jQuery UK 2014 Day 2

Day 2 of the jQuery UK conference was the formal conference day with about 700 people in attendance.

It felt quite strange going to an open source conference for a none fringe project, particularly one that is treated as a product and used by many thousands of websites

On one side they do formal updates as you would expect from a corporation but as no one can fire them and they have no shareholders or such they can also tackle tricky subjects head on as well as take insults personally, which is a lovely change (although prone to a bit of ranting)

Much of conference context was very different to traditional corporate conferences due to the age of the attendees ( or rather the time they have been in IT) so they don’t have the history and background that many old farts have, as a presenter I am used to trying to pull people into this year (or even decade) while on the other hand dealing with people who have been programming computers since I was in nappies, in contrast this audience had a lot of people who are totally cutting edge but has only been in the business for a a few years (God I feel old).

The Good

  • Excellent Content, bloody hell I don’t think there was a single time slot that I did not want to be in 2 places at once, it was also placed well (the hardware hacking session at the end was the best finale)
  • Slide decks, I felt quite ashamed of my own slide decks in comparison to the ones used here and mine are a long way from being the worst I have seen, all of the side decks were interactive, responsive and browsers based, asking around came up with 3 possible candidates for the software doing the magic Slides, Proxi and reveal-js although my vote goes on reveal-js as that runs on node.js and I saw a lot of URLs that matched its pattern, anyway its time to buck up my ideas on that score.
  • Organisation and refreshments for the conference was organised by White October who kept everything ticking over just nicely with unlimited red bull and water, yahhhh

The Less Good

  • The were 3 tracks and basically only the main track had enough room in it, the other 2 tracks did not have enough capacity, I did not manage to get into any of them and neither did a lot of other people
  • Not really for beginners, I know that sounds stupid but it was generally taken as a given that you knew jQuery and used it on a daily basis, this was not a conference if you were new to jQuery and wanted to know what it was about and how to use it best.

⇓ Even though the actual conference was on an industrial estate, it was a very pretty industrial estate





⇑ Coo a full conference, not seen that in a while



⇑ The hardware hacking session was roll around on the floor funny, very well done and opened up lot of avenues that you can put your javascript knowledge to work with



⇑ The goodie bag was excellent, no waste and thankfully in a carrier bag so there was no need to chuck out another useless and crummy backpack, I even kept some of the bits of paper as they were informative not just shinny things for directors to read, the freebies offered by the vendors obviously did not come from marketing as they were actually useful,

jQuery UK 2014 Day 1

AngularJS has been a library that I never really saw the point of, back end server languages + the excellent front end frameworks such as jQuery and bootstrap have always delivered far more than even my most demanding corporate clients could want or need,  however while booking my ticket to the jQuery conference 2014 I  noticed that one of the workshops being held beforehand was entitled ‘Diving into AngularJS’  I figured that perhaps I just did not appreciate the framework’s better points and I should man up and learn it, also the fact it was being presented by Peter Bacon Darwin a well known member of the AngularJS world and a published author was not going to hurt

Initially I thought I had made a mistake, there were lots of mistakes in the printed version of the exercises and a distinct lack of structure to the course, then I pulled the stick out my arse and started playing proper attention,  the course was never designed to be completed in one day the material is a full course that you can do at your own leisure with all materials located on https://github.com/petebacondarwin/foodme,  Peter was there to guide you over the tricky humps, answer your questions and WTF moments as well as give you the background reasoning to a lot of the baffling areas of angular,

The day was in microcosm an exact replica of the classic AngularJS learning curve –V and Peter’s presence was the reason for that, hopefully this means I wont hit this save curve on a live project



In additional it provided me with a personal epiphany when it comes to javascript, I have never really enjoyed the asynchronous nature of javascript, it never had the same control that I am used to with things like Java multi-threading or better still Scala’s Actors, but peter took me though the whole thing and introduced me to the https://github.com/kriskowal/q library and its AngularJS derivative $q, I had been using javascript promises the same as everyone else (even if we don’t call them that) but this really opened my eyes on the whole subject 🙂

Frankly put I learnt more than my brain can absorb in a day, very very good value



New Anime Series: Soul Eater Not!

