This Week at Skills Matter: 11 – 15 August



How do you make Guacamole with Ruby? Dirk Breuer kicks off our week of meetups and with the London Ruby User Group telling you how. Well, not quite – the Guacamole is an ODM for ArangoDB which is used in Rack-based framework, especially Rails. Dirk will talk about the design choices, caveats and his own general experience working on that kind of library. The talk will not be overly technical, and both experts and novices are invited to join.

Joining Dirk, Alex Speller will discuss a gentle introduction to music theory as she shows how to start with nothing but a Ruby interpreter, and generate sine waves, notes, scales, modes, chords, arpeggios and songs, in a way that will be understandable to those who have never touched an instrument before. The talk promises to offer an interesting new perspective – even to those who are already well versed in music theory.

We’re also delighted to welcome Mauro Servienti for an In The Brain talk on designing distributed, scalable and reliable systems. Mauro Servienti, a RavenDB Contributor and CTO & Architect at Managed Designs, will start from the requirements that can drive us to scale and distribute a solution diving into the technical challenges and the obvious advantages that building a distributed and scalable solution brings to the table.

To find out a little bit more about Mauro, and for a quick sneak preview of his talk, be sure to check out the While It’s Compiling interview he did with us a couple of weeks ago.


The two talks at the London Big-O meetup cover both Big Data and speech technology, as they’re joined by Tom Nielsen (founder of OpenBrain Ltd.) and Catherine Breslin (research engineer at Amazon).

Tom explores the Slow Fourier Transform, as he shows a simple Bayesian statistical model for which the posterior probability distribution is equivalent to the output of the Fourier transform. Come along to learn how this model can be implemented and run in probabilistic programming languages and to discuss some use cases in which it may be advantageous.

Catherine’s talk will focus on algorithms for audio segmentation and clustering, which allow us to answer the question – “Who spoke when?”. Looking at less well-known uses of speech technologies such as indexing audio and video archives (such as lectures, meetings or TV broadcasts), Catherine explores automatic transcription that allows people to search these far more easily than relying on meta data alone.

Infracoders London will be here to ask that you manage your clusters like you manage your machines, as Douglas Triggs (a self described code monkey for Chef) shows how Chef Metal allows you to repeatedly create machines and infrastructures in Chef the same way Chef allows you to repeatedly configure individual machines.


Mean Stack join us on Wednesday for an evening of unit testing and responsive Javascript. First up Marton Hipszki will be looking at end-to-end unit testing as he takes us from setting up our environments to going down the testing pyramid. Travelling through writing tests, turning user stories to end-to-end tests and creating a solid backed API, byt the end you’ll discover how automated tests pay off.

JonathanFielding will then look at building better experiences with responsive Javascript as he goes beyond what CSS can offer, looking at new browser API’s that enable this, with the matchMedia API that can target specific functionality based on whether a media query matches.

Daniel Bryant and Abraham Marin-Perez join the London Java Community to discuss professional software development and the five shouts of good programmers. Want more information on Professional Software Development and what it takes to be a good programmer? Then join us for an evening with two fantastic speakers.


Rounding off the week, the F#unctional Londoners return, this week with Phil Nash to talk about Functional Scripting. In this session Phil will share with us how (and why) he has come to use F# as his preferred scripting language in place of more traditional options like Python. He’ll cover some practical examples and a few tips and techniques he’s picked up along the way – this talk is suitable for those new to F# and experienced users alike.

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