/ notes
A collection of thoughts, things I've learnt and things I want to remember

Weeknote #6

  • url: /notes/weeknote/weeknote-23012023/ created: 2023/01/23 updated: 2023/01/30

It has been a funny old week. I’ve spoken to a lot of potential clients but for one reason or another not quite got things over the line.

Luckily, for now, I’m still helping CDPS out with the learnbymaking labs so there’s no need to panic yet but it would be nice to get something secured.

Saying that, it hasn’t all been contract hunting this week and I have made progress in a few areas.

What I’ve published

⌨️ Last week I sorted out by hosting it on GitHub pages. Well, that is the second time in the last 6 months I’ve used a custom domain with GitHub pages. The docs are great but detailed so I wrote a short blog post about the steps I take to use custom domains with GitHub sites

🥳 I also turned the tweet embed markdown extension I made last week into a python package (markdowntweetembed). On pypi. It is the first package I’ve ever published.

🔨 I fixed a few things on my site this week - so I was thankfully I did that work back in October to make it (a bit) easier. One thing I tweaked was the favicon so that it had an alpha channel. The notes I made came in handy (how to favicon)!

Cleaning up

I’m in the habit of opening loads of tabs, liking loads of tweets and subscribing to lots of newsletters. I do it with the good intention of consuming loads of knowledge bombs and learning loads. However, finding stuff I should be reading is the easy bit. Actually reading it is the hard bit and rarely happens. It has all become a bit overwhelming and unhelpful so, in 2023 I’ve promised to be (a bit) better at this.

That started this week - I deleted a tonne of emails and removed a few liked tweets whilst capturing notes and links in Notion or my own TIL notes.

Reflecting on data as …

I’ve been doing a bit of reflecting on recent projects. In particular the Digital Land and WRA data platform projects.

I was thinking about how important these projects are and how I see them as a key part of the next phase of the digital transformation of public services.

Building on sound, reliable and trustworthy data is essential for policymakers and innovators alike.

During those projects we regularly used the term Data as Infrastructure - with infrastructure being the structures, institutions, facilities and networks needed for the operation of society and the economy. We were enabling data, in particular, accurate reference data to support the next iteration of services.

As useful as that phrase is, I always felt, when interpreted, it missed something about the service needed around the data. To be as useful as possible these data platforms need to be more than a repository of data with an API. Then, this week I stumbled across a post on the Public Digital blog about data as a service. And, it is all about moving passed “open government data inventories and portals.”

Data as a service nicely encapsulates what needs to happen next to all these good efforts at opening up data. The case for good, open data is won (or being won) so the next iteration should be more about the service-ification of data and these platforms. It makes me want to give it another go and be bolder talking about the service around the platform.

If you find yourself still trying to win the argument for open data then the Chief digital officer for London shared a post highlighting 13 data services supported by the London Datastore. It is a useful summary of why open, accessible data is so important. And it has examples of private and public use. Need facts and figures? Well, it includes some details on cost savings and the overall value of doing this sort of thing (e.g. £130m to London economy in 2018 due to TFL’s provision of open data).

What I’ve learnt this week

Monzo might turn a profit in 2023. I hope it does, I like what Monzo has done to the banking sector. Just think how improved the banking apps we use today are. A lot of that is down to Monzo, Starling and the like.

5G is less talked about because it is entering the next phase. More people have access to it (esp in the states) now it’s down to companies to make use of it (and wow us again).

Twitter’s success was built on the ideas and hard work of the developers and entrepreneurs they enabled. Hopefully, they remember that.

Really interesting interview with Audrey Tang - digital minister in Taiwan. They talk democracy, education, Ukraine, Cyber warfare and more. There is loads of fascinating comments in there but I was intrigue by the comments about recalibrating education in a digital and AI world to be more about co-creation rather than consumption (and memorising).

Also, good quote about the use of technology by states.

democracies use digital technologies to make the state transparent for its people, while autocracies use technology to make people transparent for the state