Category Archives: Storm News

Welcome Barry!

Barry Woolgar, Ruby on Rails developer and PHP pro, has just joined our team here at Storm and we’re all thrilled to have him on board.

Barry is a talented programmer who studied Computer Science and eBusiness at Loughborough University. He joins us from Wired Media in Bristol where he was a senior web developer, leading development work for the company’s ecommerce platform and maintaining its hosting infrastructure.

At Storm Barry will be working on a whole range of interesting projects in both Ruby on Rails and PHP. He’ll be involved in the development of CiteAb, a new spin out biotech company Storm has developed with the University of Bath, and will support our other developers on client projects.

Adam, our Technical Director, said: “Barry is a great addition to our team, he has a lot of experience and has already made a great contribution to the projects he is involved in. His knowledge of developing complex online systems builds our capacity in this area.”

When Barry isn’t at work he can be found hanging out on skates with the Bath Roller Derby Girls where ‘Safety Barry-er’ is a top notch referee. He also drives a classic mini, spins fire poi and heads to Edinburgh Fringe every summer.

Our team here at Storm has plans for many new exciting projects in 2014, and we’re always on the lookout for outstanding developers. If this is you, do get in touch with us on hello@stormconsultancy.co.uk.

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Storm Hack 2014 – Rube Goldberg Machine Hack

Saturday 1st February
9.00am – 7.00pm

Please join us at Storm for a hack day with a difference. The aim is to build a Rube Goldberg machine, (a machine that performs a very simple task in a very complicated and over-engineered way).

The challenge is to send a tweet in the most complicated way possible.

For the hack day we would like to invite teams of three to code and build a sequence of events to achieve a simple task. The more imaginative and wacky the better.

At the end of the day, each team will be given the opportunity to present their chain of events.

Points will be awarded for:

  • Completing the chain of events;
  • Number of steps taken. More steps = more points;
  • Using a method no one else has;
  • Physical movements.

A prize will be awarded to the winning team.

There is just one rule:

  • You can plan and use libraries, but please do not write any code before the hack day.

Food and drink will be provided throughout the day to all participants. We only have space for 6 teams so book quickly, places are on a first come, first served basis.

The hack day will be held at Storm Consultancy, 14 New Bond Street, Bath, BA1 1BE.

With after party drinks in a local bar/pub provided by our very lovely sponsor  Mailjet.

Map – https://goo.gl/maps/nnF5A

Please email Hannah with the names and contact details of all three team members if you would like to take part, hannah@stormconsultancy.co.uk.

Examples of manual Rube Goldberg machines:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ve4M4UsJQo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qybUFnY7Y8w

 

We are very pleased to announce that the hack day now has two new sponsors. So, thank you to Mailjet and FreeAgent.

Welcome to New Bond Street Rupert & Buckley

We were recently approached by ‘Rupert & Buckley’, small independent retailers using a pop up shop space over the road from us. They wanted to use our wifi, because they are only staying for a few weeks. Obviously we’ve been happy to help, as many others have helped us when we’ve needed it in the past.

Rupert & Buckley is run by James Buckley Thorp, and sells a great range of ‘university inspired’ clothing. If you’re looking for stocking fillers for teens or students you really can’t go wrong, so do support our new neighbours.

Welcome, James, to New Bond Street! Rupert & Buckley

Feeling festive

Everyone at Storm Towers enjoyed the Christmas lights in Bath being switched on by Mary Berry this week – our new office gave us a perfect view up Milsom Street.

We broke out the fizz and mince pies to toast the start of the Christmas season. Liam even made a new friend when, as he precariously leant out of the window, Mary Berry shouted up to him to be careful not to fall!

We wish you all a very merry Christmas, and hope you have a good break. We look forward to seeing you in January 2014!

Click here to see Mary Berry shouting to Liam!

 

We’re building Sirona’s new website!

After recently delivering a brand new and very successful intranet for Sirona Care & Health, and working as the company’s web tech advisors, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve now been appointed to redevelop its public facing site.

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This time around we have far more stakeholders to consider, as Sirona’s users come from a wide demographic. We’re currently engaging with these stakeholders to get a really good understanding of how they use Sirona’s services and what they want from the company’s website.

Our strategist, David Kelly: “The team at Sirona was particularly pleased with our work on their intranet, which their staff  have really liked. They have chosen to work with Storm for their external website because they know we can turn the tide on the tirade of poor public service websites that exist.

“We’re taking what we know about their organisation, then conducting in-depth user studies with the public around usage of this type of site. As we’ve delivered above expectations in the past, Sirona trust us to get this challenging project right.”

