Toby's Ramblings http://tosbourn.com The personal blog of Toby Osbourn Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:47:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Rails Migrations for Beginners http://tosbourn.com/rails-migrations-for-beginners/ http://tosbourn.com/rails-migrations-for-beginners/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 17:42:52 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2620 I hadn’t heard of the idea of migrations until I started using Rails. They are something that make so much sense once they make sense. They aren’t hard to grasp but if you are new to Rails or only have to deal with Rails on an incredibly irregular basis they can be very daunting. I […]

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I hadn’t heard of the idea of migrations until I started using Rails.

They are something that make so much sense once they make sense.

They aren’t hard to grasp but if you are new to Rails or only have to deal with Rails on an incredibly irregular basis they can be very daunting.

I want to try and explain what migrations are for beginners.

What Are Migrations

Migrations are a set of commands that Rails will run through when it is setting up or changing the database for your project.

These commands will help to shape the database.

Why Are Migrations Good

There are a few reasons why migrations are good.

  • The language they use is easier than SQL
  • The changes can be version controlled
  • The changes can be rolled back

Migrations use a Ruby Domain Specific Language (dsl), which is easier to learn and write than it is writing SQL. The other benefit of this dsl is that it acts as an abstraction so you don’t need to care about what your database is when you write your migrations. This means that if someone decides Postgres is better than MySQL for a project, your migrations won’t have to change.

Unlike when you just edit a database, these migrations are code that gets saved with the rest of your project, which means they can be easily version controlled and shared with everyone else on your team. If you have ever had to edit a database and then remember to tell everyone to make the same edit then you will know how great this is! If you are not using version control you should take a minute to read why I think developers should be using version control.

Migrations can be rolled back, this means that you can undo what you did. This is a great safety mechanism and means you don’t have to worry about permanent damage being done.

How to use Migrations

The easiest way to write migrations is to get Rails to do it for you.

We can tell rails we want to create a table called bobs with the following line

rails generate migration createBobs name:string

This will create a table called bobs with one column called name that will hold stuff that is a string.

That seems like magic – it is magic!

Rails knew we wanted to create a new table because we used the word create, it also knew we wanted to call the table bobs because we said Bobs

Now lets say we want to then add another column to this bobs table. We could go back and edit the file that was created when we did that first creation, but that would be bad because Rails will think it has already ran that migration and won’t run it again for other people.

What we should do is just create a new migration!

rails generate migration addColourToBobs colour:string

In this migration we are saying we want to add a column called Colour to the table called bobs.

For reference here is the contents of the file we made when we created that first migration;

class CreateBobs < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    create_table :bobs do |t|
      t.string :name
    end
  end
end

Hopefully this isn’t too daunting and shows how simple this dsl is compared to writing SQL.

Here is the next migration we created;

class AddColourToBobs < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    add_column :bobs, :colour, :string
  end
end

In both of these you will see some similarities.

  • The class name is just what we called our migration.
  • The class inherits from ActiveRecord::Migration – This isn’t important for us but Rails needs it.
  • The method change means that when we are running the migration it knows to do one thing, and if we are rolling back the migration it knows to the do opposite (so if we are doing add_column the opposite would be to remove_column, Rails handles all this for us)

Any questions

If you still have questions about the very basics of migrations than I have failed in this article, I would love for you to ask anything in the comments and I will add it to this post.

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Using Monodraw for fun tweets http://tosbourn.com/using-monodraw-for-fun-tweets/ http://tosbourn.com/using-monodraw-for-fun-tweets/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:02:44 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2610 Today the public beta of Monodraw was announced and during my lunch I grabbed it and started playing. What is Monodraw It is an ASCII art editor for the Mac. I would love to give you some technical reason why this is a must have tool but I don’t have one (at the moment). What […]

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Today the public beta of Monodraw was announced and during my lunch I grabbed it and started playing.

What is Monodraw

It is an ASCII art editor for the Mac. I would love to give you some technical reason why this is a must have tool but I don’t have one (at the moment). What I can say though is it is so much fun creating ASCII art and this tool makes it really simple.

