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Shadowcat at FLOSSUK2017: Part Two

In the last news post about the FLOSSUK Spring Conference which is held next week at thestudio in Manchester and MadLab in Manchester we mentioned there was more news to come. This is that news.

As many of you are aware, and if not you should have checked our news archives, Mark Keating is now the elected Chair of the FLOSSUK Council. He is therefore one of the central organisers of this year’s event and has been busy beavering away with the rest of the council to prepare for the conference.

The event is over three days with a Conference Dinner and Social evening alongside the presentations and workshop days. This year the Council took the bold decision to offer some free places on the event days for students and those unable to attend for financial reasons. There is also a companion Workshop on the Raspberry Pi which is complimentary alongside the other workshops.

If you have time you can still grab some of the free places available at the event. As always Mark, and the rest of the Shadowcat team, hope to see you at the event and if you are there make sure to come along and say hello.


[1] There are not always notes[2]

[2] Though if I do this then there probably are...

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Student Hack 2017

This week sees the annual Student Hack (StudentHackV) at Media City in Manchester in conjunction with the University of Manchester and local tech companies.

Shadowcat Systems have become involved via their association with FLOSSUK who are a sponsor of this year’s Student Hack event and with both Tom and Mark who will be attending the event as Mentors there to give aid to the students as they pursue a weekend of hacking.

‘The chance to return a little knowledge or to simply act as a sounding board to the newest generation of student programmers is an enormous priviledge and one that I know I, and I am sure Tom, is happy to be a part of.’

Student Hack is sponsored by a great number of companies and continues to grow each year. This year over 350 students will be attending and contributing, we hope to bring you some more discussion about it after this weekend.


  • There are not always notes**

** Though if I do this then there probably are...

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Shadowcat at FLOSSUK2017: Part One

FLOSS ADVERT Stickers and freebies

It is always a pleasure to announce Shadowcat Staff attending and presenting at conferences and even more so when it is more than one member.* At this year’s FLOSSUK Spring ‘DevOps’ Conference, in Manchester during March, Shadowcat’s own Matt S. Trout and Tom Bloor will be giving talks.

Matt will be talking about Accelerating Monitoring Plugins using Perl and CPAN and is based on comparative work Matt has done understanding and upgrading from infrastructure libraries such as Nagios.

Tom will give two talks, the first is all about Scripting for LetsEncrypt to overcome some of the limitations in the service using Perl. The second talk is on Tom’s second passion Testing with Services. This second talk is more focussed on testing external processes and how the Perl testing culture can be integrated and utilised.

The full schedule of talks can be found on the FLOSSUK website along with tickets for the event and details of the Raspberry Pi Workshop which coincides with it.


  • Shadowcat’s Mark Keating will also be at the event but we will be discussing this in a separate article.

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MDK in the News

While we don’t generally tout, too much,* of our own trumpet it is always nice when a Shadowcatter gets their name into a publication or site outside of our own domains.

Mark Keating, MD and avid site contributor, has made a little splash in February as he appears in local news sites, a local initiative blog and on a podcast.

Mark is the chair of the newly formed Digital Lancaster which we made some note of previously. Last week he was the host and a speaker at the Digital Lancaster launch event and made it onto sites because of this. Mark was featured in the Digital Lancashire blog and the In The Bay news site.

Mark is also a member of The Perl Foundation and Enlightened Perl marketing efforts and was at FOSDEM for the yearly conference. As is now a tradition he was on the table with Wendy** and in a repeat of last year was interviewed by Hacker Public Radio for their podcast.

As always you can contribute to the conversation below and follow Mark on Twitter by tweeting at @shadowcat_mdk


  • Though, if we are honest, the whole point of a news page is to tout just a little of our own brass instrument.

** In our general madness we published this article with Mark accompanying Liz. This was a genuine slip of the mind on behalf of the author who clearly meant Wendy. Knew it was Wendy. Would have said Wendy. But in a brief moment of oddness wrote Liz. Sorry Wendz.

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Work Related Experience

This year at Shadowcat seems to be starting a theme concerning students. As mentioned in a previous news item we have two MSc students on a project placement from Lancaster University in the office until April. Next week they will be joined by two more students.

The local college, Lancaster and Morecambe, has a computer studies course and as part of our commitment to the local community we will have two students on a work placement at Shadowcat. Both of them will have a fortnight in a real development environment.

A lot of work placements are normally very light but we have decided to set our students with a small implementation challenge using Bootstrap (HTML/CSS Framework) and Angular.js as front end for real-world projects.

Both of these are controlled by senior developers at Shadowcat who will be on hand to help them and guide them. We don’t expect trouble-free implementations, this is a learning experience and we thought it should be challenging and rewarding, it is better to experience real world work problems.

For us at Shadowcat it will give our jaded developers a fresh face filled with enthusiasm[1] to shake up the working week and inject some variety. On a serious note it is a great opportunity for both the students on placement and us at Shadowcat and we are looking forward to the fortnight.


[1] To grouch at as well as is proper and expected.

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