[S05 E01] ..and we’re back!

Has there ever been a decent season five of a show? Buffy went properly off the rails with the addition of Dawn. Sorkin left the West Wing. Gilmore Girls lost its way when Rory went to Yale. Even The Wire struggled in its final season to maintain its previous greatness. Maybe only The Sopranos really delivers in its fifth year.

No pressure then.

Bank Holiday Monday was pretty much a #weeknotes day as I struggled to get the new domain working, implemented Jeanette Clement’s amazing design work for us and inspired Jonathan Kerr into building us a Twitter bot! There are 16 people currently contributing #weeknotes to the new site which is just unbelievable!

Tuesday I had a couple of back to back meetings at the same local council about a couple of interesting potential projects. The first is an idea to bid for a recent ODI tender where we have a bunch of ideas about using machine learning, open data and some geolocation stuff to experiment with some (I think) interesting ways of improving both the citizen and staff experiences of a few regular council tasks. It is exciting stuff and I hope we can pull something suitable together for it. For now this is codenamed Whitewash Village.

The other meeting was pretty exploratory and about upgrading an existing service we supply — I’m hopeful but not expectant on this one. I think it makes sense from all sides and it is something I think would be useful for the council and good for us but at the moment it is being driven from a tech/digital point of view and it needs some sponsorship from the part of the council who will actually own the service — anyway fingers crossed. This will be Possum Trot if it goes ahead.

Wednesday was just one big Hangout…well lots of little ones to be honest. My own version of the classic season one West Wing episode ‘Six Meetings Before Lunch’.

The day kicked off with a call to discuss the opportunity to do something like our Mapumental service but for electric cars. It was an interesting chat but very exploratory and early. There might something there we get involved in down the road but it is very dependent on funding so we’ll see.

Elk Lick has been simmering away in the background for what seems like forever. It is an opportunity to work with a charity we haven’t done so with before and to build a FixMyStreet spin-off based on something from the Localism Act. I’m going to be digging into this myself initially. Working out what data is out there and trying to identify some commonalties to help a standard emerge. Should be fun.

The first catchup call for the Blooming Rose project was in the afternoon — we had a rush of imminent meeting induced action prior to the call so we now have what we need to get things going here. We also got landed with a 15 page security questionnaire to fill out which has made for a fun couple of days.

I finished the day with a call to DaveA — Dave is one of our senior developers and probably one of the people I tend to work most closely with on a day to day basis. I was just checking in to make sure I hadn’t blithely suggested anything crazy in the previous days meetings and to update him on the Blooming Rose call. For a change I hadn’t committed us to anything out of the bounds of reality so that was good!

Thursday I blogged. I wrote this for the main mySociety blog about LocalGovCamp and a further three internal posts that basically act as introductions to the Whitewash Village, Elk Lick and Blooming Rose projects for colleagues — but also to help me get it all straight in my head. I’m no fan of things like ‘project initiation documents’ but a blogpost stating the background and aims of a new project really helps me frame it in my head.

I also ended up writing this post about a ‘user manual for Matt’ inspired by Cassie on the evening — it is a really interesting and quite challenging process to go through. I found it quite hard but rewarding and look forward to seeing a few more of them out there.

We also had a really great Hangout about a bunch of marketing work for FMS Pro that is really gathering steam now. Partly because I have realised I have to be better at sharing some of this stuff out when I am totally blocked on it. There is a whole swathe of stuff incoming with Myf, Martin and Zarino doing the heavy lifting and me mainly trying not to get in the way. This bled into Friday with a follow up call to get into some specifics with the designers and me scrambling to provide some context to the ideas for copy I had outlined as I am off work next week.

Much of the rest of the day was wrangling the aforementioned questionnaire from Blooming Rose and a long conversation I cannot divulge yet but could become a factor in later episodes.

I’m off work next week but I am planning on a day trip to London which will include popping in to #teacamp and I’m hoping I can arrange a visit to ONS to say hi to the team and see what everyone is up to as well. I might even arrange another ‘looking sideways’ visit — who knows!


I’ve lost a further 2.5lbs since last week so I am pretty much on track still I think — losing weight at a reasonable pace without anything crazy. I’m still off the booze, fizzy drinks, chocolate, sweets, takeaways and Greggs. I’ve also added an attempt to cut down on bread — so am having oats and fruit for breakfast. It is getting easier for the most part.

The exercise part of the agenda hasn’t been so good this week — in the end I finished last week with an average of almost 10,000 steps and a 33% increase in my average to date this year. This week is nowhere near that. The weather and my working routine has blown my good work out a bit — not to mention a new side effect from the Metformin. With a week off next week I am going to aim to hit my 12,000 steps target everyday.



I actually signed up for the trial of Audible last weekend and having been listening to, rather than reading, The Upstarts which I had started the previous week. It is an interesting book but I find myself regularly grimacing or sucking my teeth at the antics of the founders of both AirBnB and Uber and how they are portrayed in the story. There is no doubt though it is a useful and in depth insight into that murky world which is probably going to be useful in years to come!


Logan Lucky — Steven Soderbergh’s latest star studded heist movie is just a lot of fun. It has a really high number of characters who are likeable or at least more so than you initially expect and everyone is just a bit smarter and competent than you first think as well. There is nothing too flashy or clever about the movie but I enjoyed it from beginning to end — even the occasional schmaltzy moments!

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