Weeknotes S2 E4 2020

It’s curious that unless I put something here, the formatting of the first heading goes awry! I’ll fix it next week. Oh.. and hello. 🙂

Good Services

I hardly buy any physical books any more. I’m not 100% keen on Amazon’s business model for ebooks, but gosh darn it, I do like having more space in my house, and my Paperwhite is a lovely device to read on, especially in the evening in low light.

HOWEVER, Lou Downe’s Good Services seemed like one of those books that I’ll happily carry around, reference and enthusiastically lend to others. I’m about 60 pages in but I think I’m pretty smitten already. It’s already giving form to a few things that I feel I’d only just begun to comprehend. Mini-book review on the way once I’m finished.


Bit of a fail if I’m honest. I managed a couple of entries, but I offset my working day a few times so I could balance home life, and my brain was a bit mushy after returning to work later in the evening. Perhaps for the coming week I’ll try and do a quick re-cap in the morning instead? I will need to re-organise my routine to set myself up to succeed though. Hmm..


Video calls haven’t been too bad this week, with the balance of synchronous/asynchronous feeling just about right. One coping mechanism I’ve found for some of the larger meetings is to have something near by to make notes and generally doodle. I hasten to add.. I don’t do this when speaking or being spoken to, but I do find it easier to absorb the conversation and feel generally more comfortable than just staring at the screen (or getting stuck in that weird loop of staring at myself.. staring at the screen). I’ve also found this stops me attempting to multi-task (reading emails, writing slack messages etc.) which really does impair my ability to follow the conversation and stop me from being fully present.

This makes me wonder if I should give visual note taking another whirl. I tend to write lots of notes whilst sat in meetings, partially because I get terribly twitchy if I’m not ‘doing’ something and partially because I’m keen on writing things down so that they don’t get lost in the ether. Given these personal foibles, and my yearning to doodle, this seems like a match made in heaven for visual notes.. right? I think the barrier that I’ve hit up against previously is that converting the content into imagery isn’t how my brain is naturally wired. The translation process feels extremely lossy to the me, I’m never happy with the output. Maybe this is a practice thing though, yeah?


I gave Miro a whirl about a year ago (.. and I think I used Virtual Whiteboard it’s predecessor on and off before that) but it often seemed less useful that an actual whiteboard when working with people in the same physical space. The tech got in the way of the immediacy of capturing stuff.

Since I last looked at it, they’ve added some really good functionality for anyone trying to facilitate things in virtual spaces. And given we’re all working in a distributed manner now, it seems like a good time to try this out again.

I need to step through a process with some colleagues to sanity check things, so am going to try and do this via Miro + Google Meet. This will be fairly new to the colleagues I’m working with, but I’m hoping the the tech remains a fairly invisible in comparison to the conversation. Will report back on thoughts next week.

Problem definitions

I wrote about these last week. Not quite ready to reflect on this yet as some things that were supposed to happen didn’t. Will save this for next week.

Nope-ing out of the news

I think it’s fair to say it’s been a pretty rough week news wise. Dishonesty and deflection are running rife and it’s been extremely difficult not to launch into full on rants (my partner may have not been spared this mercy).

In any other situation, if someone constantly said something to you that was untrue, they would rapidly lose credibility and you’d stop listening to them. It is a curiosity when untrustworthy people occupy positions of authority because we seem to feel compelled to keep listening because their job title has residual credibility of its own, perhaps from the previous incumbents.

For my own sanity and mental wellbeing, I have decided to tune them out, for the now at least (and I’m aware of the privilege I have in doing that) and instead focus on where I can effect change for the better.

Lessons in Animal Crossing sustainability

I’m sure I’m not the only one for whom Animal Crossing New Horizons has become weirdly intertwined with the lockdown. Released in March, it been a fairly constant background to our family life.

For those not familiar, it’s set on a virtual island paradise where you, the town representative are charged with improving the lives of your fellow island dwellers. Oh.. and all of your fellow island dwellers are animals. Myself and the kids have been cohabiting this virtual world for a few months now. You can see how this escapism has been a nice counter to being stuck in the house. Although the company that owns the island is a little too generous with its line of credit in return for constant servitude.

One day this week I logged in to find the much of the island had been deforested. Tree stumps as far as the eye can see. As it happens, my youngest had discovered that chopping down trees and selling the wood in the local shop was a good way to get rich quick. Cue sit down and a talk about the folly of short term gains at the expense of our (virtual) environment.

I suggested that she use her ill gotten gains to plant new trees, but she’d already blown it all on a rather fetching new set of clothing and furniture for the house. Is it wrong that I’m considering an afternoon of community service?

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