James Foley

Week in review 2024-20

RSI and split keyboards, Elle goes to Belgium, what the hell is Deep Dip 2?

Notes on the week

An annual tradition at the Piet Zwart Institute is the Fine Art class trip, where the first and second year groups travel somewhere in Europe together for a break right before the end of year assessments. This year they’re gone to a little town just outside of Liege in Belgium, and as I check the news tonight it’s currently experiencing a massive flood! Thankfully they all arrived safe in their little convoy of vans to the beautiful chateau they’re taking over for the weekend. Hopefully the weather will clear up and they’ll have a great time, and whilst Elle is away I get to spend an obnoxious amount of time watching all the formula 1 sessions from this weekend’s race at Imola.


As I’m typing this, I’m feeling a small bit of pain in my right ring finger. This has been a problem for me since my final year in college, I remember it flaring up for the first time typing up my final year project. Considering how much of my professional and private life is spent with two hands on a keyboard I’m surprised it doesn’t flare up more often, but I think I’ve gotten to the point where I need to start listening to the warning signs my body are sending, so I’ve started to research some alternative keyboards. I want to try an ortho-linear board, and one with significantly fewer keys so there is less reaching and stretching. I also want a split keyboard, so that I can rest my hands at a more natural width apart. Combined with my desire to do another ‘hardware’ project after the E-Ink display, I think I’m going to build my own Corne split keyboard. I think the ultra minimal layout and having to learn home row mods and layers will enforce a more deliberate practice when typing, and hopefully force me to unlearn decades of bad habits.


Trackmania is a game that I’ve been aware of for a long time, but have never really spent too much time playing or following. It’s a racing game where the basic premise is that players compete with one another to finish a track as quickly as possible. There are no collisions or overtaking, just the player against the track and the stopwatch. This description doesn’t really do justice to just how challenging some of these tracks can be, the speed and technicality really ramps up quick. A Trackmania player, ‘Wirtual’, has been showing up in my recommended YouTube videos for a little while, and this week I saw a video about something called “Deep Dip 2”.

Deep Dip 2 is a track created by 16 of the most talented track creators in the Trackmania scene, who worked together for over a year to build the ultimate challenge for players, a 16 floor hillclimb that is designed to push players to the absolute limit of their abilities. There is a real world prize pool for the first person to complete the track, and the last time I checked it was around €30,000. Unlike a normal Trackmania competition, where players have a set amount of time to try and set the fastest time on the leaderboards, the challenge here is to become the first person to finish the track. It’s been a week now, and no one has even got close. At the time of writing someone has made it to floor 13 of 16, and out of thousands of participants fewer than 10 have made it further than floor 8. It’s a wild competition to keep an eye on, and watching the progression of the payers as they overcome obstacles that looked to be impossible only a day or two ago. I’ll be keeping watch as the challenge progresses, and I’m rooting for Wirtual to make a big comeback! There are two great sites to track people’s progress through the challenge, one made by (for?) Wirtual here and another made by Loah here


Ireland’s last Basking Shark hunter

A tiny bike pump

Why did our ancestors make art in the dark?

How Cicadas ‘sing’

Whales have an alphabet??

Exploring Japan’s lost heritage on Sakhalin Island

The first planetarium

A quick start guide to the Teenage Engineering KO II

What iPadOS continues to get wrong

Reading

Not much really, hopefully will get through a lot more next week when I’m back home in Kilkenny.

Listening

It’s Billie Eilish album week, and on a first listen it’s a great record. Definitely a departure from her previous work, and lots of fun.