Weekly Digest for Sunday 1st December

Hard to believe it’s not just the last month of the year, but the last of this decade. Winter has set in Glasgow and the last couple of days have been really cold. If we do have a cold spell it will really impact the election which is now next week. One of our most important votes could be greatly influenced by the weather. Sigh.

Fact checkers

This election more than ever depends on fact checking services. Every party says they are right, the others are wrong and there facts and figures are correct. The tories rebranding their own twitter account during a leaders head to head was a new low. Quite rightly there was outrage and Twitter themselves gave them a yellow card. I was amazed at first but then they got away with it, talked themselves out of it and people generally shrugged their shoulders. Wow. Now Google have banned 8 conservative adverts. Our campaigning is getting dirtier.

Hate Speech and Fakes

One of the biggest distributors of “fake news” is Facebook. Unlike others they are refusing to police political adverts. Step forward Sacha Baron Cohen who delivered a withering speech this week on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s “bullshit” arguments against regulating his platform. It’s a half hour watch but its really worth your time. There’s something about comedians in the way they can deliver a message…no bullshit, no reason to not offend. Brilliant.

Annoying Noise

I find background noise at work so fecking annoying. Other’s, not so much. So I found this BBC article on background noise really interesting. I work in an open plan office and find some noises drive me up the wall. Thank goodness for AirPods. However the article breaks down the reasons why certain noises affect some more than others. I blame my introverted tendencies.

Getting Old

When do you become old? As I’m no closer to 50 than 40 (shudder) then this research says that old is over 70 and I’m in a limbo group…neither young nor middle aged. All I do know is that I’m feeling older and my pension seems a long way a way.

Streaming Wars

Not video streaming…games. Google launched Stadia 2 weeks ago and Digital Foundry have a good summary of what works and doesn’t. I tried it over the last few days via a buddy code so it wasn’t in 4K and not via a controller but I was pleasantly surprised. I played Destiny 2 in 1080p in a browser on the Mac. It was quick to launch and also didn’t need any installs. The graphics felt soft compared to Xbox One X but I was playing a full screen 1080p feed on a 5k screen so of course it wouldn’t look as sharp. The big test was control lag….and it was hard to spot any even during a multiplayer game. Not perfect but I was impressed. Not enough for me to sign up and ditch the console but a good start from Google.

Giri/Haji

Not seen this talked about much but I’ve loved Giri/Haji on BBC 2. Great cast, inventive story and even some Manga on the BBC. All episodes on iPlayer and the last episode is broadcast next week. Well worth catching if you’ve missed it so far.

Lists

It’s the end of the decade so there are many best of lists doing the rounds. This post does a great job of pulling together all the best off’s as they are published although any best of movie list that doesn’t have Mad Max:Fury Road can be ignored 😉

Weekly Digest for Sunday 17th November

Turned 46 this past week. Shit’s getting real.

Glasgow University with Dumgoyne and the hills in the background. What a morning

The Daft Prince

What drove Prince Andrew to do that interview? Emily Maitlis skewered him with ease, his PR advisor has quit yet despite the obvious lies he stands by it. What a mess.

Too Easy

Really important reporting from the New York Times on the ease with which child abuse images can spread online. Encryption protects us as internet users but also makes it easier for those that want to avoid being caught. It’s a difficult balancing act and Facebook are doing more than others. Feels like legislation will eventually have to hold tech companies to account and force them to do more. The scarier part was how search engines can be used to find these images. Surely that can be dealt with?

Who was Kenyan man who fell into London garden?

Great reporting from Sky as they investigate the case of the man who fell from a plane in London earlier this year. We take so much for granted in our day to day life’s that don’t force us into desperate acts like this.

Gaming’s next step?

Heard of FaZe clan? For non gamers probably not until the recent story of a young UK guy getting a life ban from Fortnite for cheating. This article shows how clans are evolving into YouTube, lifestyle and merchandise. Seems bizarre to me but I’m now an old man so what do I know?

