Yes, I have been busy since February! Time for a quick update/summary…

Hard to believe the last time I had a chance to update my own blog was way back in February! So much has happened since then, so old times sake I think it’s worth a quick summary! :)

First lets get some music on, Spotify’s new Discovery weekly is where its at:

Gadget Show Live

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Thanks to my excellent friend Dave, I got to go to The Gadget Show Live this year. It’s an event that has been on my calendar for a long time, and it was a fantastic tech filled day! Safe to say I saw enough tech I wanted to empty my wages for at least the next year. Fingers crossed we can have a re-union trip next year too!

Finished University

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After 4 great years in Bangor, university finally came to an end. The last few months in Bangor with my wonderful housemates was the perfect way to end things, I miss them all very much already. It was really nice to have the parents and RyRy at graduation, where I not only got my 1st class MEng (Hons) but I also scooped the prestigious Dr John Robert Jones prize for being the top non-welsh student across the entire university as well as the IET Prize for being the top engineering student! You can read all about me on Bangor’s website here.

Enjoyed a visit home

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Spent a little time at home catching up with all of my family, and enjoying some rare Northern Ireland sunshine and a trip to the zoo!

Holiday to England and then Freiburg

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Had a wonderful time exploring Cheshire with Jenny including a stop off at Beeston Castle and Jodrell Bank observatory (which is my kind of place!). Then a nice break out to Freiburg to see the wonderful Sophie with Jenny and Chris! 😀


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One of my “must visit again” locations from my childhood, with 18,000 airmiles to burn and very little time to plan, it was the obvious choice of destination. The weather wasn’t fabulous, but it was still a great trip. It’s still one of my top 5 places in the world.

Spotify – Rock Star Jam 2015

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Although my activity has taken a huge slide over recent months, the wonderful people over at Spotify where kind enough to still invite me to Rock Star Jam 2015. It was great to meet the new extended team and some familiar faces too! The 3 day trip included everything from Viking dining, to office tours, feedback sessions, demonstrations and competitive table tennis!

Old friends, new place & new job! 

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So it’s official, I’ve moved to Coventry, the new flat is all sorted and moved into and I’ve started as a Graduate Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover based at Warwick University. And I’m a student again (kinda), through the JLR graduate scheme I’m signed up to take MSc modules to enhance my development eventually leading to an MSc (all paid for!). Last weekend, I got to spend some time with two of my favourite people too! 😀

And that is me up to date I think! I won’t leave it so long next time! 😀

Opinions, Knowledge & Understanding

I have always been a great believer in the ideology that everyone is entitled to their opinion. It is something you are taught as a child that you never forget. Opinions are great things, they give you an insight into people, their thoughts, other ways of thinking, things you missed or have never thought about before. Being able to have and present opinions is a powerful tool of the human species, ultimately having opinions allows us to make decisions.

My issue with opinions is when people are misinformed. One of my biggest hates is people who push opinions upon you when they themselves don’t fully understand what they are talking about. And let’s be clear, being misinformed and presenting an opinion doesn’t make you wrong, you could be right or wrong or neutral or “I don’t really care” but people should be aware that presenting an opinion is ultimately the beginning of a social interaction in which your point of view might be challenged, and that is where things tend to go sour. It wouldn’t be unknown of me to challenge an opinion in conversation I agree with, simply because how people justify an opinion is often more interesting and telling than the opinion itself.

Real opinions should come from knowledge of the subject, as data processing engines (brains) we should form opinions based upon interpretation of facts, knowledge and understanding. So please, for my sake and for others, do some research and try not to judge or exercise opinions about things before you understand them. I know it is difficult, and it’s a rule that everyone including myself has broken countless times. We are programmed to gather facts, process for patterns and make a decision quickly, breaking that process is a challenge. Also remember rule 9: Everybody Lies. This includes the Internet which is 85% spam, 10% lies and 5% useful things.

Next time you read something online, ask yourself this question: “Who wrote this?” And using that thought, think about how even though it may be factual, that person probably has an opinion/view on what they are writing about. There are exceptions of course, but often the interesting things are what you can read between the lines.

This is of course my opinion on opinions, feel free to disagree!

Why I think National Grid have got Anglesey right.

It was reported in the news yesterday the Welsh Government can’t intervene to stop National Grid building pylons across Anglesey to connect the new Wylfa nuclear power plant to the mainland grid at Bangor. It’s a story I have been following closely since it came to my attention a few years back. This news comes after feedback from the residents that they are still unhappy with the proposed plans, even though National Grid have now agreed they will bury the cables sub-sea in the Menai Straits which was one of the key areas outlined in their original report. Ultimately, as an Engineering student I feel that this is the correct decision overall (and I haven’t seen a lot of positive comments anywhere), even though it will be disappointing news for many, let me explain why.

