Weeknotes - Lustrum

by @edent | , | 3 comments

Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

lustrum lŭs′trəm A ceremonial purification of the entire ancient Roman population after the census every five years. A period of five years. Five long years ago I quit my job in the mobile industry and started working for the Civil Service. It has been an "interesting" period! On a personal level, I've gone from GDS,…

Weeknotes: Vaccinated - Part 1

by @edent | , , , | 1 comment | Read ~179 times.

Me holding my NHS vaccination card.

I know exactly what I was doing on 9th April 2020. I was worrying about open-sourcing the NHS Covid Tracing app. I was worrying about tech standards for booking test slots. I was worrying if I'd ever see my family and friends again. I was worrying if the NHS websites would contain enough semantic HTML…

The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML

by @edent | , , , | 46 comments | Read ~57,450 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.…

MSc Notes - 0th Week

by @edent | , | 2 comments | Read ~144 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…

Weeknotes: I've hit the wall

by @edent | | 7 comments | Read ~178 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…

Reflections on four years in the Civil Service

by @edent | , | 1 comment | Read ~263 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…

All the jobs I failed to get

by @edent | , , , , | 30 comments | Read ~18,549 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…

Where Everybody Knows Your Name (and other metadata)

by @edent | , , , | 4 comments | Read ~241 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…

All Good Things

by @edent | , , , | 14 comments | Read ~1,380 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…

New T-Shirt Idea

by @edent | , | 1 comment | Read ~194 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…