Dogsbody Technology are moving

After four years at Ferneberga House we are moving 3 miles around Farnborough airport to Cody Technology Park.

After 1st July 2017 our address will be …

Dogsbody Technology Ltd.
Cody Technology Park
Ively Road
Farnborough
Hampshire
GU14 0LX

Please update any record you have.  All other contact details (email addresses, phone numbers) will remain the same.

Cody Technology Park is a secure List X site which means that all visitors will need photo ID and a security check to get on-site.  As you can imagine we are very happy to add this extra level of protection to the layers of security we already have in place.

We will be moving over the weekend of Friday 30th June – Monday 3rd July 2017.  We aren’t expecting any delays when dealing with customers but please bear with us if we take a little longer to respond during this time.

We can’t wait to share pictures of our space in the future, watch this blog for info on some of the tech we will be installing :-)

Dogsbody walks for Cystic Fibrosis

Last Saturday 10th June 2017 The Techy Trekkers (8 employees from Dogsbody Technology and Adapt Digital) walked OVER 40 miles taking part in the Great Strides 65 Surrey Hills Team Challenge in aid of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. It was without a doubt the biggest physical challenge any of us had faced and was indeed a challenge.

Our Team was in the final wave which started at 7.30AM. There were 12 Checkpoints, 7 of which involved meeting with the wonderful team in our support car, who carried all the heavy stuff like food, drink and medical supplies! 40 Miles at the average walking pace of 3 MPH would take us 13 hours and 20 minutes with no stops. Our actual moving time (according to our GPS) was 13 hours and 49 minutes, which wasn’t so bad – it was the support stops that slowly got longer as we got more tired, needed more time to eat, tend to feet and queue for the loo.

We ended up completing the event at 1AM to an amazing cheer from the organisers who were brilliant on the day; it may have taken us 2 hours longer than we planned for but all 8 of us finished and we are immensely proud of the team for continuing despite the blisters and pain.

Our team of truly amazing people have raised over £2,300 in sponsorship so far but the whole event currently stands at a fundraising total (inclusive of Gift Aid) of £200,233.36 for the walk and a further £11,111.61 for the ultra (running race)  – a massive amount which will help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in its mission to ensure that everyone born with cystic fibrosis can live a Life Unlimited.

There is still one month to donate to such an amazing cause so please spare some pennies if you can do so we can reach our personal target of £2500.00.

“I completed the hardest physical and mental challenge of my life with a team of amazing people!” – Teammate Katie

Images courtesy of Jan Benton, Tracey Clarkson & Mark Turner.

Dogsbody Technology and Adapt Digital take on Great Strides 65

Employees from Dogsbody Technology and Adapt Digital are dusting off their walking boots for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust and taking part in the Great Strides 65 South – Surrey Hills – A 40-mile team walking challenge through Surrey countryside taking in such delights as the North Downs Way, Greensand Way, Devil’s Punchbowl and St Martha’s Hill. We need to complete the route within 17 hours.

If your feeling generous or feel like supporting our inevitable pain (it’s more than a marathon ;-) but walking….) then please do sponsor us. Dogsbody Technology have already matched their employees donations up to a maximum of £500 – meaning £500 has become £1000 :-)

The 8 Techy Trekkers shun natural daylight preferring the warming glow of computer screens. Needless to say… We aren’t sure if we can do this either!

We have had 4 months to train for walking 40 miles in one day – Saturday 10th June 2017.  10,000 steps would be almost 5 miles for the average adult….we need to do 8 times that!!!

The 40 Mile Route

Why are we doing this? To support and raise fund for The Cystic Fibrosis Trust – an organisation who believe that the day when people with CF can live a life unlimited by their condition is within our reach.

6 of the 8 ‘Techy Trekkers’

What is CF?

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-limiting inherited generic condition caused by a faulty gene that controls the movement of salt and water in and out of cells. It affects more than 10,800 people in the UK. You are born with cystic fibrosis and cannot catch it later in life, but more than 2.5 million people in the UK carry the faulty gene, around one in 25 of us – most without knowing.

