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No SnagZ Ltd

Software Design

Shaw Marston

Shawn Marston

Director. No SnagZ Ltd.

It was at the age of Four, stood watching F-111s take-off, outside the wire of an Air Base in East Anglia, that Shawn suddenly professed "Daddy, I want to do that!" "Whats that son?""Go 'rooooaaaaarrrrrr whhhoooosssshhhhhh', like those 'planes." this statement was accompanied by an appropriate hand gesture, and so a dream was born.Some 20 years later that dream was realised, but with more of a 'brrrrrrrr sigh' as his mighty C-130 Hercules lumbered into the sky with Shawn at the controls, as a qualified RAF Pilot.

Shawn has been writing software in various part-time projects since the late 80’s. Having left University to become a full-time RAF pilot in 1990, software design, in particular Human-Machine Interfaces, has taken much of his ‘free’ time. Frequently known as “Super Geek”, on the Squadron, Shawn has continually combined IT and aviation knowledge to benefit all by easing the processes and working practices to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Whilst on a ‘Ground Tour’ at the RAF Transport Head Quarters, Shawn worked with Jeppesen and other companies to design and implement an industry leading Boeing Operational Control System (BOCS). During this time, as a by-product of the final-year project and dissertation of his Degree in IT and Computing, specialising in Software Design, Shawn started a company producing software to handle clearances for military aircraft: Military Aircraft Diplomatic Clearance Organisational Work-tool (MADCOW), although the client changed their mind before final deployment so the company was closed again. However, this was invaluable experience into the whole life cycle of a product, and all of the ancillary skills of starting a small business.

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Despite the unwavering support and understanding of his family, after nearly 20 years of trying to balance flying aeroplanes, messing about with computers and family life, Shawn decided that spending months away from home, camping in the ‘sand-pit’ and being 'shot at' was not such a great adventure. So, in order to spend more time with his wonderful wife, June, and their two remarkable sons: Michael and Jonathan, they decided that he should try his hand at civil aviation.

After leaving the RAF to fly business jets around Europe, for the rich and famous, and moving to live in a large french farmhouse in search of ‘the good life’, we even bought a ‘working dog’: Badger, to control the rodent population. And all was good with life…for a while.

However, the ‘credit crunch’ and economic crisis prompted Shawn to take two sabbatical years off from flying. The newly launched iPhone OS rekindled his passion for software design, and was the obvious choice of alternate activity for this year. So much for MORE time with the family!

Graduation

During this time, he attended the Gamer Camp Nano, a 4 week intensive course focusing on iPhone Games development, at the New Technology Institute of Birmingham City Uni. After releasing a couple of niche apps (Skyshare & axS-Music) into the App Store, Shawn started to think about ‘the next big thing’, but it eluded him. Thereafter, for a number of reasons, the family were compelled to return to the UK. Shawn recommenced playing Bridge, his next App project being the Bridge Buddy scoring app (to be completed), and decided to get involved in the RAF cadet organisation, in some role, as yet to be decided. And all was good with life again.

Then, serendipity conspired to bring Shawn & Jon together, and so Good-2-Go? (an iPad App for tracking pilot training recency periods) was born. After a great deal of design refinement, usability testing and many, many Friday lunch meetings, and far too little time spent with family, this morphed into WarningZ…and so the story continues…

Apr 15

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