First Episode(s) Review for: Soul Eater Not!

A young and apparently ordinary girl discovers that she can turn into a weapon, this is not as strange as it would seem as this is the world of the soul eaters where living weapons and their welders keep the mortal world safe from the forces of evil.


A slightly faded out version of the bright over the top colours you get with hyper anime like Naruto and Soul eater (the original) which suits this series perfectly.

Plot Potential:

So this is an off shoot of the original Soul Eater series and I love the idea of merging its crazy over the top world where everyone is class A personalities with a normal school anime allowing for the mix of both plot lines and styles


Bouncy pop tunes for both the opening and closing credits, I recon I will start skipping them from episode 5 onwards.

Reminds me of:

Well Soul Eater for a start but the plot line is very different so I would add in Daphne in the Brilliant Blue as the main character reminds me of her and just a smidgen of Working!!


This is quite a captivating little anime, its mix of normal in an over the top world has me eager for each episode, well done cameos from the original cast members sets it off nicely, top job to who ever came up with it




Disclaimer: These are mini reviews of anime’s that are fresh out in Japan and are not licensed in the UK, buy them once they have been licensed or at the very least buy the merchandise, remember if the anime makers make a loss, THEY WILL STOP MAKING ANIME!!

London Node.js User Group April 2014

Sigh, I’m a bit late writing this one up (again) but never mind

On a barmy spring evening Mr white and I potted up to a very trendy part of Old Street to attend the 29th London Node User Group

Held in the Shoreditch village hall (which was far posher than I remember village halls being and with no smell of urine)

This was in the background of Old street which used to be a place you would not venture into without a body guard and an axe but is now Londons start up tech hub

There were 3 talks on the night:

Jeremy Ruston A Tale of Two Hosts: rebooting TiddlyWiki for Node.js and the browser

This talk was done by its creator and such talks are always fascinating, his discussion had a lot of moving from old tech to new with serious and precises technical terms (I had to go look up what transclusion means)

The talk was less about node.js and more a product demo, this was fine as I was really impressed with Tiddlywiki the product, very cutting edge with a lot of CSS3 and HTML5, I learnt about a couple of new HTML5 features I was unaware of as well as lessons on large scale state manipulation or lack of it

The product it’s self looks a boon for academics although less so for corporations due to their habit of living on old browsers.

It runs in both the browser as well as node.js and its ability to create multiple entries or wikis at will puts corporate wikis to shame.

Simon McManusHome Automation With Javascript

The home automation talk was an easy going change from its hard core predecessor, but Mr McManusHome was just a tad rushed and garbled (sounds like he has been busy at work)

It was interesting to see the challenges that even an obviously clever person has in trying to glue all the various home automation standards into something you can use for what you want

It was captivated seeing how hard he had to work to get even simple things working, it does however seem that there are companies out there that are fighting the good fight.

In the end I felt dumb but exhilarated and galvanised to learn more

Ismael Celis Streaming downloads proxy service with Node.js

This talk rounded up the night and concentrated on the bootic eCommerce application.

While not as fun as the other presentations, it was pure practical demonstration, strongly focused on node.js and shared a lot of lessons learnt and good tips and tricks, well presented especially considering that English does not seem to be Mr Celis first language


The atmosphere between and after the talks was really welcoming and very friendly compared to something like a Java user group (they even do free training nights), I suspect this was because most people were from start-ups rather than the serious corporate landscape, indeed my references to using various technologies inside the corporates was treated with a bit of horror as if I was suggesting selling out to the forces of evil, a strange but refreshing attitude and a good U.G. all round.



Listen while you work

As I might have mentioned before, I like company when I work or at least the background drone of an active office, it turns out that this noise is good for you as studies such as this one from the Journal of Consumer Research state, this is currently breeding a whole pack of apps that generate this kind of noise such as http://coffitivity.com/

Now this is all just telling IT staff what they have known for years, and anyone that has watched productivity and staff retention plummet due to a petty manager banning headphones will be able to attest to the advantages of a none “silent as the grave” working environment.

