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Mark Keating (mdk)'s Blog

Mark Keating (mdk)'s Blog

This is the index of items in Mark Keating's blog.
Responding to the Request

Information requests are usually provided in an electronic file. As detailed in the UKGDPR this should be a common, easy to read format. You must supply their personal data and any other supplementary information. This information should match what you provide in a privacy notice.

Responding to the Request

You should comply with a request for information immediately. There can be no 'undue delay' and in all normal circumstances you have one month from receipt of the request to reply.

Who Has, and What Is, the Right of Access?

It is the right for an individual to obtain any personal information that may have been collected about them. It also allows them to collect supplementary information

What is a SAR?

The Subject Access Request (SAR) is the right of access afforded under the Data Protection legislation of 2018.

A neat meet to greet and tweet

This week the Perl Foundation marketing committee had our first meeting after the Perl and Raku conference, and our first official meeting of the revised steering group.

Going Forward

In this part I want to give some insight into what we might be doing next. As I write this we are in the process of documenting ideas and preparing for our monthly meeting, the first since the conference. That meeting will help formulate some of our next steps.

Being on Brand

In part one I spoke about the redux of the marketing team for the Perl Foundation. In this part I want to focus on my take away experience from the session on Brand

Building A Team

June saw the first ever Perl and Raku Conference in the Cloud. A new concept born as a response to the current global pandemic.

Wait, What? Fast Moving Zombies? (or 23 paragraphs about love)

Holy Hell-Testicles Shadowcat is 15 years old?

Locked in our homes...

A short re-introduction to the blog and an offer of help and communities

Managerial Role

It’s about managerial roles. What is the role of a manager?

Value Is Not Just ROI

This summer there were two young faces in Castle Shadowcat as we had a pair of interns working with us.

Have the Fu of Thanks

Sometimes you have to say thanks to people. You think you know how this is going to go, right? Because they have done you a favour? You are in a bind, you need someone’s help and that person goes the extra mile so you say thanks. It’s that situation, right?...

Find out what this means to me

I have been thinking a little bit about respect this week and the reasons we give or receive respect and I thought I would share a few words about respect in a business/company environment and culture.

Hot Desking

Do you have spare office desks or office space? What do you do with them/it? Do you let the crud of the modern office pile up? Use them as collection points for things or printer stations? Or do you leave them empty? Even worse get rid of the desks to make things roomy and not look like you have excess?

Is it for real(z)?

This week Facebook has announced it will be working with a UK fact checking charity to manage the amount of ‘fake News’ on its website. While I see this as a good thing I don’t think it is the behaviour we should be encouraging. Let me try to explain why.


In this article I am going to discuss how an organisation, Merlin Entertainments, has failed to implement the legislation and how they could have done so in a way that made sense and would have made their lives easier.


In this article I am going to be discussing my take on owning a mailing list and complying with the GDPR.

The Many, Many, Official Links

I thought it would be useful to publish a set of links to all the official online resources. These are all recommended by the ICO.

Stupendous Trout

Thirty-Five years ago, which was 12783 Days and approximately 306794 Hours and 18,407,604 minutes ago (and somewhere in the order of 1,104,458,400 seconds), there was a singularly unique event that occurred.[^unique] Matt S. Trout came into existence.

Recollections of FOSDEM 2018

This year at FOSDEM there was a significant change in the Perl presence, there was no large camel at the table.

The Data Protection Officer

In this article I am going to help clarify which companies should absolutely have a Data Protection Officer (DPO); which companies should consider it; what everyone else should do.


In this article I am going to discuss the data processor. What makes you a processor? What is different to that of a controller? What are the rights and responsibilities associated with processing?


In this article I am going to share a few thoughts about one of the risks of not being fully in control of your data or the way in which you use software.


In this article I am going to share a few thoughts about one of the risks of not being fully in control of your data or the way in which you use software.

Who Owns You?

Have you been Pwned? How would you know if you have been Pwned? What is Pwned anyway?

Location, Location, Location

Step back for a moment and think about this question, where is my data stored? As an individual, as a business, as social creatures we are spending our lives generating, processing and using more and more data.


In this article I am going to discuss how we can see the requirement to keep data secure, as the GDPR puts it ‘ensure a level of security appropriate to the risk’ not as an instruction to lock data away but as a chance to see data storage as information governance.


In my last piece on Data Management and the GDPR I stated that the next article would look at Encryption and Anonymisation. However in this article I am going to give a few quick thoughts and an introduction to the issue of Consent. I hope that you will forgive this little side-trek, or meander, it isn’t part of a deliberate ruse I will be continuing on track with data governance very soon.

A Short Note on Password Safety

There is a lot of discussions about what makes a good password. I have even been asked to/accused of giving some advice on the subject myself from time to time. As such it is a subject that I keep myself engaged with as to the best practices.


