Weeknote 2020-43

Time flies again! So what's been going on in the last week and a bit?


Lots of Choirless stuff this week. I was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol on Sunday morning. It was great fun, but alas with only 5 minutes could only cover a small fraction of all the great stuff going on. They did play a snippet of the pupils from my daughter's school singing though. So that was awesome, as it means Choirless has come full circle from and idea inspired by her to a real thing being broadcast on the radio.

I've been trying to get back into doing some more development on it, but kept getting distracted by all the attention it is getting. Every day we get 3-4 emails from people wanting to join. Every single email tells a story. I would love to be able to find a suitable way to publish them all as they encapsulate so much what we have been doing. Here is an example:

This sounds amazing! I'm a Bristol-based Musical Director and lockdown has been immensely frustrating to say the least. I worry that my orchestra and choirs could disappear completely if we have to use Zoom for much longer.

I'm talking to a number of parts of IBM marketing who are hopefully going to be able to use Choirless for the basis of some videos. Likely focussed on the developer side of making Choirless, but also in discussions about getting a band to do a performance with it and record it all from start to finish in real-time. So, stay tuned!

DEG Book Club

A colleague has started a the DEG (Developer Experience Group – the business unit I'm in) book club. The first book we are going through together is The Developers Guide to Content Creation by Stephanie Morrilo. So far we've only gone through the first couple of chapters, and I've got some exercises to do. But I have to say, so far, I've found the book excellent. If you are a blogger or technical writer it is well worth it.


OK, so this a a silly thing. A colleague of mine wrote a typo when talking about a conference, writing: “...loved the whole experience as well as how their advocates connect with you while screaming too”. [she meant 'streaming']

...so I'm now the proud owner of the domain name screamfest.com. And I'm going to do it. I'm serious. I'm going to pick a date and organise a 1-day conference in which everyone just screams. No mute. Just screaming. There will be a CfS (Call for Screams) in which people will be able to submit their proposals for screams. Each session will be 5 minutes long. But so far we've had ideas like:

I'm thinking this could be a charity event. Maybe we'll sell tickets for £5 a ticket with proceeds going to charity. Not sure what charity, anyone got any suggestions?

We will need a keynote screamer. I did check to see if the original Wilhelm Scream guy Sheb Wooley was still alive, but alas not. Someone has suggested Jamie Lee Curtis. Or maybe we could get the Finnish Screaming Men's Choir. And stress test Choirless at the same time.


I mentioned before about wanting to get a mechanical keyboard, and get my working environment sorted out a bit. Well I was inspired by a post by another developer advocate, Cassie, who made a pipe-mount on her desk for lights and monitors, etc. I have been making up some lights for it:

These lights are to replace the large softboxes on floor stands I currently use. They are my DIY version of something like the Elgato Keylights.

I've bought the pipe and fittings to make my own frame for my desk, and they've turned up and I dry-fitted it:

They pipes are 34mm (1” nominal) pipes and fittings from a place online called Keyclamp Store. These fitting are usually used to make handrails and climbing frames and the likes. The pipe is slightly overkill for the weight it will be taking, but at least it won't wobble, and also it is the same diameter as the poles used in multi-monitor stand arms. So my existing monitor arm can be fitted to it.

The light panels I made will fit to the top of it, I'm just waiting on some clamps to arrive to attach them, and also some threaded wood inserts and bolts to bolt it to the wooden desk surface. The desk is a motorized sit/stand desk and the idea is that I will be able to easily move between sitting and standing and my lights, camera, etc all move with the desk as well and stay in the same position relative to my face.

I am trying to decide if to keep the raw industrial look of the plain steel, or whether to paint it, and if so what colour?

Streams / Workshops

I'm a bit behind in writing up and publishing the recordings of the Twitch streams I've been doing. But last week's stream on object detection using YOLO (You Only Look Once) worked out really well, so I hope to get that published soon.

Tomorrow I'll be doing a stream on using IBM Watson Text to Speech conversion, to start creating a site that can convert an RSS feed of blog posts into a podcast feed of audio. You can join me on the IBM Developer Twitch channel at 2pm UK time.

Take care!