Tech offers me phones-that-are-really-cameras, tablets, smart watches, ereaders, home speakers, media streaming, voice search, and lots of other things, none of which is what I want. What do I want? I seem to have forgotten. Maybe this.

Those close to him say that Mitch McConnell has his eye on his legacy, now more than ever.

That’s unbelievable. Can he really be so blinkered as to imagine he has the kind of “legacy” anyone with self-respect would voluntarily admit to?

The overflow carpark is overflowing again.

I see rumours that Apple will be bringing back MagSafe charging for its new MacBook Pro. While I was sorry to see MagSafe disappear a few years ago, my experience in tripping over Thunderbolt charging cable has been very positive. I found it safer than MagSafe.

Of course, these figures are averaged out and based on a basket of goods etc. A lot depends on what you’re actually buying. Essentials like coffee, wine and cheese are significantly cheaper in France than in Ireland.

Ireland is the 13th most expensive country in the world to live, according price comparison website Numbeo …

When rent is included, Ireland moves up to 10th in the global rankings.

I’m not sure how trustworthy these figures are. France feels cheaper than this suggests.

If you were wondering what to make of Glose (whose acquisition by Medium was recently announced), Nate Hoffelder has the answer:

Glose is a 6 year old social ebook platform which went no where.

Sounds promising.

I’ve sent out the fifth issue of my newsletter, “Talk about books”. The title is William Empson and Andrew Marvell’s widow, and I’ve subtitled it “Empson’s insightful errors, no. 1”. There’ll be more of Empson’s insightful errors soon but the next issue will be about Tana French.

We want to rethink the book-reading experience, and we’re hiring.

Ev Williams is not being at all specific about what he hopes to achieve with Medium’s acquisition of Glose. We’ll just have to wait and see. I hope it’s worth it (though I still prefer printed books).

The main problem is that it has increased the attack surface against me. There’s yet another database containing my data. That means one more target for those who are trying to scam me. I want my data on as few systems as possible and, ideally, under my control.


If you’re a fan of the vinyl revival then don’t buy this album. Well do, just not on vinyl. With its pianissimos and pauses, this delicate trio music requires the silent backdrop that digital provides.

LJN reviews the new Joe Lovano, Trio Tapestry album, Garden of Expression 🎶

And speaking about ebooks, Medium has just acquired Glose, a French-based ebook “platform” (I’m not sure what that means — apparently not “publisher”).

Glose carries ebooks and audiobooks from all major publishers, including Penguin Random House …

The law firm that led a class action against Apple and big five publishers almost a decade ago over ebook price fixing is now taking aim at Amazon, alleging that it conspires with those publishers to prevent competitive pricing of ebooks. Finally.

the gap in stability and user experience has narrowed as Windows has improved and Mac OS has become less stable and more complex — at least that’s how it seems to me.

But there’s still more grit in the Windows machine than in the Mac, says Steve Hodgson.

It’s hard to pick a side in the Trump-Giuliani falling-out. On the one hand, Trump has made a habit of leaving people who’ve worked for him high and dry; on the other, no sane person believes that the advice and representation that Giuliani has provided are worth $20,000 a day 🤷

I just noticed that the computer I bought back in November is offering me “3 months FREE of Amazon Music Unlimited”. I hope I’ll be free of Amazon Music Unlimited for a lot longer than 3 months!

Funny to think about Brian Moore as a “neglected” author. In the late 70s and early 80s, I read everything of his I could get my hands on. But I suppose the point about obscurity is that you don’t notice someone slipping into it. Sinéad Moynihan on Brian Moore’s hotels.

Simon & Schuster will not, after all, be publishing Josh Hawley’s book, The Tyranny of Big Tech. I don’t mourn the loss to literature: I wouldn’t have read it (or even heard of it) anyway. But I can’t help feeling the cancellation is an empty gesture on the publisher’s part.

Katherine Whitehorn has died, aged 92. Her column was always one of the first things I’d read in The Observer, when I’d nip out to the newsagent and bring back a stack of newsprint every Sunday, never imagining that within a decade it would all be online.

I posted The upside of SDAM earlier. Severely deficient autobiographical memory brings advantages as well as disadvantages. For example, people who have it tend to be good at abstract thought.

… his patient became obsessed with committing “creative suicide”, as the ultimate act in his performing career.

“I was at pains to say that he could be much more creative alive than dead,” Sachs recalled.

Spalding Gray’s last visit to Ireland.

The Guardian has a newly discovered short story by Patricia Highsmith, “The world’s champion ball-bouncer”. Reading it makes me glad I’ll never have to be a child again.

… the trials of making a documentary about improvisational jazz with Keith Jarrett. He cannot imagine “a more difficult subject about a more difficult person”.

Documentary-maker Mike Dibb retrospective coming soon from Whitechapel Gallery.

I’m pleased to say that Substack is now allowing customized themes. My first attempt uses the sans font for body text, fancy serif for headings and #F6D0FF as a background colour. I’ll quite likely change the background colour but I think the sans body font is here to stay.

Ted Gioia, Why music ownership matters 🎶

What happens when the mega-corporations who run the streaming services decide to delete a million songs that aren’t generating sufficient profits to justify their storage costs? Or ten million? Or maybe whole genres …