Hello

👋🏻 Hi, I’m Chris.

I’m a software engineer.

I believe in

  • Ethical, appropriate and sensible application of big data and ML.
  • Taking a pragmatic approach to automated testing (test coverage isn’t everything).
  • Designing systems that minimise carbon emissions and energy usage during their operational life.
  • Being accountable for the products you build.
  • Empowering users to achieve their goals, rather than mollycoddling them and making decisions for them.
  • Harnessing creative chaos where it’s useful, but limiting it when it’s not.

My super powers include clean systems interface design and domain modelling, particularly for esoteric legacy systems.

I work for Media Molecule, as a Principle DevOps Engineer.

This ‘blog’ catalogues my various personal analyses and opinions of things that I find interesting, or projects I’ve undertaken.

A Crunchless Hackathon

Hackathons or Hackdays or “Innovation Days” or whatever you want to call them have been a mainstay in tech for a while now. Sometimes, they’re seen as a simple “fix” for an organisation that’s lacking innovation (spoiler: that’s not how they work). But, just so we’re all on the same page: A Hackathon is a time limited sprint where (primarily) software is created I’ve been purposely vauge here - but I think this definition encompasses most things that someone would call a “Hackathon”.
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This is fine 🔥 (no, it’s not)

I’m a staunch advocate of sustainability. Being an engineer, I make things - and one of my life goals is for everything I build to use as little energy (and therefore carbon emissions) as possible. Because, in my view, I can contribute to limiting climate change, even in a small way.

This week, the UK has seen the hottest temperatures in recorded history. All of our infrastructure experienced failures - roads, railways, electricity grids. There were droughts, and the firefighters were busier than they have ever been since World War 2. Our homes are ill equipped for these kinds of temperatures and this will cost lives.

Most news outlets were quite clear: this heatwave is a direct result of climate change. The Sun and the Daily Express gave it a different spin - we’re all getting a free holiday right on our doorstep! Hooray! 🙄

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Is everyone going to build the Metaverse?

Ever since Meta (nee Facebook) announced their intention of building “the Metaverse” in their Facebook Connect conference keynote in 2021, changing their name in the process - the world has been simultaneously enthrealled, amused and terrified by the idea of spending more of their time in a virtual world rather than the real one. Maybe it’s because they remember the dystopian setting of Ready Player One, where people live in towering stacks of containers because their cities have become uninhabitable due to overcrowding and energy shortages are commonplace - and the only way to escape is through the OASIS “metaverse” - leading them to neglect to fix the problems with physical society in preference to enjoying a virtual one instead.
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Crowdfunding Witch-hunt: Debunking Debunks of Aurora Nutrio

Many moons ago, I was a host on a podcast called The Gadget Crowd.

I’m the guy on the far left, raising my eyebrow

My role was to do the deep dives into the technical feasibility of the projects that we talked about - usually tempering the hyperbolic claims of the campaigns into something more realistic. I also featured a number of exceptionally bizarre campaigns claiming everything from a perpetual motion machine powered by demonic forces (legitimately what the project claimed), to a device that was designed to release your inner chi by regularly beeping (who’s campaign text read much like the incoherent ramblings of someone with severe psychosis).

Over the years, many crowdfunded tech projects have come and gone, and the public has now experienced a range of outcomes from great success (for example the RiutBag, which delivered exactly as intended and is a ongoing business delivering new, useful, products regularly), to great failures (like Juicero - which was a legitimate, but dumb, idea that just failed), to outright scams (like ZNAPS - where backers have now resorted to magic incantations trying to get their money back). The general public has seen it all.

Fast forward a few (cough five) years, and there’s /r/shittykickstarters

Now, let me say, most of the posts on this subreddit are legitimately bad campaigns - which are either unfeasible, physically impossible or in some other way questionable (e.g. rebrands of products available from contract manufacturers). But sometimes, those redditors are a bit too ready to take up their pitchfork

Take this one, Aurora Nutrio

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