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About Katrina

Founder of Pepper PR & Marketing, a company specialising in marketing and event management for the digital and tech sector. On the BathSPARK organisation team and involved in running the SPARKies, the south west's best tech awards.
Author Archive | Katrina

Help document Bath Digital Festival!

This year we are aiming to document the festival by curating the images taken by participants – both speakers and attendees. We are hoping that enough of you will be happy to snap the odd picture or two from the events you attend using Instagram or any other service (Twitter etc).

Martin Couzins is pulling all of the images into a Pinterest board, which can be found here.

If you are on Pinterest you will also be able to repin images from the festival Pinterest board into your own boards.

Our aim is to document the festival using people power and some social tech.  If you want to take some snaps, simply take a picture and share on Instagram, Twitter etc but make sure you tag the image #bathdigifest.

We’ll then add all the images to the Bath Digital Festival 2013 Pinterest board. You can already see some highlights from the opening ceremony.

Happy snapping!


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SPARKIES shortlist focus: individual contribution to tech

Through their careers, their personal passions and their various groups and networks, these shortlisted entries in the ‘Individual Contribution to Tech’ category have gone out of their way to further the tech sector.

Our judges were looking for entries that had given their own expertise and enthusiasm to further the overall success of the tech sector and had made significant contribution to the forward movement of technology.

Shortlisted for this award, sponsored by Bath and North East Somerset Council, are the following individuals:

Stuart Farrimond, a medically trained doctor who’s health prevented him from continuing in the profession, is the founder and driving force behind digital ‘science lifestyle’ publication Guru Magazine, a free, crowd-sourced digital publication that looks at scientific issues in a way that can be understood by the masses. Not only has the magazine gained a worldwide readership, but it has already served as a launch-pad for a number of young science writers. Stuart has been shortlisted for the extensive efforts that he has made throughout the past year to use technology to bring science to the masses.

South west entrepreneur Paul Kane is one of just seven people in the world chosen to be an ‘internet keyholder’ – looking after a key that will ‘restart the world wide web’ in the event of a catastrophic event. In the event of a security breach – such as a terrorist attack – Paul will be required to travel to a secure location in the US, meet other keyholders and and recover a master signing key. Mr Kane was chosen for the role after being recognised as a leading internet security specialist.

Professor Phil Willis from the University of Bath’s Department of Computer Science was nominated for his work on developing a new vector-based video codec over the past 10 years, which is expected to lead to the death of the pixel within the next five. Professor Willis’ new codec was released at the CVMP 9th European Conference on Visual Media Production held at Vue Cinema in Leicester Square, London, and has since attracted worldwide attention from leading organisations in the world of digital imaging, including Warner Bros. Willis’ significant breakthrough has the potential to revolutionise the way visual media is produced.

All three shortlisted entries have put the region on the map for their digital expertise and the contribution they have made to the digital and technology sector. This award highlights quite how significant the work being carried out in our region is to the wider digital community. The winner of the award will be announced at The SPARKies on 20 March at Komedia.

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SPARKIES shortlist focus: one to watch in 2013

Being shortlisted for ‘the one to watch for 2013’ means our judges thought the nominees below showed significant signs of making waves from the regional digital scene this year.

Our judges were looking for a nominee that has seen tangible achievements to date, and has the potential to see further growth, success and development on a large scale in 2013.

The Innovation Centre sponsors the ‘One to Watch in 2013’ category. This was a highly competitive category with over 30 entries, and our judges had a hard time selecting the very best for our shortlist:

Cahootify is a radical new way for creatives, consultants and changemakers to recruit each other for projects. The site is launching soon and will allow users to upload work descriptions, and other to express an interest in them. By matching projects with potential collaborators the site aims to democratise the social recruiting space.

