Week in review 2024-11

A little late on the update this week, blame bank holiday laziness

Notes on the week

The e-ink dashboard project is complete! I had really hoped to get it up and running in time for our anniversary as a gift, but it ended up running one day over (the classic trope of software developer timeline estimates). I got a wooden IKEA frame from HetGoed that was about the correct size, and cut the paper mask to suit the the size of the e-ink panel. My last minute adjustments were overseen by some other members of the Pixelbar, and someone made the brilliant suggestion that the whole thing should be in portrait orientation, not landscape. This made much more sense, but added that last little bit of complexity as I had to re-design my UI to take into account the vertical, rather than horizontal, layout.

The final product works pretty well, and I’m really happy with it as a first attempt at making a hardware project. Every 30 minutes it fetches the latest weather information, as well as Elle’s college calendar and updates the display. After 5PM it stops showing Todays events, and switches to displaying items for tomorrow. One little USB cable out the back provides power, and the whole thing actually looks kind of nice. A future revision would be to drop the Raspberry Pi and use an ESP32 microcontroller to really, really cut down on the power draw. I think that it might last well over 6 months on battery in that case, but for the purposes I want to solve, a power cable is no big deal.

We’re going to Finland!

Ellen’s sister and her band are playing at a folk festival in Kaustinen this summer, and we’re going to go. The plan is to start off in Helsinki, travel up through one or more of the national parks, before arriving at the festival to document Maggie’s performances, maybe shoot some video and beyond that just take in the tunes. I can’t wait! Helsinki was one of the cities on the list of possibilities when Elle started looking to do her Masters, so it will be really interesting to take in the city - not just from the perspective of a tourist, but also wondering what our lives there would have looked like.

Ireland won the six nations for the second time in as many years. I went out to the pub here to watch it, but got my times wrong and ended up watching the end of the Italy/Wales match. Italy, the perennial underdogs of the tournament sealed a historic win to cap what was their best six nations in recent memory. I still cant believe that they went within a few inches of beating France (in Paris) a few weeks ago!

As mentioned above, this week marked six years of Elle and I being together. It’s crazy how fast time flies by, and the milestones that keep racking up on this journey that we’ve been on together. Growing up I always saw myself travelling through and living in different countries, taking in what the world has to offer. As I got through my twenties that kind of faded. I couldn’t tell you when, or why, but the breadth of my desire to explore just shrank. Amongst the litany of wonderful things about her, Elle has completely rekindled that sense of adventure, to try to make the most of every opportunity, to say yes more often than say no. I know it’s not exactly the most glamorous city in the world, but the me of only a few years ago would have never considered moving to Rotterdam, and now I’m sitting here wondering how many more stamps can I get on my passport. For this, and a million reasons more, I’m so grateful

There might be hope for Voyager yet

Getting started with Three.js

Why orbit is hard

Messing with your roommate

Working out NYTimes pangrams

Hackintoshes are not long for the world

John von Neumann on surviving technology, 1955

T-Pain taught himself blender and made a music video

Is Caviar a scam?

Why most sofas suck

Cool sand battery tech


Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology” by Chris Miller was last weeks book, and I’ve followed it up straight away with “The Power Law” by Sebastian Mallaby, which documents the origins and incredible success of Silicon Valley venture capital. These two read back to back make a really interesting pair, documenting the tools that shape our modern world, and the financiers that backed them. The lines between these two worlds really blur, with successful technologists transitioning to the venture world and both authors have done a great job telling the story of the valley.

Meanwhile, in fiction, I’ve been dipping my toe back into Moby Dick. I will, finish, this, book. Like Ahab chasing his white whale, this book will not escape me.


Can’t share this one publicly as it’s unreleased (for now), but a friend shared a song with me that I’ve been playing over and over and over again. Can’t wait for the rest of you to hear it

I’ve been enjoying The Guardian’s ‘Long Read’ podcast, where they produce an audio version of some of their bigger articles. The recent one o Pakistan’s wooing of western travel ‘influencers’ was really good!