Monthly Archives: June 2019

Weeknotes 22: 3rd June – 9th June 2019

Client work

Another week of changes for existing client sites, and a bit of social media promotion after sending out a newsletter for a client. One thing about the promotion was we have various messages from different departments going out to Twitter. Some of them are amusing and/or scary images of people doing industrial work in a very risky manner, which I bulk load in to their site then have them get released daily on to the site and then shared on Twitter. They’re used partly to amuse their customers who know what they are doing, but also as reminders to watch what you are doing at work to make sure you’re not making the same mistakes.

We do a similar thing for their news – it all gets loaded on to the site by their branding chap, then he and I build an email newsletter from it, then I schedule the stories to be fed out on Twitter daily over the start of the month.

Some of their news stories are about health and safety court cases in the UK, and they are grim reading – the results of cases where someone has been seriously injured or died as their workplace hasn’t been safe enough. While scheduling these in Tweetdeck, I fortunately realised we should not be sending out the amusing warning images to Twitter on the same day, their scheduling is a bit random and it would be very bad form to be reading about someone’s untimely death, shortly followed up with a picture of some grinning idiot doing something stupid on a work site. So, I nipped in to the database and rescheduled the pictures to go on different days to the grim stories.

So what’s the upshot of all this? It’s just a warning that while scheduling things to be released on social media is a great time saver, so great for the client as they save money, you need to think about what is released when. It’s a great way to make a company look bad as you haven’t considered everything that might come out in the same few hours.

Two more things came up to do with social media this week. The first was one of the news stories for this customer was about Brexit and the effect of it in their industry. In the end I did not set that for sharing on Twitter, as I did not want the company to be handling the knee jerk reactions and trolling that anything about Brexit seems to attract. This saddens me, as I’ve enjoyed Twitter for a long time, but for the last few years the community I like there has definitely dropped off and I think dealing with random people (or bots) acting like dicks when you put out a comment for your friends is a big part of the problem. Me not sharing a completely legitimate, non-confrontational story from a client there is all part of the drop off.

And finally, another client has recently changed their logo slightly to include a strapline under the logo and wanted this to come up in messages when they send text messages (SMS) to their customers. I worked out the SMS app on their phone was following the links sent in their text messages and taking the sharing logo used in the OpenGraph meta data of their HTML pages. The strapline was getting partly cut off due to the space the app gave for the image to be shown.

Unfortunately, resizing the logo and strapline within the image to fix this would also affect how the logo shows on Facebook and LinkedIn, which use the same OpenGraph tags to bring in information to the previews of shared links. After some back and forth we decided to go back to the logo without the strapline, which happened to fit more nicely in to the space and meant we could have a consistent logo on all the shares. As it is only slightly different to the one on the website, I don’t think anyone is going to notice the difference and think it is a problem.

My Projects

I found a competitor for my Brisk app that has in parts a very similar interface, and staff from the company are quite active in various places I was hoping to be able to promote my app. This, the realisation of just how much I still need to do on it and the lack of sleep has made me stutter a bit on the project. To try and get my motivation up, and also to get to launch something, I did some work to fix the app I use to compile up who to thank on Twitter when they’ve retweeted Farm messages.

That involved fixing some code Laura wrote for me so I could get tweet threading working again, and I amended the Javascript (originally written by Sky) to make it more clear which of the retweeters is selected, and to make it easy to bulk select people since the last thanks message sent. Sky’s code was very easy to work with, which was great as I don’t do a lot of Javascript programming.

Productivity

Sleep started badly, but got a bit better right at the end of the week. I think potentially hay fever has been affecting my sleep. I only get it for a short time at the start of the season, and didn’t think it was particularly bad this year, but realised I was getting stuffy. Since taking some hay fever medication I’m sleeping better, which is great.

As I got more sleep, my productivity did jump up a chunk, so hopefully that will continue next week.

Learning

A little more 30×500, running through some reviewing material and then working on a list-style article for the Farm.

The Farm

Attendance back up to 17, and once again at the Caxton Arms. My notes were…

  • The bottom end of site building work has gone to Wix/Squarespace
  • Design process
  • Shopify
  • Rack mounted kit that’s too narrow – how?!
  • Car trouble
  • Looka.com logos
  • Car leasing – time to go electric?
  • Client lock in (in a nice way)
  • Email marketing and building templates
  • SPF/DKIM records to deal with bounceback spam
  • Cheers
  • American vs British TV shows
  • American vs British food
  • Packaging design
  • Drupal migrations
  • Reducing confusing language
  • Test data – sweary or not?
  • What will we be doing in 20 years?

