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Weeknotes: 13-26 Jan 2020

Despite the promise in my first weeknotes, I didn't manage to write anything last week. Spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday at a spa, and we finally got to see Magic Goes Wrong on Sunday which was absolutely glorious (no suspicious packages this time).

A Slack app I built for my choir is now officially installed across two Slack workspaces (one of which does not belong to me), which is a great success. I'm working on a series of tutorials for building Slack apps in Node.JS using the Block Kit and the new App Home beta, which has completely transformed the way Slack apps look and work.

The SHE Bot posts every week telling the choir what's going on, and takes attendance for me because I'm too lazy to do it myself
Slack App Home gives you a base to present a nice GUI for users to configure and interact with the app

I've been doing a lot of Go development at work lately, building some backend services and working on our internal deployment tooling to allow for a change we're making in the way frontend apps are deployed. Although my blog (and my Twitter presence) is very web-focused, my role is very much full-stack and I write a fair bit of Go. Backend engineering at Monzo is made a lot friendlier with some truly fantastic tools: I love that I can spin up a new backend service with all the trimmings using a single command, get a Cassandra table up and running in a matter of minutes, and deploy my service using another command without having to do some kind of Kubernetes dance.

It's fun to switch between languages and paradigms in my day-to-day job. At John Lewis I was also full-stack, working on some backend services in Kotlin, one of my favourite languages (I also made the mistake of admitting I knew Java which led me down a dark path I don't wish to repeat.). I'm still a web girl at heart, though, and I love a bit of CSS magic.

Speaking of CSS Magic, Cassie has been knocking it out of the park recently with some amazing CSS demos.

I went along to a Women Who Code meetup at Transport for London on Monday, which was all about distributed systems. The talks were so in-depth that I struggled to follow a lot of it (it seemed more complicated than many of the lectures on my masters degree, and the lack of microphones didn't help), but I did learn a bit about the challenges synchronising clocks across distributed systems, and about the existence of logical clocks. I also learnt that apparently GPS works by seeing how long it takes to ping various satellites from your device, then working out your location from that. I am unlikely to ever use this information, but I have now got an interesting new fact to share at parties.

I've been teaching myself to knit, and practice is going well: I successfully knitted a very small tube which would make a nice hamster snood. My first real project is going to be a hat for my husband, then I promised my colleague I'd make a little jumper for her dog Rupert, one of our lovely office pooches.

Saturday was spent at Atsuko's Kitchen in Columbia Road, on a beginners’ Japanese cookery course. What a delight. We made dashi, teriyaki lime chicken, dashiki tamago (egg roll), nikujaga (mother's stew) and the best miso soup I've ever tasted. I'm having to restrain myself from buying a load of ingredients and utensils I don't have room for.

Tori no lime teriyaki don (chicken teriyaki with lime)

And finally, Sunday finds me typing words until vaguely coherent sentences are formed, trying to write a succinct abstract for a talk I'm giving in March. I find writing the abstract one of the hardest things to do (next only to coming up with ideas in the first place, which is 100% the most difficult part of conference talks). Because this is tantamount to homework, I'm procrastinating by writing this post instead.