I recently ordered some custom Converse sneakers (Plimsolls to us Brits), some indy-Chucks, from the Converse website and last night they arrived.
I wanna go squeee and cover you all in my squeedom love. They are Batman designs with Batman on one shoe and Harley Quinn on the other, purple laces with green inner for one, yellow laces with red inner on the other, grey stripe on white rubber with a custom ‘mdk’ on the spine of the shoe.
They are freaking ace and I am wary of wearing them too much, except, ace shoes of acedom. Pictures below.
You know that time when you’re driving, and two people driving different cars are being stupid at a junction and you say out loud what’s in your head. For me it was the phrase, ‘make a decision you pair of dozy arseholes’ and then a small voice behind me said ‘daddy, what are dozy harse hools?’
Yeah, that. Forgot that everyone else was in the car with me while in busy traffic.
So I am sat letting my brain decompress at high speed after the first ever DBIx::Class Hackathon in existence. Dbic is a project written in Perl which in very loose terms is a relational mapper for databases.(1)
On Saturday, 12th April 2014, we gathered at the unlikely location of a Community Centre in the town of Swindon. The participants hailed from Germany, Spain, Scotland and England and even far flung 'round the corner'. Jess 'castaway' Robinson was the organiser and her residency in Swindon the reason for the location, and she did a fine job of organising the first ever event.
We had assumed that only a handful of people would have the time to attend, especially for a fledgling event on a single day. To attract international attendees is a massive score, and fifteen hackers make a good gaggle to do work with.
My task today, with my co-conspirator Ian norton also of Shadowcat infamy, was to implement a new design for DBIx::Class on the web, a simple enough plan as the site was already built. Or so I thought. Ribasushi had other plans, he wanted a number of issues addressed and had a task list for me to follow. A number of issues had already been covered, quite excellently, by the site's principal designer. Ian Norton and I decided we would tackle some of the others to a good enough level to get the new site launched.
I don't want to go into the full extent of the 13 tasks we covered from Ribasushi, nor do I want to raise the frustrations at Javascipt libraries we were unfamiliar with and image redesigns that Ian and I deemed necessary to the site. I do want to apologise to my fellow attendees for the occasional language and outbursts and for taking their images and stealing their souls.
Part of what I wanted to achieve was a fresh look to the initiative and to spur along community involvement. I think we achieved that and I would like to mention once again that DPetrov and the amazing people like Micheala, Amalia and Miheala at Evozon have been so supportive. I also should mention that it was the ubiquitous SawyerX who first pestered me about this some time ago, it took us some time, but here it is.
We did however miss that the site had been made into a templated system (oops) by the ever reliable Dpetrov. We also introduced a couple of new features (yeah i mean bugs) that will be worked on.
What we mostly achieved is a fresh start, a good deal of faffing with new technologies and ideas, a nice hack with food and drink (soft drinks for most of the day and one or two people who were not driving had a can of ale later). We also spurred on a lot of feedback from the community, a raft of bug reports/enhancements and suggestions and a think a kick in the right direction for the site.
It is a testament to castaway and riba that we achieved so much. Guys it was a great day, well worth the effort, next year maybe two days so that we can have slightly shorter days and a slightly longer evening rest without total fall over :)
(1) However if you ask Ribasushi, Castaway or mst they will tell you that it really isn't and almost, well maybe if you want to call it that which it isn't really.
So I classify myself as a mostly busy manager. I say mostly as some days I get the doldrums and life seems to drag and my brain plays distraction techniques with social media and the ever changing world about us. However, like most managers, I don't do nine to five and some mornings I get up at six just to clear the email backlog.(1)
So when I discover that I have inadvertently stepped in mud and smeared that across the carpet below my desk, and then as it dried walked it into the carpet in the room, it is obvious it needs cleaning up. At this point I am betting a vast number of managers would decide to pass this job to the office cleaner. Or, if you are in a small office like ours, that poor sap whose job description included doing the cleaning.
Well, I could have done that. Some would say should have done that. In fact the person responsible(2) for general office state at Castle Shadowcat even offered to hoover and clean. I declined. I made the mess. It is a Monday morning. They are busy with weekend emails and regular duties, we are all busy. But I made the mess.
I am a firm believer that you should take responsibility for your actions. I am also firmly of the belief that no job is too menial for the person running the company. No task that an employee is asked to do should be outside of you attempting to do it. In fact you need to be willing to support your staff, not control them.
I cleaned my desk area, I hoovered the room where I had walked and I also cleaned the room next door because I had the hoover out and it just seemed sensible. I also got onto my hands and knees in my casual suit and wiped the floor mats and seat-legs clean where the mud had stuck to hard surfaces.
My feeling is that my staff don't think less of me for this. I think they respect the fact that I am willing to do this type of work as well. We are never above anyone. We should not climb to the top of the ladder, we should learn how to be lifted.
So I classify myself as a mostly busy manager. I say mostly as some days I get the doldrums and life seems to drag and my brain plays distraction techniques with social media and the ever changing world about us. However, like most managers, I don't do nine to five and some mornings I get up at six just to clear the email backlog.
(1) This is especially true on a Monday.
(2) Responsible only because they were generally employed to help with those things, not because they must do it diligently and all the time.
Spring has sprung though I can barely believe it. Though as I walked along the Brighton seafront, with a bracing chill wind in my face and a red sunset at my heels, it did feel a little more spring-like.
I was in Brighton to attend my second, though really my first FLOSSUK.(1) I have had the fortune to be asked to speak on the current state of the Perl world in regards to developers, culture, environment and practices. At the same time I was to have a peek at some of the more modern tools.
