January 2013 News Archive

Tue Jan 1 00:00:00 2013

This is the shadowcat news archive for January 2013.

Shadowcat employs their first Intern for a few years

We, at Castle Shadowcat, would like to introduce you to Tom our latest staff acquisition. Tom joins us as a special intern at Shadowcat, for a number of years we have been stating that the best way to bring more life into Perl is to get people who are not fully Perl programmers, and in fact may not be programmers at all. Not to always aim for the Computer Science graduates, or those fluent in another language, but to look for people whose natural passions point them as having the right mindset to learn and to place them in a stimulating environment to learn and let them develop and shape as they find natural.


           Tom hard at work at Castle Shadowcat
Tom hard at work at Castle Shadowcat

It is important to note that an affiliation with programming, or the basics of logic are always an advantage but a well administered aptitude test can determine the right mindset to attempt a trial from anyone.

For this year, with the impetus provided by Shadowcat's newest Lancastrian recruit Ian Norton, we went searching for just such a person. We had discussed it previously but had never acted upon it since 2006 when we last had a summer intern.

We found Tom, he is a hardware hacker most commonly associated with HackMan and the Manchester Hack Space. Tom already had some programming ability but was more of a hardware hacker. What he shows, however, is a great willingness to learn and this said to us that we should give him some attention.

Tom will be with us a few days a month as he trials learning new skills and attempts to pick up Perl and other associated technologies. What he will also be trailing is whether he has the ability to work in an intensive environment on complex projects.

To begin we will have Tom doing a number of internal tasks and slowly increase the complexity. but he doesn't make the tea or fetch the pork-Friday foodstuffs (we leave that job to the Managing Director). Tom started by installing a number of code environments and setting up his system to create a new project based in Perl/Android/iOS with some HTML5/CSS/Javascript, it should also involve elements such as RSS/XML and maybe JSON. We have a second project based in Perl that is already in a private test environment that he will also be working on so that he can learn feature adding and code refactoring of an existing Perl project.

At Shadowcat we have a belief, you push the person off the cliff and expect them to scream if they can't quickly learn how to fly. Thus far he has whimpered a little, and made a few face shaped dents in his desk, but his screams are relatively quiet.

You can grab Tom on irc as TBSliver.

Talking at the Tweet-Up

On Wednesday 16th January Mark Keating will be making a short presentation to the Lancaster ESTA/Jane's Social Meida Tweet-Up at the Dukes Theatre, Lancaster with the title 'What the Heck is Open Source'.

This will be the first time that Mark has presented to an audience made up principally of business folk and not technical people, and the aim is to give an easy introduction to the idea of Open Source and collaborative creation.

If you would like to come along then please sign up to: Lancaster Trade Local Tweet-up on eventbrite (January 16th 5.30 to 7.30).

Perl Oasis 2013

This weekend is the date of the annual Perl Oasis, in Orlando Florida and Shadowcat's own Matt S. Trout will once again be attending and presenting at this event.

The Perl Oasis is the first event on the yearly Perl calendar and has been described as the first of the social workshops as it focusses more on community. It is a great place to practice the presenttations speakers will be doing at other events in the year as the conference is less formal in approach.

This year Mark is unable to attend the event which is a great shame, but he will be there in spirit.

Matt hopes to see you there.

LuneLab Maker Night

On Thursday night, the 10th January 2013, we will be hosting Lancaster's first HackSpace evening at the Shadowcat offices (Castle Shadowcat) in White Cross. A HackSpace is a physical location where people who wish to pursue their own hardware passions can meet and share knowledge, expertise and war stories. Often they are physical locations, but to be quite honest anywhere the people meet becomes the physical location at the time and until we have a permanent residence Shadowcat have offered to host to encourage people to collect together.

Lancaster HackSpace Evening with room for Creatives

I was asked if a hackspace can offer room to other types of Maker activities. This question was whether someone who shared the same passion for mixing technology, science and art would be welcome to come and work on their own projects. in particular they were going to come and work on some card making projects but may at a later date bring other craft activities and hope to incorporate using technology such as electronics and 3D printing into their crafting/creative side.

I understand some people see a HackSpace as a purely technical, engineering or computing related area, whereas others see it as a fusion space for creatives from any background who share particular passions and interests.

At this point, there seems to be a consensus to allow anyone with an interest in technology, creativity, craft, the sharing of skills and information who wish to come and work on their own projects or share and work collaboratively with others, the space to do so. I am hoping that this is a model that we find easy enough to support and grow in our local community.

Please feel free to come and join us on Thursday night, we will be providing coffee, tea, soft drinks and biscuits to the attendees.