daynotes 2023-05-11

Nope, brain not keeping track of day of the week currently. That’s ok though, the sun is out and things are happening.

Since last time (2 days):

  • Been assessing and writing up my state-of-play on a longer term project, in which a lot of under-the-hood refactoring work has been done alongside large amounts of codebase orientation. It was feeling … "messy" in my brain, so I took some time to summarise the key changes in infrastructure I’ve been working on, including why I needed to work on them. Coding can get like that a lot – you need to factor in and schedule time to see the wood again, and reassert why you’re where you’re at. It also means I have more clarity and transparency around communications with the client, which is hugely important on a project like this.

  • I deployed a bit of work I’ve been looking at over the last couple of weeks. While I’m happy to take the end users through what’s been set up, there’s always the chance that a) they’ll forget how it works, b) I’ll forget how it works, and/or c) other people may be brought in to edit the content involved. So I spent a little extra time writing the steps up into a document, including screenshots.

  • Both of the above have been good tasks to do alongside a slightly fragmented day involving bank meetings, shopping, and school pick-ups. Consolidate understanding. Set out plans. These things will stand you in good stead in a busy, choppy world.

  • I also had a good day delving into code properly, really understanding (or not) some of the flow of WordPress hooks.

  • I watched Eurovision semi-final 1 on Tuesday with son 1.

Today is rapidly hurtling towards tools-down time, but has been mostly:

  • Trying out GoGoCarto open source mapping tool for a client. Chance to practice reading French a bit, as well as installing a translation plug-in. Docker install went very well and I’ve had some good initial success importing data and configuring the tool locally.

  • Trying out a gitlab-to-Digital Ocean docker deployment for the first time, but just hit an error message.

  • Last night I got MOP3, a Mastodon-to-POP3 bridge, set up, and accessing/posting Mastodon via a new Thunderbird account has been oddly soothing.

In terms of progress – well, see above really.

Also been thinking about this Progress section. Separate post needed, but I think there is merit in "micro-metrics", in the sense that boats might record a fairly simple set of data in their logbook (I assume – compared to today’s modern data capture, at least). Personal progress metrics for a week, lightweight and relevant. Yeah, something there…

Daynotes 2023-05-09

What day is it? I feel like Link waking up at the start of Link’s Awakening – somewhat discombobulated, but somewhere around here there was a world and an adventure happening. Now if I could just get down to the beach…

Since last time (a long time ago):

  • Dug back into an ongoing, longer term project to make more refactors. After a fairly major shift to bring multiple WordPress sites together into a single site, there are some finer details rearing their heads (or the expected unexpecteds, to put it another way). I spent some time looking into custo URL routes in WordPress, and "acceptable" ways to pass variables between filters and template includes, and generally understanding the space better. It’s a slight rabbit hole, so I may park it and document it.

  • Voted.

  • Generally early starts. Somehow managed to get a lock-in in Seaford, so Saturday was a rather fuzzy day. Up early on Sunday to get the bus over to Eastbourne for my and son 1’s second official Pokemon TCG tournament. (He won a prize pack, I didn’t come last, and I can now happily discuss 90% of mdoern Pokemon card tactics with random strangers 🤔). And another early one Monday to pick up a bike.

  • Also, a weekend of lots of clearing out cupboards and shed junk. I think there is a) something definitely more therapeutic about clearing things out, and "curation therapy" should be much more of A Thing than "retail therapy" IMHO, and b) there feels like significant overlap between the joy of refactoring code and the sense of zen that comes from decluttering, and maybe I should make more of a thing out of that, personally speaking.

Black and white photo of a wheel and side of a car, with rippling reflections of sunlight being cast onto the nearby pavement


  • I’m going to spend a bit more time in the same project as before, but need to set out some overview structure to start locating progress and testing plans as things come together. It’s at the point where I need to make more functional changes, and I don’t want to lose track of which things are broken, which things aren’t, and which things are being intentionally changed.

  • Eurovision semi-final 1. Can you believe that these are actually being shown on BBC 1?


  • A bit of mental progress really, which is often more important than tangible or otherwise-visible progress – that is, development of an understanding around where you are on a piece of work, what the challenge is, and what the next steps are – even if you haven’t technically done anything to show. I wish people understood this aspect of "knowledge working" more, as it’s the key to unlocking a lot of productivity. In my case, it’s the realisation that I need to step back and document things before ploughing on with code.

Daynotes 2023-05-04

Missed yesterday’s day note – I almost put off writing this as things are busy, but let’s see if I can’t make it that 5-10 minute check-in that I was originally aiming for last week.

