Monday, 25 February 2013

A Good Day To Die Hard

I think this is the only Die Hard film I’ve seen at the cinema. I’m not a huge Die Hard fan, but I do like a good action flick as long as it has some story. On this occasion I was quite pleased to find that is was only 90 minutes. I quite enjoyed it. There were some great action scenes, as you would expect, but most of them just to far fetched to be believable. I know Mercedes build their cars well, but I just can’t believe one of their 4x4s would actually trouble an armoured car too much just by knocking into it.  The Russian bad guys were great! It’s a shame there wasn’t more of them and the brief appearance of the one that looked like Billy Idol was comical. If you've nothing better to do for a couple of hours one evening, see it. Otherwise wait for the blu-ray.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Naked Element Ltd. presents MobDevCon: Call for papers

Conference: 3rd July 2013
Submission Deadline: 1st April 2013
Where: Hethel Engineering Centre, Norfolk

If you would like to be kept up-to-date about MobDevConf, please join our email list here and follow Naked Element Ltd. on twitter here.

Call for Papers & Speakers
Naked Element Ltd. presents MobDevCon (website coming soon) the first Mobile Development Conference in Norfolk. The conference will be held on Wednesday 3rd of July at The Hethel Engineering Centre near Wymondham in Norfolk, UK. Naked Element would like to invite proposals for sessions.

The keynote has already been confirmed:

  • Neil Garner of local company Proxama, speaking on NFC (Near Field Communication)

Submissions should be made by the 1st April 2013 to and include the following information:

  • Speaker name
  • Speaker email address
  • Speaker profile (max 500 words)
  • Session type: case study, tutorial, workshop, etc.
  • Session length 45 or 90 minutes (workshops should be 90 minutes)
  • Mobile platform
  • Session description (max 500 words)
  • Indication or whether you are happy to have your session filmed

If your submission is accepted you will be notified by the 1st of May 2013. Having a session accepted entitles the speaker to free entry to the conference and, if appropriate, free travel to the conference and one night’s accommodation booked by us. We hope to have all sessions filmed and published freely on the web. Please let us know if you do not want to have your session filmed.

We welcome submissions on any subject related to mobile development. We’re looking for beginner and intermediate sessions on Android and IOS as well as other popular platforms, cross platform technologies and web based mobile apps. However, please do not be limited by this, we’re happy to consider any mobile related submission.

Type of Sessions
We would like to see two main session formats:

  • Presentation with slides
    • 45 minutes in length, although double sessions will be available if needed (90 minutes)

  • Hands on keyboard workshop
    • 90 minutes in length
    • Max audience size of 24 or 16 (to fit the workshop rooms available)

Participants for workshops would be expected to bring their own laptops. Wireless will be available. Workshops will require participants to sign up in advance. If specific software is required speakers must make sure they allow time for this to be installed and configured or arrive early on the morning of the conference to help participants set up their laptops. A session the night before can be arranged if required. Please let us know when you submit your session.

All sessions must be entirely technical in nature. Any session that appears to be a sales pitch will not be accepted.

MobDevCon has a maximum capacity of 80 delegates (plus sponsors). We expect to attract predominantly developers, but you should also expect to find entrepreneurs, managers, testers, enthusiasts and all sorts of other people, even agents!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Out of Sync

It’s amazing what time off with your family makes you think about. When my middle son Nathaniel was born I took the usual two weeks paternity leave. They say having children changes you and the way you feel about things and it’s true. I realised then that the job I was doing at the time wasn’t doing me or my family any good, so I decided to go and do something else.

I had a similar think over Christmas. When I looked back on 2012 I saw all the amazing things we achieved with Agile East Anglia and SyncNorwich and felt an immense amount of pride. I also looked forward to the things I want to achieve with Naked Element and SyncConf in 2013. A couple of things occurred to me. I’d already decided that I wouldn’t be doing any speaking in 2013 in order to give me time to work on Naked Element (although it now looks like I’ll be doing a gig in September) and when I considered everything, giving as much time to SyncNorwich, Naked Element, SyncConf and of course my family as they deserve was going to be difficult. Something had to go. So I looked at everything and what stood out was the strength of the SyncNorwich team and I felt that SyncNorwich could continue to go from strength to strength without me in the very capable hands of John Fagan, Seb Butcher and Juliana Meyer.

Over Christmas I took the extremely difficult decision to leave the SyncNorwich team and now seems the right time to go public. I’ll still be organising SyncConf for the foreseeable future and helping to start new SyncCity groups like SyncIpswich. You’ll even see me at SyncNorwich events. I hope you will all give John, Seb and Juliana as much support as you have given me over the last twelve months.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

SyncConf Dragon's Den Pitch Details

This post is taken directly from the Startup Norfolk website and can be found here.