The Mandalorian

Disney+ launched this last week unless you are in the UK. Having acquired the first two episodes of The Mandalorian I watched an hour of TV that feels closest to the original Star Wars than anything else since Return of the Jedi. Stunning to look at, a soundtrack thats growing on me and a good mix of action, humour and drama. A streaming service off to a strong start despite the technical difficulties. Watch it before you get spoiled. I have spoken.

The Mandalorian

Glasgow Newsagents

The Guardian profiled Will Knights sketches of Glasgow newsagents. Lovely article and I’ve shopped in many of them – Barrett’s in Byres Road was a great magazine stockist back in the day, Tabak a great wee shop and Park Dairy was my local newsagent for 30 years except it was in Gray Street not Derby Street. Details. Sadly these wee newsagents are a dying breed. You can see a lot more sketches on Knights website. Stunning work.

I Am Railing

Who’d have thought it. Sir Rod Stewart is a model railway enthusiast and his setup is epic. The detail is superb and he’s been working on it for 23 years! The best bit was he called into the Jeremy Vine show live after the host questioned how much he had built himself. Love it.

Weekly Digest for Sunday 3rd November

As if politics wasn’t bonkers enough it’s election time again in the UK. This will achieve nothing methinks but the next 6 weeks will be interesting. I don’t think we’ve seen as many potential new faces in Parliament in years…I just hope there aren’t any Brexit Party faces.

Autumn in Perthshire is hard to beat

30 Year Timelapse

I do love a good timelapse. Capturing 1000’s of images and assembling into a short video, or speeding up some normal speed video, is something I like to do. I often spot more this way than I would do on a normal video. However Joe DiGiovanna is going above and beyond by capturing a timelapse over 30 years. A unique idea that I hope he achieves…and I live to see!

DSLR vs iPhone

As phones have become more camera than phone the gap between “proper camera’s” and phones have narrowed. As this tour of Scotland shows it can be really hard to tell an iPhone picture now. Partly it’s down to lens improvement but it’s also the smarts that a phone add’s to a picture. In most cases multiple shots with various settings are captured when you click the shutter button capturing an image that better reflects what your eye can see. Compare that to a proper camera which will capture one image, will need to have various dials and settings changed to optimise the image and it’s no wonder the gap is disappearing. 

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ launched this past Friday. A small number of shows are available and there have been mixed reviews so far. Wired have a great write up on For All Mankind which is one of the shows launching this week. While this is the only show I have a slight interest in, it’s not enough for me to try even the free trial. I think the problem for Apple is that the shows don’t have any “must see” appeal for me. There is so much good content on at the moment that the last thing I, or anyone, needs is another streaming station. Apple have smartly given anyone buying a new device a free year of streaming. I’ll maybe give it a try next year when there’s something worth watching.

For Fracks Sake

Late Friday, just days after agreeing an election, the tories ban fracking in the UK. What bollocks. The Scottish government have long kicked fracking into touch which has drawn scorn from the tories in Scotland. Wonder what they will say now? I’m also convinced that some polling data has shown that the tories are sensitive to losing seats over this…and I’ve no doubt that if they do stay in power there will be some new piece of data or evidence to allow fracking to commence. Never trust a politician, especially Tory ones.

Some Assembly Required

Richard Parry has an amazing set of images showing the assembly of some well known tech products over the ages. This Verge interview shows how Parry puts the images together. I was convinced these were illustrations but they are photographs – stunning. The full series can be seen on Parry’s Instagram site.

Dreamcast assembly – photo by Richard Parry

Make Your Own Emoji

Ever wonder how to make your own official Emoji? Here’s a story of how Jay Peters spent two years submitting proposals for new emoji which were approved and are now available. Yawning face is one of my new emoji fav’s.

Meet Memo

Love this story on Memo. Hard work, never giving up. If only more of us could follow those rules.

Weekly Digest for Sunday 20th October

Autumn has finally hit Glasgow. Colder mornings, shorter days but some glorious colour out there. Autumn into winter is probably my favourite season so looking forward to getting out some more with the camera and drone.

Autumn has come to Glasgow.

