#Rdggeek 24 – Quiz Results

October 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

The top 3 teams on the night were:

  1. Telcos Suck with 15 points – they won the paper-plane tie break
  2. Bionic Squids with 15 points
  3. On a mission with 14 points.
Prizes were courtesy of Mission Burrito.  You can find a photo of the runners up with their T-Shirts and other photos from the night here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spiritquest/6236817159/in/set-72157625155075336

#Rdggeek 2nd Birthday Quiz

October 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Thanks to everyone last night for such a great birthday Reading Geek Night!  We had some discussions last night about the future of rdggeek and I think our 3rd year is going to be the best yet!

For those of you that wanted a recap of the questions and answers, I’ve included them here.  I’ll post the scores and names of the winning teams later on today.

Round 1: All about Reading

In what year was the Reading Abbey established?
June 1121

What are the 3B’s that Reading is famous for?
Biscuits, Beer and Bulbs

How many locks are on the Kennet and Avon canal that passes through Reading? (within 3)

In what year was the first Reading Festival held?
1971 – It was a Jazz festival before between 61-70

Which is the oldest pub in Reading town centre?
Sun Inn, Castle St., C13

Which National London to Fishguard cycle route passes through Reading?

What company did famous Readingite John Madjeski start to make his fist million?
Autotrader (Thames Valley Traders was also accepted as an answer)

Which Oscar winning actress used to work in the Deli in St Marys Butts?
Kate Winslet

What 5 ingredients are found in Sweeny Todds 5 nations pie? (1 point all five)
Beef, Guinness, Mustard, Leeks, Garlic

Who sculpted the cast-iron Maiwand Lion that stands in Forbury Gardens, who was rumoured to have committed suicide over allegations that the lions gait was incorrect?
George Blackall Simonds

Round 2: Food and Drink
What nut allergen can be transmitted via sexual contact?
Brazil nut

What is the chemical symbol for Alcohol (Ethanol)

Between which years was prohibition in the US? (2 points)
1920 – 1933

Which scale is used to measure the heat of chilli peppers?

What is the half life of a banana?
1.25 billion years

In what year was BBC’s famous spaghetti tree April Fools?

From which flower is saffron harvested?

In what century did the Spanish bring chocolate to Europe?

What metal is used to encourage the growth of mould in stilton?
Stainless Steel

What is the name of the mould that infects grapes used to produce pudding wine?

Round 3: Old School Computer Games

What were the names of the four ghosts in the classic Pac Man?
Inky, Pinky, Blinky, Clyde

What was Marios original name and in which game did he make his first appearance?
Jumpman, Donkeykong

What was the name of the hero character in Elite?
Commander Jameson

What was the name of the built-in game on the Master System II?
Alex Kidd (in Miracle World)

What are you most likely to die from in “The Oregon Trail”?

What was the name of the hero character in Wolfenstein 3D?
William “BJ” Blazkowicz

In what year was the original Tetris released?

In total, how many N64 units were shipped.  To the nearest 2 million?

What was the name of the automatic rifle in N64’s Goldeneye?

Which company developed Pong which is believed to have started the computer games industry?

Co-working at Chan Cham

May 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

I have a bit of a back log in doing proper write ups for the venues that I have already given a rating, but here’s the first in a series of regular updates.

[Lighting: 3] Plenty natural light and some artificial lighting provides a well-lit space.
[Power: 1] Not many sockets, but it is a pretty old building with wooden walls!
[WiFi: 0] No WiFi here :(
[Chairs: 3] A selection of different chairs should accommodate most peoples taste, but nothing overly comfortable for a prolonged period.
[Tables: 2] A pretty wonky floor leads to pretty unsteady tables, but they are plenty big enough.
[Food & Drink: 3] Great selection of freshly prepared food a drink is a winner here.
[Coffee: 3] Was pleasantly surprised with the coffee (Lavazza)
[Noise: 2] Although the noise level was generally pretty quiet, there was no music to disguise the conversations going on around me, which in itself was a bit distracting.
[Welcome: 4] Very welcoming and polite staff made for a lovely visit.  It was apparently that a good proportion of the patrons were regulars, which is a testament to the welcome you’ll receive at Chan Cham.
[Ambiance: 3] The place has a quirky-ish feel and is nice and chilled out.
[Availability: 3] We went just after lunch time and there were still plenty places to sit.

