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Blog posts tagged as 'weeknotes'

Week 370

It’s week 370. The eye of the storm. We have a week with fewer deadlines than we’ve become used to, but we can see more on the horizon. An opportunity to perhaps prepare and regroup, but also to attack the things that are important, have been at the back of our minds, but aren’t directly deadline driven. This is good. Structural plussing.

Most of our client work seems to be in this middle stage, phases have ended, time to think about the next phase for each. Thoughts, proposals, flights, meetings and workshops.

This is also where Little Printer is. In this post-hackday world we are now in, we are buoyed by the relief that the fundamentals have worked, and the beauty of the things made. Our foundations have been proved, and we can continue building upwards. Phew and wahoo!

In celebration, we have been getting deep into re-working a lot of BERG Cloud’s internals, rethinking how every component works, and how they work together with the new knowledge we have from the last year of work.

There is also the online shop being built, hardware moving around the world, being tested and debugged, printers primed, plastics perfected and finances prepared.

Regroup, prepare and onwards.

Week 369

3, 6, 9
The goose drank wine
The monkey chew tobacco on the streetcar line
The line broke, the monkey got choked
And they all went to heaven in a little rowboat


Aside from all that, week 369 is shaping up nicely. We’ve almost got a full house and we’ve just about recovered from a very productive Hack Day at the weekend.

Like everyone this week, I’m pretty busy, so here’s a lightning fast tour round the studio in the time it takes a kettle to boil:

Helen is knee deep in VAT returns, travel planning and finance.

Joe is working with Eddie on Lamotte, video prototyping, gesticulating wildly, and looking forward to presenting a finished piece of work on Friday.

Alex is dealing with print. He’s getting samples and talking to suppliers about things for Little Printer, while also working with Timo, who’s in the UK for a few days. Together they’re working on the photography for the updated BERG Cloud site, and it’s going to look rather nice. Timo is also working on a proposal document, and generally catching up with what’s been going on in his absence.

James is refactoring. Anything, everything. If you put it down for long enough, he’ll refactor it. This is a good thing.

Nick is looking at database models, and processing some of the excellent feedback from Hack Day. (And Alice, is taking a few days off after doing brilliant job of organising it.)

Andy is working on more CAD models and taking care of the larger Little Printer supply chain. He’s juggling about 10 things at once, but still managing to do it with a smile. This could be due to the fact there are biscuits left over from Hack Day.

Vanessa is busy writing documentation, and Simon is keeping everyone under control, juggling projects both present and future.

Matt W is working with Helen on some of the financial aspects of the business, dealing with client contracts and looking at some of the internal BERG processes, with Matt Jones and Jack

Matt Jones is working with Jack and I on Ouray, and like Joe and Eddie, we’re also aiming for a finished piece of work for Friday.

Which means I’d better get on with it.

Week 368

OK, so I’m still relatively new to week notes (and all this number stuff), so, unlike other folk in the studio, I find the number thing quite interesting, which, is rather annoying, as 368 is bit rubbish. That said, it is a song by Jamie T and a bus route that goes past my old hangout in Chadwell Heath. Do with that what you will.

This week in the studio, things are hotting up. Somewhat because Alice is in shorts, but mainly due to the impending launch of Little Printer, and a whole host of other exciting projects. This is what we’re all up to:

Alice is finishing phase one of our shop which is looking lovely, and more importantly, works. She is also spending time prepping for Saturday’s ‘practice hack day’ which looks to be lots of fun.

Nick is dealing with some firmware and coding, and working with Andy to finish tweaking boards. Andy is also ‘looking at plastics’. I imagine this means he’s at the checkout at Tesco watching people struggle to open the bags, but there’s no way he’d be watching the bags and not eating the food, so one can presume it is to do with Little Printer.

Simon continues to watch over everyone’s activities, ensuring things run smoothly whilst helping Jack finish an epic Silverton proposal. He is also shaping Phase II of Sinawava and reading through lots of legal stuff.

