Some good things from this week:
- I got to meet my entire company IRL this week (there are only 7 of us). Given
I joined the company in lockdown I’d not actually met some of them other than
on Zoom. Being entirely virtual has been working okay for the most part, and
we’re all in agreement that we don’t want to be back in an office right now.
But given we’d never actually all been in the same place at the same time we
arranged to meet up for lunch, sitting outside in the Olympic Park.
- Other than some slight misjudgments on peoples heights, every was just as they
appear on Zoom. I still miss not having an office to go into every day, but
it’s nice to have actually met everyone now.
- It’s impossible with current distancing measures to take group photos that
don’t look like boyband shots from the late 90s. Everyone awkwardly spaced
out, sitting and standing at different heights, together, but artistically
apart. I’m here for the aesthetic though, much better than everyone having to
have a big hug to get everyone in.
- I used the excuse of cycling to Stratford to cycle over Tower Bridge. I still
enjoy getting to put tourist destinations into my regular activities. The
knowledge that people travel around the world to see things that are just
part of my day to day brings me surprising satisfaction. Yeah, I live here,
this is my city.
- We cycled to Richmond Park this weekend to see friends we’ve not seen since
The Before™. I forget how much I like Richmond Park. Having that on my
doorstep for 3 years and cycling through it daily was a real privilege. It’s
nice to be able to come back and be the tourist. I do wish the other tourists
would stop chasing the deer though. You don’t need a close up photo of them!
This week we had our first COVID test as part of the ONS Infection Survey. A
very nice person came round to give us a swab each. It turns out swabbing the
back of your throat (“they” say: if you’re not gagging it’s not far back
enough) is as bad as they say. I could definitely feel a phantom swab for much
of the rest of the day. But it let them test to see if we’ve got it. Given
that we’ve heard nothing back, the assumption is that we’re all clear for the
This came about because our address we were randomly selected in a lottery.
We’re now signed up for random testing for up to the next 12 months. This lets
them monitor how it’s moving in the community, and lets us periodically know
for sure if we’ve got it or not.
It certainly made me feel slightly better at the weekend when I was catching
up with family that I knew, given I’d not seen anyone since the test, that I was
there was very little chance of me passing it on.
I imagine one potential future, assuming there isn’t a antidote forthcoming,
is regular testing will become part of every day life. Much the same way as we
clean our teeth, just do a cheeky little test, make sure you’re still clear.
Perhaps my gag reflex might desensitize.
This week I pushed out a realignment to this blog, as well as my
homepage. Cameron Moll once said “Good Designers
Redesign, Great Designers
Realign” (gosh was that
really 15 years ago?!?) and as I definitely see myself as a “Great Designer”
it seems fitting that I would realign. The main inspiration came from the
Cinelli offset CMYK paint jobs on their
bikes (it’s an effect that’s definitely elsewhere though).
Owning one has been on my bucket list for a while (pictured is the 2015
Vigorelli, though I first saw a similar paint job on their 2012 Strato). I’ve
tried to do something similar in CSS before but it isn’t possible with just
opacity, you need blend modes on the layers. Then when I saw
Stripe launch their new homepage and realised blend
modes had made it into browsers I had to give it a go.
The passing of Chadwick Boseman this week hit me harder than I was expecting.
The video of people telling him what Black Panther meant to
them especially had
me sobbing. As a white middle class man there are role models for me literally
everywhere I look. Black people aren’t afforded that luxury, so to loose one,
who should have had so much more ahead of him is heart breaking.
We know that from the life he lived and the films he chose to be a part of — movies that elevated stories of black people — that he was more than a superhero. He was our superhero — and at a time when we have so few.
We’ve now finished the first 5 seasons of
Black-ish which is all that is legally
available in the UK at the moment. It’s still really annoying how we can’t
easily pay for shows that have been “released” somewhere else in the world just
not “here” yet. Take my money already!
Similarly I spent some time trying to find a legal source of
Grown-ish, a spin-off from Black-ish
which is already on it’s third season in America, to no avail. Which means I
can’t tell you how it’s also a good easy watching show, if at times makingyou
slightly cringe at teenagers being teenagers.