Sunset in Brighton
FLOSS Spring is an event that, in popular mythology, is mostly attended by systems administrators. I feel this is a historical precedent, or maybe just a popular perception, that doesn't match the character of either the attendees or the phenomena. The talks, people and passion maybe all about modern techniques in DevOps, and a significant percentage are systems people. However they are also interested in languages, projects, development as well as systems. One of the best features is born from the fact that this conference is language agnostic. If it is open, it is wanted. And most likely respected, accepted, loved and discussed.(2)
Though a large number of the attendees may work in system engineering, they are also closely connected to development and deployment. This is perhaps the reason for the eponymous DevOps association. What we actually have is a broad sector of senior system managers, network architectural engineers, developers, system administrators and project managers. This is a great environment for cross-pollinating ideas, techniques, software solutions and problem solving.
Is that Pascal from Tangled?
The Shadowcat Team arrived a day early on the Tuesday to provide a last minute tutorial after one of the trainers dropped out due to unforseen circumstances. Ian Norton and Tom Bloor gave an introduction to Perl event, a variant on the presentation Ian has given on an number of occasions. This was attended by five students, one of whom specifically swapped to be on the Perl event and seemed most keen. There was a general buzz in the room and it was good to see our latest 'minion' hold his own teaching others.
The conference started in earnest on the Wednesday. The keynote speech on the changes to the UK Government website was enlightening, especially if you deal with site design and delivery. The approaches, changes and entire revolution of ideas was fascinating to learn.
I also really liked the talk by Jans Mens on Ansible, unfortunately it quickly lost me and I think I managed to confuse his section on Roles with the ideas of Roles from Computer Languages, with particular reference to how they are used in Moose and Perl6.
I enjoyed Simon Riggs' talk on PostgresSQL. Postgres seems to be a fast-moving database system. I know a lot of effort has been expended on noSQL of recent years but Postgres has some real power and features (being able to run eighty-five million request an hour on a low powered laptop being just the thin edge of a large wedge) and a yearly development cycle that keeps a high momentum.
The Thursday started with an almost UK Open Source conference tradition. Bytemark, once again, supplied a personalised conference gift in the shape of a mug. This had a unique message, conference branding and your own name.
A Bytemark Mug, guess which one is mine
The first talk I heard was given by Bernd Erk on OpenNebula. OpenNebula is a datacentre virtualisation system, however think more that it creates ‘private clouds not public clouds’. OpenNebula however is all about small clouds for internal company usage. A highlight is that it works with a range of open tools to manage configuration, replication and reporting.
Chris Jones, gave an interesting talk about OpenStack. The latest move in OpenStack is called TripleO. The short, and mostly true version of this, is to be running a cloud with VMs and attached storage using OpenStack on OpenStack. Hence why they are calling this Triple-O, OpenStack On OpenStack you see, almost alliterative. The idea is to use thesame tool to deploy as the tool that is being deployed, as many of the components to do this are already available inside that tool (and now I get lost in recursion).
Conceptually they see it as a cloud on top of a cloud. This is not strictly true, but it helps as a conceptual model to understand what is actually happening. It gives them the name of undercloud - the abstracted management layer that sits on the hardware; and the overcloud which is the client facing open stack implementation.
The second talk of the day given by Bernd Erk was a quite interesting discussion on the roadmap for Icinga2. Icinga is a fork of the ever-popular Nagios and is compatible with the modules from the Nagios eco-system. It was good to hear Bernd talk with a lot of enthusiasm for the current state of network monitoring and cloud based PaaS.
Matt S. Trout, of Shadowcat infamy, gave a talk on Prolog and Devops Logique - as always Matt gave a wander through the recesses of his mind, the history of computing and system approaches, with various conversations concerning configuration of servers.
mst in full flow
On his journey Matt assessed the manner in which a number of other languages have implemented or addressed some of the issues he is facing. This approach allows him to evaluate and understand the argument in a much broader manner. The end goal seems to be to handle dependencies and to manage them well on a system perhaps utilising the Perl scripting language.
David Griffith gave one of the best talks of the day on Test Frameworks and the issues they have encountered and overcome at Durham University. It was strange to listen to a talk that was both complimentary on the achievements yet also modest and reflective. David was speaking about the cultural changes in remote workers and cloud systems, which nicely closed the event for me as we started with a keynote that emphasised a revolution in the culture of a department.
Audience settled in
The event itself was closed by Kimball Johnson who presented Josette from O'Reilly with flowers as this is her last conference as an O'Reilly representative. This was a deep sadness for most of us at the conference. Josette has been a great treasure to this event and many other open source communities and she will be greatly missed as O’Reilly’s voice in the UK and European community.
Kimball Johnson closes the event
Kimball then presented awards for the best talk, best lightning talk and several honourable mentions. I was greatly honoured, and proud, to receive the award for best lightning talk and an honourable mention for my longer talk. The best prize however was simply being at the event and enjoying the talks and the people.
A few other thoughts have to be conveyed before I close this piece.
One of the major highlights of the week was the 'Spaceship' that was built, created and manned by the chaps at the London HackSpace. They brought this wonderful experience to the conference dinner and teams of happy victims were led into the event over the course of the night. I think I would quickly run out of synonyms if I tried to write a range of superlatives on the brilliance of this experience. The spaceship looks amazing, the various effects, screens, buttons and stories have a lot of thought and care gone into them. The LHS crew both run the simulation and act out the varying storylines with the crew and even dress for the occasion.(3)
I would like to thank the conference organisers, and especially Kimball Johnson, for inviting me to talk at the Spring Conference and for asking me to write on my experience which you can read in the UKUUG newsletter and on their website.