Family

Katie had to work a lot of the weekend so I was looking after Tom. On Sunday we went to a playground at the top of the beach in Worthing, then down on to the beach as the tide was waaay out. It really lets you see why the Shoreham-Lancing-Worthing area is popular with kitesurfers – there’s not a lot to hit under the water when you come off your board.

Worthing beach when the tide is very out

A chunk of the rest of the weekend was cutting down things and digging up weeds in part of the garden so I could properly plant the tomatoes. Still plenty to do in the garden over the coming weeks, but hopefully it’ll be nice for when BBQ season really kicks in.

Reading: Finished The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. It was fun and had good characters, but didn’t quite hit top marks for me. Still, more than good enough that I’m looking forward to reading it’s sequel, which I’ll probably keep for when we go on holiday in the summer.

Writing in: I started a plain Notables A5 notebook, with a slightly furry cover. This is a cheap notebook that I got from the Range and it’s nice enough, but feathers a lot (ink spreads out) when using fountain pens, so I’m mainly using a Papermate Inkjoy Needlepoint in it at the moment.

Writing with: a mixture of the Platignum Studio fountain pen I started last week and the aforementioned Papermate. Both good for different things.

Weeknotes 21: 27th May 2019 – 2nd June 2019

27th May 2019 – 2nd June 2019

A busy work week

Client work

Lots of changes for two of my onrunning clients, but nothing particularly write about within it. For another I was doing Google Ads (Adwords) and more social media work, and looking back at what search terms they’ve received traffic for through Google Ads which I could then write content around to try and get them more visitors from normal search results.

My Projects

I used the alpha version of my app for some client work and have realised the page where you make negative keywords is more confusing now the suggestions are coming in. I’m pondering on how to change that without having to re-do the whole page. I think putting some thin lines between each chosen search term might be enough, so I need to put that in and see how it feels in use.

Productivity

Sleep started out OK, then went downhill as my brain decided 5am was a good time to wake up and not get back to sleep for several days in a row. This has happened before when I’ve been consistently worken up by my son at particular times of the night – eventually my brain decides that’s the time I’m supposed to wake up. I’m not sure how to fix it, but it has faded off before.

Katie had the week off to spend with Tom over half term, so I had full work days for the whole week. This meant I got a lot more done, apart from on Thursday which was knocked by really bad sleep.

Learning

I continued with 30×500, finishing a lesson on understanding my audience’s underlying worldviews and attitudes and how to look at which of mine overlap with them.

The Farm

Attendance was only 12 on a cold and drizzly night. As usual we met in the Caxton Arms. My notes were…

  • Growing your own food
  • Interviews
  • Boris Johnson to go to court over £350m lies
  • Chris Gibson’s security podcast
  • Brexit
  • Splits in the major political parties
  • Dog puns
  • Learning Vue.js – easy after learning React
  • Art and colour
  • Brighton Fringe comedy
  • Artists Open Houses
  • New children
  • Working when very tired
  • Burnout
  • Night storage heaters mean the landlord will be a bastard

Sky very kindly gave me some tomato plants and a courgette plant. I managed to get these in to pots full of compost we’ve made (developed? We don’t have a lot to do with making compost, we let the worms get on with it.) The potting was squeezed in late on Thursday as it was getting dark, but the plants seem to have survived OK. They’ll eventually go in to the garden, but they need to be kept alive while I find time to dig the weeds out of where they’re going.

Young tomato and courgette plants in pots

Family

It was Katie’s birthday at the weekend and we went for lunch with her parents at a local restaurant which has a climbing frame activity centre thing in their garden, which was great for keeping Tom distracted.

Reading: Still reading The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Still going well.

Writing with: a Platignum Studio fountain pen which I was given for my birthday. It’s a very nice writer, with a medium nib which makes the lines a bit thicker than I’d really like but it feels so good I can ignore that.

Writing in: the last few pages of my Flying Tiger “Bullet Journal” notebook. Pondering what to use next, I have another of these in a different colour, but I’d like to vary things a bit and maybe have a plain notebook after several months of dot grid ones.