Since last time:

  • Long but good weekend away, seeing the folks, and then a day looking after the boys while the school was striking (solidarity!) – a bit frazzled currently (possibly an understatement), a mix of late nights, being extroverted and conversational for a few days, driving, and context switching.

  • Wrote up some Board minutes Tuesday afternoon, but really trying to balance looking after my energy with pushing myself to get on with things. So trying not to put too much pressure on myself – my instinct is to plan things out, but even deciding to do that can be extra pressure sometimes.

  • Spent a good day yesterday starting to familiarise myself with a new codebase I’ll be working on soon. Well, 3 or 4 codebases really. Slightly wide-eyed, crash course moment of checking out the repositories and scanning through all the tech stacks in use. I still find myself wondering how others cope with juggling frameworks and tools. Still, I can load up docs and get a rough idea of what a tool is for quite easily before touching any of the code itself. Maybe that’s a sign of experience?

  • Staring at docker logs to figure out why docker-compose up wasn’t working isn’t too fun after an hour though.


  • Left the house and have come to the Skiff co-working space to decouple from domestic clutter for a day. I’m pretty sure nobody has got their head round what the whole Working From Home movement actually means, socio-psychically speaking.

  • Handy meeting that covered network architecture for the codebase above, and agreeing some initial steps. Exciting stuff and made me feel a bit more awake! I do like that spot between technical architecture design and business needs, and the process of making decisions about tools based on stakeholder needs across the whole system.

  • Going to do some of that planning I talked about and get my time scheduling a bit clearer.

  • Voting.


  • Finally getting in touch with some frameworks I haven’t really looked at yet – Vue, nuxt, Laravel Doctrine. Feel a bit like Willow absorbing the books of magic.

Head of the charcter Willow from Buffy the TV series with lines of unreadable words covering the lower half of her face

  • But, you know, not as end-of-worldy.

  • Hopefully.

Daynotes 2023-04-28

End of week check-in. Yesterday was about as busy as expected, and today is a wrap morning before heading off – sans les enfants! – for a weekend away. Actual gasp.


  • Quick round of feedback on the work for client. Had a brief look into whether the changes were easy, and turned out seemed to be, so I proactively made some changes in under an hour, and got rough quotes prepped in my head. Timelogging spreadsheets are a godsend sometimes.

  • Had our first Board Meeting for Writing Our Legacy with a new Board member, which was late in the date but went well. It’s going to be interesting to let/help the Board find a new ‘rhythm’ for its (volunteer) members, alongside a fair bit of change and structuring within the team itself, now that we’re an ACE NPO. But it’s a good team, I think we’ve got this.

  • Tried out using my Bluetooth keyboard to write notes onto my phone, as an experiment in more portable writing (ie not having to fetch the laptop from upstairs). Works well (Logitech K380.)

  • Decided to pick up Sigur Ros’ new digital version of the Kveikur album, with digital book, through their Heimr community. I’m intrigued by what they’re doing, and as a long time fan (over 20 years since the Brighton gig now? wow) it’s fascinating to watch them evolve, creatively and technically at the same time. I figure there are lessons there for how any creative organisation runs over time. It’s also really intriguing to see what role blockchains and NFTs can play, especially now the hype has died down.

  • Ordered a few more Pokemon cards. The kids and I have really got into the TCG (The Card Game) in the last few months, especially around deckbuilding, and so it’s become a bit like buying in Lego pieces to make that model you can really see working. More thoughts on deckbuilding and life another time.

Also an extra one to mention – you know that time of the night when everyone else has gone to bed and you’re brushing your teeth and the strapline for what you want to do and be pops into your head and you have to go back downstairs and turn the lights on and find a pen to write it all down? Yeah, that.


  • Writing up Board meeting notes
  • Sending invoices
  • Getting ready for the weekend, which is a whole nother to-do list.


  • An ever-clearer vision for where I want to take myself in the next few years. And a sense of brash confidence in the idea that you can actually do a broad range of things rather than specialise, so long as you can tell a decent (and succinct) story around it.

  • Project work – some slightly delayed, but some I think is closer to finishing that it would have otherwise been.

Random thoughts:

  • Pet user story peeve: When delivery companies give you the option of setting a back-up location for if you’re going to be out, and then say it WILL be delivered there. Really not clear if the option is for if they try my house first, and I’m not there at the time, or if they’ll just deliver straight to the second option.

  • Really enjoying doodling notes on the new Pretendo Miiverse replacement. Not figured screenshots out yet, but here’s a couple of photos of recent efforts…

Sketch of Captain Toad, Treasure Hunter waving hello with his giant mushroom head, with the word TOAD in large letters.