(1) Though the term might be thoroughly soaked if they live in the UK.
(2) For that fact alone we should be shouting to all the other language groups and saying come one and all, attend, mix and learn, be a part of an open forum not a closed view.
(3) For a better description of crew see willing participants, attendees or as they are also known, victims.
This week I will be talking at FLOSS UK’s Spring Conference in Brighton. I hope to interest the crowd a little on the stance about Perl’s apparent moribundity and recent developments/attitudes in the Perlverse.
It has led me to think a little about the Open Source world itself. How we can have the notion of freely available source code? How we can have communities linked by a common desire to create tools and platforms that cut across their diverse environments, history, philosophy and belief? And for the purpose of this piece, how you can have companies that are active participants or exist solely by the use of, but not contribution to, community software?
Open Source is a community phenomena. The reach of this community can be global but its existence is dependent on, and evolved out of, social not corporate forces.
This has led me to think, where do you place yourself on a spectrum that stretches from the extremes of freedom of speech, expression, movement and usage to the control of a product/service by the restriction of imitation even to the level of concept.
For the spectrum is that vast. The various licences of Open Source and freedoms in the community have bred an environment where those viewpoints can be expressed against the same technology. Think UNIX/Linux/GNULinux.
On the one end of the spectrum would be Richard Stallman, well regarded as a founding force in the FSF movement and close association with GNULinux. Richard is no stranger to controversy and courting extreme reactions to his hard-line stances on freedom of speech and fighting corporate restrictions on ownership. An academic with a thorough understanding of rights, transference of property and ownership, of liberty and the distribution via community licences, copyright (copyleft) and patents
The other end of this Open Source mini-spectrum is über-famous Tim Cook, Apple CEO who promotes overwhelming control asserted from the ownership of property. Tim is a seemingly decent person but his company builds strongly protected software on top of open source languages and platforms then dominates and restricts others who even dare to challenge its mind realms. Apple are so far from the argument they almost don’t belong on this scale, however OSX is Net BSD and iOS is written in Objective-C, placing them in our OS world.
Somewhere in the middle (though to the right of centre in a manner similar to the Republican National Party, UK Conservatives and the Tony Blair Philosophy) sits the burgeoning Facebook and Google eco-systems. A heady mixture of open source homage and corporate profiteering. These giants are able to show great promise to do good by building their containment walls in the far distance. Their willingness to embrace disruptive technology is matched only by their rapaciousness to own it all. They are the modern day children to the East India Tea Company bringing liberation and expansion to the masses by the extension of their dominions.
So Riddle me this:
Where do you stand?
Why do you stand there?
Answers in the comments or by email/social media to me. I am really curious to hear from you all.
 Though some distance to this philosophy must be made about Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook does match his thinking in many ways and yet differs in others. I see the differences between the culture of their developoers and the oscillation of the founder. Zuck is familiar for having contrary reports blasted over news spreads about his life. The Zuck doesn’t quite hold any sense in the examination between what he says he believes and what he does. The most telling recent example is his revelation that he fears for internet privacy. He worries for privacy from the NSA and he spoke to Obama about it in a personal phone call, he's happy to tell us this so we can feel reassured about how seriously he takes it.
Which basically means that to the Zuck personal is not private. If you have a conversation with someone feel free to use it in an anecdote to the whole planet, it is only a third party that is at fault for doing the same thing. Apply this behaviour to his company and you will see it almost precisely matches Facebook's policies and their business model. But it doesn't match many aspects of their developer's culture.
The topic I spoke about was easy video making using applications. I spent about ten minutes on this and maybe fifteen minutes in a Q&A section. As part of this presentation I did a lightning tour of the Magisto application and made a video for everyone in less than a minute (though the uploading and return took 20 mins due to wifi speeds).
The upshot is that I created a video on the night, it took maybe five minutes to take the footage, 1 minute to demo and use the application. So using Magisto I made the following in 6 minutes.
If anyone who was there and doesn't want this video displaying them on the internet (please let me know what time code you appear at - screen grab would be most helpful - and I will edit you out).
The Quorum has been a great ride and an enormous success for me. I have loved almost every moment; learned and grown as a person; made friends and business contacts that will I know turn into long term relationships and generally been able to step away from Shadowcat and think deeply. Most of my thinking has been about the culture, the direction and the strengths of the company and the wonderful staff that are part of it.
The initiative has also led to some excellent, and often greatly inspiring, Masterclasses. These are lectures, events, where a speaker will engage about their life and what they have come to learn and I wrote several blog posts based upon them.
The first of these was from Mark Freel a professor at both Lancaster and the University of Ottawa. Mark spoke about innovation for companies and the importance of being innovative, but also innovating well. He also mentioned the goals that businesses must develop and gave a great account of the Brew Dog brand.
Pete Goss gave a wonderful account of his experiences running several yachting challenges. His lecture was both exciting and humbling and made me reflect on the fact that it is the 'team that make you the leader'. His meditations on life, leadership, teamwork and overcoming great odds was inspiring and can relate to everyday existence.
Pete Goss: An Exceptional Cornish Sailor
There were other lectures that I could not attend, or did not write about. One that stands out was Kirsty Henshaw who spoke about her business and personal challenges. She also gave positive example that you can face almost absolute disaster and yet bounce back from it.
