Weeknotes 10

11th March 2019 – 17th March 2019

A variable week as I got back on the school run wagon, and juggled various projects.

Client work

Tuesday involved a day at the Skiff so Laura and I could work on a Google Cloud Talent Solution integration for a recruitment client. I rediscovered how awkward Googles interface is for their IAM section, but at least they’d fixed some problems it was having at the end of last week.

The server replacement project for another client is finally going ahead, which will suck up the time I have allocated for that client next week. Moving their sites shouldn’t be a massive job, but I have had my fill of that already this year! Still, it needs to be done, and such is freelancing life sometimes.

I also helped a client with setting up Facebook pixel tracking on their site and hoped to get tracking on particular links being clicked working, but am having problems with the way we update their pages. We use TinyMCE to allow them to post formatted text easily, but when I try to add in some small bits of Javascript and an onclick to a link, TinyMCE strips both out and there doesn’t seem to be an easy way around this – all searching has lead to people suggesting changes to the TinyMCE core file, which I’d rather avoid as it’ll break whenever it is upgraded. So I need to spend some more time researching that and finding a workaround.

One of my long term wishes is to have social sharing links which don’t involve running a lump of Javascript from services like AddThis, as they are often selling access data to networks tracking people across lots of sites to build up behavioural data. I managed to put a bit of work in to setting up direct links to the sharing boxes of Twitter, Facebook etc, but I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get the user experience particularly good at this point so I may have to abandon the changes.

This lead me on to discover that Twitter’s ‘TwitterCards’, the preview they give of the page you link to in a tweet, had stopped working for one of my clients. After some investigation it is because Twitter’s crawler which reads the meta data holding the card on your site is very twitchy about SSL settings, unlike the other big social networks. It doesn’t like the SSL setup we’ve got on the old Windows server the site is on. As the site is about to move, I’m going to revisit this after the move in case just upgrading to a newer IIS fixes it.

Also on was some stressful things I don’t think I can talk about publicly yet. And finally, some chased overdue invoice money appeared, which is always a good thing.

My projects

I failed to fix image uploading to this blog. I thought it might be the security plugin getting in the way, but disabling it made no difference. I tried to install another version of WordPress in another directory, that had the same problem. Different WordPress sites on the same hosting do not have the problem. Permissions on the files look right. Currently, I’m stuck.

I published How to become a UK freelancer on the Farm site, and to the /r/freelanceuk subreddit. The article answers a question I/we’ve received quite often over the years and I saw pop up on a forum recently. I’m gladdened to see the HMRC now allows you a long time to register as self employed, when I went freelance it was easy to miss the deadline if you didn’t know about it as it was only a matter of weeks. Now you’ve got many months in which to register correctly.


Was not quite where I wanted it to be, but not too bad. I think I have the start of a cold that’s going around my area, which has knocked things a bit, combined with some stress, and a bundle of school runs. I’m still adjusting to working out where my productivity should be considering I’m now missing a chunk of my work days.

An increase in hip pain towards the end of the week was knocking things as well. I had this last week and thought it was due to carrying my computer back and forth to the Skiff in my rucksack, now I’m not so sure. I’m adding some physio exercises in to my days to try and keep on top of it.


A useful amount of time on 30×500 this week, which was great. I’ve been studying how to match the language I write help in with the particular language of the people I’m writing it for. Interesting and something I’m going to have to practise a lot to get good at.

The Farm

There were 18 of us at the meeting this week. My notes were…

  • Brexit votes
  • Putting sites live on time
  • Being paid from abroad
  • 3D printing
  • Learning as procrastination
  • Paying solicitors extra just to get them to do their job
  • Larachat – very good for Laravel
  • Brighton Python group
  • The pain of waiting for a visa
  • Boustrophedon (e.g. Braille)
  • Devops on Digital Ocean VPS
  • Learning how the brain works through brain damage
  • Writing up projects to show your experience
  • Are what we can conceive limited by our language?
  • Fishing

I felt I had to nag one of our members quite a lot as he’s suffering from feeling he needs to learn more and more of a framework rather than concentrating on getting in client work. He’s very intelligent and capable, and will do a good job when he finds the work, so I feel this is a version of procrastination. And one I’m effectively guilty of in other areas, so it’s a conversation I need to have with myself too.


My son spent a night away with the school, which was great for us! It was very odd not having him thumping around upstairs when he’s supposed to be getting to sleep. I’m not sure he particularly enjoyed it but it’s an important part of him becoming more independent, and generally we only hear the complaints about school life so I’m hoping there was plenty he did enjoy we haven’t heard about yet.

Reading: I’m slowly progressing through The Powerbook by Jeanette Winterson. I’m not gelling with it so far, but am going to persevere for a bit longer. I think part of the problem is I’m trying to read it when I’m very tired and I’m missing some of the subtext.

Writing with: A Pilot G-Tec-C4 0.4, a very smooth, fine writer. It’s been great and I was running down to the end of this one as it was almost empty and I was hoping to finish it off, but now I think the ball has come out of the end of the nib as it won’t write unless I blow down the end of the refill. This may be related to my son nabbing it for some drawing, but he’s not heavy handed enough for that to be a problem. I was using the rubber grip from an old Zebra Z-Grip Max to cover the horrible grip of the G-Tec, which you could use as a grater, which has shifted me over to a working Z-Grip for next week.

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