Magical adventures in nerdery.

11 January 2015

Stuff 'n' Junk, 2014 edition

Fashionably, late, as usual, but at least this year I have an excuse. More on that later…



Workflow is an amazing app that lets you creat custom "workflows" that can automate tasks using various iOS system functions and extensions from third-party apps. It's a little bit like programming your own mini-apps. If you've ever used Automator on OS X, you'll be right at home with Workflow.

Unread (iPhone)

I'll admit, I hadn't paid much attention to Unread until Jared Sinclair bloggedabout his disappointment with its sales numbers and the subsequent sale of the app to Supertop. I was intrigued, and gave the RSS reader a try, and was delighted to discover a beautifully-crafted reading app, that had been meticulously designed with ease-of-use in mind. Coupled with a subscription to Feed Wrangler, it has rekindled my interest in RSS.

Monument Valley (iOS)

The deserving winner of Apple's iPad Game of the Year award for 2014, Monument Valley is a gorgeous, mind-bending puzzle game, with really fun game mechanics that need to be seen in action to be appreciated.

Retro for Instagram (iPad)

Instagram, surprisingly, still don't have an iPad-sized version of their official app. I believe that the company line is that Instagram is a mobile-only product and that they don't consider the iPad a mobile device, which seems silly to me, especially since the release of the iPad mini.

Regardless, the absence of an official app has allowed third-party developers step in - the best of which has to be Retro, which allows you view those spectacular holiday snaps in all their iPad-sized glory.

Threes (iOS)

Another puzzle game that has heaps of personality. Like a cross between the multiplication tables and those sliding puzzles you sometimes get in crappy Christmas crackers. That's not really selling Threes very well, so you should really check it out for yourself!

Hex Fiend (Mac)

A super-simple hex editor for Mac that also has a really-useful feature for comparing two binary files.

Hopper Disassembler (Mac)

If you love hacking things and fancy disassembling other apps to see how they tick, Hopper is a really powerful tool.

Hola (Desktop Chrome plugin)

I love Netflix, but sometimes the Ireland catalogue just doesn't cut it. When combined with the Hola plugin, I can use my existing Netflix account to watch content from the US or UK Netflix catalogues (for now, at least). No messing around with DNS or subscriptions - it's a simple one-click plugin (that can admittedly be a little flakey, but it's worth it).



You've probably heard a lot of coverage of Serial, a new podcast that tells a story over the course of an entire series of episodes. The premiere season focuses on a real-life whodunnit - the murder of a teenage girl in 1999, and a reporter's mission to prove the innocence or guilt of the man sentenced for the crime.


A group of geeks meet to discuss various movies, TV shows, and comic books. It's a lot of fun.

Kumail Nanjiani's The X-Files Files

Kumail Nanjiani is a comedian and actor - you may be familiar with him from HBO's Silicon Valley series (more on that below) or from the Harmontown podcast that I listed last year - whose obsession with the X-Files has led way to this suprisingly-entertaining guide through the various episodes of the classic 90s horror/sci-fi show. One for fans and newbies alike.

Song Exploder

This podcast is a must for music fans. Each episode looks at a single song by a band or artist and deconstructs the various parts and tracks, with help from the artist themselves. A fascinating insight into the creative process of musicians as well as the recording process.



It was with great reluctance that I approached the TV adaptation of the Coen Brothers' classic movie, Fargo. Thankfully, it was not a straight adaptation (or reboot), instead choosing to tell a different story, with different characters, in the same quirky and loveable world that we glimpsed back in 1996.

The Fall

A gritty BBC crime drama, following the PSNI as they hunt down a serial killer. Heavy viewing, and slightly let down by its second series, but a still a very high standard of television.


Another dark, brooding crime drama from the UK. This time, a young boy is found dead in a small, idyllic town. Again, tough subject-matter, but excellent viewing. Apparently a US version is either in the works or has already aired - watch the UK version first!

Silicon Valley

Hilarious send-up of the tech and VC industries, from the creator of Office Space, Beavis & Butthead, and Idiocracy.

True Detective

Holy crap. Best TV series since The Wire? We're only one season in, but it's definitely a contender.


Guardians of the Galaxy

You were probably living under a rock this year if you haven't heard about Guardians. Another hit from Marvel, based on one of their lesser-known properties. I've heard GotG compared to early Star Wars and Indiana Jones, which are both fair comparisons. Lots of fun.

Edge of Tomorrow

Apparently, it bombed at the box office. Apparently, TomCruise is too old to star in action movies anymore. I can't say I agree. I really enjoyed this action / sci-fi flick, in which Tom Cruise & Emily Blunt battle against an alien invasion by re-living the same day over and over again.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

More time-travel shenanigans, featuring both old and new members of X-Men cast.Massively entertaining superhero romp. Switch off your brain and enjoy!


Michael Fassbender stars in this weird and wonderful movie about an indie rock band, fronted by the mysterious,masked, musical genius, Frank. Totally offbeatand really enjoyable. The soundtrackis excellent too.

Bad Words

A silly comedy, with a surprising heart. Jason Bateman plays a 40-year old childrens' spelling-bee contestant, whose ruthless tactics and vindictive behaviour earn him the ire of children, parents, and officials alike.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

One of Wes Andreson's best movies, and definitely his best in recent years.

The Lincoln Lawyer

Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey turns out to be a great actor. Who knew? Both movies well worth watching, if you haven't already seen 'em.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Totally manic and OTT, Scorsese & DiCaprio hit it out of the park with this telling of the story of Jordan Belfort - an infamous con man, whose outlandish, corrupt behaviour in the 1980's landed him in serious hot water with the federal authorities.


Delorentos - Night Becomes Light

Another solid alt-rock album, from one of my favourite Irish acts.

Spoon - They Want My Soul

A band that will never seem content to make the same album twice, They Want My Soul, sees Spoon experimenting with new sounds,and samples (even imitating Drein the process), but is still Spoon at heart.

Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways

One of the better Foos albums in recent years. Well worth a listen, especially if they've dropped off your radar since The Colour and theShape.


BOSE Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Incredible-sounding Bluetooth speakerthat my awesome wife bought me for Christmas. Replaced my broken JAMBOX, which didn't sound nearly half as good as this. Solid.


I'd been working on the GAME GOLF team for the past couple of years, and we finally launched our digital golf tracking system last January. We hit the Apple Stores, got our iOS app featured in the App Store, Barack Obama became a fan, and I was interviewed on national TV news. Very big year for us, and 2015 looks to be even bigger. Can't wait!

And Finally…

A photo posted by Vinny Coyne(@vinnycoyne) on Jan 10, 2015 at1:45pm PST

Our little bundle of joy, Hannah Grace Coyne, arrivedin late October. Words cannot describe the awe and admiration I have for my wife, CliĆ³na, for carrying her and bringing her safely into this world. Despite theobvious bumps faced by any new parent, becoming a dad has been such a joyful experience.

Alright, I'll stop with the mushy stuff now. 2014 was a huge year, roll on 2015!

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