The Forum was so much more than this though. Kim, Laura, Ian and Richard created a programme of events and material that supported a journey. This was a challenge to face and a lot of time was spent in thinking, learning and listening to other people. The manner in which we became supportive was amazing and that we also developed peer learning. We came to understand each others challenges and approaches which gave fresh insight to ourselves and our businesses.
We also had a great opportunity to forge links with other departments and staff at the university and to see the resources and opportunities available by involving ourselves with them. This was one of the first elements that attracted me to the initiative and so I am especially happy to have been able to do that.
So this is a bit of gushing praise for the experience and the people. I am sad that it is over and yet I know that we will continue as a group in one form or another as there are strong links already forged between us all. I really want to thank/praise the University, the staff, Boost Lancashire and especially Kim and Laura for all the hard work made to make this a great thing to attend.
'Give it away,
Give it away,
Give it away, now,
I can't tell if I'm a king pin or a pauper' (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Give it Away, Blood Sugar Sex Magik)
This week Ribasushi (Peter Rabbitson to some) long time Perl stalwart, drinker and general evil man/sith lord who just happens to belong to the Shadowcat Team wrote a reasoned, thoughtful, restrained (and not his usual frothing at the bit going to kill you all with a gun) piece of rhetoric in support of Gittip and why the Perl community should be part of it.*
I am not going to repeat Riba's article here, I think you should go and read it for yourself. However I am going to step into what seems to be the firing line along side him and say, 'whut?' and 'why you no wanna free beer?'.
A word of caution, this is mostly just a random rant, an expression of what thoughts came to mind when I was thinking on a particular subject. Don't expect a reasoned piece like Riba's, this contains mostly me and a semi-knee-jerked response.
Okay, I can see that there is some cause to see this as maybe:
a deviation of funding;
an excuse for a business model; (see notes and comments)
the only one to benefit wil be a few luminaries who already get stuff and the rest is worthless;
too little, too late (nods at the memory of Jean Rhys);
distracting from real investment, solutions;
[I'm guessing here, I didn't even grace the arguments with a care to read them].
And other arguments of similar scope and intent. I feel that some people will argue over a gift or something that is free. There is this expectation it seems that a free thing, a gift must have more value than something you pay for or receive as an actual justifiable remuneration. As if it is an insult, I am worth more than that even if it is given freely, how could they value it/me that way. It isn't the cliché of 'looking a gift horse in the mouth' it steps back and points dispariging looks at anyone who would contemplate either giving or receiving such a horse. Well, how dare they? How dare we?
On that note, I am on Gittip. I joined it to be part of the communities and to contemplate doing what Riba is doing and buying people I admire, respect, think they have done good works, a beer. A small sum as appreciation. It may not be seen as much to many but it is my choice.**
At this point I haven't set a budget as I wanted time to let others join and to balance finances so I was being cautious unlike my Sith compatriot.
Then I discovered I am in receipt of funds.
So someone wants to buy me a couple of beers.
Without this extra gem I had originally seen the whole system as a neat idea. Sure there is a business model behind this site (see notes and comments), but listen up people this is a capitalist world where people have/want/like to make money. If you want a better world, and it seems to me the owners of the site do as this is mostly a great way of distributing wealth in a self-sustaining system that site within the framework of an existing global methodology, you have to make small changes. Small steps are needed to force change, not bloody revolutions. Total rejection leads to a local effect sure, but its impact is restricted, better for the smaller models to work, the most powerful force in an economy is usually local businesses (combined) so small companies, making a profit but supporting a social change will make an impact and will make a difference.*
What I mostly got was an enormous buzz. Someone thought the work I did in the community was worthy of a couple of beers and they wanted to make sure I had them each month. That's simply great. I don't care that it was a small ammount, I was stunned by the fact that I was chosen, that they cared.
Which is the whole point of this piece. I wanted to support Riba. I wanted to say I admire his defence of choice and of wanting more of the communities he is involved with in this system where we can choose to give. I don't care so much about the amount. The act of giving, of receiving, of choice and reciprocity are powerful enough reasons to be a part of it.
And if a large governmental/charitable/not-for-profit want to step in and take over to turn the whole system into a zero-profit total gain system, then that's cool. But it isn't an absolute and I am quite happy for the people behing [Gittip][gitty] to make their bread and butter.
On 'Sure there is a business model behind this site' - If you read the comments you will discover that the model is in fact self-funding through the same mechanism the site creates. The fees are simply the direct passing of provider fees and not for the site and they rely on donations. So this is in effect a not-for-profit. The only gain is to fund them if you like their idea. True crowd-funding and part of the 'small steps' path needed to make long term change.
Well done guys.
This ammendment is to preserve the original article yet allow more recent, and relevant information.
* I'll just take a deep breath after that impressively long opening sentence.
** Oh wait did choice just enter the room. Did personal opinion and feeling just wander by. Did I just indicate that foaming and decrying are usually done by those who do not celebrate choice. I see repeatedly people who claim to celebrate choice, who declare to be proponents of free speech, free expression and the given right to be an ass via textual expression. But that is not a celebration. That is to use freedom as a method by which to assert negativity on a given subject onto everyone else. Instead of appreciating someones choices, values and opinions, it is more fun to destroy them. It is so much more satisfying to anhilate someones opinions and give yourself that little win, all in the name of freedom.
* I am digressing and that's a much longer argument that should be visited elsewhere.
