2011-11-29 – Tuesday

  • I’ve been sitting in a freezing cold car in Oxford tonight, and instead of reflecting on my day and making my daily notes, I’ve been reading.
  • I’m not sorry, apart from last Saturday I’ve fallen out of the habit of reading for fun.
  • So it’s been nice to spend time immersed in another world.
  • Tam and Ellie are at a gig (Scouting for Girls) at the O2 Academy, and because of the shit rail system in the UK, Tam couldn’t get a train to Oxford and back today.
  • It’s currently 22.20, and they’re still not out, so it would have been impossible for her to get back to Southampton.
  • As it is, I’m pretty worried about Ellie travelling back to her flat in London at this time of night!
  • I’ve got half a mind to suggest she comes home with us, and I’ll take her to the train first thing in the morning.
  • I expect she’ll say no, but it’s worth a go.
  • Reading: Peripheral by William Gibson
  • Wordle 528: 5/6

Community (2022-11-27 – Sunday)

  1. Quiet Sunday
  2. I Took Tam to the station for a theatre trip to London.
  3. When I Got back and raked leaves.
  4. I need to do more manual labour, 1 hour of leaf raking, and I’m pooped.
  5. What was the trigger for this foray into manual labour?
  6. In our street, we have three maple trees which decided to shed their leaves.
  7. Yesterday, My neighbour Bob spent a few hours raking and collecting the leaves in the communal areas of the street.
  8. I’m so appreciative of him doing this every year, BUT I want to remove the sole burden of this task from him.
  9. I’d like the street to come together to tidy up our street.
  10. In my imagination, I picture us all together, rake in hand, using our ‘green bags’ to collect and dispose of the detritus of the street together.
  11. I picture setting up a table with warm tea and a BBQ, making bacon sandwiches while we work together to eliminate the autumn drop.
  12. Bob is frustrated because no one helps! But we’ve never asked the people of the street to come together.
  13. We’re all focused on our little bit, and no one is coordinating a community effort.
  14. It’s easy to talk philosophically about how remote work can enable people to become part of the local community, but without someone organising it, it won’t happen spontaneously.
  15. Last year we had a street party in one of the two communal areas.
  16. That happens because two neighbours and I put ourselves out there to make it happen.
  17. It didn’t happen this year because no one organised it, despite everyone enjoying themselves.
  18. I want to be part of the solution, and I am happy to make it happen.
  19. I live on the street I grew up on, having bought my parent’s house from them.
  20. Some of my neighbours have been here my whole life, more family than house number plates.
  21. They’re getting older now, and I worry that we’re not looking out for them and each other.
  22. Is it worth the effort? I think so, but time will tell if this experiment works.
  23. During the pandemic, I heard many people say how lonely remote work was.
  24. Why is that?
  25. Why are our community ties based in work, not on the places we choose to live?
  26. Isolation and rules were a factor during the highly of the pandemic of course.
  27. That’s not the case now.
  28. Free time is a factor now, we’re all stuck in front of our computers, BUT we must not forget that we are in charge of our own time.
  29. Let’s reach out to our local communities, and let’s do a version of a community barn raising.
  30. We can work together to sweep our streets.
  31. To forge ties with each other.
  32. All it takes is one person to decided to make it happen.
  33. This is not a Karen’s charter. We’re not demanding people to join.
  34. We’re asking them to participate and forging relationships with the people who want to be part of something bigger.
  35. Make local community happen.
  36. Be brave!
  37. Reading: Peripheral by William Gibson
  38. Wordle 524: 4/6