Matt Jones is back in the studio and reacclimatising to life outside a yurt . Conversation on Monday was particularly difficult but now he’s back in the swing of things and using this period of adjustment to get down to writing ‘proposals and things’.

Jack is here, there and everywhere. Where is he? No one knows. We do know however that he is making an important decision today. He is also doing a little bit on Ouray, helping Matt Jones ‘back into the dough like a fine yeast’ and taking some time out with Matt Webb to discuss BERG plans.

Apart from chats with Jack, Matt Webb is out and about at various talks / meetings, and is hoping to spend what little free time he has running through some company admin.

James is refactoring server database structures amongst other things, which, makes a lot of sense if you know what’s going on, but is too complex for me to explain in week notes.

As is the way of Denise, she is being a helper and a guider, and doing a little bit of lots of things, most notably helping Alex with Little Printer stuff and continuing her super cute work on Ouray.

Alex is continuing his Little Printer marathon this week by arranging photoshoots, working on instruction manuals, sticky labels, and an array of UI bits.

Aside from the regulars, we have the continued pleasure of Eddie Shannon and Phil Gyford’s company, with them working on Lamotte and Antero respectively. Eddie has been whittling down a mass of exciting concepts to around 10/11 ‘super solid ones’, aided by Joe who is also doing some video prototyping. Phil is being his usual fantastic self and ‘glueing together stuff from last week’.

I am elbow deep in spreadsheets, working on budgets and end of month/year things. I am also helping Alice with the weekend’s activities and writing week notes on Tuesday. 

Week 367

Under normal circumstances, weeknotes are written up promptly, at the point where we’re poised and ready to throw ourselves enthusiastically into the work at hand. Sometimes there’s so much underbrush to hack your way through that you end up giving a more retrospective view, and right now the studio has that “jungle” feel.

Matt Webb has been touring the globe with Little Printer, giving people a glimpse of the near-final product.

Joe arrived back triumphant in the office after an extremely well recieved presentation of his recent labours on Sinewava. Although I can’t go into specifics, the work is beautiful and inspiring, and embodies exactly what BERG is about. We’re incredibly proud of the whole team that were involved.

Joe is also working with Eddy on the early design phase of work on Lamotte, and next week will see the first designs being built out into working prototypes.

James has been working on our machinery that brings Little Printer to life, refactoring old code and sketching in new connections. Alice is applying her considerable talent to intricate HTML templating work, bespoke code designed to wow audiences shown LP, and organising our developer “materiel”. Alex is working on various aspects of the ever-so-soon-now launch, in addition to the content that MW has been touring with.

Denise and Alex were busy designing and preparing the content of Matt’s demos and other Little Printer artifacts that are part of the Out Of Box Experience.

Andy and I have been down in amongst the wires, oscilloscopes and bench power supplies in order to conquer invisible gremlins that are manifesting in our circuit boards. Andy also returned from his trip to China last week bearing strange exotic foods, and a beautiful set of injection mouldings that capture how the molten plastic flows inside its steel cavity.

Jack, Vanessa and Simon are all working on bringing in fresh work to the studio, and beyond that I can’t add much until the potential becomes more definite.

Phil Gyford and James King are currently in our studio, working on Antero, and have linked to form a Design Voltron of epic proportions. It’s in the early stages of development, but they will be showing off their work at our Friday Demos gathering, and I can’t wait to see how it’s taking shape.

Lastly but not least, Matt Jones is currently off the grid, having a very well deserved break from all his recent efforts.

Week 366

Every time we do our all hands I try and rush us past the bit where we talk about the significance of the number associated with the week. Personally I find it boring. You can all go look at the Wikipedia page for 366 if you like, but since I am in the driving seat this week and I’m feeling scrappy, I’m not going to tell you anything about it.

This week sees the start of a new project, Antero. We have pulled in two superstars to help with it, James King and Phil Gyford. Phil is the reason I have a “Phil 4-eva” sticker on my laptop, I’m very excited to have the BRIG crossword team back together. James, I would say, is in my top 5 all time favourite Jameses. He is surprisingly tall, but has the approachability of a regular height person.

