Thursday, 24 May 2018

Event: Find out what makes Python so appealing!

A Tour of Python
Burkhard Kloss

Wednesday, 6th June
The Priory Centre, Priory Plain, Great Yarmouth

Find out what makes Python so appealing!

Burkhard will offer a brief tour of the Python language, and some of the features that make it so expressive, easy to use, and appealing in a wide range of fields. After that, he'll look at examples of Python usage in practice, from really small computers (micro:bits) to clouds, from database to web development, and data science to machine learning.

Burhard Kloss

I only came to England to walk the Pennine Way… 25 years later I still haven’t done it. I did, though, get round to starting an AI company (spectacularly unsuccessful), joining another startup long before it was cool, learning C++, and spending a lot of time on trading floors building systems for complex derivatives. Sometimes hands on, sometimes managing people. Somewhere along the way I realised you can do cool stuff quickly in Python, and I’ve never lost my fascination with making machines smarter.

RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/Norfolk-Developers-NorDev/events/249290648/

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Do you still get the buzz? I do!


Whatever else I do to earn a living, I am a software engineer at the core. Outside of work other things give me a reason to smile - heavy metal bands, science fiction books or my family - but when it comes to work, writing software is what gives me the biggest buzz. Even after 33 years!

Recently I spent the weekend writing some software for a client. They have an app, which we built, that allows them to take photos and complete a questionnaire for installations so that they can record compliance. The software I wrote receives the photos and questionnaire responses from the app, generates a PDF document detailing the responses and attaches it to an email, along with the photos, to send to the client. Not a particularly exciting process most would agree.

It’s a straightforward piece of software (despite the security concerns and image processing which took a little while to get just right) which delivers exactly what the client needs, but we wanted to be doubly sure. So, in the early days of the software running for real (i.e. the client is using it, not just us testing it) we got copies of the emails the app generated so we could check everything was working as it should. And that’s where the buzz of being a software developer begins.

As developers, we’re not always able to monitor in what way or how frequently the software we write is being used by our clients. There are confidentiality issues to consider, as well as the practical aspects and cost concerns of implementing a suitable monitoring process. This means a lot of the time we rely on anecdotal responses from our clients, and of course feedback when something goes wrong (which thankfully, isn’t too often).

With this particular client we knew each and every time they used the software as an email would appear and we could see how the app was working until we, and they, were satisfied with the process. Even though it was such a simple thing, every time an email pinged through from the app I got a twinge of excitement and a flush of pride. To see something I’d created from scratch work successfully and be used by someone was a small but genuine reward for me and reminded me why I love doing what I do. The buzz of seeing software work.

What gives you that buzz every day and keeps you doing what you’re doing?

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Enjoy a summer feast with the hottest tech community in The East


Join the Norwich tech community on Friday 27 July 2018 for a tasty BBQ to celebrate #NorfolkDay.

SyncNorwich, Norfolk Developers and Hot Source have got together to organise a delicious BBQ at the lovely Unthank Arms pub. (Don’t worry, we’re leaving it to the professionals to do the cooking.) You will be able to enjoy your meal in the garden – or the covered courtyard (if you need shelter or shade).

We look forward to seeing you for what is sure to be a fun evening from 18:00 to 22:00.

There will be a paying bar.

If your business would like to sponsor this event (particularly the drinks), please get in touch with the organisers.

Tickets cost just £18.92 per person – including transaction fees – but excluding drinks. In return, you’ll be able to choose from the following freshly cooked BBQ food.

Choose a main from either: Juicy homemade burger, Salmon parcels with lemon and herb butter, Archer’s award winning sausages, Lemon and thyme marinated chicken fillet, or Halloumi and bbq vegetables

Choose a side from either: Homemade coleslaw, New potato and spring onion salad, Tomato and red onion salad, or Cucumber and yoghurt raita.

Book now: https://summer-bbq-2018.eventbrite.co.uk

Breakfast with Peter Brady – CEO and Founder of Orbital Media



What: Breakfast with Peter Brady – CEO and Founder of Orbital Media
When: Tuesday 5th June
Where: The Maids Head Hotel, Tombland, Norwich, NR3 1LB
How much: £13.95
RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/Norfolk-Developers-NorDev/events/qqwhznyxjbhb/

Peter Brady is CEO and founder of Orbital Media, one of the UK’s most innovative full service Digital Agencies. Founded in 2003, Orbital Media has worked with some of the world’s biggest organisations on national and global accounts (including Aviva, NHS, Sanofi, Nestle and Mitsubishi).

