Microlog//Latest

How to find time to read
Burkeman suggests scheduling regular times for reading, but in my experience, you either want to read or you don’t. And even then you want to read this or that; it’s not a coin toss. #words   ·

The rise of the short Irish Story
They might not sell the big numbers, but I’ve always been a fan of the short story, and Ireland’s long produced masters of the form. #words   ·

Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day for March 15: knackered
I always thought this was Irish slang that crossed over. They say it ‘entered English in the late 1800s’ but they don’t cite from where… #words   ·

HTML5 Drum Machine
This is amazing! But it doesn’t work in Chrome. Hmmm. #sound   ·

We got it all on UHF: An oral history of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s cult classic
The AV Club goes deep on this proper cult movie. I was one of the multitudes who discovered it on cable TV, and I’ll still sing its praises (even if it sags in the third act; that Rambo parody goes on far too long). #screen   ·

My Burning Ambulance review of Bosse-de-Nage’s All Fours
My favourite heavy record of 2015 so far. #sound   ·

In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas
This idea that the even the thought of bad things is near if not equivalent to the things themselves is at best ridiculously precious, at worst actually dangerous, and borderline fascist. It’s completely separate from the notion of safe spaces in a society where institutional/cultural discrimination is a real problem, though I don’t quite see the point of getting het up about ‘microaggressions’ (aside from the category error of using specific academic terms in a generic cultural context, who defines such, anywho?) when the credo ‘don’t be a dick’ seems to suffice. (And yes, I recognise my level of privilege as a white male, yet I also recognise that privilege is a network of intersections and mutual confirmations and negations, not a straight-forward pyramid of social strata like class.) #aux   ·

Stewart Lee interview in Mustard comedy mag
A lengthy chat with the rib-tickling funnyman (ha, he’d hate that, wouldn’t he?). Provides a different take on the TMWRNG reissue situation, too. #aux   ·

Unicode Text Converter
Filing this for future reference. #aux   ·

My Thumped live review of the Paul G Smyth/Chris Corsano Duo at the NCH
My thoughts on an evening of non-Euclidean music by two fine improvisers. #sound   ·


Microlog//2015.05.06

How-to guide for traffic management in Cities: Skylines
Which reminds me, I need this game! Hoping it runs on my Mac; don’t mind if I have to turn down all the graphics options. #games   ·

oTranscribe
A free web app “to take the pain out of transcribing recorded interviews”? I’m interested to see how this works, because transcription is a massive pain in the hole, and even the likes of Dragon Dictate only work with a single voice pattern (believe me, I’ve done the research). #aux   ·

Jason Wilson: Paleo isn’t a fad diet, it’s an ideology that selectively denies the modern world
“The paleo diet is premised on a false image of stasis and harmony projected from an entirely arbitrary point in the long history of human evolution.” This is as damning a debunk as you’re ever going to find. #food   ·


Microlog//2015.05.05

Bee’s Thumped review of Pillars of Eternity
My other, better half has been a PC gamer most of her life, so she knows her stuff. #games   ·

Inside the Blade Runner model shop
Some of this model work is detailed in the making-of documentary Dangerous Days but these candid shots of the process are fascinating. #screen   ·

Zoe Quinn’s manifesto for ‘punk games’
Makes sense to me. No reason why you can’t do whatever the hell you damn well like with the medium (like the games collected here); whether it’s any good or not is in the eye of the beholder. Besides, gaming is a manifold of subcultures, just like music. The twats who only play FPSs are like the people who burned disco records in the ’70s; they’re just sore that they’re not the centre of the universe anymore. #games   ·


Microlog//2015.05.04

Video of the Act Yasukawa/Yoshiko ‘Ghastly Match’ incident
Skip to about 3:20 in this highlights clip to see a joshi puroresu match go wrong when one wrestler shoots on her opponent. Fair dues to Act Yasukawa, the victim here, for trying to work it despite the legit injuries to her face. #wrestling   ·

A Richter scale for outages
The downside to seamless technology: when the invisible tech behind it all betrays its hodgepodge nature and gives up the ghost. Going by Matt Webb’s scale, even a 2.0 could have a major human impact in that it could ruin an entire workday (and depending on one’s role and responsibilities, that could cascade disastrously). #aux   ·