Result – 27/44

A pretty solid mark of 27 reflects a very pleasant place to work.  The atmosphere is good and is well suited to 1 to 3 people to avoid upsetting the generally quiet surroundings.  If they added Wifi, this place would shoot up the rankings.


Website: http://www.chancham.com/
Map: Google Maps

Co-working in Reading

May 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

I find myself working a good couple of afternoons or so in Reading town centre. So my colleague @sthulbourn and I decided it would be a good idea to rate the various venues according to their suitability for co-working.

As this is going to be a work in progress for some time, I’ve created a new section on my blog (over there on the left hand side) which I will keep up to date.  Each time we try out a new place I’ll add a blog post and update the page with the latest score.

Why not take a look at the latest scores and read about the scoring system.

A blog post with more details on the current scores is coming soon.

The iPad 2

May 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

I wrote a post back in November about my thoughts on the game-changing iPad. I was lucky enough to get my hands on the seriously understocked iPad 2 a few weeks back and feel it’s time to give my thoughts once again.

Essentially, not much has changed – not that you’d notice anyway. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s a natural evolution of the device and to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t need much improvement.  Here are the noteworthy differences:


In fact 33% thinner than the first gen; the iPad 2 is now an amazing 8.8mm especially when compared to the iPhone 4 which is thicker at 9.3mm.  This is a pretty good sign that the iPhone 5, which is widely anticipated before September this year, will be going on a diet.


A not-too-shabby 15% lighter!  In my opinion, this is quite noticeable as one of my main gripes about the original iPad was it was a bit on the heavy side and made one-hand operation a little uncomfortable for any extended period.


Potentially up to twice as fast as the iPad 2 is now packing the dual-core 1GHz A5 Apple processor as compared to the single-core in the original iPad.  This does seem to keep things snappy, but I’m yet to notice much of a difference over the original.


The iPad 2 now comes with a front and rear facing camera.  (Big whoop?)


I’ve not seen this discussed much elsewhere, but is arguably a very important change.  Processor speed, memory and other technology will follow the state of the art and will always be improved.  Shape, feel and materials are things which are not controlled by the state of current technology and therefore allow Apple to be creative with the device they are producing.  Whilst the original iPad felt a little heavy and perhaps a bit clunky with its thick squared edges, the new iPad is slender; with a pleasingly chamfered screen front and an equally as pleasing curved back.  It feels so much more comfortable in the hand and would definitely be my number one improvement if it weren’t for:

Smart Cover

In the same way that the original iPad got ooh’s and ahh’s in front of people, the smart cover re-introduces the sense of wonder and innovative design that Apple has become synonymous with.  Magnets in the iPad and case perfectly align the cover to the edge of the device when placed near.  The microfibre side of the case goes someway to removing fingerprints from the screen, but in actual fact doesn’t make a huge difference (it’s better than not having it).  And to round off with some elegance, a leather case gives a pleasant luxurious and natural touch to the otherwise very high-tech silver device (though they are far from cheap at £59).  The only negative point with the case being that you loose the weight that the new iPad had shifted on its diet!


With the price remaining the same as the original iPad (though you can now pick up the first gen cheaper) current owners might find it difficult to justify an upgrade, but new buyers have enough reasons to buy an iPad 2 over an original.

Reading Geek Night 17

March 9, 2011 § 1 Comment

Last night I had the opportunity to talk at Reading Geek Night 17 on Creating an interactive iPad Book. I gave an overview of our latest iPad project The Lost Journal, introducing the all the moving parts that came together to produce the end product. The process of developing the ideas, story, artwork and application was discussed and there were lots of questions from the audience.

Here are some links you might find useful:

Cocos2d and our iPad app

February 13, 2011 § Leave a comment


Cocos2d is a fantastic library that has helped us to create our first iPad app – an interactive companion book to Susie Cornfield’s Dekaydence series.

We wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of this library and it’s friendly and helpful community – massive thanks to all the contributors that make it such a great library to use.

To give back to the community, We have offered up our office space to hold the next Cocos2d London User Group on March 3rd.  Information can be found on the Cocos2d forums and on lanyrd.

