Week #554

Friday, September 24th, 02021 at 11:11 UTC

It’s week #554. On Monday, it was the Moon Festival. On Wednesday, it was the Autumn Equinox and in Iceland that means we’re are 50/50 sun light to darkness ratio. Every day will continue to get shorter until Christmas, then it is still another 3 months until the ratio flips to more sun than dark. Thursday was the start of the old Icelandic month Haustmánuður, or Autumn month and it has started to snow. The leaves are falling, it is grey and storms are coming. Summer is definately over.

We have a fairly good backup system in place (but it could always be better). This week we improved it slightly. At the office we have an external drive connected to the WiFi router. Every hour or so, the computers do a diff and backup any new files to that external drive. We have some important things completely off-site and a lot of other files in ‘the cloud’. After a few security theatre moments on TV, we thought that maybe it would also be good to have a second external backup drive that is NOT always connected to the network. We added an external backup drive mirror, but only plug it in at the start of the month for one day. It means the backups won’t be as fresh, but it also means we have some air gap to our data!

A few years ago, we got pretty far with an EU grant for a new type of electric bicycle. Over the last year all the progress stalled. The main engineer on the project, along with his lawyers, is exploring if any of the technology is patentable. We read through the description part of the patent application, both to make sure it was correct, but also improve any English.

Moo was having a birthday sale, so we created some new business cards for a new project. They won’t arrive for a few weeks, but here’s a sneak peak.

We don’t have a very advanced CRM tool. That’s partly because we don’t have constant client churn and don’t need that pipeline of potential next projects. We do periodically reach out to old leads. Sometimes the time wasn’t right to start, or they didn’t have funding, or we had a meeting and asked a bunch of questions they had not considered. No matter what, we give it some time and check-in again to see if there has been any movement. We spent a little time this week reconnecting with a project that never went anywhere and the people have long since left the company and are starting something new. They remembered us and even if we can’t help them now, they might remember us in the future and send some work our way – all for a the time it took to write a well crafted, thoughtful, personal email.

We have a few projects for plumbers, concreters, and carpenters down in Melbourne, Australia. This week they were hit with triple threat: Plague/Lockdown, Earthquake and Riots! Everyone is safe, but their business is ground to a halt. Which was an ideal time to check-in about projects. They have a bit of extra free time and found a few issues, which we continue to patch-up. The bulk of the project is wrapping-up and will (hopefully) launch soon. Then we change gears to both maintenance but also scoping out any v2 features they need after they have ‘lived with the system’ for a few weeks/months.

Survey season is in full swing again. One has started and the next will kickoff in November. That means prep work, collecting lists, setting-up 3rd party services services and general maintenance since it was run a year ago. At this point, things are very smooth, but always relies on coordination between tech, sales and analysts.

Finally, the Secret Project inches closer to launch. We made some big, breaking updates to the internal beta software recently. Now we’ve rolled that out to all the testers, which required us to send an email to everyone in the database to let them know of a few kinks. It was good practice to get a script running to make this easier in the future, but oh how we forgot how 01997 HTML needs to be to work in various email providers! (Shake his fist 🖕at the gmail app for not supporting dark mode CSS, but rather just inverting everything instead!)


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This is week number 38 for 02021, back in 02009W38 we were exploring using Venn Diagrams as UI controls. This came out of the project that needed to simplify advanced boolean queries. Things like “(Dogs or Cats) and Food” are difficult to write and understand, but a visual Venn diagram was a potential solution.

In 02012W38, we ranted about a local poster displaying a QR code and pushing an app, called Does your flier care about the customer. Times have certainly changed and QR codes are much more accessible, but I’d bet you most people still don’t know their built-in camera app can read them or that they are even readable in the first place! So if you have a QR code, please use a URL too… and take a minute and consider if you really needs to build a native app or not (Tip: you probably don’t!).

In 02013W38, we wrote about our then recent trip to CERN. It was the first of two (so far) journeys to do a digital archaeological dig. CERN: Line Mode Browser looks at how we recreated this terminal browser for the web.