Recently Observed

Organised, Not Organised Having a digital calendar that I can access on my phone is wonderful. Except when I forget to put things in it. In totally related news, I have a ticket for the next Honeyblood gig (8th Dec) at St.Lukes in Glasgow going spare if anyone wants it… me? I’ll be at the Red Hot Chili Peppers gig that same night. Apple Music still not great As a heavy user of playlists, that’s where my focus is when it comes to choosing between streaming services. In that respect, Spotify is by far the better option. I can put together a new playlist and add tracks to it in a few clicks. Apple Music takes about the same number …

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Weekend Reading

The Drug of Choice for the Age of Kale The day after Apollo 14 landed on the moon, Dennis and Terence McKenna began a trek through the Amazon with four friends who considered themselves, as Terence wrote in his book “True Hallucinations,” “refugees from a society that we thought was poisoned by its own self-hatred”. Proof the human beings will always want to try new things, and we are suckers for being ‘in the know’ about ‘the next big thing’. What Makes Stephen King’s It a Horror Story for the Ages I wasn’t much older than the adolescent heroes of the Loser’s Club the first time I picked up Stephen King’s It. I’m a big fan of Mr. King but …

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New Apple Hardware and Software

Given the upgrade cycle I choose to follow with my phone, this past week saw me get a new iPhone (7), which has a new version of iOS (10), as well as a new Apple Watch (Series II) which itself has a new version of watchOS (3). That’s a lot of new and whilst a lot of the improvements across all of these devices and operating systems are evolutionary in nature, the increments are telling enough for me to notice and adapt my usage accordingly. Thankfully none of the changes are negative and are probably best categorised as ‘positive disruption’. iPhone 7 and iOS 10 I’d been running iOS 10 betas on my iPhone 6 which wasn’t kind to the …

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Single woman walking

Walking home from a gig, late on a balmy evening in the West End of Glasgow, light rain was falling as I and others plodded our way along Great Western Road, disappearing and emerging from lamp light to lamp light. Most people were heading in the opposite direction to me. It’s a nice part of the world, a mix of affluence and well to do university students, all branching off into different areas along Great Western Road, a long straight busy street. It feels, to me, safe. But as I walked I noticed something. Every single woman I walked past did the same thing, I didn’t notice if they did it a few steps away from me or just walked …

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Weekend Reading

Not all men commit abuse against women. But all must condemn it Male violence against women is rife – and it’s getting worse. We need a new, inclusive form of masculinity to eliminate it. The failure of men to speak out about male violence against women and girls renders us all complicit. A (now) long standing argument that I will keep repeating and reading. The Falling Man Do you remember this photograph? In the United States, people have taken pains to banish it from the record of September 11, 2001. The story behind it, though, and the search for the man pictured in it, are our most intimate connection to the horror of that day. I’m amazed how vivid my …

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The Positive Limitations of iPad

I’ve recently made the jump from laptop to tablet as my main ‘home computer’. It sounds dramatic but, for my usage, all this really boils down to is changing my modus operandi from a multi-window to single/duel window way of working. The transition has been pretty straightforward, largely thanks to my slightly over-obsessive desire to only use apps that feature on my phone, tablet and laptop, but also because I’ve moved most of my working files to the cloud. The main driver behind this switch was screen resolution. My MacBook Air has a low (by Apple standards) resolution 13″ screen and whilst hooking it up to a secondary monitor was ok, I found it constantly jarring to have my main …

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Weekend Reading

How Japan went crazy for KitKats Photos: How Japan went crazy for KitKats Having recently tried some of these, the Wasabi one was delicious (seriously!) Life I am in Waterstones, pushing my son in his pram. We are on the hunt for an indestructible book, because my son has destroyed all his books so completely he might be a book-Terminator sent back from some anti-book future. Suddenly, a woman comes up and asks how much I charge. Prejudice everywhere. I think what stuns me most is how little ‘these people’ think, such are their fixed ideas of their world. Sad. Angry-making. A year after Aylan Kurdi’s tragic death, the world is still numb to the Syrian refugee crisis One year …

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Weekend Reading

The Most Exclusive Restaurant in America The first time Jeffrey Merrihue came across the name Damon Baehrel, he was amazed that he hadn’t heard of him. “I didn’t understand how the secret had been kept,” Merrihue said recently. “The people I go around with, it’s hard for us to find something that is genuinely unique and new.” I wonder what the Yelp reviews are like? Can smiling make you happier? Maybe. Maybe not. We have no idea In the spring of 2013, a 63-year-old social psychologist in Wurzburg, Germany, made a bold suggestion in a private email chain. A wonderfully sprawling article that, ultimately, you can just ignore (but do read!). In the rural Pacific Northwest, prepping for the day …

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