James Padolsey

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Latest: December 2023, taking on new projects.

Consultant & Software Engineer:

I have seventeen years of experience as a software engineer spanning work in companies like Stripe, Facebook, Twitter and others. For the last two years, however, I have focused my work on Generative AI: building proofs-of-concept, doing independent research, and working with organizations who are either ready to implement or cautiously exploring applications in this new landscape. If you're looking for some help in this area, even just an exploratory converstation, please read more about what I offer here and email me when you're ready: [email protected]

Background: I was born in the UK, though tend to spend most of my time abroad. I've worked as a self-taught software engineer for companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Stripe, Nokia, and others. Iโ€™ve also volunteered both domestically and abroad with organisations like Red Cross and Code Club. I have most enjoyed opportunities where I can either use my technical knowledge for social impact or enable others to do so via education and mentorship.

Around 2017, after growing frustrated at the social distance that software creates, I started to drift away from software engineering as a role and explore other avenues. Alongside writing a book, I decided to finally pursue another interest of mine: healthcare. I wanted to have more direct contact with real problems, remove myself from behind the screen and feel more attached to other humans. I pursued a degree in paramedicine with St Georgeโ€™s University. However, in December 2019, in an unexpected irony, I suffered a stroke which has left me partially disabled and unable to continue my paramedic training.

My experience of a brain injury and the subsequent challenges have helped to channel my ambitions and regulate a gentle return to technology, but this time, on my terms. This isnโ€™t to sugar-coat things though; having a stroke sucks. Itโ€™s left me with a bunch of challenges, including epilepsy (which is a bitch!), but also a more focused idea of what is most important to me.


โš–๏ธ "Parse The Bill"

ParseTheBill makes proposed legislation (parliamentary bills) in the UK more accessible for engaged citizens and advocacy groups who want to stay informed but don't have time to read full legal texts. It's very experimental. Read more about its implementation here.


๐Ÿ“œ The Minimalist Wiki

The Minimalist Wiki (wiki.a.foo) uses existing Wikipedia articles, ChatGPT 3.5-turbo and MidJourney to generate simplified and ~mostly aesthetically consistent imagery. This is an experiment to see if educational material can be automatically generated to tailor to specific audiences and aesthetics.


๐Ÿฝ Pippy: A Disability Chatbot

Pippy is an AI chatbot that helps disabled UK residents navigate and advocate for their disability needs in workplaces, schools, and social contexts. It also helps people fill out their PIP (disability benefit) forms and discover resources, charities and communities.


๐Ÿ“— "Clean Code in JavaScript"

A few years ago I wrote a book about "Clean Code in JavaScript". It's a slightly opinionated and heavy exploration of what we even mean by โ€œclean codeโ€, but oriented towards JavaScript and its surrounding eco-system. I was always bothered by the elusive fuzziness of the term โ€œclean codeโ€, and wanted to reflect on things Iโ€™d learned in the previous decade. Buy it here: "Clean Code in JavaScript"


๐Ÿ’พ Historic Code

I've contributed to various open-source projects and created a bunch of useful utilities over the years. Take a look on Github. I've also written blog posts ranging topics from JavaScript to more opinionated pieces on software architecture. You can find an archive of these posts here. I also have contributed heavily to StackOverflow in the past.


๐Ÿง  Disability

My recent brain injury has left me reflecting on the ableism normalized throughout workplaces and wider society. I am, as such, actively trying to advocate more for disability rights and topics like chronic illness and mental health. Please read my article, โ€œDisability: Models, Cultures, Perceptions and the Path to Inclusivity.โ€


๐Ÿ“š A Book Like Foo

A Book Like Foo is a book recommendation platform. It will discover books tailored to specific tastes and themes, selected from hundreds of thousands of titles. It builds recommendation from a graph database containing millions of books and co-affections between those books. It uses a modified collaborative filtering approach giving (sometimes) surprisingly solid results. Also see its cousin Love Your Shelf and Break The Bubble.


๐Ÿค– Grok.foo

Grok.foo is an experimental tech wiki for multiple audiences; young, old, professionals, students โ€“ even caters to the grumpy cynic. It was generated with LLMs.


To email me: [String.fromCharCode(106), 'j11y.io'].join('@')