The Week: 2nd September 2019

Wow – so school is back this week!! At the start of the long summer holiday I was thinking how this was a LONG time and would really drag, but gosh it’s flown by. But we’re about to return to the regular routine.

Projects: what I’ve been up to

I’ve been doing hosting stuff, development stuff, and other stuff. Which is pretty much my life. Side projects are taking a bit of a back seat while I focus on some things that need to be done for students going back to school or university. Things with proper hard deadlines!!

I’ve always said I would HATE to be a construction company building schools because the deadlines are so fixed. I’ve built things like advent calendars and new-year projects. But I tend to avoid projects with super-hard deadlines UNLESS the client seems to show a real understanding of the process involved and possible compromises.

  • Made some big additions to a clever WordPress thing I’m making for a client. It’s a simple-but-effective tool using some simple JavaScript, AJAX and custom tables to link things together. Oh, and there’s a custom CSV import too. There was a dilemma about using custom tables or custom post types, but I had to deliver quickly and relatively cheaply so I just had to make a decision and go with it. I think I got it right.
  • Progressed a WordPress micro-site build I’m doing for a big charity, including building my first ACF-powered Gutenberg block!
  • Did a bunch of changes to a site I’m looking after for a smaller charity. This is an interesting one because the theme is quite fixed and they are wanting to make frequent changes to it. The current layout tools aren’t working, so I’m hoping to help them break free of the current constraints at some point and make it a bit more flexible.
  • A new government petition went crazy for a while so I became temporary government petitions expert for a short time, because I run a service that tracks petition growth. This one hasn’t quite blown up like the article 50 petition did.
  • I recorded an informal “fireside chat” with Keith Devon that may or may not become an edition of his EXCELLENT Pricing WordPress podcast. Watch that space (not this one).
  • The week ended with me supporting a small community group doing a 10 mile walk/run. I was bike marshall, and yes, it was just an excuse to clock up some decent bike miles (and vertical metres too!). But I was handing out Jelly Babies and encouragement and keeping track of everyone as well. Great fun!

Posts: things I made

I’ve written a few blog posts since February

This week I learned

  • The Google Maps app has a “Shake to send feedback” option that’s REALLY ANNOYING when your phone is strapped to your bike for navigation. ?
Screen shot of Google Maps options highlighting Shake to send feedback option
  • Laravel’s dump() and dd() (die-and-dump) functions have built-in search function! Actually, I’d known about dd() but wasn’t aware you could just dump() – something I’d always wanted but had never found (even though it’s in the docs – duh!). Thanks Alex.


We go camping from time to time (in a huge 5m canvas bell tent I should add). And we sometimes visit beaches and need to carry all the 3- and 7-year old beach paraphernalia with us. And we now have an Aldi supermarket literally at the end of our road now. So I’ve been thinking for a while about buying a big camping trolley, as we could use it for camping and days out, but also for doing big shopping trips without driving the car to literally-the-end-of-our-street.

After a bit of research I found what appeared to be a good balance of value, functionality, capacity, and foldability in the Kampa Trucker.

It’s a heavy thing of its own, but this is because it’s a beast of a thing that will take 100kg of stuff. It’s great. We didn’t actually take it on our recent camping holiday as it wouldn’t fit in the car (not sure how to solve that one). But the kids love it for the shopping trips and I do too! Highly recommended if…err…you have a supermarket at the end of your street.

My two kids sat in the Kampa Trucker Trolley

Time Machine

Beat the Street is returning to Swindon. It was wildly successful here last year, and I never got around to a proper write up of my thoughts on the game itself. But I did experiment with building a virtual version of the game with smartphones, geolocation, Vue.js, and Laravel.

Warning: Contains Maths and Trigonometry!

Pins: things I read and remembered

Here’s what I bookmarked this week (not much it would seem!)

(Brought to you with and my Sync Pinboard plugin)

Have a great week!