Week 19: Brightening

  • There is blossom on trees!
  • There are primroses in the garden! At last, life!
  • I am making very, very slow progress in getting my blog moved over to Zola. Maybe an hour a week is not enough?
  • I hit 1000 continuous days of entries to Daylio. It has worked perfectly as a sort of daily personal blog, and I think I’ll have to explore the options for exporting the data (they permit CSV export) and seeing what kind of form I can get it into. There are also plenty of projects on Github that seem to use the data, so I’ll take a look at those too.
  • I am watching S3 of The Original Series of Star Trek. Somehow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. It is v relaxing.

Week 18: Governmental

  • For most of the last year I’ve been working with the UK’s Government Digital Service on the COVID-19 response, specifically the bit that helps people who have to shield get additional support. It’s been a treat to see how quickly and effectively a disparate group of civil servants came together into a brand new team, hammered out a working solution and then iterated on it again and again to improve the service, and made it flexible enough to be able to respond to frequently changing policies. Many thanks to Tom Natt for getting me involved.
  • I am very bad at Hades, but it’s a great game and even if I’m not enjoying dying repeatedly, I enjoy the bits immediately before and after.
  • I am trying to move house. It is not going well. On Monday I will find out if we need to start all over again. Not overjoyed.

Week 17: improvements

  • Once this post has been made, I will have posted 998 blog posts since 2002. That rounds to about 52 posts a year, which is extremely satisfying, even if some of those first posts are just meme reposts, or me talking directly to people I knew at the time (I don’t advise reading them). Many links are now broken, many images have disappeared along the way (most of the early ones were hotlinks), but here I still am, ruining your day 🙂
  • A good customer support story: in spring 2020 I bought a Chromebook. An Asus C434T. It was absolutely brilliant and I recommended it to everyone who was prepared to listen. Until it broke. The keys on the left-hand side of the keyboard stopped working, and sadly I am not alone. I’d bought it from Curry’s, but they spent 2020 struggling to keep up with the demand for support, and so I filed a request for repair with Asus since I was still in warranty. I did not expect much, but they were excellent! The laptop was collected the day after I filed the repair request, and it was back in my hands 6 days later fully working again, with a new keyboard module fitted. I have little doubt that it will break again since it’s obviously a hardware fault, but Asus did make the process of returning it extremely easy at absolutely zero cost to me. I think this is the first ever time I’ve made a warranty claim rather than going through the seller and was pretty delighted with the result.
  • There is still not a better desktop photo manager and simple editor for Windows than Picasa, discontinued by Google 5 years ago.
  • My work’s collaboration tool of choice is Google Docs. It is increasingly frustrating that although the multiple editors at once part seems fine, the rest is so weak.
  • We have a jumbo robin who visits the garden. I estimate he is two to three times the size of a regular robin.
  • The goldfinches have been back in the garden for a few weeks now, but whereas that was groups of 2 or 3, they’re now coming in charms of 7 or more. I love goldfinches, they’re so pretty!