Archives for the month of: July, 2011

I’ve pretty much just returned home after attending Barcamp Nottingham where I was locked inside for over 32 hours (apart form when the fire alarm went off). It was hosted at Hackspace Nottingham which is a truly amazing place to be. It all started yesterday at 9am when I met Dominic Finn (@cleverfinn) from North 51 for breakfast and then we headed over to the Hackspace for 10am. Getting registered and settled in was made really easy by the organisers and I felt very welcome.

After a rousing introduction by Gemma Cameron (@ruby_gem) and Dom from Hackspace (@ChickenGrylls / @HSNOTTS) people rushed over to put their talks on the boards. Each talk was (supposedly) limited to 20 mins with a little bit of discussion and swap over to basically fill a 30 min slot. Overall while it wasn’t the most tech-heavy event I’ve been to, which initially was a bit of a disappointment, it turned out to be thoroughly entertaining.

Most of the talks focused on peoples real passions or issues that they faced at work. It was great to see how much interaction each talk generated, and how well each subject was received. Where else could you go and see talks on a variety of computing topics intermingled with lace-making and how to be a Ninja! I even managed to get an extended lock picking lesson while @ruby_gem tattooed a sheep onto an orange!

As for my involvement? I gave a lightening talk about hosting Web Applications in the cloud, got really involved in some great chats with lots of people on a variety of topics, helped Dom Finn thrash the Esendex boys at arcade games, got eaten first when playing Werewolf, created a Node.js Werewolf server, stayed up until 5:30 coding a ruby web-crawler to scrape a BBQ web-ring (and playing games on Facebook and chatting) and drank beer while eating pizza.

All in all it was an absolute blast! You can read a lot of the shenanigans on the Twitter feed by using the hashtag #bcnott.

Finally a massive thanks to everyone that was there, to the Hackspace collective for hospitality, Gemma for organising it, North 51, Esendex and Nottingham Uni for sponsoring it and to Nescafe for making sure I didn’t fall asleep for too long. 🙂


Well quite a large change has happened in my life and I have started out as a contractor based initially in Nottingham, but soon I’ll be moving to Wetheral (which is near Carlisle). This has come about because my girlfriends family and friends are up in Newcastle / Sunderland and she wanted to be a bit closer to them all. It was quite an easy decision for me as my favourite places to go mountain biking are about 1 hour from Carlisle, as well as having easy access to the Lake District for some crazy open water swimming.

Initially I am consulting for North-51 (, the company that has been my permanent employer for nearly 3 years, which is great for me as I really love the company. In fact I’ve said many times that if it wasn’t for the move, then I don’t think I would have considered becoming a contractor as life is pretty great here at N51 towers.

I’ve started pushing myself to become a bit more active in the local development community so I have started ensuring that I attend the events like GeekUp, Notttuesday and Second Wednesday which are proving to be quite fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to time my visits to Nottingham to also take in some of these events, and with any luck there will be something similar up in Carlisle.

The great thing about having my own company is that I can have my own goofy website: Although I think it’ll be quite obvious that I definitely fall into the stereotype that middleware developers don’t often make good designers.

While I am awaiting the final details to be drawn up, all I can say is that my life is starting to change quite dramatically. Hopefully I’ll be able to say more soon!