I’ve decided to give writing weeknotes a try. I’ve tried, and failed, to keep a diary multiple times, so we’ll see how this goes. Maybe if I keep this up, the notes will be useful for whenever I go to update my now page.

A lot of what I do is either recorded in a git repository somewhere or on my personal Trello board (I’m planning to write a memo about how I use Trello for self organisation at some point), so when I started on this memo I whipped up this shell function:

# Recent git history, across repositories
function git-history() {
  local since=$1
  for d in *; do
    if [[ -e $d/.git ]]; then
      pushd $d;
      local repo=`printf '%-16s' "$d"`
      git log --since=$since --pretty=format:"${repo:0:16} %ai (%h):  %s" --author='Michael Walker' --all

With this I can run git-history "last week" in my ~/projects directory and get a list of all the commits I’ve made, in the repositories I have locally checked out, in the last week.

I’m not really sure what format to do these in, so for now I’ll go for bullet points grouped by different aspects of my life.


  • I wanted to check out this federated social networking stuff, so I set up Pleroma (like Mastodon but not—they talk to each other), and am now available as barrucadu@social.lainon.life. It seems neat so far.

  • I’ve been planning a Call of Cthulhu campaign I’ll be running for some friends, starting next weekend. This will only be the second time I’ve DMed a game, so I’ve decided to use a published campaign. Re-reading the rulebook, and reading the campaign book, has been fun.


  • I finished the corrections for chapter 5 of my thesis, which is the longest chapter with the main contributions in. This involved totally rewriting one section, which I’d been putting off for months and took me a fortnight. Today I sent it off to my external examiner, Simon PJ, to ask if this is the sort of thing he was expecting.


  • I’ve mostly been working on transition, the tool we use to move government websites from one domain to another (like onto GOV.UK), re-jigging how it generates traffic metrics and making it pull our CDN log files from Amazon S3.

  • On Tuesday afternoon there was an all-staff offsite event filled with talks. It was mostly boring, but there was a really interesting talk at the end by some people from the Coast Guard about producing a system for different emergency services to share information about ongoing emergencies. I’d assumed this was a long-solved problem; no, it was only solved in 2014 or so (I forget the exact year).


  • I did some maintenance on dejafu and irc-client, updating things for newer dependencies and pulling in some fixes. It’s a bit sad how much development has slowed down (basically stopped), but with Ph.D work ongoing, I haven’t tended to do much intellectually demanding stuff during my reduced free time.

  • I did some thinking about the “Target Audience” field on my memos. Previously this was just free text, and I used it really inconsistently. I’ve now changed it to three categories.

  • Also on the topic of memos, I removed the “Attention Conservation Notice” field, because I was using it similarly inconsistently.

  • After using f.lux and redshift for years, I finally decided to switch them off. I don’t think the dimming, reddening, screen has ever prompted me to go to bed or helped me get to sleep—it just makes things harder to read.

  • I watched Jim Fisher’s “Don’t say ‘simply’” talk from Write the Docs 2018. Even though I already knew his philosophy, it was a good talk and I liked the examples.