Author Archives: Sam

Put your money where your mouse is (again)

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants” (Isaac Newton) “If we have built great digital products, it is by standing on the shoulders of free software” (White October) Okay, so our adaptation of Bernard of Chartres’ metaphor isn’t going to stand the test of time like Isaac Newton’s […]

Hackday 2017 – think like a startup!

What we did We’ve done various hackdays in the past, and have really valued experimenting with new technology and getting to know our colleagues better. However, we’d also found that our previous hackdays had been a bit tech-focused.  Whilst we’d tried to seize the opportunity for developers to teach others about what they were doing, […]

Put your money where your mouse is

“If you found this program useful, please consider making a donation.” You’ve probably seen those words quite a bit on software that you use.  I have too.  But it struck me a little while ago how much what we at White October do relies on hard work done by others for free in their spare […]

Connecting to Google’s Natural Language API with Python on App Engine.

Connecting to Google’s Natural Language API with Python on App Engine. Introduction As part of our recent White October Hack Day, I did something very basic using Google’s Natural Language API to extract a list of nouns from a sentence. The detail of what I used it for isn’t important here.  What is important is […]

Handling uploads with App Engine and webapp2

I’ve been developing a prototype with Google App Engine, webapp2 and Python for a few weeks now, and I’m really enjoying it. That said, some things have taken a bit more digging to work out.  This blog post is an attempt to explain one of those areas that I think could do with a bit […]

Can agile save the world? Using retrospectives to improve volunteer meetings.

Retrospectives and Global Justice White October is leading the way in applying agile software-development principles to the work of a web agency.  So it’s only natural that I’ve been wondering what agile could contribute to my spare time activities too. When I’m not leading the Backend Development Team at White October, I chair Global Justice […]

Debugging – down the rabbit hole (or not!)

We’ve all been there: Developer A: This feature should only have taken an hour to develop.  Next thing I knew, it was two days later and I’d still not solved this weird bug with method X. Developer B: Why didn’t you just stop using method X and start using method Y instead? Developer A is […]

Lessons from inexperience: learning from idealism and your previous managers

Lessons from inexperience? It’s just been announced to the company that I’ve been successful in my application to become a Lead Developer.  Is this a good time to write an article on how to be an excellent Lead Dev?  On first thought, that might sound like an odd (or indeed arrogant) idea.  But bear with […]

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