tombola careers
tombola careers


re Invent 2021 part 2


re:Invent 2021 outside the talks

Posted by Ryan Coates
There was plenty of fun to be had outside the talks and honestly, I was blown away with everything on offer and couldn’t hope to see everything.

Outside of talks?



The AWS bugbust was a lot of fun, Amazon CodeGuru (basically a code analyser) has reviewed a large codebase and spat out a huge number of “bugs”. Developers could just grab said bugs and bust them; they were all pretty small low effort fixes that tend to litter a larger codebase. I enjoyed the gamification, having a leader board and encouraging platform was fun. I think it would be an engaging and enjoyable process to include in the team. We could get a list of low effort bugs, the ones that sit in the backlog deprioritised until they bite us and plough through them in a couple of days.



Loads of cool IOT at the builder’s fair one of particular note was the automated beer brewing. As an avid homebrewer this piqued my interest, disappointingly I can’t seem to find a blog on the project, but I will try and summarise.


Brewing beer is basically four steps

  1. Mash – the process of extracting fermentable sugars from your grains by steeping in water
  2. Boil – boiling the sweet wort (extracted fermented sugary liquid) and adding hops at different times to add flavour and bitterness.
  3. Ferment – the process where yeast turns sugar into alcohol
  4. Condition – the painful period needed after fermentation for the beer to clear and flavours to mature

The automations were really focused on the fermentation process, a Bluetooth float was added to the fermenting beer this regularly sent data about the progress of fermentation by measuring the thickness of the liquid (sugar is thicker than alcohol). This data was then sent via a raspberry pie to AWS IOT core, which sends the data via a lambda to a database, you can then use Graphana to visualise the data and see in real time from anywhere how your beer is doing. The temperature is also measured in a similar way and a head pad is triggered when the temperature drops below a threshold. Finally, a pump is triggered when the beer reaches its target gravity and it can be automatically transferred to a keg or secondary fermenter. So really you could set this up so you get the beer fermenting and come back to finished beer.

Well, this is all quite interesting it’s doesn’t do anything to solve the real problem with homebrewing, cleaning.

There are some really fun use cases for IoT core, keep an eye out here for re:invent 2021 builders fair projects

Gameday: Secure legends

We had a really good time at the gameday, it’s a scenario based free for all of a workshop. We were presented with a fictitious business and AWS account that had not invested at all in security or good practices. We needed to work in a team to rapidly fix all the issues.

The gamification made it really fun and working and coordinating in a team really helped us progress and enjoy the experience. I spend the majority of my time debugging and fixing a ruby on rails codebase and improving a devilishly destructive ci/cd pipeline.

We did chat about the possibility of running one of these in the office, they were fun and provider some real-world hands-on learning. Sometimes workshops can feel very paint by numbers this was free flow chaos!

Outside the conference we had an incredible time! Las Vegas is an incredible and ridiculous city, I spend a good portion of the week wondering around the strip slack jawed staring at the lights, fountains, fire and madness! There were loads of sponsored events we popped along to on the evenings, failing to hit golf balls at top golf and enjoying the beer and views at Beerpark to name a few.

Re:Play is the after party and of course the scale was ridiculous, there were loads of activities  like dodgeball, arcade games and a silent disco as well as live music which blew my mind.


While I learned a good amount and had some really good chats with others in my industry at re:invent I maintain the real value of getting away for a conference is to be in a work mindset outside of work. Being away and chatting to other members of the team is really invigorating, I’ve come back completely amped to make the world a better place!

It was a blast, great going away with some great people I really don’t chat to enough, what an incredible perk to get away like this, I am spoilt rotten at tombola!!


Also I met Marshall so my son Dylan was happy!

 Marshall in Vegas

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