The intention of the day was to try to bring a range of groups together, from academia, local government, business and community to network and discuss sustainable models. This is a grand plan and I think it was mostly achieved, the one area I found instantly lacking was the business response. I know we are all busy business people but these events add a lot of value.*
I managed to tweet a lot during the first part of the morning which was based around some introductions to the aims of the day, a little bit about ESTA and the principles Michael wishes to pursue regarding local trade and local economies, and then a series of short presentations by some local groups.
Michael Hallam in front of the audience
A couple of particular highlights were Sue Keenan, of Lancaster and Morecambe College, who spoke about the need for continuing education in the workplace and in life. She then described some of the ways in which they are providing a valuable apprenticeship service and to see that as a route to higher education not an alternative.
Debbie Stubbs talked about the Catalyst! project from Lancaster University which is in its final year and has introduced many initiatives and projects including AccessASD (Clasp) and the Barter project which is done in conjunction with Lancaster ESTA.
Debbie Stubbs talks about the Catalyst! Project
The last talk concerned the Less is More Game being held next week which seems like a great way to show how we can all make a difference even if it is a small difference, combined that is a huge effect.
After a short coffee break we split into groups and discussed a key theme and our responses to it with the intention of reporting back to the rest of the assembly. The group I chose to join was 'Stuff' where we spoke about digital rights, creative freedoms and alternative economies. At one point we discussed the downsides of unchecked capitalism and I may have compared Wonga to a tapeworm.**
The challenge was interesting and brought about a number of conversations that were far too short as we were hampered by time. But it was good to hear of people's differing ethical and emotional stances and how that related to their practical existence.
Our Stuff sheet
The morning concluded on time and with some sense of people needing to explore alternative avenues, the clear feeling is that the system we currently use is based on several large fallacies and that encouraging a more balanced local response is sensible in an ecological manner.
I personally have a lot of thoughts around how we are defining and using finite in regard to resources and expansion, and why this is a problematical analogy when ever you consider a system that has infinite as an absolute in it. But that was more a quasi-philosophical/linguistic issue. I also would like to think more on local economies and shared resource financials in regard to commodities.
I would like to thank Michael, Jem and Phil for putting the event on, and to the University of Cumbria for hosting. I would also like to thank the presenters for starting the day and to the people I met and spoke to for provoking many interesting thoughts. A special regard to Growing with Grace for the samples of extremely fresh and tasty watercress and coriander.
* This will likely be the subject of a much longer rant.
** Personally I now feel embarrassed and ashamed. I had no intention of causing any disrespect or harm to the humble tapeworm.
I am starting this blog as I sit in the back of the conference hall at South Lakes Foyer in Kendal. I just gave a talk to the Engineering Society on Open Source and as I write Ian Norton is giving a talk on how the Internet Works.
The talk I gave was a general introduction to the philosophy underpinning Open Source, how OS as a model works and why you should be using it in business. This was a very new area for the members as many of them have strong hardware skills but are new to software.
I didn't really touch too much on the differences between Open Source and Free Software as it is a hard to distinguish argument for neophytes to the discussion. Also there is little value, the FSS model is admirable but one which is less favoured by companies seeking to use more open methods.
Starting my presentation
And at this point I like to present people with a giant picture of bread
As I sit here Ian is embracing the members in an interactive talk on how the internet works, in a physical sense, using the model of a telephone system and the history of how the telephone was introduced. I am loving the approach that Ian has taken, he is getting the audience to interrupt at will and ask questions making the whole talk a lot more fun for them. It was a slight shock to him when he discovered a couple of the members were ex-telephone engineers.
Ian talking about how connections are made
For my talk, I am not sure how much I conveyed the subject as it is a broad area and difficult to fit into a single area, especially for anyone new to the subject. I am hoping they enjoyed it and I didn't either bore them or convey a poor message. These are all intelligent, and interesting, guys and I would like to think they got something out of it.
I did manage to have a bit of gentle banter about the guarantees of an open system and in particular how it might invalidate another matter. I used a basic analogy that it would be nice if you were driving a car and someone came along and upgraded the engine for free. This elicited the thought that it may not be that great if the brakes then stopped working. This is true and I hope I wasn't too flippant in my jokey response. It was along the lines of:
At the back during Ian's talk
"Well yes if you strap a rocket to a Robin Reliant it might do three hundred miles per hour but there'd be no guarantee that your brakes would still work, you certainly have exceeded the manufacturers recommended usage and tolerances."
It was a good evening and I think both of the talks complemented each other nicely. It will be interesting to see if we can re-model them slightly and present them again to some other groups in the near future.
For Shadowcat Systems 2013 was an 'interesting' year. By which I wish to bring instantly to mind the old proverb/curse 'may you live in interesting times'. We had periods of growth, change, evolution and also loss. We lost both long-standing and fondly liked staff who needed to move on in their careers, and of loved ones.
However, for many in the company it was also a period of personal growth and development. We managed to grow the staff at the central SC office and to expand our alumni of worldwide quality staff. At the same time we also celebrated those staff who stayed in our 'mad organisation' for another year.
As always Shadowcat kept a strong commitment to local and worldwide community organisations being members of many projects and groups which would just look like a directory listing if I were to repeat them here. However, I would like to reflect on the highlights of our year gleaned from news and blogs from the company site.
It was announced in this month that Mark Keating and Matt S. Trout would both be giving keynote presentations at the YAPC::NA in Austin, Texas. Mark was to open the conference with his Perl of Christmas Past talk and Matt would close on the final day with Future Perl.
Shadowcat announced that it would be offerring cPanel and WHM support for those people wishing to develop modules and services for this platform.
