Open Thinkering


Weeknote 46/2021

Dithered image of concrete blocks at Druridge Bay

I reflected this week on the images I use to accompany my blog posts. After reading this post about why websites shouldn’t used dithered images, I had second thoughts about using them here. That led to an interesting conversation about various compression technologies. However, after some tests with some of the options suggested, I decided that the differences were tiny and I quite like the aesthetic of dithered images.

Elsewhere on the images front, after reading about the SOFA principle I started an art project called (Un)familiar. I also read somewhere about a fulfilling life being about sensory experience, which meant I worked in coffee shops, took my wife out for drinks, and took my son to the cinema (for the first time in almost two years!) to see Dune. We really enjoyed it.

On the work front, a client we’re doing a reasonable amount of work for around digital strategy had their managing director leave this week. It was planned, but the founder and the co-managing director both have Covid. Interesting times. For Participate we welcome new members to the Keep Badges Weird community as well as planning new announcements, badges, and activities.

I’ve also been doing some coordination around the ICoBC Symposium panel keynote with other participants. We’re pre-recording the discussion as being in different timezones makes it difficult to do it live. I’ll be focusing on the last decade of Open Badges and what we’ve learned that helps for future work. I also joined the EdTech Circle, a new community for product managers in edtech. I’m kind of that, and certainly have been in the past. I went along to the first informal chat, which was nice. It’s good to meet new people and be reacquainted with familiar faces.

After recording two episodes last week, Laura and I didn’t record a new one for The Tao of WAO this week. However, an episode of the Speexx Exchange Podcast that I recorded in August with Don Taylor was finally released. They must have spent the last few months removing my ‘ums’ and ‘errs’ because people say I sound like I know what I’m talking about.

Sadly, some work that’s taken six months to happen is now not happening because of Brexit. The European Schools wanted to do some initial work around badges, but they realised reasonably late in the process that their procurement process means they can only do business with organisations based in the EU. We’re trying to find a workaround, but it’s not looking likely.

Another thing that’s not going ahead at the moment is the Dutch National Library conference. This is due to the partial lockdown that was announced. Thankfully this is merely postponed to March/April 2022. The annoying thing is that my wife had booked flights (she, unlike me, hasn’t made a commitment) and so it looks like we’re down £300. They were the cheapest flights at the time, so don’t allow changes — and insurance policies at the moment only cover illness, not changes in government policy.

Next week we’ll be doing more work with and for Julie’s Bicycle and Participate, and it looks like I might get involved with some planning for stuff WAO is doing for Greenpeace next year. Other than that, we’ve got a co-op day and I’ve got some other business development chats.

Right now, it’s looking like I’m going to regain the ability to take the last three weeks of the year off, which is great. I’ve found that I can only really unwind when I have 20+ days off in a row and what better time to do it than over a time that spans both my birthday and Christmas?

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