Although Orbital Media’s traditional focus was on projecting brand engagement and awareness through social and digital channels, over the last 10 years it has developed a strong innovation and technology focus, becoming the UK’s leading supplier of gamification apps to the healthcare industry.

Peter will talk about Orbital Media’s journey and how it has moved into large scale tech projects (including a collaborative Artificial Intelligence project with an NHS body and the University of Essex, to reduce the burden of minor ailments in primary care). Peter will also tell us about how Orbital Media is developing and exporting virtual / augmented / mixed reality projects in healthcare, education and pain therapy sectors into global markets.

Thursday, 12 April 2018

"The answer was always 'yes' with Naked Element"


Sometimes it is difficult to explain exactly how we are different from our competitors and what working with us is like, so we put together a short video that says it all!

Some of our lovely clients have kindly shared how they felt about working with Naked Element, the results they saw and the impact our software had on their business. In less than three minutes it is clear why we get such good feedback from our clients. Our specialised way of working and personal approach makes a big difference, and our understanding of each client's needs is obvious from the finished product.

As CEO Paul Grenyer says, we are driven by our clients, and that, combined with our years of development experience, means that we have helped companies large and small overcome processing issues.

But don't take our word for it! Take a look at our video and what our clients have to say about us, and get in touch if you think we can help you!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Naked Element CEO to feature on Radio 4


Naked Element CEO, Paul Grenyer, will be appearing on the Radio 4 show Moneybox Live at 3.30pm on Wednesday 4th April 2018, speaking about the impact of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on small businesses. The show will be available on iPlayer, shortly after the broadcast, here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09xcshq/

Friday, 16 March 2018

April nor(DEV): A.I. and Cognitive Computing with Watson & Keep Secure and Under the Radar

What:  A.I. and Cognitive Computing with Watson & Keep Secure and Under the Radar

When: Wednesday 4th April, 6.30pm to 9pm.

Where: Whitespace, 2nd Floor, St James' Mill, Whitefriars, NR3 1TN

RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/Norfolk-Developers-NorDev/events/242231165/

A.I. and Cognitive Computing with Watson
Colin Mower

Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing have become the latest buzzwords in the industry, with companies big and small rushing to work out how they can take advantage of this emerging technology.

In this discussion, we’ll look at the myths behind the hype, how mature the technology is and how IBM’s Watson has evolved from game show winner to one of the market leaders.

Colin works for IBM as a Technical Leader, crossing all the IBM technologies and services. Prior to Big Blue, he worked in Aviva for over 14 years and has contributed to nor(DEV):con and Norfolk Developer Meetups.

He still lives in Norfolk and apart from plenty of travel working for some of the big blue chip companies, he tries to get out in South Norfolk running and cycling in a vain attempt to lose weight and keep fit.


Keep Secure and Under the Radar
David Higgins

Some basic and some not so basic steps to keep you and your business safe in the on-line business arena.

David is ex UK Gov contractor discusses simple steps you need to take to stay ahead of current data security legislation and keep yourself / your business secured.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Linux & SQL Server at MigSolv a Review

We love the MigSolv data centre out at Bowthorpe in Norwich. This was nor(DEV):’s second visit and they always make us very welcome. Walking into what feels like a massive Blakes 7 set and getting the tour,including the retina scanner and massive server hall, is incredible and seriously interesting (even though it’s my third time!).

The intimacy of the board room with the table down the centre and nor(DEV): members arranged each side is great for generating conversation! And when you have a humorous and huge personality like Mark Pryce-Maher it encourages the banter and the discussion even more! It’s safe to say this was one of the most interactive nor(DEV): evening presentations for some time.

Mark was there to tell us about how you can run Microsoft SQL Server on Linux (or is that “Lynux”?). Anyone would think Mark had been on the WINE, but no, you really can run SQL Server natively on Linux now. The first question though, has to be “why?”. The answer is simple. Microsoft are going after geeks, Oracle users and Linux houses who only run Windows to run SQL server.