SyncNorwich are holding their inaugural SyncConf ’one day agile and tech’ event on the 15th of February and if that wasn’t enough to put Norwich on the UK map for startups they are donating the profits from the event at a live pitch event to the most promising Norwich startup.

Startups interested in getting their hands on this seed funding (likely between £5k and £10k) need to create their own 3 minute video response to the Youtube video (embedded below) which describes the criteria and application process.

In short we’re looking for teams of 2+ peeps (no one-person outfits) who have a software based startup with at least one user / customer – that there is a built product that someone is using / paying for. We don’t want to just invest in an idea as everyone has those and they have no value unless you execute on them.

More details for cut off date and when / where this Dragon’s Den style event will be will follow. Keep watching this space!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Mobile Dev Conference in Norwich

SyncConf is less that two weeks away and already I am wondering what I am going to do to fill the void it will leave. There is only so much planning for next year that can be done straight away.

It was suggested on Facebook that I should plan another conference and Stephen Pengilley inspired me to think about a mobile development conference in Norwich. A quick tweet at the weekend on the subject resulted in at least 10 people interested in less than 12 hours. That’s a pretty good response rate for my tweets and certainly enough to consider taking the idea further. So what I am thinking is this:

  • Norwich in July
  • Cross platform keynote
  • Separate iPhone & Android tracks
  • Introductory and intermediate sessions as well as a workshop in each track.
  • Cross track introduction to cross platform development (e.g. Titanium)
  • iPhone vs Android panel discussion to close

These are just my initial ideas. I’ll need to firm something up quite quickly to meet the July deadline. I’m very keen to get suggestions, especially for speakers. Is there someone in particular you would like to see? Leave a comment or email me:

Naked Element @ SyncConf 2013

SyncNorwich has already proved that there is a thriving tech community in Norwich and SyncConf, the one day Agile and tech conference, is the natural progression. The SyncConf organisers are expecting in excess of 150 people, which is phenomenal for a small conference in its first year.

Naked Element Ltd. is an up and coming bespoke software development and consultancy firm that sponsors SyncNorwich. Chris Wright of Naked Element says "We are delighted to be able to sponsor SyncConf and will have a stand at the conference. Please come and say hello to myself and Marie and learn more about how we can help you and your business build the software, systems and processes that you need to be successful."

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Hot Source January 2013

I enjoy the Hot Source talkies more and more everytime I go.  The more I take part and follow the discussions on linkedin, the more I understand what it and the people involved are all about. At this latest event I also realised another of the aspects that separate Hot Source from SyncNorwich. Hot Source showcases a lot of local talent, whereas SyncNorwich generally brings in people from outside of the county with skills that are not necessarily found locally.

For the January Talkie, Hot Source were also trying out a fantastic new venue at St Andrews House, part of City College in the centre of Norwich. This was a modern facility and a far cry from the old lecture theatres I remember at Leeds university in the late nineties.

Blair Keen from Adobe shared some of his personal experience and perspectives on conversion rate optimisation. Adobe is a huge global player in marketing and data. I felt the first Hot Source event I attended in the autumn last year lacked a little charisma. Blair has vast quantities of charisma and I found the practical exercise he did with the group very informative and the description of how he changes websites with his clients to encourage users to do the things his clients need fascinating.

Simon Coward is the Director of Innovation and Enterprise at Hethel Engineering Centre. Simon told us all about how the Hethel Engineering Centre was created and how it has grown over the years and where it’s going next. I had no idea how big it was or how many people were employed there. It’s staggering for Norfolk. Their focus is exclusively on engineering manufacturing, although this focus is being broadened. The new areas Hethel are looking to include “Soft Tech”. I wasn’t sure if this was software engineering, but I very much hope that it is.

Due to no fault of Simon’s, his talk unfortunately resulted in my only disappointment of the night. Someone in the crowd (who was sat right next to me) clearly had an axe to grind and asked Simon a question relating to what appears to have been a failure in a previous business Simon was involved with. The question was entirely unrelated to Simon’s presentation. This obviously made Simon uncomfortable, but he chose to answer the question, but clearly not to the askers satisfaction. It’s shame that a member of the audience chose to behave in this way. In my opinion the organisers should have stepped in to prevent it as it was entirely irrelevant.

Jezz Wright, of Norwich based Blockhouse TV talked about their TV show for pre-schoolers, how and why they made it, how they distribute it (they have a channel on Roku Smart TV), why he ended up on BBC’s Good Morning sofa last week and what the recent bonkers media exposure might mean for their production company! It was an enjoyable talk, but could have been more concise. To give Jezz his dues, he did have the flu and spoke anyway.

Hot Source don’t seem to plan their events very far in advance, so I have no idea what the March talkie is going to be, but I am reasonably sure I’ll be there.