In this article I am going to focus on some of the challenges we will be facing when we consider the holding of personal data and how to manage, store and erase it. A lot of this article is based around an excellent talk I attended at the London Perl Workshop by JJ Allen who gave a view on: To Delete or not to Delete: A Practical Guide to the Erasure of Data.


You may have read my other blog on my personal site about the LPW, I mostly wanted to splurge on the day after about how great it was while I still had the feeling inside me. Today will hopefully be a more measured affair as I talk about the great community event I experienced for the very first time as an attendee and speaker.


In this article I am going to focus on the rights that are granted to the user, client or data subject. This is an important section of the GDPR and one which, even in this long article, I only just cover the broader elements.


In this article I am going to focus on the notion of Cyber Essentials and why it is time to start looking at how you look after the data and services that you provide.

A Stunning Start

This weekend, 28th-29th October 2017, I attended and spoke at the first #FreenodeLive conference in Bristol

The Issues for Small Organisation

Battle of the Expos

I went to two different EXPOs this week, both were held in the local area to the Shadowcat offices.

Community Traditions

Last week, 9th-11th August 2017, the Shadowcat crew travelled to the European Perl Conference held this year in Amsterdam. It was for us going to be a busy event.

Time to Make a Difference

If you are attending the Perl Conference in Amsterdam this year and would like to make a real difference there is a sure fire way that you can help. Volunteer.

EPO Hackathon

The EPO, Shadowcat Systems and Mark Keating are inviting people to attend and contribute to a one day hackathon to help organise and restructure the existing EPO sites. We will be looking at unsnarling the


Tom and I attended the FLOSSUK Barcamp in Birmingham last Saturday. I was there partly as a member of the organising team and partly to do some work on FLOSSUK infrastructure in a different location. I was also acting as a chauffeur and companion for Tom who was busy recording and, as it happens, also presenting.

Out Of Your Fracking Minds

The Columns I Live By

Amongst the tools I use on a variety of projects is Trello. To be honest I use others that are similar to Trello as well dependent on the client requirements but a default tool is Trello because of my familiarity with it.

A Snapshot of Perl at FOSDEM

In what has become a yearly tradition some members of the Shadowcat Team decamped to Brussels for a long weekend in the early months of the year for the annual FOSDEM event.

You will probably say a thousand wor...

Be careful of what you ask for... you might get it

Do not mention Hitler or his Copywriter

Before I start I should invoke one of these <Rant> as yet again I am going to discuss something that irks me. This particular itch is about language, or more specifically about a naming convention.

Seek Permission, Do Not Demand

This morning I was updating some applications on my phone, I noticed one of the applications asked for a lot more information than previously (it is why the phone didn&acirc;&#128;&#153;t auto-update it). The reason for the asking of these permissions is clearly for the application to build out its community features and grow their market share. But I have an issue with this.

Change and Refresh

Each year FLOSSUK holds an AGM where we discuss the shape of the organisation and deal with the legal duties of electing representatives from the membership. As such there are usually a few changes to the council and this year was no exception.

You just remember what your old pal said[1]

The Market Gap

There are a number of elements that people attribute to making a product that is desired and successful but we can distill this down to three simple questions.

What do you mean that will cost?

I have heard this response a fair time as well and I am afraid the answer to both of those is in the opening. But let me show you using images and allegory. When we are asked to estimate on building a project there is an expectation, and some might believe is, that this should have no cost to prepare; be broadly accurate; have a upper, or fixed, price in time and money that can be clearly defined and adhered to.

What Do We Mean By Video?

Last week I attended a presentation by Workshop Media titled &#39;Are You Ready for Video&acirc;&#128;&#153;. The presentation was given by the amiable DJ Guest who is a likeable and energetic presenter. The content of the video, in brief, was a mixture of anecdotal discourse on the value of video with some analysis of the market strength to using video.

The SC Staff are Truly Eccentric

The first word that pops into my head when I think about Shadowcat, its staff, its mindset, its history is quirky. I know a lot of people use the word niche or individual and the over-used unique in the same manner. But I would use Quirky. We are a little eccentric, yes that means a little mad I guess.

What Isla Knew

I attended a presentation by the wonderful Isla Wilson last year. In that presentation, pretty much at the start, she ran a series of small demonstrations. One particular test was to think of five words to describe your business.

Lameck Amugongo: Data Revolution Catalyst

Dawn Foster: Open Source: A Job and an Adventure

The talk from Matt was first presented two years ago but Matt recently updated it and delivered it for us at FLOSS Spring. The talk is still relevant as it is a series of steps for good automation practices when you come to automate a system not a discussion of a recent piece of software.

Matt S. Trout: Architecture Automation

The talk from Matt was first presented two years ago but Matt recently updated it and delivered it for us at FLOSS Spring. The talk is still relevant as it is a series of steps for good automation practices when you come to automate a system not a discussion of a recent piece of software.

