Week Notes: September 11th
Oh dear me, it's been a month. A month of week notes neglect! A previous post lies, unpublished, with a single line of text. A sad reminder of the week notes slipping down the priority list over the course of the summer. I should at least do a summary of what's been happening since my last post, but there's so little time and these were meant to be snappy little posts. If I could do an Edgar Wright style super-cut right now, it would be: Me moving furniture around the house // getting a cold // occasional shots of back-clutching and "ooohs" // repeated shots of me lumbering out of bed at 4am to screaming children // a shot of me heaving with all my might a king-size mattress on a flight of stairs, pouring with sweat and cursing as the corner snags on a bannister for the tenth time with ALL the "handles" in the wrong positions // swimming in the calm, flat sea on hot summer days // drinking beer outside in a storm with friends // walking through the woods picking up acorns // close up shots of small fingers being pushed into my nose and gums. I think that's about it.
Right then. What about this week?
- Energy Monitor - I was originally hoping to get a Sense, but its been years and there's no sign of a UK launch. So, I've gone full energy usage geek and got myself an emonpi with emoncms. It's great! It'll give you live energy usage data every day both locally and in the cloud. Bundled apps include some that run price comparisons, so you can see how much your historical usage would have cost you on other electricity tariffs. I'm planning to use this to calculate savings if we were to switch to Octopus Agile, which uses live pricing data to adjust its price every half-hour, going from prices such as 24p / kWh (bad!) to -5p / kWh (that's negative, i.e: paying you; extremely good!). I'm hoping to see that there could be a cost-saving with our heat pump. It's a hobby project.
- Hothouse - My sister has launched her new project, a weekly climate action newsletter. It's on Substack, it's free and you should TOTALLY subscribe. hothouse.substack.com
- Sharp.js - I've not used this before, but had some fun writing an image optimiser with it early this week. It's an image manipulation tool written in node.js - It's fast, crunching through images like nobody's business. My Craft CMS image transforms were choking, and looking for a workaround, I ended up playing with Sharp.js and loving it. Using Google Cloud Functions, I now have a storage bucket which will automatically take any uploaded asset it receives, create and save variants to another bucket. For the existing ones, I crunched through around 3000 images on my local machine in just 5 minutes, converting and compressing to multiple sizes and saving out additional versions in webp format. Then, I uploaded 32,000 (🤯) variants to Google CDN. All for that perfect high performance, low bandwidth front-end...
- SVG optimisation - I've been doing some serious SVG nerding-out on my current project. I've come to the conclusion that there are no shortcuts to making small, efficient SVGs. No software is going to save them out in the most efficient way, so you have to go about it by hand. Learning a lot in the process - Illustrator will save its symbols as SVG symbols, which is super handy for reusing elements cheaply within an SVG. It's very helpful for reducing SVGs with any patterns in. Using this method I've crunched down a 250KB SVG with complex paths, to just 13KB (pre-webpacking and gzipping). So satisfying! I've also made big savings in file size by converting text to outlines, simplifying in Illustrator and then saving to symbols. The text-as-symbol can then be easily repeated in the SVG, which is super handy if you want to create text with the effect of multiple strokes or fills. I should do a post on this or something.
- TV watching - I am really enjoying The Boys season 2 at the moment. I thought no other TV series could rank a character up to such extreme levels of c*ntery than Cersei in Game of Thrones, but Homelander is just... ARGHHHH! So gloriously terrible. Just an awful human being. Unlike Breaking Bad, I can handle these awful human beings as there's a strong element of humour and they're not grounded in our reality. I'm also watching the occasional bit of "modern-day cowboy" in Justified and some Curb your Enthusiasm (in a continued quest to watch things I really-should-have-seen-by-now).
Diana Rigg - 😢