August 2020



It’s been something of a busy month for blogging, with posts on Cloud Migration, Java, the UK exam fiasco, Hugo. and RIP Dougal.


The new Kamado Joe that I mentioned last month got its first run, which looked good, but ended up being a little dry:

Hawksmore @ Home

The Hawksmore at Home BBQ Box came out much better :)


I made a shelf to go beside the BBQ for extra prep area using some left over kitchen worktop:

It looks lovely, but despite the yacht varnish it already seems to be bowing and delaminating, so I’d be surprised if it lasts through a UK winter.

Cote de boeuf

Some friends recommended Handcross Butchers, which is local(ish), does online ordering and delivers to my area. I got a Cote de boeuf, which turned out amazingly – quite possibly the best steak I’ve ever had.

Could – Should – Would

On of my favourite finds on the web this month was ‘An Officer’s Guide to Breaking the Rules‘:

The CO hated being told that I couldn’t do something when he knew full well that I could but that the rules didn’t allow it.  So I agreed that we would discuss such things in the following terms: Could – Should – Would.  In the first instance I would explain what could be done, what was physically possible given the resources at our disposal, without any of the constraints of the rules.  I would then explain what should be done to be compliant with the rules, regulations, policy, etc.  Finally, we would have a conversation about what we would do, under what circumstances and when the operational imperative would justify setting aside certain rules in order to achieve the intent.  It worked.  I never told him something was impossible when it wasn’t, but we also (frequently) made defensible risk-based decisions to break the rules when the circumstances justified it.

WSL2 and VSCode

For many years I’ve been using a combination of Git Bash and Atom for development, but times change, and better tools emerge, so I’ve pretty much entirely switched to using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) version 2 as my command line home and VSCode as my IDE. It’s very pleasant and productive.

GitHub Actions

I’ve also been trying out GitHub Actions for Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), and they’re just like how I expected code pipelines to work (rather than the complexity horror show of Jenkins and its menagerie of plugins). Here’s my example repo hugo-learn-action-example.

New role

There have been a lot of changes at DXC since Mike Salvino took over as the new CEO almost a year ago, and as part of that wave of change I’ve taken a new role as CTO for Modern Apps & Cloud Native. I describe the new job as:

leading customer adoption of platforms, continuous delivery, and modern languages and frameworks

My post on ‘What are Modern Applications?‘ from earlier in the year provides a good background on the space I’m moving into.


Following a pointer from Charles Stross I bought myself the DVD box set of 1990, dubbed 1984+6. It’s a never repeated 1970s TV series starring Edward Woodward looking at a dystopian future UK under the boot of a Home Office ‘Public Control Department’. Right now, it seems far too close to a prequel of what 2021 post Brexit England is going to look like (except in the show it seems one of the few counterbalances to government power is EU membership and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – protections that are being torn away).

One thing that does seem consistent between fictional 1990 and real life 2020 is that the politicians and their civil servants seem greatly concerned with what the press has to say about them; or as I put it on Twitter, “Government of the press, by the press, for the press”

Beating Beat Saber

Beat Saber remains my favourite Oculus Quest game, and I use it for ‘fitness gaming’ workouts on the days that I’m not hitting the cross trainer. For the last few months I’ve been slogging through the levels of OST1 & OST2 to get ‘full combo’ at Expert level, and this month I finally cracked the final holdouts with ‘Unlimited Power’ and ‘Balearic Pumping’. Onwards with OST3 – ‘Give A Little Love’ and ‘Reason for Living’ have succumbed already; I expect ‘Burning Sands’ will be the last to fall, as it’s very long and complex.

I’ve found (particularly at Expert level) that getting full combos takes a different technique to getting high scores. I’ve been using a gentler, less energetic approach to making sure I make all the cuts, rather than high movement slashes through every block. I’ll be going back over some levels to see if I can push my Bs to As to Ss (and maybe even SSs), but ultimately I know I’m not top class at the game from my rankings (and also that I totally can’t keep up with Expert Plus levels).

For what it’s worth, I share my brother’s ire at Oculus deprecating their standalone IDs in favour of Facebook logins.

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