Heres a short video of The Lost Journal iPad app:

How’s work?

January 12, 2011 § Leave a comment


A question I get asked every time I see one of my friends. And to be honest, I enjoy giving them the answer and they are always pleased to hear Conjure is going from strength to strength.  Being an agency that helps to support larger digital media outlets, we do a fair amount of work that we can’t really talk about. But there are a couple of projects that we can and are worth mentioning:

  • A follow up to our Black Light iPhone app in the form of an companion iPad book.  We’re very excited about this project as we think its a first-of-a-kind; with beautiful commissioned artwork brought alive through animation and sound. Coming to iPad in February.
  • Our first iPhone game! This collaboration project is being kept under wraps until the press-release, but we think it’s a great game and we can’t wait for you to see it! Watch my blog for announcements. Coming to iPod Touch and iPhone in early February.

Though we can’t give specifics at the moment we are also working on some exciting projects involving augmented reality, real-time data visualisation, image detection, geo-location, more interactive books and cookery.

London Taxi Meter estimates 5,000 fares a month

January 3, 2011 § 2 Comments


A month ago we released an updated version of Conjure’s London Taxi Meter which has continued to go from strength to strength. We are very pleased to announce that during December, we helped over 5,000 people estimate the cost of their cab journey!

BarCamp London 8 #bcl8

November 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

[tweetmeme service=’bit.ly’]

It’s been a month since my last blog and casting my mind back over that time, I figured I hadn’t written up anything on BarCamp London 8.  Not only can I give a run down of my time at the event, but can use this opportunity to mention a few noteworthy bits and pieces.


I’d come across this site before, but never really engaged with it.  It wasn’t until BCL8 that it really struck a chord with me.  Full and in-depth coverage of the event was crowd-sourced whilst the event unfolded. BarCamp is an unconference and as such, the tracks are determined on the fly.

When you mark yourself as “attending” a conference, the real time calendar will give you a run down of the current and next sessions – which turned out to be invaluable as the 300-strong crowd round one pin board was a little manic.

I really like the way that it gives you a permanent personal profile which lists your attendance and speaking appearances alongside any links, photos, slides etc that you have posted.  It was also nice to see that Reading Geek Night (#rdggeek) has a presence on there too.


I’ve had my iPad for several months and truth be told, it’s a completely dispensable gadget.  Yep, you read that right!  That is not to say it doesn’t have its uses because there are things that it is really great at:

  • two screening” or “simultaneous media usage” – the concept of using two independent data or social consumption devices at the same time, e.g. TV+iPad or TV+laptop – the F1 iPad app is a great example
  • Browsing youtube on the sofa when you cant be bothered with a big heavy laptop
  • iPlayer in bed (I’ve never had a TV in my bedroom)
  • Email/blogging on the go – smartphones are too small and fiddly
  • Gaming platform – I’m not a gamer at all, but the occasional 2 mins playing Modern Conflict, Trainyard or Harbour Master is pretty good
  • Magazine and photo magazine (e.g. Guardian eyewitness) browsing

However, the best use I found recently was at BCL8.  A device I could easily carry around which told me about all the sessions, allowed me to browse the net and consume real-time twitter updates about the conference was a dream to use.  I was also slightly surprised at the sheer quantity of iPads at the conference – I would guess at somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent of the delegates had one and were clearly finding the same benefits over a laptop that I was (I didn’t see anyone charging an iPad).


I was a little apprehensive about my first BarCamp and my first unconference for that matter.  This turned out to be a waste of energy as the event was fantastically organised by enthusiastic, kind and helpful individuals.  I was also surprised by the number of people there that I had met before… I thought I was going to be the only person I knew!

Each attendee was encouraged to hold a session and so along with @CharlieFuller we decided to host two back-to-back “open discussion” sessions on iPhone technologies that we were both interested in.  Turn out to our session was good and a fun and informative discussion ensued.

Food, drink, snacks, swag and banter were all in abundance and my first BarCamp was very enjoyable, only let down by the fact I couldn’t go along on the Sunday as well!!

  • The Author

    Chris is a Ruby on Rails ninja, iOS developer, part-time musician and avid scuba diver. He heads up the tech side of Conjure, a multi-disciplined digital agency specialising in mobile application development. He's also a founder at located.it.

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