Published stuff

For TapSmart this week, I outlined why it doesn’t matter there are no folding iPhones and iPads yet. Naturally, lots of folks think Apple is behind the curve, but I’m not sure it is. These devices are fragile and insanely expensive. They might be the future – or at least a future – but right now I don’t think Apple desperately needs to enter the folding device market. Also for TapSmart this week, my lightning fast Mac buyer’s guide 2024.

Over at Stuff, I ask: Would a Gemini AI iPhone 16 be Awfully Impressive or Annoyingly Insidious? As ever, this is a meticulously researched, very grounded, and entirely sensible take on the subject. Cough.

Also for Stuff, I explore a Dungeons & Dragons Lego set you need a dragon’s hoard to afford, along with remembering the excellent Nokia 3210 at 25.

Finally, something a bit more serious for this blog: some brief personal thoughts on Apple and regulatory fights.

Upcoming stuff

A couple of goodies arrived this week for articles I’m working on. One was a GameSir G8, which is reportedly the best stretchy controller for mobile. I’ll be digging into that for a piece on AAA mobile gaming. 

I also received an Atari 400 Mini, in a rather lovely box. It recalled 1970s wallpaper, but unfortunately had the weakest magnetic catch ever. So the first thing my review unit did was tumble out of said box, skid across the floor and end up under some shelves. Fortunately, these mini consoles are bulletproof, and so I’ll be exploring this one for my Stuff column next weekend. 

Other stuff

My social feeds have been full of people grumbling about daylight savings, and that’s set to kick off again next week when UK clocks change. But I love it. (The clocks changing – not the grumbling.) In an instant, we’ll go from sunset around 18:30 to 19:30, meaning I’ll be able to start playing football in the street with my daughter after dinner again. I’m half surprised the Brexit mob didn’t force us on to GMT all year, but that possible future still nags at me, not least because DST is being attacked everywhere. Hopefully it will never happen.

Political commentator Ian Dunt recently wrote about writing. It’s an interesting piece, which itself remarks that everything is interesting. And also that writing is weird. Good points.

I’ve been writing professionally for almost 25 years. I’ve written for newspapers, magazines, corporates and book publishers. And while it’s something that can come naturally, the act of writing ranges from effortless to the typing equivalent of pulling teeth. And you never quite know what you’re going to face.

Ian offers interesting tips, not least the importance of curiosity and boredom. If you’re bored writing, your audience will feel that. So find what’s in your subject that sparks curiosity. I also commented on the piece to add a few things I’ve found useful in my own writing, which I’ll share here. (Hopefully you’re at this point still curious rather than bored to the point of slapping yourself repeatedly, to stay awake.)

First, making no assumptions can be beneficial. It doesn’t hurt to add brief notes or outward links to get a reader up to speed on a subject. But omit those vital sentences and your work might be impenetrable – or at least harder to read than it should have been.

Next, find what you love and do as much of that as you can, because your passion will shine through. For me, that’s storytelling. If I could, I’d spend my work life interviewing people, especially in the world of apps and video games, to make sure creators’ stories aren’t lost. Alas, few pay for that. But when they do, I’m very happy.

Finally, don’t allow anyone to tell you how you should write. Advice and ideas are fine, but being prescriptive is not. I once had someone sternly argue that you should always write an entire piece from start to finish, and only then go back and edit, as if writing tools have never moved beyond the typewriter. They believed this helped avoid distraction. That’s great if it works for you. My writing style is more like sculpture – I often start with a big mess of words, ideas and research I smash into shape in Scrivener or iA Writer, shifting things around, hacking off chunks that don’t work, and hopefully ending up with something suitable for the words equivalent of an art gallery. Or at least not a skip.

Sometimes, people even read my stuff too. If you’re one of them, thanks for stopping by. This blog’s never exactly been high traffic, but I do appreciate each and every person spending some of their time here.