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


Tiny helpers

A collection of free single-purpose online tools for web developers (and potentially tinkerers like me). #link

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Recipe for vegan mapo tofu

I also need to try this, although I’ve decided I only really like tofu when it’s either crunchy on the outside, or pillowy and melt-in-the-mouth. So we’ll see how this goes. #link

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Recipe for pure maple candy

I made this a few weeks ago, and the second time it turned out great. The first was botched due to poor-grade, almost bitter syrup (thanks but no thanks, Aldi) and issues with bringing the syrup up to temperature. Second attempt, I used a bigger pot for the two bottles’ worth; I took it a little higher than the recipe suggests, up to soft ball stage on our sugar thermometer. And I didn’t bother adding nuts. The mixture went in a silicone bread loaf mould to cool and I just chopped it into squares a few hours later. Also, it actually tastes better the day after you make it. #link

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Matt Webb: How would I improve RSS? Three ideas

We all know RSS was killed off by the double-whammy of Google shuttering Reader (for no real reason) and Facebook becoming the de facto walled garden for the majority of people online (finally realising the promise of AOL!). But it also never died. My blog has been consistently publishing a feed since the early days, although some backend SSL issues with my domain mean it’s not currently validating. But! You can subscribe to it just fine with NetNewsWire, which I’ve returned to after a few years with Feedly (which is also good, but it no longer recognises my feed, so…) and with which I’m rebuilding my ‘blogroll’. I’d also love the option to send newsletters from my Gmail inbox to NNW, but not enough to pay Feedbin $5 a month for it, sorry. #link

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Model Metropolis

On the dark side of SimCity: “Behind one of the most iconic computer games of all time is a theory of how cities die—one that has proven dangerously influential.” #link

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Maciej Cegłowski on ‘the siege of Carrie Lam’

“Carrie Lam is a Theresa May-like figure who seems to thrive on a performative stoicism, standing firm in the face of a self-inflicted crisis that a more capable politician would simply wiggle out of. She is a tragic figure in the same way that a pilot who points the nose of the aircraft at a mountain and refuses to listen to the passengers screaming for her to turn is a tragic figure. You puzzle over her motives while also wishing that someone, anyone, would throw her out of the plane.” Great analysis here on the protest the west has seemingly put behind it (because if the markets are untroubled…). #link

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Boris Johnson, Shady SEO Master?

This kind of ‘reputation management’ is clearly awful but makes perfect sense, and reminds me of an article I read recently about what I believe was the US agricultural giant Cargill, and how it uses SEO tricks to keep its bad press buried on the web, but which I now cannot find (touché). #link

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Trial by Fire

Bee shared this one with me, from 10 years ago: a quietly furious tale of prejudice where pride — in one’s self-appointed expertise (in this case, junk science about arson investigations), in one’s convictions (the failings of eyewitness testimony), whatever it may be — comes before truth and justice. #link

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Beatbox by rhythmo

A semi-DIY, part-cardboard drum machine that promises to be “super affordable”? I’m interested. Let’s see when the crowdfunding campaign launches. #link

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Metadata is the biggest little problem plaguing the music industry

It’s bad enough that music is missing the richness of metadata to give listeners context and background for recordings (streaming services don’t even come with high-res original artwork, for crying out loud) but when it means the artists themselves aren’t even getting paid? Well, we shouldn’t be so surprised; the music industry hasn’t been about supporting its artists for many years, if it ever was. #link

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How can you tell that an Irish person’s successful? The media starts calling them British

“‘Britishness’ is, essentially, a slightly less nationalistic way for English people to declare how great England is, while deploying a meagre fig-leaf of imperial distance which, for some reason, they find more palatable. This allows the English to combine a heartfelt conviction of their own popularity, with a reflexive, toddler-like joy in grabbing things that don’t quite belong to them; and also enables their pesky habit of cheerily rendering ‘British’ anything else that isn’t nailed down, like countries, museum treasures and, latterly, Irish celebs.” Plenty more choice quotes where this came from. (Though we should probably like cricket more, especially considering how well we’re playing at Lord's right now.) #link

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Extreme-Music Pioneer Weasel Walter in Back Catalog (and Beyond)

There I was thinking to myself, I wonder if anyone’s done a round-up of Weasel Walter’s multi-faceted musical catalogue? Of course they have, and props to Brad Cohan for a great one. Now, should I pitch something along the lines of ‘Weasel Walter’s No Wave picks’? #link

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The Day the Music Burned

“The vault fire was not, as UMG suggested, a minor mishap, a matter of a few tapes stuck in a musty warehouse. It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business.” #link

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WWE Is Trying To Defuse Its Own History With A Storyline

Lots of unpack here in this enlightening essay on the Kofi Kingston storyline headed into WrestleMania 35 this weekend. It highlights one of WWE’s worst aspects, which confirms that while you can take the show out of the carnival, you can’t take the carny out of the show. And to add: Kofi has long been ignored as one of WWE’s biggest assets. He’s a rare commodity in being a natural babyface, an underrated performer, and someone who’s been absolutely over with kids for the last decade. The company massively dropped the ball when he got his last main event push a million years ago; it would add insult to that injury to do the same this time around. #link

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Pure CSS

Diana Smith’s art made in the medium of CSS and HTML. Very impressive. By the way, this is from my MeFi favourites, where I occasionally save stuff that interests me. #link

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