Week #551 & #552

Friday, September 10th, 02021 at 11:11 UTC

A double weeknote covering the weeks #551 and #552. Our southern hemisphere projects wrapped-up this week and have moved into final review and bug fixes stage. We’ll be able to send the final invoices soon. Our top secret project is also nearing launch (famous last words) and the school year has started and we’re collecting survey data.

Week #551

This week shares its name with a US Phone area code 551. 201 and 551 are the dialling prefix for the state of New Jersey. 551 Otrud is also this week’s asteroid namesake. It is a main belt asteroid discovered in 01904.

We started getting back into the swing of having meetings in person. It seems we are quite rusty. No one has a good handle on watching the clock. Good meetings just keep running long, other meetings were chaotic and unorganized. It will take some practice to get into a regular rhythm.

It was the start of September, which means it is time to turn in our receipts to the accountant to sort out the VSK (VAT) taxes. It is a fairly painless process, it just takes a bit of time to collect all the paperwork. 

We also made a bunch of tweaks to our survey tool as we roll things out for this academic year. Every year it gets smoother and smoother. The core functionality of collecting data is solid. Now all the improvements are customer or process facing to save us time and effort and minimize errors. 

We’re also finishing-up or project with the Australian concreters. The last piece of the online tool is to view jobs sites and status on a map. This requires a geocoding solution to convert an address to a lat/Lon or if it can’t a mini-map location picker. This is for a merger between two companies. Which means there isn’t any customer data in the system to validate it yet. We’ve purposefully set a side some hours for testing after it is deployed to find and fix these unknown errors. 

We started one internal project. We work closely with a few other organizations and one is in need of a pretty specific piece of software. It is a blend of inventory management, CRM and invoicing tool. We quickly got something up and running for them to put in products and start tracking their whereabouts. There are only a handful of customers, so the CRM is manageable until it grows and the invoicing is done by hand. If this online tool can speed these steps up and slow replace them, we’ve done our job. A version 1 is ready, time to add stuff, break it and iterate.

Finally, our top secrete project is getting closer and closer to launching. The software is in a good shape for getting out of beta. A few more tweaks to the public website and sign-up form. There should only be a few more days of work to finish all these outstanding tasks.

Week #552

552 doesn’t have a US Phone area code. 552-554 are reserved for personal communications services! This week does have an asteroid namesake, 552 Sigelinde.

Late in week #549, we tweeted about some laser cut rulers we made. A few people replied to say they were interested in learning more. Golden Ratio Rulers is an article about the history and process with bonus links at the end to download the vector files.

We made final tweaks after a design review for our Australian Plumbers and Concreters projects. Those should be wrapped-up in the next week or so enough to send the final invoice.

More work on the Top Secret project. (We really should have given this a code name, but we never expected it to take this long.)

The school survey tool is in good shape. This week we refactored the PDF creation tool. It was a background process already, but we are taking it a bit futher to improve the workflow so customers can see the status of the process… it is either BUILDING (Please wait) or DONE (Download link). Previously, the customer would get an email with the link when it completed, but so much was ending-up in the spam folder, we have to try something else.

Internally, we spent a morning sticking numbers to a wall using sticky tack. This was an exploration into clock faces. When we laser cut the rulers, we also laser cut some numbers. This is a prototype for a larger product idea. But before we settle on the material and design of the product, we needed some numbers to test which look we wanted to promote.

That’s how we spent a morning rearranging various letters and shapes on a wall. We also learnt that our clock is HUGE! Time to scale those numbers down by 50%!


This week two years ago was Week #447 we were prepping for the ill-fated 02020 Material Conference.

This week eight years ago we wrote Intuitive Design or Something else … Re-reading it now, the main focus of “Let’s be explicit” in our design UI is still true. Try to avoid cultural icons, like the three-lined hamburger symbol for menu or an X for close. Instead say MENU or CLOSE, (or both) everyone wins.

Bric a brac

Having grown-up with the Post Dispatch, this is extra amusing. It is/was a legitimate newspaper, but reads like the National Enquirer.
In 10 years time, this joke won’t make any sense without some context!


We have just about fully transitioned to the EHF (Limited Liability Company). We recently transferred the insurance, now we are just running down the clock on the SLF while fully trading under the new company. Currently, we have 1 outstanding invoice (which was send just last week) and two pending to the Australians probably next week, pending sign-off.

We have reclaimed our office space and are more focused on trying to work from the desk rather than the sofa. Summer is over and it’s time to get more structured.