Freelancers meet up 26th July 2023

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We had a special meet up on the 26th July. We started with member talks at our Show and Tell special at The FuseBox, then departed to the Battle of Trafalgar pub to continue the conversations.

Here’s what we talked about:

  • StackOverflow traffic halving – all down to AI/LLM use?
  • About to go freelance
  • I feel like I can’t code without LLM plugins any more? And does that matter?
  • Writing about client projects you have done
  • The joy of having a made to measure suit
  • The struggles of working in a team with awkward members
  • Trying to find a productive development environment when you don’t have control of the whole stack
  • Being relatively anonymous but having famous work
  • Hosting a very long running weekly VR event
  • Strange behaviour in VR audiences
  • Rite-in-the-Rain mini-notebooks
  • Cult Pens is fantastic for stationery
  • Clutch pencil and auto-feed Kura Toga mechanical pencil
  • Having a fancy notebook to take to client meetings


AI tools making code

LLM-based AI coding tools like Github Cohub and Chat-GPT plugins are available in many editors and IDEs. I talked with someone who felt they were becoming too reliant on them and did not want the productivity drop if a client did now want such tools to be used. This sparked a conversation about whether clients would care one way or another.

The general consensus was non-technical clients wouldn’t care either way, as long as the code was good they wouldn’t care how it was produced. For clients where you’re integrating into their tech team in more of a contract relationship, it would need to be discussed with them. Certain projects might want to be sure of exactly where code was coming from and while all code you generate from tools should be carefully reviewed, we did come up with a limited number of cases where potentially the plugins should not be used (which unfortunately I did not note down.)

In general, as a freelancer it’s difficult to argue against better productivity, both for your sake and the client.

Apparently traffic to incredibly popular tech help forum Stack Overflow has dropped by half recently and this is being put down to Chat-GPT and similar tools being released and added into editors. As with all content based sites, this is bad as they rely on advertising to exist and if people don’t go there and rely on an AI/LLM tool which has been trained on Stack Overflow content, it means long term sites like SO are not maintainable and can’t feed new content into LLMs. This is a topic I hear come up a lot with people who create an maintain content based sites – why bother if their content is crawled by AI firms and then re-served up without anyone ever coming to their site?

Stationery surprises

It was a surprise delight for me that the meet up took a turn into exotic stationery after Sam showed us the credit card sized notebook he’d sourced from Rite-in-the-Rain in the States. I got to show Dave what a clutch pencil looks like, and show him and Sam a mechanical pencil with a Kura Toga auto-advance, which in plain English means you do not have to press the end of the pencil to give you more lead as you work, it automatically puts more out as you draw or write.

It’s not often by love of stationery and the Farm overlap, this was a good end to a day of feeling rough and having the stress of organising the Show and Tell.