Monthly Archives: July 2019

Weeknotes 26: 1st July – 7th July 2019

A productive but dull week spiced up by a visiting baby seagull

Client work

A productive week but nothing much to talk about – building and sending a newsletter for one client, making site changes for another, and having some back and forth with Laura about the new site for a third client.

My Projects

I managed several hours on my Twitter thanks app and got it a proper domain – Thanks for Sharing, applied for, put in and tested new API keys from its proper Twitter account. It works if you want to try it, but there are no instructions in the app at the moment. If you have retweeted Tweets, it will let you write a message and select people who have retweeted you so you can easily send a message to all of them. I use it to thank people for sharing on the Farm’s meetings and articles.

Productivity

Pretty good, I managed time on client work, my own projects, and some family running around time. It was greatly helped by Katie’s shifts meaning she did the brunt of the family side of things.

Things were knocked a little by time spent on a baby seagull, more about that below.

Learning

No progress on 30×500 as I didn’t sit down and write for the Farm site, was working on the app instead.

The Farm

Attendance back up 23, and once again at the Caxton Arms. My notes were…

  • Getting fed up with your side project
  • Software defined wide area networks
  • Worthing tech scene
  • Seagull stories
  • Columbo and technology
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Soy sauce in porridge
  • Moving out of Brighton for cost reasons
  • Beta testing new apps
  • Working with machine learning
  • Misadventures in Dieppe
  • Newly freelance
  • Startup deaththrows
  • Mutual project catch up

Notes are slightly shorter than usual as I talked to a couple of people about things that shouldn’t go public from me, one was good – an app that isn’t ready to go live yet, the other more personal things.

Family

Baby seagull on roofThe early part of the week was complicated by the baby seagull that was struggling on our roof on Sunday appearing on our conservatory roof on Monday morning, healthy but not able to return to the roof as it’s wings are no where near developed enough. After disappearing for a while and reappearing, I talked to Waders, our local animal rescue charity. They sent out a person to check the bird and she decided it was best off where it was as it’s mother would drop food down to it.

OBaby seagull in cat carriern Tuesday Katie discovered the baby seagull running around the road in front of our house, having found the gap in the terrace a few doors down. We managed to catch it in to one of our cat carriers and put it back on our back roof. Then I had to do the same with our neighbour after it got stuck in his garden, and then again the same evening when it got caught between our extension and said neighbour’s one and one of our cats took a great interest in how the seagull was doing.

On Wednesday the baby seagull disappeared. I’m not sure if something has made off with it, or someone down the road took it to the vets for rescue. It’s a shame as it was very cute, but a relief not to be trying to look after it!

On Sunday after some emergency trainers buying for my son, whose feet are finally starting to catch up to his height, I got to meet Alex and family in Brighton. We were supposed to go to the kite festival but changed plans due to a morning of rain. Fortunately the weather cleared up enough that our children could have fun in a playground while we caught up. We’re having the standard problem of busy lives and families – not keeping up enough. It was great to see them.

Reading: Finished Forever and a Day, a fine James Bond novel and it built up nicely to the end, but didn’t really do a great deal for me overall.

Writing with: quite a lot with a Pilot Hi-Tecpoint v5, a refillable ballpoint I’d heard was good. This is a cartridge based version of a pen I used a lot at university and it’s good and not scratchy like my J Herbin ballpoint, but I wish they’d put a metal clip on the cap like they have for the disposable versions of the pen. Having a pen you’re going to refill and generally keep for a long time means having a plastic clip is a pain as I’m much more likely to break it.

Weeknotes 25: 24th June – 30th June 2019

One project live, feeling rough, oppressive heat, some client work done.

Client work

Nothing amazing to report on the client work front, all just bread-and-butter changes, planning and Google Ads work.

I put live the project for teaching safety through explaining the poor practises going on in ‘amusing’ pictures sent around groups and forums for HSE/OSHA/safety/working at height – Industrial Idiots. It’s still very rough around the edges, being a standard WordPress theme with some content in it. I’ve got an idea for a logo, but haven’t had time to put it together yet. Still, it’s up and I managed to get two posts in to it and sort out a Twitter account as well as the hosting, so that’s a good start.

I also discovered a sort-of ex-client, Ascendant Access, has gone under again, although may survive on making parts for the cherry pickers they used to manufacture. They were owned by my client Facelift for a while so I looked after their basic website and worked on an alternative which never quite made it live. It’s a shame to see a British manufacturer not be able to produce machines that are useful and used by a lot of councils and businesses around the country profitably enough to keep going.

My Projects

I managed a little work on my own projects, so some progress but a little halting.

Productivity

I have been trying to be sensible about the amount I’m trying to get done to make sure I’m fully recovered from the two migraines I had last week – they’re often a sign I’m overdoing it. Work wasn’t helped by it being very hot, and I really appreciated the air conditioning at The Skiff when I worked from there.

I felt rough a chunk of the week and I’m not sure if this was a general, low level cold, the heat, or hay fever.

Learning

Nothing on 30×500 apart from some notes on what I need to write to get to the next stage.

The Farm

Attendance was only 16, with a few regulars away. Held at the Caxton Arms. My notes were…

  • Single Page Apps in Vue vs React
  • The Eden Project lizards
  • How much biodiversity do you need for a species to keep going?
  • Successful subcontracting is hard (and requires QA)
  • Indenting styles
  • How hot are the Caxton’s hottest hot wings?
  • Working on other people’s code – only for time & materials not fixed price
  • How do you get greenfield projects?
  • Mutual app project
  • How to tell a client the ‘small’ thing they’ve asked for is chargeable
  • Rounding on a threshold of activity (e.g. when to re-render if a slider is being used)
  • Coding in Metal/GPU coding in iOS
  • Factoring
  • How do you structure your work with a client – contracts etc
  • IR35 changes
  • Parenthood

Family

A lot of Saturday was lost to running around because the food we’d bought had gone off in the heat. Sunday started badly with the work on an inconsiderate neighbour’s garage starting early and waking me up, but got better with Katie taking Tom to the cinema to give me a break, and having a barbeque in the evening. One of the baby seagulls nesting on our roof was having trouble scaling our roof having slid down from their nesting spot, which wasn’t the best accompaniment to the food.

One thing I’ve realised is Katie having to work at least one and sometimes both days at the weekend means I’m not getting enough down time as having our son on my own means he will basically nag me about stuff a lot of the day when he’s not occupied on something else. I’m resisting the urge to let him use games/screen time more than he is as we’re generally happy with his limits, but need to find a way to get him to be a little more independent in his play when he’s not gaming.

Reading: Still reading the James Bond novel Forever and a Day by Anthony Horowitz. Still going along fine, not remarkable but getting more gripping as it’s going along.

Writing with: a Zebra ZmulsionEX, nice smooth writer but can take a while to dry depending on the paper.

Listening to: Startups for the Rest of Us episode 448 “Let’s Talk About Bluetick” where they talked through some of the problems Mike Taber, one of the hosts of the podcast, is having growing his software as a service business Bluetick. This was pretty brutal in parts as you could tell Mike was struggling to talk about how much his motivation has been hit and what problems he’s having pushing forwards as the business has plateaued. It gave me a lot to think about as I can recognise some of the same behaviours in myself, and I’m now where near as successful as he’s got in the SaaS space – not only does he have a running SaaS, he’s written a book about them, and co-runs a very successful conference about them. One to listen to again soon. I hope Mike finds a way out of his situation, even if it’s to change in a way he’s not sure about.