The team at Storm has already got started on the project, and we’re looking to deliver in early spring. We’ll be ensuring it is nice and mobile friendly, that it is simple and accessible but also very informative and interactive. We’re also paying a lot of attention to the design, bringing it right up to date to give a really modern, clean look.

Dave added: “Working with the team at Sirona has been a fantastic experience and we’re all really pleased to have the opportunity to do so again through this project.”

Dave on data!

Last week Dave spoke at Future Of Web Apps (FOWA) in London on data. If you don’t already know, he has spent the last month tracking our every move here at Storm, from the number of cups of tea we drink to when we take breaks and even what we think of the buskers outside!

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Dave found some entertaining insights into our business – who would have guessed that those of us who have an early cup of coffee end up being less productive?

We’re also a fairly happy bunch, based on the data we input over the month. We tracked the individual perceived mood and perceived productivity of each member of the team, and overall we came out pretty well.

There were some entertaining outcomes – as the buskers outside deteriorate, so does our mood – until they get so bad that it’s either funny or we stick our headphones on, and suddenly we get a lot happier again!

While the results have been quite funny, there is also a serious outcome of this monitoring. As Dave shared with his audience at FOWA, having data is useless if you can’t interpret it and use it to improve a situation.

At Storm we’ve been lucky, we’ve just moved offices so we’ve been able to make some really simple changes that will have an impact on productivity. We’ve created social spaces, so our team can get away from their desks at lunchtime, we’ve got a better heating system so we can boost the temperature of rooms in the morning (we found warmer days were more productive) and we have even got music in each room now to cancel out the buskers!

We have also installed an intelligent phone system so that no one  has to answer too many calls in a short space of time, and we have 11am standup meetings to get the teams’ day into sync.

The feedback from Dave’s talk at FOWA was great, and those of our team who went to the conference had a really good time. It almost made having our loo breaks monitored worthwhile!

House warming

Yesterday we held our official ‘house warming’ – welcoming our friends to our new office for the first time. Many had seen it when we first took over the building, and we hope they like the rather large transformation that has taken place!

The opening was a great evening, and much wine was consumed. We enjoyed showing our friends around the building and seeing everyone enjoy the space made the long hours choosing fixtures and fittings finally seem worthwhile.

Our staff dining room was the wow factor of the evening – we decided that we’d decorate it with Georgian-style splendor, with rich wallpaper, chandeliers and antique furniture, making it stand out from the other modern, sleek rooms we’ve created.

We’re very grateful to Bath artist Perry Harris who supplied us with some great prints of his work at very short notice. They look absolutely fantastic!

If you couldn’t join us yesterday and you’d like to pop in and see us and have a look around please do – we’d love to see you for a cuppa.

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We’ve moved in!

You’ll know that we’ve been stripping back and completely redecorating new offices for a couple of months now, so we’re really excited to say that we’re finally finished and moving in tomorrow!

The office is next door to our current space, so we don’t have to move far. We’ll have a lot more space in the new office, with a new boardroom, meeting rooms on each floor and even a staff dining room.

We’re looking forward to our official opening next week, and hope to see many of you there!

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The rip out

At Storm we’re really good at programming, and online business. We’re not so hot at DIY. That’s why we have a team of builders in our new office, making sure everything is done properly, and its not going to all fall down!

When we took over the building there was 15 years worth of legacy wiring running around every room – most of which didn’t connect to anything. Old wires had been painted over, the walls had ten players of woodchip wallpaper, and there were enough ethernet cables to run internet to the moon.

We (or rather our builders) have stripped everything out, right back to the brick work. The rooms feel ten times larger after layer upon layer of wallpaper was removed, and they’re brighter too.

Now the walls are ready to be plastered, painted and the whole building will be rewired. There was huge excitement in the office yesterday when a new server cabinet arrived – and who said we were geeks?!

We have lots of plans for the new space, and now that the old, fousty rooms have been transformed into a blank canvas it is much easier to envisage what we might be able to do. We’re really excited to get decorating, and we’re hoping to move in this autumn.

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We’re moving!

We are all very excited because we can now tell you that we’re moving to lovely big new offices!

We’re not moving far – next door in fact to 14 New Bond Street – but the offices are much larger which means we’ll be able to continue to grow and take on even more exciting projects.

The keys were handed over this week and we currently have a team of builders in, plastering, painting, wiring and sorting out a whole decade’s worth of legacy hardware that has been left in the building. As a result we hope to be in the new offices sometime in July and will keep you posted with photos and updates in the meantime.

For now – we’re still at number 13 and as always you’re very welcome to call in any time.

We'll be in the big corner building above Lifestyle Pharmacy from July!

We’ll be in the big corner building above Lifestyle Pharmacy from July!