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

Nationalism

Politics 5 min read

I’d like to make a brief digression from my usual topics to discuss politics, specifically as pertains to Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Referrers script

Code 3 min read

The only information in my web server logs that I’m remotely interested in is my referring URLs: the sites that link back to me here. It’s pure vanity, of course. I make no excuses.

I couldn’t find a suitably simple, lightweight, yet customisable thing to give me what I want (a big and readable list of recent referring URLs, without duplicates, and excluding ones I didn’t care about), so I made one myself.

You can find it on github, if you’re interested. The default (and completely customisable) output looks like this.

A farewell to files

Tech 4 min read

I think I’m finally over the idea of file systems. It’s taken a long time, and I fiercely resisted the change, but it was inevitable.

I don’t really think in terms of folders and hierarchies anymore. I still put things there, but only as a kind of future archeological clue, if everything goes to hell and I’m left digging through the dirt, trying to rebuild.

These days, I expect the machine to accept my query, and throw the relevant set of my stuff back at me. Browsing through directory windows seems anachronistic now, and - interestingly - it also feels artificial.

Patronage

Writing 4 min read

I was upset to read about the sad demise of the UK’s MacUser magazine, after almost thirty years of publication. MacUser was truly one of a kind, aimed at the curious, discerning professional who wanted to read Sunday-supplement-like, in-depth articles on various aspects of the creative arts as they pertained to the Apple platforms.

It was from MacUser that, variously and over the years, I developed an interest in typography, colour theory, video editing, and a host of other subjects. I’ve been a subscriber, a reader, and even a contributor, and the closing of the magazine is a great loss to the Mac community.

A final laptop

Tech 4 min read

The last time I felt that my laptop had a shortcoming - a real, noticeable-daily, vexing insufficiency - it was the battery life.

Three, four, or five hours just aren’t enough to fulfil the promise of a computer that isn’t plugged in. Likewise, a portable machine becomes a lot less portable when you’re carrying a power brick too. A laptop with only half-day battery life is essentially a lie.

That was a few years ago. My battery problem has been solved.

Heroes and Miracles

Writing 2 min read

Nobody ever asked me if computer software mattered. I never asked myself that question, either. Of course it matters: it’s a proper job, and there’s money in it. Case closed.

Whether you believe that or not, being a fiction writer is a very different proposition.