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Weeknotes #279 — Disappearing Basic

The final week of June saw increased pressure on my projects. In just a few weeks’ time, the work we have been discussing for the past half a year will get put into action. People have started to understand that it will impact them. Understandably, there are requests for even more communication; while being the right thing to do, it will add to the workload for the team.

Fears that my phone and its apps are listening to me were compounded when I got this alert from Amazon, accurately describing a big chunk of the scope of the work we are doing:

This was a week in which I:

  • Had the regular programme and project meetings.
  • Met with a sister company to review and agree on the proposed technical design for a set of meeting rooms that we share.
  • Reviewed the draft operating model for this shared space.
  • Had a separate meeting to review the financial model for building and operating this space.
  • Reviewed the high-level budget for a construction project that has reached the end of a formal stage.
  • Reviewed a draft request for quotes for some new office equipment.
  • Attended a workshop to review and revise a set of principles for an office improvement project.
  • Participated in a planning meeting to coordinate office reconfiguration activities across a diverse set of vendors.
  • Reviewed a proposal from one of our landlords for work they plan to do in their part of the building and coordinated the feedback and response to the proposal from our company.
  • Kicked off the vendor on-boarding process for a building contractor in one of our offices.
  • Met with colleagues to discuss how their platform and tools could be used to build a capability and meet a need within our division of the company.
  • Interviewed candidates for a technical role we have in our Johannesburg team.
  • Enjoyed an excellent Lean Coffee session which covered a couple of very interesting, meaty topics.
  • Resubscribed to Spotify. My gung-ho approach to cancelling it was a bit premature. The main users in the house don’t yet have enough regular disposable income to afford to pay for their own subscriptions and they weren’t ready to switch over to something else. My subscription didn’t lapse…but then it did, with consequences. When I went to resubscribe, my current month was still active. I was delighted to find that Spotify offered a ‘Family Basic’ plan for £17.99 a month instead of the £19.99 ‘Family Premium’ plan, which excluded audiobook listening. So I switched to it. On renewal day, I received an email to say that my credit card had expired — for some reason it had reverted to an old card as opposed to the one I’ve been using for the past few months. I logged in to update the details and found that Family Basic is no longer available to me. After spending hours in chats with the Spotify support team who told me that there was no way of moving me onto the cheaper plan, I’m now wondering whether this forced bundling is something the UK, EU or US regulators would be concerned about. It’s made me want to put some more effort into getting off of their platform, but that’s going to involve services to copy and recreate playlists on another service.
  • Enjoyed a night out at Album Club, listening to a CD that made me think about what a creative time the early 1990s was, before the Britpop explosion. There were so many bands that were playing little venues, sounding quite like this:
  • Went out for a drive with my son who’s hoping to pass his test this year. He’s been practicing every chance he gets and it shows.
  • Had a lovely evening at a 50th birthday party with lots of old faces that I haven’t seen in years.
  • Enjoyed a gloriously sunny club bike ride. Five minutes from home, I had yet another spoke break on my rear wheel. The bike shop repaired the wheel and got it back to me the same day. I had my last bike for a decade, rode over 30,000km and didn’t break a spoke once. My new bike has suffered three breaks in quick succession.
  • Spent Sunday afternoon watching two football matches and the Austrian Grand Prix. I’m not quite sure where the next race is…
Billions of dollars and no spellchecker.
Billions of dollars and no spellchecker.



  • To no great surprise, Vote Compass plotted me as a leftie progressive. I’ve voted Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green in the past. This year I’ve gone for the Liberal Democrats as the candidate in my constituency is the most likely person to beat their Conservative opponent. I am so excited to be saying goodbye to this government on Friday, the complete opposite of how I felt back in 2019.
Feels about right.
Feels about right.


  • I’ve been working my way through Troy Hunt’s Pwned, made up largely of a hand-picked selection of his blog posts, blog comments and additional commentary. I admire him very much. His work makes me wish I had a similar flag to plant that I could focus my career around as opposed to being a generalist.

Next week: Election.

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