Week #130

Friday, August 9th, 02013 at 14:41 UTC

Week #130, Month #30

For those of you who have never seen weeknotes before, many companies put together a quick post of what has been happening over the last 7 days of the company. They are short updates, a simple company pulse. It is something we’ve wanted to do for a while. We might not hit every week, but we’ll certainly try to get a round-up of interesting projects and topics that we’ve seen since the previous weeknote.

This is week #130 for (optional.is) we were incorporated Feb 17th, 02010. Which depends on how you look at it, should be 130 weeks. It was 904 days ago, or 129 weeks and 1 day. That puts us into week 130.

130 is about the maximum height in meters of trees due to their inability to pull water through capillary action much higher. The Lockheed Martin C-130 was first built in the 1950s and continues to this day. The year 130 AD (CXXX) was in the time of the Roman Empire. As 130 the number goes, it has a few interesting properties. 130 is the only integer that is the sum of the squares of its first four divisors, including 1: 12 + 22 + 52 + 102 = 130.

This is our first weeknotes, so we won’t recap what’s been happening for the last 130 weeks. So we’ll just look back to how things are progressing recently. We’ve been keeping very busy with a few different projects. Being based in Iceland we tend to not look far for inspiration. Keeping in turn with what surrounds us, we use various natural features as our project names. At the moment we are working through a list of Icelandic mountain names.

Mosfell is a small mountain in Mosfellsbær near Reykjavík. It is also our working title for our online email project. This will be our MacGuffin. Something to sharpen our skills and test new ideas in a non-mission-critical forum. It is an internal project mainly for internal use, but we plan to open it up to everyone eventually. We’ve come a long way in a short time and learnt a lot which can be applied in all our other projects.

Bláfell translates into Blue Mountain. It is one of the few places you can ski in Iceland. This is another internal project which will become the basis of a lot of future work. We spent a lot of time sorting out OAuth usage so we can quickly build tiny, specific use applications on top of Bláfell.

Helgafell is our newest edition. This is an exciting project with a team in Australia. We taking a lot of our previous work around dashboards and packaging it up in a more generic and usable format. There are lots of dashboard style widgets and companies out there and we don’t plan on making a product anyone can walk-up and use. This is a tool which will be customised and integrated with specific customer issues. It is planned to be something they can offer as part of a larger consulting package.

Vísar has been a big part of what we’ve done of the last few years. We share an office space with vísar – formally skólapúlsinn, and tend to trade team members on a regular basis. Since February, we’ve helped them look at the last 5-6 years worth of usage and discussed where they wanted to take the company. Since then, we’ve been build-up their digital tools to get to where they wanted to go. The vast majority of code has been in two products, the collection server and the reporting server. Both of which are articles in their own right. Collection is ready to go and will be tested in October on their first customers. The reporting is currently being built-up in August with a November launch. There is a fine line between a total re-write of an existing product and a truly new and different product. Also, you need to watch out for re-use of other people’s code versus spending the development time to build it yourself.

Beyond those major projects, we’ve been in some interesting meetings and leads recently to continue helping companies with data challenges and data visualisations.

Data Visualizations

The Five Simple Steps book, Designing with Data is still going strong. Supplies of the physical book are running out so get yours now. Previously on Twitter Edward Tufte had good things to say, now Alberto Cairo has chimed in as well.

It has been great that the book is still in circulation and people are reading and learning from it.


A few months ago we planted some Shishito Peppers in our office. They are unique in that randomly some of the peppers the plants produce will be spicy and the others won’t. It is nature’s russian roulette. We wanted to use them to demonstrate why random statistical sampling is a viable method for testing. It is an obvious way to taste your way through a statistics course.

This week we also finally got around to finishing our Hama Bead art piece. We’ve gone through and made much better RGB choices for the bead colors which should improve any color selection for future bead projects.

We’re also huge fans of paper. Analog beats out digital for certain tasks hands down. Which is why it was great to find two projects recently about both paper and calendars — two of our great loves.

Pattern Matters created a series of paper animated calendars which are amazing to see how they are created.

Forebruary is a brillant take on the calendar. The frame slides to the left or right each month to window the calendar for that period. Simple, elegant and very creative.