Monthly Archives: March 2019

Weeknotes 8

25th February 2019 – 3rd March 2019

A bit of a tough week due to a low level cold, hip pain and jumping between different projects.

Client work

I finished investigating alternative hosts for a client and working out a way to reduce money on a replacement server from their current provider. There was also a batch of minor updates for another client, testing work done by others, and boiling down a complex SQL query in to business-speak for someone. I’ll probably be meeting the latter client next week to work out any changes he’d like to the thing Laura and I have been working on for him. Plus, I finished using my app to do a large Google Ads search terms check for an ongoing client.

All of this was a bit of a battle as I’m feeling rough with what I think is a low level cold, and had more pain from my dodgy hip than usual. Quite annoying.

My projects

A couple of small updates while I was using my app on the client work, and adding SSL to an old project so I could have it monitor how well something I was going to post to the Farm site was doing. That was delayed from before as my old URL re-writing system was getting in the way of Let’s Encrypt checking the site using a hidden URL which my re-writing was grabbing and sending to a 404 page.

On the feeding-in-to-learning front, I posted a small educational article to the Farm’s website – How to stop worrying about a client “blacklisting” you – following the 30×500 process. It is surprising how many mental blocks I seemed to have about posting it given I’ve posted plenty of similar pieces in the past, but I got it done, through a splitting headache I had all Friday, and am now planning out several more pieces.

I asked on the Farm mailing list if people wanted me to write anything specific for the site and while the replies are useful and I’ve filed them away for future use, it really brought home to me the benefit of the early part of the 30×500 process. It teaches you to spot problems people are having them and specifically solve one, small thing to start with. A lot of the suggestions I received from the list are big problems to write up solutions for, which can cause paralysis in the planning and writing. Focusing on something small and getting it done is a great way to start and build some momentum, while helping people along the way.

Productivity, or lack of it

Part of my problems with work recently have been getting enough done in the time I have available. I’ve remembered talking this through with Simon quite recently and realising I needed to block out longer time for each project, whether a client or my own one and that I’ve lapsed from doing this. In the coming week I’m going to try and get back to working that way and see if it makes any difference.

I am using The Skiff coworking space a lot next week as Katie can handle all of the school runs, so I’m taking the chance to be Skiff ‘Captain’ for the week. I’ll also have longer to work on everything I need to get done, so hopefully that will help productivity.


Only a small amount of new learning within 30×500 this week as I was mainly using the time to research what I should be writing, then writing up the piece.

The Farm

There were 17 of us at the meeting this week. My notes were…

  • Brexit (too early in the meeting!)
  • Is Brexit having a dampening effect on available work?
  • How much are the industries your clients are in going to be affected by Brexit?
  • How to take on work from other countries successfully
  • Cutting down on meat for ecological reasons
  • Trying to make non-technical clients see the benefits of cleaning up old code
  • Mutual project catch up
  • Buying decent glasses (specs)
  • Creating something that helps thousands of people (e.g. software to control grinding lenses)
  • The illusion of choice
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Carting trip? Carting trip!
  • Cases for automation
  • How to sell automation without being too technical about it
  • Levels of abstraction in code

Reading: The Three Electroknights by Stanisław Lem. Beautifully written/translated set of four short stories. Been going slowly as I’ve been feeling rough.

Writing with: Mainly back on a Papermate Inkjoy Liquid 0.5 needle point this week, as an easy default for a smooth, black writer.