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126 Posts

Our mark, let's call her “E”, doesn't know that this is a surprise birthday dinner. Cake is in play. We keep the conversation light in…

Storms Isha and Jocelyn came to visit this week bringing high-speed gusts, a wave of train cancellations and the soothing wailing of wind…

Each detail has been meticulously planned, every minute accounted for. Nothing can go wrong. It will all be OK. But today is the big day…

In Zeno's paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, it's impossible for Achilles to catch-up with the Tortoise because the Tortoise is always…

New year, new feed. We welcome the new year outside surrounded by a cacophony of fireworks. It's freezing, but despite the temperature it…

Since pausing writing on holiday I hadn't made any time to write, but we're so back. There are now four weeks left until the year is done…

Finally on holiday! Writing this from the tiny desk in my tiny hotel room. I worked Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday which were quite intense…

Four weeknotes in one. They were written, but my publishing pipeline was stuck. I've fixed it now! Week 40 - is this week! Week 39 Week 3…

OKRs and micro-frontends this week, mostly. Met with all my teams to review their OKRs, and then later met with all the teams that IG…

One of my teams, Storytelling, ran a nice away-day - where everyone made it into London. I wasn't at the main event itself, but I was there…

Slack's new UI hits pretty different. Since it's rolling out slowly, being in multiple organisations is quite jarring as it impacts…

We're into the final planning cycle of the year, which is a particularly interesting one because it's also the planning cycle that feeds…

Highlights this week include watching the outcomes of a design-sprint, validating the core technical idea in my new project and watching…

This week was a short one. I spent Monday morning sitting in a cafe finishing the Agile Comms Handbook, my honest takeaway is that it's…

This week marked the first few planning sessions to enable micro-frontends, or extensions. I've been using the story mapping format to walk…

This week's big theme at work was architecture and planning for Extensible Frontends: I've arrived at what seems like a reasonable proposal…

After working at the FT for a long time, finally this week I made a change to the homepage. And then I made another one. Both worked out…

Highlight of this week was prepping and giving a presentation to kick-off some work I've been doing since June, the thing I've referred to…

This week marked the FT's first hackday in two years. The theme was AI and we had just over a day to try and build something interesting…

Another busy week, week 2 of midterms. But they're over now, for now. On Monday, in part to celebrate handing in my first two midterm…

Busy week. No video-games for Alex this week. Summarised a few months of design-work into a technical-design-doc this week, and circulated…

Huh, we're past the Summer Solstice. Tuesday morning I showed up bright and early at the radiology unit for a follow-up scan. I really wasn…

Two last days in one week, working absolute wonders for my separation anxiety. I tried blocking off time this week to focus on an area of…

On Monday I woke in Sofia and went to bed on Tuesday in London. Still reeling from that change. Said several hurried "Goodbyes" after…

Monday started early with a hectic call with Egencia and finished with me repeating history in 2019 by going straight from lunch at Côte St…

It's air-con season again baby. I've been context-switching like crazy between several things on my plate, while trying to make room for…

I last left you in a field. It was a nice field. I've been thinking about that field a lot. Got into the office quite early one morning…

The trouble with doing a long hike on Sunday and then immediately walking to work from Waterloo the following day is that you get massive…

Started porting a subset of a very old PHP+React project to NodeJS this week which was surprisingly fun. There's lots of wacky things you…

Short week, but I packed in tonnes, too much to write about really: We kicked off the thing I mentioned last week (although I haven't done…

Bank holiday week this week, marked by a Monday road-trip to Winchester Service Station to watch the cherry blossom. Since they were on…

Upward trajectory this week: Started out feeling fairly unenthused and ended in a much better place. There's power to figuring out what's…

Had a blast writing up how one of our systems (Magnet, for the interested) works. Went in knowing a lot about how two parts of it worked…

This was a short week, but it didn't feel like a short week. It really didn't feel like a short week. [This week's soundtrack is Running…

Week has flown by. Made some small tweaks to this site, reviewed a few technical documents and have started exploring how to do dynamic…

Celebrating 2 consecutive years of not being tricked on April fools day. Maybe it's a good thing that it fell on a weekend this time…

Started the week with a workshop introducing our new technology strategy to the tech-leads and senior engineers working on FT.com. After…

Loved that on budget day all I saw on various news channels was teacher & train strikes. Sums up the mood of the nation right now…

One of the trees outside my living room window went into bloom last month. This week it was covered with snow. I don't think this is how…

A small change I quietly released to ft.com last week has received such positive reception that people I wouldn't even expect to know about…

Reader, this week I've been navigating many teams, systems and process going through a procurement process. The process itself is actually…

There's a genuine spark of wonder that I've been feeling recently as I've been discovering and learning about the more obscure parts of the…

This week someone said "it's almost March". Mate. I've barely noticed it's not January any more. Not cool. The trouble with changing old…

