Cambridge Geek Night
29 Sep 2010
Topics included open data, scaling services, and startups.
Lisa Evans (@objectgroup) from the Open Knowledge Foundation talked about open government data for Where Does My Money Go?. Nice visualisation of aggregate and granular data, and war stories of obtaining data from government and dealing with data compatibility issues.
RedGate sponsored the bar. Their intent was to do some hiring, so they spent some time explaining why their company has a great culture and would be fun to work for. They handed out some swag, including copies of The Book of Red Gate 2010 which I liked quite a bit, to my surprise. I couldn't resist doing the Clive Code Challenge, where I didn't do too badly.
Someone mentioned a Clojure Cambridge User Group meeting Tuesday 5th October 7pm in The Punter. I'd be interested in the scaling aspects, but I may just not be Lisp enough.
IdeaSpace (@ideaspace) is a co-working space and networking community at West Cambridge Research & Development Park (not far from the MSRC office). £50/month membership. Friday afternoon they have a CamJelly, a public/social/meet thing. Should check it out if I find myself in the area.
Mat Clayton (@MatClayton) from MixCloud gave a talk about scaling an audio service: users upload/download DJ-style mixes. Fascinating and entertaining. Their main problem was not the scaling user data/access but problems with bandwidth costs, which at times threatened the company's survival. They started off on EC2, moved content service to 100tb.com, then downgraded bitrates (from sometimes insanely high), and are now on OVH because they're cheap. Migrating massive amounts of data between providiers alone is a challenge. Various issues around music licensing were discussed. For UK purposes they're a radio station, and have appropriate PRS for Music licenses with track reporting. Mat works out of Cambridge, near the redgate folks, the rest of the company is in London. They managed without VC funding -- impressive.
Met various new people:
- Organizer Jo Anslow (@joanslow)
- Jonathan Whiteland from YTKO
- Ben "tola" Francis @bfrancis from rabbitsoft
- Stephen Turner (@sret) from Cytrix
- Python lover Michael Brunton-Spall (@bruntonspall) from The Guardian
- Xapian developer Richard Boulton @rboulton from Celestial Navigation
- Oleg Podsechin (@olegpodsechin) from The Pocket Agency
Meta comments: Some parallels with the OpenTech 2010 conference a couple of weeks earlier: Lanyard is popular, people ID themselves with their twitter username these days, and live event twittering via hashtags is common and useful.