Over the years I have built up my own bank of favourite audio media, which have in the last year or two moved solidly to my phone, I though I would share


Most of my music comes from http://www.di.fm/ the most amazing site for digital music (I have been a member since April 2005), they have a huge range of channels for the different styles of electronic music with excellent web and native mobile app players.

Favourite Channels

This is supplemented by Spotify though I have learnt not to rely on a track or artist permanently staying on the platform, to this end I tend to use Spotify as a discovery platform then go buy the DRM free music from amazon

The BBC IPlayer is not just for music but holds a full week of BBC radio, it is really worth installing and regaining access to all those stations we lost when we stopped being near a radio, though I suspect if you are not from the UK you are out of luck (Americans this is how were feel all the time so tough)


Podcasts are my staple access to current news

Constant listens

Other Recommends

  • Mahabharata Podcast – an excellent English language re-telling of the ancient epic.
  • German pod 101 – very very good language pod-cast (variations for all major languages)

For Android my podcast client recommendation is Doggcatcher feature and usability wise I have found it just cant be beat.

Audio Books†

I have loved these since my very first one in 1981 “2 ADVENTURES OF THE SECRET SEVEN read by Roy Castle” and they fill a large part of my culture gap. now-a-days Audible (or rather Amazon) has pretty much nailed this market down with their fab app.

However while Audible is great, the content providers are as normal being a pack of arses with 81983 unabridged titles on the UK site vs 111016 on the US site, I have even phoned up Audible UK to ask about this and they are no more happy about it than we are, so Audible is not the be-all and end-all of Audio books if they don’t have something keep looking.

In addition some of the best narration was done ages ago and the companies that supplied these books to libraries (back when audio books were mainly for the sight impaired, elderly or dyslexic) have still not moved these masterpieces to the modern world so you might want to have a hunt around off line for some classics.

My personal recommendation for a Android player for Audio books is Music Folder Player it’s very well behaved, plays all sorts of files, has things like sleep timer and such but most important plays files by OS details (file name, folder etc etc) rather than ID tags)

There we go hope that provided a moments amusement


† As many of my clients read my blog and other social media, I will point out that I tend to not listen to audio books while working, as they are kind of distracting, I tend to listing to them during beak (to give my eyes a rest) and while travelling

New Anime Series: Brynhildr in the Darkness

First Episode(s) Review for: Brynhildr in the Darkness

A thoughtful teenager thinking back on mistakes he thinks he has made in his life (though I think he is being really hard on him self) has to deal with all sorts of strangeness when those mistakes come back to haunt him in the shape of a girl he KNOWS is dead


Most of it is plain if not drab cell animation, but its given a lot of effects to highlight the plot such as greying everything out apart from a point of interest or oil paint rendering of stop scenes.

Plot Potential:

The plot is a good serious one and for once I don’t seem to be able to tell where it is going, there are a lot of mysterious hints but by the end first episode you just don’t know for sure what the crux of the plot is going to be, the oily irritant is the opening credits which while awesome are at this stage a huge spoiler (skip if you can bare it)


“Good guys walking into spooky alien s**t” type music for a good opening tune, as if daft punk did the x-files theme. closing theme is nothing much.

Reminds me of:

A bit of Elfen Lied a bit of Occult Academy


The opening credits for this Anime are fecking awesome, sent tingles down my spine with anticipation, and I am pleased with a slow moving plot for a change (its always such a shame when they have to put ‘hooks’ in early episodes rather than letting it develop normally) , but there is enough meat for me to hope for a gripping series.




Disclaimer: These are mini reviews of anime’s that are fresh out in Japan and are not licensed in the UK, buy them once they have been licensed or at the very least buy the merchandise, remember if the anime makers make a loss, THEY WILL STOP MAKING ANIME!!