First week all year not involving time in a hospital. Mixed feelings. Hopefully first of many. In a nice recovery milestone, during the…

This week I properly started on my next big assignment, which is to refine and improve how visual and data stories are produced. It's…

Reader, this week I learned why you never put a cannula in your dominant arm. You become hyper-aware of every movement you make. It's…

Iconic week. Real highlight was a team lunch on Monday, welcoming George to our team. I quietly made a real mess of some grilled king prawns…

Back at work this week, kinda. With difficulties in getting around by train, I've been working remotely from assorted Birmingham coffee…

Happy new year! Year of the Water Rabbit (after LNY) and hope. For the past few New Years celebrations I've been doing the science and…

Happy holidays folks! (メリークリ!) The stars aligned and I got to spend Christmas in Birmingham with family. After unpleasant surprises in…

Unceremoniously closing my laptop on Friday evening also closed my last day of work for the year. So begins the longest holiday in a while…

Good lord it's cold. In the FT.com tech strategy wrap-up (which Anna has written up) I spoke little bit about next year's work in extending…

December is here.  After the last two being two lockdown-driven letdowns, finding the holiday spirit is a bit more difficult, but I’m…

One of our more obscure systems had a relatively complex outage this week, and I'm left wondering why one might use stored procedures in…

As we approach December, the days are getting shorter and wetter. This was a particularly short week as I've started taking time off until…

I'm still doing ZOE tests. Monday was the roughest day, involving eating 5 specially crafted muffins. What's wrong with muffins? They…

How many Substack accounts do you have? Or rather, how many email addresses do you have? This is the story of how collecting a few of both…

November is here and the weather has taken a turn. Pumpkin spice lattes are over. This weekend I’ve been reading web standards in the rain…

Reader, I ventured back into the world this week after recovering from - something - I caught returning from Bulgaria. Turns out that travel…

Writing this from Sofia Airport, after a pretty intense working week. Lots of time catching up with colleagues new and old. I’m pretty wiped…

There's something quite magical about watching the sunrise from an airport lounge. It brings a kind-of existential clarity to your…

Working for a newspaper, it's impossible not to feel connected to the news. But with Skandal! on everybody's lips this week, that…

Reader, Autumn is here, marking the much-anticipated return of pumpkin spice. While writing I'm drinking my first (and maybe last) latte…

It’s hard to say how long it’s been now. We lost the South Bank of the Thames to The Queue on Wednesday. Thursday we had The Queue contained…

A lot has happened in the UK this week - we have a new prime minister, a new king - and - the queen passed away during the week. The new…

Reader, this week I’ve been engaged in battle with my bathroom sink: On the verge of calling in reinforcements (a plumber) I had a mild…

This week I won at Calendar-Tetris, which is to say that I sat in a near-solid block of gatherings from Monday through to Friday. It hasn’t…

Reader I have a confession: While I’ve referenced it plenty in the past, it’s only very recently that I started consciously…

Writing these from my “balcony”. It isn’t big enough for a chair so I’m leaning against a wall and pretending that passing cars can’t see me…

This week at work felt quite heavy in terms of operational activities - it flew by and I had only really made progress in one discrete area…

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, even if disappointingly it turns out that there’s no such magical number. Still, this post marks…

It’s been rather hot this week and for lack of air conditioning at home, I’ve been eating lots of spicy food – and espresso soft-serve — to…

With record high temperatures in the UK, I regret moving to a place with such good insulation. Winter was wonderful and the heating stayed…

Last week I was preoccupied with SGDQ so didn’t write anything — this week was genuinely exhausting in a nice way. SGDQ was tonnes of fun…

This week was my first time back to Sofia since repatriating and after relearning the art of crossing roads, it was brilliant seeing how…

Recently I was lucky enough to attend LeadingEng London, here’s what I learned. LeadingEng is a new conference aimed at VP/Director/CTO…

Hi reader! Gosh it’s been warm this week, and the pollen (in London, at least) has been going haywire. I started taking antihistamines…

During the week I was lucky enough to go to both LeadDev & LeadingEng conferences. Huge thank-you to Euan & Anna respectively for the…

Slowly getting back to normal this week, just in time to remember that over the past few years I’ve been developing hay-fever. No running…

Week two of Covid: Last Saturday was the peak of my symptoms, and one long week later, I'm feeling somewhere between 93-96%. Every day Oura…

Writing from my sofa in PJs: This week started out okay, and then I came down with Covid-19. So now my life is rewatching Breaking Bad…

I’m still running. Somehow I’m trapped inside a rare virtuous cycle and reader - I am here for it. This week I drew out two circuits: One…

With Friday marking my birthday & several days off work, I went to Birmingham for the first time since last summer. And walked, ate & drank…

Tried two slightly novel things this week: Not following a schedule for going to the office, and, insisting on cooking at home. On Thursday…

I didn’t do anything for lent this year. But the four day long weekend is worth celebrating in its own right. Why don’t we have more of…