This week, for the first time since before lockdown started, I spent a night
not in my bed! We went camping for the weekend to a lovely little campsite just
outside of Hastings. We were there with some friends, and spent two days almost
able to pretend we were in the before. One of the benefits of camping is it’s
very easy to maintain proper distance from others while still hanging out for
multiple days. I’ve always enjoyed camping, and have enough equipment to make it
a very comfortable experience, add in the ability to finally spend more than a
couple of hours with friends and it was magical.
One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to lay back in the dark and
look up at the stars. Due to there being a new moon, and being sufficiently far
enough away from any town or city, there were sooooooo many stars. It’s a shame
there is so much light pollution in London you don’t get to properly enjoy it.
On Saturday we went on a walk from the campsite and managed to get ourselves
chased out of a field by some overly friendly donkeys and horses. While I’m
sure they were just coming to say hello, as I’m sure I would if someone walked
into my home. Having them all running at us at speed was really very
- In Edd does electronics news, this week I managed to fit some new dynamo
lights to a bike. The bike in question already had a dynamo with a front
light, but the light went out as soon as you stopped moving. Pretty lame if
you ever want to be seen while waiting at traffic lights I’m sure you’ll
agree. The back light was just some poor batter powered solution.
- After doing some research and a visiting the SJS Cycles
website we took
receipt of a new front light and new rear light both of which will stay on
for a couple of minutes after you stop moving. After measuring the wire
twice, thrice and a fourth time just to make sure, I cut the wires stripped
them back a bit and fitted some spade connectors. Then got it all attached to
the bike looking quite neat if I do say so myself. The thought of being able
to never have to think about charging your bike lights seems truly magical,
I’m now fairly tempted to invest in my own dynamo hub wheel.
- When trying to work out how to attach the wire to the connector I uncovered
the world of crimping tools. It seems there are an infinite number of
different, and patented, tools to perfectly crimp your connectors to your
wires. I’m sure in some applications this is important, I just used a pair of
pliers though and it seems to have done the job.
- I finally caved in and got a proper desk chair to work from at my makeshift
work desk. Though as the desk is a fixed height standing desk the chair has
to be a “draughtsman chair” which allows me to have the seat be 85cm of the
floor. I’m now able to let my feet dangle unable to touch the floor and
pretend that I’m small again.
- Having a desk chair (that is comically high in the air) in the living room
feels like I’ve accepted that home is now for working. This makes me uneasy.
- I’m glad the extreme hot weather has broken, though I’m not sure if I’m a fan
of the random heavy showers. I’m sure we should be able to work out some kind
of middle ground weather.
Some good things from this week:
- Our kitchen scales had been playing up recently. They are pretty basic two
button operation scales. One button turns on, off, and resets the zero
offset, the other changes the units used. The on/off button has been
intermittently not working for a number of months now. Last week though the
button stopped working completely. In normal circumstances this could have
been fixed by jumping onto Amazon and replacing them with some equally cheap
scales. With nowhere to go and a soldering iron to hand though, I decided to
take them apart and pretend I knew what I was doing. Turns out something had
corroded one of the 4 pins on the button. Scraping it clean with a blade
and applying some fresh solder and it’s as good as new again. The scales
will live to see another day!
- I’m not sure I’m quite prepared for a heatwave while I’m not allowed back to
a nicely air conditioned office. More often than not I spend the 28ºC+ days
hidden away inside a perfectly regulated 22ºC office. I’m not going to get
that luxury working from home.
- Our garden vegetable patch has produced a broccoli. I’ve never seen one grow
before, they are always just things you get from the shops. It turns out
they just grow like a really long stalked broccoli straight out of the
floor. I’m pretty happy with the vegetables we’ve been growing. Even if the
cucumbers don’t really resemble shop bought ones (they look like someones
squished all the insides down to one end like a water balloon) it’s magical
that given some water it all just grows.
- The world is starting to get back to normal and I’m ready for this. It’s yet
to be proved if just good hygiene (people actually washing their hands), not
overcrowding everything, and some simple face coverings can defeat a global
pandemic. But it would be pretty awesome if that was all it took.
