Tom Ward by Tom Ward

Week 238

Hello and welcome to another edition of the Go Free Range weeknotes.

Last Tuesday we again hosted the Understanding Computation, this week discussing chapter 5: The Ultimate Machine. The discussion was interesting as usual, aided by beer from The City Beverage Company, with deep questions that touched on themes James has raised here. As usual the conversation continued into the pub. If you’ve been thinking of joining us at all, I’d definitely recommend it. Now would be a great time to start, as Tom Stuart has promised us all that the second half of the book is the most interesting.

On the FutureLearn front things are still moving forwards, though our pace does seem to have dropped a little. This is partly due to the number of ‘bugs’ we’re dealing with (the benefit of having a full-time tester), and also a natural consequence of the complexity of the project. What’s great to see though is that our select group of alpha users (Hi Dad!) are in the second week of their courses, and from the feedback we’re getting, generally finding the site easy to use.

One thing that is concerning us though, is that as we get closer to the grand public unveiling, some of the stories we’re seeing are becoming prescriptive. They detail what should change without explaining the why. It’s something we’ve begun to address this week, so hopefully we’ve nipped it in the bud before it becomes a bigger problem.

Finally moving on to Go Free Range, and things have felt a little bit more difficult than usual this week. We’ve not yet fully cracked communicating effectively across time zones, and so despite all our tools and office gadgets, there’s a sense that James is missing out on conversations the rest of us are having. It’s a hard problem. As soon as you try and capture incidental conversations, they cease to become incidental. Any suggestions welcome.

This has also prompted another round of soul-searching amongst us, so expect a few changes soon. What exactly those changes will be, and how they’ll affect us we don’t yet know. Hopefully things will be clearer to all of us in the next few weeks.

Until the next time,

Tom

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