Stephen Grier: Is Config. Management Still Relevant in a Containerised World

Stephen Grier works at the University of Central London where he mostly focuses on what he terms as &acirc;&#128;&#152;web technologies&acirc;&#128;&#153; and utilises Puppet for configuration management.

Bernd Erk: Icinga - Middle of your Toolchain

Bernd is the project lead on the Icinga project and has returned to the Spring Conference on a yearly basis to tell us about the latest developments. In the last few years the project has gone from strength to strength and the Icinga Version 2 carries that torch far forward. Icinga was originally a fork of Nagios with the intention of making it more accessible.

Rick Deller: Developing Your Brand

Rick Deller is an Open Source recruitment specialist at Eligo. Before you start to instantly make assumptions he is probably one of the few really good recruiters as he does care about the industry and the communities. Rick, and Eligo, are sponsors of a number of community events and Rick is always on hand to help out. One of his ways of contributing is in talks. Last year Rick spoke about how to write a good CV for your next job and this year he returned with the ideas of how to develop yourself as a brand to make your career stronger.

Paul Waring: Configuration Management with Ansible and Git

The conference had a strong feel of configuration management to it and the second talk on the subject I attended was from Paul Waring about using Ansible. A section of Paul&acirc;&#128;&#153;s talk was a little confusing to me as I lost the thread in the second half of his presentation. This was less to do with Paul&acirc;&#128;&#153;s presentation style and more my inexperience with the subject and sitting too far to the back of the room so that I couldn&acirc;&#128;&#153;t follow the slides (again this wasn&acirc;&#128;&#153;t Paul&acirc;&#128;&#153;s fault the room had very large windows and no blinds).

Part 10: The Well Sponsored World

There is a level of debate that can be had about whether we need, or should encourage, sponsorship in open source, voluntary or civil sectors. I like sponsorship, I like sponsors and I feel that you need to sponsor if you are in business. I think the act of sponsoring what are good ideas whether complimentary to your business activities or merely a remote, or passing, interest is a necessity.

Thom May: When Applications Make Promises

Thom is an applications developer with Chef, his talk was focussed on how Chef works in regards to Promise Theory

Mandi Walls: Always Be Learning

Mandi is a software developer currently working for Chef in London, the talk wasn&acirc;&#128;&#153;t about Chef though, it was about the Open Source world and our part within. Mandi started with a discussion an early large HP conference that she attended. The event had a number of communities gathered together to discuss a certain topic, however they were still segregated, this is an attitude that still persists today. We might have shared features but we remain tribal about our software choices.

Part 9: From Web Frameworks to Keynotes and Organising

Shadowcat have been attending conferences, events, tech meetings and talks for as many years as we have been trading. A huge part of our community life revolves around the various meetings and events. In the murky past we used the term &acirc;&#128;&#152;Conference Season&acirc;&#128;&#153; to depict a period of the year when we would be attending the various Perl related events, usually the [YAPC::NA][na] (Yet Another Perl Conference::North America) and the [YAPC::EU][eu] which happen either side of the Western Summer break.

Part 8: Community and Volunteering

Shadowcat have always loved community, it isn&#39;t just a statement we casually make it is a foundational belief at the core of our very existence. This love is not just for the Open Source community it is shared amongst the other social and cultural groups of which we are members. Almost everyone who has worked at, subcontracted with or associated with Shadowcat has been a community superstar. Sometimes we introduce them into the idea of continuation being a cornerstone of our structure, most times they come as willing builders.

The Broad View

This is a general impression of the recent FLOSSUK event that I attended, I should point out that I do act as a member of the organising team and the FLOSSUK Council but this is a personal review of the experience.

Part 7: Creating the Source Code

Part Six - Commercial Products

It might seem a little strange to be talking about commercial products when we are primarily a consultancy. There is an easy answer in that when you are a consultancy the services you offer are your product, and although that&acirc;&#128;&#153;s the case it isn&acirc;&#128;&#153;t always a true analogy.

Part Five - Clients[1]

We know how that popular clich&Atilde;&copy; concludes and if we are honest it is impossible that someone is right all the time. Most people take this to mean that the customer should always be treated as if they are never wrong and therefore they are &acirc;&#128;&#152;in the right&acirc;&#128;&#153;.

Loading up the Head Space

I had a conversation recently with Leigh[1] who is currently preparing a number of PhD proposals in anticipation of studying for her doctorate. From her perspective she was trying to convey understanding about an issue she was having and was curious if I could relate to it. However I knew exactly her issue and it is a common one for a lot of people. It is loading up the head space.

Caring is great Customer Service

I&#39;m going to focus this time on customer service, in fact I am going to focus on great customer service and how that is linked to the notion of caring. Specifically it is about how some people care, and how some people care so much they go the extra mile. It is a pride, a honour and a part of them that makes them feel they cannot let people down.

