in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #218 — Aldous Harding

A strange week, with a busy start and a quiet end. The quiet was exacerbated by being in the office on a Friday with just half a dozen other people.

This year’s Freedom Day in South Africa landed on a Thursday; combined with another public holiday on Monday, most people decided to take Friday off in order to make it a very long weekend. Here in the UK we have two four-day weeks coming up which inevitably make things a little fragmented.

This was a week in which I:

  • Spent time with some of our senior executives, bringing them along on the journey to getting set up with our new password manager. A couple of them had missed out on the Don’t Get Hacked presentation where I had framed the need for the tool, so I took the time to bring them up to speed. I also sat with some of them throughout the week to clarify a few points and help them optimise their setup. It’s labour intensive, but a good investment considering that the help is a pull rather than a push. I’m hoping that they will champion the tool within their teams. Adoption is creeping up globally, but not as quickly as I would like.
  • Got booked in to run a workshop in a couple of weeks’ time for one of our departments to help them get up and running with the password manager.
  • Fed back to my team about last week’s ‘brands, products and vision’ discussion and debated the best way to take it forward. We need to give this some focus to get it nailed down next week.
  • Discussed where we are with a significant initiative that our team wants to drive forward, which may lead to a number of business opportunities.
  • Had a catch-up with an external advisor on where we are with our overall strategic journey for our team.
  • Reviewed the progress of a proof-of-concept for reorganising our department’s unstructured data.
  • Had a Lean Coffee session with the team during our weekly Learning Hour slot.
  • Joined the monthly Architecture Community of Practice meeting. Enjoyed a fascinating discussion about the problems caused by inconsistencies between periods/full-stops and commas as delimiters in currencies. Computers are hard.
  • Confirmed that we definitely have foxes living under our garden building. As I sat there working I could hear them scrabbling around, at one point just below my feet. I’m pretty sure that the building has deep enough foundations — giant screws — so that it won’t be impacted by any burrowing. I quite like having them there.
Ground screws. Not an art installation.

Ground screws. Not an art installation.

  • Was disproportionately elated by a free lunch at Island Poké in Bow Lane. I’d never been in before as there is always a queue. Being in the office on a Friday does have its advantages — the city is dead, so there was hardly anyone around and the poké queue was non-existent. It was the end of a long week and I couldn’t quite make up my mind about what to have. I apologised for changing my mind halfway through the order and also mentioned that I’d never been in before. The next thing I know, it was on the house. Delicious.
  • Enjoyed another great Album Club night, listening to something that I would never have picked up on my own. I’m hosting the one in May which is only a week away, so I spent time at the weekend stocking up on supplies. I think I’ve chosen an album too.
  • Finally got to see Aldous Harding at the Barbican after a COVID-19-related delay of a year or so. I had two tickets but my original date had pulled out, so I roped in Nick from Album Club to join me. The seats weren’t great but it didn’t matter that much; the music was absolutely class from start to finish. She is an incredible performer. Chrissie Hynde agrees. I’d bought her latest album, Warm Chris, when it came out last year but had only played it through once. Hearing the songs live I realise that I’ve been missing out.

  • Enjoyed this week’s cycle club ride. We managed a great average speed despite it being a pretty hilly route.
  • Finally — FINALLY! — got my home NAS drive to where I want it to be. I upgraded the hardware a few years ago as the old device went ‘end of life’. At the same time I added two more disks, going from two to four, with the intention of adding resiliency as well as ensuring that the data is encrypted. I couldn’t work out how to easily move from an old ‘legacy’ unencrypted volume to a new encrypted one, and never seemed to find enough time to dive into the problem. This week I bit the bullet and dived in. The whole process has taken days, with migrations of data between volumes, changes to the RAID array, and cleaning up and moving files that no longer make sense to keep there. I’ve also taken the time for a fresh cloud backup to Backblaze B2 which itself now has more features which can only be used on a new backup container. NAS drives are brilliant things, but they don’t feel like they are for the casual user.

Next week: A four-day week and hosting an Album Club.

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