Matthew Lang

Freelance web developer specialising in Ruby on Rails

May 13th, 2021 · 1 post

Netflix is making two sequels to Knives Out and they're now confirming some of the cast. And yes, Daniel Craig, will return as Detective Benoit Blanc in both sequels. I loved the first movie. Looking forward to this!
Permalink / Tags: movies, Netflix

May 12th, 2021 · 2 posts

Another week, another thing I forgot to put in the calendar and completely forgot. It's official. I need to write more stuff down. In fact, I probably need to write almost everything down.

Is it time for a new Repulican party?

The GOP is continuing its move to always side with Trump.
In this, Cheney is hardly alone. At the national and state level, Republicans who challenged Trump’s Big Lie — ranging from Sen. Mitt Romney (UT) all the way down to a member of the Michigan State Board of Canvassers — have either been formally punished or publicly rebuked. The party may not agree on much internally nowadays, but on this point, they march in lockstep: Trump’s falsehoods about the election must not be challenged.

The Big Lie is the GOP’s one and only truth
It makes you wonder if it's time for a new Republican party.
Permalink / Tags: US politics

May 11th, 2021 · 6 posts

As nice as the Jumpstart Rails application is and all the feature it includes, I'm finding the new annual pricing a little on the expensive side. I think I may start building my own template and use that for new applications.
Permalink / Tags: Rails, web development

Permalink / Tags: apps, productivity

Apple back in court in the UK

On top of the court case against Epic, Apple is now facing another court case, this time in the UK. Apple is accused of over-charging people for the apps in their App Store.
The tech company has been accused of deliberately shutting out the competition in the store and forcing people to use its own payment processing system, generating “excessive” profits for itself in the process.

The claim, which is being brought on behalf of potentially millions of Apple users in the UK, has been filed in the competition appeal tribunal and calls for Apple to repay UK customers it says have been overcharged because of the company’s practices, with damages of up to £1.5bn being sought.

It says as many as 19.6 million UK users could be eligible for compensation.

Apple accused of breaking UK competition law by overcharging for apps
As an Apple user of some years now, it's only recently that I've seen the argument against the use of a single App Store that is controlled by Apple.

Is it safer? Undoubtedly. Sometimes though, it might be too safe given the fickle approval process that apps must go through when developers submit new or updated apps to the App Store. Also the 

What would happen though if developers could submit to stores other than Apple's own App Store? Maybe they could even run their own stores. I would definitely think twice before buying an app through an alternative store though.
Permalink / Tags: Apple

Plan the work

A reminder from Adam Keys that planning is a key step of the work.
Planning the work is an essential part of doing the work. An ambitious but uncertain 6-month idea becomes an ambitious but plausible plan in steps. Make a 90-day plan by breaking it into chunks. Organize them into a coherent fraction of the 6-month idea. Make trade-offs to decide what’s most important or risky. Start on the first thing. Rinse and repeat.

Planning focuses our ideas
It's amazing how many things end up slipping through the cracks when you don't plan. 
Permalink / Tags: productivity

Permalink / Tags: Nicholas Bate

The hush of interstellar space

 After several months of combing through the data with a finer and finer-toothed comb, I noticed a faint line in the PWS spectrum, which appeared to follow the plasma frequency and persisted for almost three years, beginning in 2017 and ending with the most recent publicly available data. This plasma line was unlike anything I'd seen before, extremely narrowband and so weak that it was only detectable in the absence of plasma oscillation events. Anxious to determine whether this signal was real or some kind of noise artifact, we consulted with the PWS PI Don Gurnett and Co-I Bill Kurth at the University of Iowa, who performed independent checks of the data and confirmed the validity of our detection. After much discussion with our colleagues at U. Iowa about the origin of this faint plasma line, we concluded that this signal could be used to infer the plasma frequency. For the first time, we were able to regularly trace the plasma distribution of the very local interstellar medium over almost 10 AU of interstellar space, with a spatial resolution less than 0.05 AU.

— Voyager 1 hears the hush of interstellar plasma
I think it's amazing that the Voyager 1 probe, launched in the same year as I was born, is still relaying information back home and pushing the limits of what we know about the universe around.
Permalink / Tags: Voyager 1, space, NASA

May 2nd, 2021 · 2 posts

Trying something a bit different tonight, chicken parm in marinara sauce and mozzarella.
Permalink / Tags: food, cooking

Going back to Apple’s own apps

Over the last few weeks, I've been gradually moving back to using some of Apple's apps. In particular, I'm talking about Calendar, Notes and Reminders.