This week Simon is managing the certification for Little Printer, lots of pulling together of technical documents for submission to the Department of Safety First (I made that name up). He is also running planning meetings and chasing parts of the Little Printer component supply chain that are moving a little slowly for our liking.

Nick, CTO to the stars, has been at the front line of weird antenna problems, right down there in the hex dumps with Phil mining for bugs and frying them with his tremendous brain. It’s tough work and I feel for them, but they seem to have found a fix for last week’s problems and came in this week with the gusto of people who know they’re unstoppable.

James King is doing sketching on Antero. I don’t know if anyone has told him about Friday Demos yet, but I am hoping to see some of his work then. He is currently sat in Matt Jones’ chair whilst Jones takes a well earned holiday.

Alex is finishing some graphics for the Bridge. He’s waiting for some new sneakers in the post that he stayed up until midnight to order, I’m quite excited about seeing them. This week he is also helping me with the shop, cutting up assets for me to drop in to various parts of Shopify.

I am writing week notes. HIYAAA! Also chipping away at the shop from which you will be able to buy Little Printer, and putting the documentation for the Publications API in to a sensible and beautiful format.

Helen is doing ‘P11D’ forms. I have no idea what those are. I could google it, but I’m actually not sure it would aid my understanding. She is also putting together the annual return and, ominously, “making sure money comes in on time”.

Denise is working on Ouray. I can see her screen from my desk, there is some extreme cuteness going on for this project. She is also keeping her hand in Little Printer work, slinging out assets like a boss.

James Darling is working on what he describes as “either too secret or too obscure” for week notes.

Joe is wrapping up Sinawava and getting a haircut. Shepherding all the pieces of a project that started in the week I last wrote week notes is no mean feat.

Eddie Shannon continues to work with us on research for Lamotte. He was out last week, but now he’s back and aggressively making tea for everyone in the studio.

Jack is working with Denise on Ouray, watching over the finer points of Little Printer design, and sketching on Vallecito.

Absent form the studio this week are Matt Jones, Matt Webb and Andy. Jones is in a yurt (we think). Webb is in California for Foocamp and a holiday. Andy is in Shenzen visiting the factories making the Little Printer / Bridge casing. He’s also possibly eaten chicken feet.

Week 365

With the Diamond Jubilee festivities on Monday and Tuesday of this week, it’s a short week here in the studio. Double-concentrated!

Matt Jones is about to go on a well-earned holiday and has been rounding off work on Sinawava with Joe, as well as overseeing the beginning of a couple of new Uinta projects Ouray and Lamotte (part 2).

Matt Webb is also away next week and is taking Little Printer away on a short roadtrip.

Jack has split his time between writing up a new proposal for Silverton and work on Ouray. Last week he made a chocolate and avocado cake which was outstanding and I secretly hope another materialises in the studio soon.

Vanessa is working on a couple of proposals for potential upcoming projects.

Denise has been working on Ouray and continuing with Little Printer publications.

Andy has been managing the detailed production of electronics and is about to go and oversee the very final modifications to our Little Printer housings and dealing with the final parts of the puzzle – assembly, which is edging nearer.

James is working on Little Printer publication deliveries and configuration, adding some slightly more advanced functionality here.

Alice continues to do a sterling job building the shop with help from Alex, who having expertly managed the production design and delivery is now turning his keen eye to some of the finer details of design work of Little Printer, in-package and beyond.

Joe has been overseeing the last stages of Sinawava and beginning Lamotte with Eddie.

Nick and Phil have been closing down last bits of low-level code to do with our Bridge, including tweaking the user experience and fixing a couple of low-level issues.

Helen has been helping get new projects up and running, managing the financials around other projects ending, arranging travel and generally excelling at a host of other things which keep everything running smoothly.

