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Dan Catt
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DayNotes - Fri 4th Nov, 2011

[Edit 1: Click the image for the larger version]

Today was mainly spent working on Sekrit project #1. No email to go through, no meeting, just straight up working on the project, I like it when it's like that.

So, because just doing one thing in the day is no fun, before work and at lunch time I tried a quick sketch out, you can see it in the photo attached. I needs some more work but it's basically a barcode of the last 7 days worth of articles posted on the Guardian.

The first two are Saturday and Sunday which is why there's less going on. I was sort of hoping you could get a better feel for what was going on during the day at a glance, but not really. We do seem to post a lot of football/sport stuff in the evening though, which I guess are results and whatnot.

There's also a bunch of stuff launched after midnight (on the left) then very little until 10am (noon is in the middle) There's a weird blank space between 8am-10am not sure why that is.

Anyway, at some point I'll turn it into a real-time thing so the current days strip updates throughout the day or something. But like I said, just a sketch for the moment.

DayNotes - Wed 2nd Nov, 2011

The day of meetings!

In which I catch the 5:43am train to get down to London, fill my day full of meetings and then catch the 7:23pm train back home. Which means, I'm just a little bit tired when it comes to writing this DayNote.

The meetings were mainly a follow-up to the email I sent yesterday, getting a chance to talk to each person involved and seeing different ways the various project they're involved in could be pull together. I think it went pretty well and it feels like there's a good chance of getting most of them green-lighted with a focus on one of them that has the most cross-over with the other projects.

Still a bit hand-wavy, but if it kicks off then it'd be a get suite of projects that'll variously touch on most areas of the Guardian, which is nice.

Also nice, was getting to chat with the very smart Mike Dewar for 30mins in the middle of the day. Lots of good new science and computing going down there, actual proper cutting edge stuff, refreshing!

And now, a train to catch!

DayNotes - Tue 1st Nov, 2011

Long time no see DayNotes, I shall of course claim Holiday as my excuse, during which time I eschewed the company of Google+ for that of poorly sick children.

So today (and yesterday) hardly a line of code was written, opting instead for getting through the week+ worth of email and such like that'd cropped up. All sorts of various stuff from printing newspapers, podcasting and maybe even talking on a panel at TechWorld in a couple of weeks time (about APIs).

I also managed to get round to the long overdue email that I needed to write, but couldn't quite find the right words to articulate what I was thinking to a slightly disparate group of people at work who all happen to be working on similar things but sort of independently and skunkworkery. Hopefully with a few follow-ups we can pull everything into something official and synergyesky.

Other dumb things about catching up from holiday, catching up until 20:53, must stop now.

Overwhelming desire to make zines.

DayNotes - Thu 13th Oct, 2011

Damnnit, why am I ending up posting these day notes so late each evening, sigh!

Anyway, once more today was a good day. The "Sekret" project of interesting-fun that I'm working on has a weird user input device, and a fixed viewport for display (if that make sense) so you have to scroll things around in the viewport rather than effectively scrolling the whole viewport as you do in a traditional browser.

Bolting the two things together; weird input device + slightly annoying display involves an amount of various tricky maths (not complex, just irritating), of working out what's currently where, how much the offsets are and therefor the transformations needs to get things into the right position.

I understand this is all very abstract while 'cause it's public notes about an internal project. But at the moment they're more for me to look back on and really enthral anyone else :) Doing it publicly is an attempt to make myself carry on making the notes, with various success.

DayNotes - Wed 12th Oct, 2011

Good day today, mainly spent in JavaScript bolting back in code from Prototype #1 into Prototype #2 for Sekret project. Sekret project is coming along well, once I've got a whole bunch more JavaScript thrown in I can get back to adding in the rest of the front-end pages...

...apart from the most important page that's going thru a sticky patch of design.

And that's pretty much that, one day working on a single project. I <3 days like that. I kept my eye on the JSON endpoint I built for the #opennews Guardian thing and so far it hasn't broken, which is nice.

I was going to spend the evening building a front-end onto it, to make it all friendly, but I think I'm just going to chill instead.


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DayNotes - Tue 11th Oct, 2011

Finished messing around with the tumblr grid aggregator admin page thingy. Or at least for a while. Did a bit of backend rebuilding and finished wiring together all the UI stuff to make it easy for anyone to make a grid-thing to appear on the Guardian site.

This seems like a lot of work and faffing, but the number of requests for these grids has gone up and I'd be spending more time fitting in rolling out different versions in-between my other work that it'd just get annoying. Since finishing Steve has managed to add 6 new grids and make them live on the site, and that's just this afternoon :)

Note to self: Actually blog about the grid things properly with screenshots and what-not.

This evening I hacked together a scraper for the Guardian's new open newslists:

Which grabs the page once an hour, ferrets out the iframe that contain Google Docs, grabs each of those in turn and attempts to parse the contents. Then it sticks the extracted data into a JSON endpoint, and that's as far as I've got.

So far it works but it's only had a sample size of one. Because the spreadsheets are edited by humans I can't reply on the content always being the same or even making sense. Which means I'll be waiting a couple more days before I make the JSON endpoint public so I have a chance to catch at least a handful of parse errors and increase the chances of it running ok while I'm sleeping :)

DayNotes - Fri 7th Oct, 2011

Another good day today focusing on just the one project. Always good getting your teeth into things.

Today I got most of the backend working how it should, and pretty much all of the CSS needed so far. Most of the backend code already existed from the 1st iteration of the project, it just needed a few tweaks here and there to adapt it. The only tricky part was making sure it didn't break the current iteration that's still being shown around as a demo.

I could of course just clone the whole thing, but it somehow seems better to all be running off the same server/data, making it easier to switch between the two.

The next step, next week is to start plugging the javascript back in. The problem with the JS is that it's often fairly tied to the page elements (jQuery handling most of the tricky stuff). Which means I'll be starting with an empty JS file, and then copying over various blocks of code and adapting them when I need. A bit like writing again from scratch but with loads of cheating thrown in.

Chances are I won't be adding new new stuff until mid-week next week, guess that's just how it rolls.

End of a good week that had a bitty start!

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DayNotes - Thu 6th Oct, 2011

Exciting fun day, got back to working on Sekrit project number ummm, 2 I think, although it could be sekrit project #3, I lose track (sekrit project not shown in photo). Anyway, this project involves a second screen. And although the Thunderbolt display is good (and has a super high resolution) what's needed is BIGGER!

And so I've taken the TV back off the kids (I replaced it with Toca Boca Store on the iPad, so they've forgiven me) and wired it up to the GoogleTV box, and the AppleTV box, as well as it's own built in browser. Which is frankly overkill and more than enough for what I need.

I now have too much stuff on my normal desk so I've moved across the room and setup special dev labs!!

Getting back to the daynotes, spent the whole day and far too much of the evening setting up the code and framework on the project so I can start dropping the "look and feel" in, very happy with how it's gone, looking forward to pushing it forwards again tomorrow.

Yay for building stuff :)

DayNotes - Tue 4th Oct, 2011

Bit late today, lots of stops & starts and general good chatter on IM to people at work. The most recent project, the one that monitors the tumblr blogs and displays them as grids... really must get around to blogging about those ...seems to have triggered a few ideas for other ways that we could display content is various spots around the site.

I'm getting sidetracked 'cause it's late, right, so today involved various small bits and bobs and working through the admin control for the tumblr thing and much plotting & thinking.

There, that'll do. Night.
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