CiteAb is an antibody search engine, allowing scientific researchers to quickly find antibodies that will be right for their work. Currently large amounts of time and money are wasted on the ‘wrong’ antibodies. CiteAb, an website inspired by researcher Dr Andrew Chalmers, overcomes this by matching search results with academic citations, so researchers can choose an antibody that has been proven to work.

myHealthPal is a healthcare initiative created to explore the use of everyday technologies to allow people to better manage their own conditions. By making use of touch screen devices the platform visualises health to illustrate the impacts of various lifestyle choices on medicine effectiveness. Underpinning the primary function are the myHealthPal CareCircles that enable users to create a support network who can see in real-time how they are managing by viewing their timeline to review any event types they are permitted to see.

All three shortlisted nominations show the potential for high-level impact and impressed our judges. The winner will be announced at The SPARKies awards ceremony on 20 March at Komedia.


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The SPARKies 2013 shortlist!

We’re pleased to reveal those shortlisted for The SPARKies 2013 awards – celebrating the very best of the region’s digital and tech sector.

The winners will be announced during a fantastic awards ceremony on Wednesday 20 March hosted by award-winning comedian Jarred Christmas at Komedia Bath. Tickets for the ceremony will be available to buy through the Komedia website from Tues 5 March.

The ceremony is made possible by the kind support of our headline sponsors the Innovation Centre, our gold sponsors Eden Ventures, The Agency and Deloitte, and also all of our silver sponsors.

Over the coming weeks we’ll be posting longer pieces through this blog on each category, so do check back to see the stories behind our 2013 shortlist.

Congratulations to all of our shortlisted entries, presented here in no particular order:

The One to Watch in 2013
Mike Barlow @ myHealthPal

Individual contribution to tech
Stuart Farrimond
Paul Kane
Phil Willis

Best tech entrepreneur
Mike Barlow
Glynn Hayward
Mark Mason

Best mentor/adviser
Mike Wilsher
Gavin Eddy
Rob Brown

Totally Killing It – competing globally from the south west
The Agency
Catchy Agency

The Good Award
Charlotte Caulkin for TEDxYouth
Neil Burgess for Cura
Marcelle Speller for Localgiving.com

Best Service Provider to the Tech Sector
The Innovation Centre

Future SPARK
Urban Tribe
James Isbister & Alex Marshall
Ollie Marshall

Best Digital Design Project
Future Insights
The Agency
Complete Control – World Book Day

Best App of 2012
Mubaloo & the Met Office
Opposable Games

Biggest Success Story of 2012
Rockpool Digital
Complete Control

Best Startup
Opposable Games

Competition this year was extremely high and our judges struggled to form a shortlist. Congratulations must also go to those who came really close to making the list, and were highly commended by judges, inlcuding; StoreNextDoor, Steel Media, Hammer, Mac Format, Creative Bloq and WeLoveBath.

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Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios welcomes hackers

Over 100 computer hackers are being welcomed to Real World Studios owned by musician and digital pioneer Peter Gabriel as part of the Bath Digital Festival.

Even though Peter is best known as a singer & songwriter thanks to a highly successful career spanning over 45 years, he has also been making waves as an innovator in the digital sector having founded and/or invested in the likes of OD2 (digital music distribution service), We7 (music streaming), The Filter (recommendation engine) and Witness.org (a service that uses the power of video and storytelling to denounce human rights abuses) to name but a few.

A hack is an event in which computer programmers and others in the field of software development, like graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects to improve or add to them creatively.

The two-day hack event at Real World will take place on 16 and 17 March, and is focused on a new visual language called Gabble developed by Gabriel and his team. The team hope that the event will result in the realisation of new and exciting applications for Gabble.

Peter Gabriel said: “The original Gabble idea was to create a universal visual language – enabling people to add short video clips & images into their communications to replace words and pictures.

“So far, we have created a website and an iPad app that matches words and phrases to pictures and animations and we are now exploring the use of the dictionary for a range of gaming and educational applications. I am sure that Gabble will initially be used for making funny and irreverent apps, but there are many potential serious applications that will follow.”

David Maher Roberts, who is heading up the project for Peter said: “We are really interested to see the ideas that come out of the hack days. Gabble has the potential to power so many different apps and bring about a universal conversation. And for us, this hack weekend enables us to start exploring how far we can go with it.”

