Weeknotes 172-176

Friday, June 27th, 02014 at 21:12 UTC

Ah, we fell a bit off the wagon these last few weeks. Part of the team has been super hard at work to get a few things out the door before traveling on vacation, the other part has already been traveling to conferences. All in all, our weeknotes have taken a backseat to the deluge of emails and tasks, but we’re on top of things now and getting back into the writing mode.

The last 5 weeks have been a roller-coaster journey. We finished-up the school year, so our Vísar/Skólapúlsinn work has now wound down for the customers for the next 3 months. We managed to start the phased roll-out of the new survey software this Spring along side the online reporting application. Both of those were big huddles to moving away from the older, now horribly out-dated, software we built 6 years ago. We’re well aware of Joel on Software’s “Things you should never do!” Never rewrite the code from scratch. While that is completely true, we did. This situation wasn’t as much rewriting software, but instead writing something different. Over the last 6-8 years the needs of our customers and the direction of the company changed, not to mention the original code was horribly inefficient and tightly coupled to itself and the domain. Over the last year and a half, we’ve been running the old system in parallel with building and deploying the new one. Sure, we rewrote a lot of working code again. Sure that wasn’t a great idea, but now we have a viable product which is not domain specific. It would have taken just as much time or more to generalize the old system as it did to make a clean break and implement something which is much more robust, if that would have even been possible. The next few weeks won’t see much new development, due to vacations, summer-time lulls and prepping for more staff and the start of the survey system in September.


We went to Lisbon, Portugal in week 173 for the UXLX conference where we have a half-day workshop on the topic of data visualizations. A week later, week 175, we did the same thing in NYC, but it was a full-day version with some SVG thrown-in too. In between it was a scramble to finish-up projects, get back on top of tasks, email, RSS and prepare for the next trip.

Both conferences were excellent. We took lots of little nuggets of information away to improve many of our workflows. Along with lots of super interesting discussions and meeting new people, both trips – while exhausting, were great fun!

Internal Projects

If that wasn’t enough to do already, we’ve been hustling on the new projects front. Every two months in Iceland, you need to turn in your tax report. We’re just finishing the May-June review. This is always an excellent opportunity for the company to sit down and review the cash flow, burndown and categorize the expenses. Things are going well, but as always you need about 10 potential projects being proposed and pitched for so that 1 or 2 actually come through. In our case, we’ve been angling for some super interesting factory KPI dashboard projects, but only time will tell if their needs, time and budget match ours.

On top of this, our kickstater project is still moving forward. Analog.is is stuck in the more boring fulfillment portion of the project. We’ve been ordering, collecting and printing envelops for all our backers. Then organizing the envelops into backer levels, writing notes and toll declaration forms. We paid the printing deposit and now finalizing the first few designs. Once the books are printed, the machine will whir into life and we’ll actually have a product and store to sell them through. These last few weeks and months of putting the infrastructure in place will finally be worth it.

What all this means is that internal projects have taken a back-seat. We’re hoping that in the next few months, if things with clients are slow, we can revisit many of these and hopefully make some interesting progress.


We’ll have a look at some of the upcoming things we’re exploring. Mostly looking into biology, biohacking and other interesting uses of using organic computing.

The iGEM organization is working on a set of building synthetic blocks which allow you to more easily take parts from here and there and reprogram bacteria to react and act in certain ways. It is so well developed, they run high school competitions. So much for spelling bees and popsicle bridge building competitions, look out for DNA splicers!

Using Engineered bacteria, you can have them work similar to film photography, they can change color when they are exposed to certain wavelengths of light. This allows you to create a photograph in a petri dish.

There have also been some interesting developments in filter paper to remove contamination from water. This project, called the Drinkable Book by Water is Life,  is attempting to make both an educational guide as well as a tool to filter water for safety and hygiene reasons.