To have CF, you need to have inherited two faulty copies of the gene (one from each parent), and as there are many different gene mutations that cause cystic fibrosis, each person with the condition can have very different symptoms depending on the two genes they carry. While people with CF often look healthy on the outside, each individual is battling their own range of symptoms on a daily basis – this is why it is often called one of the invisible diseases.

There is currently no cure for cystic fibrosis but many treatments are available to manage it, including physiotherapy, exercise, medication and nutrition.

Each week five babies are born with cystic fibrosis, and two people die.

So please sponsor us and help us make a difference for this great cause.

Your website on the Tor network

We are very proud to announce a unique service which enables any website to have a presence on the Tor network.

Hosting a website on the Tor network has previously been very challenging, requiring changes to both infrastructure and the site itself.

Dogsbody Technology Ltd. are now offering a turn-key solution to this problem, allowing almost any website to be placed on the Tor network without requiring expensive redevelopment.

We are launching this service based upon the work done by Alec Muffett on the The Enterprise Onion Toolkit.  Alec is a stout maintainer of digital rights in the UK and is a member of the board of directors of the Open Rights Group.  He led the team that implemented Facebook’s onion site and we are delighted to have Alec as a consultant on this project.

Tor enables people from anywhere on the planet to access sites and data that might otherwise be blocked.  They may use Tor to browse sites and content without divulging their physical or online location, and Tor’s Onion Networking provides people with greater confidence regarding the authenticity of the site they are accessing

Tor users may already access your website anonymously and securely thanks to the Tor Network, however this does not protect their traffic from bad actors on the public internet or at rogue “exit nodes”.  Providing a Tor “Onion Address” helps obviate these risks by giving people a trusted path to your site, a path that is owned by you. Onion addresses are “self-authenticating addresses“: the address itself is a cryptographic proof of the identity of the service.  For example the Tor project website can also be found at http://expyuzz4wqqyqhjn.onion/ [NB: this link will only work in Tor-enabled browsers].

Adding an Onion address to your site gives a number of advantages:

  • Extra privacy for people that visit your site
  • Extra confidence that the site they have connected to is yours
  • Freedom from oversight and network surveillance
  • Access to your site cannot be blocked by an ISP, company or state
  • Enhanced communications integrity & tamper-proofing
  • Guaranteed use of a more security-aware browser, Tor Browser

Additionally: setting up an Onion address can provide less contention, more speed & more bandwidth to people accessing your site than they would get via Tor “exit nodes”.

Contact us now using the form below and we will set you up with a free demo of your site as an onion site on the Tor network.

Name (required)

Email (required)

Phone Number

Site

Welcome Jim Carter

We are very happy to announce the expansion of Dogsbody Technology with the addition of Jim Carter.

Jim is Dogsbody Technology’s 5th Linux Systems Apprentice and comes with a lot of passion for maths and learning.

Having started studying physics at university Jim decided a Linux Apprenticeship was more for him. He is one of the only applicants to complete one of our hardest interview tests.

Jim will be helping with first line support and maintenance before taking part in projects of increasing levels of complexity (and fun!) as he progresses through his apprenticeship.

When asked what Jim thinks he brings to the company he answered, “a fresh view of computing that hasn’t been clouded by the tyranny of the establishment”.  We think he’ll be quite the engineer! :-)

We’re still looking for more talented people to join us here, could you be our 6th apprentice? or do you have a skill you think we can use?

 

National Apprenticeship Week 2017

We are passionate about apprenticeships at Dogsbody Technology.  It is safe to say that without apprenticeships we would not be the company we are today.

This week (6-10 Mar 2017) is National Apprenticeship Week 2017 and it seems only fitting to tell you our story.  To use the relevant hashtag, we are literally #madebyapprentices :-)

Apprenticeships are NOT about free/cheap labour.

To date we have hired four apprentices, around one a year since 2013.  Jim is still doing his apprenticeship with Alex, Rob & Gary all having completed and moved into full roles in Dogsbody Technology.

Apprenticeships can be a better alternative than university.

Gary was being pushed to go to university but felt it wasn’t a good fit for him.  He stumbled across apprenticeships and found us not long after. He can now be heard saying, “Best Google search I ever made”.  Gary completed his apprenticeship last year and is starting a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course this year.

Apprenticeships aren’t the end of education.

