Open Thinkering


Month: June 2022

Weeknote 25/2022

Doug Belshaw's profile on the Bonfire playground

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m making my way through my second beer. Our eldest is out on the first day of his DofE expedition, and we’re back from taking our youngest to an athletics championship. We even braved IKEA afterwards, which is one of several places where it’s worth going if you want to be reassured that you’re doing a better job of parenting that at least some people.

The highlight of this week for me has been the launch of the Bonfire playground as the team seeks to get real-world feedback on the beta. I’ve been playing about with it for the past 10 days or so, and I think it’s great — especially when you think that what we’re currently using is the absolute basics. Other stuff, like federated project coordination, isn’t too long away!

Helping out with Bonfire and taking it a bit easier after last week’s shenanigans has meant slightly less paid work than usual. However, I still worked on the four projects I’m currently involved with: Participate, Greenpeace, Sport England, and LocalGov Drupal. I think it’s fair to say that my work falls in the middle of a Venn diagram of technology, learning design, and community. That’s great, because they are the three things I’m most interested in, professionally speaking!

I’ve continued to publish posts at Thought Shrapnel, including:

The monthly newsletter goes out tomorrow!

Next week, it’s more of the same, although less Bonfire stuff (probably). I’m taking Hannah away for a night next weekend to celebrate it being 20 years since we became engaged on July 4th (yes, I get the irony!)

Bonfire beta

In my weeknotes over the last few months you’ll have seen reference to Bonfire, a federated app toolkit. Today, I’m delighted to be able to share that the core team behind Bonfire have launched the beta, and you can go and give it a whirl in the playground.

You may recognise my dulcet tones from the screencast video. It’s been my pleasure to be able to help with that, as well as the Zappa project and some user testing.

Bonfire has a big future ahead of it, and as more than just a microblog! Read more on what you can expect from the Bonfire beta.

Weeknote 24/2022

Card, handmade card and two bottles of whisky (Talisker Skye & Loch Lomond)

It’s Father’s Day in the UK today. I was given a staggering two bottles of whisky by my wife and kids, which was very generous. My daughter gave me a card she made after finishing her work at school, and both kids gave me a joint card. We went over to my parents’ house for Sunday dinner this afternoon, and I gave my dad (their granddad) a card and the book Crickonomics. I drank red wine. I am tired.

It’s been quite the week. My wife, Hannah, was away for the beginning of the week and solo parenting is always a bit more mentally and physically taxing then when you’re doing it as a team. WAO also kicked off two new projects, which is not something we’d ever plan to do in the same week. However, in this case, it was out of our hands. We’re doing some work around the community management of LocalGov Drupal with Aaron, and helping 21 organisations under the umbrella of Sport England learn to work more openly with CAST and Joe.

You can have as many processes as you want around kicking off a project, but there’s always stuff to iron out. In this case, there was a super-tight turnaround for one of the projects, and in fact we haven’t even signed a contract yet. That’s not something we’d countenance, but we’ve done a lot of work with CAST before as part of the Catalyst network during the height of the pandemic.

Added to this, our daughter has been trialling for new football team for next season, so we’ve been taking her to lots of training sessions and dealing with the emotions around that. Our son is revising for exams (or not revising, so needs constant reminders) and preparing for his Bronze DofE expedition next weekend.

The Bonfire team asked me to help with their upcoming beta launch, so I’ve been writing some stuff (the first post is live) to help them with that. I’m excited to see how the project develops, as it’s got a lot of potential. All of this is on top of the usual work, and increasing my exercise goals. So on one level I’m absolutely winning at life. On another I’m knackered.

Next week I’m hoping that there will be some semblance of normality. The kids have got a teacher training day on Friday, but that shouldn’t affect things too much.