Sunday, 31 July 2016

Not so Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
ISBN-13: 978-0099518471

I read this because it’s a classic dystopian novel. I hated it. I’m sure when it was first written it was revolutionary and visionary, but I found it hard to follow in places and frankly quite boring. I didn’t like or relate to any of the characters and a lot of the time it felt like Huxley was trying to shock by being overly controversial.

At 288 pages, Brave New World took me over 6 months to read, because I just couldn’t get into it. I didn’t like it from the beginning, but once I’ve started a book, I like to finish it.

With the likes of the Hunger Games and Divergent, we’ve been overwhelmed with dystopian futures just recently, so maybe I’ve got a general apathy towards Brave New World or just maybe it’s not very good.

I’m looking forward to returning to Alastair Reynolds and Slow Bullets.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

NorDev Event: Top 7 Agile Tips I learnt as a Product Manager & a mini summer social


What: Top 7 Agile Tips I learnt as a Product Manager & a mini summer social

When: Wednesday, August 3, 2016, 6:30pm to 9:00pm

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

RSVP: https://www.meetup.com/Norfolk-Developers-NorDev/events/232382796/

Top 7 Agile Tips I learnt as a Product Manager 
Benjamin Mitchell (@benjaminm)

Many people have experienced using Agile approaches within teams to deliver more working software, but what can be learnt from combing these approaches with Product Development? This talk will cover the top seven hard-earned tips I learnt from several years spent as a Senior Product Manger for BBC Worldwide. Ever wondered how you could influence the product you were building? How can you use Agile approaches to learn about what the right product to build is? How do you overcome defensiveness? How can you design experiments that challenge assumptions and encourage change? This talk will provide some answers, combining ideas from organisational learning, psychology and negotiation.


Benjamin Mitchell

Benjamin has over 20 years’ experience delivering online applications, in diverse sectors – including media (BBC.com), investment banking, insurance and software products. A highly-rated international speaker, he is passionate about helping software product development teams and leaders build the right products in the right ways. Benjamin is proud to be a Partner with Equal Experts. You can see a recent talk of his at https://www.equalexperts.com/common-communication-failures-solve/

And then when we're all done, we'd quite like to have a nice cold beer at the local pub, most likely to be Brew Dog near Tombland.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Britain’s Biggest Technology Company Sells Out To Japanese Tech Firm


If there was any concern that Brexit would have a negative impact on foreign investment in the UK, the doubts were somewhat quashed this week when ARM Holdings announced a takeover by Japanese tech giant, Softbank, in a deal worth a staggering £24bn.

ARM Holdings is Britain’s biggest and most successful tech firm. Founded by entrepreneur, Hermann Hauser in 1990, the company made its mark with the vintage Acorn Archimedes and BBC micro:bit.

Today, the ARM microchip powers practically every digital device imaginable, including computers, iPhones and Samsung’s range of mobile products. Last year, the company sold 15 million microchips – more than its US rival Intel has sold in its 48-year history.

The ARM microchip is seen as the next-generation for microprocessor architecture, and whilst Britons have a right to be proud, we can’t help but feel it’s a shame the company is being sold to overseas investors.

We’re also curious how the likes of Apple and Google feel knowing their industry “allies” have handed over the new-generation microchip to a Japanese firm.

The sell-out also raises questions about the impact such a massive acquisition will have on the British economy. New PM, Theresa May has already voiced her determination to put an end to foreign takeovers that do not favour national interest.

However, on this occasion the UK government has been quick to respond with a positive message. “This is good news for British workers, it’s good news for the British economy,” a spokesman said. Given Softbank has already stated its intention to double the 3000-strong workforce of ARM Holding, we can’t argue with this.

Furthermore, in Softbank, the British tech giant is being adopted by a faithful parent. In recent years, the Japanese firm has already acquired Vodafone and Sprint together with a French robotics company, Aldebaran. Founder of Softbank, Masayoshi Son has said that ARM Holdings is one of the pillars of the company’s growth strategy.

The ARM microchip is used in numerous household items such as smartphones and tablets, computers, TV’s, Smart home technology, Smart cars and wearable tech. The microchip also powers smart cities and drones. It seems the Japanese tech giant has acquired ARM with a view to progressing the next-generation of “The Internet of Things” (IoT).

IoT is the proposed idea that by interconnecting digital devices our lives become much easier and more convenient. Possible scenarios include fridges that add food to the shopping list on your mobile phone when you are almost out, and kettles that tell you it’s time for cuppa.

We are experiencing a rapid development in mobile technology and in the very near future we will practically be able to manage our lives from our smartphones. To many people this may be a scary proposition, but it is almost guaranteed that most will embrace the convenience IoT technology offers. And a certain Japanese-owned British company will be central to making our future lives possible.

Words: Lauren Yaxley