Sketch of Mario with a hammer chasing a flustered Twitter logo bird

Daynotes 2023-04-27

Schools on strike today, appreciate the slightly slower start, but carefully trying to balance the emotions of everyday disruption with the flailing state of the country in my head/heart. Is it a coincidence that both ‘head’ and ‘heart’ start with the same 3 letters?


  • A great meeting/chat with – not often I get to ramble haphazardly about all the thoughts in my head with people actually listening and strangely interested. Not sure we got much focus but it was good fun, and we’ll see if we can get something out of it.
  • Got the deployment of some work for client on to an updated staging server, and sent out for feedback. Some small comments back – should be fine, but just need to balance a few threads going on, and make sure I’m not deciding other people’s priorities for them based on my own judgement. I’ll aim to "check my technicals" today for feeding into prioritisation, shouldn’t take more than a few minutes now I know my way around the plug-in and code being used.
  • Picked up a different project for a different client again which has been sitting around for a few weeks due to holiday and other work. Started to dig even more into the IA, and the legacy framework, and pretty confident around the possible routes here now, I think. Development on it is definitely getting easier and faster.
  • An old Uni friend popped into my Discord server, which was lovely. There are usually 3 of us chatting irregularly in there, as a bit of a relaxed WFH distraction.
  • Managed to acquire food and children successfully. A lot of context switching from lunch onwards, and was mentally phasing out by 8.30pm.
  • Started writing daynotes!
  • Stayed off coffee and alcohol! Been trying this a bit more recently, but never in the same day. I think coffee does send me to sleep though.


  • Going to try to carry on with the legacy code again now that I’m back in there.
  • But also check over feasibility of making changes after yesterday’s feedback – bit torn on whether to do that first, but it probably make sense to get it out of the way.
  • Going to see if I can help out on parental duties with the kids off, even if it’s just hanging out a bit with son 1 while he mooches around at home.
  • Got a Board Meeting for Writing Our Legacy early evening. I think I’ll be tired again after that, so no badminton for me this evening. Got a longish drive tomorrow anyway, so early bedtime would be good.


  • Delivered first round of development.
  • Small tweaks around legacy code project.
  • Explained and expanded out larger-scope, longer-term thinking, probably for the first time with someone else.

Photo of Arbor Low stone circle, visited recently on holiday:

Black and white photo of dark ground under gloomy sky. A few large rocks are laid flat in a line along the ground, showing the edge of Arbor Low stone circle. A few more rocks are positioned in the middle of the ground.

Daynotes 2023-04-26

Inspired by Justin Pickard’s thoughts tying old ships’ binnacles to modern (b)logging, thought I’d try a kind of daily sketch-form approach to keep track of my own progress and journey.

Vague structure taking its lead from what I’ve been using in paper form for over a year now:

Photo of my week planner diary with left page showing dates and a todo list for each day, and right page showing things I've been happy about.

Left side: things happening and tasks to do. Right side: Things I’ve appreciated or that have gone well. Excessive use of exclamation marks for these is intentional, and possibly tongue-in-cheek, TBD.


  • Finished up some usual maintenance tasks for client, started dusting off an old staging server. Didn’t quite get the deployment in place due to needing log-ins, SSH keys and WordPress file permissions in place beforehand. Hit some syncing issue that meant ACF didn’t want to offer a sync option for fields, but worked around it by importing the field file, as it’s a whole new field group.
  • Followed up with various people to let them know about changes being applied. Lining up some background work to dig into 2FA logins which some people use and some don’t, but aware of how thorny login security can be still, in this day and age.
  • Got the Miiverse version of Pretendo working on a Wii U, so I can connect to random people and send weird sketches. Will see if I can export the data out some time. Initial impressions: Feels like a very, very niche social media platform. Oddly relaxing.
  • Had a quick coffee with the wife.


  • Exciting totally off-work-topic chat with, nice to have a bit of a no-pressure brainstorm session lined up instead of goal-focused time.
  • Get that deployment sorted out.
  • Move over to next client work which needs some time and attention.
  • … but also grab dinner and pick up son 2 from school?

I was going to start with the deployment, but I jumped into the Miiverse (the OG metaverse?) and did a Captain Toad doodle which I’m kind of proud of.

Also found this amazing 60s architect sketch of a brutalist design for St Patrick’s Cathedral in Rochdale, which was never used.

1960s architecture rough sketch of tall, brutalist buildings as a design for a catheral, with silhoutted figures in foreground. Text at bottom reads