The second question is “how?”. Developers at Microsoft discovered that, despite the vast number of methods available from the Win32 API, there are only a small number of methods which actually talk to the operating system. These are for allocating memory, disc storage, etc. A project called Drawbridge was developed to identify these methods and port them to Linux. SQL Server can then make use of those methods to run on Linux. Simples!

Mark did a live demo of installing and connecting to SQL Server. Unfortunately he hadn’t made sufficient sacrifices to the demo gods and things didn’t go precisely to plan. SQL Server can be run on an Ubuntu instance on Microsoft’s Azure from about £1/day (I’m intending to try it on a Digital Ocean droplet which is slightly cheaper). It’s incredibly easy to install. You just add the necessary repositories to Ubuntu’s package manager and tell it to install SQL Server. There’s also a pre-made Docker image (if Docker is your thing) which is even quicker.

Microsoft have developed an open source version of the client tools called Microsoft Operations Studio . It is also very easy to install (I did it on my Linux Mint laptop over 4G while Mark was speaking), but for some reason during the demo it just wouldn’t connect to SQL Server. However, Mark talks a great talk and I’m sure with a little bit more playing it would have!

We enjoyed being at MigSolv and hearing from Mark! MigSolv would like us to go back and we’re keen to do so in the future.

The Next nor(DEV): is on 4th April and features “A.I. and Cognitive Computing with Watson” from Colin Mower of Microsoft and “Keep Secure and Under the Radar” from David Higgins. RSVP here: https://www.meetup.com/Norfolk-Developers-NorDev/events/242231165/

Thursday, 8 March 2018

National Apprenticeship Week

Seeing as it’s been National Apprenticeship Week this week, we thought we would shine a light on our apprentices, past and present. Naked Element would be a duller place without them and the valuable work they do!

We’ve had three apprentices in total, Lewis, Rain and Jack and they’ve all been invaluable to our business. Lewis spent his year-long software development apprenticeship with us, before staying on a while longer as a full-time employee. He headed User Story workshops, held meetings with clients and even managed to join in with some of the social sides of Naked Element too! Lewis got a lot out of his time with us, saying "an apprenticeship is a great way to get your foot in the door of an industry, gain some excellent skills and first-hand experience in a job you may want to turn into a career". Lewis decided to be an apprentice because he felt that a more hands-on approach to learning would suit him better than studying full time. At the time he hoped he would be working in the US in the near future, but he has since decided to settle down at university and is due to begin a Computer Science degree at the UEA later this year to bolster his industry experience with a formal qualification.

Rain joined us as an administrative apprentice for just over a year, keeping us organised and the company running smoothly. Rain was an asset to Naked Element, as a natural networker and often the first face to greet clients, she helped start the conversation about software and business. From the professional presentation in her initial interview to managing conferences, she impressed us all. She took her experience with Naked Element and became the executive PA to the CEO of Apple Helicopters!

Our current apprentice is Jack, who is part-way through his software apprenticeship. We’ve been so impressed with Jack that we’re hoping he will stay on after his course has finished to be a software developer full time! He’s a good problem solver, helping Naked Element deliver projects more cost effectively and equally enthusiastic at tech events when he represents the company.

Our CEO Paul says "I believe that apprentices are an excellent way for the predominantly small tech companies in the TechEast region to grow and a way to help fill the skills gap we have here. They are also a great way to support young people in our region to get industry experience." Naked Element has found all three apprentices invaluable to supporting and growing our business and we’re very proud of how far they’ve come!

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The new issue of the nor(DEV): magazine is out now, free to download!



This issue focuses on Business in Tech. Or Tech in Business, as it is almost impossible to have one without the other and they both have an equally important role to play in our region. Countless reports from business minds, governments and international organisations are all talking about how technology is going to play a bigger part in manufacturing, commerce and business in general.

So where does Norfolk fit in?

Luckily we’ve pulled together articles and interviews from some of the region’s leading names including Chris Sargisson and Tim Robinson, as well as celebrating all things Her with a gallery from the DevelopHER Awards. Speaking of women in tech, Hayley Johnson from Epos Now has been kind enough to close the issue with an inspirational call to action for all businesses.

We hope you enjoy this new issue and share the link with your friends and colleagues!

Download here.