Archive for October, 2010

GaianDB – my talk at bathcamp 2010

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Here are the slides I used for a talk on Gaian DB – a dynamic, distributed, federated database technology that we produced at work and have made available through IBM alphaWorks.


Great South Run

Friday, October 29th, 2010

It’s safe to say that I’ve been a stereotypical geek where sports are concerned. You know the sort – always picked last for sports at school, and came up with a variety of ways to avoid P.E. lessons wherever possible (helped by a secondary school that let me swap PE classes for additional academic classes).

Last February, a mate suggested that I join him to do the Great South Run – a ten mile run in Portsmouth. My initial reaction was that I could never do that. I’d never run a mile before, let alone ten. And I hadn’t done any running at all since school.

But then… the fact that I’d never done anything like it before also seemed like a good reason to do it. So, I signed up.


Why you want code monkeys who tinker in their own time

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

This post is a modified version (in other words, shameless rip-off!) of an interesting post on It talked about why companies should expect their SEO specialists to moonlight in their own time, and the benefits of this. You should go and read the original article as it’s really good.

But as I read it, I saw a parallel with how big software companies like my own employer should view their developers…

There are many reasons why you should expect your developer to be working on their own projects. Your developer should be doing something besides showing up to work, working on clients (or in house) and going home.

Working on their own projects is essential because it gives them experiences beyond their immediate work and gives them a platform for experimentation. Better that they try and fail on their own side projects than on your enterprise software products or your client’s live systems.

Software development is an art and a craft. It takes skill, knowledge, understanding and learning. Training is sparse once beyond the beginning stages, particularly in recent times where training budgets are getting harder to justify. Practice and experience are good forms of training – finding out the hard way what works and what doesn’t.

A passionate developer, someone who is bitten by the bug and craves to learn more, will go on to do more code development in their free time. That is the code monkey that you want – someone who has passion and strives to learn more. This is the developer that you should want to find and keep. The professional who will test, push boundaries, experiment and learn more in their free time is valuable and should be kept and nurtured. This developer will bring more to an organisation than you may be able to utilise however they are worth their weight in gold over the long term.