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About Dan Grabham

Dan is Deputy Editor of TechRadar, Bath-based Future Publishing’s flagship technology website with over 10 million global unique users every month. TechRadar has twice won Future's Website of the Year award since launch and the site was highly commended in the Consumer Website category of the Association of Online Publisher Awards 2011. Dan has been reviewing and reporting on all things computing, mobile and internet for most of the last decade and is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He’s also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live and Sky News radio. Dan also writes for numerous magazines and has worked on various B2B and B2C projects such as in-store guides for Tesco and DSG (Currys/Dixons/PC World). Follow him on Twitter @dangrabham
Author Archive | Dan Grabham

SPARKies Finalist Profiles: Biggest success story of 2011

There’s less than a week to go before The SPARKies Awards Party at Komedia. Where we’ll honour the greatest and best in Bath tech.  After our previous roundup of the Best App nominees, here are the finalists in the award for The Biggest Success Story of last year.

Burfield Creative

Back in 2006 James Burfield set up a web design agency starting with one client. The company now has over 250 clients and employed seven new staff in a bumper year for the company. Burfield Creative now boast clients including Talon Engineering, Procserve, Off The Record, Cotswold Archeology and Suzuki Apico to name but a few. Olympic athlete Jason Gardener is also a client after starting a new career as a public speaker and sports consultant – his website is designed to showcase his achievements as well as promote his motivational speaking, team-building and athlete management services.


Deep Blue Sky

Digital agency Deep Blue Sky has doubled in size during 2011 increasing its reputation for innovation and technical excellence along the way. Deep Blue Sky makes extensive use of the very latest web standards and delivery platforms to bring new and exciting products to market, not only outward-facing websites and mobile apps, but also business applications and integration tools. Deep Blue Sky was chosen to design and develop the hugely successful twiDAQ, a free fantasy stock exchange game powered by social media where participants can ‘invest’ in any celebrity, politician, sporting hero or friend. Other work in 2011 included sites for Langley Waterproofing and Room for Romance as well as a multi-lingual catalogue website for the world-renowned workwear brand Dickies.



Eduserv may be a charity, but it’s one of Bath’s enduring tech success stories and 2011 was no exception. The company had a 17 per cent growth in turnover in 2010/11 and grew staff numbers by nearly a fifth. The company has secured funding to build a community cloud infrastructure for UK universities and colleges in its UK data centre. Its Education Cloud is now being used by over 20 UK universities. The company also won an e-Gov award and a Sitecore Site of the Year award for its redevelopment of the NHS Direct website. The symptom checker tools are now integrated with not only its CMS but more importantly its call centre. During 2011, the organisation also won a number of high profile web development and hosting customers including Scottish Water, NHS24 and the British Red Cross.



Picochip is one of the bigger names on the Bath tech scene. Since 2001 Picochip has grown from a kitchen table in Sydney Street to offices above Bongy-Bo, and become a major supplier of wireless technology to companies like Cisco, Samsung and Alcatel-Lucent. Over 100 4G networks around the world rely on the company’s tech for 3G and 4G networks and it has now been selected for S K Telecom for the next generation network. Its femotcell products are with consumers in 13 countries in the form of Vodafone’s SureSignal device. However, the big story of the year was the company’s sale to Mindspeed for between $52-76 million. The company is now the headquarters of Mindspeed’s Wireless Business Unit.

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Frintr launches on the App Store

Frintr is a new iOS app that turns any image on your iPhone or iPad into a mosaic made up of images of all your friends on Twitter or Facebook. And, what’s more, the idea was born right here in Bath.

The idea originally started out as a website, which was the brainchild of developer Tom Buckley-Houston. On Tom’s site you log into your Facebook or Twitter account and the service will then create you a so-called ‘Frint’ mosaic from your friends profile pictures.

You can create Frints from any image using the app

You can then buy the resulting ‘Frint’ as a digital download for $1, while for Twitter Frints you can also choose to create a Frint from a random user or even a Twitter search. (You can check out our attempt at a Frint here.)

The iPhone, iPod touch and iPad app works in much the same way, but has a single up-front cost.

App developer Neil Stanley met Tom during Bathcamp 21 at the Innovation Centre in Bath last April and the pair both presented on “The top 10 things I learned in startups”

Neil takes up the story. “When Tom and I met he had already built a fantastic website. Having put heart and soul into the site Tom was humble enough to admit that net it had lost money.

The final Frint

The final Frint

“Having developed Apps for a number of years I felt the functionality was better suited to a smartphone because of the built in camera.

“I also thought that the business model of selling apps rather than physical printed Frints was likely to be a better one. So I proposed we worked together on an app with me designing the app and Tom building the API to the Frintification magic!”

Neil describes the development as “relatively uneventful” but adds that it still took around four months to do.

So has the app been a success? “I knew from experience that just putting a paid app in the App Store on its own is almost certain to sink without trace,” continues Neil. “However if you have an established user base and a website to promote [the app] it can lead to commercial success.

The original Frintr website enabled you to create and download your Frint for $1

“This has been true to an extent but not as much as we would have liked. So we are now working on a freemium version of the App which will allow it to be downloaded for free and tested with most of the features accessible through In-App purchasing. This is a strategy that has worked well for another of my Apps, iHi.”

And Neil also has advice for anybody else in the Bath area that has a great idea for an app. “I wish I had a pound for every time someone has said to me ‘I’ve got a good idea for an App’. Well if you do, go to one of the Bathcamp sessions at the Bath Innovation Centre. There you will meet people like us who have done it before and will freely share our experience with you.”

The Frintr app costs 69p on iPhone/iPod touch and £1.49 on iPad – you’ll need iOS 3.0 or later. Find out more about the app at frintr.com and follow at twitter.com/frintr.


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