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Drew McLellan

Mar 25, 2008, 8:29:06 AM3/25/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Good to see a number of people signed up - clearly we weren't
completely off the mark when we thought there'd be local interest in
getting something together.

Perhaps it would be best to start by us each introducing ourselves?

My name's Drew McLellan, and alongside Rachel Andrew (also here) I run
Maidenhead-based web development agency We do custom
CMS development, ecommerce solutions and web app development, mostly
in partnership with design agencies. We handle the whole development
process including client side and back end systems (mostly in open
source technologies such as PHP and MySQL). Prior to joining I worked as part of the Search Innovation team at

As I say, we're based in Maidenhead (on Cookham Road) and set up this
group with the intention of fostering a bit of a community. There seem
to be a lot of people around the area who do what we do, and the fact
that we don't really know each other too well is crazy.

So that's me. How about you?

Andi Farr

Mar 25, 2008, 4:12:11 PM3/25/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Hello everyone,

My name's Andi Farr, I'm a graphic designer currently living and
working in Milton Keynes. I got into standards-based web design around
a year ago (I previously worked mainly in Flash or in print) and
haven't looked back. Although I'm a designer at heart, I've been
working really hard to pick up a little bit of everything - I was
already fairly competent with Actionscript, which has made picking up
PHP and javascript a little easier!

I'm really interested in helping to promote good design practices,
both on and off the web. I've been getting a little disheartened
recently - living in Milton Keynes isn't great for the soul, in
cultural terms - so it'd be really good to be involved in this sort of

(I always hate these introductory things - I feel like I'm at an AA
meeting or something...)



Mar 26, 2008, 8:52:01 AM3/26/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Hello all!

I'm Jen Dixon, American expat in Maidenhead, writer, artist, photo
nerd, and recovering web developer. The job I left in the US was as
senior digital pre-press tech for a large, multi-facility, direct mail
printing company. It was a 24/7 job that nearly killed me, but I loved
it. I met Neil Dixon via our blogs in late 2003, we fell in love, and
by Guy Fawkes Night 2004 I was landing at Heathrow without a return to
Chicago. I began working with his company and turned my web tinkering
into a professional focus-- my speciality being mostly XHTML and cross-
platform/cross-browser CSS. We both design, illustrate, write, take
photos, and act as silly as possible as often as possible.

I made the decision last year to stop web developing and focus on
writing. I took a part-time job at a bookshop to look at publishing
trends, genres, and to get my hands on cheaper books. I'm loving it. I
still play around with the geekery, and am currently learning about
SEM/SEO stuff and affiliate marketing.

My machines are Macs, my preferred editor is TextMate (though was a
BBEdit girl for years), my photo editing is done in Photoshop CS3 &
Lightroom, and I use Wordpress as my blogging platform.
I guess that's it in a nutshell!

Barry Frost

Mar 26, 2008, 9:50:20 AM3/26/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Hi everyone!

I'm Barry Frost, a developer living and working in Windsor. I'm the
Technical Director at Global Personals, a 25-person company at 1 High
Street in Windsor. We build and run dating and social networking sites
under the banner of for ourselves and partners.
We're currently only three developers using ColdFusion but I'm hoping
to grow quickly and build some new apps in PHP and/or Rails over the
next year. Previously I was a manager and developer at Rawnet, a
little agency also in Windsor, and before that I was at a few other
places around London.

I'm really pleased to see this user group in the area emerging.
London's just a little too far to trudge into for meetups on a school
night! I'm hoping to find talented design people and agencies to talk
with, and also find others developing big apps to discuss techniques
and ideas.


Alun Rowe

Mar 26, 2008, 11:32:38 AM3/26/08
Hi Everyone,

I'm Alun Rowe. I run a small web development company and an IT
Services company based out of Thame, Oxfordshire. Collectively the
companies are known as Pentangle.

We do all that CSS/XHTML Standardsy stuff and bit of application
development too. It's mostly PHP/mySQL with the occasional MS SQL
server thrown in to catch us out...

I guess I'll be coming along to talk to like minded people, create
some partnerships and hopefully offer advice to others.

Look forward to this all getting going!


Mar 26, 2008, 12:24:30 PM3/26/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
I work for Wycliffe UK ( a medium sized charity based
near Stokenchurch, High Wycombe, which is part of an international
family of similar charities ( involved in translating the
Bible into minority languages.

The main part of my job is looking after our donor relations system
(off the shelf), finance system (Sage) and some involvement in our
international personnel system (bespoke). Because I'm the person who
knows about web stuff I get pulled into that a bit (not as much as I'd

That involves a bit of fiddling with PHP, the Perl Catalyst framework
and the odd bit of HTML hacking with a text editor, or Dreamweaver. We
use Macromedia Contribute to manage our sites (, which means that normal users can change the sites.