This is also the first of my digest posts in a long time. I’ve missed doing them but I had become jaded with them, and I think part of the reason is I’d automated much of the posting and it turned into another task on the list. I missed the crafting, curation and writing each week. Instead it was an iOS shortcut plus adding a couple of lines to get the post pushed out.

So trying something a bit different with the return of these posts. Less linkage and a bit more hand cranked and aiming but not forcing myself into doing it every week. So with that, on to the links.

INEOS 1:59 Challenge

Chris mentioned this a few days before saying he’d be watching Eliud Kipchoge hopefully break the 2 hour barrier for a marathon. I’d no real intention of watching live but in retrospect, I’m so glad I did. It wasn’t just seeing Kipchoge meet his goal but the sheer joy of his fellow athletes as they realised that he’d done it. These aren’t any old athletes either – they are all world class athletes from 1500m upwards and seeing that kind of emotion from them is so rare. I don’t mind admitting to shedding a little joyful tear after he crossed the line.

Kipchoge breaks the 2 hour barrier for a marathon

Of course there’s controversy. It wasn’t a race, he had pace setters, he was protected throughout and he was wearing shoes that a few athletes have now raised concerns about. No matter…for me this is up there with Bannister and other athletic feats over the years. If you are interested in finding out more about the challenge this short documentary series is worth spending an hour on.

Gender Gap

The gender gap has been news for years and while progress has been made it’s still “a thing”. This report in the HBR breaks the data down into 6 pretty jaw dropping charts. Progress is stagnating especially in the last couple of years. One of the biggest gaps is in politics. Western Europe is leading the way thanks to smaller countries like Iceland, Nordic countries and Ireland. The real kicker is that it will be 108 years for women to see parity with men across the globe. To think I heard a colleague dismiss the gender gap as nonsense only a few weeks ago. Sigh.

Modern Science

I read this shaking my head for the most of it – Meet the wounded veteran who got a penis transplant. Not in disgust or annoyance but at the wonders of todays medical science and the impact it can have on people. Great read, probably my favourite this week.

Best Wildlife Photographs of 2019

National Geographic Have announced their best wildlife photographs of 2019. The images are stunning although my favourites isn’t the winner but the photo of 5000 penguins trying to keep warm.

Huddle

Just Delete Me

More and more people are looking to leave services like Facebook and Twitter but finding it a bit tricky. Step forward Just Delete Me. The site allows you to search for the service you want to quit and will link you to the relevant page to start your deletion. Biggest shock were some of the difficult services, looking at you Adobe, but also the ones marked as impossible. A good list of services to avoid.

Analogue Pocket

Game emulation has never been more popular. Once it was an underground scene but now thanks to Nintendo and Sony it’s a legitimate revenue stream. It’s also a big digital market on consoles thanks to remakes or just a great way to remember the glory days of Space Harrier or F-Zero. Analogue Pocket is an upcoming handheld console that not only lets you play Gameboy or Gameboy Advance cartridges but also Game Gear and Atari Lynx plus others.

Analogue Pocket – gorgeous

It’s out in 2020 for $199 and I really want one. Plus a Playdate.

Succession

My favourite show of the year was Succession. Season 2 finished on Monday and if you’ve watched it you’ll love this article at the NYT where the writer Jesse Armstrong discusses the finale. Only read once you’ve watched it as there are spoilers. The worst thing about the finale was realising it’s a year before the next series.

Monthly Digest?

Life
Still not sure what to do with these posts, so here’s a bumper one that has a few weeks worth of links.

Media
Leave No Trace – loved this, one of best films I’ve watched in a while
BlacKKKlansman – great story but found the film didn’t know what it was in places
First Man – well made and great acting
Widows – good film, fell a little towards the end

Links

The Post FKA Weekly Digest

2 weeks. That how long I lasted. Although I said I’d be retiring my weekly posts I’ve missed doing them over the last few days. So don’t call it a comeback but there will be some sort of wrap-up appearing on the site going forward.

Media
Searching – really enjoyed this. Good twists although a couple were sign posted early on.

Manhunt – even though based on real life events and knowing the outcome, this was well made and acted by all.

Brexit:The Uncivil War – enjoyed it but it still feels like it was too early for this.