Week 364

In 364 BC Chinese astronomer Gan De is reported to have spotted the largest moon in the Solar System, orbiting Jupiter. Almost two millennia later, German astronomer, Simon Marius, published ‘Mundus Iovialis’ in which he named the moon Ganymede. Marius took the name from a Greek myth in which a beautiful Trojan youth called Ganymede was carried off by Zeus to be the cupbearer for the Olympic gods. The people of Greece built a temple to honour Zeus in Olympia, said to be the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games. These games have survived in one form or another to this very day. This year, the site of the Olympic Stadium is Stratford, only 4.5 miles from the BERG studio. It is the 364th week since BERG’s original inception and now …

Matt Webb and Matt Jones are running three days of product invention workshops in a tiny room at the far end of the studio. Through a glass window I can see lots of Post It notes on walls and sketches on whiteboards, looks intriguing.

Vanessa is working on a string of project proposals and settling into studio life.

James Darling is ensuring that the LP infrastructure is robust enough scale and carrying out performance tests.

Denise was away on holiday and is now back, working on publications for Little Printer.

Alex is designing the Little Printer Shop. We’ve just seen the packaging that he worked on with Burgopak and it looks lovely!

Helen is working on progress reports and ensures that the everything keeps ticking along.

Simon, also away now back, is working on resourcing, planning and the next phase of a project for Uinta.

Alice is implementing Alex’s designs for the shop.

Andy is pushing on, elbow deep in electronic components and technical schema.

Nick is carrying out bridge board testing procedures while going very ‘low level’ on something to do with pins and electricity.

I wonder what Gan De would have made of it all.

Week 363

Week 363 or CCLXIII as the Romans would have noted it. The year 363 only became 363 after the introduction of Anno Domini in year 525, which was not widely used in Europe until the middle ages, so year 363 was not then what it is now! The number 363 is the sum of nine consecutive primes (23+29+31+37+41+43+47+53+59) and any subset of 363 is divisible by 3.

As this is my first weeknotes, I’ll introduce myself: I’m Vanessa. I’ve been working with BERG since March, so I’m the newest member of the team and still learning lots. I’m responsible for Business Development.

This week has seen the hottest day of the year so far at a sunny 27 degrees – summer has finally made an appearance. With such a jump in temperatures, we’ve all been melting in the studio as the sun pours through the skylights. But we’re not complaining…sunshine is always welcome!

Sinawava were in the studio this week for the last review before the final few weeks of the project. Joe has been working on this – and on CAD models and technical experiments with Luckybite along with preparing to set up the packaging designers and model makers for the next phase of the project.

Nick and Andy have been to Slovenia and have arrived back with gifts of Slovenian chorizo-type sausage once again. They’ve been testing prototypes and tiny components for Little Printer: tiny enough to inhale…apparently.

Alice has been working on the Miniseries platform for Little Printer and supplying us with very welcome ice-pops and iced-coffees to keep us cool.

James, who I haven’t seen yet this week, has been doing lots and lots of bits for Little Printer in Codebase and working a special demo for Matt Webb show off.

Little Printer has also been the main focus for both Denise and Alex. Denise has been working on publications and Alex has been working on wireframes and visuals for the shop.

Matt Webb has been busy with a number of sales meetings with some prospective new clients and meeting with Sinawava on Wednesday. He’s also been in meetings with the lawyers and been on a flip-flop buying mission.

Matt Jones has had a mostly sales-focused week apart from Wednesday with Sinawava visiting the studio. He was supposed to have Friday off but has turned into more of a work-from-home day instead of time off.

Jack has been working on sales, Sinawava and…the next BERG cloud product!

Simon is still away in sunny California and definitely missed, so we’ll be delighted to have him back in the studio next week when we can breath a sigh of relief!

I have been writing proposals for a number of really exciting new projects involving weird existing technologies. I’ve also been drafting phase 2 for an existing client, so the next few months should see some more really interesting projects in the studio.

Week 362

362 is 2 × 181, a Mertens function returns 0, and it’s both nontotient and noncototient. The 362 bus in London goes from Grange Hill (Whaa-dy Waa-waaaaaaa) to King George’s Hospital, which James Darling’s dad used to work nearby.


