Week #475

Friday, March 20th, 02020 at 15:51 UTC

This week shares its name with lots of other interesting objects. 475 Ocllo is a large Mars-crossing asteroid. It takes over four years to loop both inside and outside of the orbit of Mars.

In 01959, Lockheed built only one of the CL-475. It is a two-seat, single engine, light helicopter exploring rigid rotor technology.

For sea-transport, the Foxtrot B-39 U-475 Black Widow is also this week’s namesake. A 01967, Soviet Submarine, since decommissioned and turned into a museum. It is currently moored at Strood, on the River Medway, in South-East England.

Finally, 475 is 52 × 19, a 49-gonal number, member of the Mian–Chowla sequence.


This week has been dominated by the COVID-19 virus pandemic. As it stands, much of professional life is grinding to a halt. Many employees need to take time off to care for children which are out of school and to social distance themselves from others to help prevent the spread.

We’ve been going forward with a few projects when we can. As it stands, we’re sort one-day on, one-day off for the foreseeable future. This means we can continue to do remote work as long as the tasks keep coming in. Data analysis and chart generation projects continue until the data survey dries-up. Some of the current, on going surveys will probably need to be prolonged to increase the responds rate.

Connected with our surveys, our Robocall phone number has been blocked by the main telecom company, and trickled down to the others. Everyone except the main telco has white-listed us. We’ve got some support tickets in with the main telco to explain the situation. Their excuse for blocking was, suspected spam and the call from an Icelandic number was coming from outside Iceland. The first part we can explain and demonstrate it isn’t spam, the second part is probably illegal according to EU agreements. Twilio uses Tismi.com to provide virtual numbers for anyone to use as a service. They are located in the Netherlands which according to the EU anti-competition laws should not blocked, even those it is not originating from Iceland. Hopefully, it is all a mis-understanding and we can get the number white-listed, but I suspect this won’t be the end of these discussions. The main telco have since decided to fix the blocking mechanism to not have caught this behaviour in the first place, but only time will tell if it works!

Our weekly pair programming sessions have also been in jeopardy. Trying to get different people from different organization in the room together at a certain time is proving to be very difficult and we might have to find a different way of doing things for the next few weeks.

The top secret project has also been moving forward. Behind the scenes, we’ve revamped a bunch of CSS and started a pattern library. We get static mock-ups from the design with various input states. We do our best to translate them into HTML/CSS, but sometimes it is easier to make a single page with all the design elements as we can see how they interact at different screen sizes, etc. We’ve also been getting back to the iOS app and updating the push notifications to handle rich notifications. This allows us to embed images which should help some glanceability in the app.

Material Conference

Friday was suppose to be the 3rd edition of Material, but sadly, we’ve had to cancel it. The situation deteriorated so quickly we had to pull the plug. The venue is now shut for a month, there is a limited size to gatherings, the US and EU are limiting or blocking travel. Our position was untenable.

All of the speakers and attendees have been super supportive and completely understand the situation is out of our control. We are waiting for the dust to settle and then we can begin to plan on when we can next hold the event. All of our current speakers are willing to try again, so we’re ready to go when all the lights are green!