Work

This week I made another caching change to reduce latency, got rid of an unnecessary redirect, did some more work on saving pages, and then switched to ripping out a few prototype features and implementing “real” replacements (which’ll be the focus of next week too):

  • Moving the “dashboard” page from our prototype account manager onto GOV.UK. This is good because it’s ultimately where the functionality will need to be, and it means we’re one step closer to being able to switch off the prototype.

  • Moving the Transition Checker’s email management from the account manager to the account-api and making it more generic, so that we can have similar account-bound email subscriptions elsewhere on GOV.UK. This is good because currently this is really special-case code which we don’t want to have to keep supporting indefinitely.

Maybe in the future we’ll have a greater connection between GOV.UK email subscriptions and GOV.UK accounts: for example, being able to log in with a password (rather than a magic link) to manage your subscriptions, or having your subscriptions follow you if you change the email address of your account.

Books

This week I read:

  • Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson, the third of the Sprawl trilogy.

    Another confusing one, but I found this easier to follow than I did Count Zero. We get a few new characters and several returning ones, including Molly from Neuromancer, and Angela and Bobby from Count Zero. There’s a neat Borges reference, with a super high density storage system which can contain an entire simulated world being called “an aleph”: named, of course, after the story of the same name.

  • Hellstar Remina by Junji Ito.

    Oh boy, this was a strange one. The story is mad: a new planet comes through a wormhole, and the scientist who discovers it names it after his daughter (Remina), and then that new planet starts eating the other planets and heading towards Earth! So far weird but not too weird. The particularly bonkers bit is that everyone on Earth decides that this planet is connected to the girl it was named after, and decides that if they kill her and her father the new planet will leave Earth alone. The story is nuts. There’s also a subplot about two characters with very similar names which just felt really contrived (and I wonder if it works better with kanji).

    Not Junji Ito’s finest work.

  • Volume 13 of Overlord by Kugane Maruyama.

    I had mixed feelings reading this. The story was enjoyable, but the translation felt pretty lacking in parts. There were a couple of times when I thought I’d missed out a page because everything seemed to suddenly change, but actually there’d just been a big shift in tone or context half-way through a paragraph in a way which doesn’t usually happen in English prose. And there was one character who was referred to by his forename by one set of characters and his surname by another set of characters, and his full name wasn’t mentioned until afterwards, so at a few times I found myself wondering if a new character had suddenly appeared in the scene. That character had been introduced in the previous volume, but that was published last year, and so it would have been nice to mention his full name sooner in this volume

Gaming

This week marked the end of the England chapter of my Call of Cthulhu campaign. The party disrupted a giant cult ritual in rural Essex. A police zeppelin was involved. The zeppelin was ripped open by giant flying monsters. It subsequently blew up. Very pulpy.

Next time we’ll be having a one-shot of Godbound, so I can have some fun running a throw-away high-level fantasy adventure.

RPG Blog

This week I published a review of Izirion’s Enchiridion of the West Marches, a sourcebook for West Marches style play I kickstarted earlier this year.

Software Engineering