Jack Knight who has been responsible for the caricatures and Steampunk Cats that we have been creating for use in our promotional items ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for his first exhibition and we were glad to be a part of that.
On a lighter note we decided this month to sponsor the Lancaster Beer Festival as part of our 8th Birthday celebrations which would happen in March~April.
This month was all about Ian as he chose to attend and speak at two separate networking conferences. The first was the OpenNMS conference in Germany and the second would be FlossUK in Newcastle. At both of these events Ian talked about Exim and Perl.
Mark also joined the local, Hermes, chapter of the Business Network International (BNI) as Shadowcat continued to grow its local community presence to complement the international presence in the Perl community.
April was the most mixed bag of months for the Shadowcat offices filled with both great joy, fun and fellowship and also loss.
At the start of the month we mourned the loss of Adrian Trout who passed away at the end of March. The loss was felt by a large number of the staff who had grown to love and admire Adrian over the many years we knew him.
Then we were lifted as the Shadowcat Team and Lancaster University hosted the Perl Quality Assurance Hackathon. Luminaries from the Perl world, and great friends to us all, visited Lancaster. A particular delight for me was to have Dave Golden, Ricardo Signes, Andreas Konig and Barbie all discussing an issue around a board in the Shadowcat offices. There were also many people who I had met only virtually along with friends of many similar events and conferences. It was a great joy for the staff to have the irrepressible Liz and Wendy of Djikmat as our guests.
The month of May was the start of a period of tumult and change in the Shadowcat offices as we moved from our old offices to a new unit that boasts more space and a better layout. This meant a period of planning and moving so as to create a minimum level of disruption as possible to the team, our clients and the services we provide.
In this month Matt was invited to speak at the YAPC::Asia conference in Tokyo. Matt was unfortunately unable to attend due to personal reasons but it was a great honour to be recognised by the world's largest Perl event.
Setting up Desks
The auxillary server/network box
The Shadowcat Cats are Framed
Ian and Tom moving the larger rack (Darth Vader's Coffin)
We were now moved into our new offices so the first thing we decided to do was design and build our own access control system. We had the expertise and experience to handle the project, it would be unique to the company and we could code it in Perl.
We joined the Chamber of Commerce as part of our continued drive to be a strong member in our local community.
During July we competed for a Small Business Award as a part of the White Cross Business Awards 2013. In August we were happy to receive an award of three thousand pounds to help towards staff expansion and training. It was a great challenge and something we had never before considered and we were extremely grateful to be considered and to be in receipt of the award.
Mark Keating receiving the Business Award at the Shadowcat Systems offices on Wednesday, 21st August
Mark joined the first cohort of the Lancashire Forum in September after a succesful application. The initiative is aimed at bringing together business, government and academia and to helping companies to grow. Mark was delighted to be given the opportunity to attend the six month programme of events.
In the continuing new office developments Mark and Ian altered a treadmill to become a walking desk for Mark (and any other staff member who wishes) to use in the office. It is part of a continuing focus on staff health and welfare that is being developed in the company.
Tom, the intern we employed earlier in the year, was finally offered a full-time position in the Shadowcat offices in Lancaster. Tom had proved himself a capable learner and a fun member of the team and was a natural fit for the offices. It was a great experience taking a new learner into the fold, helping to guide their development and seeing them progress and finally being able to employ them full time.
To finish the year the team were working hard to organise projects over the holiday period. We started to wind down a year filled with expansion and experimentation and a year focussed on local growth.
The wonderful Jack Knight of Knight Time Creations
Jack scetching while mapping out ideas with Claire
December also saw a refresh of the look of the Shadowcat website and a re-organisation of some of the material.
As always I write these reviews at the start of the New Year. In my usual manner I am often critical of making promises or resolutions at the start of a year, it seems inappropriate until one has finally wrapped the previous year. I always like to take a few weeks to settle into the annum and determine the best approach to the year. I would not have started 2013 thinking of so much expansion. I considered company growth but not to the level we achieved.
However I do have some plans and ideas and so does my prescient partner, Matt, and we hope to fulfil a vast number of things throughout this year.
One thing is certain, you will learn of them in the news section of the Shadowcat Site.
I kinda feel sorry for David Cameron. Okay I dislike a lot of his politics and as a firmly left of centre chap I dislike his party almost completely. They, and he, stand for everything that is alien to my life and way of living. However I can sympathise with him as he is trapped by his own appeasement.
Cameron’s skill has always been in being a yes man, a negotiator of smarm thinly disguised by a charming demeanour. He agrees with you only to wheedle you into moving towards a preferred position, his aim to be popular, loved, needed by all.
He is all things to all people and in doing so he is nothing to most.
Cameron has to contend with coalition partners who see him only as a method to force centrist policy, opposed by a militant wing of his party locked in the past where strong right wing policy creates an idyllic England filled with the common good. This mastubatory fetish dictates obedience without compromise. This factor makes me sympathise with him.
There are members of his party who tired quickly of being in power with the ‘enemy’. They see Cam not as an appeaser but a traitor. It is they who constantly promote an agenda of losing party and soul to the disparity of UKIP.
Cameron’s popularism has bred an environment where he must constantly bend to these factors and this without the great black pustule that is the apocryphal ordinary-man-in-the-street and the popular press. A post all on its own.
So I have some sympathy for the great appeaser. Not much, just some.
"Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.