Whilst it is in beta it is free and I am tempted to buy it now at their introductory price.

Using Monodraw with Twitter

One of the fun things about Monodraw is because it is ‘drawing’ using ASCII characters you can copy and paste them anywhere you like, naturally this includes the input box to your favourite twitter client!

Lets make a Monodraw Tweet

Open up Monodraw and start a new file

Open a new Monodraw file

Shrink down your viewport so it feels more like a tweet you are designing than anything bigger. By default Monodraw lets you fill up as much space as you would like.

Shrink Monodraw down

Now we want to select the Pencil Icon so we can freehand something – Monodraw does let you use text but that takes the fun out of drawing something in ASCII format!

Select the Pencil Icon

The final stage before we draw is to pick your “brush” for the pencil there are a load of options to choose from so play about!

Select the brush for your pencil

Now we come to drawing – I am not the most creative person in the world but I will try and make a shooting gun!

My gun

Once we are happy the final stage is to put it into Twitter itself, to do that we select all around our drawing and just press cmd+c

Then in our Twitter client we paste it in with cmd+v

My Tweet

What did you make?

Share what you have made in the comments or tweet me!

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CreepedIn http://tosbourn.com/creepedin/ http://tosbourn.com/creepedin/#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 19:29:06 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2603 Today I built and launched a new website. There were probably more productive things I could have been doing but it felt right to get this project out there. CreepedIn The site is aimed at calling out people who send inappropriate messages on LinkedIn. I have written about creeps before and have a zero tolerance […]

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Today I built and launched a new website. There were probably more productive things I could have been doing but it felt right to get this project out there.

CreepedIn

The site is aimed at calling out people who send inappropriate messages on LinkedIn.

I have written about creeps before and have a zero tolerance policy with them. I think it is disgusting behaviour and only serves to make the victim feel uncomfortable and change how they want to act online. This isn’t on.

The site took minutes to get online thanks to Jekyll and Github Pages. I made small changes to the Type Theme (I used the same blue that LinkedIn likes to use).

I have used both Jekyll and Github Pages before, but this was my first time actually setting up everything from scratch, it all went as smoothly as I had hoped it would.

I already had content from when people contacted me after the post I made about David Stewart. Sadly I haven’t even put all of it up yet, I still have several screen grabs that need to be shared.

Still plenty to do

There is still plenty that needs done on the site, but with most things I believe in getting something out there and in front of people ASAP, there is no point in me committing time to making a logo or a favicon for example if the idea is going to flop.

If you are interested in helping to improve the site I would love to let you take a look at it, all the code is up on Github

Spread the word

Unfortunately I get the feeling that being creeped on in LinkedIn is incredibly common, I would love to get this project in front of as many eyes as possible so that people a) can see it isn’t just them and b) to shame more people that perform these gross acts. Anything you can do to spread the word would be appreciated.

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A beginners guide to ARIA http://tosbourn.com/a-beginners-guide-to-aria/ http://tosbourn.com/a-beginners-guide-to-aria/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 17:48:32 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2573 I recently talked about some quick semantic wins and mentioned a small handful of ARIA roles you could add by default just to get the ball rolling. I wanted to expand on that point some, and while this post isn’t meant to be an all encompassing resource for all things ARIA it should help you […]

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I recently talked about some quick semantic wins and mentioned a small handful of ARIA roles you could add by default just to get the ball rolling. I wanted to expand on that point some, and while this post isn’t meant to be an all encompassing resource for all things ARIA it should help you on the path to understanding it a bit more.

What is ARIA

I really like Mozilla’s definition of what ARIA is

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) defines ways to make Web content and Web applications (especially those developed with Ajax and JavaScript) more accessible to people with disabilities. For example, ARIA enables accessible navigation landmarks, JavaScript widgets, form hints and error messages, live content updates, and more. ARIA is a set of special accessibility attributes which can be added to any markup, but is especially suited to HTML. The role attribute defines what the general type of object is (such as an article, alert, or slider).
Additional ARIA attributes provide other useful properties, such as a description for a form or the current value of a progressbar.

