Tony 10

I recently watched “All Bets Are Off1, a documentary hosted by Baz Ashmawy about gambling addiction in Ireland. One of the people featured on the documentary was Tony O’ Reilly, a former branch manager at An Post who stole a mind boggling €€1.7 million from his employers and managed to win an even more mind boggling €€10 million, only to lose it all. ‘Tony 10’ was the username of his online betting account.

Tony, along with author Declan Lynch, recently released a book, “Tony 10: The astonishing story of the postman who gambled €€10,000,000… and lost it all”, documenting his story from falling into gambling addiction to eventually overcoming it and becoming an addiction counsellor himself - not before spending time in jail and losing just about everything in between.

The book opens by painting a picture of an ordinary man in an ordinary town. What begins with a €€1 bet “to have an interest” in some of the 1998 World Cup matches escalates into a world where numbers have no meaning. €€10000 on a tennis match, €€20000 on a horse may as well be €€1 or €€2 bets.

The big take away from reading the book is that it is extremely easy to get sucked into gambling addiction. Betting shops are in every town in Ireland and online betting is available to anybody at any place and time.

The fact that Tony O’Reilly was able to walk into betting offices with enormous amounts of money in cash and could bet that money away day after day without any questions being asked makes you wonder how often this type of thing happens, and how betting organizations are getting away with it.

Tony 10 is an interesting read, and one which gives a great insight into the power of addiction and how easy it is to lose the run of yourself.

  1. Highly recommended by the way. At the time of writing this, it can still be watched on the RTE Player. 


Why I love link blogging

Matt Birchler, on why he loves writing linked posts on his site:

More often than not, I write articles for this site after reading something someone else wrote. I browse the web for articles and tweets that I find interesting, and the ones that make me think are very often the ones that inspire me to write something myself.

This leads to a funny situation as a writer though: do I write my article as a brand new post that gives the impression I thought of something in a vacuum? Do I write a normal post and link to the article/tweet that inspired me inline? Do I do a full block quote that shows off what idea got me going and write from there?

I personally love the third option. Link to someone else, provide a relatively short block quote of what idea set me off, and then take on the topic from there.

The web allows us to create content that is connected with the rest of the web. Everything we do, especially us writers, is kicked off by something someone else said, and we should embrace that. Make your blog a part of a conversation, not an island that feels like you’re just doing this all on your own. None of us are, and we should be proud of that.

Besides, if someone reads my site and I link somewhere else, hopefully that will make people click that link and some of them will discover a new writer they had never heard of. If that linked article also links somewhere else, then the rabbit hole can get very deep, but that’s just more chances to find some gems out there.

Couldn’t agree more.


Blogging System Rewrite

Brent Simmons, describing the recent changes he has made to his blog:

I realized that I want my blog to be me on the web. This used to be true, but then along came Twitter, and then my presence got split up between two places.

To make this work, I needed two things that my old system from 2009 didn’t provide:

  1. Title-less posts, and
  2. The ability to run the site generator on my server, not just on my Mac.

In other words, I needed to be able to write tweet-like posts with no title — while on the go, on my iPhone or iPad.

It’s interesting to see the influence that Micro.blog has had on the blogging community. I’m seeing more and more of this style of posting.

Blogs set up with microblogging are interesting to read. It’s like having a Twitter feed with occasional long form blog posts sandwiched in-between.

The ability to cross post to social media ensures that you can keep your output under your control, as it always lives on your own site.

This is not something I see myself setting up as I don’t really post enough on social media to justify it, but it’s a smart move for anyone concerned with owning their own identify.


How the new 9.7-inch iPad stacks up against the iPad Pro

Nice comparison on 9to5mac between the new 9.7-inch iPad and the iPad Pro line. That new iPad at €369.99 is a great buy. The only real downside between it an the Pro line is the screen, which lacks ProMotion and True Tone. Neither of those technologies are complete deal breakers, but the gap in display quality would definitely be noticable in a side by side comparison.

The Pro line of iPads are great, but at an entry level price of €749.99 for the 10.5-inch model, I just struggle to see what that extra €380 really gets you. The Pro line will likely see an update this summer so I would expect some new features that should blow the 9.7-inch iPad out of the water, but for sure it’s still a great tablet for the price.


Loving Diamonds Are Forever

On the surface, Diamonds Are Forever is a terrible film. It marked Connery’s comeback, after a four year absence, and unfortunately he no longer seemed to fit the role. By then, he was a little pudgier, less dynamic, and he often looked bored on screen. Perhaps Connery was attempting to play off the film’s overall tone. Diamonds was the first Bond film to delve into camp and comedy. The results would appear mixed, at best. Though the film has received its share of positive reviews over the years, it is mostly ranked in the “bottom tier” on critics’ and fans’ Bond lists.

