What I’m Doing Now

Updated 20th May 2024 from Nontron, France

  • Home: Spring time, although this year it feels more like a return to autumn in many ways – the weather has been very cold and wet, with occasional guest appearances of a bright sunny day, just to remind us what we expected. Never mind – if it delays being eaten to death by insects a little, that’s a little ray of sunshine in its own right. The push recently has been to try to clear the junk (or maybe not all junk) that has overtaken the sous sol and a big spare bedroom upstairs (and to some extent the outside garage). We’re working our way through each weekend with a help of Phil, a local handyman who is a ray of sunshine in his own right and has helped not just physically but psychologically. It hasn’t been easy. The chap who came to clean the boiler had his vacuum cleaner on blow rather than suck, so every square inch of the sous sol – surfaces, furniture, walls – everything, and all the junk, and everything neatly put in boxes, now has an almost invisible layer of greasy soot. We did manage to get a couple of hours cleaning out of the responsible company, but otherwise they have been avoiding our calls, so it’s been down to us, and our cleaner Carol who has given various bits a couple more goes over in main areas – the stuff is persistent. Pat will be going back in to hospital in June to have her second hip done – at least we have an idea of what to expect now – convalescence booked as it made a huge difference last time. Oh and we have a new cat, Solly – now about a year old who is just a gorgeously friendly personality. And a scamp!
  • Work: I’ve been doing work with a company I worked with some years ago to help bring the UK brand Wilko onto SAP Commerce when Oracle pulled the rug from under their feet with their previous platform.I was on the Wilko side, bringing the consultancy in (was Tacit Knowledge – now part of Grid Dynamics), knowing their excellent reputation in the hybris community. Now I’m working with Grid Dynamics – ostensibly to help bring Wilko into the CDS (The Range) fold when Wilko sadly went into administration and help them work out a roadmap from the accelerator. Still, at least it’s more of a Phoenix rising from the ashes story rather than a Woolworths ‘bye – nice knowing you’ story. Their CEO has a talent for spotting good synergistic opportunities. It gave me the opportunity to establish a proper SARL business in France and feel like I can be properly settled here, as Grid are used to working from people from all over Europe and different parts of the world, so remote working not the problem it might otherwise be. I seem to have retreated over the winter, going to social things less than before. Hopefully start reversing that.
  • Fiction: That died a death. I haven’t been writing for some time. I think because there are so many conflicting priorities, and writing, despite my love for it when I was young, just doesn’t seem to factor like it did. I don’t know why. It’s just not for right now, despite having several nearly finished manuscripts. I think when I come back to them, I realise how much revision they will need, and it’s just too intimidating.
  • Non-Fiction: Nothing. Nada. Other than writing an article in collaboration with Alokai (previously Vue Storefront) on composable architecture with SAP Commerce as the ‘subject matter expert’ which always gives me feel a bit of a fake, because I know loads of people who know both sides of the subject deeper than I do. But I guess I do have the historical context as well, having worked with SAP Commerce (and for them for a little while) for over a decade now.
  • Open Source: I created an Apple Notes backup / conversion tool. It was fun to do and got me used to writing stuff in Python and hooking it up to AppleScript and batch scripts. It works – it could do more, but it’ll do for the moment. I also created something called ‘Chatblox‘ which I haven’t done much with yet – I have a ridiculous roadmap for this one, and it actually looks like it has the potential to pull together various other projects I’ve been working on – and my inevitable interest in LLMs I’ve had over the last 18 month or so. The Open Source tools in this area are just maturing enough for me to get interested in utilising them now that they can combine Agents and a Memory architecture. I created a Flutter-based Kanban app that I plan to use in place of Trello eventually for the ‘Stream’ architecture. It’s not released yet, but is useable. I actually think that the nature of the Trello-based Stream tool is such that I could hook it up to this Kanban app as well. And I have a feeling I could combine it with Chatblox as one of its first plugin applications.
  • Closed Source: The Trello-based personal management tool I am continuing to use. I put it on hold for a while, but have come back to it more recently, tidying it up and trying to get it to a state where other people might be able to use it. Either Open or Closed source – I haven’t quite decided yet. Either way, I’m prepping it so it will work as a Chatblox plugin for my own use, and so it could be open sourced if I wanted. But its organic nature of a bunch of loosely coupled scripts has meant there’s quite a lot of tidying up to do. It’ll need its own plugin system at some point – I have one for the Kanban app so I think I’ll be utilising that. Or maybe Move the plugin system to Chatblox. It’s all a bit up-in-the-air right now.
  • Personal: Having given away my musical instruments a few years back, I now regret this hugely. So I’ve bought some cheap ones, and have signed myself up to Yousician, and have started keyboard and guitar skills, and a little bit of penny whistle. It’s nice just to be able to doodle a bit again when I want to – makes a difference. Also, how fat have I got recently? Very! Need to do something with that. Has just got out of hand over the last six months. I’m doing a bit of work on Stream to help me more easily track health related items through its journaling – I’ve just cleaned up the tracker as that had stopped working – now to include targeted tracking for health. I tried this once before and it got too complicated, but it gave me some insight into how to do this more effectively. I have used MyFitnessPal before but it just doesn’t integrate well enough to use it – if it had an API, great but I think I need to go open source on this one.
  • Web Site: Nothing much. I’ve created a few pages around the open source projects and just udpated this now page, but nothing much else.