Buongiorno. Here are my most recent blog posts:
  • read "A Field Guide to Getting Lost" by Rebecca Solnit

    May 9, 2015

    ​​Being lost is not a bad thing. It is about letting go, ceasing to worry about things, being immersed in what you are doing. This book discusses these ideas in a somewhat poetical way, much in the way that George Monbiot discussed rewilding in Feral. I would class it more of a personal book than a work book. However, the line I draw between those two spaces is very blurred.

  • read "Gang Leader for a Day" by Sudhir Venkatesh

    May 9, 2015

    ​​An interesting angle for user experience understanding: what it is like to live in one of the huge housing projects in Chicago where the unemployment rate is nearly 100%.

    Sudhir Venkatesh went on to co-write the hugely successful Freakonomics.

  • read "How To Stay Sane" by Philippa Perry

    May 9, 2015

    ​​The title is a little alarming to most people, but personally I have no problem with actively seeking to protect my own sanity. This book discusses:

    • being mindful,
    • relating to others,
    • managing stress,
    • telling your own story

  • read "How to Think Like Sir Alex Ferguson" by Damian Hughes

    May 9, 2015

    ​​Much is said about achieving results, but little about sustaining that success. Perhaps some of the books about IBM and the giants who failed. This book is all about the approach of Sir Alex Ferguson to football and how it might be applied to work. Much of it is about change.

  • read "Maximise Your Potential" by various, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei

    May 9, 2015

    ​​This set of advice articles from a variety of recent thinkers is packed full of good stuff. I think that i'm going to read it again to pick out the best bits.

  • read microservices article "Agile coding in enterprise IT: Code small and local"

    April 7, 2015


    As Landmark move into the world of Microservice​​​s I think that it is important that we all understand what it actually means. This article gives a reasonable understanding and i've made some notes...​

    Microservices are very decoupled. "​Developers can create and activate new microservices without prior coordination with others. Their adherence to microservices architecture principles makes continuous delivery of new or modified services possible."

    Simplicity, tight scope, minimal change request process.

    Microservices architecture is evolving and unproven over the long term.

  • read up about Apache Kafka

    April 7, 2015

    ​​​After seeing it mentioned in a Microservices article I took a look at Apache Kafka

    Kafka was originally built by LinkedIn and then hived off to make a new company called Confluent. It is intended for processing of real-time data (such as web site tracking).

    This article from Confluent helps.

  • read up about Azure WebJobs

    April 1, 2015

    ​Unfortunately, I missed the Scott Hanselman TIS Talk at work about Azure WebJobs, but his 'Introducing...' article has helped as an introduction.

    It looks like a WebJob is a custom task the can either run continuously or be kicked off as a scheduled task. It can take input such as a Blob of data in a storage container, process it and put the output into another container. I don't know yet whether it will perform a callback to tell the trigger that it has finished.

  • watched Organising For Microservices

    March 31, 2015

    Microservices can be referred to as 'Hipster SOA'

    Single responsibility principle

    If there is a single, large, codebase then it gets unwieldy. You may be using cloud services, but you are still scaling the whole app rather than the bit that actually needs to scale.

    One codebase leads to having only one language/tool/hammer to use. Sometimes a problem can be cured by using a different language but you don't want to mix this in with the big codebase.

    If a part of the system fails, you don't want it to affect the others.​ Eliminate Single Points Of Failure. Set up fallback options. A search function can use a cache if the database fails. Semi-live is acceptable.

  • read "How to be Alone" by Sara Maitland

    March 18, 2015

    Sara Maitland's ideas are related to those of Susan Cain of 'Quiet' fame. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert and needing a bit of quiet to work and think in.

  • read "Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life" by George Monbiot

    March 9, 2015

    ​​​​George Monbiot is a big noise on The Guardian with his slightly controversial, but very sensible, thoughts on nature and its effect on flooding. This book is really a collection of essays on rewilding and is far more a personal diary than I thought it would be.

  • attended Geospatial Apps with Open Data Meetup

    March 4, 2015

    ​​​​This evening event was held at Google Campus London. The talks weren't quite up-to-scratch, but there were some interesting bits. I particularly liked Robin Hawkes talk about Vizicities which presents a 3D view of OpenStreetMap.

  • attended and spoke at Open Data Camp UK (2 days)

    February 22, 2015

    ​​​​I attended and spoke at the very first UK Open Data Camp. This weekend event was in Winchester. Unfortunately, the company didn't want to pay for my hotel so I coughed up myself. It was well worth it as I met lots of important Open Data contacts and the sessions were mostly very interesting.

  • read "Redirect, Changing The Stories We Live By" by Timothy D. Wilson

    February 11, 2015

    ​​​​I've just finished reading this social sciences book about how interventions do or don't work. It was fairly hard going, but interesting. The key message is that you can't just trust your own common sense. The author discusses things like 'Sure Start' schemes for children​​ which, whilst well-meaning, are seldom tested to see if they actually work. Even more shocking is that when they are tested they can often be proved to not work. Surprisingly, some tiny interventions do work. The book also includes discussions about negative stereotypes and ways to lessen the effects.

    This has strong connections with User Experience and measurability. It also makes me think about engagement at work.

  • took part in the Promap Jam Session (5 hrs)

    January 30, 2015

    ​​​​This was a session seeking to distill and document some of the knowledge in-and-around Promap. It was a semi-training session to practice creating user personas and work out their real value.

    My conclusion is that customer/user personas are hugely useful and we as an organisation urgently need these to be created and shared asap. The ownership probably lies with Product Management with a lot of assistance from Business Analysts.