I'm not a designer, but I wish I could have the chance to see if I
could learn the skills. I'm a programmer of 20+ years experience. I
like keeping up with web stuff, so that if called upon I know roughly
what's good for doing what. I've been to one Oxford Geek Night.
Oxford's a bit of a trek, so I'm interested in something a bit more


Graham Bancroft

Mar 27, 2008, 5:10:03 PM3/27/08
Hi All,

I'm Graham Bancroft, I'm a freelance web developer type and am loving
Web Standards, Textpattern, Expressionengine and Mini Cheddars.

I've been learning the art for about four years now but only been full
time for about a year or so, mainly due to being a stay-at-home Dad up
until then.

I'm home based in Twickenham so pretty much in-between it all, and
frankly, I'd much prefer to head toward the fresh air rather than that
London. Being based at home I'm hoping that this will give me the
opportunity to leave the house occasionally.


Skype: grahambancroft;
AIM: grahambancroft;
Tel: +44 (0) 208 133 1769 {voip}

> >

Gregor Spowart

Mar 31, 2008, 7:06:55 AM3/31/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Hi all,

I'm Gregor Spowart and I run a web-development company called Mass
Media Design. We're based in Swindon but I'm based at home here in

We specialise in website development using Microsoft technologies
(mainly ASP.NET and SQL Server) whereas my business partner is a user
experience consultant and does lots of clever things to make our
websites nice and pretty as well as usable (although don't get him
started on what 'usable' means otherwise you'll never stop him!).

I worked in IT Consultancy for about 9 years with all sorts of public
and private sector clients before fancying the challenge of setting up
on my (our) own in August 07.

Looking forward to meeting some of you and seeing what happens!



Apr 1, 2008, 9:01:59 AM4/1/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
My name's Kathy Bragg and I'm a short Internet-based lifeform
currently living in Maidenhead in person, and Scotland in soul.

I'm actually primarily a database designer/developer working with
MSSQL (although may relent and try MySQL now it has decent stored
procs) but I'm currently a sole developer for a relocation company and
as such have to build the front-ends as well. I've spent the last 8
years using MSAccess for such things but have also been tinkering with
web-based apps for the last 5 years or so as Access annoys me. Latest
creation/nightmare is a confection of MSSQL, OO PHP, Mootools and
madness. Luckily it's an intranet app, so the world will be spared
exposure to it.

I wanted to be a graphics designer, but when I put that down on my
work-experience form at school, they sent me to a hospital to do
Speech Therapy for two weeks. I took that as an omen and did speech
and drama instead. So now, if I want any artwork done, I have to draw
it with a pen and scan it in.

I was going to write that I support web standards, but that's not
strictly true: I support doing EVERYTHING right, not just web. I'm one
of those sad nerds that agonise about the best way to do something. I
think it's incurable.

Most 'purplekitten's you meet on teh intarwebs are me (old IRC
nickname). Apart from ones that aren't.

Alun Rowe

Apr 1, 2008, 11:14:35 AM4/1/08
Ooh, I'd love to pick your brains re MSSQL/PHP linkage goodness ;)

Oh and Hi Kathy!


Paul Bennett

Apr 1, 2008, 5:10:49 PM4/1/08
Hello, Paul Bennett here. I live in Maidenhead and currently work for
a large ISP, designing networks and running advocacy on how networks
should transport apps.

In a former life I promoted web standards through being an Advisory
Committee rep for the W3C and participant of the Internet Enginering
Task Force.

But at heart I'm a software engineer who would rather be out walking.

Pete Cooper

Apr 1, 2008, 6:03:59 PM4/1/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Hello, I am not from Maidenhead. But I do know some people from
Maidenhead, and there's a great noodle bar there, so big up
yourselves, Maidenhead.
I'm Pete. I'm from Abingdon, which is like 30-odd miles from
Maidenhead. You don't need to come to Abingdon, there's not really
much going on, aside from maybe the floods every now and again.
Anyway, I'm a Mac-head, trainer, podcaster (you should totally check so you know what I sound like with my bestest
radio voice on), freelancer, trouble-maker and toast fanatic. I'm
pretty good at compliant XHTML and CSS when I put my mind to it, my
CMS weapon of choice is TextPattern. I like cheese, too.

Anyhoo, no doubt you'll find out more in time - just thought I'd pop
in and say 'hi'. So, hi!

Richard Jones

Apr 1, 2008, 6:10:45 PM4/1/08
...and there I was thinking I'd be spending my time at the
OxfordGeekNight as some sort of parochial illegal alien.

