Five Questions
with Dan Nuttall

Dan Nuttall @pixelblend

Talk: Future Radios: Prototyping with Electronics, Stickers and Javascript

Dan is a Software Engineer for Internet Research and Future Services in BBC R&D. He has worked for a range of companies in Europe and Africa, building web sites, browser extensions, servers and everything in between using open-source software.

Why did you agree to speak at WXG?

I’ve lived in Woking for the past five years, and often been drawn to the charms of our more glamorous neighbours.

WXG is a conference I’ve kept meaning to go to, and now I’ve been summoned to attend! Hopefully I can enjoy the day and not just walk around thinking about my talk in a state of terror.

What do you think attendees will get out of your talk?

I hope that my talk will encourage people to take an interest in hardware and devices. So many of our everyday objects were once hackable (or at least understandable), and now they’re sealed-up, inaccessible walled gardens.

How did you get into your field?

I’ve always wanted to work with / on the web since I paid per hour to sit at an Internet Cafe and surf in 1996. A couple of HTML tutorials from .net magazine later, I had a football fanzine up and running. I’ve been a chancer on the internet ever since.

Who is your inspiration in the industry?

I think one of the most important skills as a Software Engineer is to understand concepts at such a deep level that you can explain them to anyone, regardless of background.

My former colleague Yves Raimond (@moustaki) was terrific at doing that, and it’s something I think about a lot when writing talks. He’s also followed by Tim Berners-Lee on Twitter, which seems as good a life goal as any.

What advice would you give to someone new to the industry?

Most newcomers arrive with a hobbyist’s passion for software, design, etc. That’s fantastic, but don’t forget that it’s now your day job and it might be time to pick up a few new hobbies to replace it.

The best people I’ve worked with have a broad range of interests and skills and it makes them better developers (and people) for it.

Dan Nuttall will be speaking at WXG on Friday 25th September.

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