The gist is that we aren’t talking about marking up a blog post – that can be handled by things like Schema.org

ARIA’s main goal is to make internet applications more accessible, so things like Twitter, Facebook, and Nuu. With these type of websites elements are expanding/contracting, coming in and out of focus and disappearing or being created on the fly constantly. These interactions create some unique challenges for people who rely on assistive technologies.  

What does ARIA look like

ARIA looks like a set of attributes you add to already existing elements on the page, for example here we see the role attribute being used;

<form role="search">
  <input type="text" name="search_field" />
</form>

Is it just defining roles?

Defining roles is a massive part of the idea behind ARIA but it certainly isn’t the only thing they are good for. In the following example we will see an element that can sometimes be hidden being used;

<li aria-hidden="true">Hidden</li>

When we decide to show this <li> we would change the aria-hidden attribute to true, this is way more semantic that using a class .hide because that class could be doing anything under the hood.

ARIA states

The aria-hidden attribute is known as a state. States describe what the status is of a given element, you can imagine as state to be the answer an element would answer to a question, for example “Hey input field, are you good for me to let the user continue on with this form?”, “No – I am invalid”.

There are some element specific states, but here are the global ARIA states

  • aria-busy
  • aria-disabled
  • aria-grabbed
  • aria-hidden
  • aria-invalid

ARIA properties

As well as these states we have what are known as ARIA properties. A property is some meta data associated with an element.

There are some element specific properties, but to keep things simple here are the global ARIA properties

  • aria-atomic
  • aria-controls
  • aria-describedby
  • aria-dropeffect
  • aria-flowto
  • aria-haspopup
  • aria-label
  • aria-labelledby
  • aria-live
  • aria-owns
  • aria-relevant

aria-controls, for example describes the elements whose very presence or at the very least their contents are controlled by the element you are marking up.

You can see how this could quickly start to add some really detailed information into your application.

Hopefully this has helped

This was only designed to be a very quick introductory guide to what ARIA is, hopefully I have helped ease you in and you now know enough to be dangerous!

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Getting Rid of Vintage Belfast – Do you want it? http://tosbourn.com/getting-rid-of-vintage-belfast-do-you-want-it/ http://tosbourn.com/getting-rid-of-vintage-belfast-do-you-want-it/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 15:11:08 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2441 Several years ago I bought and started Vintage Belfast, I saw a gap in the web for a resource that folk from Belfast could use to help them find all the cool things happening around the “vintage” scene. It started off well and I was adding new businesses to it fairly frequently and doing write […]

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Several years ago I bought and started Vintage Belfast, I saw a gap in the web for a resource that folk from Belfast could use to help them find all the cool things happening around the “vintage” scene.

It started off well and I was adding new businesses to it fairly frequently and doing write ups of current events but time moves on and other projects start and some get abandoned. Unfortunately this was one of those.

Recently I reached out to some people to see about maybe getting some more contributors to it, but even though initial feedback from people was positive it didn’t really kick me into action in any significant way.

As such this morning I decided to put the site on Flippa, if you are interested you can take a look and perhaps place a bid on it :-)

Using Flippa

This is my first time using Flippa, I have to say the process was very painless – it can hook into your Google Analytics to get the relevant traffic stats and you can easily verify you own the website you are selling by uploading a small text file. The entire process probably took 5 minutes start to end, which is great!

I have set the reserve at $20 – this pretty much covers the Flippa fee, I am not looking to make a profit or anything on this sale I just think it is a really good property that someone will make excellent use out of.

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Set Intersection in Ruby http://tosbourn.com/set-intersection-in-ruby/ http://tosbourn.com/set-intersection-in-ruby/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 22:49:37 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2583 Let’s talk about Set Intersection in Ruby. There are times when you have two or more groups of data and you want to know what is common between them. When this happens it is good to know about set intersection. Set Intersection The intersection is the join in two sets of data where data belongs […]

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Let’s talk about Set Intersection in Ruby.

