What I done did in July 2022

Colin Wren
5 min readJul 30, 2022


I was warm, too warm…

I walked away from buying a flat

The reason I ended up breaking a three and a half year weekly blogging habit recently was because the combination of my day job, my side-hustle(s) and trying to buy a flat got a little too much.

Luckily one of those tasks concluded this month. Unluckily it was the possibility of me buying a flat so maybe not the best outcome but I at least was able to learn a lot more about the housing market and put myself in a better position for trying again at some point.

I did a write up on the experience with a list of the things I’ve learned — How I failed yet again to take my first step on the property ladder and what I’ve from doing so

I failed to realise how strict Japan’s visa requirements are

After bailing on buying the flat the plan was to take the deposit money and put it towards an amazing trip to Japan. We’d originally planned to go in November 2020 but because of covid that didn’t happen and I got given a voucher from the airline and that voucher had an expiry date so it seemed like a good time to book.

We spent some time reading the UK government’s site on travel to Japan which detailed the covid restrictions and how they were lifted so it all seemed promising. However we failed to read the section around Japan removing the visa waiver.

When we went to Japan in 2017 we didn’t need to apply for a visa so we didn’t think to check this information and went ahead and booked the tickets. It wasn’t until I shared the news with people at work that someone who was paying more attention than me pointed out that Japan were only giving visas to tourists who signed up with a tour agency.

As I had the airline voucher I wasn’t in a position to align myself with Japan’s new visa requirements and trying to get hold of anyone at the Japan embassy in the UK just resulted in the call ending before I got through to anyone.

Fortunately, the airline has a 24 hour refund window which meant I’m back to square one and not lost any money but it’s been a little disappointing to have to cancel the trip.

I survived the hottest day in the UK

There appears to be some form of warming happening, on like a global scale — A global warming, if you will. This month we had our hottest day in the UK, topping at 40.3C but locally it was 38C.

This isn’t the warmest weather I’ve been in as I found myself in Nevada in July a few years back which was 45C but the UK heat doesn’t hit the same as Nevada’s. UK housing isn’t built for dispersing heat, instead it’s built to keep heat in and normally that heat is followed by rain so things get hot, moist and unpleasant really quickly.

We faired pretty well though, stuck to the guidance of keeping blinds and windows closed and put the fans on full blast. The worst part was at night because our bedding isn’t really made for hot weather but aside from a lack of sleep from being too uncomfortable it wasn’t too bad.

I could have definitely done with the Las Vegas air conditioning that I experienced though.

I spoke at LeedsJS

LeedsJS is a local meetup that I help run and this month I was given an opportunity to share my journey building plugins for Miro and Figma as part of the Reciprocal.dev product I’m working on.

The talk went well (I think) and I hopefully listeners some good tips on how SaaS products tend to work and the different SDKs I’ve had experience working with.

As with most meetups, the real experience sharing happened down the pub after.

Went to Ministry of Testing Leeds

Ministy of Testing Leeds is another local meetup I help run and the day after LeedsJS I was back at the same venue attending a public speaking workshop run by Ady Stokes (who makes an amazing grey-board) and Scott Kenyon.

Scott explaining how to give an amazing presentation, using Ady as a white(grey) board

The aim is for everyone to have a lightning talk they can give for the September meet up which will be fun. I’m going to do mine on visualising test coverage and other risk data against a user journey map (basically what Reciprocal.dev does).

I went back to Apple

I buckled this month, after ditching my iPhone in March this year I ended up crawling back to using it after the OnePlus 6T I was running LineageOS on just got too much to deal with.

The main factors for this were:

  • Device size: The OnePlus 6T is too large for me, I’m constantly triggering touches I don’t mean to when I’m trying to show things to others or almost dropping the thing when I attempt to use it one handed. My iPhone 11 Pro is much easier to hold (my old iPhone SE was the perfect size though)
  • Notifications: The LineageOS & MicroG combo is really great, when it works but I started experiencing issues where apps like Signal and others wouldn’t inform me of messages until 6 hours later and because of the nature of the role I do at work this wasn’t acceptable
  • Camera: The OnePlus 6T camera under LineageOS is dreadful, if you’re lucky you might get a shot that’s not blurry but most of the time you’ll pull the phone out to capture something as it happens to find out when looking back later that the picture is nonsense. I never had this issue with my iPhone

My mindset also switched a bit when I realised that even though I’d taken every step to reduce my footprint I was still finding targeted advertising popping up because of the people around me so I made the choice to enjoy myself a little instead of trying to preserve privacy as it wasn’t working as I’d hoped.



Colin Wren

Currently building reciprocal.dev. Interested in building shared understanding, Automated Testing, Dev practises, Metal, Chiptune. All views my own.