This week, James reports he is doing “boring but important things” on Little Printer‘s infrastructure. He has also been wearing some spectacular trousers.

Simon has left us for a well-earned couple of weeks away, driving through California, but up til then he’s been doing Little Printer planning – technical prioritisation, meeting lawyers and various people about manufacturing ramp-up. He’s also been working with Vanessa on handing over things, particularly around our new business processes before his holiday.

Andy’s been focussing on Little Printer too – preliminary EMC testing in Cambridge, bridge board prototypes, soldering and ordering… and sending things to Slovenia. He’s also been assembling a robot arm we bought ages ago at Maplin for fun in the evenings…

Matt Webb’s been working on sales mainly, had a couple of speaking gigs, and has been meeting lawyers about T&Cs for Little Printer. He’s deep into some of the ‘Dark Matter’ of selling physical consumer products globally. Interesting stuff…

Neurosis MindWave

He’s also been wearing a brainwave monitor… more about his experiments over at his ever-interesting

Nick’s working closely with Phil and Andy as always – wrapping up work on the BERG Cloud bridge, talking manufacturing considerations with Andy, and perfecting the OTA update routines with Phil amongst loads of other things.

Alice is finishing our “Miniseries” publishing platform for Little Printer, and working on some of the launch partner publications. Alex is working on some design considerations for the Bridge, and wireframing some of Little Printer’s web presence. Denise has been working on some forthcoming new business, which looks very promising and designing loads of stuff for LP’s user-experience.

Joe’s been working on project Sinawava – which is a consulting job that has loads of different aspects, all of which he’s leading magnificently. This week there’s been product design work, strategic roadmapping conversations, technical prototyping and some experience prototyping with a packaging consultancy, as well as designing app concepts for the project.

Eddie Shannon’s been in with us this week again, working with Joe on Sinawava and being very generous in his tea-making!

As for me, I’ve been supporting Eddie and Joe on Sinawava, helping MW with sales, trying to do some long-delayed blog post writing and wrapping-up Project Chuska.

Jack and Timo were in Stockholm at the beginning of the week, presenting the results of the first stage of our partnership with Ericsson’s UX lab to the wider research group there. We blogged about that project yesterday. I worked a little on it and had a tremendous time doing so! Nice to see it in the world.

Timo’s back in Norway now, finishing his PhD for the summer. He’ll still be working with us regularly on special projects and research while that wraps up. He is missed!

And finally… Jack has started designing BERG Cloud product #2… Vallecito!

Week 361

It’s fast approaching the end of 361, arguably it’s passed already, but for this purpose I’ll stick with the ISO definition promoting Monday as the first day week.

A slightly shorter working week due to a Bank Holiday Monday in the UK, although the processes in motion around Little Printer don’t obey such things. It’s really a case of shovelling coal to keep the furnace burning as hot as possible!

So what’s been going on?

Matthew has been following up new leads, developing existing proposals and working with Helen and Simon as the year end figures start to be compiled. Matt Jones has returned from the US and brought us Hobo Bread from the Henry Ford Museum, this filled the studio with a amazing aroma of maple toasted walnuts and inspired James to bake his very own.

Jones has also been working with Joe on Sinawava drawing together the last few weeks worth of material across the different elements of the brief. We’ve enjoyed the company and exceptional handiwork of Eddie Shannon whose been further developing some of that work too.

Alex has been splitting time between Chuska and BERG Cloud, working with Jack and myself on graphics for the hardware.

Meanwhile Nick has been bouncing around the different levels (from user experience to chip level voltage transitions) of the BERG Cloud stack as we push ever closer, ably assisted by James and Alice chipping away at codebase items to do with partworks and scaling with delightful results.

Denise was ill for a bit, but it was grand to have her back, and to have Little Printers emitting her lovely proofs.

Jack’s been back in working on Chuska, LP and Bergcloud too.

I’ve been working quite closely with Simon around timings for LP and responding as quickly as possible to different suppliers at rather different times of the day.


(ps. 361 part of the Mian Chowla Sequence, apparently.)

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