The Insurance Frauds

Take a look in the mirror as there&#39;s a fair chance that you are one of these people, the numbers in existence are small but they increase with every passing moment so the infection spreads. You may even be one for a very good reason,[1] you may not have any falseness at all yet you are incorporated into a malaise.


If there was a single thing that would seem to sum up the year for me when I think of Shadowcat Systems it would be the line from the David Bowie song <i>Changes</i>

My Second Foreword in a Book We Sponsored

This Christmas (2015) Jane Binnion published her Ethical Trade Book &#39;Heart of Sales&#39;. For the second time in Shadowcat&#39;s history a book was published with us as the main sponsors on Kickstarter, and in the same (potentially humourous) manner it had little to do with our company, interests of field of expertise.

This Is Where I Want To Be: The Next Car Metaphor

So we were talking car metaphors as being a sort of semi-interesting way of making complexity a relational matter for non-technical people. This one can be done with just about anything and is less about a car and more about a journey so could be swapped out with different modes of transport.

Changing the Car Metaphor

Of late I have found myself using allegories for trying to explain the complexity of some programmatic processes, projects or problems to people. One of the issues we have is that it is very hard for people to understand the level of complexity involved and it is almost as hard for me to explain it in terms that will be easy to relate.

A Fresh Perspective

I have been thinking that it is time to put some fresh looks to some of the Perl community sites as we move towards the end of 2015. I am hoping we can bring most of them to a more modern look and feel and give them a lot more relevance to modern ways of browsing and interacting.

Memories of the OpenNMS User Conference

Artfully Dodged[0]

I am back from just under a week on the continent where I traveled to the [Yet Another Perl Conference][], Europe. This is a reflective piece on the whole of the experience, so forgive me if we wander around the beaten track just a little.

More Strawberries Please

In August last year the Enlightened Perl Organisation sponsored the hosting for the Strawberry Perl Project after their original hosting contract ended. This is an important part of the Perl Community and it was considered essential to maintain such a great project.

I wrote another Foreword

This year I have been helping a good friend, Jane, to get her latest book to market. Part of my help has been in editing, producing and managing the text alongside jane and another part was as a sponsor with Shadowcat Systems. You can read all about that in our news section.

Or I Do not Think They Wanted The Logo Like That

Losing the Conversation

Last week I stood in for a regular Tweeter in a local Twitter Hour, as they were unavailable. I resolved during my hour&acirc;&#128;&#153;s watch to answer anyone who used the correct hashtag or the hour&acirc;&#128;&#153;s nick. During this time I encountered a phenomenon that has always annoyed me slightly when we encounter its fail mode, that is the scheduled tweet.

Part Four - Interns

In the last chapter I spoke about our Extended Family, in this article I want to switch to our internal staff once again. i would like to talk a little about the Interns we have had and the great contribution they have made to the fold.

Morphing into a Shopping Channel

The promoted post for a product that promises &acirc;&#128;&#152;what it does is insane&acirc;&#128;&#153; or &acirc;&#128;&#152;you will not believe your eyes&acirc;&#128;&#153;. I like to classify these as a: mildly interesting idea but really just not that useful or practical. They fall into the multi-function device that I recall from magazines and newspapers adverts of my youth.

Part Three - Extended Family

In this chapter I am going to mention some other people, not quite Alumni they are those who I would love to call the extended family.

The World of MongoDB

In this article I would like to look at the World of [MongoDB][mongo] as a part of my continuing appreciation of companies associated with Perl.

Do you monitor your availability?

I probably don&#39;t need to state that your website in likely the first data point that people will find when looking for you today. Aside from your own marketing efforts their is a high percentage of automatic data collection. Your site will be scraped by search engines, listing apps, auto-compiled and software for mobile services will pull such data and present you on a map or in a catalogue. All of this is regardless of you submitting yourself to the mapping services, or having a significant social presence.

The World of Grant Street Group

Grant Street Group really came into their prime when in 1997 they revolutionized the world of fixed income securities. This was achieved by hosting the world&acirc;&#128;&#153;s first online bond auction for the City of Pittsburgh.

Part Two - Alumni

In this instalment we are going to look at some of the most important assets that you can have, the people. In Shadowcat terms we generally call all our working people the staff, wether they are internal staff or sub-contractors. However there is a broader term and its is filled by more people than just that and for this we have to use Alumni.

The Worlds of Colab55

When I first heard about [Colab55][colab] I became very excited for not only is it an example of how Perl is used by companies in non-English speaking countries as a solution but it was a project started by Breno Olivieras. Breno is well known to the Perl world and the local Brazillian community and is a White Camel awardee I have also worked with him on some projects and he is a great co-worker.

