Going Freelance

After 3 amazing years, yesterday was my last day working at Forward.

I've had a great time, worked with some awesome people and made some brilliant friends, now it's time for a new challenge, I'm freelance.

I've been getting more and more involved with the communities, running meetups, hack days and open source projects. I got to the point where I was running on empty and had no free time to myself and had to find a better way to balance my life.

Once I've got my freelance business stabilised I'm hoping to do even more community and open source work and help to make the UK a great place for developers to work, socialise and share knowledge.

Get in touch if you'd like to work with me on a project: [email protected]

27 Apr 13


I've put a kind of living CV up on GitHub pages that sums up the kind of stuff I've been working on over the last couple years.

07 Apr 13

Nodecopter Sponsorship

One of the sponsors that I had arranged to help pay for drones for the upcoming Nodecopter Bath event was BAE Systems, who are active in encouraging interest in science, technology, engineering and robotics.

After revealing the sponsorship, there was an active discussion within the NodeCopter community about having a large defence company as a sponsor.

Therefore, on reflection, both myself and BAE have jointly agreed to withdraw the BAE Systems sponsorship from this Saturday's event.

I'm still looking for sponsors for the event, if you would like to sponsor a drone please get in touch: [email protected]

20 Mar 13

Upcoming Conferences in 2013

There are so many great conferences coming up this year, I thought I'd highlight some of the best ones.

Waza - 28th February

Heroku's annual developer conference, the line up this year is brilliant including Matz, the creator of Ruby.

#inspect - 25th March

The first official RubyMotion conference in Brussels. If you are getting into Rubymotion, you can't afford to miss this.

Ruby Manor - 6th April

The community conference organized by members of the London Ruby Users Group, I spoke there last year and had a blast.

Write the docs - 8th April

A new conference for people who write and maintain documentation, this is really interesting to me as I've been focusing a lot on documentation recently.

BACON - 12th April

I also attended Bacon last year, unlike most technical conferences, the talks were incredibily varied, including talks about beer, lego and coffee.

Railsberry - 22th April

Yet another amazing lineup, and good to see this traditional rails conf expanding into other topics as well.

Git Merge - 9th May

A conference focused purely on git. It's pretty niche but ran by GitHub so you know it's going to be good.

Webshaped - 23rd May

Finland's only Frontend web design and development conference, I'm going to be speaking there about super charging your frontend development with Node.js.

Fluent - 28th May

The massive 3 day O'Reilly conference in San Francisco with a massive range of speakers and technologies being covered.

NodeConf - 27th June

The official Node.js conference in California with a twist, it's at the beautiful Walker Creek Ranch with series of hands-on workshops mixed with presentations and talks.

HybridConf - 15th August

The most exciting UK conference this year organised by Zach Inglis, it's a good mix of design and development talks from some world class speakers.

dConstruct - 6th September

dConstruct is one of those conferences that I just can't miss, I've been 3 times in a row now and it gets better every year.

Barcelona Ruby Conference - 14th September

I missed going to this last year, and after watching the videos from the conference I've been kicking myself since, definetly won't miss it this year.

ArrrrCamp 7 - 3rd October

The rum-fueled Belgium Ruby conference, on it's 7th year, it's small but perfectly formed.

I've also keep track of all of these on Lanyrd Guide.

16 Feb 13

A short video of my dancing nodecopter presentation at Bathcamp yesterday.

07 Feb 13

Open source contributions

In the past few weeks there has been a fair amount of activity on the Split repo, reaching over 500 watchers and I've just released version 0.5.0, a major update to the gem.

Adding the ability to swap out the persistence adapter and sampling algorithms as well as configuring your ab_tests from a YAML file rather than in code.

I've not been using Split in production for a while now, and it's encouraging to see that whilst other people are still using it, members of the community are stepping up to help continue to drive development forwards rather than leaving it to languish until a new, shiner library comes along.

I put together a little script (https://gist.github.com/4702837) to see how much work the community has contributed to the project, and the results are surprising:

Owner contributions
  3278 ++
  1360 --

Community contributions
  4274 ++
  2141 --

On split, developers other than myself have added and removed more lines of code to the project, which is quite exciting. I've become more of a manager of the project, ensuring that any pull requests are inline with the goals of the project.

This feels like one of the goals of an open source project, first and foremost it should solve the problem it was designed for but after than the project should aim to be supported by the community at large, fault tolerant.

If I were to step down now, I feel that the other developers working on the project could pick up where I left off, rather than it becoming just another abandoned project.

03 Feb 13

Quadcopter got caught in a strong wind about 20 meters up, hit a tree and fell, landing on one of the rotors.

02 Feb 13

The first test flight trying to get the Nodecopter to dance (go up and down) in time with a song, code is on github: https://github.com/andrew/ar-drone-dancer

01 Feb 13


Every year I like to set myself a number of goals or challenges to improve myself, last year included reading a new book every week and improve my level of personal fitness with a better diet and exercising more.

This year, as well as continuing with the good habits I've gained in 2012, I'm going to work on some new things:

  • Level up my terminal skills with vim and tmux

  • Get back into writing on a regular basis

  • Ship a RubyMotion app on the App Store

  • Get over my irrational fear of using the telephone

  • Dabble in hardware hacking and electronics including Nodecopter and RaspberryPi.

Heres to a great year!

31 Dec 12 with 1 comment

Green Tea Press: Free Computer Science Books

A great collection of computer science books made available for free under a creative commons license. There are also a great collection of freely available books on O'Reilly's Open Books Project.

27 Nov 12