• Week 363

    15 December 2019

    This week, I:

    • spent three days wrapping up a lot of Willsneck. That meant pairing on finishing up all the content edits, and working through the designer's snaglist, sanding off many rough edges in my work. Lots of fettling SVG files and learning about some of the esoteric bits of CSS that only apply to SVG. By the end of the week, I'd cleared almost all of my ‘todo’ column, and we're just in to some final bits of QA and layout tweaks.
    • had a long meeting-cum-workshop on Hallin to refine the specification we were agreeing to. No huge surprises here, but it helped a lot to meet the team and go over a lot of things in detail. I've got a clearer understanding of their product and domain model, and we've largely agreed on what's to be done.
    • found a few spare hours to prod at the electronics project I mentioned last week. Let's call it Mayhill. This week, I started work on the computer-based tool that will talk to it. I'm writing it in the browser, with a view to porting it perhaps to Electron later on. By the end of the week, I had a neat flow of information between hardware and browser, over MIDI Sysex, and a reactive UI built in Svelte playing ball with everything. Fun!
  • Week 362

    10 December 2019

    A very busy week. Longridge is clearly in the home stretch, owing to the small number of minor tweaks and bits of polish that needed applying. Hopefully I'll have more to say on that soon.

    Over on Willsneck, I ported the site to be built and managed with Hugo. Whilst the static prototype isn't quite complete - there's one major page that still needs designing - there was enough in place to start. It helped that the structure of my Parcel-based prototype was highly similar to how I'd go about building the site in Hugo. So I bit the bullet and dived in.

    This all went quite smoothly. I took the opportunity to port some pieces of content that I was generating from JSON files to using headless page bundles, meaning adding new content objects is as easy as adding new markdown files.

    Once the templates ported over, the rest of the process was very smooth. CSS was still being processed with PostCSS, so I could just drop all the SCSS over. JS, for now, is just being loaded as-is. And fixing up deployment was as straightforward as changing a few lines in our Github Action workflow. The fundamental model - download some dependencies, build a static site, force a commit of that static site to the appropriate branch - is exactly the same. The only thing that's changed is what the dependencies are, and how to build the site. I was pleased that the previous week's decision had paid off so neatly.

    On Wednesday, some fabricated prototypes for an electronics idea I'm working on arrived. The fabrication quality was excellent, and definitely worth investing in for this project. I rigged up a USB-C port on the board, and started on writing firmware. A few hours on Wednesday got me to a point where we had a bootloader on the board, code flashing over USB-C, USB MIDI working, and a microcontroller writing and reading data from a small flash RAM module. There's still a way to go, and there's definitely bugs on the board - I had to remove a few pre-soldered components and bodge one jumper wire before we could bring anything up, and that took an hour to work out - but progress was largely encouraging. I'm probably going to spend a few hours each week working this up.

    And then, at the end of the week, I spent three days teaching with Hyper Island again, acting as industry lead for the “Digital Technologies” module of their MA in Digital Management. As ever, it was an intense, exciting opening few days: several talks from me, some excellent guest speakers, a workshop, and then coaching the teams on their work for this module. I'll be returning in January for another intensive weekend to wrap up my teaching on that module.

    That was a lot. It's going to be a little quieter in the final two weeks up to Christmas, but it's still a fairly full slate to the end of the year.