Matt Gemmell

My book Raw Materials is out now!

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

★★★★★ — Amazon


Productivity 5 min read

There’s a gadget that sits on my desk every day. Well, there are probably at least a dozen gadgets, but this particular one might surprise you.

The biggest problem I face is keeping my creativity running at as high a level as possible, almost constantly. My job, and maybe yours too, requires that I’m squeezing as much juice from my imagination and wherever the artistry comes from, every minute of the day.

Sleep, exercise, fresh air, and sufficient energy from food are all essential fuels for that kind of high mental and emotional burn-rate. But they’re not enough. I still need little tricks, and rituals. Enter my weird gadget.

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.


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.