National Grid is a business which exists to provide the connected energy grid for the United Kingdom. They maintain a large and complex network, which is under change due to energy sources and demands, the complexity of the task they perform goes beyond what many people imagine. They have a responsibility to provide a network, which is not only cost-effective, but reliable.

We all rely on energy, which means they ultimately touch everyone’s lives in some way (unless you live in a cave or something). As a business, they have social responsibility too, they must act in a way that is sustainable and take into account the areas in which they are present. However, in a world dominated by money, cost effectiveness will always outweigh other responsibilities as long as legal requirements are met. This is exactly the reason why in my opinion, asking them to build a HVDC link from Anglesey to Deeside is nothing more than a mad dream by someone who sees the world as nothing other than perfect, it will just never happen as for National Grid, the risks far outweigh the potential benefits, in fact for them there are ultimately no benefits in doing so if they have secured permission to build pylons. Such a link not only massively complicates the distribution network, but also adds millions in costs not only to build the link but maintain/repair it in the event of a failure. Ask your inner business person what would you do? I’m pretty sure I know what the answer would be.

I will come out and say now that I agree whole heartedly with people, pylons are ugly, they scar the landscape just like roads however being someone who has grown up in a world where we take stable energy for granted, I maybe don’t notice them as much. In my eyes, they are a necessary evil. I don’t want to look at them, I don’t think anyone does, but when I get home from a long day I want to flip the switch and my kettle to work, you can’t have one without the other which is a realisation which I have come to accept.

It’s funny, people oppose almost everything to do with energy, they object to wind farms, pylons, tidal lagoons, new power stations and who am I to tell them they are wrong, but to me, they are fighting for the view of a perfect world, and that world will never exist. If history has taught us anything, it will always be a little sacrifice for the benefit of the greater good, and in this case the greater good needs those pylons, it is the only sensible way.

Happy New Year!


It might be stating the obvious, but as the clock struck midnight last night a year was completed and a brand new one started. Many people see the new year as a new beginning, me not so much, beginning of a new journal book yes, but huge personal changes no. I mentioned in a previous blog post that 2015 is bringing big changes for me, and that is true but those are more related to my career path and finishing university. I am however very excited to see what this years future holds for me and the people closest to me!

Upon reflection, 2014 was a really great year for me, I’ve met so many new people, strengthened friendships with my good friends and learned a huge amount. As long as things can continue into 2015 I will be a very happy man.

With that, I want to wish anyone reading a happy new year. I hope 2015 can be everything you want it to be.

20 facts about me (from ages ago!)

I just happened to find this list while looking for some photos to go in my New Years post (still a work in progress). Part of an Instagram trend a while back I never thought to share, until now.

1) My name is Peter Doggart
2) I have a non-identical twin called Ryan
3) I am from Belfast (Northern Ireland), however I’ve spent the last few years at University in Bangor (Wales) and I work in Jaguar Land Rover in Coventry (England) over summer – has given me a rather strange accent! #wellsosaysmumanyways
4) Whilst on the topic of university, I’m now a 4th year MEng Computer Systems Engineering student. University has been made great by my friends.
5) I live by my own set of 40 rules (and yes they are written down!), rarely shared, always followed.
6) I love music, and through Spotify have met so many amazing people and discovered new music.
7) I really appreciate good design, but I try not to have “brand loyalty” for the sake of it. If there is a better tool, use it instead.
8) I have an utter hatred for the M6 Motorway around Birmingham
9) I find it hard to relax, especially when at home – I like to be constantly busy.
10) I suffer from major “I miss the sea” syndrome when living in the West Midlands having always lived close to it at home and at university.
11) I have represented my country (NI) in international Karate.
12) I have a huge array of names that I will respond to after years of training by my friends: Peter, Pedro, Pepe, Pepandra, Potato, Migit, Small Fry…. The list goes on.
13) I have wonderful international friends too.
14) I very much enjoy driving late at night when the roads are quiet and you have time to enjoy driving a bit.
15) I am generally happy.
16) Despite what my friends say, I really enjoy coffee not just for the caffeine. (And I have given it up for lent to prove it is not an addiction)
17) I find it almost impossible to answer questions like “What is your favourite film?” because those sorts of questions are always subjective to my mood. I do however tend to watch both Taken films back to back if feeling sad. #everyonedieshappyending
18) Some of my university work is published in the Journal of Applied Physics. #excitingtimes
19) I have massively flat feet (which I should probably do more to look after) which sometimes causes me huge knee pain when running.
20) I’m not a huge fan of watching sport, the one exception is F1 which I have followed religiously for the last few years.

“Change is inevitable. Change is constant.”

“Change is inevitable. Change is constant.” is a quote from Benjamin Disraeli, a man who served twice as British Prime Minister during the 1800’s. It may be an old quote (one I always remember), but he was onto something. Change is a process of nature, it is something that happens all of the time and can’t be put on hold. Without change, where would we be?