Rob completed his apprenticeship last year and is now doing an Open University degree in Computer Sciences. When asked Rob said, “Apprenticeships (and Open University) allow me to work at my own pace on the exact subjects that I want to learn”.

University = debt. Apprenticeships = getting paid.

Jim switched from a University degree to our apprenticeship.  Apart from now being a lot happier with the subject Jim is also happier with his bank balance.  Jim no longer needs to choose how he spend his money saying, “I can now afford to visit friends and buy the computers I want”.  (Dogsbody obviously advocates a sensible saving strategy!)

Offering an apprenticeship allows a small company to grow.

We couldn’t have grown Dogsbody Technology without offering apprenticeships.  It really was the perfect match of growing the business and staff simultaneously.  I strongly suggest apprentices to any small business looking to grow.

The National Apprenticeship Service is awesome but if you are a small tech company with apprenticeship specific questions, please feel free to contact us and we’d be happy to share our experiences.

Want to join our crack team of Linux commandos? We are always looking for passionate techies to join our small friendly team, Apply NOW.

2016 Christmas Giving

Each year we make a donation to charities instead of sending Christmas cards.

This year we are very happy to announce donations to the following charities…

Launchpad Reading – A charity that helps some of Reading’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people to turn their lives around and fulfil their potential. Launchpad began as a soup kitchen in 1979 and were known as Reading Single Homeless Project until 2011. Today, they’re called Launchpad Reading. Based in bright premises in central Reading, they provide accommodation, support and education to people in the town who need help.

Sailors Society – An international Christian charity working in ports across the world. Their chaplains help seafarers and their families from all faiths and none with welfare and practical support. They visit ships in ports and talk with seafarers away from home for up to a year at a time; they help them get in touch with much missed loved ones and access medical treatment; they liaise with frightened families when seafarers are kidnapped by terrorists or imprisoned, mostly through no fault of their own; and they build homes and schools and provide grants to bring hope and security to seafaring communities.

OpenStreetMap – A collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. The creation and growth of OSM has been motivated by restrictions on use or availability of map information across much of the world, and the advent of inexpensive portable satellite navigation devices. OSM is considered a prominent example of volunteered geographic information.

We hope you all have a great winter and see you in the new year.

Feature image by Courtney licensed CC BY-SA 2.0.

2016 Christmas Shutdown

Christmas is fast approaching and we wanted to let you know that Dogsbody Technology will be taking some time off to celebrate the festive season.

Our office will be closed on the following days and response to emails maybe slower:
– Fri 16 Dec 2016 – Office Closed after 13:00
– Fri 23 Dec 2016 – Office Closed after 13:00
– Mon 26 Dec 2016 – Public Holiday
– Tue 27 Dec 2016 – Public Holiday
– Wed 28 Dec 2016 – Office Closed
– Thu 29 Dec 2016 – Office Closed
– Fri 30 Dec 2016 – Office Closed
– Mon 2 Jan 2017 – Public Holiday

During this time any issues will be dealt with on an emergency out of hours basis and we will only be able to support customers who are experiencing a situation where business cannot function without a resolution such as:
– Website / Server down
– Inability to trade online

We will continue monitoring and patching servers as usual over the Christmas period.

We recommend our hosting customers check our status site as usual which will continue to be updated.

If you need to raise an issue please use the standard contact details as calls to our office and support emails will be routed to the engineer on call.

Thank you for your continued support throughout 2016. We hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Five Go on a Hacking Weekend

Last weekend (25th & 26th November 2016) Dogsbody Technology headed off to St. John’s church Hoxton in Shoreditch, London to attend (what turned out to be the last) Over the Air 2016.

Over the Air is an annual 2-day mobile developer event with a mix of technical workshops put on by the community, a Hackathon to celebrate programming & making as a creative discipline, and Lightning Talks to entertain and inspire.

This year the Dogsbody Technology team decided to do their first hack and enter the Hackathon Challenges for the first time – and boy did we have fun! It all started with us finding a 4ft Stormtropper while out shopping which we knew we could improve on! We named it ‘Dolly Stormageddon‘, or Stormy for short.