Disney’s $1 Billion Bet On A Magical Wristband
The technology behind it is actually rather simple; it’s just an RFID chip in a rubber wristband. But it’s the interconnected, multilayered thinking behind the whole system, the application of the tech in a real-world scenario that tries to account for what would make the experience feel like ‘magic’ for the user — that’s what’s revolutionary. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.04.26

Reporters versus subs - back to an old journalistic demarcation dispute
I get what Greenslade is saying but let’s be clear: reporting and subediting are two very different skills, so ‘swapping jobs’ won’t really achieve the results he desires. #media   ·

Confessions of a creative writing teacher spark internet backlash
Knowing there are people at universities doing actual creative writing degrees who write that badly make me feel pretty good about myself, y’know? It’s not quite schadenfreude but I’m sure there’s a German compound word for it. #words   ·

How Netflix Broke The Unbreakable Spoiler Alert (And How To Fix It)
Rex Sorgatz posits a middle ground between the old model of weekly episodic TV and all-in-one-go binge-watching: one episode released at the same time each day over a number of days. Like how mini-series used to work. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.04.19

Buy now, pay later
Explaining the Irish banking crisis, in typically Irish terms. It’s still pisses me off that we’ve never really learned the lessons of what went down, and we’re bound to repeat it again. No real sense of people pulling together, everyone out for themselves. The upcoming marriage referendum has brought it out again: such an absence of empathy in such a supposedly ‘Christian’ nation; personal ‘conscience’ as an excuse for denying others trumps all. As a people, we’re a sham, we really are. #comment   ·

The word-hoard: Robert Macfarlane on rewilding our language of landscape
The travel writer on the disappearing lexicon that’s specific to the landscape in Britain (and surely Ireland by extension). I did not know, for instance, that forest refers not only to the woods but an area reserved for hunting, regardless of its tree coverage. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.04.13

Seeking feedback on the proposed Liffey Cycle Route options
The public consultation closes this Friday. I’ve gone for option two, which really has the best chance of being realised (option three is better, but a pipe dream in the current climate). #comment   ·

Millions spent but are our streets more cycling friendly?
I don’t know where they’re spending their millions because the answer is a resounding ‘no’. Here’s two simple things that would help immensely: educating motorists that cyclists are allowed to ‘take the lane’, especially when it’s unsafe to keep left; and making sure road surfaces are free of debris and uneven surfaces (poor tarmac laying around shores is just one depressingly regular example, grand for cars but potentially lethal for cyclists). #comment   ·


Microlog//2015.04.12

Star Trek movies (ships only)
Some genius has only gone and edited out everything from the Star Trek movie series bar the bits with starships moving, drifting, droning in space. #screen   ·

Frame of reference
In The New Yorker, John McPhee reminds writers to put the reader first when choosing their references or turns of phrase. Context, yes? [c/o @burn_amb]. #words   ·

How to back up a country
This is kinda crazy near-future sci-fi stuff, but it’s happening, and I suppose it’s appropriate that it’s happening in Estonia, which to me has always represented a mix of technological emancipation and post-Soviet ennui. Or something like that. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.04.11

Your Internet Friends Are Real: A Defense Of Online Intimacy
It’s 2015 and this is still a thing? #aux   ·

What Makes an Electric Guitar Sound Like an Electric Guitar
Or, a concise history of guitar amplification. #sound   ·

Fox Mulder and the Problem of the Romantic Conspiracy Theorist
Erstwhile ‘Nostalgia Chick’ Linsday Ellis on the dangers of irresponsible scepticism that a poorly handled X Files remake might engender. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.03.30

Royal Canal Greenway in Dublin City: First details and images of full route
Looking forward to this, because it’s basically my route into town. It’s a fairly cheap investment, too, considering the landscaping they’ll be doing towards the Docklands end. But five months to complete the project? Considering the Castleknock-to-Ashtown section was delayed by four months over some bullshit land access issue for the electricity supply to the cameras and lights (which are pretty dim. as it happens, and virtually worthless), I think that’s a bit of a pipe dream. (Also, while the towpath’s closed I’ll have to use the roads into town, won’t I? I wouldn’t mind only that Dublin drivers are pricks until proven otherwise.) #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.03.28

YoruFukurou/Night Owl
A native Twitter client for Mac OS X. Trying this out for a while. #aux   ·

