Getting married and going travelling two years ago
It’s been a busy month. On Saturday the 5th of June I married the wonderful Natalie Downe in a beautiful ceremony at Roedean School in Brighton. The reception had owls, cheese, a ferret, a golden eagle, amazing Turkish food, Jewish chair dancing and lovely guests. It was the happiest day of my life.
The official wedding photos were taken by Drew McLellan, and there’s a Flickr group pool as well. The day after the wedding Natalie’s sister Louise took some fun photos of us running around Brighton in our wedding clothes.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the preparations, and also to everyone who came along to share the special day with us. And a big thanks to Tom Coates, my best man.
Yesterday afternoon, we set out on our honeymoon. I’m writing this from the beach in Nice, on the south coast of France. Tomorrow we take the ferry to Corsica for a week in relative luxury. After that, we’re backpacking around Europe, then Africa, then the rest of the world. We’ve given up our flat and put our stuff in to storage, and the plan is to keep on travelling until we get fed up or run out of money. We expect to be gone for at least 18 months.
Since we’re both web developers, we’re lucky to be able to take some of our work with us. I’ll still be doing some work for the Guardian and Natalie is available for freelance work. If you have something you think we can help you with, drop us a line.
Comprehensive notes from my three hour Redis tutorial three years ago
Last week I presented two talks at the inaugural NoSQL Europe conference in London. The first was presented with Matthew Wall and covered the ways in which we have been exploring NoSQL at the Guardian. The second was a three hour workshop on Redis, my favourite piece of software to have the NoSQL label applied to it.
I’ve written about Redis here before, and it has since earned a place next to MySQL/PostgreSQL and memcached as part of my default web application stack. Redis makes write-heavy features such as real-time statistics feasible for small applications, while effortlessly scaling up to handle larger projects as well. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you’re sorely missing out.
For the workshop, I tried to give an overview of each individual Redis feature along with detailed examples of real-world problems that the feature can help solve. I spent the past day annotating each slide with detailed notes, and I think the result makes a pretty good stand-alone tutorial. Here’s the end result:
In unrelated news, Nat and I both completed the first ever Brighton Marathon last weekend, in my case taking 4 hours, 55 minutes and 17 seconds. Sincere thanks to everyone who came out to support us—until the race I had never appreciated how important the support of the spectators is to keep going to the end. We raised £757 for the Have a Heart children’s charity. Thanks in particular to Clearleft who kindly offered to match every donation.
WildlifeNearYou talk at £5 app, and being Wired (not Tired) three years ago
Two quick updates about WildlifeNearYou. First up, I gave a talk about the site at £5 app, my favourite Brighton evening event which celebrates side projects and the joy of Making Stuff. I talked about the site’s genesis on a fort, crowdsourcing photo ratings, how we use Freebase and DBpedia and how integrating with Flickr’s machine tags gave us a powerful location API for free. Here’s the video of the talk, courtesy of Ian Oszvald:
Secondly, I’m excited to note that WildlifeNearYou spin-off OwlsNearYou.com is featured in UK Wired magazine’s Wired / Tired / Expired column... and we’re Wired!