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The 2011 Review of the Year

Mark Keating looks back at 2011 for Shadowcat

Mon Jan 2 21:00:00 2012

We are always seeking to build balanced support that is consistent while helping projects to build towards independence

Welcome to 2012 and I hope you have all had good holidays, festive celebrations, or whatever your socio-cultural and environmental preference appreciates or allows.

It has been an interesting 2011 for Shadowcat Systems and we managed to brave the economic challenges that the world has had with varying levels of success that I will not dwell on at any length here, enough to say that once again we enter a new year with a hopeful heart and a keen eye on the challenges we wish to face and overcome. We are still moving forward with developing some internal systems and tools and working with a broad client base to help them achieve their objectives.

I would like to recap on some of the events that Shadowcat has been involved with this year in the broader community and what some of the staff have been up to as well. Hopefully some of the other staff will join in with their own recap of the year.

We started the year in firm style in January by sponsoring a team for the 2011 Platforms Competition, the three competitors were our own Matt S. Trout (mst) and Robert Sedlacek (phaylon) and they were joined by Florian Ragwitz (rafl). We also were the venue sponsors for the 2011 Perl Oasis conference held at the Four Points Sheraton in Orlando Florida.

images from the Shadowcat year

Perl Oasis always prioritises Beer and then Go-Karts
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

The Perl Oasis is the first of the American Conferences on the Shadowcat Calendar and one in which we have a close affinity both through our association with the Enlightened Perl Organisation, but also as long-standing friends with Chris Prather (perigrin) and Jamie Moorhead who are the organisers of this event.

In April Shadowcat sponsored Mark Keating's attendance and time at the Perl QA hackathon which was held at the office of in Amsterdam.

images from the Shadowcat year

QA Hackathon attendees getting down to work
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

This important event focusses on improving the languages, projects and practices around Perl, it is open to students of all languages and anyone can work on any project that improves the QA of that thing, the focus however is on Perl and CPAN.

As always Shadowcat has provided a number of Sponsorship elements for the Enlightened Perl Organisation. Aside from encouraging the projects that this organisation supports we also sponsored the Send-A-Newbie initiative, provided web services, hosting and tools for the sites, newsgroups and associated elements of the organisation. Provided time for Shadowcat staff to work on Enlightened Perl projects and generally promoted and supported the organisation as well as paying for membership, Matt S. Trout and Mark Keating are both members of the EPO as well.

In June Shadowcat was involved, as usual, with the Yet Another Perl Conference: 2011: North America: Ashville ( YAPC::NA::2012::Ashville). Matt went to the conference to represent the company who sponsored time and speakers. At the YAPC::NA Matt once again delivered his, now annual, closing keynote for conferences The State of the Velociraptor.

In July we were honoured to host the North West England Perl Mongers' technical meeting special event in the shape of Jess 'Castaway' Robinson and James 'theorbtwo' Mastros who came to the Shadowcat offices and displayed their 3D 'Shapercube' Printer, gave us a talk and a live demonstration of the equipment and software.

images from the Shadowcat year

James Mastros (Standing) and Jess Robinson (seated) presenting on 3D Printing
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

In August Matt and Mark both attended the Yet Another Perl Conference: 2011: Europe: Riga. Once again Shadowcat were proud to be sponsors of this event as we have been since 2006. Matt and Mark both had several talks at the conference and we also provided monetary sponsorship. Shadowcat also provided cash to support the Send-a-Newbie attendees who went to this event.

images from the Shadowcat year

Conference attendees milling before the conference dinner
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

Once again Matt provided the closing Keynote with the State of the Velociraptor.

In September Shadowcat gave Matt the time and support to attend and speak at the Italian Perl Workshop as a guest speaker and in October they allowed Mark Keating to attend the Google mentor's summit as part of the Google Summer of Code again sponsoring time and support.

images from the Shadowcat year

A café on the Google campus'
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

In October Shadowcat Systems sponsored the clothing for the three attendees at the Perl stand for the Manchester Unconference, Mark Keating, Matt S. Trout (mst) and Ian Norton all attended and Matt and Ian both gave talks and lightning talks.

images from the Shadowcat year

The Manchester Unconference is a free-form event
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

In November Shadowcat was once again deeply involved with the London Perl Workshop 2011. Mark is the main organiser for this event, a position he has held for four years, and therefore devotes a large percentage of time to making it work, Shadowcat always affords him the opportunity to do this. Shadowcat also provided monetary and logistical coordination before the event. on the day Matt gave two excellent talks that were written almost exclusively for the event and Chris and Leigh provided administration support. Chris was also on the registration desk at the event with Claire who is partner to Ian Norton.

images from the Shadowcat year

The audience applaud Mark Keating at the end of the London Perl Workshop 2011
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

Ian is an occasional worker for Shadowcat giving us some network support hours and RT experience and as such is considered a 'special' member of our staff. Ian presented a workshop at the LPW2011 aimed at beginners and getting people familiar with Perl if they had little to no experience.

In November Shadowcat also hosted at their offices the annual North West England Perl Mongers' Hackday. This year we had a virtual and actual hackday and focussed on Presenting Perl and updating that site.

images from the Shadowcat year

A virtual attendee on screens for the Hackday
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

As always Shadowcat has provided a vast number of resources for the Perl community in the form of minor sponsorship, time, aid, tools and servers to support projects, communities and communication via irc, newsgroups and wikis. We are always seeking to build balanced support that is consistent while helping projects to build towards independence and evolutionary foresight.

Shadowcat have also provided support to the community by hosting sites such as,, and, Shadowcat also provided mark Keating's time to process and edit the videos from several events throughout the year and to place them on the Presenting Perl site.

Shadowcat has also been a part of some internal development on a number of new projects such as Web::Simple and Tak while being part of the Catalyst, Moose, DBIx::Class projects and also providing help and support to emerging 'big' projects such as Dancer.

images from the Shadowcat year

Matt S. Trout presents Tak at the London Perl Workshop in November
(photo �Copyright Mark Keating 2011, please ask permission to re-use)

We have also started to cement some parts of the Shadowcat image, during 2011 we have evolved our old signature line which has been "sufficiently advanced technology" since 2005. it is a message that we would like to keep and to keep associated with our company but we have also evolved a new message and one that we will be carrying forward from 2012 onwards. I will be talking about that a little more in a future article.

For now I hope you all have a great year and that we get to see you at an event or meeting in the near future...

If anyone has feedback (and until we have a commenting system) please don't hesitate to email me at: m.keating [at], if your comments are useful, fun, or just plain interest to me, or if I think will be useful to others, then I will add them to the end of this post, let me know how you would like to be named (anon, nick etc.).


Mark Keating is: Managing Director of Shadowcat Systems Limited
Director and Secretary of Enlightened Perl Organisation
Chair of the Marketing Committee for The Perl Foundation
Co-Founder/Co-Leader of North-West England Perl Mongers
Work Blog: Mark Keating on Shadowcat
LinkedIn Profile: Mark Keating on LinkedIn
Perlesque Blog: Mark Keating on
My Public Blog: Mark Keating's Personal site
Twitter Feed: Mark Keating on Twitter
Facebook: Mark Keating on Facebook
Flickr: Mark Keating on Flickr
Family site: Mark Keating's Family Site Combined Feeds: Mark Keating on Flavor

Mark Keating is the organiser of the London Perl Workshop (since 2008), has joined the organising team for the QA Hackathon in 2011, the TPF GSoC Mentors/organisers 2011, the Dynamic Languages Conference 2011.