Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

Date: September 2011

Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops

Related to the previous entry. I'm convinced that when people are confronted with the real-time effects of their behaviour in an open setting (such as with dynamic speed displays, which are pretty common here) it does prompt a change for the better. #link

Eating Your Cultural Vegetables

My view? There's nothing wrong with being a dilettante if you engage faithfully with the things you pick and choose. Also, the distinction must be made between things that people like because they're good, albeit an acquired taste, and things that everyone says they like but are really rubbish. But yeah, that thing about missing the last episode of Treme? I dropped off The Wire before the end of season 4, and I've just kept missing that train ever since. #link

The Kid Should See This

The best of the web curated for children. If teachers aren't finding a way to use this in classrooms post-haste... #link

'Nobody Uses Their Real Name' and Other Outdated Notions

"The idea that the internet is a place that’s separate from reality has faded. People generally have online identities that map to who they really are. Outside of a few legitimate edge cases and the occasional sci-fi fantasy, who we are online is simply who we are." True, true. Yet I still think there's a place for pseudonyms. I think most people forget that there are genuine reasons why some people don't want to be easily identified (describing them as 'edge cases' characterises them as being less common than I suspect they really are). And the case of Google+ is such an important one because of its integration with other services (e-mail, calendar, etc) that have little-to-nothing to do with identity as such. #link

The Weather Wheel

Comparing world cities by temperature, precipitation and wind speed. Yep, Dublin's pretty cold alright [c/o Kottke]. #link


tep-by-step tutorials in programming basics. Looks inviting. #link

Bootstrap, from Twitter

"Bootstrap is a toolkit from Twitter designed to kickstart development of webapps and sites." This looks great; thanks, Twitter. #link

Unedited Thoughts About Technology Better Left Unposted

Co-signed. There's no reason why Apple has to be the only company making stuff that everyone wants. Why isn't the Android platform on a level pegging with iPhone apps? Just get it done already so the rest of us can buy cheap tablets and join in the future party. #link

Rhodia Writing Pads

I've just started using a No 16 (yellow grid) with a cover and pen loop and I love it already. It's so much lighter (and cheaper) than the Moleskine I was using, and the paper quality is more suited to my tastes, too (I use a Pilot G-2, which used to bleed and smear on the Moleskine but writes with a finer, drier line on the Rhodia). Plus when I'm finished, I just swap in a new pad -- no more worries about filling my pages with nonsense. #link

Muphry's Law

'If you write anything criticising editing or proofreading, there will be a fault in what you have written.' Guilty. #link

The Game Design of Everyday Things: Everyday Gaming

Interesting thoughts from Tom Armitage. But to add my own: there's a fine line between "designing games to fit into the fabric of everyday lives", and having those games become a chore, making me feel guilty for not playing (I'm looking at you, Animal Crossing). #link

Five myths about Africa

The commenters are right: you can't judge the whole continent based on the South Africa experience alone. But it's important to talk about these things, as there are obvious kernals of universal truth (there is loads of money in Africa, for instance, but it's being spent on weapons and backhanders, not food). #link

Sweden’s space port

"Kiruna has few natural resources beyond a rich vein of iron ore stretching more than a mile below the ground. It’s not a skiing destination, and there are few cultural attractions. There’s an ample supply of reindeer, but otherwise little charismatic wildlife. Yet the town has been gifted with something less tangible: a willingness to bet on seemingly crazy ideas -- and brilliant marketing." #link

Recipe for Maccabee salad

Stuck for something to have for dinner the other evening, and realising we had a tub of Greek yogurt and some leftover feta in the fridge that needed using, Bee and I improvised this quick bean salad which turned out to be very delicious indeed. It’s the gherkins that give it that special kick, I think.

We had it with steamed chicken and mangetout, but it would be equally good with fusilli as a pasta salad. Serves three or four, depending on how greedy you are.


Every Final Destination Death (1-4)

So you never have to see any of the actual movies. NSFW, or for anyone of a nervous disposition (even though so many of these situations would simply not happen, being physically impossible). #link

Roger Ailes and the rise of Fox News

"To watch even a day of Fox News -- the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that is held to the same standard of evidence as a political campaign attack ad -- is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican party ... Ailes has used Fox News to pioneer a new form of political campaign -- one that enables the Republican party to bypass sceptical reporters and wage an around-the-clock, partisan assault on public opinion. The network, at its core, is a giant soundstage created to mimic the look and feel of a news operation, cleverly camouflaging political propaganda as independent journalism." The rest is even worse. What a scumbag. #link