Apple in 2019
There’s always speculation around Apple and it’s unannouced products but 2019 has taken on increased importance. After the surprise downgrade in it’s sales forecast many are now wondering what’s next for Apple. While this is unheard of in Apple’s recent history the signs were there that iPhone sales had peaked. Smartphone saturation, increased costs, devices lasting ever longer and a sense that Apple devices were no longer “the best” to justify the premium. I’ve seen many posts saying Cook needs to come up with the next new category to drive Apple forward like AR glasses or a car but I disagree.

Apple need to do a Microsoft. Become more open, offer more services, stop locking content to only their hardware…and look to offer better value for money or start to innovate over and above their competitors. For more on why Apple got into this position and what they can do next read either Ben Thomson or MG Siegler for great analysis on what’s next for Apple.

Andy Murray
Watching Andy Murray’s press conference from the Australian Open was pretty hard. This is Scotlands greatest sportsman having to give up what he loves as his body has let him down.

I really liked this post on his career from The Independent but that was trumped today by The National’s Open Love Letter. Murray has provided so many great sporting moments and had a wonderful career but worth also remembering his support for women throughout his career. Still love the “male player” and withering “mmmmmmmm” when talking to this American journalist. He’ll be sorely missed in British sport and I hope he can finish at this years Wimbledon.

What a mess
Politics in both Britain and America are in such a mess. One breath of fresh air is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She is fire and I love that she makes mistakes but admits them. She also uses social media better than most. One to watch.

And one we can’t stop watching is brexist. This topic has dominated UK politics for too long and it’s still clear the country is split. The mood is perfectly captured by Marina Hyde. I only hope the vote on Tuesday will move things on, and hopefully for the better. Brexit is such a car crash.

Open Web
RSS has been one of the open web’s success stories. So I was pretty pissed when I read about it’s demise on Motherboard. While Google Reader was abandoned many years ago I still get most of my news via RSS and the services that replaced Google Reader offer many more features than Google ever did.

RSS is also at the heart of the podcast industry and means podcasts can be heard anywhere in any client on any platform although some companies are trying to change that. What surprised me recently is that the BBC have moved one of their podcasts, Fortunately, to be only available via the BBC Sounds app. Really disappointed in the BBC and hopefully they will reconsider this over time.

Weekly Digest

Life
It really is Christmas Eve and this is the last update for the year. Hopefully this post finds you well and I wish you all the best for the rest of the holidays and into 2019.

This is a bumper update too…and may be the last for a while so enjoy.

Media
Red Dead Redemption 2 – Single player completed. Chris described it as a Tour de Force and I can’t disagree. A truly believable world that is so rich both graphically and due to the characters and their stories. The game isn’t without it’s issues including some predictable missions and also some repeating gameplay elements…and some not very intelligent enemies in some missions but these are minor niggles. This is the first single player game I’ve completed in years and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cobra Kai – cheesy as hell, terrible acting, bad writing but some funny moments

The Predator – not the best, just watch the original instead.

Links

Weekly Digest

Life
Tree’s up – Christmas is here. Almost. Is it only me thats looking forward to a crazy week in politics?

Media
Venom – Load of shite. What a waste of a great cast. Better off just being an animated movie.

Red Dead 2 – 68% through story mode…closing in on the finish and still loving it.

Links

Weekly Digest

Life
It’s December. Christmas is coming…can finally have a mince pie. If only this Brexit nonsense wasn’t still an issue.

Media
Rewatched Dunkirk in 4k. Stunning. Visuals are strong but it’s the audio – so impacting.

Red Dead Online – mmm. Not convinced by this so far. Feels a bit sluggish to play. Still ploughing through single player and loving it.

Links

Weekly Digest

Life
Whats worse – Brexit or Black Friday? Both topics dominating the news and my inbox. Enough already.

Media
Battlefield V – more of the same in many ways but the tweaks to how your squad works makes it for me. Stunning to look at too.

Red Dead – Still ploughing through it…still loving it.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado – Not as good as the original though I loved the sound and visuals.

Links