Some good things from this week:
- At the beginning of the summer I bought some fairy lights of ebay to
illuminate the garden. I’d done this previously but used some lights that
didn’t like getting wet, so this time I made sure I picked some that could
handle getting rained on. This worked great for a couple of months but slowly
they stopped turning on. All the lights still flickered so I knew there was
no problem there, my guess was the cheap “8 function controller” was having
some issues. Reading around the internet, I found this great web page from
Big Clive detailing how to stop
Christmas Lights from flashing. Sure enough his circuit matched my one very
closely. So I soldered the pins of the thyristors together to short circuit
them, and now I have a lighting set that works perfectly. I’m tempted to
order up a bridge rectifier as he details to remove the whole controller
circuit, but in the decade that has passed since I completed my electronics
modules at University I’ve forgotten most of it and can’t work out if it
would blow the house up or not. So I’ll probably stop now I’ve got working
- This weekend I went cycling on routes that I’d not cycled on in over 5 years.
It was confusing how my brain both recognised some stretches, but had
completely forgotten some others. I did manage to get a Strava PB going up
one of the hills I definitely used to target, so that made me quite happy as
my strength must be coming back.
- We also got to go and see some friends and their baby this weekend. Last time
I got to see them was before lockdown started and it’s amazing how much he’d
grown and how mobile he’s now got. Seeing small children is always a good
reminder of how much time has passed, because they have often hit another
development milestone or two.
- With the hot weather last week we met up with some friends in Ruskin Park and
sat and watched the sunset over the London skyline. It was warm enough that
we didn’t need jumpers and could pretend for just a moment we were on
holiday. It was perfect. Summer really is the best season isn’t it.
If we assume that we’re not going back into offices until 2021 then we still
have longer working from home ahead of us than we’ve had already endured. I
hope that we get to go back to some kind of office before that.
This week was mostly uneventful. I did some cycling, some work and some more
cycling and work.
I tried cycling through Richmond Park at the weekend to get down to Kingston
but the park was closed to cyclists so I had to take the A3 which for that
segment turns into a mult-lane dual carriageway. Judging by the number of other
cyclists I saw on that stretch I wasn’t alone. I hope no one gets hurt because
mixing cars driving at 50mph and less experienced cyclists is a recipe for
disaster. All in the name of keeping people safe from COVID-19.
Some things from this week:
- We watched I May Destroy
week. I had absolutely no idea what it was about when we started. It
took me 3 episodes before I worked out what was going on, but I was hooked
from shortly after we started the first episode. It turns out I May Destroy
You used the same Intimacy Co-ordinator as Sex Education and Normal
People, which makes
sense as the sex scenes in each of them are really well done.
- I woke up at 3am on Saturday morning with my brain very actively thinking
about the concurrency model, and database pool implementation differences
between Phoenix (and Elixir) and Rails (and
Ruby). This is probably my own fault as one of
the last things I did at work on Friday before logging off was get half way
through investigating why our database looks to be going slow in
AppSignal (our APM) but that isn’t reflected in
our postgresql slow query logs. Turns out my brain was on to something
though as AppSignal does combine queue time and execution time into a single
brain, not sure 3am was the right time to crack that nut though.
- I cycled around London on Saturday, it’s exciting to see the amount of
permanent looking cycling infrastructure going in. I just hope that they
also get the signage right. I know I personally avoid lots of cycle paths
because I don’t want to get accidentally taken somewhere with no way to get
back onto the route I started on.
That’s probably it for this week. As predicted, not much happened. Who knows
what exciting adventures the next week of not leaving the flat will bring us.
Some good things from this week:
- After they were allowed to reopen I was able to go and get my hair cut for
the first time in months. It was reassuring that, unlike a lot of barbers
I’ve seen while out and about, mine is being very strict about all customers
wearing masks. Still that was the closest I’ve been to other people in a
long time and I’m not going to pretend it didn’t feel awkward. Being able to
stroke the freshly shaved back of my head still feels fantastic though.
- I’ve been out cycling a couple of times and my power meter says my legs are
definitely getting stronger. Part of me feels like I should set some goals
to hit, but right now I’m just enjoying the ride too much.
- I did our fortnightly shop at Sainsburys, there was once again no queue to
get into the shop. The only thing they are struggling to keep in stock that
want need is Campari. What a difference a couple of
That’s about as exciting as the week got. Don’t get your hopes up for anything
more exciting next week. I’m not planning on making use of any open pubs /
betting shops / drive in cinemas / etc and there is limited appeal in writing
about the soups I make for lunch.
More posts can be found in the archives.