ROK aims to usher the return of the masculine man in a world where masculinity is being increasingly punished and shamed in favor of creating an androgynous and politically-correct society that allows women to assert superiority and control over men. Sadly, yesterday’s masculinity is today’s misogyny. The site intends to be a safe space on the web for those men who don’t agree with the direction that Western culture is headed. Click here to send an email to the team.
Women and homosexuals are prohibited from commenting here. They will be immediately banned.”
they should be fucking shot
people who should be castrated
they should not be shot. nor castrated. think about it.
they should be smothered in fucking love and compassion. possibly the only way they’ll ever snap out of it.
$50 says if you castrate/shoot them they’re bound to just build a nastier website.
don’t perpetuate the cycle. rise.
Thanks Amanda Palmer aren’t u a gr8 persun
Don’t you DARE say these men need “love and compassion”. Our anger is a legitimate reaction to all these sorts of sistematic hate perpetuaded by white cis het men. I REFUSE TO GIVE ANY KINDNESS TO SHITTY PEOPLE LIKE THEM.
We will not perpetuate the cycle. WE’LL SMASH IT.
watch the world go up in flames as an eye for eye leaves us all in a pile of cosmic hate-filled fire.
I think we should be angry. But can you really fight hate with more hate? Doesn’t that just perpetuate the cycle?
yes. we can and should be angry. this website is mad cray.
"THESE MEN SHOULD DIE SLOW DEATHS/BE CASTRATED/MUTILATED" and those responding "FUCK YEAH"
is stooping right down to level of mindless violence and non-respect that this website is perpetuating. and it’s exactly the response that gives forward-thinking feminists a bad rap in as a bunch of maniacal “man haters”.
so yes. feel anger. share feelings. respond with truth. but don’t use wrong speech, or get violent. or say anything you wouldn’t say in the actual company of these human beings.
it still amazes me that some women think the correct response to this is “LET’S KILL THESE PEOPLE.”
really, ladies? would you call up the mother of the guy who started this website and say “hello, ms. smith, i think your son should be castrated and die.” ???
no. really. honestly. you wouldn’t. you’d be angry, but human.
so let’s please get our shit together and treat each other - yes, even the people like this - with dignity and respect.
golden fucking rule, people.
otherwise we all stay in the fucking gutter.
Amanda Palmer has been my hero since I was 13, I’ve seen her in concert five times, but I’m an adult now and realizing how fucking problematic some of the shit she says is. Like this. 'Rise above the hate' are you fucking kidding me. I will not 'rise above' anything I will obliterate those tools. 'Don't threaten them you'll just reinforce the man hating feminist stereotype!' Why the hell would I want any man around me that guzzles that kool-aid, or for that matter doesn't think my 'man hating' (aka FEAR) is justified. Not gonna cuddle these assholes into submission, really rather just eject them into the sun.
No Amanda, just no. I am so disappointed.
and i’ll say it again, and i’ll never stop.
rise above the hate.
it’s actually possible.
and it’s the way out of here.
you want out?
you want websites like this to go away?
you want everybody on the planet to be happy?
including this guy?
you wanting to “eject these people into the sun” will not help matters. at all. ever.
if you think it’s “not okay” for these men to use cruel, violent speech and awful imagery, surely it’s also “not okay” for anyone - including you - to do the same.
if you cannot see the connection between your violence and their violence, you aren’t looking hard enough for a real solution to the larger problem.
a problem that i think we can all agree we need to fix pronto.
So Teresa May wants to introduce fast entry to UK ports for businesses people and probably celebrities of a certain wealth bracket…
Will it be faster than the service offered to those who live in the UK and pay taxes?
That aside this notion of fast entry to prevent loss of business is pretty abhorrent. Surely the better answer would be to improve the whole system, not engender a culture of avoidances for those deemed special.
The excuse that this is to benefit us all is facile. There is no guarantee that this move is anything more than appeasement by the Home Sec. to the more frothy members of her party.
Once again democracy is easily bought. Fair values, the notion that we are all in the great ship Britain together is gleefully mocked.
"This is going to be my last tour for a long, long time." Wait, how long is long long? I'd love to see you.
<p><a class="tumblr_blog" href="http://amandapalmer.tumblr.com/post/65330441458/this-is-going-to-be-my-last-tour-for-a-long-long">amandapalmer</a>:</p>
<blockquote><p>after this tour is over (I end in Vienna in mid-November) I am ending this round of the grand theft orchestra. </p>
<p>I’ll be doing 10 shows, solo, in Sydney for the Sydney festival in the amazing spiegeltent (January 9-19) and after that, i’m stopping. </p>
<p>i am going to write a book, start a home with neil in upstate new york, and take the summer relatively off for the first time in about…12 years. it’s been that long since I took a true break from touring. </p>
<p>i am also going to start work on a giant long-term theatrical project/original musical with my director hero, steven bogart. </p>
<p>i am also going to fully clean my apartment in boston for the first time since - NO SHIT - 2004. that’s the last time i vacuumed. expect interesting pictures. </p>
<p>i don’t know when I’m going to tour again, or how, or who with, but it won’t be for a while. I’ve been on the road pretty much non-stop since 2002 and it’s time to take a fucking break. </p>
<p>i also need to get back to writing music. as nice as it is to be known for being a feminist, a kickstarter maker, a blogger and a general pain in the ass, i miss the days when people knew i was a good songwriter. this last record i made, Theatre is Evil, was the best of my career, hands down, with the strongest production and best songwriting i’ve ever delivered…and i feel like the poor record itself got drowned in the murky seas of Everything Else.</p>
<p>time to balance the scales…brush off self, re-tune strings, collect thoughts, simmer the chaos, and ready myself for whatever is next, armed with a new song.</p></blockquote>
I read an excellent article some time ago about how movies are using Cyan and Orange a lot, especially colouring in post processing.
