Week #642 & 643

Friday, June 9th, 02023 at 12:21 UTC

Week #642

This week has a namesake in the Elector-Voice (EV) 642 Cardiline shotgun microphone. In 01963, it was the first ever audio product to receive an Academy Award. There is a second namesake in 642 Clara. It is a minor planet discovered 01907 and it is also a second-level namesake in that it is named after one of the housekeepers in the discoverer’s household.

We started this week with another public holiday in Iceland: Annar í hvítasunnu or Whit Monday.

One of our smaller, off-shoot projects revolves around a collaboration with a weaving company in the UK. This week, we received several color swatch samples in the mail. While they look great, it wasn’t exactly the colors we expected. There are obvious issues when referencing print Pantone colors to dying colors with off-white/yellow material. Atleast this is a good problem to have and we’re happy to have made it this far and will continue to iterate.

Last Friday, a new version of SpellStruck was released. In there were added more tracking around some of the permission dialogs. We wanted to work on improving the acceptance rate for some of our features. In doing so, we forgot to deploy the corresponding backend code. When the new events were logged the backend system was validating and just dropped any unknown events. (Which is good, but we lost a bunch of potential data). Now we know we need some better coordination and roll-out between client and server products.

Now that the SpellStruck has been out for a while, we can start to get into the weeds of 1% issues. When looking into the server errors, there are some 500 errors from our backend. While this is a problem, it was only a few (1-10 errors) in a ten minute window which had several tens-of-thousands of successful requests. Until now, we haven’t had the time to dig into many. We’ve add more in depth logging for these errors and already fixed one race-condition error. Now we wait and collect more issues and see if any other common problems appear.

The school year is now over, we are wrapping-up all our survey work for the summer. This means backing-up all the survey syntaxes, downgrading various heroku dynos and databases and finding a time to review trello tasks and find a summer project to work on. Overall, things went very smoothly this year and we’ll continue to improve and streamline the system for the future.

Week #643

This week’s celestial namesake is 643 Scheherezade, which is named after Scheherazade, a major female character and the storyteller of the One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights). Think Aladdin.

Monday was Apple’s WWDC (WorldWide Developer Conference) keynote. This year, they release Apple Vision Pro, their first “Spacial Computing Platform”. We wanted to put a pin here. It is hard to tell if this is the future or not. We have several VR Headsets, both Oculus and PICO which hardly get used (mostly for development and testing). Would having a Vision Pro be any different? Hopefully in the next few months, we can get to one of the Developer Labs and test it out and see.

For SpellStruck, we continue to dig-up numbers where we can in the analytics, but also putting together suggestions for improvements. We monitor App Reviews and support tickets. Part of our duties is to track these over time and make sure we are improving where we need too. Also, our partner Disney want numbers each week, so we need to put together a spreadsheet for them as well.

Cronjobs! To calculate several of the analytics tables into new tables, we have nightly tasks. Now that the data is a month-old, some tables are getting bigger and bigger. We spent a day going over some of the queries and optimizing them a bit and simply removing others we are not using. That significantly reduced the time it takes to do the calculations.

A project which we are tangentially attached to from back in 02016 managed to get a good-sized grant this week. They don’t know the exact final amount (you never get 100% of what you need!). Once that contract is signed, we might get pulled back into some of those tasks. If so, we’ll document them here. We’ve already secured some help for the design and branding work this fall.

The weather in Reykjavik has been pretty much rain for the last two weeks (or even longer). Some of our internal projects and articles are semi-dependent on getting some good weather to go outside so they have stalled.


Back in 02010, we got a box of Miracle Fruit Berries. These are special fruits which block various receptors on your taste buds which make sour things taste sweet. They really do work!

Bric á brac

From @kottke, we learnt how the US almost became a nation of Hippo Ranchers. Today’s new term: “lake cow bacon” or as a commenter pointed out it should actually be called “river horse” meat. Which reminds us of the time the UK got caught selling horse meat as cow beef. Someone suggested rebranding horse meat as ‘racing cow’… ergo “Hippo Meat” == “River Racing Cow Meat” – maybe stick will lake cow bacon”!

One of the few YouTube channels we subscribe to is: Masahiro Sakura on Creating Games. This week we caught-up. There is a lot of great content in there for both the new and seasoned developer.