Weeknotes #78

in weeknotes

  • The Japanese Government decided to declare a fourth state of emergency from Monday (NHK News). They’re saying it will be in effect until Sunday 22 August.

  • I pulled the trigger and purchased a new HomePod Mini. The speed of the Amazon Echo hadn’t improved over the past two weeks and while I might have been able to fix it if I’d put in more time to troubleshoot the problem, the truth is that I wanted to move to just using HomePods. So far, it’s been great. Siri is much faster than it used to be for things like timers and having another AirPlay speaker is awesome.

  • The HomePod has also got me to actually spend time investigating Siri Shortcuts. I had a Blueprint I’d created for the Echo which would play the NHK morning news podcast and I wanted something similar to work with the HomePod. Creating a Siri Shortcut to play the podcast via Overcast was a little fiddly but worked in the end. More interesting was something that I’d wanted to have for ages on the Echo but which I could never find a simple way to do: tell me how many COVID-19 cases were detected in Tokyo in the last 24 hours. This wasn’t exactly easy to do either but I slapped something together that is working so far.

  • The biggest problem is getting the number in a timely manner. There are a few different data sources around (I’m using data from NHK) but the one that seems to be updated the most quickly is Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health Twitter account. Unfortunately, you can’t easily get tweets in a structured way any more so if I want to use this information, I either need to create a Twitter application or use a third-party service like RSS.app.

  • The rainy season was in full swing and on Sunday we even had hail (!). Things are supposed to clear up a bit this week, although that means some very hot days are on the way.

  • Emma, John and Rowan all came down with colds over the course of the week. Wednesday and Thursday nights were particularly difficult. Rowan couldn’t sleep while lying down (I think because of the mucus blocking his nasal passages) and so needed to be cradled. I think I got about two hours sleep in total and Eri had even less. Fortunately, Eri was able to get some medicine prescribed over the weekend and things were much improved over the weekend.

  • To keep myself awake, I started watching Loki. Large portions of the show make no sense but I’m enjoying it almost in spite of myself. Tom Hiddleston is the real draw but Sophia Di Martino has fantastic chemistry with Hiddleston. Having been drawn back into the MCU, I also watched Black Widow. As much as I love Scarlett Johansson, the film is a distillation of everything I dislike about Marvel movies. A formulaic plot, monotonous style, complete lack of coherence with the broader continuity and a soundtrack that is so forgettable it’s almost an achievement.

  • Speaking of soundtracks, one of my favourite parts of Loki is its soundtrack (Apple Music). Did this slip by someone at Disney who didn’t realise it was good?

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont