Weeknote 20th Jan 2023 – A new Mac, workshopping and the theatre

I’m late on this, but wanted to get it written and not get into the bad habit of skipping these notes! My lateness was a combination of getting delivery of a new laptop at the end of the day on Friday and going to some friends for dinner after getting distracted playing with it.

Apple just announced the M2 Macbook Pros, which meant they dropped the price of the refurbished M1 models I had been looking at to a level I couldn’t say no to. The M1 Pro laptop I’ve now got is about 50% more powerful on benchmarks than my existing desktop.

Now that power is available I thought it was time to go back to a laptop. I end up spending most of my days sat at my desk in our spare room/office, and I wanted to not have to sit at that desk to work on my music and other side projects. I also wanted to move back to Apple hardware, as running Mac OS on PC parts has a limited time left with the transition away from Intel. That and while I used to enjoy tinkering I’m sick of spending so much time messing with my main machine just to do updates and get things working as they should.

In other news, last week was lots of desk work and planning. I’ve got a few rounds of usability testing on their way and I was working on making sense of the research ideation workshop I ran the week before.

I ran a follow up on a feature that the previous workshopping identified as needing more research. I was really pleased with how this went. We were able to really dig into what the needs are in terms of growing our understanding, balance them with quite a few practical constraints, and define the actions we need to get to. I managed quite a switch up from discursive idea storming to analysis to agreeing actions. Occasionally I find some work I do really smacks me round the face with how much I have learned over the years in my work, and this workshop was one of those times.

We’ve got some new ways of testing coming up. This includes testing different options for features with a user in the same session, and testing with our production code at scale for the first time. So some time was spent with my design and engineering colleagues working out how this is going to run logistically and writing discussion guides for the sessions.

This week I’m focusing on running the first round of those sessions. Lots of interactive sessions with users. I like those kinds of weeks a lot. Feels like a comfortably busy week. Then we are off the the National Theatre on Friday to see a play based in a tapas restaurant in Walthamstow just around the corner from where we used to live. My partner’s brother is also working on lighting in the NT at the moment so we’re hoping to sneak in a back stage tour… I’m regularly astounded by the state of the art in theatre sets, lighting and effects so looking forward to that, although I think the play we’re seeing might be more low key in that sense.


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