There are times when you have two or more groups of data and you want to know what is common between them. When this happens it is good to know about set intersection.

Set Intersection

The intersection is the join in two sets of data where data belongs to both sets. It is easiest to describe with a diagram.

Venn diagram to describe intersection of sets

The mathematic notion for intersections is ∩. So if you wanted to write the intersection of A and B you would write A ∩ B.

Set Intersection in Ruby

There are a couple of ways you can do intersections in Ruby, I will talk you through both of them. The syntax is similar in both, so don’t worry about having to learn lots of different things.

Set Intersection with Arrays in Ruby

I will cover arrays first because this is one of the most common objects found in Ruby code.

The syntax is array & array, so much like we had A ∩ B we would do A & B

A working example;

[1, 1, 5, 5] & [1, 2, 5] #=> [ 1, 5 ]

When we do an intersection the array gets treated like a set and in a set everything should be unique. So if we changed the second array to include another 1 we would still get the same result;

[1, 1, 5, 5] & [1, 1, 2, 5] #=> [ 1, 5 ]

The intersection is not destructive, it doesn’t change any arrays it creates a new one.

You can chain intersections together if you want to compare more than two arrays;

[1, 1, 5, 5] & [1, 1, 2, 5] & [5] #=> [ 5 ]

The ordering of the final array is dictated by the order of the first array, so if we change our first example so that the 5’s come first we would get;

[5, 5, 1, 1] & [1, 2, 5] #=> [ 5, 1 ]

This is good to know because there is no point in sorting all the arrays before performing an intersection.

The final thing to say about intersection is it is performant. Under the hood it compares the elements using eql? with their hash value (not to be confused with a hash object)

Set Intersection with Sets in Ruby

If you are treating your array like a set then maybe it should be a set?

Access to the Set object is just a require away. It acts like a hybrid between the usability of arrays and the speed gains with hashes.

To do the basic intersection with a set in ruby you would do something like;

require "set"
x = Set.new([1,2,3])
y = Set.new([1,2])
x & y #=> #<Set: {1, 2}>

Set also gives you access to a more friendly looking intersection method so we could have written our final line like;

x.intersection y #=> #<Set: {1, 2}>

Which arguably expresses intent a bit more.

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Tosbourn has a facebook page http://tosbourn.com/tosbourn-facebook-page/ http://tosbourn.com/tosbourn-facebook-page/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 22:44:41 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2575 After much hmming and haaing I have decided to open up a Facebook Page for tosbourn.com. I enjoy talking tech with people but never felt entirely comfortable sharing tech stuff on my personal Facebook profile. I think this is mainly down to the fact that whilst a few people I am “friends” with on Facebook […]

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After much hmming and haaing I have decided to open up a Facebook Page for tosbourn.com.

Screenshot 2015-02-15 22.57.47

I enjoy talking tech with people but never felt entirely comfortable sharing tech stuff on my personal Facebook profile. I think this is mainly down to the fact that whilst a few people I am “friends” with on Facebook are into tech, a great deal aren’t.

This way I can keep the dev chat flowing amongst us strange few that really enjoy that type of stuff without subjecting my family and non-tech friends to blog posts that are meaningless to them.

As well as sharing my own content on there from both tosbourn.com and other sites I write for I will also be sharing great tech links that I find in general, I hope it will turn into a useful resource for people.

Right now I have no plans to automate any sharing to it, it will just be as and when I have something cool to share. I also won’t be heavily promoting the page as it is something I want to grow naturally over time.

Getting it out of my system

I think that between it and my Twitter profile (where I have always felt comfortable talking tech, that is what I use Twitter for) I should be able to get most of the tech stuff out of my system!

But David Walsh does it!

I wasn’t really sure if developers did this type of thing but then I stumbled across David Walsh’s Facebook page I have a lot of respect for him and have followed his Twitter page for a while. There are clearly enough people getting value out of his Facebook page so I figure there must be some desire for it.

