Weeknotes 14

November 29, 2020
  • Another quiet week. I’m busy with work at FutureLearn, it feels good to be writing and mostly shipping useful code. I’m really enjoying having a couple of days a week pairing with Chris and it’s also been great to work with Simon again.
  • I found out this week that large parts of the BBC /music site have been taken offline. Things have moved on, and BBC Sounds seems to be focus today. I moved to London to join the BBC in 2009 to work on /music. One of the wonderful things about /music was its commitment to have a page for every artist which collected all of their BBC connections (songs played on the radio, interviews, album reviews etc.) in one place. Rather than build a CMS to edit the artist biographies, we instead pulled changes from Wikipedia and Musicbrainz. This meant our editorial colleagues (we sat right next to them, which was another great thing about the team) were editing Wikipedia in order to edit /music, improving both at the same time. Patrick and others had written some scripts that used a Wikipedia IRC channel to get a stream of change events, filtered them for pages we cared about and then updated the artist biographies. It was elegant and janky and brilliant and I loved it. I mostly worked on /introducing, the BBC’s service for unsigned artists. We looked after a Rails app called Peel, and one of its jobs was to create a new page on /music when one of the introducing artists had been played on the radio for the first time. It was a small thing, but we got such great feedback from artists for that. Anyway, nostalgia isn’t what it used to be and URLs aren’t cool anymore. But I’m glad for the memories and the friendships I still have from that time.
  • We went shopping for a Christmas tree and decorated it today. N- is now at an age where this is very exciting for him, and given the year we’ve all had, I’m going to get stuck in. The Low Christmas Album made its first (of many) appearances.
  • I’ve given up on doom emacs. There were too many things that were slightly different to how I was used to them working, and I didn’t have enough time to learn them (or even to learn how to disable them). The final straw was when I had issues with some trailing whitespace not deleting reliably, and couldn’t work out how to fix it. It’s not been a lost cause though, I’ve found a few new packages that are great (vterm in particular) and know enough about doom to crib things from its code into my own config. I’ve started a new config from scratch and am pulling things from my old config, or from doom, as and when I need them. So far, so homely.