Week #572, #573, #574

Friday, February 11th, 02022 at 15:51 UTC

A triple weeknote! I didn’t have time to write you a short weeknote, so here’s a long one! Let’s get started.

Week #572

This week was February survey prep. A few customers are using ODS (Open Document Spreadsheet) rather than Excel as a way to import data. We can happily accept that, but it required some tweaks to our importer code. Now, with some real-world examples, it was easier to fix strange bugs between when the library knows an Excel file is done with its rows versus an ODS file.

We also moved the search boxes on this site from the internal WordPress search to using DuckDuckGo. There are more and more pages on (optional.is) that are not managed by WordPress and should come-up in search results. We’ll see how things go and adjust as needed.

This week, we worked on the second round of changes to our Icelandic client’s WordPress site. Once the structure and design was in place and the content added, we took a second pass and what worked and what didn’t and made sure it was responsive and handled the menu structure needed.

We also published our 02021 Annual Report. This was a look back at the previous year in high-level business metrics. Some might find it useful to gauge their own endeavors.

Week #573

It all went downhill this week. Some of the team tested positive for COVID over the weekend. They went into isolation and the rest of us into quarantine. Later in the week, the rest of us tested positive and moved into isolation for most of week #574. Luckily, we have all been triple-vaxxed, the sickness was mild and we are all recovered.

During the week, we managed to get a few things done. Several ongoing surveys needed some tweaks and attention. The issues and bugs we are encountering now are harder to solve, partly because they have remained hidden for so long they never were in the critical path or had very specific conditions.

We also had a few video call meetings about new projects and updates to existing projects. A few things for the plumbers and concreters in Australia and some work on the Hyperion Project.

Week #574

The first half of this week was recovery and paperwork. We all were pretty much symptom free, but checked-in with the health services daily with our progress. The government changed the rules of quarantine to only 5 days after infection with no symptoms, so we were released on Wednesday night and tried to make the most of the last two days in the week!

On Monday was the company’s 11th 🎂 birthday. Incorporated in 02011, we’ve had a crazy time. We’ll shutdown the SLF company next month and continue as the EHF with a new ID number. We’ll still celebrate the 02011 start as our birthday and maybe even have two like the Queen!

We also spent the day robocalling around 6,000 people and learnt about “Samsung Smart Call” which immediately flagged us as spammers and displayed so on people’s phones! We understand that to a script our actions look suspicious, but as a survey company, we had contacted the people via a letter, email and SMS prior – this was not unsolicited! After a bunch of emails the company who runs the backend database Hiya.com assures us we are no longer listed as spammers (for now).

We fixed the last round of design changes to one of the concreter projects and estimated the workload for additional changes which we got sign-off. So that task list grew a bit. The Australian plumbers needed some work done, which they forgot we already did 90% of a few months ago. On Thursday, we spent a few hours finishing that and send it off for review.

We are clearing the workload on all these little projects as we ramp-up one of the larger top secret projects: Hyperion.

Pretty much every day we had meetings with the team. Scheduled to be “short”, they usually lasted 1.5-2h. The team is scattered over several time zones, so in the super-early stages, it is important to sync and get everything explained and planned synchronously, then we can start to be more independent. Along with this project there are several document deadlines. We need to turn in progress reports and various living-documents about the design and technical aspects of the project. We have several templates but continued to write and re-write them this week.


If we look back at this week in our writing history, we had some interesting things to say:

This week in 02011, we wrote about the Big Mac Index. That’s a look at the price of a common good, a Big Mac, in various different markets to determine the buying power in that country.

In 02012, we wrote about Being Passionate For Your Work. This was after a trip to San Francisco where we managed to stop by the TypeKit office for a Creative Mornings talk.

Our week #208, was this week back in 02015. It was the company’s fourth birthday we looked back at some of the events and projects we were working on.


We are in good shape! At the start of week #572 we had a few outstanding invoices, but after a few emails, things were sorted. Working with other small teams is great, but they also have the same small teams issues we do when people get sick or life gets in the way, there aren’t many others to lean on for help with projects, deadlines and administration.

On the horizon, we have two projects in Australia that will wrap-up in a week or so, that’s a draft invoice, then the final hours to be billed on the Icelandic WordPress project. Our survey work is most busy in February and March, then quiets down until the fall. That tailing-off works perfectly with the ramping-up on our other projects.


The Angel of the North Statue by Antony Gormley is an interesting case study in art. The installation cost an estimated £800,000, but a scale model from which the sculpture was created was sold at auction for £2.28 million in July 2008.