Weeknotes 9

4th March 2019 – 10th March 2019

A full week working in Brighton and being Skiff Captain, and a bit too much client work.

Client work

A chunk of the week was investigating problems with one client site, which kept slowing down to the point it would be completely unresponsive. I’m not sure we’re quite to the bottom of all of the problems yet, but two of them were a set of nested loops calculating something for their home page which needed separating out in to something that could run occasionally and be cached, and some old code left in a very heavily used Controller which was accessing a newly rebuilt table and storing lots of data in memory unnecessairly.

I discovered the new server the site is running on has a “php-slow” log, which has been very helpful in tracking down problems. It list the processes behind any script that’s taking more than a few seconds to complete, and where it is in a script it’s running when it passes that time.

Also in client work, there was setting up a Twitter developer account for an integration Laura and I have been working on for another site. The client having used many of their email addresses for other Twitter accounts meant I was stalling out on finding an email address they could use for their nominated account as Twitter only wants one account per email address. In this case I often use + in an email address to make a new looking email, e.g. paul+wibble@paulsilver.co.uk, which Twitter accepts fine. Unfortunately the client is using Outlook365, which doesn’t support this format. In the end I registered a new Gmail account for it, although long term the client might get another email address set up themselves.

Plus, a few meetings, planning the next lumps of a couple of projects, and general work stuff that’s not very interesting.

My projects

No where near enough time on my projects this week, I planned out some articles for the Farm website, but did not get any written as the urgency of my client’s server problems swamped everything else.


Scheduling bigger blocks of time as mentioned last week does seem to be working. Further gains were probably down to Katie having a week off and handling all the school runs and after school time for our son, so I had a lot more work time than usual.


Once again, not enough time on 30×500 this week, this time because of not handling my client time right. I’m going to reserve some bigger blocks of time for this next week

Skiff Captain

The coworking space I use in Brighton has a volunteer position called the ‘Captain’ where a coworker helps out as part of The Skiff. As I could be in a lot during the week, I took the chance to be Captain as I hadn’t done it for a few months. I’m going to post about my first and second Captaincy’s separately, but the short version is: did less than before, felt the lower stress route was a bit more enjoyable.

The Farm

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

  • Deep React.js chat
  • Dan Abrinov’s React stuff is brilliant
  • Getting fed up with a client
  • Udemy courses – variable but some are great
  • Decorating
  • Lots of people still want to meet the people they’re going to have work for them
  • Going freelance on the side of full time work
  • Slow solicitors
  • Taking opportunities when they occur
  • Server problems
  • Has Brighton been ruined by remote landlords?
  • Climate change and Dubai
  • Managers not being able to cope with known unknowns in project planning
  • Digital nomadism as a coping strategy for Brexit
  • Finding work via networking
  • Are there any good freelancer platforms?

Family life

Along with the usual family life, Tom went in for an air rifle shooting competition between all the local Cubs packs. He only tried shooting for the first time a few weeks ago (which I managed to miss off of my weeknotes.) It went well, in that most pellets hit the target, and he enjoyed it.

Boy shooting an air rifle with instructor nearby

Reading: Finished The Three Electroknights, which were odd and beautiful stories. Started The Powerbook by Jeanette Winterson, although I’m not sure it’s going to stick. The cover of the version I’m reading is rather less racy than the one linked on Goodreads, probably because I got it from the library.

Writing with: J Herbin rollerball, loaded with Diamine Chocolate Brown ink. Good, if a bit scratchy sometimes depending on the paper.

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