September 2012 News Archive

Sat Sep 1 00:00:00 2012

This is the shadowcat news archive for September 2012.

Shadowcat and the Digital Humanities


           Logo for Leuven University

It isn't very often that we at Castle Shadowcat get to talk about the work we do for our clients. This isn't out of any disrespect to the wonderful services they provide it is more that we are often involved in the deep guts of systems where the information is either so complex only a programmer would have any hope of understanding it, so not very newsworthy, or of a sensitive nature to the clients business model or internal services, so not able to be newsworthy.


           Logo for Surevoip

This year, however, we have been involved with some clients where the end project and work is related to either the release of an open source API that is done as part of a work of sponsored development (see the news item on our partnership with SureVoip for example) or for a application that is open to the wider world as an open service.

One of these has been our work with Tara Andrews, the Stemaweb Project (Stemaweb Site) and the University of KU Leuven. This has been for us a fascinating project because it is a worthy academic pursuit and because we were able to work with an expert in both Perl and Stemmatic Analysis. It is also nice that we are able to point at a real world initiative and feel a small measure of pride that we were able to help bring it to a wider audience.

Shadowcat's part was to provide expert help in some of the projects construction, and the creation of modules and libraries, including the authorisation process, the real honour remains with Tara Andrews (and her colleagues) for bringing this whole project to life.

Mark Keating Gets Animated


           MDK in SteamPunk visage

Over the coming year we at Castle Shadowcat* have decided to introduce some whimsy for the portrayal of staff, and perhaps some of the community projects, by having ourselves depicted as cartoon caricatures.

* The 'we' in this case would be one half of the gestalt that is our erstwhile leader, MattMark. To be precise it is Mark who originated the thought, based on the idea that existing mst chainsaw image was still good to use but needed companion pieces. From this it was decided to do the staff as Steampunk, Dieselpunk or Cyberpunk characters with a vague nod in the direction of existing comics such as League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Atomic Robo etc.

We have comissioned a local Lancaster artist, Jack Knight of Knight Time Creations to do the staff as a continuing series. We will start with the individual staff members as full standing creations in a style that they themselves will work with Jack to create and then move onto further phases from there.

This is the very first piece that is completed (larger version below) and will now be used in a variety of ways both on our site, in media future promotion. The next staff member will be commissioned in October and you can be sure that we will show you results once we have them.

Keep your eyes peeled for this picture in the wild and the continuing series.


           Steampunk Keating
Full size view of the Steampunk Keating

Shadowcat Support Local Charity


           Kindle Bundle for sponsorship

Shadowcat Systems has once again shown its commitment to the local community by sponsoring a prize in aid of the Twins Appeal. This local initiative is dedicated to raising a significant sum of money (£85,000) so that Katie and Emma can afford a pioneering treatment in America that may see them able to walk unaided.

Shadowcat will be donating the prize of:

  • ✶ An Amazon Kindle;
  • ✶ A gift voucher for books;
  • ✶ A leather cover;
  • ✶ A UK power adaptor;


           Kindle Bundle for sponsorship

The prize is part of a raffle at the Brownie Craft Fair that is being organised by Emma Maudsley and the St Bernadette's Church Brownie group. The Brownie Craft Fair will be held between 11:00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. on Saturday 20th October, at St Bernadette's Church on Bowerham Road.

The Craft Fair will have a variety of local artisans with stalls, face painting, football sessions with Active Soccer, refreshments and of course the raffle! The aim is to raise as much money for the charity as possible and all the people attending will be donating both time and money to this important cause.


           Kindle Bundle for sponsorship

Tickets are £1 a strip and will be available on the day, from St Bernadette's Church following Masses the weekend before the event and from Thurnham Church after Mass on Sunday 14th October. They can also be purchased at TIC Insurance on China Street or from Emma directly by arrangement on twitter: @SockMonkeyEmp, via email or through the event page on Facebook.


           Kindle Bundle for sponsorship

Everyone at Castle Shadowcat is a committed member to their local community along with their involvement and support of online communities and events. It is a real pleasure that we are able to give something towards an important local cause. We hope that the Brownie Fair will be a huge success and that we are able to meet some of you there.

* A truly awful pun, I apologise.

September Hackday

This week sees the third North West England Perl Mongers virtual hackday of 2012, and once again it will have a non-virtual component as the Shadowcat Offices will be open all day to allow anyone who wishes a home to hack in.

The virtual hackdays are an opportunity for us to work on several existing community projects and to give them a fresh lick of paint, or evolve them to their next generation.

If you wish to attend either online or in person then please jump into the #northwestengland.pm channel on irc.perl.org and say hello. If you wish to attend at the Shadowcat Offices then please contact Mark Keating as soon as possible

The hackday will start at 10 a.m. (BST - GMT +1) on Saturday 23rd September 2012 and run until around 6 p.m. or until we stop.

Claire in the Community

It is a little known fact, but one we are happy to report, that a chunk of the latest administration for the Enlightened Perl Organisation, in particular the work done on the new members website has been performed by Ian Norton and Claire Jackson.


           Claire at Work
Claire hard at work

Claire now makes it her task to come into the Shadowcat offices once a month (or more frequently if her time allows it) to perform the general paperwork and work on improving the site.

As always we at Castle Shadowcat are happy to open our doors and offer space, internet connectivity, advice and help to Claire and others who help support the wider Perl community.

When she is in the office Claire takes the chance to discuss progress, future shape and new directions for the site and the Organisation's initiatives with both Mark and Ian.