetup.com is one of the forgotten social media platforms.

The event was held at Epic Studios in Norwich on Tuesday 23rd of September and was run by Chris Greenfield of Bright Yellow Marketing and Julie Bishop of Jobhop. About 200 people attended from the 300 or so tickets that were taken.

This was my first non-technical event of this type and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. All the key speakers had lots of interesting things to say about how they use social media within their businesses. It was really good to hear how Virgin Money ran their campaigns and the things that they learnt. I’ve long ‘known’ Laura Holland from twitter, but never met her in the flesh. It was great to hear how they use social media at ESE Direct and to meet her afterwards. Ian Pollard, Senior Product Manager at Auto Trader, was a particular highlight as he pointed out how Rick Astley had defined how customer service should be in his song from the late 80s:

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

Although I’ve introduced other people in front of bigger crowds, I think this was the biggest crowd I’d ever presented too. It was also great to see so many women. Over 50% of the people there were women. I’m used to predominantly male crowds.

The best thing for me was that the audience really took part. I like audience participation, it helps me understand that what I am saying is being absorbed.  The crowd laughed in all the right places, put their hands up when they needed to and even answered questions. It was great to get lots of positive feedback afterwards too. It appears that my humour was appreciated and my passion came across clearly.







Sunday, 28 September 2014

What We Did on Our Holiday

Waring! Spoilers!

Charlotte and I love Outnumbered. We’re lucky to have intelligent, resourceful children, so it makes us laugh a lot. What We Did on Our Holiday is written by the same team and I think Andy Hamilton and everything he does is just fantastic. I didn’t think this would be my sort of film as it doesn’t have guns, aliens or Kira Knightly in it, but it was great.

Not only was it a great story well written, it was mostly superbly cast. Billy Connolly in particular was very good. In fact the only thing that let the film down a little was how badly cast David Tennant was. He just wasn’t very good.

The idea of three young children building a raft from what they found on a beach, loading their dead grandfather onto it, pushing it out to sea and setting fire to it the way he asked was just genius.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Be Part of the Tech Nation!

Tech City UK, along with Duedil, MTM London and Angelist, have launched a short survey as part of their Tech Nation report - the first ever to map UK’s digital capabilities.

As a nationwide survey we want to make sure Norwich is properly represented. This will be great in highlighting the expertise that exists here and revealing the support that is needed to help you grow.  If enough Norwich companies respond, we will be profiled separately in their final report - please help to get Norwich on their map!

By participating you will be entered into a draw for the chance to win one of 10 iPad mini 3s, tickets to the NOAH Conference, and most importantly, have your company profiled in the final Tech Nation report.

You can take the survey here.

If you have any difficulties please email: technationsurvey@techcityuk.com