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

Trying

Personal 2 min read

The University of Glasgow has some magnificent buildings, but The Boyd Orr Building (known affectionately and universally as the Boy George) is not among them. Indeed, it’s widely accepted to be the ugliest building in the university.

I’ve spent untold hours in there, during my Computing Science degree. We had some lectures in the building, but mostly my time was spent in the various labs upstairs. I whiled away a big chunk of each week of term-time in those labs, then when the Summer of 2004 arrived (after the third year of my degree), I thought I’d take a break.

I was sitting at home when an email came through on my academic address mentioning a couple of Summer scholarships, to work on research projects for the department. I left the email sitting in my inbox for a few hours, then decided to make a phonecall.

Workout

Health 15 min read

On the last day of December 2013, I was getting dressed to go out and celebrate the New Year (which we call Hogmanay here in Scotland). As always, I was wearing a suit. I hadn’t made any resolutions yet.

I noticed that my trousers were a little tight around the waist, but I struggled through. By the time I was undressing again at home in the early hours of January 1st, I had a red mark around my middle.

Two years earlier, in November 2011, I got married. I remember my wedding suit fitting comfortably, and those trousers were a 30” waist. The ones I wore last New Year were 32”, and I had trouble fitting into them. Those don’t sound like big numbers, but I’m short (5’6”), and I have a very slim build - thanks to my mother’s ballerina DNA. I’d let myself go a bit.

My 2014 resolution followed naturally: my project was going to be myself. I’d like to talk a little bit about my journey towards getting back in shape.

Incipio Feather for iPhone 6

Tech 1 min read

I’m currently trying out an iPhone 6. I’ll probably write about that in due course, but for the moment I can summarise my feelings as: great build quality, improved battery life, but it’s just too big.

I’ve been trying a few cases for the new phone too, and I’ve found one that suits my needs perfectly. You might also be interested in taking a look at it.

Watch

Tech 5 min read

Last month, Apple announced their entry into the wearable computing device market with the Apple Watch, which will be released early next year.

I’d like to share a few of my thoughts on the product, and its category of devices in general.

Portable

Tech 3 min read

My active set of computing devices has changed a lot during the last year.

I started off with the usual arsenal of gadgets that you’d expect from an iOS developer: half a dozen old and new iPhones, several iPads, and a monster of an over-powered iMac to run Xcode, Photoshop, and the iOS Simulator - complete with dual screens.

It was a stressful setup, and that’s without even mentioning OS upgrades.

My current situation is very different. I’m no longer a developer, and I spend my days writing instead. My needs are modest. So, I’ve taken the opportunity to strip down my device inventory, and achieve a sort of zen simplicity of computing.

True

Writing 2 min read

I’d like to talk to you about truth.

You already know what truth is, of course - but that’s not the kind I mean. There’s nothing new I can tell you about facts, or accuracy. Those things have their place, and they’re essential.

But there’s another sort of truth, and it’s important too. I’d argue that it might even be more important than the first kind.

Independence

Politics 5 min read

I have two rules for my writing here: tell the truth, and don’t talk about politics. Today, I must break the second one to obey the first.

This week there was a referendum here in Scotland to decide whether we would declare independence from the United Kingdom. I’d like to talk about my own perspective on the issue.

Sultans

Music & Personal 7 min read

My family and friends often remark that my musical tastes don’t vary much. I’ve been told that my preferences fossilised during the eighties, which makes sense: I arrived on Earth a scant six months before that decade dawned.

One band, one artist, and one song in particular has accompanied me through most of my thirty-five years to date. On any given week, I listen to it dozens of times. In my lifetime (so far), I’ve certainly heard it more than fifty thousand times, and that’s a conservative estimate.