Ceud Mìle Fàilte

Photography Nature Technology Food
Movies Music Politics

and life in the Highlands.


Thank you for dropping-by, I hope you enjoy your visit. The main content is to be found in the blog where I discuss everything and anything but topics including photography, nature, technology, food, movies, music and politics make regular appearances.

I commonly write reviews of movies (or films, if you prefer). Some movie reviews are short, others will be discussed in more detail. The scope covered will be mainly mainstream English language movies from the 1930s until the present day.

About me

My name is Iain MacDonald and I live in the Highlands of Scotland (although I have lived elsewhere in the past). I am a big fan of Free & Open Source Software which I use both professionally and at home.

Computing and technology tend to infuse themselves into my other interests, as once you learn some skills in one area it is convenient to use them to solve problems in other spheres.

When not tinkering with computers, I am likely to be found repairing things because living in the countryside you learn to be resourceful.

Of course, man doesn't live by SSH tunnels and kerosene vapour burners alone so food, as a subject, makes regular appearances too. Did I mention I used to work in hospitality?

Latest Life articles

My most recent ramblings.

  • New Manual Coffee Grinder

    I was without my vintage wooden Zassenhaus, so I rushed out and bought a new manual coffee grinder. The one I got is from Maison & White, and it is amazingly good. It is adjustable from very fine to coarse. Grinding is done with ceramic burrs, and the rest of ... [Read more...]

  • Push or Pull?

    A couple of days ago I saw these two boats coming up the canal towards us, as we were doing the daily dog walk. It was clear from a distance that the two boats were very close together, and I assumed the first boat was towing the second. [Read more...]

  • Bright Eyes

    I took this photo on the evening dog walk two nights ago, when we had some lovely weather. I quite liked the composition of the photograph, but it wasn't until I started processing the photo that I noticed something else special about it. As it was in the gloamin my ... [Read more...]

  • Fàilte don Ghàidhealtachd

    Who did this? Who added Nessie to the Highlands' welcome sign? Whoever it was, it is absolute genius! The original sign had an empty loch, someone has used a marker pen, or similar, to add the Nessie image. I drove past this sign, northbound lane of the A9 at Dromochter, ... [Read more...]

  • Pole Pruning Saw

    It is the time of year when the beech nuts are developing, and, consequently, the branches are getting heavier. A few branches above the house were sagging, and as a result were touching the chimney head and the apex of the roof. These branches required to be dealt with immediately, ... [Read more...]

Click here to view the whole Life section.

My latest Mastodon posts

Mastodon is a microblogging app that is part of the decentralised web known as The Fediverse. See this article for more details.

Fitheach (@fitheach@mstdn.io)

Sun, 16 Feb 2020 19:28:39 +0000

Earlier to-day, when discussing PIMs, I mentioned how much I liked the Palm Organiser software. I had a rummage in the office, and found my old Palm IIIx. I popped in a couple of AAA batteries, and discovered it is working perfectly. The calendar even accepted to-day's date (which slightly surprised me).

It is also in perfect physical condition. I'm feeling a bit nostalgic about my old device, but I doubt I have a practical use for it.

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Sun, 16 Feb 2020 12:38:37 +0000


For years after this incident people still remembered that I was friends with Iain Banks. Whenever the subject came up I would launch into my story starting with "actually...".

I'm just sad that I wasn't able to tell the great man himself during our brief meeting. I'm certain the story would've appealed to his sense of humour.

Luckily, no one ever broke into my bank accounts. So, my little subterfuge worked. 😃

Sun, 16 Feb 2020 12:16:47 +0000


Long after it was fashionable I still used a Time/System paper-based organiser. One of the things I did was enter all of my secret banking info in the address book section under the name "Iain Banks". Cunningly disguised, eh?

Once when I was attending an all-day training course, I left my organiser open on my desk at the "Iain Banks" page. When I returned in the late afternoon several excited people asked me if it was *the* Iain Banks that I knew. Worried about my secrets I said yes.


Sun, 16 Feb 2020 11:56:46 +0000

To-day Iain Banks would've been celebrating his 66th birthday. Sadly, he was lost to us in 2013.

I only met Iain once, and it was a very short encounter. Bizarrely, it was in the tinned fruit & veg aisle of a supermarket in Fort William. As both of us were just making some quick purchases before rushing off elsewhere, I didn't have time to tell him why he was actually one of my friends. Not long afterwards he announced he had terminal cancer.


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Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:55:56 +0000


Bluefish loads quickly, has a clean interface, and identifies miss-spellings/typos with a squiggly red line. Ideal!

It also looks like a very competent code editor, with particular features making it suitable for web development.

I'm not sure how much Bluefish is being developed. The latest news on the homepage is from 2017. That doesn't bother me as Bluefish has all the features I need. However, I might feel differently if I discover a bug. 😃

Sun, 16 Feb 2020 10:42:00 +0000

I was looking for a simple text editor which included inline spell checking. Vim is still my main editor, but I wanted something for doing quick edits. Having a second editor means I keep my Vim recent file list clean.

Something like Leafpad/Mousepad would've been ideal, but neither has spell checking. Surprisingly, there weren't many options available to me.

Luckily, I discovered Bluefish. It is primarily an HTML & code editor, but provides exactly what I wanted.