Hi, My name's Richard Jones and I'm here to representing the other
side – I'm a senior art director at an agency in Henley-on-Thames,
specifically heading-up their digital output.

We're a small shop with more of an offline heritage, but we're getting
some interesting projects through now and I've had the pleasure of
working closely with for all our development needs.

Previously I was the creative lead at a large scale technical agency
in London, working on various projects (some nice e-commerce and some
not-so-nice dark ops public sector web apps) – and came out to the
Thames Valley to help my current employer start delivering digital
solutions fit for the now (semantic, accessible, engaging) that and to
get home to see the kids, not spend my life in a train carriage, cycle
to work etc.

I've been a traditionally trained Graphic Designer for 12+ years
having jumped onto CD-ROM's in the early 90's, I still like to keep my
hand in offline work, but I most happiest surrounded by pixels and
interfaces and have even been know to dabble in some UX (it's a very
small shop!).

I also have a dark secret, although I'm certainly not unique, and I've
still not decided if it's just something i should retain as a hobby,
but I try my hand at coding, setting up and maintaining servers and
generally living out dreams of being a *nix sysadmin / interface
developer as well as the full time creative position, yep - it's a
very worrying combination!


Apr 2, 2008, 4:10:53 AM4/2/08
to Refresh Thames Valley

On Apr 1, 4:14 pm, Alun Rowe <> wrote:
> Ooh, I'd love to pick your brains re MSSQL/PHP linkage goodness ;)
Sure, do feel free to email :)


Pete A

Apr 2, 2008, 5:56:34 AM4/2/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Hello Everyone,

I'm Pete Aylward, Product Manager at the book publishers friends of
ED. We are based in Berkeley, California, but I work out of the
village of East Ilsley, West Berkshire.

Although my role is primarily a marketing one, I'm still able to
indulge in a little creative geekery, and so dabble in both front-end
(standards-based, and Flash) and lighter back-end (PHP, MySQL) stuff.

I've previously worked as a lecturer, teaching computer based design
things (Photoshop, 3D modeling, etc.) to designer-makers (Jewelers,
Ceramicists, Woodworkers, etc.), and also as everything from a shop
window dresser to a land surveyor--I am pretty much a textbook example
of jack of all trades, and master of none!

I think that's about it for now, but it's nice to meet you all, and if
you've any book related queries (writing, reading, or reviewing) for
either friends of ED, or our parent company Apress, then you know
where I am.

- Pete

aim/skype/gtalk/twitter: peteaylward

Owen Griffin

Apr 8, 2008, 4:15:38 AM4/8/08
to Refresh Thames Valley
Hello everybody!

I'm Owen Griffin. I work as a Web Technologies Researcher at Vodafone
in Newbury but I'm based in Reading.

At the moment I'm doing Java web development but I've spent a lot of
time doing PHP and Rails development. I've also got experience doing
some faily nifty stuff with Javascript.

And working for Vodafone I do a fair few mobile applications as well.


Paul Baker

Apr 8, 2008, 5:14:33 AM4/8/08

I'm Paul and have been working on web type stuff since 2001 when I gave up
the day job at a large Finnish mobile phone manufacturer. :) I live and
work in Maidenhead and have one big client and lots of smaller ones. I run
ClockTowerWeb Ltd and love the flexibility of working for myself.

I do Classic ASP, Access, MS SQL, PHP, MySQL and even some Perl in the old
days. Oh and I am beginning to see the light re. CSS layouts...

I guess by joining this group I want to meet some local like-minded people
in the flesh instead of on my screen and maybe even find a new badminton

I have some domestic stuff to attend to tonight, like getting the kids to
bed and eating but intend to come down to the Bear after that, so hopefully
see you there later.



* Paul Baker *
* ClockTowerWeb Ltd *
* *
* Unofficial Guide to Legoland Windsor *


Apr 21, 2008, 8:09:58 PM4/21/08
to Refresh Thames Valley

My name is Nick Dunn, and I'm an alcoholic.

But I'm also a web designer/developer! I graduated a couple of years
ago with a geography degree (how useful) but have since worked as a
technical consultant at (introducing a dinosaur agency to
the wonders of web standards and unobtrusive JavaScript!) and, now out
of adland, I'm the lead AJAX developer at Airlock in Shoreditch
( We're a 15-strong agency producing creative
hypertext goodness for the likes of the BBC, Heineken and P&G.

I live in Chalfont St Peter, Bucks but looking to move to Windsor in
the not too distant future, where the grass is green and the girls are

I try to attend as many London events as I can (Web Standards Groups,
Boagworlds and the odd @media/FOWD) but it's encouraging to see
something more local finally emerging. And it's great to see some
familiar names already on this thread, so hello to those I've already
met. Looking forward to meeting the rest of you at some point!

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