Week #658 & #659

Friday, September 29th, 02023 at 15:51 UTC

Week #658

This week has a few interesting namesakes. 658 is part of the North American Number Plan. It is the dialing prefix for Jamaica. 658 is also an Untouchable Number in mathematics.

With the launch of iOS17, we updated a few of our little utility apps: Red Days Holiday Countdown, Emoji Calendar, and Triagemail. There wasn’t much of a code change, but now the widgets work in a few more places and we’re gardening on the code so it doesn’t get stale.

On the writing front, we published an article about NFC tags and how iOS is passively reading and reacting to them. This was inspired by an Ad that we managed to recreate.

A potential new Australian project came through recently and we had a longer meeting to spec out the possibilities, the cost and scope along with what were confident about and what is new. This project focuses much more on quotes, and partial invoicing both at milestones within a job, but also some wrangling about what the actual percentage of work done is at that milestone. This requires more fine-grain line-times per quote and invoice than previous. Plus, Retention Money! Where a percentage is withheld for a set time, 6-12-18 months incase there are flaws. So construction companies do the work, but don’t fully get paid for a year or more. This needs to both be calculated in any budgets, but also keeping track of payouts when you can claim these retentions.

As part of a recent grant, we are part of a sort of free accelerator to increase our chance of success. As part of that we get 3 or 4 meetings with mentors. This week was the first. It was mostly introductions so everyone got to know everyone and getting up to speed with the project, its history and current state of being.

Week #659

Starting in October, we’re conducting two more surveys. This week was making sure all the last minute things were working. The biggest change we are dealing with in our surveys is balance between anonymity, usefulness and ease-of-use. To make sure this is rigorous, we take a stratified sample of participants, but sometimes the cross-tabulation groups are too small. If there are too few male or females in a specific group, it might compromise anonymity. To solve this, we merge two groups into one to hide small groups. This year we are merging on male/female first, then groups if needed. So some small code changes to make sure this works as planned.

On the side, we’ve been helping some friends with a small workflow problem. They are combining image sets on request and this has always been done manually. Using a bit of HTML and javascript, we sped up that process. The next issue was that they were unable to drag images from a web browser into a desktop application. (Something todo with a URL reference rather than a file reference) To fix this, we are NOT loading the images remotely, but locally. Now, it is possible build the image collage in a browser and drag the output from the browser directly into the desktop application. The html file is running locally just like an application, but it’s all javascript under the hood!

The other project we’ve been getting back to is helping with PETALS. It was a great excuse to start fresh learning about WebAuthn and more. Our small task this week was to get data collection working, which it does and we had a meeting about building out some team management. It doesn’t look pretty, but we’re just focusing on functionality and learning what we want and need. Then we can go back and re-work the design, flow and layout.


Back in 02023, we wrote about our trip to CERN to create an emulator for the original Line mode browser.


This week saw the return of Bennu asteroid samples to Earth. This was NASA’s first astroid capture project. Bennu is of interest because it has a very slim chance of colliding with Earth in the future. Knowing its structure and make-up could help us better understand the odds as well as take any preventative measures.