OnyxMetail is hosting the next meetup of Cambridge NonDysfunctional Programmers next Thursday, 17th March. This month we’ll be taking a look at Onyx, a distributed cloud computing platform implemented in Clojure. We’re currently using Cascalog to process data on a Hadoop cluster, and are considering Onyx as a possible alternative. It will be interesting for us to hear what our local Clojure community makes of this new kid on the block.

One of my favourite talks at the recent Clojure Remote conference was Michael Drogalis’s keynote, where he discussed some of the principles behind Onyx’s data-driven API. At the Meetup, we’ll watch Michael’s Onyx talk from last year’s Clojure/conj. After the video, we’ll work through the getting started guide and tutorial together. Please see the Meetup page for full details.

Clojure Meetup as part of the Cambridge Non-dysfunctional Programmers group, in Metails office at 50 St Andrews St, Cambridge

Clojure Meetup as part of the Cambridge Non-dysfunctional Programmers group, in Metails office at 50 St Andrews St, Cambridge

This month’s meetup of the Cambridge NonDysFunctional Programmers will be hosted here at Metail’s Cambridge office next Thursday (26th November) from 6.30pm. I (Ray Miller) will be giving a hands-on introduction to web development with Clojure, where attendees get to implement their first Clojure web application from the ground up.

Along the way, we’ll learn about the Compojure routing library, Ring requests and responses, middleware, and generating HTML with hiccup. Time permitting, we’ll also cover interacting with a relational database and using buddy to add session-based authentication and authorization to our application.

The theme running through the tutorial is implementation of an ad server (an example I shamelessly stole from Dan Benjamin’s Meet Sinatra screencast). This demo application delivers a Javascript snippet to embed random ads in a web page and tracks user click-throughs. It also provides an administrative interface for reporting and managing ads. If you’ve already seen Dan’s screencast, you’ll see how Clojure compares with Sinatra to implement the same application.

See the Meetup page for full details and to sign up.


AWS Meetup

On the 22nd October Metail sponsored and hosted the third Cambridge AWS User Group (who have a few photos of the event up). It was great to welcome the meetup organiser Jon Green, AWS tech evangelist Ian Massingham (the main speaker for the evening), and around 25 others to our office “town hall” for drinks, snacks (including honey roasted cashews), networking and of course the talks.

Ian had two spots on the schedule. The first was a round up of the announcements made last week in at AWS re:Invent. I’m not going to produce my own recap of Ian’s summary, A Cloud Guru gave a nice summary of the keynotes at re:Invent in their medium blog post and there’s a nice summary with follow on links over at trendmicro. There were a few questions from the audience last night all of which Ian answered to their satisfaction. Seems AWS is doing something right 🙂 My favourite bit of the talk was during the overview of AWS’ now beta IoT platform (apparently the first thing AWS themselves have referred to as a platform) and the consumer stories from re:Invent. Here the focus was largely around an application in farming, mentioning the possibility of fitting monitoring devices to animals and being able to buzz them to wake them up. As someone who grew up in the valleys of Wales surrounded by sheep I found the thought of experimentally setting the state of your flock to be awake quite amusing. The scale of farming in the US is slightly larger than what I’m used so that’s a lot more sheep to wake up through patchy signal coverage ;).

Ian’s second talk was a demo of the new EC2 container service. I’ve played with docker before but it’s not my area of expertise however the audience seemed suitably impressed and there was a good bit of discussion at the end.

Having bribed my way onto the agenda by getting Metail to host (and doing the literal leg work to get the drinks and snacks to the office) it was good to give a talk to an engaged audience. I opted to go into some depth on the tracking and batch processing steps of our data architecture and skimmed over the insights and how we actually drive the pipeline. I’m hoping to get invited back to go in to a bit more depth. Elastic MapReduce is a slightly more niche service in AWS, and perhaps being overtaken by the use of real time systems such as AWS’ kinesis family. The talk itself is up on slideshare and you can see me in action on the @CambridgeAWS twitter account 🙂

We are often complimented on the selection of beers which we put on at the meetups at Metail. This is in large part owing to the excellent choice found at the King’s Parade branch of Cambridge Wine Merchants; it makes a nice lunch time outing to go over and choose the selection for the evening’s meetup. Having said that, a little data insight from our event hosting is that diet coke is the most popular drink.

Photo cc Ian M.

We’re delighted to be hosting and sponsoring the 3rd Cambridge AWS User Group meetup tonight. Where we’re going to be getting a run down of this year’s AWS re:Invent and I’ll give an introduction to Metail’s data pipeline with a focus on how we’re using and configuring some of AWS’ services to power Metail’s data insights. As sponsors we’ll be providing beer, soft drinks and wine as well as some snacks (I’m a big fan of honey roasted cashews and in charge of purchasing, so feel free to comment on this post with any special requests).

It’s the first of these events we’re hosting here at Metail and I’ve used it as an excuse to write a presentation for the group. Although the meetup is moving around various hosts and sponsors in Cambridge you can expect to see it back at Metail in future, and hopefully a follow up/continuation of my talk in a future meetup.

Here’s the summary of the event from the user group page:

Docker, containers and the like. Plus, those of us who made it back from Vegas alive report on our findings.

The BIG news…if you’re in the Internet of Things business, a database or data analytics specialist, are into Docker containers, or use Kinesis or Lambda, there were some major announcements – and you will definitely want to be here to hear them!

This meeting is hosted, and snacks and drinks sponsored, by Metail.

We’ve got a lot to get through, so the meeting will start at 7pm sharp, with doors open from 6:30 – please be prompt!


The presentations:

Notices and news – Jon Green (Adeptium Consulting) and Brief Intro to Metail – Gareth Rogers (Metail)

• re:Invent 2015 Debrief – Ian Massingham (AWS) (and/or Jon Green)  – all the gory details and new announcements!

•  Metail’s Data Pipeline and AWS – Gareth Rogers

Docker and Amazon Container Service  – Ian Massingham

• [Possibly] From Zero to Hero in AWS – follow-up – Tom Clark

Hope to see you later! We also host the Cambridge R Users Group, Data Insights Cambridge, DevOps Cambridge and Cambridge NonDysFunctional Programmers so if you can’t make it, there are plenty of other opportunities to come along to Metail for some drinks, snacks and tech chat.