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LeedsHack 2014

Every year, I travel to Leeds for a weekend to attend LeedsHack. The idea is, go to a museum in the city centre and develop an idea into some cool software over the course of 24 hours (Saturday lunch through Sunday lunch) and maybe win some cool prizes at the end. There's usually at least a couple of sponsors with a cool API you can integrate (or crowbar) into your project in some way to mix things up a bit.

Here's what I had time to figure out this year:

  1. My friends are awesome.
  2. Jamie Knight is a really cool guy. He carries an awesome lion everywhere and cares not what anyone thinks. He's also done some really cool things, and he's the first person in a long time I didn't have to explain my Cerebral Palsy to.
  3. Even though I feel like the least intelligent person in the room a lot of the time, there's plenty I do know. What's actually important is caring about what you do, doing the best job you can, and not letting yourself coast on what you know.
  4. I want to play around more with some cool JavaScript frameworks, in particular AngularJS, and NodeJS.
  5. Even when I/O APCI emulation isn't killing the performance of the VM, running Windows in a VM for development can be infuriatingly slow. Don't do that.
  6. When you know you're going to be attending a hackday where you'll probably need a Windows development stack and you use a Mac, take the time to install and configure BootCamp instead of thinking a VM will be fast enough. If you do, at least test it first.
  7. If you can, build projects that can run on Linux. It's really easy to make that fast, even on Windows, in a VM, or on a phone!
  8. If you're going to spend nearly twelve hours reinventing wheels on the basics of the project because changing the stack it's built on suddenly seems like a great idea every four hours, make sure there's not another framework out there that has half of what you're building as a demo on its' front page.
  9. MVC rocks and I really need to invest the time to pick it up properly. Working in old stuff all day every day makes you rusty.
  10. I should build some cool applications for SailfishOS, running on my Jolla. It runs a complete Linux stack you can use for anything you like.
  11. I can now write posts and blog directly from my phone via the mobile network connection, with a bit of work in a terminal. The onscreen keyboard would be difficult to use but I can blog on any machine with SSH and/or PuTTY now, instead of needing to set everything up and install software. X-Forwarding for desktop applications also works.
  12. Again, there is no excuse for not buying the best kit you can for your developers. If a new machine (or even just two big monitors) makes a developer 10% more productive, that screen pays for itelf very quickly and your developers will love you.
  13. I need to look after my own interests when it comes to my career. That means a lot of things that I won't go into in this quick post, but might cover later on.

That's all for now. I need some sleep!