Week #660-663

Friday, October 27th, 02023 at 13:31 UTC

Our double weeknote schedule skipped a beat on the Friday of week #661. That had a ripple effect for the following Friday and before we knew it, we’ve got a quadruple weeknote lined-up!

Week #660

The number 660 is the sum of four consecutive primes (157 + 163 + 167 + 173), and the sum of six consecutive primes (101 + 103 + 107 + 109 + 113 + 127) and the sum of eight consecutive primes (67 + 71 + 73 + 79 + 83 + 89 + 97 + 101)! This week shares its name with 660 Crescentia. It’s a member of the Maria family of asteroids that likely formed as the result of a collisional breakup of a parent body. Another namesake is NGC 660, a unique polar-ring galaxy located approximately 45 million light-years away in the Pisces constellation.

This week started October, which means more surveys! Durning this month, we start two additional student surveys. One for high school students and another for younger students in compulsory schools. As always, we tweaks a few things at the last minute. We’re dealing more and more with 3rd (or not reported) sex values for students. Having such a small sample group breaks our anonymity rules, so we needed to add some additional checking and magic around that. We also added Spanish as a survey language and needed a few things translated and rendered in our Text-to-Speech tool. With each question and response option, we add the ability to listen. It has worked really well for the younger children and those with reading issues. It’s a small thing, but makes a big difference.

A while ago a UK company reached out to us via a recommendation from a friend. At the time, we had a Skype meeting and chatted about people in Iceland that should meet and things that shouldn’t miss. That group finally made their trip here and we were invited to meet-up with all the other contacts the were put in touch with. It was a lovely evening and we made a few new friends.

As part of our eBike grant, we are participating in the DAFNA program. For two days a month we are meeting with mentors and having sessions and presentations by other entrepreneurs.

Week #661

The number 661 is a prime number and is the sum of three consecutive primes (211 + 223 + 227).

This week we were busy with lots of minor updates here and there. It started with the sending of our Quarterly Newsletter 02023Q4. You can read it online and be sure to subscribe.

An old client down in Australia wanted to change a few things in their weekly emails. The system pulls their P&L information every Monday and creates a nicer vertical table (rather than Xero’s default horizontal one) and applies a few functions to calculate an acceptable (or expected) net and gross profit margin. We tweaked the email to extend the date range and only show customers that were failing rather than everyone. This shortened-up the list to just customers that needed attention or looking into.

As had a few minor tweaks to our Adventure Mazes books. Since these are print-on-demand books, we’ve been taking a much more rapid, iterative approach to this print project. We treat it much more like a website. We don’t have any inventory, so making a change to the PDF and uploading it is pretty painless. Expect more and more iterations and experiments. Without warehousing and fulfillment (we make a smaller cut off each sale) but it allows us a passive income (if/when people buy the books) with low risk and investment. Obviously, if things explode in popularity, we can streamline things, but that would be a good problem to have.

Finally, we had a meeting about potential grant proposal. The survey/research arm of the company had meet many weeks ago to discuss contributing more of our school data to academic research. This was a follow-up to that with an organization within the University of Iceland which is tasked with disseminating research data. They are planning on writing a grant to further improve the way data is available to students and researchers. We are most-likely going to be a part of that grant for our time to dig-out 10+ years of data and review the questions, responses and metadata. This is unlikely to be much of a technical task and falls mostly on writing and reviewing old surveys.

Week #662

This week has a few interesting namesakes. Club 662 was the club that Tupac played a charity concert the night of his murder, which an arrest was just made.

As our eBike project progresses, we need help with manufacturing our prototypes as well as getting it ready for a mass production. Some local friends in Iceland who are Czech, are putting us in contact with their friends back home who have worked on eBikes in the past. They should be able to help us with the design and manufacturing. Currently, we’re somewhere in TRL6-TRL7 (Technology Readiness Level). At some point, we had a working prototype of an eBike that was ridable on the streets (TRL7), but the pedals have going missing (TRL6). The goal is to get a few more advanced prototypes assembled at small scale in a way which we can replicate in mass production (TRL8). This is just the start of the next two years on this grant.

On Monday we also had a long meeting about a potential new project. This is with a team in the US who have deep, deep knowledge in their industry and have spent months “paper” prototyping their idea. They are pretty far along with the design, logo, trademark and wireframes, but now they need that digital prototype. That’s where we come-in! We love taking on these sorts of projects. They are well defined and need something that works. It doesn’t need to be ready to handle a million customers, it does need work to show potential investors. Then, if things go well, we get out of the picture as their grow their own internal team and take over scaling and hardening the product!

On Tuesday, we sent out the 11th edition of our ⪮ Good Morning Newsletter. This one covered Flags, Music and Symbolism. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss an issue.

On Friday, we started our fortnightly PETALS sync. We’ve been slowing getting into a groove helping on this PETALS project and some sort of cadence is needed to keep up the feedback and tasks. The next mini-milestone is to work on team management within the web app.

Week #663

This week was a short week! It is winter holidays in the schools this week. Our surveys have been ramped-up to get the last missing students to get a satisfactory response ratio before the end of the month.

On Monday, we met with a Biomechanical Engineering professor at the University of Reykjavik and we are going to work together and get his class of students to test one of our prototypes. Now we have a deadline for the end of November to get everything testable!

We had a meeting last week about PETALS to get the next two weeks of planning in place. Our focus is going to be around team management. We had already done a bunch of the work that we forgot about, so we did some clean-up this week around CRUD teams. Then we get to the hiccup of “adding new members”. There are a few different flows based on if that email is already a member or not. The next thing we needed was to setup a way to send emails. We’re going to try Brevo transactional email service.

We also had a small hiccup with one project in Australia. Using Xero, we continue to archive completed jobs to keep the list manageable. This is done after payroll is submitted, because you can’t add time to a job that’s archived. But every once and awhile there is some issue, because someone forgot to log time, or Xero API failed and needed to be re-run… but after jobs are archived, it fails again, for a different reason. We implemented a few tests to try and see if we can work around this.

Finally, lots of little tasks for SpellStruck as we get ready to send-in the next update. It is in QA now and hopefully reviewed and published on Apple Arcade in the next few weeks. There are some fun new features coming, so stay tuned.


Back in 02023, we wrote about a physical calendar made from LEGO. While we’re big proponents of analog technology, shoehorning a digital objects into analog doesn’t necessarily make it better.

Last year in 02022, we published an article about Color Name Abstractions. Looking at what we call something does impact our perception of it.