Interesting Stuff Club
Our monthly catch up of what people are working on in their own time and where we share anything interesting we’ve read, seen, or been. This month we even had something to show; little 3D printed robots.
“Eddy and I went to Makers Cafe last night for an intro to 3D printing. Hazim Sami led the talk and he was great. All of the staff were lovely, and pride themselves in being approachable, in an environment that could seem quite daunting to people who just want to make something nice. The guys will print anything you send them (as a STL file) so long as it’s not copyrighted, and will advise on the best method for you, not what will make them the most money. Whilst Hazim was talking, he set off printing a little robot so that we could see it being printed which was cool, then at the end we were all given one to take away. What was surprising was that it’s actually not too expensive. They charge by time, so the little robot we were given would cost £2.50 – half an hour is £5. So you can have a unique little model, or ornament, that you’ve made, all whilst you sit and have a coffee (or a pint). Highly recommended.
I went along to the Digital Marketing Show last week, which was great, and Matthew Walko suggested reading Webs of Influence. I’m not too far through, but it’s all about using psychology on your website to get the most out of your copy and increase engagement.”
“I found a great reddit thread which asked ‘what are the best documentaries you’ve seen?’. The best one overall was ‘The Imposter’ – but I can’t really explain what it’s about without giving the plot away. Another one that was really interesting was about the children of Hitler’s top generals and how they were affected.
Aside from that, I’ve just started learning Angular.js, for my own interest, but I’ve not got too far yet. “
“My Christmas Tree Finder app is now live. I wanted to have it complete by now, but I’ve had no internet at home for over a week. The hard work starts now as I need to find all of the places selling real trees. I’ve got an email address on the app for people to let me know of any they’ve found so I’m hoping I’ll get some that way.
I went to FEL last night which had some really good talks; particularly James Higgs‘ talk, who’s one of the senior execs at Made by Many. He talked about the economy of web development and making tradeoffs. He explained (in his opinion) what makes a good developer, and what makes a great developer: a great developer knows when to use clean code, and when tests are required. Interesting.”
“I read an interesting article about the dynamics of standup which most people associate with going round each team member, following the mantra ‘What I did yesterday, are there any blockers and what I’m doing today’. The trouble is, it’s very centred around the individual and can become a bit task oriented with the tendency to lose focus on the collective responsibility – our raison d’etre – delivering the user stories we’re working on. One way of thinking about it is by each individual speaking from the perspective of the user story, saying how it’s progressed since the start of yesterday, what it needs to progress today and if it needs help from anyone. Thinking of the user story as a living thing which craves ‘completion’ but is incapable of communicating what it needs is one ‘creative’ way of doing this – we become the user story guardians”
“I’ve been playing with a prototyping tool for iOS apps called Form, which adds motion and animation. It used to be a paid app, but was recently bought by Google so it’s now free 🙂 I think that it’ll eventually replace After Effects for prototyping animations that are timely to produce in CSS.
I’ve also been using Gibbon, which is a curated content learning app with collections of videos and articles around certain themes. You can set up a time you want to spend daily, say 30 min, and you receive videos and articles that will take you that much amount of time to read/learn. The people curating the content are big players from the likes of Facebook and Google, so the content is really interesting.”
I’ve started playing chess again and I love it (I used to be in the chess club at school!) Anyway, we’ve been using the ‘big’ chess playing app – Chess with Friends and I bought the app to get rid of the adverts, but when I put it on the iPad it uses the phone version so doesn’t quite work properly. I found chess.js and chessboard.js and have plonked Firebase into so I can create my own better, multi-device chess app.”
“I’m starting to redo my blog/portfolio and I’ve been looking into Symfony CMF which uses PHP CR (PHO Content Repository) which is new to me, but seems similar to mongoDB. I’ve also been playing with Google Cloud mainly because it’s a different provider than AWS.”