Part One - Introduction

This is a bit of a story, a bit of a history, a bit of a documentary, and hopefully a lot of entertainment and theatre about Shadowcat Systems.

The Second Day of FLOSS UK Spring

Unlike a workshop session where there is a little time to stretch while teaching a presentation has to do a little more, and in a different way. In a presentation we have to sow the seeds of our passion, show a little of something new to the audience and also teach them without them having the luxury of time to learn. This takes understanding, so it is always best to have a thorough grounding and a lot of understanding. A little passion for the theatre and performance doesn&#39;t hurt either.

The First Day of FLOSS UK Spring

The first day of the FLOSS UK Spring Conference is all about meeting people who you may not have see for a whole year, joining in on a pre-conference social event, and hopefully attending a workshop.

The World of Jochen Schweizer GmbH

Jochen Schwezer (from here on I will use Jochen) a company who hail from Munich in Germany use Perl on their internal systems for a variety of purposes. The main usage is a middleware system, built entirely in Perl, that they use to handle a broad variety of tasks.

The World of Micro Technology Services

At Micro Technology Services they do a wide variety of jobs for a diverse portfolio of clients. They are a fusion shop supplying both hardware and software services. Based in Texas, United States, for over twenty-five years but working to a worldwide audience Micro Technology embrace modern manufacturing techniques and they do so with a firm love for Perl. At Micro Technologies they see Perl as a strong choice for modern web applications.

The Makers are Making Space

In a couple of weeks time the Lancaster and Morecambe Makers will be having a pair of launch days to celebrate the opening of the Space in Lancaster.

A Local Publisher who has Embraced Perl

At the Westfield Leader editors and writers are challenged to: &#39;create the best, professional "above the fold" local content for [their] readers&#39;. The Leader and Times is a publisher of unique content; they separate the various elements of daily life with critical sources of information and then publish that for consumption by the general public.

Women in Tech travel Grants - last few days

Tech giant Google has made available travel grants for this year&#39;s [FLOSSUK Spring conference][flspring] as part of its EMEA Women in Tech Conference and Travel grants for female computer scientists. This is a terrific opportunity to visit a DevOps conference focussing on Free and Open Technologies.

Open Day for the Space in Lancaster

As some of you might know I am connected to the Lancaster and Morecambe Makers (by Directorship) and to the Space in Lancaster (Founder Memer and on the Organising Team). We will soon be having our opening event and membership officially opens on the 1st March. I thought I would share with you all some more details.

Social Media Targeting

So I recently read this article on Pulse which was a discursive piece on where we stand in the world of advertising to the next generation of media consumers. Although I found it interesting it was also a little naive on its reach as it imagined a usage for the data that we give up willingly that will achieve greater focus than I think is possible from the passive examples shown.

Sprouting Up in Brussels

This is my first time at FOSDEM, that&#39;s pretty stunning considering that it is just across the channel from the UK.

Smoke me an Onion baby[0]

Let&#39;s face it CPAN Testers is an absolutely ace service. We have to agree to that right, and I know you will all [instantly feel like following this link and making a donation][donate] to keep this service alive and well. I have said on a number of occasions over the years that we need just twenty companies or individuals t give a minimum &Acirc;&pound;25 a month to keep these people alive and evolving. We haven&#39;t reached that target yet, so I keep having to say it.

And the Lancaster and Morecambe Makers (LAMM)

In March there will be the launch of a new initiative on the White Cross Industrial Estate, the Lancaster &#39;Space&#39; the home of the Lancaster and Morecambe Makers (LAMM). We will be having an official Launch on the 27th March with special guests from Lancashire County Council and an open invitation to all local businesses. On Saturday 28th march we will hold a public open day for all interested people to come and look at the &#39;Space&#39; and hear about our plans.

Monitor Everything

In October we &#39;soft&#39; launched a trial version of our new subsciption based monitoring solution, ShadowNMS, today we open the service to pre-orders before the official launch of the full service on Monday 12th January.

It is the start of the year show starring all the things that happened in 2014

Once again it is my pleasure to compose a post detailing the events that have happened here at Castle Shadowcat in the previous year. 2014 was a year of great changes and some upheavals for Shadowcat and we have had both smooth sailings and a bit of a stormy passage along with an expansion of our range of services.

A few thoughts from one of the Organisers...

&#39;Oh this was the night&#39; of the last Lancaster Social of 2014. I started to write my feelings just after the event but didn&#39;t publish them until now. why you might ask. Well I wanted to finish the year with the rest of the organisers and plan 2015, so I left this post until we had our festive meeting and organisation session for 2015. I thought I would share them on the Shadowcat Blog as we are involved as both individuals and an organisation so this seems the best place for this post.

Internet Companies, Control and the Data War

A basic examination of the current war to collect and hold users and data with a reflection on some of the key players.

