James Foley

week in review 2023-51

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring because James and Ellen were tearing across the country visiting friends and family and doing last minute shopping before the big day.

Notes on the week

Rest is overdue, and sitting in my parents house in front of the fire with Christmas music playing away in the background is precisely what has been needed. We did a rapid triangle trip across Ireland after arriving home, Roscommon -> Kilkenny -> Cork -> Roscommon, before heading to our families for Christmas itself, and it’s been amazing to catch up with people. Cork is amazing, and every time I visit I leave thinking when we do settle in Ireland, the People’s Republic will be very tempting.

There is a housing crisis, a cost of living crisis, a general air of financial stress and despair in the air, and yet, every retailer I spoke to during the week has said it’s been crazy busy all week, no sign of any penny pinching or belt tightening at the tills. I’d love to know how many families are choosing to go into debt to cover the cost of Christmas rather than adjusting their spending.

My sister is studying for her QFAs, and whilst the image of her in front of the tree wearing Christmas PJs and fluffy slippers surrounded by notebooks, printouts and her laptop is hilarious, I can’t help but be very proud of her. Also learning by osmosis just sitting around and hearing her work on stuff is great!

Successfully bump started a car today! I went to move my sister’s car, which has been sitting up for a while, and the battery was dead. In the back of my head was a bit of trivia from an old Mike Boyd video to get the car going without jump leads, and unbelievably it worked!

52 things learned in 2023

Psychedelic Cryptography

Crown Shyness

Germany hits 80GW of Solar Production

How the 2022 World Championships Changed Classic Tetris Forever


He did it, because of course he did. Sanderson had another secret book ready to go for the conclusion of the “Year of Sanderson”. After turning the publishing industry upside down with the most successful Kickstarter project in history, Brando Sando rounded out the year by dropping the release date for Stormlight #5, and one last little gift for his readers, the unreleased novella, Long Chills and Dough.

Also, after watching the new Hunger Games prequel movie with Elle and her family, I decided to start reading the books. So far about 20% into Book One and genuinely enjoying it.


The Vergecast do a holiday special each year on interfaces that define personal computing. In the past they’ve had episodes dedicated to BlueTooth and to HDMI, and this year it’s everyone’s favourite symmetrically shaped but technically inscrutable port, USB-C.

Lankum are Ireland’s premier purveyors of experimental, heartbreaking folk music, and have just won the Guardian’s Album of the Year with their fourth album, ‘False Lankum’. It’s a masterpiece, and they are an absolute must-see if they ever visit a city near you.