James Mead by James Mead

Week 234

I don’t know about you, but like last week, I’ve found much of this week too hot to think. Anyway, we’ve soldiered on and work has continued apace at FutureLearn. You should sign up if you’re interested in taking in one of the online courses that’ll be offered later this year.

As on most projects, we’re definitely experiencing some issues with different understandings of how best to write User Stories and use Pivotal Tracker. When pointing out these differences, it’s easy to come across as rather negative or even petty or pedantic, but we only do it because we really care about making the agile process work most effectively for our client.


We’ve started having a concerted attempt at making improvements to our virtual office manager. We’re still pretty short of time to devote to working on it, but there are a steady stream of people signing up to use the app and a decent number of teams making active use of it.

In recent weeks it feels to me as if we’ve been making more and more use of Harmonia ourselves - in particular we’re increasingly using the creating tasks with email functionality. I think this works pretty nicely now - so why not give it a whirl! We’re also slowly but surely figuring out what sort of tasks are the best fit. All of these things are motivating me to want to work on the project.


On Wednesday evening, our office hosted the inaugural workshop for the Minimum Viable Book project. Chris’ partner, Amy Wagner, and Emily Webber are writing a book about agile & lean practices, in an agile & lean way. It sounds intriguing!

Looking glass

James, Chris & I have done some more playing with Tom Taylor’s Project Looking Glass and we managed to fire up a live video connection from a Raspberry Pi in the office to James’ laptop in Austin. I’ve been slightly handicapped by not having a suitable monitor/cable combination at home with which to experiment on this, but I have at least managed to work out quite a bit about how to use Gstreamer on Mac OSX.

We’ve continued to use Sqwiggle as a means of seeing whether someone is at their computer or not, but we’re a bit disappointed with it’s appetite for CPU cycles. One of our colleagues at FutureLearn, Joel Chippindale mentioned that he’d worked on a hackday project which used JavaScript to capture a photo from a webcam and send it to another person’s browser. Perhaps we could cobble together something Sqwiggle-like using this technique.

Anyway, my brain is well and truly fried, so I’m going to stop there.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

– James

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