Open Thinkering


Weeknote 17/2022

Two ball girls (one is Doug's daughter) running around the edge of the pitch at St James Park.

I came back from holiday this week and caught up with all the things. It’s felt quite busy. Laura‘s now tag-teamed me and is herself now on holiday, sailing for two weeks around the Med. It’s that time of year.

May, I’ve realised, is one of my favourite times of the year. The cherry blossom is out where I live, the weather is usually good in a Goldilocks kind of way (not too hot, not too cold), and the football season is reaching its climax.

Talking of football, I’ve spent the weekend at St James Park, home of Newcastle United. That’s odd, given I’m a Sunderland fan (we’re in the playoffs! I’ve got tickets!), but Team Belshaw snagged hospitality tickets for the men’s game versus Liverpool on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, the women’s team were playing at St James Park for the first time, and managed to attract a record crowd of 22,134, winning 5-0. My daughter is in the NUFC Development Squad so she got to train with the players and be a ball girl!

Thankfully, it’s a Bank Holiday weekend, so I’ve got tomorrow to recover. Most of that will be dedicated to improving even further our home internet/network speed. To cut a long story short, I realised earlier in the week that Chez Belshaw is right on the edge of EE’s 5G network. After a bit of a palava at the local EE shop, which included the store manager walking up the road to my house to double-check coverage, we’ve invested in a 5GEE Home Router, which I’ve plugged into our mesh network.

Suffice to say that our internet connection download speed has almost quintupled from ~45Mbps to ~205Mbps. I’ve ordered a directional 5G antenna which, based on other people’s experiences that I’ve read might double that further! The only problem I’ve got now is that I need to do some fiddling with the NAT settings to ensure best performance for gaming. But, of course, the other three members of my family have little tolerance for their connection going down-up-down-up-down…

On the work front, we ran an internal kickoff call for some upcoming work we’re starting with a new client (which I apparently announced too early!) as well as re-upping our contract with Participate for the KBW project. Subject to our proposal being accepted, it looks like I could be in Colorado for The Badge Summit at the start of August.

It’s been end-of-year for WAO which this year is being ably covered by John after Hannah left a few months ago to focus entirely on her work for NHS Digital. So that’s meant some extra admin, but nothing too heavy. I spent a good-ish amount of time on slides for my session at the Learning Technologies conference (#LTUK22) on Open Badges and Verifiable Credentials. It’s not radically different from what I presented in the Netherlands last month, but I’ve tweaked for session length, audience, and to improve the flow.

While I’m in London, I’m looking forward to meeting up with Bryan Mathers and Oliver Quinlan. Oliver has just left his job with the Raspberry Pi Foundation for a new role I don’t believe he has yet publicly announced, and has resurrected his newsletter.

What else? I ran my first 10k for a while, went swimming for the first time in almost a year, wrote a weird (very) short story about ambiguity, unpacked Elon Musk’s words about the Twitter acquisition, took my car to the garage only to find that it was the gauge on my tyre inflator that was broken, went to the gym, started reading The Sea Came In At Midnight, co-worked with colleagues, and drank some beer because I ran out of whisky.

Next week, I’m off on Monday, working from home Tuesday, down in London Wednesday/Thursday, and then finishing things off on Friday. If you’re reading this and are going to at the #LTUK22 conference, please say hello and/or come to my session!

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