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w/e 2022-01-02

2022! Amazing! Well into the 2020s!

In accordance with my culture’s ancient traditions I have done very little during this week between Christmas and New Year.


§ I’m always quick to report on web development stuff that is a royal pain, or takes way too long, or never works. So I should also report when something is surprisingly hassle-free.

This afternoon I read Matt Segal’s post about monitoring Django apps for free (although it’s not that Django-specific) and it then took me literally (literally) minutes to add a minimal endpoint (that checks the database is there, and responds back with a 200 status if all is well) to a couple of websites, sign up to StatusCake’s free uptime monitoring service, have that send error notifications to a new #uptime channel in my personal Slack instance, and have that send a notification any time a message appears in the channel.

Being able to have an alert appear on my watch if a website’s down with so little effort feels kind of magical. The kind of thing that would have been hugely complicated, maybe not even possible, several years ago. So this was all pleasantly surprising.

Come back next week when I find I get alerted at random times when nothing’s actually wrong and I delete all this nonsense!


§ I forgot to mention last week that we’d watched Bloodlands (iPlayer) which was good. It was initially disorienting to see a couple of actors we only knew from Derry Girls in An Extremely Serious programme, but once over that it was a decent thriller.

This week we saw A Very British Scandal (iPlayer) the latest installment in the “A Very British…” Cinematic Universe, itself a sub-franchise of the “A Very…” Cinematic Universe. Anyway. It was very good and very entertaining if you like watching very rich people being very horrid to each other. Paul Bettany was very excellent at being the most very horrid out of everyone.

We also saw two films…

Don’t Look Up (2021, Adam McKay, Netflix) was very bad. I didn’t know anything about it going in, and at first assumed it was a straight thriller based on Jennifer Lawrence’s performance. Then Leonardo DiCaprio’s inconsistently daffy professor made me think it was supposed to be a little bit more comedy. Then, seeing Cate Blanchett’s impression of Selina Myer and Jonah Hill’s very unlikely Chief of Staff, I assumed it was supposed to be a very broad comedy. Then Mark Rylance seemed like he was aiming for some kind of serious-but-unbelievable satire of a tech corporation boss. I don’t know what kind of movie it was supposed to be but everyone seemed to be in a different kind. It may have had An Important Message with which to hit the viewer over the head, but the validity of that message doesn’t automatically make it a good film.

Late Night (2019, Nisha Ganatra, iPlayer) was much less ambitious and was entirely OK. It had some funny bits, and gestured at important points about diversity and white privilege without going particularly deep. I didn’t entirely buy some aspects and while it had a happy ending, that didn’t in itself demonstrate how that fixed the problem of a complacent failing TV show.


§ I read Russell’s book about PowerPoint which was, unsurprisingly, funny and interesting and made me want to write presentations. I have no plans to do so but that seems like a good result. Well done Russell! You should definitely buy it if you ever have to do, or help anyone do, presentations.


§ I’ve made progress in The Last of Us Part II and am still very much enjoying playing. It (like other good games) does absorb my total attention for prolonged periods in a way that TV and movies only do rarely or fleetingly. I also came as close as I ever have to literally (literally) jumping out of my chair at a couple of surprising moments. I was being so careful among the trip-wires too. Sorry, Ellie.


§ We went to some near-neighbours’ house for New Year’s Eve, which – despite everyone being double-vaxxed-and-boosted, and doing lateral flow tests first – felt like the riskiest thing I’ve done, covid-wise, so far, with five couples indoors together for a few hours. Let’s see what happens this week… 🤞


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