Why “Eat Less, Move More” Is the Least Helpful Diet Advice Ever
“Success doesn’t come from willpower, but creating a maintainable, positive feedback loop—a motivation machine that says ‘the results that I get out are worth more than the effort that I’m putting in.’ When it comes to staying motivated and sticking to your fitness program, this is the only thing that really matters.” Bingo. #aux   ·

Planet TV: Seoul Surfing
On some of South Korean TV’s mental programming, along with baseball taking after the Japanese. So it’s always been weird to me that pro wrestling isn’t a thing there. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.03.26

My Thumped review of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Isao Takahata’s first film in 15 years, and maybe his last, is also one of Studio Ghibli’s finest. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.03.25

Why Are There Only 28 Days in February?
Huh. I did not know this before. Suppose I should it this under ‘TIL’ for ‘today I learned’. #aux   ·

How to Make Caramelized Onions in the Microwave
Although it takes about as long as it would to do them on the stovetop, I’m not sure why I’d bother. Still, they are delicious [c/o Lifehacker]. #food   ·

What it’s like to compete in the Chopped kitchen
Decent interview with a past contestant giving a pretty detailed behind-the-scenes at the Food Network’s best show. #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.03.22

Favicons, Touch Icons, Tile Icons, etc. Which Do You Need?
Turns out the answer is ‘all of the above’. I’m gonna need a new favicon file, aren’t I? #aux   ·

Where Was The Windows XP Default Wallpaper Photo Taken?
Weird that the Dutch version of Windows calls it ‘Ireland’; that shade of green is far too bright for this country. #aux   ·

InDesign Secrets: Assigning Default Text Formatting
I ran into an issue the other week where the text box default assumed one of my pullquote styles. I’d draw a frame, say for a headline or body text, paste in the text and voila: exactly the style I didn’t want. I still don’t know how that happened. But this tip helped me reset back to the basic un-styled text. Winner. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.03.20

My Thumped review of Insurgent
“Woodley, alas, is as ligneous as her name. I’m talking Keanu Reeves levels of blank-faced disengagement. Literally the only change she undergoes between the first movie and this one is a haircut. Two movies in now, if she can’t connect with Tris on any emotional level, why the hell should we?” #screen   ·


Microlog//2015.03.17

false starts, true beginnings
“The year is 2015; we don’t quite know what year it is. The notion that 2020 will show up five years from now seems absurd, that ‘10 years ago’ refers to ‘2005’ hardly less so.” Nick Sweeney (from whom I got my Gmail invite in 2004, IIRC) reflects on something that’s been on my own mind as of late. I was in Forbidden Planet yesterday and saw a magazine on the shelves celebrating 20 years since the premiere of Star Trek: Voyager and I was like ‘20 years? What?’ Because it only feels like a decade if even that. But maybe it’s just that as we get older, our sense of time is compressing. #aux   ·

Near-total solar eclipse to darken Irish skies
It’s on 20 March, this Friday morning! I missed the last one, in August 1999, ‘cause I was at work. Weather permitting, I don’t intend to make that mistake again. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.03.16

How To Pitch A Music Editor
Jesus, do people really send such terrible pitches? I need to get my arse in gear. #sound   ·

Cauli gosh: Yotam Ottolenghi’s cauliflower recipes
Yes, yes, it’s the cauliflower/Ottolenghi singularity. But just look at those recipes and tell me your mouth isn’t watering. #food   ·

The man who made Monet: how impressionism was saved from obscurity
I don’t remember learning about Paul Durand-Ruel in my art history class, which is kind of a glaring omission considering how pivotal he was to the impressionists and their movement. #aux   ·


Microlog//2015.03.15

All Dressed Up For Mars And Nowhere to Go
Elmo Keep’s lengthy feature on the Mars One project, which doubles as a definitive explanation for why privatisation is a Bad Thing. I mean, Chris Hadfield doesn’t like it, so that should tell you something. Bonus content: Wikipedia’s Timeline of the far future (something to read if you feel like giving yourself an existential panic attack). #aux   ·

This page is a reverse chronology of recent Microlog entries by MacDara Conroy. To catch future entries, you can follow on Twitter or subscribe to the reader feed. You will find many more past entries going back to 2003 in the Archives →