Week #511, #512, #513

Friday, December 11th, 02020 at 14:41 UTC

The last three weeks have gone by fast. Every Friday, we plan to sit down and write some notes and every Friday, we get sucked into deadlines, meetings or both. This is a triple weeknote to play a bit of catchup.

Week #511 shares its name with the interesting number 511. It is one less than a power of 2, so it is a palindromic number and a repdigit in bases 2 (1111111112). It is also palindromic and a repdigit in base 8 (7778)

511 is also a traffic information hotline in much of the US and Canada. Dialling 511 gets you road information. It would be fascinating to see the call load in the age of smart devices and data plans.

Week #512 also has several interesting namesakes. 512 bytes is a common disk sector size, and exactly a half of kibibyte. 512 is also a US Phone area code designation for the Austin Texas region.

There is even a minor planet called 512 Taurinensis with a Mars cross-over orbit.

Finally, week #513 is shares its name with the number 513, which is one number higher than a power of 2, so it is also palindromic in bases 2 (10000000012) and 8 (10018).

513 is also the US Phone area code prefix for Cincinnati, Ohio.

In outer space, 513 shares its name with another minor planet 513 Centesima. It also is connected with 2015 BP513. That was an Apollo near-Earth asteroid roughly 12–27 meters in diameter that passed less than 1 lunar distance from Earth on 18 January 2015!

Week #511

This week started the Old Icelandic Month of Ýlir. That has its connections with Yule and the pagan/norse holidays.

Many months ago, we were interviewed by Ian Forrester from BBC R&D about their Human Values Framework. Several of the interviewees were compiled together into a five part podcast series. You can listed to the Human Values Framework on Soundcloud or bookmark them yourself and subscribe on Huffduffer.

We spent a bunch of time this week getting phantomJS working again. Since PDF creation can take a few minutes, we were sending this action into the background and emailing you the file when it was completed. This had all sorts of issues with the mail provider, so we switched it over to simply sending you a link to the PDF via email when it was finished.

Every once and awhile we get requests to help out on map related projects. This time, it was with an old friend who needed a quick excel file converted into a global map. We’ve done this before, so we were able to get something up and running fairly quickly.

One of the other VR projects we’ve been connected with is tightly coupled to a website. We spent some time improving some of the API functionality in tandem with the VR development team. That’s moving ahead nicely.

It is the end of the month, so we tallied up our hours and sent off invoices.

Week #512

Monday morning started off with the flu shot. You can never be too careful, especially this year!

Since we’re approaching the end of the year, it was time again to open-up tweetdeck and queue-up a year’s worth of timed tweets. For the @icelanders twitter account, we wrote a tweet for the start of the Old Icelandic months, public holidays and a few more. That means 02021 is all set and we can sit back and enjoy the notifications just like everyone else.

Map work seems to come in waves. We got another request from a small town in Iceland to setup a ‘points of interest’ map on their website. We’ve done this several times before and have a nice PHP framework to deploy. Having a nice common framework means that everyone enjoys the updates and changes. We emailed back with a few follow-up questions because everyone loves new things on their website, but when it comes to the map software, it is problematic because it requires some basic, (but special) hosting. (e.g. not a wordpress.com or medium.com hosted domain)

When it comes to external client work, we had four major tasks this week. Continuing the VR integrations with the website, finishing-up changes to our Australian plumber time tracking project, the data-pairing (mostly focused on revenue calculations) and starting in on our new data visualisation project.

Week #513

Here we are in week #513. We finished-up some design tweaks to the Australian Plumber’s Time Tracker. This is the last week of testing. At their ‘summer’ christmas party, they will announce the new tool to the whole company and in the new year migrate everyone over from manual paper entry, to a web-based one. So this is our last week to work out all the bugs.

We were going to be presenting this week at Stay Curious, but due to illness it has been postponed. We are looking forward to having a nice fireside chat and discussing career choices.

We did more data-pairing this week. Our goal now was making it easier to calculate Life-Time Value (LTV) for their customers. Looking at retention over time gives you an estimate of the (LT) portion and the average revenue per customer gets you the (V) portion. Multiplying those two together you better be getting a higher number than your cost to get a new customer. This isn’t too hard when you have a few hundred customers, but when you are in the millions and the revenue and costs are in the pennies and you’re looking down the barrel of some MASSIVE changes in ad revenue attribution in the next few months, it is good to have these calculations in a refined workflow.

We also managed to meet-up with another local Reykjavik-based company working on VR projects and pitched them some ideas. It looks like it is going to move forward with them. We’re hoping for some great feedback from them about our Top Secret VR project that can help improve the system.

Out latest client related project continues with more UI/UX data-visualization mock-ups. Those sprints run Tuesdays to Mondays, so we mostly work on this on Fridays and are moving to be more instep with their schedules.

Iceland government has also started a new Velferðarvaktarinn (Well-fare watch). We were approached because we have 10+ years of student well-fare data from our survey tool. They are looking to improve the situation in general for children in Iceland and we met-up to see how we can possibly collaborate

Finally, we’re working on a small internal project around the old Designing with Data book. It’s 10 years old now and time for a revisit.