Matt Gemmell

Raw Materials book cover image

My book Raw Materials is out now!

A collection of personal essays, with exclusive content and author's notes.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Sponsor: OmniFocus

Sponsor 1 min read

My sincere thanks to OmniFocus for sponsoring my writing this week.

I’ve been an OmniFocus fan for a long time, and I use it every day on my MacBook Air, iPhone, and Apple Watch. It’s my tool of choice for everything from daily tasks, to managing the projects for my novels, and indeed this web site. Omni Group has a whole suite of incredible productivity apps that you really should check out. I recommend them unreservedly.

Take complete control of your (limited) time with OmniFocus, an incredible task management app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

It helps you finish your projects, review your commitments, and free up time for non-task fun.

Bailing

Personal 9 min read

We don’t talk much about money, do we? It’s a tricky subject.

How much do you have? How much do I have? We don’t discuss it. The question is rude. But why?

Well, because you might have less than I do, and you might feel sensitive about that. There might be embarrassment, or shame, or envy involved – and those are dangerous emotions. Resentment can creep in. It’s understandable.

Distractions

Tech 6 min read

In our house, there’s a device in almost every room - and that’s without counting the ones that move around with us.

They have various different form factors, and those shapes create expectations about how we’ll interact with them, and whether they’ll accompany us or wait for our return. They also govern how we want to be distracted.

I think there’s a hierarchy of computing devices, from desktop to laptop, then tablet, phone, and finally wearable. You can throw in multiple sub-categories there, and perhaps e-readers, but those are the main ones. Wearables are still very new, of course, and we’re working out what exactly they mean for us. I’ve recently had an eye-opening experience in that regard.

Junctions

Personal 6 min read

Have I ever told you how I got here?

You already know bits and pieces, certainly - I remember talking to you about some of it. Just the very basics. But there’s quite a bit more, as you’d expect.

We have some time right now, don’t we? Then let me tell you about my path - the one I’m standing at the head of. Every moment before now, leading up to the present.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go back the whole way. We can start in the year 1995. You won’t even need many details.

Whisky

Personal & Whisky 5 min read

As I write this, I’m sitting in my armchair. I often write to you from this spot.

About five feet to my right, there’s a wooden globe, mounted on a wheeled pedestal. The surface is emblazoned with a reproduction fifteenth-century world map, and on top, there’s a small handle. If you take hold of it and pull, the upper hemisphere tilts upwards and backwards, revealing a collection of bottles, orbited by lead-crystal glasses.

There’s no finer substance than single malt whisky.

If you’d told that to my teenage self - and some people probably did - he’d have at first scoffed (before he was sixteen or so), then shuddered (a year or two later). Whisky was the stuff you drank if there was absolutely no other option available in your parents’ drinks cabinet, on the rare occasion you had the house to yourself. I’m ashamed to say that I put myself completely off the stuff for almost ten years because of foolish adolescent indulgence.

You live and learn.

Small changes

Accessibility 2 min read

Both OS X and iOS include an accessibility technology called VoiceOver, which is a screen-reader for people with impaired vision. I have a currently-dormant condition such that I may one day become blind, so these technologies are very important to me, even though I don’t actively use them most of the time.

I like to keep tabs on accessibility features, because I might need them in earnest at some point. I wrote about that in my article about accessibility for iPhone and iPad apps, a few years ago.

I’m also a writer, and I hope I’ll always be able to do that job, no matter what becomes of my visual acuity. Yosemite (OS X 10.10) made a tweak to its accessibility implementation that reassured me.

Hindsight

Writing 2 min read

In December 2008, I wrote an article entitled What have you tried?, which I’ll henceforth refer to as WHYT.

To date, it’s the most-read piece on this site (my article on iOS 7 trails behind at just over a quarter of a million page views). I’ve had more than a thousand visitors to WHYT per week, for the last six years.

In hindsight, I wish I’d never published it.