Projects Meta Quick Hacks About



I’m Sam (though most people call me Smudge), and I’m currently an Infrastructure & Platform Architect at Songkick.

My interest in technology started young. When I was 13 I had my first “server” (It was an old laptop running RHEL4), I set up a webcam for my guinea pigs so I could check on them at school, shortly after I bought a new camera for my rabbits hutch with pan/tilt controls, with some hacky PHP scripts to control it from my website and build time-lapses. Later projects included a remote controlled Lego Mindstorms robot, which worked by - and I’m not proud of this - PHP running AutoHotKey scripts which virtually pressed keys on a Windows laptop, triggering events in the Mindstorms controller to move the robot.

Shortly I left school I progressed from Lego robots and pet cameras to doing bits of freelance coding work, mostly building Wordpress websites for local businesses. Alongside this, some of my friends founded a record label and merch distribution company, DFTBA Records. Working at DFTBA, I got involved in a number of other projects the founders and some of our artists were involved in, ranging from the useful - such as DFTVA (Don’t Forget To Vote, America), a site encouraging people to vote during the 2012 Presidential Election, to the odd - building a Flash application to collect pictures from users webcams for a crowdsourced stop-motion animated birthday video.

Though up to this point my official work had mostly been development, I also had the responsibilities of looking after our servers and infrastructure, which fascinated me. I started spending more time playing around with different technologies, building clusters with VMs on my laptop, provisioning them automatically and simulating failure scenarios. In late 2013 I took my RedHat Certified System Administrator exam, becoming - at the time (according to our examiner) - one of the youngest in the country. This gave me a great foundation in Linux internals and covered quite a few of the things I’d not come into contact with.

At Songkick, I’m renowned for my weird in depth knowledge of internal Linux quirks, and being able to write a Bash script for any occasion - I once completed our developer hiring coding challenge with Bash on a default Ubuntu install to win a drink.

I still spend a lot of time coding, hacking and generally messing about with tech stuff. I’ve recently taught myself Golang and have been developing a number of projects both internally at work, personal and open-source projects.

I’m also building some software to control and manage my flat, using data from various places to trigger events with my lights, TV and anything else I can stick a circuit in. Because I enjoy a challenge I’m building it as a distributed “microservice” style architecture using websockets for data sharing. I have ambitions of having a Tony Stark style single pane of glass for everything in my life, though I’ll probably not be playing around with rockets in the near future.

Outside of work, I love photography (if you’re interested), I spend quite a bit of time sailing with my family, walking, running and traveling, sushi is my favourite food. I’m a massive music fan, though unfortunately not musically talented. I’d probably describe my music taste as “Angsty teenager”, having got very excited going to see Fall Out Boy, All Time Low, Good Charlotte and Tonight Alive in the last 6 months.

I’m always open to discussing new opportunities to continue my career, learn new skills and move forwards.