2022-11-26 – Saturday

  1. Today we’ve got to do some Christmas shopping, so I figured it was best to conserve as much energy as possible before we begin.
  1. So I had a long lie-in and read.
  2. I’ve enjoyed rereading Makers, but my options have changed in the decade or so since I read it last.
  3. Firstly I still love near-future sci-fi. I love how we’re seeing signs of this coming to fruition in the real world.
  4. Secondly, I still love the characters but wonder why through part 2, Lester is relegated to caricature. It feels like after his time in Russia. His character became as superficial as the results of his visit. That’s a shame because I thought he was the most interesting character in part 1.
  5. Thirdly at 43, I now find myself feeling much more anger and frustration at the inequalities described in the book and the power of corporations to ruin the NPC and primary character’s life.
  6. I know this is just a story, but given Doctorow’s campaigning and what he blogs about (I’m left-leaning, and my personal views tend to align with his), you know there’s more than a grain of truth there.
  7. Regardless, you see the things he writes about happen more and more these days anyway.
  8. A dog-walking friend has to move out of the home she raised her family in because property speculators bought the house next door and added an extension blocking out all the natural light from her windows. The planning system ignored her appeal, sided with the speculators and told her she had no right to appeal!
  9. Another dog-walking friend who runs a bakery in the village I live in has had the lease to his building sold to another set of property speculators who are now digging up his backyard (which has storage for his business) to build houses! No one consulted him, and he has no recourse to the impact on his business.
  10. When he goes, as he inevitably will. He’ll be unable to sell his business as a going concern, screwing his future and depriving the village of a bakery, one of the last non-corporate (Sainsbury local, Tesco Express etc.) shops in our village.
  11. On Monday, I wrote about how I want remote work to reinvigorate local communities.
  12. I understand this means people will relocate to the countryside, and more residential housing will be necessary.
  13. However, speculation like this, which pushes community members out of the area or deprives a village of independent business, for short-term profit is not the way to do this.
  14. What’s the point in having more people if you don’t have the services and amenities to serve them?
  15. The planning laws should prevent this from happening by supporting people to build a community and run businesses that has net positive result for the long term of the villagers.
  16. You can come away from reading Makers and be angry at the unjustness of it all. A pissing contest for the ultra-wealthy, fuck the little guy.
  17. Or you can come away thinking, what if we came together to do something about it? What if we chose to build a community? Wouldn’t that be swell?
  18. Read this hilarious Letters of note from Rik Mayall to Bob Geldof
  19. Reading: Makers by Cory Doctorow
  20. Wordle 524: 4/6

2022-11-25 – Friday

  1. Authentication issue: we discovered the problem was down to server-side caching.
  2. In some circumstances, the user object is cached before it’s finished being setup.
  3. The FE services are NOT the same as the admin services, so when we see the data in the admin system, it’s not the same as what’s returned in the app.
  4. We’ve found a non-dev workaround, but it’ll require some dedicated dev time to fix properly.
  5. Good week, on the whole, our second dev team finished up their sprint on time and Done meant Done.
  6. There are lots of changes coming up in dec, through to early next year. So time to start prepping.
  7. Reading: Makers by Cory Doctorow
  8. Wordle 524: 4/6

2011-11-24 – Thursday

  1. Crazy day.
  2. Still systematically working through the user authentication issue with the team.
  3. It’s been a good experience as I’ve been working directly with the team on a complex problem-solving issue.
  4. It’s also been a bad experience because we’ve not had access to all the tools and systems we need to take control of the situation.
  5. We have managed to reduce the noise around the problem. We are controlling the comms and focusing all external actions and requests through one person.
  6. We have also prevented everyone from trying hit-and-hope (H&H) resolutions which might fix the problem sooner but will not help us find the underlying issue.
  7. We’re now on the right track, and with the addition of some extra logins, I’m hoping that we’ll crack this nut tomorrow.
  8. All our other projects are going well, which is fantastic news.
  9. I’m looking forward to a show and tell with one of our partners tomorrow.
  10. Thirty-two years since Freddie Mercury died! I was in my first year at secondary school, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Queen songs were on the radio all day!
  11. Reading: Makers by Cory Doctorow
  12. Wordle 523: 3/6

2022-11-23 – Wednesday

  1. One of our client’s apps has an authentication issue.
  2. People are able to log in but can’t access their learning content in the app.
  3. This is notable for two reasons:
  4. Firstly: The auth services were written by a third-party developer, who has left the project, and no one understands the project or even the programming language.
  5. There was a sync function written to solve this problem, but no one at the clients knows how this function works, so when it doesn’t work, everyone is left scratching their heads.
  6. Secondly: I have to pull Josh temporarily onto the project to understand the syncing function, discover what it’s supposed to do and figure out what the underlying cause of the problem is.
  7. We are not directly responsible for this API. Still, as is the way, we have found ourselves in a position where we need to temporarily take ownership to resolve the issue and generate a positive outcome.
  8. Reading: Makers by Cory Doctorow
  9. Wordle 522 – i forgot to do wordle 😢