If you are on Facebook – Give me a “like”

So please, if you are on Facebook and into tech, give me a like, what harm could it do? :-)

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Please don’t actually use Retweet and Favourite for polls on Twitter http://tosbourn.com/please-dont-actually-use-retweet-favourite-polls-twitter/ http://tosbourn.com/please-dont-actually-use-retweet-favourite-polls-twitter/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 13:35:19 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2566 The whole twitter poll meme of getting people to vote on a binary thing by either retweeting post or favouriting it started as a joke. I hope. Certainly the majority of the time I have seen it being used, as well as any of the times I have used it it has been as a […]

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The whole twitter poll meme of getting people to vote on a binary thing by either retweeting post or favouriting it started as a joke. I hope.

Certainly the majority of the time I have seen it being used, as well as any of the times I have used it it has been as a joke, for example;

Clearly I wasn’t conducting an actual poll and in fact if I remember correctly this was my half arsed protest at someone genuinely using this method in an attempt to get feedback on an actual social issue.

Judging my the lack of favourites or retweets the other thing we can see is that my followers are horrible people!

I also seen it recently (in joke form) with this tweet;

Joking aside I want to take some time to explain why this meme works and why it is a bad idea if you are actually polling people.

The way Favourites work

Right now if you favourite something the person who made the tweet will get notified, the people involved in the tweet will get notified and you will have it added to your favourites list.

In some clients there was occasionally a more public notification that someone had favourited something, but it wasn’t for everything and I haven’t seen that in a long time.

The way Retweets work

Right now if your retweet something everyone you follow will see it unless they have opted out of seeing retweets or have blocked the person you are retweeting.

It will go into your public timeline as an action you have performed.

The way the joke is meant to work

The idea then is you pick the item you want to win and assign it to the “retweet if” portion of the tweet. Your followers will see the tweet and will following along with the joke and retweet it.

The problem with actually using it

Hopefully you can see the issue with using it for anything even semi serious – Retweets will propagate through people’s timelines and gain more traction the more people that vote, favourites will stagnate since voting for them doesn’t increase the visibility of the poll.

When it is a stupid joke this is fun, but when it is a serious issue or is going to be used to drive something then you have to consider that we generally like to follow people who are like us, which means they share roughly the same type of opinion on at least some things.

This means the followers of someone who retweets something are statistically more likely to agree with it (and then retweet it themselves)

Alternatives

The easiest thing I could think of would be to start a Straw Poll and share the link out, asking for retweets from everyone who answers.

Sorry

I am sorry I have had to go on a rant about a jokey thing. I honestly do like the joke! It is just that some members of Joe Public think it is an actual thing!

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Hearthstone APIs http://tosbourn.com/hearthstone-apis/ http://tosbourn.com/hearthstone-apis/#comments Sun, 15 Feb 2015 11:47:09 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2561 I love playing Hearthstone, and I love developing stuff. It seemed like a natural fit for me to want to develop something on top of Hearthstone. This post is just some notes I have taken while researching Hearthstone APIs. Hearthstone? Hearthstone is a free to play online card game where you try and beat your […]

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I love playing Hearthstone, and I love developing stuff. It seemed like a natural fit for me to want to develop something on top of Hearthstone.

This post is just some notes I have taken while researching Hearthstone APIs.

Hearthstone?

Hearthstone is a free to play online card game where you try and beat your opponent by playing cards that counteract their cards and gain board advantage. If you have ever played Magic the Gathering or even the Pokemon card games it is in the same area.

It is fun and while you can easily spend hours in the game the individual games only last 10 or so minutes, so you can get quick Hearthstone fixes!

The data I would love

In an ideal world the data that would be exposed is;

  • Card info
  • Match info
  • Player stats
  • Deck info

Each of these come with their own set of questions around what would players want, and some would be far harder to achieve than others. Like I say, an in an ideal world!

Official Hearthstone API

Unfortunately there isn’t one, and I can’t find any source from Blizzard that would suggest there is going to be on at any point in the future.

This means I am going to need to look at unofficial, fan-made APIs.

Lots of Dead Ends

Before I talk about the couple of APIs that I did manage to find. I must warn you that there are currently a lot of dead ends. A lot of old conversations that end in links which go nowhere.

