Week #522 & #523

Friday, February 19th, 02021 at 11:11 UTC

Week #522

The week flew by. We touched six or seven different projects this week and that really drains the attention.

Two interesting tasks this week were to start converting some old Swift projects into SwiftUI. The app we choose to move over was already very simple, but it was a good excuse to learn a bit more and figure out those edges between declarative UI Design, but still connecting-up with older AppDelegate code for Notification Center.

The other task was to briefly look into Open Badges. It is a Mozilla Project to encode metadata into images which can then be used to certify an origin. As more and more projects move to online learning and digital certification Open Badges was to show-off and verify those images. Luckily, there are several programming language libraries to ‘bake’ the metadata into the images. We tested one, and it seems to work and verify. We then uploaded the PNG to twitter and their compression removed the metadata. This initiative started in 02011, and Mozilla got out of the game in 02018. Which leads you to wonder if this was a solution looking for a problem. Atleast, we know more about it and the pros and cons.

Spring-time is a very busy season for our survey projects. In February, we started three parent surveys. This means sending LOTS of Emails, SMSes and robocalls! Originally, when we collected lists, we split couples in half and gave each only half the survey. That gave everyone an opporunty to participant and if they choose not too, we only lost half the data as opposed to randomly selecting which parent wouldn’t take it and then we loose ALL of their responses. At the end of last year we trialed a new method, which worked so well, we adopted it for all parent surveys this year. Now, we give two weeks for the first randomly selected parent to finish. If they don’t start, we swap and give the second parent a chance to answer. This means every few days we’re contacting someone. We have a lot of fresh data about robocalls now too, but that’s an article in itself!

For another client, we were onsite this week helping crunch numbers and look into what factors we can track with Apple’s new SKAdNetwork changes. No one is exactly sure how things are going to shake-out, but there is around 4-5 weeks left (rumored) before there is a hard deadline!

We got back into the Google Maps API this week to help a friend. He wants to style a lot more than Google seemly allows and since most of it is injected via their Javascipt, without CSS Classes, wrangling it isn’t always easy, but we managed to sort out most everything in the end. I’m sure there will be more questions in the future, but we enjoy maps and we’ve done several projects in the past.

Finally, we had a few meetings and updates to our top secrete project. There is just one main blocker to announcing it, and it is the fact that all the attention is focused on getting another project out the door first. Fingers crossed!

Week #523

This week started with a trio of holidays here in Iceland. Monday is Bolludagur (Bun Day), Tuesday is Sprengidagur (litterally bursting day) and Wednesday is Öskudagur or Ash Wednesday.

Each of these days are unique and how they got crammed into the same week is strange. On Monday, you over eat on cream buns. On Tuesday it is “saltkjöt og baunir” (Salted meat and beans) it is the same concept as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras. It is the last day before fasting for Lent. You gorge yourself with food in preperation. Then Wednesday is Iceland’s version of Halloween. All the kids dress-up and trick-or-treat around town and sing for candy (not this year).

We, on the other hand, continued our surveys. Swapped over guardians to take part and sent out emails! Just shy of 40,000 emails sent so far. To put that in perspective, that’s 11% of the population of Iceland. The bill for sending SMSes won’t be far behind!

The Australian Plumber Time Tracking project is now in talks to re-purpose it for a concrete contractor. It seems that adding value on top of tools like Xero.com can be a sustainable business if what you are building truly ads value to companies.

We continued to spend some time on site this week. Still crunching numbers. It is a lot of slicing and dicing. There is a lot of variability in various campaign data and when we isolate it, the data tells very different stories.

The BBC/NESTA project around Human Values is going well. The goal is to have a website ready by the end of the month. We’ve been working on the WordPress templates and planning a few potential interesting projects for phase 2.

We’re continuing our survey work, sending emails, SMSes and robocalls. Luckily, the number of customers below the minimum 60% response rate is very small and only need a few responseses to get their results. There are still few more emails and SMSes to send which increases the responses. Then we do the hard work of manually calling everyone to really push the response rate to 80% for a reliable report.

Late Thursday night, NASA successfully landed Perseverane on the Surface of Mars. They even have a twitter account @NASAPersevere to keep up-to-date with the images.