Weeknotes 3


A light-ish week - which allowed me to concentrate on my backlog. If you're getting a reply from an email you sent last year, sorry!
Actually, that's not true - since switching to Google's Inbox I've found it much easier to keep on top of things. Being able to snooze mails and mark them as done is so helpful to my workflow. My only wish is that I could organise mails by folder.

Sad news that David Pearson died.

A constant presence at GovCamps - always remembered for his beautiful photos and his forthright conversations. A bitter loss to the community.

I finally got someone from MOD to open an issue on GitHub! This is perhaps more of a symbolic point. We could accept issues via email - but that's not very open. It also means that we waste time passing emails back and forth then copying them to GitHub. Bleh! Working though the Department of No is quite an important part of this job.

W3C stuff still rumbles on - syncing up with WHATWG version. I have thoughts about this which are probably best expressed over a beer. I wrote a work blog about living standards which is now going through the editing and publishing process.

Writing apps for Alexa, Bixby, Google, Cortana, etc is a pain in the arse. So I've started up a W3C Community Group to discuss if there's any way to standardise development.

This is important for Government. Our users say they want to access services via Voice Assistants - but it is expensive to build them repeatedly. And we can't easily discriminate between devices.

NHS. Heading into London when Westminster is on a security lock-down is always an odd experience. Weird seeing the capital so quiet. Relatively glad that I don't usually work in this area of the city.

Google AMP. I'm not a fan - understatement of the year - but I had a great conversation with Tobie Langel about it. Tobie is one of those people who deeply gets why communities are important, and why standards matter. Lots to think about.

I got through to the next round of the Future Leaders Scheme. Last year I flunked the aptitude tests massively. Well, not that massively, but it showed me where my weaknesses were, and I've been trying to improve. So, wish me and Sam Villis luck!

And, finally, I didn't get the job I went for. I'm happy where I am, and the work I'm doing is meaningful to me. The new role would have been massively disruptive to my personal life and might have been too much for me to do. So I'm mildly relieved. At least, that's what I keep telling myself. It's important to fail. Partly it's about building up emotional scar tissue, toughening yourself up so you're less fearful of rejection. But it is also a great way to clarify exactly what you want out of life. The humility also helps, I guess!

Reading List

What I've read this week. Affiliate links ahead.


  • The Sudden Appearance of Hope - Claire North
    • I loved Claire's "First 15 Lives" book - and this is more in the same vein. A (possibly autistic, definitely poetic) woman is utterly forgettable. Crimes and high-jinks ensue. The techno-thriller, Facebook-is-evil plot is laid on a bit thick, but it's a cracking read.


  • Pleasure of Finding Things Out - Richard Feynman
    • Another set of collected works. Naturally a bit repetitive. Some of these are transcripts of talks which really don't work well when written down.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
    • Incredible and disturbing. What rights do you have over your body. Does consent matter if your body can save the world? Yes, yes it does. I found the emotional content hard to deal with. I found the intense actions and reactions of some of the people involved more frightening than the bioethical concerns.

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