Weeknotes 24: 17th June – 23rd June 2019

Tiredness, double migraine and answering questions on freelancing at TalentFest 2019.

Client work

To get the new website I’m working on for my recruitment client working, I needed to make it easier for them to import data from their CRM to the website. That was a process that was taking several minutes and looked like it crashed part way through, and more recently was breaking on some records. To fix it I took several steps:

  • Increased the limit on how much data would be accepted in any one row of the CSV
  • Added an index to a table we are doing a lookup on for each row we’re processing from the CSV
  • Instead of taking one row from the CSV and doing a database query for some extra data, then doing an insert, then going on to the next row I compiled up both the lookups and inserts in to bulk SQL queries of 500-1000 rows at a time. This meant instead of doing several thousand database interactions, it went down to 20-25

The upshot of the optimisation was the import of an 8,000 row CSV now takes less than ten seconds rather than a few minutes. Much more useful.

The same client wanted some work done so they can send text messages to candidates and know who they are when they click through to the website, which benefitted from the above work and meant some changes to other parts of their site to work with the system sending the texts.

For my other client with a new site, I paused the Laravel code I’d been working on and installed WordPress, got some plugins in, and have the site half done to the point I can start posting content. I’m going to have to do some investigation to get it to show some content in the way I need (geolocated) but I’m sure I’ll find a way to do that with another plugin.

Work time was short this week due to the TalentFest and migraines.

My Projects

Work on my own apps was put off by needing to work on some stuff for the TalentFest. Wired Sussex helpfully sent me the top frequently asked questions they have received about freelancing at the various breakfast events they’ve run. I sat down and wrote notes on each to get myself in the right frame of mind for answering questions on Tuesday, where I’d agreed to help on a stand about freelancing and be on a panel question and answer session.

All of the notes should end up becoming help posts on the Farm’s website, so it was useful on two fronts.

TalentFest & Freelancing panel

Wired Sussex put on TalentFest 2019, a job fair for the tech sector in Brighton. They invited me to be on a question and answer panel about freelancing, and also asked if I (and other Farm members) could help out on a stall about freelancing at the fair. I was happy to oblige as Wired Sussex are very good about promoting the Farm to their followers, and run a lot of useful events for freelancers and small businesses in Brighton.

I didn’t have to do much on the stall as several people were there to help, including Haze, who did a great job handing out business cards with the Farm’s details on and Skiff leaflets.

The panel went well, I was on it with Phil Jones, head of Wired Sussex, designer Sara Brunettini (whose website seems to be down as I write this so I’m linking to her Farm profile) and Emma Hardwick of Plus Accounting, the company sponsoring the panel.

People seemed satisfied with our answers, Sara did incredibly well considering she’s both newly freelance, new to public speaking, and speaking in her second language. She’s been practising public speaking using the Skiff’s Show & Tell lunches and the practise has really paid off.

At the TalentFest I talked to people from as far away as Bournemouth and South London, which is great for a Brighton event, although it perhaps speaks to how bad the job market is at the moment. I’m convinced we’re in the start of another recession, not that most of the country has really come out of the last one, but that’s for a conversation another time.

Wired Sussex had the panel filmed, so it should come out on their YouTube channel soon.


Rather walloped by having two migraines in the same week, and feeling rough in between.

The first migraine was Tuesday evening, coming on as I got to the supermarket on the way home from the Talent Festival. Fortunately Migraleve Duo was enough to stop the main effects, but I lost most of the evening as I had to go to bed as soon as I got home, and dinner was a slice of toast.

The second came on mid-Friday afternoon when I was working at The Skiff. Again some Migraleve tablets stopped the worst effects, but I lost a lot of work time and again, a big chunk of my evening.

The trigger for the first one is a bit of a mystery. I’d eaten at a street food market in the middle of the day, but avoided the things there that I knew would trigger me, and they don’t usually come on quite that fast when the cause is food. I do get them on release of stress, but I really wasn’t that stressed about being on the panel as it’s something I’ve done enough times before to take in my stride.

The second was because I hadn’t properly recovered from the first, having had a very busy Wednesday and been feeling tired and rough the rest of the week. The very humid, oppressive weather might also have been a factor in both of them, but I think the second was mainly just feeling generally ill and not having had a break recently.


Nothing on 30×500 as I lost so much time to feeling ill.

The Farm

Boosted a bit by people coming from the job fair, attendance was 23, and once again at the Caxton Arms. My notes were…

  • Near misses with dodgy clients
  • Where to look for work
  • Car leasing
  • Time to go for an electric car?
  • Coding a shader in C++ and Metal
  • Heavy React.js talk
  • Skiff open day
  • Adding tests to your code to make you more appealing
  • Wired Sussex TalentFest job fair
  • MongoDB
  • New/old side project
  • Being Debbie Downer
  • Being productive when working at home
  • Why the Pomodoro technique works
  • Project catch up
  • AI / Machine Learning
  • Self driving car tech is amazing
  • Getting the most out of a degree


On Saturday we had a delayed Father’s Day as Katie was working on Father’s Day last week. This meant lunch out and doing nice things as a family, including playing a game on the Wii U together that I now can’t remember the name of. A slow day was very welcome as I had a hangover from the migraine.

Sunday started a bit early as I had to give Katie a lift to work as the buses don’t run early enough for her to get in and open the shop. Then it was some time at a playground on the seafront for Tom, and a bit of time in the afternoon for me to clear a load of the weeds off the patio.

Reading: Still reading the James Bond novel Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz. Jogging along quite nicely, as you’d expect from an prolific author like Horowitz.

Writing with: finished the Papermate Inkjoy Needlepoint. Bouncing around a few others and not settled on anything else yet.

Watching: Deadpool, which was on TV. Rude, crude and very funny, I wish I’d watched it earlier.

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