Mark Boulton

Weeknote 24

  • I’m on a plane and everyone is coughing. Actually, they are not, but I certainly heard every single cough, sniffle, and nose blow. The plane is half full, or half empty, depending on your view. Normally this flight is absolutely stacked to the rafters with financial travellers commuting between Frankfurt and London. I saw two people in business class. That was it.
  • I’m not one for hoarding food. But recent quarantining of a huge area in Italy made me think: could me and the family isolate ourselves for two weeks? Do we have enough food? And, yes, toilet roll. I’m not a prepper (except maybe light bulbs - you can never have enough of them), but it’s a serious question that, actually, we might have to act on if you are to believe the UK’s worse case scenario planning.
  • So, yeah, Coronavirus has been on my mind. I’ve been so aware of my media consumption at times like this that I decided to make a thing to aggregate news. Twitter, The Guardian, The BBC. They all amount to a bubble and one that I need to step out of. I wrote more about it here.
  • The Eleventy and Netlify combination makes things like this really easy to make. With some pretty simple JavaScript (even for me) I can query NewsAPI.org, pull in 30 news articles for numerous sources based on a keyword query and cache the json. Using Zapier, I can then trigger a rebuild in Netlify every hour.
  • I’m no developer. Despite really trying several times, JavaScript is confusing. Eleventy, though, feels as easy as the early days of php, or CMS’ like Expression Engine. The docs are great. Undoubtably I only scratch the surface of what’s its capable of, but honestly, it’s pretty empowering.
  • With more and more companies telling their employees to work from home (although, Facebook, telling them to go home on Friday for the weekend is, well...). The general chatter about remote working became louder this week. I’ve led remote teams for a little while now, so I wrote down some of the simple things I try to do with remote design teams to stay connected, do better work, not feel remote.
  • My last working week at EMBL starts tomorrow. Well, today really, as I’m on the plane. I’m travelling with a bike box as I’ll be returning with my Canyon Endurance road bike for the start of the ‘convert it to a flat bar hybrid’ project. I may have bitten off more than I can chew with this one as it involves replacing hydraulic disc brake hoses and levers (moving to flat bars means I’m ditching my road bar levers). I think everything else should be fine: flat pedals, thicker tyres, new rear mech, rear cassette, single front cog so I’ll be ditching the front mech. The hoses bother me though. Plenty of YouTube in my near future.
  • Finished watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 3. It was great. Her dad, played by Tony Shalhoub, is such a brilliant character. It feels like I’m watching a fast-paced stage play.

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