March 2021



Max is 7 months old now, and continues to be a source of endless entertainment and cuteness.

Having half his people back at school has disrupted our Lockdown III routines, but he has a reason to get extra excited when folk come home.


I got my first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The logistics for the vaccination centre at my local ‘community building’ Clair Hall were outstanding – I was in and out of there in about five minutes, finishing with a return appointment for 11 weeks time.

New job

I joined The @ Company as an Engineer, and our CEO wrote about my intro meeting and culture in virtual organisations. For my techie friends who are wondering what it’s all about start with this post about the @protocol that we’re building the @platform to run. My focus is going to be getting to progressive delivery for the platform, and improving the Developer Experience for people using it. The platform is built with Dart, and we’re riding the wave of Flutter becoming very popular for development across Apple, Android, Web and Desktop.

Apple Fitness

It was mid March 2020 when I decided that I’d better keep fit during what looked like being a long time stuck at home, so this month saw the 365 day streak on my move ring.

If there were streaks for the other rings then I’d be doing a little better on stand, and I’d have broken by exercise streak last August as I got a little distracted by having to deal with Dougal’s last day.

Mother’s Day Feasting Weekend

Mother’s day provided all the excuse I needed to have a weekend of amazing food.


As a somewhat regular investor in startups via Seedrs I occasionally get offers to try new products or services from companies trying to attract investment. One of those was Cookaway, which is a non subscription meal box service. For Friday evening we got the Tandoori chicken with lemon rice and coriander mint chutney, which was delicious and full of really fresh flavours that we’re not used to getting from our usual local Indian restaurant.

My wife also really enjoyed the Zoom cook along session with chef Nidhi Verma.

Fish platter

Our local fish monger does a very nice sharing platter:

But we’ve taken to order separate items to have better control over getting what we really like; so this time I ordered a dressed crab, smoked mackerel and smoked salmon pates, hot smoked salmon, beetroot gravadlax and some king prawns. Along with a Forman & Field royal fillet of salmon that was plenty for two breakfasts and one dinner.


Ever since getting a Hawksmoor at Home box over the summer I’ve been using their ‘How to Cook the Perfect Steak‘ guide with côte de boeuf from my local butcher. But it’s always been a challenge to maintain a ‘steakhouse sear’ temperature. I’ve been able to get the grill to 300C, but as soon as I open it to put the steak in, then again for turning, the temp has been dropping. I wondered why the gauge went up to 450C, and how it was even possible to get it there. Until this time… the steak was quite fatty, and I left it a little longer than usual for the first turn, so by then the fat was rendering down onto the coals, and I was getting FIRE.


Along with the steak I got a 3kg leg of lamb from the local butcher, which I slow roasted overnight with the fan oven dial set to 75C, and that got me an internal temp of 65C. It’s some of the juiciest, tastiest lamb I’ve ever had, and along with Sunday roast provided for multiple sandwiches, salads, shepherd’s pies and curries – about 16 meals in total.

Watch repair

I found my old Casio watches when looking for something else and decided to get them running again (along with the Seiko I wore before getting an Apple Watch). My W-50U World Time watch was in a particularly sad state, with no strap and missing the screws for the back. A quick look at eBay suggests that it’s a sought after model these days.

Batteries were easy to find on eBay, and I was able to get everything else I needed from WatchBattery (UK) Ltd (except a new seal for the W-50U). The whole process was helped by the watch repair kit I’d randomly bought when it was on sale last year.

Ah… I can now press a few buttons and see the time zone line move from one city to another and recall the days when I used that feature.

Actor model

After hearing about the actor model from Simon Crosby talking about Akka as part of his work at, and then exploring Dapr when Mark Chmarny was at Microsoft I decided to take a deeper look. Oh boy is that Wikipedia article a tour de force of important computer science stuff for distributed systems (process calculus etc.).

I’ve been listening to

Along with my usual diet of the Sam Harris Podcast and the Farnam Street Knowledge Project, I’ve been catching up on a few interesting looking episodes of Behind the Tech with Kevin Scott, and also a few standalone episodes that came to my attention:

The latter two came about from a conversation with Ben Ford (@commandodev) following some discussion on Wardley Maps and Team Topologies. He recommended Jeff and David’s books, but I generally find that author podcasts can be much more efficient at getting to the key points.

Raspberry Pi Stuff

I’ve written in the past about booting from SSD, and we’re now starting to see boards like the Piunora that allow Compute Module 4 to work with NVMe SSDs. The performance improvement is measurable but not astonishing (10% rather than 10x) – so I won’t be rushing to buy new kit.

No Beating Beat Saber

My March Apple Fitness challenge was to walk or run 199.5km, so my VR exercise time got spent on extra walks :/ Max was happy :)

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