Notable examples are hearthstone-api.com and hearthstoneapi.com – both of which promised so much but didn’t stand the test of time!

Hearthstone JSON

The first result many people will come across is Hearthstone JSON, this is a great project which provides a JSON file that you can feed into your application to query card information.

It is updated regularly. At the time of writing this post Hearthsone JSON has been updated to reflect the Hearthstone changes as per patch 2.1.0.7628, which I believe are the newest changes currently available.

The JSON is generated using a tool which grabs the data straight from Hearthstone game files.

The only issue I can see with this is that you would want the JSON stored locally in your project, so you would need to either write something to attempt to see when the JSON file is updated or you would need to manually remember to look for updates. Thinking about it I guess you could just grab the latest JSON blindly every so often – I wouldn’t want to put too much load on their server though if everyone was doing that.

IrythiaHS

IrythiaHS tries to solve the problem of keeping your data up to date by being a third party API which you can actively query. This means no local JSON files and when it gets updated all clients talking to it would be updated.

The API is hosted by MashApe which is a service which manages APIs for folk, I signed up (free) and it seems useful.

My main concern with Irythia is that the data didn’t seem to be kept up to date. For example Madder Bomber wasn’t found in its list of single cards.

This would make me unlikely to want to use it.

Room for improvement?

Unless Hearthstone comes out with an official API I don’t think we will get many of the things on my wishlist, so focusing purely on card details I think if the two APIs I have found were to be combined that would be ideal.

I am tempted to make something on top of Hearthstone JSON that would make this possible.

What have I missed?

If you know of other APIs either completed or in the works that I should mention in this post, please let me know in the comments.

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My thoughts on the latest TechHubTuesday Demo Night http://tosbourn.com/thoughts-latest-techhubtuesday-demo-night/ http://tosbourn.com/thoughts-latest-techhubtuesday-demo-night/#comments Thu, 12 Feb 2015 20:13:03 +0000 http://tosbourn.com/?p=2545 This month I attended my second ever demo night hosted by the London TechHub. I wrote about my first experience over on the Nuu blog. The goal of the event isn’t for the folk on stage to try and get funding from anyone or pitch to people, the goal is to demo what they’ve been working on. […]

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This month I attended my second ever demo night hosted by the London TechHub. I wrote about my first experience over on the Nuu blog.

The goal of the event isn’t for the folk on stage to try and get funding from anyone or pitch to people, the goal is to demo what they’ve been working on. This makes for way less spammy “pitches” and a more relaxed atmosphere.

There were eight companies demoing at this months event, I want to talk about each of them in turn.

Play Brush

playbrushWe started off the evening with a live demo from a company who hopes to gamify the act of brushing your teeth by way of an attachment you put onto your toothbrush and a game running on your smart phone.

They appear to have done their research and it is definitely a novel idea.

I am clearly not the target market as I don’t have kids and have no issues brushing my teeth. Maybe you are a parent? Would this be something that would interest you?

The official blurb for Play Brush is;

Playbrush is a London-based tech startup making brushing teeth fun. We are developing a smart hardware gadget, which transforms conventional toothbrushes into gaming controllers – so kids & young-at-hearts can play fun & instructional mobile games while brushing.

Hemavault

hemavaultNext up we had a presentation by a company who wants to allow you to track your blood work quickly and easily.

You sign up and receive a kit, you take small blood samples and send it off and they post the results up on their website.

I was initially excited by the product when I thought it was a one off cost for something you could have at home, but they did a good job of explaining why it is more reliable to have an actual lab doing the analysis.

I think this is a company to keep your eye on.

The official Hemavault blurb;

If you think something is amiss with your diet, Hemavault will analyse your blood and offer nutritional advice based on a range of biomarkers. Conduct tests regularly at home from just a few drops, post your samples back to the lab, then view your results and personalised analysis online a few days later.

Plus Guidance

plusguidanceThis demo interested me a great deal, the premise is that it offers people immediate and confidential access to counsellors via video call over the internet.

