alifeee's weeknotes


Weeknotes 16

THIS WEEK I have done things.

The first thing I have done is procrastinate writing weeknotes. What I did instead was make a game using Downpour. Here is my game!

You should play my game. Here is my game:

My game takes only a minute to play. Here is my game:

It was fun to make. I planned it out on a couple of sheets of paper that ended up looking like a drawn version of the detective trope "pieces of evidence strung together with pieces of string" (which mentioning makes me miss my version of it). If you go back some notes you'll see my handstanding progress. Perhaps this is the final-form progression. I think it won't be. I love doing handstands. You should give them a go.

What else did I do?

  1. At the hackspace
    1. I made the OpenBenches sign work
    2. I made half a chef's hat
  2. In media
    1. I finished "Our Flag Means Death"
    2. I watched "Perfect Blue"
  3. In cyberspace
    1. I got a new profile picture
    2. I relaunched pollen bot
    3. I made a cool CO2 visualisation
  4. I created some things
    1. I slightly modified the anvil emoji proposal
    2. I made some nice maps
    3. I made some physical diary entries
  5. I did some other stuff
    1. I tried to convince some people to blog
    2. I fell asleep
    3. I played pass the pigs
    4. I said goodbye

At the hackspace

I made the OpenBenches sign work

I came across a few months ago. I think it's a great idea. I've been describing it as a "crowdsourced collection of memorial benches". People take pictures of benches and bench-inscriptions around the world, then upload them to OpenBenches for anyone to see. OpenStreetMap collects bench data, but does not collect data on inscriptions, which is why OpenBenches stands on its own.

Secondly, I came across the Sheffield hackspace train signs a few weeks/months ago. I asked for the code to drive them (and then put it publicly on GitHub so sharing again was easier) and played around a bit.

Thirdly, tertiarily, or finally, I combined my interests! That's the way of life and innovation. I programmed a couple of microcontrollers and a macrocontroller (a computer) to work together to automatically display the most recent bench from OpenBenches on the train sign. All the code and information (including images, which I'm not allowed to have here) is in the GitHub repository: openbenches-train-sign.

Now, at the hackspace, the sign changes every few hours, and shows the latest bench submitted to Last I saw the sign that was a bench in memory of "John Mortimer" of "The Hoddesdon Rotary Club". Very nice. Currently, it is in theory (I cannot see the sign) displaying a message for "Leicestershire & Warwickshire Volkswagen Owners Club".

You can see the current message (i.e., most recent bench inscription) on This is where the sign pulls the message from.

I made half a chef's hat

It was the second (of many?) "craft and laptop-free" nights at the hackspace. I decided to make a hat, and modelled one after my chef's hat. I cut two pieces, and sewed one. This Wednesday, I hope to sew them together and have a complete hat!

In media

I finished "Our Flag Means Death"

It was an enjoyable show.

I watched "Perfect Blue"

It was an enjoyable film.

The film contained many things that I think I will remember, in my conscious and subconscious mind. It had a view of the Internet from 1997, which was funny watching the characters understand what a website was. It was full of interesting scenes and interesting sounds which I think will stick in my head.

In cyberspace

I got a new profile picture

I commissioned a robotic spin-off of my profile picture to use for the several bots that I make. You can see the image best as the profile picture for my GitHub bot: It's also fun to open - and flick between - my normal GitHub account to compare the pictures ->

I relaunched pollen bot

Speaking of bots, Pollen bot is a Telegram bot I made last year. It's a Telegram Bot (message @pollen_count_bot) that scrapes the pollen forecast from the Met Office's Pollen Forecast and provides it as a forecast message in Telegram, or more importantly, lets you set a pollen reminder threshold. If, in a morning, the forecast is above this threshold, it will text you.

I haven't decided if I think I enjoy getting texts that equate to "you're going to have a worse day than usual today", but I think there is some value in it, even if self-schadenfreudistic.

Anyway, the bot died last September because (unbeknownst to me) the Met Office stopped doing their forecast, and I hadn't planned for that. So, I just took it offline. This March, they restarted the forecast, so I restarted the bot, but it wasn't sending reminders properly. So, I restarted it today (and spent a long time playing around with Linux users/groups/permissions) and it works now (I think). It will still break come this September unless I fix it.

You can message the bot on Telegram:

I also changed its profile picture to my lovely robot pic.

I made a cool CO2 visualisation

Again with the visual imagery. Well, you can't see it here. But you can see it on There's a pretty graph.

Tom Hazledine did most of the heavy lifting with their stacked-sparklines web component. All I had to do was transform my CO2 Influx data into several 2D arrays, which I did with Python.

In future (and given a day of frozen, infinite time), I might try and make this visualisation into an addon for the dashboard on InfluxDB, but I'm not really sure how to do that. Also, Influx keeps hogging data and CPU on my server, so I'm not in the mood at the moment to be helpful until I've found out what configuration will curb that.

I created some things

I slightly modified the anvil emoji proposal

I got a message from an Internet stranger on Instagram about my Anvil Emoji Proposal. They said they liked that it existed, and that the Unicode Consortium (UC) were feeling extra stringent this year, and wanted a lot of footnotes.

They messaged me hours to days before I was going to submit the proposal, so I've ended up not submitting it yet. They said the UC were going to upload the Zoom meeting they had to their YouTube at "some point soon", so I'm sort of waiting for that before I submit the proposal.

At the same time, I've spent a lot of time on it, and I feel that it is in full accordance to the guidance given on the UC's website, so I may submit it as it is, instead of making more edits.

I just checked, and they have not uploaded anything yet. I may submit the proposal tomorrow or the day afterwards.

I made some nice maps

I love making information accessible. For an adventure I'm having, the information about trains, hiking distances, and other minutia was scattered everywhere. I spent a while annotating some nice pictures of maps, using screenshots from my bothies map (GitHub).

Again... this is my weeknotes... no nice images for you... imagination only.

I made some physical diary entries

You can't see those.

I did some other stuff

I tried to convince some people to blog

It was more people than usual this week. I sent a lot my How to Blog gist. Some of them may even try it.

I fell asleep

Yesterday I bought a load of snacks and set up in bed in front of my computer. I didn't know what I was going to do, maybe blog, maybe watch a film. What I ended up doing was accidentally falling asleep. This was great because when I woke up this morning I was in bed with a load of snacks.

I played pass the pigs


I said goodbye



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