This weekend I was supposed to be in Lisbon (for Sónar & Pastéis de Nata) — unfortunately fate had other plans. Perhaps I’m biased but right…

With a few coursework deadlines this week, last week I skipped both journalling & writing weeknotes. Two weeks flew by! 😬 On Monday I took…

Brighter, warmer weather this week has been a blessing after hunkering down inside for finals last week. With Covid-related absence in my…

As of this week we’re in finals season, so during the week I sat two maths exams remotely. How do remote exams work? There’s two parts…

We’re now in March, and spring is upon us. With the backdrop of war in Ukraine & exploring efforts to help, now feels like another time to…

The invasion of Ukraine this week has me feeling sick to my stomach - occasionally complemented by anger or tears. Separately there were…

Hah, it's 2022-02-20. If there's anything I learned from Imgur in the past, is that numbers like this are significant because, like, it has…

Brief spells of rain punctuate slightly longer days — seemingly timed to coincide with whenever I step outside. Over the years I’ve come to…

January’s nearly over. That crept up quickly. A lot of my spare time this month went towards ... mid-terms and recovering from mid-terms…

It feels like only yesterday we were celebrating the end of 2020, a year which frankly defied expectations. For many, we saw a light at the…

The last working week of the year and I'm not sure where it went. I've started writing a proper introspective post about the year. On Friday…

Ah yes, December. Thankfully nobody has played Last Christmas by Wham yet. Yet. This whole Log4j thing is a bit of a mess isn't it? Happy…

This week saw the 2021 edition of the FT's internal conference, EngineRoom... Kara gave an exceptional introduction into modular synthesis…

Reader, we're six weeks away from the end of 2021. How did that happen? It was March 2020 not that long ago. At work I feel like my team…

This week felt somehow extra-significant? In incredibly exciting news: My team shipped a new product! FT Expert Series. It's a brand new…

Last week Nick helped me move my standing desk from Whitechapel, which was quite the adventure across London. ... and this week I got a…

After, 19 years since the previous game, Metroid Dread released this weekend and I'm not kidding when I say that this is a major milestone…

Reader, honestly, this week, it's been a little bit rough? Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about technical documentation this week: Granted…

These can be only sort-of weekly, right? Moving This week & weekend I moved home. Sort-of. I now live in Putney. It's rather sunny here…

I am writing weeknotes once more. Gosh it's been a little while. There is much we must discuss, dear reader! But all in good time. Please…

There's a tonne of buzz around graphQL right now and it seems like virtually every platform is getting some kind of support for it…

First, some background: Github Pages is a brilliant way to build static websites quickly and easily. However it is quite limited as it only…

Over the years we have introduced ever-more creative ways to run our software. Hand-crafted servers became configuration managed. Then VMs…

After getting a decent amount of positive, useful feedback while going through a number of recruitment processes, I was keen to take the…

The FT is moving back to Bracken House soon. Most of my group had our inductions this week. It's very, very nice. During our induction an…

March has been a blur. At the beginning of the month I was away adventuring in Hong Kong, and as I write this, I am in London about to begin…

It’s been a busy few weeks. But I think, overall, worthwhile. I will have some exciting news to share next week! Two weeks ago I went to…

Gotcha. Sorry, no, this isn’t the song by Skrillex. These are the first weeknotes I’ve published of 2019, hopefully soon to be followed by…

Monday night I flew back to the UK. The difference between the efficiency and cleanliness of Haneda airport and Heathrow is already very…

This week has been one of battling through extremely severe jet-lag. My brain has been like jello. What’s most frustrating is the research…

Prodominantly this week I was preparing for a business trip to Tokyo, which due to friendly entry requirements has always been an incredibly…

This week has had a strong theme of self-reflection, off of the back of researching and forward-planning for one project, and running a team…

Today I have released an infrastructure automation tool, called DNSSync, for idempotently managing the state of DNS records. This is by no…

Predominantly this week I’ve been working to reverse engineer, document and test a subscription system. What should have been a simple…

Going to give publishing weeknotes a try. Weeknotes are something that have been quietly popping up, and they’re essentially a journal-style…

Of all of the services Amazon Web Services pushes, S3 (Simple Storage Service) is maybe the most versatile and well-known: It “just works…

Years in the works, in December Amazon beat both Google and Microsoft to introducing support for IPv6 networking to their compute offering…

Today I set a new personal record: Ten full production deployments in a single day. All on a Friday afternoon, and at the end of it all I'm…

Update: October 28th 2018 When I talk about scalability here, it's a wider focus than avoiding hard bottlenecks in the form of networks. It…

Like many others in the industry, when it comes to my own personal website I am incredibly lazy. Sure, it's the first thing people see when…

CloudFlare is a wonderful thing. An excellent DNS provider coupled with a hosted "intelligent" caching reverse proxy? Sign me up! Moreover…

© Alex Wilson 2024