All of the above is true, but that doesn’t mean change, or even being able to accept change is easy, in fact it is something I sometimes struggle with; and I’m not afraid to admit that. Lately, I’ve had some time to think about the future holds for me, and there is a lot of change on the horizon. I’m excited, proud, happy, anxious and a little scared all at the same time.

So 2015, a new chapter in my life journal titled “The Year of Change”.

The end of the university lifestyle I have come to know and love is rapidly approaching. Final semester is lined up to be a good one though, the final plans for teaching presentation skills to first year students are in the works, which I guess is my opportunity to give something back to the University that has given me so much over the past 4 years not only in terms of education but support, awards, financial help and friendships. I definitely will not hesitate to tell anyone that asks how great my experience at Bangor University has been.

In other big news for 2015, I have accepted a graduate role at Jaguar Land Rover in September which I am super excited about. I’ve really enjoyed spending my summers working for a world leading company and I have no doubt moving to a permanent role will be even better. Being based in the West Midlands, it suddenly dawned on me as I signed my contracts that this means a serious change, ultimately moving to a new place away even further away from my family and possibly away from my friends. The friends I have made at university mean a lot to me, my house mates especially and if I’m honest I don’t want to leave them – at the end of the day they never fail to make me smile!

Also been thinking a bit about holidays, my last proper abroad summer break at more than 5 years ago (I did have a sneaky trip to Colorado last Easter), and as much as I love holidaying in the UK, I quite fancy doing some worldwide exploring somewhere warm. Researching destinations is definitely something on my Christmas holiday to-do:whilst-not-revising list.

With all of these changes going on, and just generally being more busy it makes me very sad knowing my time as one of the top members of the Spotify Community is coming to an end (although I definitely won’t be completely quitting!). Since I joined the team in 2012 it has grown into something so much more than a support forum, but a real community of music and technology lovers. Take my word for it when I say with experience of seeing Spotify’s offices and meeting their staff as an outsider that the people are some of the finest I have ever met, and that same quality of people exist on the Spotify Community too. A prime example of how great people can change an entire industry and I am proud to have played a role in that, even if it is a small one!

You know, if someone had of asked me a few years ago what I wanted to do with my life, I would have been so very happy to work for a software company like Spotify, after all that is a huge part of what I enjoy and I am sure I would enjoy it. However, I don’t think I would ever be truly happy in myself now, I moved into Engineering because I wanted to change things, push myself, I want to be able to make a difference, I want to be able to do something big – but what that is I don’t know yet!

“The future is what you make it.” is one of my 40 lifetime rules, and I plan to make it how I want it. The fear of change is exactly that, and I am sure I will find happiness on the other side.

When people say ridiculous things.

Taylor Swift recently pulled her content from Spotify as has been widely reported. Yesterday, she finally spoke out about her actions to Yahoo Music. I just wanted to pass comment on a few things she said in her interview regarding music streaming.

If I had streamed the new album, it’s impossible to try to speculate what would have happened. But all I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment.

Ok, maybe she has a point on this one streaming is a bit of an experiment but is it a necessary one? I think it is, before streaming became mainstream (and it is still happening) as a general trend record sales are falling and the music industry as a whole generates less income. Streaming services have made a lot of people who previously would have simply pirated content a cost effective way of paying for content, and that is extra money that would not have been passed back to the record labels, song writers and artists previously. Let’s be clear, the music industry was ruined way before streaming was invented, so streaming I believe is part of the solution not the problem.

And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.

I’m interested to know does she hold the same morals for everything. Lets think of free to view TV channels which are advert supported just like the Free Spotify tier. Are they “fair” on the people who make the shows?

I felt like I was saying to my fans, “If you create music someday, if you create a painting someday, someone can just walk into a museum, take it off the wall, rip off a corner off it, and it’s theirs now and they don’t have to pay for it.”

This is the worst sentence of the interview. Let’s go with the painting idea and draw comparisons to how music streaming works. So I make a painting, I have two options to make money from it, I either sell it to someone (ownership) or I display it somewhere and make money from people viewing it (licensing). For purpose of argument, I have an infinite amount of identical paintings to sell to people just like with music downloads. Ownership is the easy option, I sell my painting to someone and get a lump sum (one-off) payment from them. They then keep my painting and I never see them again. If I decide to license my painting, lets say to a museum that acts like a music streaming site, I give them the painting and they display it for me. I then get paid every time someone views my painting, so ultimately I get money slower but for much longer (in fact as long as they display the painting for). The analogy given in the quote above is ridiculous, at no point does anyone on a streaming service own anything, they can’t simply run away with a part of it. If you tried to rip a corner of any painting in a music I am pretty sure you would get arrested and have a huge bill to pay for. The fact of the matter is they do have to pay for it, streaming services cost money (or they generate money through advertising), it’s just not money in the same way as it has been historically made in the music industry.

Evolution has taught us adapt or die out, I have a feeling the same thing is coming in the music industry too.