Perl and the Internet of Things

A Ramble via Recollection

Right, how to explain this: the idea is that you get a lot of people who love tinkering, exploring and creating using all sorts of methods and leave them in a field for three days and see what happens? Or, mad scientists, engineers, beer drinkers and general public collide with electronics and toys? Never allow drunken people access to Russian Military surplus supplies and a soldering iron?

A few thoughts and feelings on YAPCNA

I&#39;m back, well in body and mostly in spirit, from the yearly North American [Yet Another Perl Conference][yapc] held this year in the wonderful city of Orlando, Florida. While the jet lag still lingers, a sad fact that this seems to take longer to shrug off as each year passes and age takes its toil, I struggle with catching up on missed work and so have left my usual blog post a little later.

2014 MakerFaireUK

On Saturday, 26th April 2014, the Shadowcat crew made a mini-trip to the Newcastle Maker Faire. In truth [Tom][tb] and [Mark][mdk] were making a brief pilgrimage to have a jolly time and help out on the [Manchester MakeSpace&#39;s][manmake] table and [Kimball][kj] was there for the whole weekend on a planned annual visit.

It&#39;s the first one the number is the year...

So I am sat letting my brain decompress at high speed after the first ever DBIx::Class Hackathon in existence. Dbic is a project written in Perl which in very loose terms is a relational mapper for databases.

You are never above anyone else...

So I classify myself as a mostly busy manager. I say mostly as some days I get the doldrums and life seems to drag and my brain plays distraction techniques with social media and the ever changing world about us. However, like most managers, I don&#39;t do nine to five and some mornings I get up at six just to clear the email backlog.

The Event, the People and the Prize

Where you all at?

It has led me to think a little about the Open Source world itself. How we can have the notion of freely available source code. How we can have communities linked by a common desire to create tools and platforms that cut across their diverse environments, history, philosophy and belief. How you can have companies that are active participants or exist solely by the use of, but not contribution to, community software.

The Video I made in my Presentation

So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, adieu

Back in September of 2013 it was listed on the [Shadowcat news pages][scnews] that I would be [joining the first cohort][forumnews] of the Lancashire Forum. This was an initiative sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund in association with [Boost Lancashire][boost] and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and held at the [Lancaster University management School (LUMS)][lums] at [Lancaster University][uni].

In Agreement with Lord &#39;Sushi

A word of caution, this is mostly just a random rant, an expression of what thoughts came to mind when I was thinking on a particular subject. Don&#39;t expect a reasoned piece like Riba&#39;s, this contains mostly me and a semi-knee-jerked response.

Sustainability For All (?) (#sus4all)

Out with the Makers

The talk I gave was a general introduction to the philosophy underpinning Open Source, how OS as a model works and why you should be using it in business. This was a very new area for the members as many of them have strong hardware skills but are new to software.

Local Growth and Structured Expansion

For Shadowcat Systems 2013 was an &#39;interesting&#39; year. By which I wish to bring instantly to mind the old proverb/curse &#39;may you live in interesting times&#39;. We had periods of growth, change, evolution and also loss. We lost both long-standing and fondly liked staff who needed to move on in their careers, and of loved ones.

Is True Heroism Coupled with an Attitude Towards People?

Social Media for Women 2013, Part One:;s not about gender...

Part of my personal delight in this conference was that it would take pressure from me. I am involved with a lot of tech conferences, I organise a lot of events. There is a pressure to try and create an environment in which gender isn&#39;t a barrier or an issue. I felt that today could be part of a positive push to look beyond gender (even with the conference title) and be considered people.

Applying some SUMO to my Daily Life

Once again I find myself writing about the SUMO Guy, Paul McGee, and something that he has taught me. [In a previous blog post][sumo1] ([&#39;I love you sugar baby&#39;][sumo1]) I mentioned the seven steps that [Paul McGee, the SUMO Guy][sumo] introduced as a form of SUMO,(1) a manner in which you can assess your attitude and response to anything that is an issue.

I was Hugely Motivated by the SUMO Guy

I attended, on Tuesday 24th September, a Masterclass at the [Lancaster University][uni] [Management School][lums] ([LUMS][lums]) by the [SUMO guy, Paul McGee (@thesumoguy)][sumo]. This was a partnership with [BOOST Lancashire][boost] and [LUMS][lums] dedicated to forging links between business,academia and government. The name [&#39;the SUMO Guy&#39;][sumo] is a brand and a philosophy started by Paul and aligns with his bestselling book, it stands in typical Mancunian fashion for &#39;Shut Up Move On&#39;, hence SUMO. This was the first of many sayings that Paul was going to favour us with through the evening.

Innovation and the idea that we are not just in it for the cash

This is the second article written from my notes taken during the &#39;Innovation for Everyone&#39; masterclass held at [Lancaster University][uni] and hosted by [Lancaster University Management School][lums] (LUMS). The talk was presented by Mark Freel who teaches at the University of Ottawa and Lancaster University, I should also point out that he is the &#39;RBC professor for the commercialization of Innovation&#39;.

