New release: 4.7.0

Another minor release today as we unveil a handy new feature for moving swiftly from month to month. From your calendar, just click on the month to get a drop-down that will allow you to jump to the month you want.


Version 4.6.0 released!

We have a new minor version in production. Minor versions mean new functionality: here’s what’s changed.

Setting prices for line items

Administrators can now set prices for line items. If there are items that you charge a lot, you can now set them up in your Office Settings with a pre-fixed price. We recommend also adding a “Misc” charge that you can set on a case-by-case basis. Don’t forget that you can “charge” negative amounts, if you need to offer discounts.

Expanded search function!

You can now search by last name, first name, email address and production/event company

Minor changes

  • clicking on the logo in the top left will now take you to “My applications”, rather than “Applications” as before.

A tragedy

Of three parts and two continents

This is a story a friend told me, and has given me permission to retell. I think there are a couple of ways to tell it, and I’m going to try them out. It’s an exercise in writing, but also an opportunity to share a very good story. I am deeply grateful to her for the opportunity to retell it.


Alice is a 20-something professional living in London. Work life is going great; all other aspects of life are in the bin. So when a friend offers her the chance to go to a party she seizes it. At the party they’ve hired a fortune teller, and although Alice is basically cynical she’s also had a couple of drinks so she steps up when the fortune teller asks who’s next.

The fortune teller is your basic Barnum effect generator, and lists off things that everyone already knows about people in their 20s in London: stressed, living in cramped quarters, looking for love.

-Everyone’s looking for love, says Alice.

-You’re going to find it, though. The fortune teller gives her a conspiratorial wink, and declares that Alice will go on holiday and be introduced to a tall, dark man by a female friend. They’ll fall in love, but –

-But?

-But there’ll be a period of separation. You’ll end up happy in the end though.

That was it. Forty quid’s worth of fortune telling, and it’s that she’ll be introduced to someone by a female friend. I don’t know if you’ve ever been introduced to your partner — I hope you have — but it’s highly likely you were introduced to them by a female friend. So Alice goes away feeling not entirely convinced. All the same, she’s going on a short break to New Zealand. Maybe there’ll be something in it after all.

She goes on the break. She meets up with some old friends, and one of them introduces her to Max. And they get along like a house on fire. The whole group goes out to lunch, but for Alice and Max the rest of the table doesn’t exist. After lunch they keep drinking, because let’s be honest: millenials fresh out of university with too much disposable income drink like there’s no tomorrow.

There’s a good chance that our tomorrows are running out anyway, so who’s to judge?

Anyway: after an afternoon of day drinking they go to a club, they drink a little more, Alice ends up at Max’s flat. Things happen. Artistic fade to black, etc.

The morning is embarrassment and hunting for clothes. In a flat in New Zealand there is a little piece of Britain; a sock that managed somehow to escape behind the dresser and is holding out for the return of its owner. A few words are exchanged and Alice flees into the glorious sunshine and the embrace of her friends. The rest of the week she puts Max out of her mind and sees the sights; goes to Hobbiton, hikes over the beautiful countryside.

At this point it’s a funny story about the clumsiness of being young and attracted to someone, when it’s easier to have sex than talk about feelings. Then Alice gets a text: Does she want to come for dinner? -Max

So she does. And it’s just the two of them, but it could have been a dinner party of every person ever born and it still would’ve just been the two of them. They had a single drink each and then, just as she was leaving, he grabbed her and kissed her.

Again: people are bad at talking about their feelings.

So they’re kissing, and in the background fireworks are going off and the earth is shaking and I hope someone’s filming this because it is literally straight out of a movie. And then they stop, and his face is flushed and her lips are tingling and he looks like he’s about to say something, and then he doesn’t. And then she gets in a taxi and goes to the airport and flies away.

On the way back she nurses a broken heart and a gin and tonic — how is it that gin at 30,000ft is so much stronger than at sea level? — and thinks about that fortune teller. How she got everything right so far, so maybe there’s a chance that she’ll be right about the last part. That there’ll be a separation, but then they’ll live happily ever after.

She thinks about this for two weeks after she comes back. For the two weeks after that she thinks about it less.

They never saw each other again.


Look, I think that fortune tellers are frauds. Nobody can predict the future because everyone can change the future. Finding a person with whom you’ve got chemistry is pretty rare, and quite frankly I suspect it happens at the wrong time for a lot of people. (Let us put aside for a moment the tragedy of there being a wrong time to find a person with whom you have immense chemistry).

Actions are easier than words. Love is more than chemistry. All the same, if you’re reading this and it remind you of a woman who might not be called Alice; if it reminds you of yourself even though your name isn’t Max, maybe you should reflect that a story about what might have been is the realm of authors. A story of how the two of you fell in love and made it work across six thousand miles of air and sea is a better story, and one that really only you can write and tell.

Maybe you should do that.

S02E12

Radical freedom


Jean-Paul Sartre wrote a lot about being free. To whit: it sucks. This week I’ve mostly thinking about the fact that freedom is approaching me like a freight train.

Monday was a bank holiday, so I tried setting up an ISA. I failed. Bank websites are horrible. I’m completely bemused by how any institution with such clear and predatory competition can continue to be terrible. I also began revising hard for my Java exam with this very excellent free course from Coursera. It’s in French, which is good because I definitely need to improve my French.