2022-11-22 – Tuesday

  1. Having been out of the office all day yesterday, playing catch up!
  2. I had a great team meeting today to discuss our healthcare client, the risk when doing UX work is forgetting the other two pillars of UCD, business need and technical capability.
  3. So it was great to reorient ourselves around business goals, user needs and technical capabilities.
  4. Our goal was to establish an interview guide designed to understand our client’s needs, capabilities and the RATs (Riskiest Assumptions to Test)
  5. The team did great.
  6. This evening we started our new D&D campaign. This one is set in Ravenloft and is horror themed. So obviously, I borrowed from the Supernatural cannon to flesh out my character.
  7. I am really looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.
  8. Reading: Makers by Cory Doctorow
  9. Wordle 521: 4/6

2022-11-21 – Monday

Monday

  1. I am heading to London to watch a new classical music piece called The Alice sound.
  2. The piece, about Lewis Carroll’s Alice through the looking glass, was created by Paul Rissmann and Queen Mary University London (Kiera Vaclavik) and performed by the London symphony orchestra.
  3. UXC is building the companion website.
  4. Traffic to Southampton Airport parkway was horrendous as unison were protesting outside the gates of Esso (an oil refinery not far from where I live), looking for an inflation meeting pay bonus deal.
  5. I can’t tell from the press coverage if this is a new demand or if the employers (Altrad, Bilfinger, and Enerveo) are not offering inflation-linked bonuses as part of their yearly pay schemes
  6. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-63695067
  7. https://www.unitetheunion.org/news-events/news/2022/november/fawley-refinery-facing-disruption-as-workers-announce-payment-strikes/
  8. I’m all for the people’s democratic right to protest, so I am not too frustrated.
  9. (I discovered when I got home from London that there was massive disruption to the local schools. Teachers didn’t arrive on time. Judging by the mood on local social media the community are not with the strikers)
  10. Strikes are usually the last resort and typically only affect the community for a short period.
  11. The real frustration is that people have to strike to get their pay demands listened to.
  12. When I arrived at the station, I was amazed to see an empty multi-story car park.
  13. Before the pandemic, it was impossible to be parked there on a weekday after 08.00.
  14. It’s a sign of success for remote/hybrid work, although I imagine Tuesday – Thursday is a lot busier (no one wants to go into the office on a Monday/Friday)
  15. If (as I hope) remote work continues to prosper in these post-pandemic times, then we will all have to adjust our views on what services and communities are to become as people no longer travel en mass to metropolitan hubs.
  16. Some established businesses will fail, and capacity planning models will have to change, but I hope there will be a growth of services in rural communities that will compensate for the shortfall.
  17. You don’t need to be based in London, New York or Sydney to work for big companies anymore.
  18. However, the impact will be keenly felt in multinational companies as wealth and opportunity are distributed across the country, and their geographic dominance is challenged.
  19. What will local councils do to support these emerging businesses’ needs? What of the councils that manage planning laws in cities who are beholden to big property developers?
  20. Will we see the emergence of strong local brands, or are the multinationals gearing up to homogenise our villages?
  21. I guess that the supply chain will be a challenge for the bigger companies as they will need a more diverse distribution strategy, reaching more places.
  22. This can indeed be resolved with the on-demand delivery services pioneered by Amazon. Central hub, local B2B deliveries.
  23. Perhaps now’s the time to buy shares in Hermes (although their customer service is diabolical).
  24. I’m reminded of an article from Don Norman (2012) called the rise of the small, which is worth reconnecting with.
  25. Why is there still no reliable wifi / mobile phone signal on the London Underground?
  26. I really enjoyed The Alice sound concert. It was a school showing, so there were hundreds of children there, enjoying and participating in the singing. It was fantastic.
  27. Vic Craven did an excellent job with the animated storytelling that accompanied the music.
  28. The piece was narrated by the composer Paul Rissmann, who was thoroughly engaging.
  29. The concert ascetics have to permeate through the companion website. I’m only sorry it won’t be available until January!
  30. Reading: Makers by Cory Doctorow
  31. Wordle 520: 4/6

2022-11-20 – Sunday

  1. Today is anti-fouling the boat day! The weather is nice and sunny but cold. It should only take an hour and has to be done before the bad weather sets in again.
  1. I got the anti-fouling done in around 1h 30 mins. I’m really pleased that’s out of the way. Now we can get the boat out back into the water.
  2. Hopefully, we’ll have the opportunity to get out on the Solent before the end of the year.
  3. I will definitely book another own-boat tuition day with Paul from Duck to water.
  4. Reading: Makers by Cory Doctorow
  5. Wordle 519: 4/6