...that&#39;s what you need

This week I attended the &#39;Innovation for Everyone&#39; masterclass held at [Lancaster University][uni] and hosted by [Lancaster University Management School][lums] (LUMS). The talk was given by Mark Freel who teaches at the University of Ottawa and Lancaster University, I should also point out that he is the &#39;RBC professor for the commercialization of Innovation&#39; - a fact he was obliged to tell us to great interest.(1)

The Latest Place to Meet (Tweet) Up

On Wednesday, 11th September 2013, I attended the Lancaster Tweet-up organised between [Jane&#39;s Social Media][jane] and [Lancaster ESTA][esta]. These meetings have been running bi-monthly for the last two years to the delight of the local business fraternity.

Jane and Rebecca Wowed the Room

In two previous blog posts, [one about Jane][previous] and the other [on the preview of her new project] [previous2] I spoke a little about Jane Binnion of [Jane&#39;s Social Media][janes] and the work that she does. Last night I had the pleasure of seeing the full video (for which a [three minute taster can be found online for free][video]) of Jane&#39;s new venture which has been prepared by the local company of [Quay Creative][quay].

The Things that Impress About Sarah

I was at the Lancaster Tweet-Up on Wednesday evening (27th March), organised by Jane Binion of [Jane&#39;s Social Media][janes] and Michael Hallam of [Lancaster ESTA][esta], where I saw the talented Sarah, of [Backroom SAM][sam], give a short presentation on her company.

Social Media Policy in Plain English

[In a previous blog post][previous] I spoke a little about Jane Binnion of [Jane&#39;s Social Media][janes] and the work that she does. This week I had the pleasure of seeing the three minute taster of Jane&#39;s new venture which has been prepared by the local company of [Quay Creative][quay].

Praising Those Who Dared

I would like to take a few moments of your time to thank all of the sponsors of the Perl Quality Assurance Hackathon so far. [If you would like to sponsor the event then please visit the donations page][donate].

Applications Close: 3rd March, 2013: 23:59:59 GMT

As many of you know, or by now you certainly should know, the Perl QA Hackathon will be held in Lancaster, United Kingdom, from 12th-14th April 2013.

In Search of an e-Reader

Mark Keating talks about the decision to buy an eReader and move to electronic books

Once Again We will Send Neophytes to YAPC::EU

Improving the Tools

A brief discussion on my latest conversion to MarkDown, the whys and wherefores

The Year in Review

Mark Keating takes a look at the year 2012 for Shadowcat Systems

Transitioning my Text

A brief discussion on my latest conversion to MarkDown, the whys and wherefores

On the subject of news...

All about my wish to get more news on the SC site in 2012

A discussion and an introduction

My general thinking about a social media policy for the workplace and about Jane&#39;s Social Media

&#39;What a Difference a Day Makes...&#39;

Thoughts about the Ada Lovelace day and why we only have one day for women

Hashes, Scalars and Arrays

Starting to learn a bit of Perl in the congenial hack space

Meeting of Many Minds

Briefly thinking forward to the meeting of the local Monger group on this August evening

Seeing the best of Cluj

Mark Keating talks about presenting as the guest of Summer Meeting and MiniConference

So Hip it Broke[1]

Mark Keating talks about the second North West England Perl Monger&#39;s Hackday on Saturday 30th June

Hackday Roundup

Mark Keating talks about the second North West England Perl Monger&#39;s Hackday on Saturday 30th June

Logos and websites a go-go

Mark Keating talks about designing the logo and the website for and some thoghts about going forward.

Come and Join Us on the Happy Hack Trail

Mark Keating talks about the second North West England Perl Monger&#39;s Hackday on Saturday 30th June

What is in a name?

Mark Keating shares a few brief thoughts about the use of the Velociraptor as a name for Perl 5

May you live in interesting times...

Mark Keating looks back at YAPC::NA and the fun we all had.

Looking forward to the event

Mark Keating looks forward to YAPC::NA and the fun he expects to happen.

The Year for

Mark Keating talks about his local Perl Mongers group and the challenges they are creating and solving in the year ahead.

