The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML

by @edent | # # # # | 7 comments | Read ~1,325 times.
The HTML5 Logo.

I’ve told this story at conferences – but due to the general situation I thought I’d retell it here. A few years ago I was doing policy research in a housing benefits office in London. They are singularly unlovely places. The walls are brightened up with posters offering helpful services for people fleeing domestic violence.…

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MSc Notes – 0th Week

by @edent | # # | 2 comments | Read ~114 times.

I’m doing an MSc Apprenticeship! As part of my desire to work in the open, these are (semi-regular) weeknotes about what I’ve done / learned / achieved. I tend to be grumpy and curmudgeonly when faced with something I don’t understand – or when I suspect I won’t be good at an activity. So read…

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Weeknotes: I’ve hit the wall

by @edent | # | 7 comments | Read ~172 times.

I spent the first few months of lockdown in a blur. Working with NHSX, on the national app launch, meant that I didn’t have a minute to think about what was going on outside my immediate focus. Then, a few months ago, I switched to a new job in the Data Standards Authority – so…

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Reflections on four years in the Civil Service

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~250 times.
Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

Four years ago today, I turned up in Holborn for my first day at GDS – Government Digital Service. I’ve now experienced two Prime Ministers (Primes Minister?), two departments, and one pandemic. So I thought I’d take a look back at some highlights and lowlights. I’ve worked for half-a-dozen brilliant managers, helped create a new…

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All the jobs I failed to get

by @edent | # # # # # | 30 comments | Read ~18,376 times.
Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

A few years ago, Johannes Haushofer published a CV of failures. In it, he lists all the grants he wasn’t awarded, positions he didn’t get, papers rejected. I think that people need to be more open about failure. None of us are perfect – despite what our social media presence says – and all of…

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name (and other metadata)

by @edent | # # # # | 4 comments | Read ~197 times.
A group of people in a video call waving at their cameras. Each has a name under their video.

I’ve made no secret of rather enjoying this enforced period of remote work. Sure, it has had its challenges – but there have been so many fringe benefits. Less commuting! No crappy-canteen lunches! More time to sleep in! And, today, I was reminded of another benefit. I am terrible at remembering names. Many a time…

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All Good Things

by @edent | # # # # | 14 comments | Read ~1,310 times.
Paul Mcgann as Doctor Who.

Well, that was a whirlwind! After 18-months at NHSX, my 6-month temporary secondment has reached its end. It’s always hard when a job finishes. The secondment was twice extended, and that let me carry on defining open technology standards for the NHS. Now it is over and I’m a bit sad. The pandemic seems to…

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New T-Shirt Idea

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~184 times.
A t-shirt which says Dunning and Kruger and Gell and Mann.

Some days, I want everyone on the Internet to wear this t-shirt: Designed using Guillaume Chabot’s tool after the original 2K by Gingham – which has been parodied many times. Explaining the joke The Dunning–Kruger effect is – simply put – when people of low ability are over-confident in their ability. The Gell-Mann Amnesia effect…

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A holiday is a great way to prevent a messiah complex

by @edent | # # | 3 comments | Read ~181 times.

Last Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK. The Tuesday was a “Privilege Day” – a day off for Civil Servants for the Queen’s birthday. Thursday was my wife’s birthday – which I had booked off ages ago. So I decided to cash in my TOIL and take Wednesday and Friday as holidays as…

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You’ve got to show up to make a difference

by @edent | # | 2 comments | Read ~129 times.

Eleven years ago, the BBC announced plans to encrypt all of its free-to-air digital TV channels. The technology world was aghast! I saw thousands of Tweets from hundreds of people, angry blog posts, mailing lists erupting with fury. There may even have been a petition. The regulator, Ofcom, announced an enquiry and solicited for feedback.…

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