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Building an E-Ink Planner

I wanted a high-tech alternative to the age old post-it note to do list, but I wanted something that’s energy efficient, clear and easy on the eyes. I also wanted something that was standalone from my monitors as I forget to check my todo list when it gets lost in the spiders web of windows and tabs I have open. I now have something I can quickly update using my phone, laptop or watch, which also gives me a motivational poster to start each day with: Interested in building your own E-Ink planner? Use the steps in this guide and...

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Stop Failing and start Experimenting

I wanna talk to you about failing. Nowadays we’re taught that failing is a good thing, to fail fast and to learn from our mistakes. But how are we supposed to do that when we’re conditioned to see failing as bad from a very young age? Now I’m not suggesting that we avoid the entire notion of failure because it’s inevitable in life, and building resilience is a positive thing. But if all we ever talk about is embracing failure, failing fast and learning from mistakes… well that’s gonna get pretty demoralising! I’d like to share with you a different...

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Fast Spring Boot AWS Lambdas with GraalVM

In my previous blog post I documented how to take a Java Spring Boot application and convert it into a serverless function, which can be run in the likes of AWS Lambda. Anyone who’s done this before knows that cold starts are a big downside – Java and Spring Boot are not known for their speedy startup times, and a typical full fat Spring Boot converted lambda can take anything from 10 to 90 seconds depending on how much memory and cpu you allocate it. This may lead you over-provision them to compensate for the cold starts, but that’s a...

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Team Development Roadmaps

As engineers we spend so much time focusing on the client’s projects, developing Impact Maps, Story Maps, Stakeholder Maps… all sorts of maps to confirm our approach and provide shared understanding between everyone and a strategy for solving the problem. What often doesn’t get considered is how the members of the team can use the opportunities within a project to improve and learn. Making sure that your team feel challenged and invested whilst providing a safe space helps them to feel valued and be at their natural best. At Infinity Works we strive to be “Best for Client, Best for...

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Booking a Meeting Room with Alexa – Part Two – Coding the Skill

Hey there! In my previous post Booking a Meeting Room with Alexa – Part One, I talk about how to build up the Interaction Model for your Skill using the Alexa Developer Console. Now, I’ll talk about how to write code that can handle the requests. Setting Up I chose to use JavaScript to write the skill, as I wanted to try something a little different to Java which is what I normally use. Alexa has an SDK that allows you to develop Skills in a number of languages including Java and Javascript, but also C#, Python, Go and probably...

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Booking a Meeting Room with Alexa – Part One

Hey there! This is part one into my adventures of developing an Alexa skill. I was inspired recently on client site, where I saw they’d installed a shiny new room booking system. Each meeting room had a touch screen setup outside of it, and from it you could see who’d booked the room, and also use it to book the room out if it was available. It had the right idea, but from talking to people I learnt that it wasn’t the most user-friendly, and that it had cost a pretty penny too! I’d been looking for an excuse to...

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