Weeknote 19 ─ blog redesign and changes at work

Prioritising. Moving forwards. Or at least in a direction.

Life

It’s been a strange couple of months. Work has been a bit strange. My personal life has been quite contemplative. My mother is recovering. We’ve all taken the time to adjust to a new vision of the future and figure out what is important and what isn’t.

Turns out that the blog is actually one of the things that I both enjoy and find important. Which is why you’re seeing a new design for the weblog, a re-activated newsletter, and, if all goes well, a slightly greater pace of more focused blog posts.

I decided to use web fonts for the design this time despite the performance implications because:

  1. This blog is very light on JS so one little indulgence is justifiable.
  2. The font-display property mitigates most of the big issues with font loading.
  3. Inter, the typeface I’m using, has an interesting disambiguation font feature setting that should make for improved readability.

Work

We’ve been going through a fairly difficult transition at work. When we started work on Ink, we had funding to build a specific kind of web service for a specific kind of customer. That’s a pretty awkward situation to be in to begin with as it gives you very little room to manoeuvre if your initial plan doesn’t pan out. You’re suck with the product-market fit of your original bet and if you got it wrong, you’re sunk.

And sometimes your initial assumptions about the customer are so bad that managing to sell to them might well be worse than outright failing.

We’ve finally faced up to our situation and the next step is figuring out how to deliver our original brief in a more sustainable way.

The app itself is finally in a pretty good place: the switch to Sapper and Svelte has helped front end development tremendously, we’ve finally managed to lick one of the core problems slowing down document imports, and we’re getting to make interesting things.

Which is fun for us developers. But without a decent theory of who our customers are going to be, there’s a substantial risk that we’re just going faster in the wrong direction.

Hence the transition. Should be fun.

Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction and comics lately. Most of the non-fiction has been work-related like The Science of Managing Our Digital Stuff, W. E. Deming’s Out of the Crisis, and the second edition of Erika Hall’s Just Enough Research.

They’re all good although I do think I’ll get much more in the long run out of Deming’s and Hall’s books.

On the comics side I’ve been trying to read more French comics, mostly Spirou and Gaston LaGaffe as I’m familiar with those in both Icelandic and English.

Media

Watched Good Omens, which was great. And last winter’s season of Supergirl, which was very silly and hopelessly optimistic in a way that I absolutely needed. Watched most of Killjoys, which was better than I expected—reminded me a lot of Farscape. And season 3 of The Good Place, which was much better than it had any right to be.

The Good Place and Good Omens were both amazing, to the point where I still find it hard to believe that they actually got made.

Photography

Been trying to capture the feel of autumn here in Montréal. Sort of happy with some of these.

A yellow tree in the sun in Montréal city centre

People walk past autumn-clad trees in the city centre

A squirrel in Parc Jarry stares off into the distance

A man in Parc Jarry stares off into the distance

People sit on a bench in Parc Jarry and enjoy the autumn sunset