• This week was firebreak, the gap between quarters in which we work on different things. This time the powers that be decided all the communities (developers, content designers, etc) should work on a community-wide project. The project we developers decided on was throwing out our rather painful and slow development VM in favour of a new thing based on docker. There was already a prototype, which one developer had written for their own use, so the task was to get as many of the remaining apps done as reasonably possible within a week, and to make any other improvements which seemed relevant.

    The result is govuk-docker. It’s not quite done yet—there are missing apps, and there’s no way to load in production data yet—but it’s a good result. In some free time I expended my own GOV.UK shell scripts.

  • I also wrote another rota generator, this time for the content support rotas. The rota for next quarter is already done, so the tool hasn’t had any use yet, but there’s always next time. To get this done I had to implement a notion of “soft constraints”: constraints that get relaxed if no satisfying solution is found. Trying the relaxations one after the other would be slow, so I also parallelised the rota generator.

  • I got a statement of my pension from the Civil Service pensions people. It includes prominent mention of how much my estate would be paid if I were to die in service… do they know something about my future I don’t?


  • I’ve got a lot of things bookmarked to be read “later”. The list keeps growing because I find things I want to read faster than I get through them. Some of the bookmarks are years old, and still not read. This week I tried to read a few of the older ones, and the links had all rotted since I first found them in 2016. Are the pages gone? Merely moved? Whatever the case, they’re not where I knew them to be, and I didn’t get redirected to a new location. It would be nice if people didn’t remove things from the internet, or at least served a proper 410 error page when it’s an intentional removal.