Week #363

Saturday, January 27th, 02018 at 15:51 UTC

This week is a palindrome, we’re big fans of palindromes, from the simple “Yo Banana Boy” to the more obscure “Go hang a salami I’m a lasagna hog.”

Week #363 shares its name with a main belt asteroid Padua 363 which is roughly 97km in dimensions and the Soviet Submarine S363, which was part of the infamous “Whiskey on the Rocks” incident.

The first half the week was spent mostly in meetings. Lots of planning for this EU Grant application deadline. The process is a long and arduous one, but the feedback loop is good. We get a ranking for various sections and attributes of the grant. Then we go away, tweak it and resubmit on the next deadline.

The middle of the week was mostly spent snuffing out database issues on a project. We’ve been working on a new data collection survey tool. This one is an anonymous survey with some interesting abilities to jump from device to device either by email or QR Code. Given that the spec was a moving target, we’ve been trying to also be nimble to the changes. Eventually the scale of the project caught-up to some of the software pieces and it looks like some session data got corrupted in the lightweight database. So we spent a few days migrating over to a more industrial database and all the code tweaks that go along with that before the friday deadline. It looks like everything is going smoothly now, but we have to keep monitoring the situation. Ah, it took a day, but we got burnt again with the database migration. It turns out, when you migrate, the auto id field found the first available gap and started there rather than the highest id from the import. This lead to things just not saving. Without changing any code or touching the system, after hours if successful use, things stopped. These are hard bugs to find, so beware of auto ids!

This week has also been consumed by Material Conference planning. The event isn’t until November, but we have 3 stages for the ticket roll-out. Firstly, we wanted to get people to know the date, reserve the time off and start planing as soon as possible. We released the date and “blind bird” tickets last week and sales have been great so far! Our next stage is to release “Early Bird Tickets” along with the main speakers. That’s been this weeks task, to go from a scratch pad list of speakers, to a shortlist, to a wish list. Now we’re checking availability and budget and working down our list seeing who is available and who compliments whom. The early bird tickets will go on sale Feb 20th, so we plan to announce our first round of speakers then too.


This is Yamaha’s new “Casual” wind instrument. It is some strange cross between a recorder and a saxophone. Be careful Yamaha, the inventor of the Saxophone, Adolphe Sax had plenty of close calls. It seemed like the world was trying to prevent his creation!

Sax faced many near-death experiences. Over the course of his childhood, he:

His nickname was “Sax the ghost”. You’ve been warned inventor of the Venova!

Ever since Material Conference 2017, when we had OmNom chocolate come and talk, we’ve begun to see mentions of chocolate everywhere. This week, Nestlé announced Ruby Chocolate KitKats. What is Ruby Chocolate? Learn more about these pink KitKats!