Mark Boulton

Weeknote 21

  • Last week I attended New Adventures since speaking at the first one. For whatever reason, January is not good for the Boulton household and travel commitments. Anyway, this year was's visit was off the back of a couple of days in Germany at EMBL HQ.
  • New Adventures was thought provoking; the speakers varied, the subject matter important. Cennydd's talk was memorable in particular. If it's running next year, I'll be there if I can. Hats off to Simon and Geri for sticking their necks out and doing things differently. Smallish, community, out-of-London conferences need our continued support.
  • The subsequent couple of days were marred by a virus that wasn't really a virus. I think, as it's taken me four weeks of training to get back my fitness, I'm just fatigued again. Training 5 days a week cumulates.
  • On Friday, I finally got my act together and published my portfolio. I say portfolio, but it's not really. More like a bunch of stories about some of the projects I've worked on – including the work I'm leading at EMBL at the moment.
  • Pulling it all together brought into sharp focus what a shitshow the digital archiving of my work is. I should take better care of capturing, organising and archiving what are fleeting digital products. Documenting work is important. Not just for potential employers or clients to see what I'm capable of, but as records of my growth. I look back at some work and, yes, cringe a little. But I know the conversations, constraints, and the challenges that resulted in something looking or working the way it does. I'll be trying to write them down in future.
  • Last weekend my youngest daughter – who is currently pretty obsessed with watching Minecraft videos on YouTube by LDshadowlady – was sat doing so on Emma's old laptop when I thought it'd be nice if we shared a hot chocolate. No sooner had I said 'be careful with that' had she spilt it on the trackpad and it promptly stopped working. Apple wanted about £500 to replace it which, given the age of the laptop, is essentially a write-off. 'I'll give it a go myself', I thought. I bought some tools from iFixit, a new battery (as you have to replace it to get to the trackpad) and a new trackpad from eBay. When it all arrived, I settled down for three hours of deeply gratifying work as, step by step, I followed iFixit's guide. I may have punched the air when the MacBook blinked into life a few hours later. I absolutely had a celebratory cup of tea.
  • It was a week of repairing things. I fixed a new light to the ceiling above our dining table as we prepare to redecorate in a few weeks time. Our old house has no earth in the wiring which means we can't use metal fixings. That really limits our choices until Emma found a great looking, low hanging rail light that just comes from a bog-standard plastic pendent. Just a few more things before we go for a dramatic change of paint colour in the rooms we live in the most.