Matt Gemmell

My new book CHANGER is out now!

An action-thriller novel — book 1 in the KESTREL series.

★★★★★ — Amazon

Designing for iPad Power Users

tech & ipad-only 6 min read

An increasing number of people — myself included — use an iPad for work. There are plenty of apps designed with that in mind, but I often find rough edges, as if the developers haven’t quite considered that people are potentially spending their entire day using the software.

The needs of iPad power users aren’t conceptually different from those of desktop or laptop users, but the nature of the hardware and its capabilities tends to cause some things to be overlooked. Based on my own experience, here’s some stuff that you, as a developer, should think about implementing if your customers are working with their iPads.


health 3 min read

I’ve written previously about my workout routine, and also about my heart condition. My routine has naturally evolved over time, and I wanted to make a record of my current setup, since people ask me about it quite often.

Apple Watch for sale

tech & development 1 min read

Update: The Apple Watch has now been sold. Thanks for your interest!

I’m selling my original Apple Watch. It’s in pretty much mint condition, perfect screen, fully functional, latest watchOS, everything included. It’d be a brilliant Christmas gift (even for yourself), or a solid start to the New Year’s fitness resolutions, or a device for developing watchOS apps on.

Full details of the package are below.

Thoughts on Ulysses and Scrivener

tech & writing 7 min read

I’ve been a Scrivener user for a long time. I wrote CHANGER in Scrivener on the Mac, and I edited and assembled Raw Materials with it too. I wrote about the new-this-year iPad version of Scrivener a month ago, and in that piece I also touched on Ulysses, which takes a different approach to writing and assembling long (or short) written works.

I’ve been giving Ulysses a bit more of my time lately, and I wanted to jot down some of my thoughts about it, and how it compares to Scrivener, for posterity. This article pertains almost solely to the iPad versions of each app.

Setapp Beta Invitations

tech 1 min read

Setapp is a new subscription software service for the Mac. You pay one flat monthly fee, and you get the latest versions of all the apps, including any new ones they add. You get updates too, for the lifetime of your subscription. As long as you’re current, all the apps run — without any ads or limitations.

I’ve been testing it for a couple of months, and the user experience is pretty good. You get a subfolder in your Applications folder, with stubs for each of the apps. When you launch one, you’ll see a description and some zoomable screenshots, just like on the Mac App Store. If you want it, just click a button, and the app downloads immediately, replacing the stub. You can get as many as you want.

I don’t have any stake in Setapp (I don’t really use a Mac anymore, either), and I don’t get any referral fee or anything; it’s just an interesting thing I’ve been trying out. The launch is in 2017, but it’s in public beta right now (press release here). If you sign up for a free trial, you go into a waiting list to get a beta invitation — but, since I’m apparently super-important or something, I have a hundred instant-access invitations to give away.

If you’re fast enough, you can get your invitation here. If they’ve already been used up by the time you click the link, you’ll go into the regular waiting list. It shouldn’t take long to get your invitation then either.

Once again, get your invitation here. Don’t say I never give you anything.

iPad gear: Logitech Create keyboard case

tech & ipad-only 3 min read

This article is part of a series on going iPad-only.

If you’re a maker of iPad apps that my readers would be interested in, you can sponsor this site for a week.

I recently treated myself to a much-recommended Logitech Create keyboard case for my 9.7” iPad Pro. My usual setup is a separate leather case/stand, and an Apple Magic Keyboard, but there’s one issue there: it’s not really a viable in-lap typing solution. I wanted an all-in-one option that’s stable in my lap, with good keyboard action. The Create seems to be it.

iPad-only: Month One

tech & ipad-only 2 min read

This article is part of a series on going iPad-only.

If you’re a maker of iPad apps that my readers would be interested in, you can sponsor this site for a week.

It’s been a month since I bought an iPad and made it my main computer. I also wrote about why the iPad has such an attraction for me, and a series of articles on my workflows for various tasks. I’ve gone into plenty of detail already, so this will be brief — no more or less so than it needs to be.

Self Care

personal & briefly 1 min read

I’ve already written about recent world events. For all the calmness and stoicism of the piece, I’m still reeling. Anxiety spirals, dark thoughts, paranoia, bad dreams, compulsive behaviour… all present. It’s going to be a difficult time, for quite a while.

So, please set aside some time for self care. Acknowledge that events in your life are causing emotional trauma, and take active steps to let yourself adjust. It’s absolutely OK to convalesce; to get your strength back. It doesn’t mean we’re giving up, or burying our heads in the sand. We’re hurt, and we’ll heal, but we need the time and space to allow it.

Do what you need to do. Get away from the news for a while. Watch some movies. Play some games. Eat some food that’s bad for you. Read a book. It’s completely alright to give yourself time to process, accept, and adapt.

It’ll all still be here when you get back, but you’ll be more able to handle it.

Denning's Walk

writing & fiction 19 min read

This brief tale was written for members of this site. Membership includes a weekly newsletter with exclusive essays, stories, updates on my writing projects, and more.

If you’d like to read it as an ePub, you can download it here. Be sure to also take a look at my books.

“What you have to understand is nothing was actually stolen. And nobody laid a finger on him. I just want to be clear about that.”

Denning shifted in the uncomfortable plastic seat, as the police officer across the desk nodded while jotting down today’s date on a yellow form.

“So you said, sir,” the policeman replied. His name was James Rowney, and he was the duty desk-sergeant for the evening shift. Denning watched as he ticked a couple of boxes, then looked up again impassively. Rowney was a stockily-built man, with a bristly black moustache. He was all hard edges, and had an air of quiet efficiency and control. He also looked like the sort of man who didn’t tolerate any nonsense.

Just the sort of copper the Brits love, Denning thought.