Some Bond films are so different that is hard to believe they are part of the same franchise at all. If you were to compare Diamonds Are Forever to On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (which came out just two years beforehand) you would be hard pushed to find any similarities at all.

As much as I enjoy Daniel Craig’s more gritty and realistic portrayal of the character, I always find myself leaning towards Roger Moore’s Bonds when I just want to sit down and be entertained. The same goes for Diamonds Are Forever as outlined in the linked article.

It shouldn’t work, and to the majority of people it doesn’t work, but I really enjoy Bond movies that don’t take themselves too seriously. What Bond films have I seen most? Probably Moonraker and The Man With The Golden Gun - both of which are consistently ranked at or near the bottom of the Bond films.

That’s what’s great about the Bonds. Some people can’t stand Roger Moore. Some people think Timothy Dalton is the unsung hero. Others think anything before Daniel Craig’s films can be disregarded. There’s something for everyone.


My blogging workflow

An interesting post by David Sparks over on MacSparky about the general workflow he uses for publishing on his blog. He treats long form posts as projects which require mind maps, an editor and a most importantly, time.

Most of what I write on this site are small, linked posts, but for longer posts there are some great pieces of information that I can take from David’s workflow.

Tools for the job are another story that mostly comes down to personal preference. I use a combination of text editors to write my posts, most of which depend on the device I’m using. I would love for a built-in Markdown editor to be added to the GitHub file editor, but for now I will continue to use what I always do.

For reference, I use:


Why Micro.blog is not another App.net

Brent Simmons on Micro.blog:

Your posts are just a normal, everyday part of the open web. At this writing, mine appear on micro.inessential.com — but it’s on my to-do list to have those appear on my main blog (this blog) instead. (Probably won’t happen until after I ship the app I’m currently working on.)

And this is how it used to be, and how it never should have stopped being: my blog is me on the web. I own my blog: I own me.

And so everyone who follows me on Micro.blog sees my blog posts, and I see theirs. Simple.

And anyone who wants to could just read my blog in an RSS reader instead. All good, all open.


On the Possibilities of an iPhone SE 2

Stephen Hackett, with an interesting outline of a possible new iPhone SE. There has been no confirmation from Apple that they have plans to update the now two year old SE, but I hope they do. The SE is a great choice for people who aren’t too bothered about having the latest specs, people who don’t want to spend a fortune on a phone, and people who don’t want to carry around a big phone.

I’d imagine that covers a lot of people.


BeatsX

I’ve been perfectly happy with various wired in-ear earphones for the past few years, but after buying the iPhone 8 late last year and spending the next few months wrestling with the lightning-to-headphone adapter, coupled with another pair of cheap earphones breaking, I decided it was time to move to wireless earphones.

I use earphones mainly when walking to/from work or when travelling. I don’t use them for exercise, and I rarely use them for any longer than an hour at a time. I listen to podcasts mainly, so I’m not too worried about sound quality as long as it isn’t notably bad. What is important to me is noise cancellation and comfort.

Initially, I looked into AirPods. They are extremely small, have no wires and are powered by the W1 chip, but reports of poor noise cancellation, along with the worry that they would not stay in my ears, 1 pushed me to look elsewhere.

beats
BeatsX

The draw of the W1 chip is what pointed me towards BeatsX. W1 makes pairing earphones to your Apple devices stupidly easy. With the BeatsX, all I had to do was turn them on and I was presented with a “Connect” button. Pressing this instantly connected them to my phone, conveniently naming them “Colm’s BeatsX”. This process is the same on my iPad and Mac, so there are no issues swapping between devices.

One of the unavoidable trade offs of going wireless is that there is another battery to keep an eye on, but I’m happy to report that battery life is extremely good on the BeatsX. I have been using them for over a week now and have only had to charge them once, which is easy to do as I always have a few lightning cables lying around. Beats advertise an 8 hour battery life, and “5 Minutes of Charge = 2 Hours of Playback”, which I would say is accurate based on my early use of the BeatsX. Whether or not that holds up in the weeks and months ahead is another story.

BeatsX integration with iOS

BeatsX fit comfortably in my ears, and I like the fact that I can leave them dangling around my neck while I’m not using them. The design is minimalist and the controls work as well as I’ve come to expect with most earphones.

The chord that goes around the back of your neck is a small bit long for my liking but it’s not an issue really, only when wearing a scarf or a jacket with a high neck.

I don’t use earphones while exercising, but my brother took the BeatsX for a run and was not impressed with how they stayed in his ears. That’s probably very dependant on individuals, but it’s worth noting.

I’d definitely recommend BeatsX. They are a great option for someone looking for cross between standard wired earphones, but something not quite as extreme as Airpods.

  1. EarPods refuse to stay in my ears, even when walking at a normal pace. As for noise cancellation - I would more often than not have them on full blast to hear podcasts cleary when outside.