There are fantastic prizes up for grabs for hackers taking part in the weekend, which will recognise the technical ability and teamwork seen by judges. Each day of the weekend will see two £500 awards presented, one for the best hack technically, and the other for the best team, focused on ideas, teamworking, tech and overall delivery.

There is also the potential for hackers to impress the Gabble team enough with their app to be in with a chance of securing a £10,000 investment opportunity from Peter Gabriel to take the app to full production.

Places for the hack event are booking up quickly. Those interested need to have strong, proven coding or design skills in order to get the most out of the weekend, and can apply for a place at http://2013.bathdigitalfestival.com/events/real-world-hack/

More details about the Gabble API are available here.

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Bath Digital Festival website launched!

The website for Bath Digital Festival has gone live today. The Festival will place from 14 – 24 March, is jam packed with events celebrating our city’s digital sector.

Headline events include the return of the internationally acclaimed X Media Lab, a hack weekend at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio, the SPARKies digital awards, a family weekend of digital events in Queen’s Square and Britain’s very first Rails Girls event.

Other events over the course of the week include talks and discussions on a variety of subjects, a performance of Kraftwerk music by the Balenescu Quartet, a WordPress workshop, a return of Ignite Bath and BathCamp, code clubs for local school children, and a design hack event, among others.

To see the website and a full programme of Bath Digital Festival events visit www.bathdigitalfestival.com

Entries for The SPARKies are open for four more days at http://thesparkies.com.

You can join our Facebook group or our LinkedIn group, keep and eye on this blog or follow us on Twitter for further updates on Festival events.

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Entries are open for The SPARKies!

Entries have opened today, Monday 4 February, for The SPARKies 2013 tech and digital awards.

This year we are accepting entries from companies and individuals from across Somerset and Wiltshire, including Bristol, Swindon and Bath.sprk13_RGB_sml

We have an expert panel of 24 judges from some of the very best tech and digital companies around.

Included are Huffington Post contributor and serial entrepreneur Margaret Heffernan, CEO of Bristol and Bath Science Park Bonnie Dean, Chief Operating Officer for Real World studios Mike Large, and Head of Digital at Aardman Lorna Probert.

We’re also grateful to our headline sponsors, The Innovation Centre, for their continued support of The SPARKies. Their involvement, along with our Gold and Silver sponsors, makes the awards possible.

To enter the awards, and for a full list of the judges and sponsors of The SPARKies, please see our website

We’re all looking forward to celebrating the best of the region’s tech and digital sector, and hope you’ll join us at the awards ceremony in Komedia, Bath, on Weds 20 March. Tickets will be made available in early March.

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Star Trek Tricorder becoming a reality?

A new competition launched in the US this month is challenging tech developers to create a real-life Star Trek Tricorder.

tricorder-star-trek1-e1358606672713The competition is part of a recent drive to make medical diagnoses independent of physicians or healthcare providers, and to develop devices that will give consumers access to their state of health in the palm of their hand.

In a bid to win a phenomenal $10 million prize, teams will leverage technology innovation in areas such as artificial intelligence and wireless sensing.

And why are we telling our Bath-based techies about this?

Well the next Bath science cafe, on Monday 11 Feb, will look at the research currently taking place that is bringing this technology to life, some of it here in our city.

Professor Chris Frost, from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, will be giving the talk. His research at Bath is focused on creating new chemical techniques for biosensing in medical devices, and he’ll be looking at the development of portable biosensors that enable on-site diagnostics like glucose monitors and home pregnancy test kits.

So if you want to be the person that pulls the Tricorder of Star Trek out of the realm of science fiction come along to this free event and learn more about this exciting area of research and the competition over a pie at The Raven in the centre of Bath at 7:30pm. The Twitter hashtag is #BathSciCafe.

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24PullRequests – Andrew Nesbitt

At the last BathCamp I met Andrew Nesbitt, who has recently moved to the area and was the driving force behind 24PullRequests – a hugely popular festive project to encourage developers to contribute back to open source software. The project ran from 1st to 24th December 2012.

