Posts Tagged ‘david preece’

nerd nite 16: building things

This nerd nite – our sixteenth! – will look at buildings things. Building structures, building adventures, building Arduinos. Hooray for the makers!

nerd nite 16 poster

Click to enlarge to full, printable size (for your office, school etc)


As usual, nerd nite will start from 6pm, with speakers beginning at about 6:30pm. It’ll take place on Monday, May 13th, at Hotel Bristol (our official home, dontcherknow).

Our speakers, listed in an order they may not necessarily actually speak in, below. See you there!

Nerd nite is a free-entry community education event, where passionate people talk about their loves while their audience eats and quaffs beer (or whatever). We’re always looking for speakers and topics, so get in touch!


Title: Rocking in the Free World with Post-Tensioned Timber Buildings!
David Carradine

Post-tensioned timber buildings were being developed as early as 2004, but following the Christchurch Earthquakes there has been a dramatic increase in the acceptance of these buildings as one of the possible ways to create beautiful, resilient and sustainable structures that have the potential for immediate reoccupation following seismic events like those experienced in Christchurch. How do these buildings work? Why use timber? How are they different from other buildings? Come find out what the hype is all about and get a short lesson in earthquake engineering without the need for your calculator or pocket protector, although both are optional.

Engineer, woodworker, builder and breaker of wooden objects. I have worked as an experimental researcher in the field of timber structures for the past 15 years, testing everything from single nail connections up to 15 meter long poles made from Brazilian hardwoods and lots of things in between. I came to New Zealand in 2008 to work as a Timber Research Engineer with the Structural Timber Innovation Company (STIC) in Christchurch where I had the pleasure of working with a team of very talented people from around the world in a effort to develop post-tensioned timber buildings for multi-storey applications. While in Christchurch I also had the fortune/misfortune of experiencing all of the major earthquakes and most of the subsequent aftershocks, after which I spent moths evaluating buildings and learning what happens to buildings subjected to seismic loading beyond that required in the building codes. I currently work for the Building Research Association of New Zealand (BRANZ) as a structural engineer.


Man vs Andes – making life into an adventure
Mark Chambers

Feeling a bit of a fraud alongside previous nerdnite talkers, I’m not going to talk about my latest research or climate change or even computers. I am, however, going to talk about the 6 months I spent cycling through South America whilst attempting to make it sound more than just “hey check out my cool holiday snaps”.

Currently I’ve no idea how to do that, but I have a month to think about it!

In my 9-5 I am a Web Developer, in my 5-9’s I’m an adventurer, brewer, baker and candlestick maker. Well I probably could make candlesitcks if I wanted. And I like bicycles, very much.


An Aduino in Twenty Minutes
David Preece (@rantydave)

The best thing about Arduino’s being the new hotness is how ridiculously simple they are. As if to prove a point, Dave is going to build one, from individual parts, in under twenty minutes. And, y’know, talk about what the bits do or probably segue into fixing helicopters. Murphy’s law of technology demonstrations is sure to be in attendance.

David Preece just wants to make cool stuff. Normally involving software but he can feel the call of the dark side. Right now he’s doing some more Mac development and loving it.

nerdnite 7: data. data data data.

UPDATE: videos up! Prezis from the talks are available here.

The next coupla months are gonna be busy.  Just warning you.  There is going to be MUCH nerdnite-related awesomeness happening.

But for now!  Presenting nerdnite #7.

It’s about data.  All kindsa tasty data, and what we do with it, and how it affects us.  Oh, yes, and we will also have a special outro (details below).


As usual, it’s happening on a Monday – the 19th September, to be precise.  And at Club Ivy.  Also, and this is important: September 19th is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.  So don’t be surprised if you see many piratey people, and hear ‘aarrrr!’ a lot.

Aaaaand, some of our speakers for the evening are, in no particular order:


The extended mind

Matt Boyd

Traditionally materialists (i.e. those who don’t believe in spooky stuff like souls) have taken the brain to be the object of study when we want to learn about the mind. But a lot of important information processing goes on outside of the brain and outside the body. We use fingers to count and respond to our own gestures when we talk. We refer to instructions or lists we’ve made in order to remind ourselves what it is that we believe. We physically rotate objects to solve spatial rotation problems rather than doing it in our brains alone.

In many cases it is only a kind of brain-bias that prevents us from calling these information processing acts ‘thought’ and counting the external objects as parts of our minds. But, even if we resist claiming that minds are partly constituted by external objects, looking at these interactions focuses our attention on how important stuff ‘out there’ is to our thinking. We really can give someone a lobotomy by hiding their notebook and iphone, tying up their opposable thumbs, and preventing them from using written symbols. In fact there was a time when none of this was actually available to us, and we would have thought in very different ways back then. This begs the question, if minds ‘extend’ in any meaningful sense then what psychological changes will waves of new technology bring?

I will introduce the idea of the ‘extended mind’ and suggest that this way of thinking about the way we think, raises interesting questions about who owns various thoughts, and the impact of technology on our minds.

Matt has recently submitted his PhD thesis ‘As We Build Our World We Build Our Minds’ to Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests are philosophical topics in evolution and the mind. When he’s not arguing with Richard Dawkins in the academic literature, Matt enjoys writing bad philosophical fiction. After nine years in Wellington he is about to take up an academic post at the University of Auckland (the recent snow had nothing to do with this decision).

Gimme the cache!

David Preece

Computers do two things: store numbers and do things with them. Exactly how you get the numbers from storage to the coal face, and the impact this has on performance is hugely interesting. If you’re a nerd. Dave will give an overview of the situation as it stands today, how we got here and what the well dressed modern developer needs to know about caching.
David Preece is an old school computer nerd with interests in mashing lots of numbers. During the day he mashes numbers for Weta and has previously mashed numbers for audio, video and network software in a variety of different forms. He spends his evenings being amazed at how cool his family are.

Musical outro!

Zuni Preece

Zuni learned to play “Still Alive” (the outro music from best-computer-game-ever Portal – ) for a school thing and could be persuaded to play music for nerds. Maybe even with a bouncing dot over the words or something…

Bummer of a Summer? The science of seasonal forecasting

James Renwick

How come some winters start early? Why is summer a non-event some years, and a scorcher in others? Can we know these things in advance? This talk will bring you up to speed on why the climate varies from one year to the next, what’s predictable and what’s not, and will tell you everything you could possibly want to know about El Niño, La Niña, and the Southern Annular Mode.

James is a principal climate scientist at NIWA. He got interested in climate forecasting after mastering weather forecasting back in the 1980s. He’s interested in how and why the climate varies on pretty much all time scales, from days to centuries, and what the future holds for the climate of New Zealand.

Steampunk DH

Sydney Shep

Digital Humanities is an alternative approach to humanities and social science scholarship using new digital tools to reinterpret and visualise traditional data. This talk presents some of the local and international e-research projects in the humanities that move us beyond the current “Mix ‘n Mash” competitions and challenge us to think about how and why we create new knowledge.

Dr. Sydney Shep, is Senior Lecturer in Print and Book Culture at Victoria University of Welllington, NZ, and The Printer at Wai-te-ata Press, a letterpress teaching, research, and fine press publishing facility. She has been involved in humanities eResearch over the last decade from the “Print History Project: Wellington’s Book Trade 1840-2000” to the current Print Culture eResearch Hub which hosts “The Printers’ Web: Typographical Journals and Global Communication Networks,” the “NZ-Reading Experience Database,” and “The Digital Colenso,” a prosopographical collaboratorium. Sydney is currently the NZ representative for the newly established Australasian Association for Digital Humanities.