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


Tech 4 min read

My wife has a twice-yearly ritual of looking for a new everyday bag.

The criteria are simple enough: it has to accommodate a 15” laptop, it has to be comfortable to carry and tough enough to survive her daily 25-minute walk to work and back again, and it has to be stylish.

It’s the last criterion that turns this search into an ordeal. I’m speaking from personal experience here, because I’ve been along for the ride on most of those quests. There’s no shortage of bags in general, of course. There are plenty of tough, spacious, comfortable, laptop-accommodating ones too.

But for the most part, they’re hideous.


Personal 6 min read

Over the past eighteen months, I’ve become much better acquainted with myself.

That’a strange statement to make, I know, but it’s true. You can coast through life without knowing very much about yourself at all - until you fetch up against something. Until you stumble, or trip, or are knocked right off your feet.

Life knocks us all off our feet, sooner or later. Sometimes, though, we do it to ourselves. We choose it, by attempting to discipline ourselves, against a natural tendency to over-indulge and relentlessly seek novelty. That’s what happened with me, and it’s been eye-opening.

On blogs

Blog 3 min read

If you had to categorise this site, in terms of what it is, you’d almost certainly call it a blog. That’s what I usually call it, too, for ease more than anything else.

The thing is, that’s sort of an ugly word.

Windows Phone

Tech 31 min read

As an iPhone user, you probably have little interest in the other mobile platforms - but they do exist.

I take my iPhone everywhere I go, and for the most part, it’s a satisfying device to use. There are some rough edges, though. There aren’t many ways to customise iOS to your individual tastes, for example, and the hardware is extremely expensive. I’ve been experiencing a growing restlessness with it lately. I find that in some ways it lacks character - and indeed a boldness of aesthetic. It’s a little (dare I say it) boring.

Some of that feeling is just because of familiarity; I’ve never used a non-Apple smartphone for more than a few minutes. There are other options out there, and I decided to explore some of them. In this article, I’m going to talk about Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

Introducing Membership

Blog 1 min read

I’m very excited to announce that as of today, this site now offers a membership option.

Membership is a way for you to support my writing here at, ensure I can continue to create interesting content for you to enjoy, and also get some rewards in the process.

Staging drafts with Jekyll

Code & Jekyll 3 min read

As I’ve mentioned previously, this site is built statically with the excellent Jekyll. If you’re a fellow Jekyll user, you might find this useful.

I wrote a script to easily stage (and unstage) draft posts for Jekyll’s built-in web server, letting you temporarily move aside all other posts and just build the site with the one you’re working on. Jekyll’s creator, Parker Moore, was kind enough to submit a pull-request, and the script is now a Ruby gem (my first one ever).

You can find the code on github, and you can install the gem by running gem install jekyll-staging in your terminal.