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February 2014 News

February 2014 News Archive

Sat Feb 1 00:00:00 2014

This is the shadowcat news archive for February 2014.

Lancaster Social

Next Monday, the 24th February, sees the launch of the brand new Lancaster Social. This is a new cross-sector open event aimed at cross-polinating in the community and the staff of Shadowcat Systems are heavily involved in the organisation and running of the event.

Shadowcat's own Mark Keating will be presenting the first 'Open Tool' which will be 'Cheap and easy video: Magisto and Picasso', Ian Norton will be chairing the 'Q&A: Bring your problem' and Claire Jackson will be handling registrations.

The event will be hosted by the White Cross Business Park and runs between 17:00-19:00 at the Chapel just behind the Barracks building. We want to focus on bringing together the various communities and business and introducing Open Tools.

Q: What is an open tool?

A: We are defining an open tool as any freely available software, for little or no price, that can be used in personal life or business for fun or profit. To start we will look at something fun but on future occasions we hope to show people how to use low cost alternatives that enable them to work in business effectively for lower costs.

Q: Is anyone coming? or just one person from each category of business? i.e. only one artist allowed, or only one bakery etc

A: The whole notion is a completely open forum, there are no restrictions. I will make sure to say that again, no restrictions. There is no cost to entry, no requirements, you can be a business, individual, student, charity, government representative, you can have one/many from the same organisation. Frankly, we don’t care. The idea is to have this as open and accessible as possible with the intention of letting people meet, share knowledge and experience and build connections that are cross sector.

Q: What will each Session look like?

A: Open Networking – Short Lecture – QA Session – Open Networking

  • Networking for 20mins
  • 20-30 mins for a lecture (10 minute lecture with time for Q&A) focussed upon open tools for open business by a guest speaker
  • 20-30 mins networking (determined by previous session)
  • QA Session – bring us your issues and lets see if we can all solve them together
  • 10mins closing

Q: Can I appear on this website?

A: Yes you can – see here for details.

Q: What is the Lancaster Social?

A: The Lancaster Social is an open network event. There are no restrictions on entry, no requirements. We aim to meet three times a year.

Q: Is it just for businesses?

A: Perhaps we didn’t make the word open clear. the event is aimed at everyone and encourages people to grow their contact circle outside of professional, personal, cultural restraints.

Q: What does it cost?

A: The event is free. There will be a small charge for refreshments, but if you wish you may bring your own.

Q: What are its aims?

A: There are a number of membership based, group based, society based social networking events in the city. The Lancaster Social wants to cross-pollinate from all sectors.

We hope to bring together business, government, academia, communities, network organisations and interests groups in a single location to encourage interaction.

We also hope to introduce low cost/freely available tools to help businesses and social groups to use digital media and have a section called ‘bring your problem, where people can suggest an issue and the whole group can suggest an answer’. This is peer-based learning, encouragement and interaction.

Q: Do I need to be a Member/have obligations?

A: Nope. You can join as a member, this is also free and membership just indicates support of the idea.

Q: Can I bring stuff to market myself/organisation at the event

A; Hell, yes. We actively encourage it, go ahead. This isn’t about restricting but enabling and supporting. A community as rich as Lancaster’s survives on diversity and we hope to enhance that.

Hopefully we will see you all at the event. Please feel free to spread the word.

Return of an Intern

As many of you are aware last year Shadowcat took on a work intern in the shape of Tom Bloor to trial the possibility of a new development area and a new staff member.

The trial was a great success and Tom eventually became a valued member of staff and our youngest employee. Since then we have been in communication with a university student about the possibility of a placement.

To begin with we were simply advising the student on the manner in which you might approach a company like Shadowcat, who are committed to Open Source software and ideals, for a work placement. the placement, which is a year in industry component of a degree, would see the student work as a full time employee to structured programme of events.

We were impressed by the student, their dedication to the community (they are already a freenode admin) and their ability to work on projects. Matt S. Trout, our CTO, was already familiar with their skills and competence from online collaboration of community projects.

It is why we took the decision to offer them a place with the Shadowcat team, to work alongside us on a range of projects. This week we are happy to announce that they have accepted and will be joining us at the end of July. We will keep you posted with more details.

Perl and Google Summer of Code 2014

The Perl Foundation are (hopefully) participating as a mentor organization in GSoC 2014 and Shadowcat Systems CEO Mark Keating is one of the people hoping to make that happen.

Student applications may be submitted starting in March but the organisations need to register in February and gather students for the challenge. The organisers are hoping to get people involved now on both the mailing lists for students and mentors. They are also needing prospective ideas on the wiki for potential projects.

The current list of admins for the project is:

The group also have a dedicated irc channel at: #soc-help on