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Eview: A new (ad)venture

Its been a long time since I last posted here and I feel a short explanation is due! I've managed to get myself involved with a new startup, helping Eview develop their energy monitoring system. Its a 'greenfield' development opportunity which is always guarenteed to be fun if a lot of work. So I've been busy beavering away with laying out the architecture and building the scaffolding.

Cambridge Pitch & Mix Talk

I had the pleasure today of being the featured speaker at the Cambridge Pitch&Mix meetup. The Pitch&Mix is a new meetup aimed at bringing together people from the Cambridge startup scene which seems to have got off to a promising start - I've always come away with a few new ideas and a couple of good new contacts so it was an honour to repay the group with my humble presentation.

Another entrepreneur in the family

My wife, Emma, seems to have caught the entrepreneurial bug from me at last. Her new venture, Birthcalm, is offering ante-natal classes in Hypnobirthing in and around Cambridge, Ely and Huntingdon. After having such a successful Hypnobirthing experience with the home birth of our daughter, Emma has decided to teach the method to other expectant parents in classes held on evenings and weekends and as a 'proper doctor' she is ideally suited to it!

Unit testing means quick debugging

There's been another flock of unit testing posts released to stalk the blogosphere recently and I've not found any that mention one of my top reasons for unit testing - quick debugging.

Cross-thread exceptions on unshown windows forms

This post is a bit more technical than my usual fare, it describes a fix for a pretty poorly documented problem with threading in a WinForms application.
Most of the discussion about threading in WinForms centres around the use of InvokeRequired to detect when it is necessary to marshal a method call back onto the main UI thread from a worker thread. Typically this code will look like:


Jobsian Moments

One of the things we talk about a lot at Psonar is "Jobsian Moments" and we're always aspiring to have more of them. Its one of the guiding philosophies of the company - whenever we're struggling to find a way through the problem-du-jour Martin can always be relied upon to dig out his favourite book and read us this quote:

Psonar Launch Update

So we're a few weeks into our 'soft launch' period with a dedicate group of users starting to form the Psonar Community. Having promised an update which is now long overdue, I should start with an explanation, which is simple, its all gone far too smoothly!

A Disaster and a Recovery

Psonar had our first operational disaster on Wednesday night. The EC2 instance running the web service that handles the SongShifter client's connections locked up hard around 16:53 UTC. Now, I've never been a sysadmin by trade, so this kind of stuff scares the hell out of me normally, but in the end Amazon Web Services made it seem so easy.

Post mortem of a soft-launch

Psonar made a soft launch on Wednesday, letting in the first handful from the hundreds of users who had pre-registered over the last few weeks. I thought I'd try and draw out a few lessons from our experience that might help others in a similar situation.

Psonar Passions

Over at psonar we're passionate about two things - music and great software. So I spent last weekend enjoying an unusual blend of the two. Along with my wife and two little kids, I went to the Cambridge Folk Festival for the first time. We only live ten miles from the festival site and so each evening we went home, had a bath and slept in our own beds - which gave the whole thing a slightly surreal feeling!