I also read “Big Ball of Mud”⁰, which is an excellent paper discussing how beautiful software projects become jungles of spaghetti code¹. I really wish I’d read it sooner, and I’m putting it on my recommended reading list along with Boiling Frogs and the actual Agile Manifesto.

On Tuesday I had a very interesting interaction about IR35 and being a contractor. I’m considering it as part of my ongoing search for people who’d like to rent my brain, and that short conversation turned into a wealth of resources about being a contractor. It seems like an interesting life, but also fairly cut throat. If any readers would like to tell me why it’s the best idea/worst idea ever² I’d be indebted to you. I will of course write about it, unless I’m contracted to do work I’m not allowed to write about. In which case I’ll write about how nihilistic and existentialist media is³ currently in vogue as a reflection of our despair at the world.

So yeah, keep your fingers crossed for discussable topics

Ooh, and I offered to help Sam Villis make stickers which is an exciting little project. They’re going to say “Be generous”

At work I caught up with what happened last Thursday and started preparing for the objective setting meetings for my two Fast Streamers. I’m gutted I’m not going to be around to manage them through to the end of their postings; having had managers swap on me in posts I know how disruptive and frustrating it is. Leaving feels like a dick move.

I don’t have anything pithy here. It does feel like a dick move, and I don’t like it.

On Wednesday Spotify, a Swedish company, floated its stock on the New York Stock Exchange. To celebrate, the NYSE proudly flew the Swedish flag outside its building.

But before it did that, it flew the Swiss flag. Let’s not wonder for too long how or why this happened, but instead focus on the INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC INCIDENT that ensued.

I made some progress on an extraction-transformation-load project at work. It’s the kind of puzzle/problem/coding challenge that I absolutely love, so I’m trying to carve out time away from managing people to do this. Balancing this when I’ve still got new(ish) starters is tough as — at my insistence — I have a lot more contact time with them for them to identify problems. As they settle in I think they’ll get better at coming to me with issues, but at the beginning I want to be proactive and identify problems early. And then visibly act on them. Because:

Still, that cuts down on the coding/developing part of my job. I am currently finding that wanting to do both is hard to find in the job market: people tend to want one or the other. On the other hand, I’m finding it very hard to balance at the moment so maybe I’m the one being unreasonable.

Thursday is my non-working day, so I made approximately five kilos of ragu over five hours and it was absolutely flipping delicious. I also had a phone interview for a software developer role; way more junior than I am currently but the team seem really keen on personal development and mentoring. I’m really up for that: I like learning new things more than I like big salaries or fancy titles.⁴

In the afternoon I went to see the aforementioned Sam and we talked about fonts. Talking about fonts is brilliant, and if you like fonts⁵ then you should watch Helvetica. I refuse to link to the trailer because it’s terrible. The ratio of how bad the trailer is versus how good the documentary is can’t be understated. It’s terrible. Fine. Fine. Here it is.

90 SECONDS OF THE SAME, HORRIBLE, REPETITIVE NOISE. Oh look, Helvetica. There it is again. And again. And — yes, I get the point. Now we’re going to find out wh-oh, nope, it’s just another example. GET TO THE POINT.

My point, by the way, is that fonts are cool, and mint tea served in Grind at the Whitechapel building is exceedingly minty, and sometimes seeing a friend and talking about fonts segues into reflecting on what you’re actually doing. And that’s an analogy for weeknotes.

On my walk home a recruiter contact of mine got in touch, and since his building was on the way home I swung by. He’s in the Heron building. It has horrifying, outside facing, glass elevators. I hate them. I can feel my intestines trying to escape via my throat in an attempt to wind themselves around a nearby post and arrest my movement every time I approach them. But since his office is on the eleventh floor and I don’t do enough cardio to make that feasible, I clenched my everything and rocketed upwards.

Seriously, this gives me the willies.

He’s found a job that would suit me almost perfectly — and that sounds like the kind of coaching/developing role that I’m aiming for — and he’s going to Poland this weekend. We chatted about the role and I made a request for vodka. Keep your fingers crossed for the safe delivery of both.

I cannot undersell the gloriousness of this vodka. It is exquisite.

On Friday I chickened out of telling one of my Fast Streamer’s managers that I’m leaving soon, and I’m still trying to work out why. There was a perfect opportunity, and yet for some reason I didn’t. I’m going to think about why I did it over the weekend. It was weird. I still feel weird about it in a way I can’t really define, but I think it’s linked to what I said above: saying it out loud confirms I’m thinking about myself more than them. And that feels like a dick move.

I got confirmation for another software engineering role, although this is with an organisation that’s got mixed reviews from people I’ve spoken to. I’m waiting to reserve judgement, but it’s making me nervous before I start.

This weekend I’m finishing up coursework about a travelling salesman and a project called “Philip Hammond and the Temple of Glom”.

Like I said. Nihilism.


⁰ This is my new band name

¹ And this is our first album

² No equivocators please

³ Media is singular, don’t @ me

⁴ Although I confess I would very much like to become the world’s second Head of Data and Search

⁵ Weird-o