Week notes [2022/32]

So I haven't ever deliberately written a series of "week notes", but I really enjoy reading other people's. And in the best demonstration of "culo veo, culo quiero", I decided to copy them and try my hand at this.

Now, I'm also quite particular and I want the numbering to be right. This cannot start on "1", despite being the first installment of the week notes series (if that ever becomes a thing), because today is not the first week of the year, but 32. I think archiving by year and week makes more sense (just as timestamping with year-month-day makes more sense to me). Thus, this will be my system. (I anticipate there will be gaps in the series).

And without further ado...

  • I started a new job this week! Which is also why I wanted to do this week notes thing. I want to track what's happened each week and see my progress. This is something I always suggest people do, but don't do myself. This time, I'll take my own medicine.
  • It's been quite an intense week... lots of learning about the context of the new company and building mental ontologies (or trying to)!
  • My new role is considerably more hands-on than the previous two (at least initially). This was deliberate. It's been a long time since I built websites and services directly, and things have changed so much since then it is almost like it's all new again! So it's very exciting.
    • although in actual fact, it's not all new, because most of the things we're using feel a lot like syntactic sugar on top of the things from the past that I already know. So it's more about opening the lid, looking inside the box and go "ah ok, I see what is happening inside". It's still HTTP at the end of the day...
  • It's weird to work "for a new place" from the same place that I've been working from the last two years. Not really sure how to address this; I imagine it will eventually pass, but I keep asking people questions such as "so, how long have you been at $MY_FORMER_EMPLOYER?" which can be quite disorientating to them! Moving desk positions is not an option as I can't change the layout of this room. Maybe I should get another keyboard or something.
    • Speaking of, the new work laptop is a massive beast, one of those 16" Macbooks with an Apple M1 chip. I was afraid it would overheat, but I have not heard the fan in the whole week, and we've been pairing and using Zoom a lot! I'm pleased. Although it looks so big side by side with my 13" Macbook Pro...
  • Things I have learned:
    • I have forced myself to go through Notion tutorials. We use a lot of Notion in here and I did not understand what was going on because I had never really used Notion before. I'm still not very sold on the idea of a Markdown editor of sorts that doesn't quite write to a simple file structure on your computer, although I understand why they might want to do that. I guess I like the Obsidian model better "in principle". Anyway, I think I finally understood how they build "databases" and it is quite neat for showing different views of the same underlying data.
      • I also like that it is quite immediate to create content vs other systems for sharing knowledge.
    • I have used Docker a lot this week. I had followed tutorials and things in the past but I had no real need to understand what is going on so something in my brain did not quite click together. I am not a master yet but manipulating Docker containers in practice does give you a good feel of what's happening and what are the consequences!
    • We also use Go and although I still haven't written a line of Go yet, I have
      • installed the debugger
      • learned about the love for generating code at compile time
      • helped someone rubber-duck-debug their code (successfully!)
    • Imagine when I actually learn Go! The possibilities!
    • Some people in the financial industry are sometimes forced to take two weeks mandatory holiday in which they cannot contact anyone from work (so really disconnected, real holiday). This is used to help spot fraud in the company and they colloquially call it "the mandatory".
  • Unrelated to all of the above, this week's non-work main interest for me has been the aftermath of England's Euros win last Sunday
    • I normally don't care at all about men's football; I have been subjected to watching so many matches played by men, I don't need to watch another one in my life.
    • But I do find women's football so interesting! I have really enjoyed watching the matches, regardless of the team! It looks like it's more strategic and less based on sheer physical demonstrations of power.
    • I suppose there's also a factor of seeing myself in their place and thinking "maybe in a parallel universe I could be playing football too", which never occurs to me when I see men's matches.
    • It's also very nice that the fans do not leave an aftermath of thrashing and destruction wherever they go!
    • I really wish they retire that awful song now that they've won after more than 50 years.
      • I genuinely wanted them to win in no small part so that I never have to listen to that song ever again!!!
    • There's been a lot of articles bringing up the sheer injustice of the blank bans imposed on women football at the beginning of the 20th century and the harm that has caused, and even an open letter to whoever ends up being PM of the UK to fully equalise access to football regardless of gender, and this has reminded me of something I had pretty much forgotten: when I tried playing it when I was 7 years old; initially at that age boys were quite welcoming and were willing to share the tricks on how to kick and all that, which was nice and empowering. But just a year later things changed for the worse as we approached our first communion and were strongly put in gender-shaped boxes, and I was quite put off from playing it, both by others (the boys and the rest of people) and by my own internalised sexism. This is a matter for another article but I'm glad that this is being done.
    • I am also quite impressed that England won despite all the obstacles (professional women's football wasn't a thing until very recently in the UK) and that they won versus Germany (who have been having a women's Bundesliga for about 20 years!!!).
    • The other thing I am quite admiring a lot is that the team all seem to like each other? There seems to be such a good harmony between them. It really is so refreshing!
    • Of course it made me wonder: is this something the coach has caused? Which made me search for things such as "Sarina Wiegman's coach style", ha! This is an interesting video. From what I connect together in my brain:
      • there's a lot of trust in this team
      • building the trust by having time to know each other as an individual (both the coach learning about the team and the team learning about the coach, as persons)
      • they study situations from which things can be learned
      • but there is not just theory, also a lot of practice ("Action" as she says in the video)
      • mistakes will happen, and that's ok (this only works if you have built that trust environment)
      • you have to give chances to junior players, it's the only way they'll get the chance to fail and get to great (no improvement without action!)
      • you can give the team the direction, but once they're in the field, it's up to them to execute the strategy - so as coach you have to trust they'll do what is best
      • there's also a whole lot of humbleness, calm and patience in here; I have a lot of respect for this woman
    • "But why are you supporting England if you're Spanish!???"
      • I am a dual national and I can support whoever I like!
      • The Spanish coach looked like he'd rather be elsewhere
      • Everyone played to a very high standard (despite the coach looking 'disconnected') but I really like the way Sarina is running things and I want her to tell me all her secrets
  • And finally I have met three separate friends spontaneously in the last two weeks, and it's been so refreshing and nice! I still am quite suspicious that we won't end up with more covid-related restrictions at some point, but it's nice to enjoy things while we can. I'm a carpe diem convert now.

This was way longer than I expected. Maybe I just have a very rich life and it's impossible to compress my week!?

We'll see.