Andrew describes himself as a ‘passionate, full stack developer, who loves experimenting with new technologies and techniques to help ship kick ass products on the web’, and he has kindly put together this post about his ’24PullRequests’ experience. 


andrewnesbitt“I came up with the idea for 24PullRequests during November when a few friends were participating in Movember, the viral nature of everyone growing moustaches made me wonder if the same approach could work for contributing to open source software on GitHub.

As a web developer, I use open source software on a daily basis. Ruby on Rails, Node.js and WordPress are all open source – you can download and view the source code of the project.

One of the most popular places to find open source software is GitHub, which provides a great way to contribute, the “pull request“.

The idea behind 24PullRequests is for developers to try and send 24 separate pull requests to open source projects during the month of December – think of it like an advent calendar for developers.

When I launched the site on 1st December it was a very simple, static HTML web page that explained the idea. I made the site open source and uploaded the site to GitHub and submitted the site to Hacker News.

The initial reception was excellent and developers quickly started to add functionality to the site, like the ability to login using your GitHub account and record all the pull requests you sent.

Over 1000 developers signed up to the site over the first couple days. This popularity caused a couple of problems!

The influx of traffic began to slow the website down, but luckily we had used Heroku to host the site so scaling up was a piece of cake.

The second problem was the sheer amount of pull requests being sent to the project itself. The developers participating were fixing bugs, adding features and even correcting typos on the site – managing all of them was taking a long time.

Thankfully the developers stepped up again and a team formed around the project to help out with the influx of activity.

By Christmas Day we had recorded 3175 pull requests on 1498 different projects from 886 developers, a massive success and some brilliant contributions to the world of open source software.

After the success of 2012, we’re are going to run the project again in December 2013. If you would like to get involved you can sign up to the site now and you’ll receive an email a bit closer to Christmas.”

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Code club launched in Bath

A brand new code club has been launched in Bath for pupils at Bathwick St Mary’s Primary School.

Code Club is a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. Their aim is to give every child in the UK the chance to learn to code by setting a target to have Code Club in 25% of primary schools in the UK by the end of 2014.

Tom Robertshaw and Nick Jones, Magento developers from Meanbee, are running the sessions during an hour-long after school club.  They were introduced to Bathwick St Mary’s Primary Scool by one of the governors and the first Code Club kicked off on 10th January 2012, overseen by the Head of IT at Bathwick, Duncan Jackson.

All 9 and 10 year olds at the school were offered the opportunity to join Code Club with ten selected at random. The Code Club is set to rus for 10 weeks over the first two terms of 2013. The first block of sessions uses Scratch – a programming language that is very visual and makes it easy for children to create their own interactive stories, animations, games, music and art – and share their creations on the web. As young people create and share their Code Club projects they learn important mathematical and computational skills while also thinking creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively.

Tom says “Much of what we are doing with these 9 and 10 year olds is the sort of programming we didn’t get the chance to try out until we got to university. It’s important that we give young people the chance to code at an early age.”

Apart from being an excellent addition to the after-school calendar at Bathwick, Victoria Bond, School Governor at Bathwick St Mary’s School, says Code Club, ultimately, empowers the children. “Code Club is about building and creating not just consuming. It demystifies computer science and makes it accessible to all. We are very excited to give our children this opportunity. It’s a very forward-thinking club and we are very supportive of the construction of a national network of coding volunteers.”

Code Club comes at a time when the Department for Education is reviewing the way Computer Science is taught in schools as well as supporting programmes to encourage professional development of existing IT teachers. There are calls for all Britain’s school children to be able to code by the time they are 18. Our children should be dreaming of being the next creators of Google, Facebook or Twitter and learning computer code gives them the chance to do this.

Finally, we cannot talk about Code Club without sharing a clip of their Interview promo video. Children interview the likes of Nikolas Zennstrom (Skype), Chad Hurley (youtube) and HRH Prince Andrew for the position of Code Club lead in their local school. It’s inspired:

There are a couple of Code Clubs that have recently started in Bath including Bathwick St Mary’s, Oldfield Park and Swainswick. If you’re interested in setting one up, visit the Code Club website and register, and you’ll be supported with materials and lesson plans.

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