Speaker Spotlight: ‘Today’s Special: Apache Tika Masala!’ with Dan Conn

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Apache Tika is an awesome open-source tool which can be used for search indexing, sentiment analysis, detecting the true mime type of a file, or language detection. But Tika can also add some spice to a workflow by helping to highlight threats.

At Brighton JUG, Dan Conn showcased Tika’s general use cases and how developers can benefit from its use, but also how it can be used for finding threats in file metadata or content, which may benefit more experienced developers working in security realms.

Read on to find out more about Dan and his talk…

Can you tell us a bit about you and the work that you do…

I’m a developer advocate for Sonatype! I like to give talks on my previous ten years experience as a developer and also my history in cyber security to help others. Through this work I also have been able to help open source projects and also get feedback on Sonatype products, if anyone has any.

What was the inspiration for your recent talk?

I love using Apache Tika and it has been a tool I’ve used a lot in my career. It was great to highlight some good ways it can be used.

Any key highlights / takeaways for anyone who missed it?

You can extract metadata from files, use it for basic file forensics, and also by running through a block list of words help it improve your data security.

Did you come up through a “traditional” techie route or has your career taken twists and turns along the way?

Well, I started as a nightclub DJ originally although I had an old 8086 computer at home when everyone had 486 machines so had to learn to code to use it.

But I didn’t really know that could be a job. When I was a DJ I built my own website, then did some for local bands but thought of it as a hobby. So when the DJing ended I worked for 7 years doing car garage admin until one day I started studying IT and computing with the Open University. I then started working as a software dev ten years ago. Three months in to the job I got hacked, so learnt about cyber security around the same time and took a Postgraduate Certificate on Advanced Security and Digital Forensics with Edinburgh Napier a few years back.

Is there a moment that helped define your career?

I think having a friend convince me that I didn’t have to wait till I had completed my OU degree to start looking for dev work. It gave me the confidence to try things.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Make sure you study maths a bit stronger because the DJing will end, but you’ll also have loads of fun doing it!

What’s your big tech prediction for 2023?

Developers take cyber security much more seriously as legislation makes them more liable if they don’t.

Silicon Brighton wouldn’t be here without people like you giving back to the community so… what does the word community mean to you?

Community to me means people helping each other, exchanging ideas and making things better.

Anything else you would like to share?

Feel free to say hi on Twitter at @danjconn or my website danconn.dev or check out the articles from the Sonatype Developer Relations Team at dev.sonatype.com


Missed Dan’s talk or want to watch it again? Check it out here…

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