in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #248 — Carried in Sound

Smoke Fairies, St Matthias Church, 23 November 2023

Smoke Fairies, St Matthias Church, 23 November 2023

On Thursday night I had the privilege of seeing the Smoke Fairies play live once again. The venue was St Matthias Church in Stoke Newington, a beautiful Grade I-listed building. The setting was perfect for the ethereal, haunting songs from their new album, supplemented with other brilliantly selected numbers from their back catalogue. Their voices and harmonies have never sounded better.

The Smoke Fairies’ equipment at the end of the gig.

The Smoke Fairies’ equipment at the end of the gig.

I’d booked tickets to the gig as soon as they were announced. Two of my friends had to drop out due to COVID-19 and other logistical reasons, so I scrambled to find another two to take their place. We ended up enjoying what felt like yet another night where I knew everyone, but nobody knew each other. We ate at the nearby Plant Club, a “plant-based, gluten-free, organic Italian Restaurant” that is located in a strange ‘greenhouse’-type building surrounding a co-working space. The food was outstanding.

The venue wasn’t that close to any tube stations, so I used CityMapper to find the best route to get there. I absolutely love this app — long gone are the days when I’d board a bus with trepidation, repeatedly asking fellow passengers and the driver to let me know when I needed to get off.

Getting there is easy with CityMapper

Getting there is easy with CityMapper

This was a week in which I:

  • Gave my presentation on Large Language Models and Generative AI as a guest at the internal Investment Banking Operations Town Hall meeting. I’ve been presenting on this topic for most of this year and things have moved on, so I made a few updates ahead of the presentation. Great examples of how these technologies go wrong continue to appear on social media; these are very useful for supporting some of my key points.
  • Spent a lot of time thinking through the problem of two organisations sharing Microsoft Teams Room devices. We’re reaching the conclusion that whilst it is doable in theory, there are a myriad of reasons as to why it should be avoided.
  • Met with our technical team to agree the evolution of our Azure Information Protection and sensitivity label settings and behaviours in Outlook.
  • Wrestled with an issue that has appeared in one of our core desktop applications, grabbing log files and passing them to the support team members who are working with the vendor.
  • Met with colleagues to discuss how our Technology work should be pitched at the senior management kick-off meeting in January.
  • Introduced two of our vendors to each other, one that is helping us with a real estate rental agreement and office fit-out, and another who are experts in blending technology with office design.
  • Met another vendor who provide technology and office fit-out capabilities within Africa.
  • Joined the weekly project meetings to coordinate the new leases and fit outs of our office spaces.
  • Contributed to a draft response to a technology-focused questionnaire from one of our regulators.
  • Continued work with our product management and product development leads, aligning on the work that we need to do and where we have gaps.
  • Met with colleagues who are being asked by two different teams to store their core data in two different ways and took an action to try and resolve the conflict.
  • Joined a meeting between our development team and another within our division who have been thinking deeply about data architectures. There is plenty that we can leverage that they have created.
  • Was introduced to a company that produce IoT in-ceiling devices that monitor all of the core thing that may need monitoring in an office environment: heat, light, presence of people, air quality etc.
  • Met a vendor to hear their proposal for how they could work with us from a software development perspective.
  • Continued internal discussions on an external vendor tool that we have been assessing.
  • Enjoyed a very informative Learning Hour session with an expert from the company that provides us with our SD-WAN.
  • Had Brightwell Aerials complete the installation of a wired ethernet connection to a corner of my house that had poor Wi-Fi coverage. I couldn’t seem to get a good connection from just relocating the Wi-Fi mesh points. They ran a cable around the outside of the house to avoid creating a mess indoors. I’ve set up an additional Ubiquiti Amplifi HD router that I bought on eBay and configured it to use Ethernet backhaul.
  • Started the second round of the WB-40 Album Club. I had to play what I consider to be my favourite album of all time, George Harrison’s Living in the Material World. Album Clubs are so great — my least favourite song on the album seemed to have an emotional impact on one of the other members. We all hear different things.

  • Enjoyed a random coffee with a cybersecurity expert from the WB-40 community.
  • Had a lot of fun at a friend’s 50th birthday party. It was fancy dress, with a theme of ‘things beginning with the letter C’. Our cosmonaut costumes were a hit, as were my light-up silver shoes. Our hosts had hired a mini play casino for the night. I’d forgotten how much fun blackjack is, despite getting through all of my fake cash within the first half an hour of being there.
Cosmonauts

Cosmonauts

  • Ran the line at my eldest son’s football match.
  • Spent some time thinking about my next choice for ‘the original’ in-person Album Club that I’ll be hosting in a couple of weeks. It’s fun revisiting potential choices and giving them a run-through on my commute.

Next week: Meetings, meetings everywhere.

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