Open Thinkering


Weeknote 20/2023

Graffiti stencil on the side of grass cutting equipment: GRAFFITI IS ILLEGAL

There are many ways of measuring time. These weeknotes are one way. Calendars are another way, with my favourite way of marking the months being the French Republican Calendar. We’re just entering Prairial, my favourite month! As a reminder of this, I subscribe to daily updates from the Republican Calendar bot on the Fediverse. (I also find the Moon Phases bot handy.)

This week, then, there’s been a lot on. My son started his GCSE exams, my wife went away on a work trip, and I gave my daughter a ‘Golden Boot’ trophy for banging in 42 goals in all competitions this season. Yes, I’ve turned into one of those parents, but it’s a form of recognition and encouragement.

Now that I’ve got access to ChatGPT’s plugins and ability to browse the web, I’ve been using it to conversationally explore options for our 20th wedding anniversary in September. The user experience of doing that by having a chat with a chatbot is approximately a million times better than miserably trawling through sites full of ads. Although I’m sure that the advertising will arrive soon.

Work-wise, I continued working on the WAO projects with which I’m currently involved. I can’t talk about the Greenpeace work, sadly (because it’s pretty great), but we’ve been setting up Hylo ready for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance to test as their new community platform. It’s going well so far. I’m waiting for feedback on the three projects for, and there hasn’t been loads to do on the stuff for Participate recently. There will be once we get people in the bigger tent on their new platform.

At the suggestion of Joe, from whom we subcontracted some of the work, WAO ran a retrospective on the project for CAST that was funded by Sport England. Although we delivered some really useful stuff, it was a frustrating project to be involved with in many ways. It turns out that was largely to do with change of project leads, staff turn over in the National Governing Bodies (NGBs), and a miscommunication between whether (and how) we should interact with the NGBs directly. Lesson learned.

Laura hit publish on a post we’d been working on together entitled Practical utopias and rewilding work which came out of our last couple of co-op days. It features a graphic that I created with five topics/areas for us to focus on. As ever, it’s the intersections and overlaps that are interesting. Related: Laura, who’s awesome at ensuring things get written-up, published a wiki page entitled Our principles even-over everything else. Even-over statements are powerful things for any group of people.

On the exercise front, my ankle is still bothering me. It’s over three weeks since I went over on it while running through some mud, and then had to keep on going because I was a long way from home. I’ve aggravated it since then by stumbling on an uneven bit of path while looking at my phone, and so recently I’ve been on the exercise bike instead of running. It’s very boring, and with one of the exercise bikes out of action at the gym, like a game of musical chairs but with old people pedalling slowly and reading books.

The weather always gets much better at this time of year, and so I’ve been up at the field at the top of the hill near our house with the kids a few times. We’re accumulating more equipment as my daughter, in particular, gets older and wants to improve her technique. So we had the cones, speed ladder, and ‘top bins’ for free kick accuracy training. It’s good fun, and my job is mostly encouragement, ball retrieval, and giving out tips to which they sometimes listen.

It’s the sharp end of the football season and, although my team (Sunderland) took a 2-1 lead to Kenilworth Road, they were out-muscled on a tiny pitch by Luton Town. It’s a shame, but I’m not too sad; another season in the Championship to build the squad before being promoted to the Premier League is no bad thing. We’re watching all of the football on TV at the moment. Manchester City might have won the league and Southampton been relegated, but it’s otherwise all to play for!

Inspired by the social documentary photography I discussed in my last weeknote, I got out my mirrorless digital camera (a Sony NEX-5 from before smartphone cameras got much better). It reminded me that you can stuff as much AI as you want into a camera, but the lens makes a huge difference. I’ll probably start taking it out and about with me a bit more, but in the meantime, I also had some fun generating some AI art which looks like black and white photographs from last century.

I’ve been messing about with my Steam Deck, finally buying a fitted case and screen protector for it, in addition to the travel case which it comes with. For some reason, I’d never installed the Heroic Launcher so that I could get the Epic Games store, and therefore Rocket League. It’s amazing on that form factor, and because it’s all cross-play, I’ve got six years of progress on there from playing on the PlayStation.

Over at Thought Shrapnel, I posted:

Next week, we’ve got some planning to do as our MozFest House proposal was accepted. We also need to figure out what else we need to get done while in Amsterdam next month. That, for me, includes which Japanese arcades to experience. We also need to do some business development, and discuss whether or not we’re redesigning our website. I think we should aim for radical simplicity, like this (but more design-y).

Photo taken on field near our house on grass-cutting equipment.

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