Writing this weeknote may explain why this week has felt so busy. I clearly try to squeeze far too many personal projects in around my work and family life…
- I spent quite a bit of time looking at ways to reduce the cost of moving to Azure for our clients. I’m not going to post the details here, but I think my colleagues and I made some good progress. I’ll have more to share soon, but in the meantime, you can always get in touch. Here’s my Microsoft Bookings link if you want to have a chat about how Node4 could help your business.
- Talking of which, I set up Calendly to try and pull my various calendars together. It’s kind of like Microsoft Bookings on steroids. Sadly it didn’t do the thing I’m really struggling with and show me my work, home and family calendars in one place. Outlook does that for me, but the family calendar in iCloud doesn’t seem to update…
- I have been staying up far too late watching too much YouTube. Last night the algorithm decided that I needed to know how to install a French Drain. Actually, it was right… it might help with some of the drainage issues in our back garden. Other gems have included:
- AirTags are not great for tracking bikes (which is a shame, as I installed one on my road bike recently – I may now need to hack it to remove its ability to “beep”).
- An escape attempt from East to West Berlin via the U-Bahn. BTW, if you like stories like that, check out the BBC’s Tunnel 29 podcast series.
- Cleaning battery corrosion using white vinegar and isopropol alcohol.
- And much more, but I’m not going to recreate my entire YouTube History here.
- I did try to create a static archive of my tweets though. It’s not quite as I would like, so let’s just say that’s “work in progress”. Maybe more next week, when I have a working solution.
- Apropos of nothing, I continue to be dismayed by the state of Twitter/X ads.
- And I questioned how “normal users” must feel when presented with nonsensical or jargon-filled computer messages:
- The photos are still uploading from my NAS to Azure. Several people have recommended other solutions (e.g. Backblaze or Synology C2) but the granular charging on Azure means that I think my current solution may well cost a little less if I tick over the 1TB mark…
I’ve been watching…
As well as the YouTube content I mentioned above, and the dramas I wrote about last week… 3/4 of my family watched the Barbie movie together last weekend. I really quite enjoyed it. Actually, Mark Kermode’s Guardian review nails it: “It’s a riotously entertaining candy-coloured feminist fable that manages simultaneously to celebrate, satirise and deconstruct its happy-plastic subject. Audiences will be delighted. Mattel should be ecstatic.”
And, away from the screen, I got to watch my youngest son play Hockey at Bedford last night.
I’ve been reading…
Not enough. But I am slowly reading the materials for my amateur radio foundation licence exam… and I’ve made the Man Cave a better place to kick back and relax (including a place to read, or listen to an audiobook):
Some thoughts that won’t make it to a full blog post…
The ITV Drama about the Post Office Scandal is a brilliant illustration of the power of storytelling. Graham Chastney wrote about this before I got around to it and his post about how we are wired for stories is pretty much what I wanted to say. Dan Barker’s tweet looks a bit deeper at why years of quality journalism wasn’t enough and it took an ITV Drama to bring the story to the masses.
Once again, demonstrating the power of storytelling… https://t.co/rgUgvxT3pN— Mark Wilson (@markwilsonit) January 11, 2024
Rachel Coldicutt examines why we seem inclined to believe the machine, not the person:
The Post Office scandal exemplifies why automated decisions in public services introduces a new layer of risk.— @firstname.lastname@example.org (@rachelcoldicutt) January 7, 2024
It's become q normal to trust the output of a machine but be wary of a person's opinion, particularly when it comes to numbers. When did you last doubt a calculator? https://t.co/b9iw5zsyTN
I’ve certainly experienced “management by dashboard”, when a report, which was believed by so many, was flawed and presented bad insights on data.
And, whilst I’m still embarrassed that my former employer is so deeply embroiled in a scandal that led to so many miscarriages of justice, I’m more and more inclined to think that software is imperfect, and that the failure of leadership (and consequential mismanagement of the issues) was the main problem here, as outlined by Professor Damien Page:
The Horizon Post Office scandal was not a failure of technology, it was a failure of leadership. A failure to listen. A failure to understand that data can be wrong. A failure to maintain professional doubt. A failure to prioritise people. A failure to empathise. A failure to ask…— Prof Damien Page (@damien_page) January 9, 2024
Not enough writing. No press coverage this week. Still working out what my new content strategy is as I try to use less “social” media and make blogging less of a time hoover. Next week’s weeknote might not be such a rush…
Featured image: Author’s own
(screenshot from Microsoft Visio)