I can see a genuine market for this, people love the anonymity the internet provides and would hate to be seen by someone going into a therapists office in real life.

I can also see how professionals in this field could quickly expand their client base and really open themselves up to an international audience.

I will be keeping my eye on Plus Guidance, I think they will go places.

The Plus Guidance blurb;

PlusGuidance.com is an online counselling platform that provides people with immediate confidential access to counsellors and therapists from all over the world, via video call, voice call and instant messaging; securely and anonymously.

LyteSpark

lytesparkLyteSpark does video conferencing that keeps all participants on brand.

Honestly I wasn’t that taken by the idea, they seemed to be marketing themselves as a sexier Skype or Google Hangouts. Even if they are (it wouldn’t be hard) I don’t know if video conferencing needs to be sexy?

I think if there was some new functionality on display I would be more interested.

LyteSpark‘s official blurb;

LyteSpark is a fast, flexible video conferencing and event platform that’s easier to use and better quality than Skype or GoToMeeting, with no downloads or complicated signups. We provide virtual equivalents of things you already do: meetings, team working, company presentations, and client calls. Our aim is to make virtual collaboration as natural and efficient as talking to the person next to you.

People Power App

peoplepowerappThe People Power App demo was all about leveraging social media to get a better idea of potential candidates for a job.

From a technological point of view I think this is incredibly interesting, I like the idea of getting data about one person from several sources and collating it in a meaningful way – there are some challenges there that would be fun to overcome.

I would be interested to see how accurate the algorithm currently is, it seems to make assumptions that people don’t lie on social media and that people present themselves differently across the different platforms.

There are also the ethical implications of allowing an algorithm tell if you someone is the right fit at a certain stage of interview.

The People Power App blurb;

We spend more time engaged with social media than any other channel. People Power App seeks to use the rich data we naturally generate in our social worlds to help companies identify people who culturally fit their organisations, and help individuals better understand themselves.

IceCream

icecreamI really enjoyed the IceCream demo and what their product is offering.

It is a smarter iPhone camera app. It uses online storage to backup and retrieve photographs so that you are never going to run out of space when you try and take a photograph.

It seems to do clever things with saving lower resolution versions locally and the higher resolution images online. The theory being that on an iPhone you will never appreciate the massive files that are saved by default.

I have signed up to be told when this app will be available for download – I think it is going to be great.

IceCream‘s official blurb;

IceCream is a new camera app that never runs out of space. It makes it easier to organise, protect and share your photos through a simpler user interface and automated high-resolution backups.

Ethos

ethosEthos are trying to bridge the gap between brick and mortar retailers and online sellers.

They demoed an app that will let offline retailers advertise to folk and offer them discounts / promotions.

I have mixed feelings about this type of idea, I don’t know who is going to want to be sold to. On the other hand I do think offline retailers need something to try and compete online.

It will be interesting to see how this idea pans out.

The official Ethos blurb;

Revitalising the High Street. Following funding from Innovate UK we have developed a demo system that allow small “bricks and mortar” retailers to advertise to local people and also to offer incentives such as discounted parking and bus travel to attract people back to the high street. The app addresses the challenges that physical based business are facing from online stores through a new service that creates new value between the citizen, the city and business.

Wriggle

wriggleThe final demo of the evening was perhaps the most interesting. The concept of Wriggle is a small cheap band you can wear and pre-setup to either give out details to all, accept details from all, or a combination.

When two people shake hands wearing a Wriggle their details will transfer as per their settings.

The goal is to make them cheap enough (if I recall correctly £5 was mentioned) that they could almost be a single use thing at conferences and large gatherings.

Official Wriggle blurb;

Wriggle looks towards bringing conferences and exhibitions to the twenty first century. It aims to shatter the fishbowls full of business cards and burn their contents to ashes. The basic idea is using a cheap, disposable wearable. With it, we will transform the way people interact during conferences and exhibitions & enable organisers to better understand their clients

Final Thoughts

Yet another great demo evening with some interesting apps and delicious pizza!

If you are about London when the next even is on I highly recommend checking it out.

 

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