On Friday morning we packed the car full with Raspberrys Pi’s, Arduino’s, Lasers, Lego, wire, speakers, batteries, soldering irons, microphones, USB dongles, cable ties, SD cards, cables, drills, duct tape, sleeping gear and more! Heading off with a general plan of what we wanted to try and achieve.

After the welcome speech and Friday keynote presentation by Hadley Beeman on the effects of Brexit and Trump to the tech industry, we set ourselves up in the Crypt under the church and got to work.

We had a list of stuff we really wanted to do and a list of nice to haves as we knew time was limited to less than 24 hours!

Nexmo was a sponsor of Over the Air and so we decided to use their SMS API to make Dolly read out text messages. Rob set up the Nexmo SMS API and we used an existing Pushover script to communicate this to a Raspbery Pi which then used Amazon Ivona text to speech software (we picked Welsh) to read the text message out over a speaker we put in Dolly’s leg. This was all scripted/set up by Gary. We even added the function that if someone texted ‘shoot’ it made a blaster noise!

For a good demo you always need lights and movement so Dan wired up a laser pointer to his gun and Jim used Lego to mount a servo and programmed an Arduino to get his head to move side to side.

Finally we added an NFC Tag inside his chest with the number for people to text.

Testing included texts such as “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester” and the complete lyrics to Queens “I want to break free” – which is slightly strange spoken by a 4ft Stromtropper in a Welsh accent!

We entered three categories in the Hackathon Challenges –  The Nexmo APIs Challenge, The Best Hardware / IoT  Entry and The Best Use of Other Features. Below is our Show & Tell! We had exactly 90 seconds to present what we worked on.

WE WON!!!

The Best Hardware / IoT  Hack!! with an Nexmo Honourable mention

We got a pile of new toys to play with from our win and we couldn’t be happier

Dan, Jim, Claire and Rob attended a few talks but the hack took up most of our time, the always interesting and funny lightening talks included a  talk on ’10 stupid stuff I’ve bought on the internet’ (he had to narrow that down from over 40!) which include 1000 plastic ducks and entering an inflatable marathon whilst intoxicated.

Dolly and the Dogsbody Team are now home and the ultimate idea is Dolly will be in our office and alert us when a server goes down..we will rebuild Dolly better, faster, stronger…

Dogsbody Technology would like to say a BIG Thank you to the Organisers and sponsors of Over The Air throughout the years for a great event. We had an amazing time!

 

Feature image by Andy Piper

Dogsbody Technology now offer automatic invoice payment via Direct Debit with GoCardless

Dogsbody Technology now offer automatic invoice payment via Direct Debit through our friends at GoCardless. You can pay our invoices without even having to login into your bank.

The benefits of Direct Debit for Customers

It’s guaranteed
Direct Debit payments come with a guarantee so you’re automatically protected by three important safeguards:

  • An immediate money back guarantee from your bank in the event of an error in the payment of your Direct Debit
  • Advance notice if the date or amount changes
  • The right to cancel at any time.

Read The Direct Debit Guarantee in full.

It gives you peace of mind
Direct Debit is one of the safest and most reassuring ways of paying your invoicing:

  • Payments are made automatically, so bills are never forgotten, lost in the post or delayed by postal problems and there’s no risk of late payment charges
  • Organisations using the Direct Debit scheme have to pass a careful vetting process, and are closely monitored by the banking industry
  • The Direct Debit Guarantee protects you and your money. It’s offered by all banks and building societies that take part in the scheme.

It saves you time
Modern life is hectic – but Direct Debit helps. You’ll find it easier to stay on top of your bills, and you’ll know exactly how much money is going out each month. It also means reduced workload and paperwork for your finance department.

Worried about security – don’t be. GoCardless

  • is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Services Regulations 2009.
  • have Military grade encryption – All sensitive details are RSA encrypted, and only communicated over secure channels.
  • Is a Bacs-approved bureau
  • backed by the Direct Debit Guarantee
  • Hold data in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998

For other small businesses interested in setting up Direct Debits for their customers, GoCardless was incredible easy to set up and integrate with our account package FreeAgent and we would recommend it for any other small businesses wanting to start making their customers (and their accounts department) life easier.

If you would like to find out how you can pay your Dogsbody Technology Invoices painlessly and automatically via Direct Debit please Contact Us