James Foley

week in review 2024-02

It’s cold in Rotterdam this week and I’m looking out the window here at a light dusting of snow starting to fall. It’s supposed to get as low as minus five!

Notes on the week

We flew back to Rotterdam from Dublin on Sunday last week. We needed to be at the airport around 08:30 and thankfully my parents offered to drive us. It’s bittersweet getting to spend every last possible moment with family before leaving for a few months, there’s just something about airport goodbyes that hit different.

It’s my preference to fly Aer Lingus (even if they seem to exclusively use their oldest A320s) on this route, but booking late meant RyanAir was far more affordable. All the extra legroom seats were gone, and 30" of seat pitch just isn’t enough for someone of my height. A middle seat was just the icing on the cake. A solid 4 out of 10 flight. The more vertically challenged Elle had a very comfortable time though, and a quick spin on the intercity direct train had us back to the apartment with plenty of daylight left. My biggest fear for the apartment was put to rest as we discovered that the plants had somehow survived in our absence.

It was my birthday on Tuesday. I normally don’t like my birthday, there’s always been something about it that feels like a clock ticking down rather than a milestone achieved? I don’t know what’s changed - a fresh perspective, finally growing out of teenage angst or just being in a particularly good head space - but this year’s was perfect. In reality we celebrated twice - first, last week at home with my family over a beautiful meal (my sister’s birthday was only 3 days ago so we doubled up, and our parents and partners were in attendance) , and again this week in Rotterdam.

There was no crazy party or extravagance but just a regular day bookended by a cozy coffee breakfast in a bakery I’ve been wanting to visit and a trip to the Kino cinema for dinner followed by “The Boy and The Heron”. The pastries, coffee, burgers, beers, movie and most of all, the company, were each exquisite.

The fact that my local bike shop did the repair I’d been putting off since before Christmas for free (I didn’t mention the fact that it was my birthday, I swear) was just the cherry on top.

The greatest (and worst) thing about being chronically online, and having been so for the best part of two decades at this stage, is that you build up a significant digital footprint that has followed you around for years. A result of this, is that the link saving tool I’ve used up until last week (Pocket) has entries in it from as early as 2012! I imported all of this into Raindrop, and am really curious about what things I found interesting ten years ago. Some examples that caught my attention:

Matt Gemmel taking about working from home years ahead of the rest of us

GTA V was, and remains the most recent instalment in the series

Google hired Geoffrey Hinton to lead AI work, he resigned from in May 2023

Gruber reviews the iPhone 6 and 6 plus. This year we’ll see iPhone 16

Brief update on the weather, I bought a pair of leggings to wear under my jeans. Absolute game changer, when combined with a good jacket (thank you parents) makes the cold weather completely manageable. Considering we get around Rotterdam completely on foot, bike or public transport, being able to stay dry and warm is vital.

A problem with the Raindrop.io workflow I tried out last week is that the list is dynamic, and any changes I make will be reflected across every post that links to the list. Rather than creating a new collection for every week I think the cleanest (and most robust) is to just export the links and post them as plain text.

First update of the year from my favourite Antartica based blog

Europe’s new wave of Libraries

A door to door Mac repairman

Do You Talk Funny? | David Nihill

How Australia’s ‘Bluey’ conquered children’s entertainment

The engineering of the humble rice cooker

Where is the Fediverse?

Why Platformer is leaving Substack


Call me Ishmael.

The first book of the 12 classics I’m hoping to get through this year is Moby Dick. Somehow I know next to nothing about it other than the opening line, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in store. I started last night, getting through the opening “Extracts” was a bit of work and reminded me of a character from “A Gentleman in Moscow” and their appreciation for Bread.


My knowledge of Ancient History is mediocre at best, but “The Ancients” from History Hit is really helping. There are so many “I really should have known that” moments during this show.

The end credits of “The Boy and the Heron” rolled over a song by Kenshi Yonezu, and it immediately brought me back to his amazing “Stray Sheep” album from 2020. Enjoy.