An Open Model for Business

Mark Keating gives more insight to his talk at the Manchester Free Software Society

Mark Keating looks back at 2011 for Shadowcat

mark keating gives a retrospective of the year for Shadowcat Systems and what it held

Matt and Mark attend the Perl stand and Matt presents talks

Shadowcat Systems staff attended the 2011 Manchester Unconference on behalf of the North West England Perl Mongers, man the stand and present talks

Castaway, Theorbtwo and a 3D Printer

A pair of Perl persons pop along in person to print

Mark Keating to chair the committee

Mark Keating joins the TPF Marketing Committee as the Chair

Perl and the Google Summer of Code

Mark keating discusses the Perl and the Google Summer of Code

An update on the event

Mark keating discusses the recent activities of the organisers for the Perl QA Hackathon

A laconic start to the year

Mark keating reflects on the Perl Oasis conference

Hacking, Snacks, Pies, Pizza and Beer

Mark Keating reports on the November Hackathon sponsored by Shadowcat Systems for the North West England Perl Mongers

Once more into the breach

Mark Keating discusses the North West England Perl Mongers 2010 Hackathon

Beer, Curry and Perlers

Mark Keating reports on the October Social for the North West England Perl Mongers

Simply the best exchange service I have ever used

Mark Keating adds his endorsement to a great internet service

A location for audio/visual media

A new webiste for material that Perl authors create/produce and present at conferences and workshops

A Matt to put your beer (or drink) on....

Latest Shadowcat promotional items are on the way

A very modest[1] man in need of praise

Mark Keating's talks about the great Dave Cross as a thank-you

A Report on the Shadowcat Systems sponsored write-in

Mark Keating's takes a brief look at the Nanowrimo sponsored write-in held at the SC offices in November

Reprint of the Nestoria Interview

Mark Keating was interviewed by Nestoria on their blog, here is the transcript of that interview.

Announcing the Best Event on the Calendar

Mark Keating's full announcement for the London Perl Workshop 2009

Behold for there are many of them...

Links to the Ironman Badges used in the competition

Which means Perl is Alive and Well and most certainly Kicking

A brief look back at the Yet Another Perl Conference Europe 2009 held in the beautiful Portuguese city of Lisbon.

Ladies and Gentlemen pray raise your glasses and Toast...

To celebrate the Marriage of Wallace Reis (Wreis) and his partner Karen, on 8th August 2009, this page will show a running commentary from the irc channel for well wishers who canot be there.

It is your moral duty...

The beginings of some thoughts about sponsorship and a call to duty for those who are able

Pittsburgh by night....

A wander up to Mount Washington and the grandeur of the city at night. A collection of images from YAPC::10::Pittsburgh taken between 20th-26th June 2009. Caution may be slow loading times.

Hot in the city, hot in the city....

Wandering around Pittsburgh on the Sunday before the conference. A collection of images from YAPC::10::Pittsburgh taken between 20th-26th June 2009. Caution may be slow loading times.

We're not the People's Front of Judea, we're the Judean People's Front

The people at the Dinner and Anti-dinner, and a little later in the common room. A collection of images from YAPC::10::Pittsburgh taken between 20th-26th June 2009. Caution may be slow loading times.

The speakers, the makers and the money shakers...

First day of talks and the people presenting. A collection of images from YAPC::10::Pittsburgh taken between 20th-26th June 2009. Caution may be slow loading times.

And the reason is...

While Matt Trout takes a look at his contribution to the Perl world, Mark keating takes a short look at Shadowcat's clients

We few, we happy few, we band of...

So, sometimes the best laid plans of rodentery and sapients go flying out of the window like a simian with its genatalia immolated.

Aloha Portugal here we come

A quick chat about the Lisbon Perl Conference and notes on arrival dates

Spaghetti Westerns will never be scripted this way again!

A discussion on some of the comments people leave on articles whenever anyone mentions Perl doing well at something, the Good the Bad and the Ugly ways to think of Perl

The teachers are coming to get me

There is an issue that came to my mind recently when thinking about how long one has to support items after they have been surpassed or deprecated, and that is the issue of Education and Research.

How long must I suffer in the "Dead Zone"

Some thinking on the idea of support and how long we continue support in a system with its focus on development and practicable deprecation

Now there are female badges...

The hows, whys and wherefores of the Paper Woman

Who is the Cyberman?

The growing Cartoony Men mystery pulls in yet more cultural mythos with a British TV classic

Who is the Iron Man? (or is that what is the Iron Man?)

The growing Cartoony Men mystery suddenly gins some meaning in its exposition.

Who is the Tin Man?

The growing Cartoony Men mystery deepens without actually becoming any clearer

Who is the Stone Man?

The Stone Man mystery, who the hell is this other toon, how many bloody toons are there?

Who is the Paper Man?

The Paper Man mystery, who the hell is this cheerful toon

The Genesis of the Name

A recollection of how we came about to use the word Enlightened in association with Modern Perl

What did we do, how much did we do, at work today?

A short analysis of the idea of time and motion in the workplace

North West Perl Mongers First Technical Meeting

The first technical meeting by the fledgling was held at Lancaster Uni on 25th February 2009

Some Initial Thoughts

A few thoughts on the manner in which people navigate sources of information

The Need for a Business to Community Network

A brief outpouring of thoughts on the necessity for a business to community integration and the idea of how this is a commercial not social network