in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #200 — Two hundred of these, that’s why they call me ‘Mr Fahrenheit’

Looking back on my first set of weeknotes, it’s interesting to see what has changed and what is still the same. The purpose of jotting things down still makes sense to me. Primarily, these posts are a vehicle for me to remember and make sense of things. If others find them interesting or useful, that’s a bonus. Most of the time I feel as though I am writing into the void, but occasionally I’ll be in conversation with someone and they will mention something that they’ve read here. I’m always a little shocked.

It took me little while to find a format that made weeknotes easy to write and therefore an easy habit to stick to; Ton Zijlstra’s weekly posts were an inspiration. I’ve got myself into a routine where I settle down to write on a Sunday evening for an hour or two. Somewhere along the way they changed from being a commitment to something that I really enjoy.

When I started blogging back in 2004, I soon felt the pressure to think about topics. It was easy to fall out of the habit of posting. A combination of regular weeknote schedule, inspiration from that posts don’t need to be long (or even have a title), and the realisation that this is my website where I can publish whatever I want, have been very helpful in keeping up a practice of writing. I’m not a very good writer — I envy those bloggers that bring humour and style to what they put out — but I do enjoy the process. I think that’s enough of a reason to do it. Occasionally I publish something that I’m really pleased with, and it’s lovely when other people find pleasure in reading it too.

This was a week in which I:

  • Went into the office on Monday for the final time in 2022. It was a frustrating, unproductive kind of day, especially after having got so much done last week when I worked from home. Being in London meant that I could do a bit of last-minute gift shopping after work, but navigating Oxford Circus six days before Christmas wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had.
  • Sent off the purchase orders for our corporate password manager subscription and activated our account. My instincts about avoiding LastPass were sadly proved to be correct this week. I always thought that even though the ‘core’ password data should be reasonably safe in the event of a breach, the fact that they have had multiple incidents points to everything not being well with how they built both their product and organisation. Early next year, before we start the rollout, I’ll be talking to colleagues about the benefits of using a password manager. It’ll be interesting to see whether we get questions and doubt from non-IT staff based on this latest event.

  • Wrote a draft lean business case for purchasing and implementing an extensive Microsoft Teams toolset. The software should allow us to monitor the quality of service across all aspects of Teams, audit its usage to avoid sprawl and rot, as well as nudge staff and give them pointers towards best practices at the point they need it.
  • Had the final meeting of the year for the project to close down one of our regional offices.
  • Arranged a meeting with a sister company in January to demonstrate how we have set up and configured our Microsoft Teams rooms.
  • Caught up with some neglected emails and brought my Kanban board up-to-date, ready to get started at pace next year.
  • Booked my first business trip abroad for 2023.
  • Met up with a friend to talk about their new product management role. I’ve never been a product manager but it felt like a useful conversation. I guess that one of the good things about being a generalist is that you get to know a little bit about a lot of things and can point other people at some useful resources. Not to compare myself to one of the greatest authors of the 20th century, but it was delightful to read this week that John Steinbeck was also a generalist, with too many interests:

In the past I have been soundly spanked by some of our talmudic critics for failure to pick out one ant-hill and stay with it. It is a permanent failing. Thirteenth-century manuscripts and modern automobiles are separately but equally interesting to me. I love processes and am perhaps the world’s greatest pushover as an audience.

A girl in a department store demonstrating a tool for carving roses from radishes has got me and gone with me. Let a man open a suitcase on the pavement and begin his pitch “Tell you what I’m gonna do!” and I will be there until he closes. (Daily Mail, 7 Jan. 1966)

  • Started to re-rip my entire CD collection in Apple Lossless (ALAC) format. Years ago I ripped them as 320kbps mp3 files, but with the amount of storage I now have on my NAS it makes sense — or at least gives me some geeky satisfaction — to bump up the quality even more. It’s a little side project that will probably take some weeks to complete. I’m also putting some albums aside that I bought years ago, but perhaps haven’t given enough attention.
  • Continued my marathon journey through Grange Hill. I’ve heard rumours that BritBox may be going away at some point, so I’m racing to get through all 11 series that are available on their service before this happens. I’m nearly halfway through. I’ve also started listening to episodes of the Sausage On A Fork podcast, focusing on the interviews with cast members that have appeared in the early series.
  • Had a family movie night where we watched Get Out (2017). Creepy, but not too much.
  • Got out for a bike ride with the cycle club again. It felt great. Being at home for the past couple of weeks and managing to get on the indoor trainer every day seemed to have paid off. The weather was dark and grotty, but at least it wasn’t raining.
  • Was persuaded by my eldest son to go for a ParkRun on Christmas Day. I was very proud to see him come in first overall, half a minute ahead of second place. I managed 17th, first in the ‘veteran male 45-49’ category.
  • Took the Political Compass test, and was unsurprised by the result.

  • Had a lovely Christmas Eve dinner with my family at Rosanna’s in Berkhamsted.
  • Spent a fabulous Christmas Day with at my mum and dad’s house along with my brothers and their families. It reminded me why our summer holiday together was so good — we got to spend a lot of time together and had some great conversations, which is much more difficult when you’re only with each other for a few hours once in a blue moon. Hopefully we’ll see each other more next year. Christmas dinner was superb and everyone had a great time.

Next week: Visiting relatives, relaxing at home and turning 46.

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