The Weeks: 28th October and 4th November

I’m still way behind with weeknotes as I explained in the last edition. These are definitely becoming fortnight-notes!

Here’s the second of two parts of a 4-week catchup.

Projects: what I’ve been up to

I’m still mostly working my charity microsite build – this has rumbled on a bit as some changes to the design I was given have come up as content has been added and people try out the site in a real interactive web browser. It’s all good!

I’ve also been working on:

  • A Laravel project that got resurrected for some changes. I’ve been haggling to try and get some support time into the budget for this (seriously – if you build a web app or substantial website, it needs maintaining!) and going back to work on three-year-old tech turned out to be problematic. Less (CSS) wouldn’t compile because an old npm dependency didn’t exist any more so I had to update from the old Laravel Elixir to Laravel Mix and then Laravel wasn’t working on my updated local PHP7.2 environment, so I had to update Laravel…and so on. Anyway, it’s all up to date now and we’ve added the changes that the client wanted.
  • I had to add a new taxonomy and some filters to a WordPress site that I built and look after for a brilliant inter-generational arts charity.
  • I did a review of a BuddyPress/bbPress site for a big national charity that I have worked for before – this may turn into a website re-development with huge simplifications!
  • Continued slow work with a small local charity here in Swindon on an arts project that they’ve been working on.
  • Helping a small charity work through some email issues they were having – initially it looked like they may have been hacked and I was quite concerned for them, but we dug around and I ended up having to to a lot of explaining technical stuff in layman’s language. But we got there in the end and everything was safe and well.
  • And I did some work and had a meeting about a brilliant but secret thing that I can’t announce here.

It’s been one of those periods of work where lots of gnarly, tricky stuff has come in and, not wanting to blow my own trumpet too much but…, my experience and skills, attention to detail and downright annoying tenacity in fixing things “Properly” have meant I’ve had to get really stuck in.

Posts: things I made

  • CV tips from someone who’s not applied for a job for many years: I did a review of someone’s CV a few weeks back. I’m NOT in HR and I’ve not been recruited or done recruitment for a while, but I have opinions having done a fair bit before. At the time, I did a Twitter thread on it with my tips, but you prompted me to put the tips into a blog post. Maybe this is helpful for someone? Just don’t blame me if you don’t get a job!

This week I learned

A few things!

  • Induction hobs and new cookers are actually awesome and at the very least way better than the 13-year-old gas-and-single-oven thing you had before that just broke. And also, you need 68.5 cm from the top of your hob to the thing above it! Who knew?! (Clearly not the people who installed the 13-year-old gas hob into this kitchen before we moved in!)
  • There’s this page that exists (and several others like it) that should let you manage your personalised ad preferences for 169 web-tracking and advertising companies. But the majority of them don’t seem to work. Including Facebook and Google. Deliberate?! http://youronlinechoices.com (From Tumblr’s privacy policy)
  • “The element returned by querySelector is not dynamically updated because a copy is made and returned, while that returned by getElementByxx is a reference so reflects the element when it is used” – A JavaScript thing I didn’t know I didn’t know from Janel Brandon
  • I knew that docs.new creates a new Google Doc and sheets.new creates a new Google Sheet, but now software developers can do more with .new domains, like github.new, repo.new and gist.new

Toolbox

I often come across discussions about time tracking. Years ago, before I was even freelance, I realised the need for decent time tracking and worked with Freckle (now called Noko) and it was fine in its very limited free version.

Over the years as a freelancer I’ve tried various options:

  • Toggl, which has a great free plan and good apps
  • Thyme, which is cool, indie and cheap, but quite limited
  • FreeAgent, the timer built into my accounting software, which seems like a good idea, but needs me to be permanently logged into my accounting software

Most of these tools are just too limited for my use with multiple projects across multiple clients with different rates and types of billing.

Harvest though. It is the little fluffy nectar-collecting knees of the bees. Even though I don’t use it for invoicing these days, its reporting is brilliant and keeps me using it. I can slice and dice my time and money however I want.

The apps for both MacOS and iOS are superb.

It’s fast and well built and a joy to use. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s an essential tool for my business and I highly recommend it. BUT…if you need something simpler then it may be too much, so give Toggle a whirl as a decent alternative.

Time Machine

There was a brilliant Tweet from Chris Achard the other day giving an overview of how DNS works:

I, too, have wanted to educate people on this. And so a while back I started making https://dns-explained.com. It’s not quite complete, there’s some paths through it that I want to add, plus a glossary, and I want to add some illustrations too. Maybe that will come one day. But for the time being it exists as my own primer on how DNS works!

Pins: things I read and remembered

Here’s what I bookmarked these two weeks:

(Brought to you with pinboard.in and my Sync Pinboard plugin)

Have a great week!

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