Since then I have been very aware of it. I just rewatched Skyfall and noticed how much they have used that colouration in I this movie, it wasn’t so apparent in June cinema (projected colours), but massively visible on Blu-Ray.
So I changed this year, after almost 5 years, from owning an iPhone to owning an Android device. It might be that switch that makes me feel this way…
…I just cannot get excited by the new phones. So updated speed, bit more ram and more disk space in the top end. A nicer camera and some very funky software updates…
…and the fingerprint thing is sweet but not really revolutionary…
…but not exciting.
The design is now feeling a little staid. It just underwhelms, sorry,it was stunning when it first came out, and I loved the 4, but the 5 is just a stretched 4 and i don’t think it is a good look at all.
And they have been in this shape and look for too long. So they changed the colours and baked the edges a little tighter, but really is that it?
Sometimes the conjunction of news events sickens me, in the same list are the two items ‘hundreds of thousands of refugees are starving in Syria crisis’ and ‘Spanish club pays 90 million in highest transfer fee for a Football player’.
There is a reason we have an economic crisis, we don’t know how to spend money properly.
Defending the Fantasy Genre with Terminal Intensity (for the official Edgar Wright show at Gallery1998) – 18” x 12” (numbered edition of 30)
My friends and I fell head over heels in love with Spaced when we first saw it on Channel 4 over a decade ago. The general predicament of the characters, the countless references to pop culture from our generation raised by VHS and Playstation, it was as if our own minds had somehow collectively made a sitcom without any of us knowing about it, and made it far more amazing than we ever could have imagined. To this day I don’t think I’ve connected with any television show in such a visceral way.
So, when I was invited to contribute to the exhibition, after already having created artworks inspired by Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim, it just felt like a good time to return to the seminal show. When I started to think about what to do, it became clear that all the main characters needed to be in there, and as many of the minor ones I could squeeze in too, so something rather epic began.
Skipping to the end (!) I could call it a labour of love, but it didn’t really feel like labour at all.
The show opens Tuesday, August 20th, and remaining prints will be available online at some point after that.
Not sure what I’d use instead of this term, I am fairly certain though that I am beginning to hate ‘mansplaining’ and its usage.
I read a blog where someone was accused of it because they were talking about an item and the person they were talking to was an expert. So what? Maybe they didn’t care about gender, maybe they just were enthusiastic? Maybe they were breaking the ice, sure that might sometimes be creepy, but you could have told them. However what you do is say nothing while silently categorising them…wait, how is that different to how they are treating you?
In the same manner that I detest it when I use gender specific rhetoric myself and then realise it is blatantly just awful. I can see why it became a good term to use, now I see it only used as abuse :/
Nice to see the UK government’s newly directed Bulldog Force, formerly known as UK Border Police and Immigration, toughening it up and abusing immigrants.
From the blissfully understated advertisements shouting get out jhonnie wog, to the tweet storm, and now the reported stop and search of people caught wearing dark skin, we are brought back to the days of actively promoted government funded racial profiling.
This stuff is so blatantly abusive that even the head of UKIP is calling it nasty.
What next? Being stopped for wearing foreign clothes in a built up area? How about talking in a funny accent? Do we have to bring out the being in possession of an offensive wife?
Oswald Mosely is sat upright in his tomb doing a jig of joy.
The Job Fair is underway in Room 2.120 of the Thompson Center.
This is a great opportunity to visit the Sponsors and learn about career opportunities available from the many companies. It is also a chance to pick up some of the special swag that the companies have brought along just for you.
If you are looking to further your career or to get an understanding of who is hiring, or simply want to come along and thank the sponsors please visit.
You can also make a donation to The Perl Foundation while you are there to help them continue to support you, Perl and our community.
Information Technology and Services | Lancaster, United Kingdom, GB
I have worked as a designer and Internet Interface designer with several years experience of design software for print and online (Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDraw, Inkscape, The Gimp, Flash etc.); I have a good working knowledge of HTML and CSS and will program using these languages from a text editor.
I also have worked as a project manager and small team manager with responsibilities for IT development and planning in a small business.
Currently I manage a small business focusing on software and open source project development and consultation. This has led to experience in management, training, accounts (including works payroll), project planning, scheduling and timetabling, promotion, marketing and research into community and joint project ventures.
My current goal is to develop my company into a more prominent publisher of open source and bespoke software and to instigate new projects and challenges.
Eventually I want to live near a beach and work from a laptop with a good wireless connection and a view of the sea :)
Specialties: Salary negotiation and budget planning; css and html standards; internet development and planning; company goals and achievements; project scheduling; marketing and promotion
2008 - Present
co-Leader / North-West England Perl Mongers
2008 - Present
Organiser, Supreme Overlord / London Perl Workshop
The London Perl Workshop is the premier Perl event on the UK calendar, and known throughout the world. Mark has been the organiser for this event since 2008.
This specific post was created using WordPress for Android on a mobile phone. This explains but not excuses any incorrect or unusual typography, brevity or formatting.
...is married to Leigh and has two sons called Benjamin Connor and Elliott James, they all live in Lancaster, UK with a cat called Darwin and several tropical fish. He stumbled sideways into the magnificent world of Perl by way of linguistics, literature, a publishing company and an undefined close association with Matt Trout. He is a neophyte evangelist of modern Perl and an advocate of Enlightenment thinking.