In the past, I've used the Fantastical app for scheduling, but with the thought of an upcoming subscription renewal hitting my wallet, I decided to try and move back to Apple's own app, Calendar.

Okay, so it lacks a few features that Fantastical has, but I can create as many calendars as I want and share them quickly enough if needed. That's all I need.

As for note-talking, I was a long-time subscriber to the Bear app. Even now, I still think it's a great app to use for note-taking, but I started to find that I wasn't using it as much.

With Apple's Notes app, I have folders as pinned notes available, and sharing folders and notes with others is easy.

Last but not least, the Reminders app. I was using Basecamp primarily as a task manager, but I realised it was overkill for my requirements. Last week, I migrated the last of my to-do lists over to Reminders.

The common blocker with each of the apps I have migrated away from is getting others to use them when you share something. If you want others to use the same app, they usually have to install the same app. And even if you do manage to do that, there's no guarantee that person will find it easy to use.

Apple's apps usually don't have the feature set or polish that their competing apps have. What they do offer is just enough features to get by. They also make their apps simple enough to use that many people just run with them and don't even consider looking at alternatives.

As for Apple's other apps, some alternatives are the better option for me.
  • Overcast is far too good a podcast app to consider me switching.
  • Hey continues to be my preferred email app.
  • Cardhop is an excellent alternative to Contacts.
  • Hello Weather is a valuable forecast app.
  • Spotify is still my go-to music streaming app.
Maybe in the future, another app will appear that will catch my eye, or perhaps I'll outgrow Apple's default apps. For the moment, they're ideal for me to be getting on with things.

Permalink / Tags: Apple, apps

Apr 29th, 2021 · 1 post

Trying to find the positive

I'm struggling to find the positive in any form of any publishing platform these days, my blog included.

The Basecamp policy change has highlighted how volatile and quick to react Twitter is. Couple that with the generally negative posts that I see on Twitter, I will start distancing myself from Twitter once again. I'll be scaling back who I am following down to the absolute minimum. remains a more positive place to be than Twitter, but even here, I've been mostly inactive. As for my blog, it remains mainly static also.

I would love to change this, but my interest in being online in any form remains low.

Permalink / Tags: blogging, Twitter

Apr 27th, 2021 · 2 posts

I want to use HEY World, but I don't think I have anything that I would consider suitable for it. Everything has and will continue to come through my blog first.

If I had a niche topic that I wanted to build an audience around though, I would definitely use HEY World.
Permalink / Tags: Hey, writing, email

MacStories has everything you need to know about Apple's iOS and iPadOS 14.5 release. 
Permalink / Tags: Apple, iOS

Apr 3rd, 2021 · 1 post

Perfect end to Saturday

Is there anything better than coming home to lemoncello mojitos and pineapple chicken tacos?

Apr 2nd, 2021 · 1 post

Boys night

Me and my sons hit the golf course tonight for a few holes. Good practice for me for my first Saturday medal of the season tomorrow. I definitely need it more than my boys do!
Permalink / Tags: golf, Paisley Golf Club

Apr 1st, 2021 · 1 post

Summer here we come

We’ve got the drinks, the food and the weather is getting better. Here’s to many summer nights sitting in the garden.

Mar 18th, 2021 · 1 post

Walking again

We’re getting a bit more daylight now, so me and Jen have started up our mid-week walks again. Lockdown or not, we’re going to keep this going.
Permalink / Tags: walks, spring

Mar 16th, 2021 · 1 post

Master & Commander, a masterpiece

I completely agree with Michael Wade. Master & Commander is a masterpiece.

I never got round to seeing Master & Commander at the cinema. If I'm honest, I don't even remember much of seeing Master & Commander being advertised at all at the time. I do regret not seeing it on the big screen, but at home, maybe with a good set of headphones, it is as close to the cinema experience as I'll ever get.

It's definitely one of my favourite movies of all time.
Permalink / Tags: movies, Master & Commander, Michael Wade

Mar 15th, 2021 · 1 post

Some class golf over the weekend

Last night's final round of The Players Championship was a fantastic watch and highly entertaining. A great win for Justin Thomas, although I was disappointed for Lee Westwood. I would have loved for him to have won. The cherry on the cake was Helen, Lee's fiancee and caddie, collecting the 18th flag for Justin Thomas.

A great display of sportsmanship and respect. I can't wait for The Masters now.
Permalink / Tags: golf, the players, Justin Thomas, Lee Westwood