What I done did in May 2022

Colin Wren
3 min readMay 27, 2022

Getting back into the Leeds meetup scene

Set up a dashboard to help me manage my side-hustles

I have a number of side-hustles and each of those has a collection of accounts that need to be logged into in order to see how many people have subscribed to their mailing lists, analytics for the product and issues in production.

As the number of side-hustles increased and as my time became scarcer it became more and more inconvenient to juggle all the logins and email accounts in order to get an idea of how things were going.

Luckily while browsing one of the self-hosting resources I read occasionally someone mentioned Retool and after spinning up the Docker image locally and getting a basic dashboard going I was happy that the tool would give me exactly what I wanted so I set it up on my NAS and got to work building a proper dashboard.

It’s worked out really well and saved me a lot of time which has been awesome. I did a write up about the installation process via Portainer and setting up MailChimp, PostHog and Sentry APIs for use with Retool if you want to try it yourself.

Started playing Dorfromantik

After a pretty intense couple of weeks at work I decided last weekend to have some time to chill and picked up Dorfromantik, a fun little game where you build environments by matching the edges of tiles.

The core mechanic is that there’s a set of different tile edge types (forest, water, town, field, railway) and successfully building a chain of a continuous type rewards you with more tiles which in turn means building larger environments.

It’s a really fun game to sink half an hour or so into when there’s some down time and as the more you play the more you unlock different tiles types there’s a reward system to keep you coming back.

It’s only £11 on Steam so well worth the asking price.

Got back into being social

Before the pandemic hit I used to help run the Ministry of Testing (MoT) meetup in Leeds along with 3 others but when we went into lockdown that didn’t continue and now we’re out of lockdown I’ve been helping run LeedsJS and as of this month I’ll now be helping run MoT Leeds again too.

It’s been great to get out and chat to people again and because Leeds has such a great close-knit tech scene you have more than enough time to catch up with everyone across the various meet ups.

This combined with going into the office for our sprint ceremonies has ensured I’m getting back into the swing of socialising after being a bit of a COVID bubble for the last couple of years.

Failed to get the last Pokemon Adventures Manga I needed

When I bought all the Pokemon Adventures Manga back in February I had managed to find a copy of Pokemon Adventures Black and White Volume 8, a ridiculously rare book in the series for about £30 (usually about £120) as it was an ex-library copy (which I have a few of, they are pretty gross so I read the e-book versions of those volumes).

I put the order through Abe Books which told me to expect delivery by early May but the book never turned up! Luckily I was able to get my money refunded by the seller but I’m now back to square one so I thought I’d try my luck with getting the volume in a different language so my bookcase doesn’t have a hole in it.

It’s even more important for the Black and White series as each volume alternates between having a black and white spine so I currently have a block of black where volume 8 should be to maintain that pattern. Unfortunately it seems the German language books have that pattern reversed so the copy I have is also black.

I instead ended up buying a Japanese copy of the book which does have a white spine but it still looks out of place because the number system for the manga in Japan is different (Black and White Volume 8 is technically Volume 50 in a continued series).

I’m sure I’ll eventually end up paying a ridiculous price for a copy of the English language book just so my brain is happy when it sees the completed pattern on my bookshelf.



Colin Wren

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