The best way to browse Instagram

Instagram is becoming a video site (mirror) like TikTok, isn’t it? I want to see photos when I go to Instagram. I don’t want to see reel after reel from suggested accounts just because I liked something random. I only ever post photos on Instagram, so this is a shout out to anyone who follows me and doesn’t see my fabulous/amazing/gorgeous photos! You’re missing out!

Flowers in Waterloo

There are two ways to get control back.

  1. Add 50 of your friends to the Favourites list.
  2. Use the Following feed instead of the algorithm.

Both features were only added in March this year, so you might not be familiar with them, even if you’re a long-time user.

Dancing in Birmingham

The favourites list is a list of up to 50 Instagram accounts you want to see first in your feed when you open the app. You’ll still see suggested reels and other nonsense, but these 50 accounts will be given priority.

Fireworks on Spike Island

There are two ways to fill up your favourites list. Either go to the profile of the account you want to add, click on “Following” and then tap “Add to Favourites”, or open your own profile, tap the burger menu (the 3 lines at the top-right of the screen) to open settings, and tap Favourites where you will be shown a selection of your friends, and a search box to look for others.

The other way is much simpler and allows you to view your feed in a chronological order. And, don’t let Instagram know, but it appears to be advert free too! Tap on the Instagram logo on the top-left of the screen and you’ll see a menu saying Following and Favorites. The Favorites feed will obviously show your favourite accounts, but the Following feed is what I’m interested in.

The Following feed is a refreshing look at Instagram. It’s chronological, so you start from the newest photo or video uploaded by your Instagram friends. You’ll suddenly see posts from people you haven’t seen in years because the algorithm decided you weren’t interested in their photos! If you do nothing else after reading this post, try the Following feed. Let me know what you think of it.

A Window on Rome

I have a few accounts on Instagram, docinphotos and streetsofcork are my main ones. I also occasionally share old photos of Cork on the Photos of Old Cork Instagram account. Check out the photos. If you like them, follow me and say hi!


Seán Maquire, Fidil agus Píb Uillinne, 1959

I called to see my Dad yesterday, and he told me he has resurrected his old Pioneer record player. I have many memories of this device sitting in the corner of the “good room” at home, and after the needle and the rubber band that drives the player were replaced it works really well.

Seán Maquire (McQuire) recorded an album of songs in 1959, which my dad still has in his collection. Here’s twenty seconds of music from that album.

I have to confess I’m not familiar with Seán’s music at all, but an online search found a Wikipedia page about Seán McQuire which shows his birth surname as Maquire. He passed away in 2005 at the age of 77.

I’ll have to figure out how to properly record those vinyl records to digital format. Suggestions? It used to be simple to record things with an AUX or 3.5mm cable to a tape recorder, but Mac laptops and Android phones are more problematic. Maybe I’ll have to dig out my old desktop PC with its numerous audio sockets…

Want more? Enjoy the following …


A C64 Wall

Now, this is how I’d like to have a wall painted in my home-office, if it was large enough, and wasn’t already bulging with shelves and posters.

Patrick Nance posted this photo of his nerd room on this Commodore 64/128 group on Facebook recently, and it was very well received.


Hot hot hot!

When a toddler is about to touch something hot, you warn them it’s “HOT HOT HOT!” What do you do when the world is overheating?

My phone says it’s 30C right now where I live, and in the Phoenix Park in Dublin it’s 33C, almost breaking the Irish temperature record set in 1835.

And Ireland is probably the coldest place in Europe today. How did we let this happen?

It’s a mystery


Play the original Monkey Island

A few months ago, news broke that a new Monkey Island game would be released in 2022!

I have to confess, I never played any of the Monkey Island games. I was aware of them but point and click adventures really aren’t my thing. Many years ago I bought the first Simon the Sorcerer game because I thought it had something to do with Discworld. The graphics and speech in the game were outstanding but after only a short time I got stuck and gave up.

So, what’s this Monkey Island thing about then? How do I play the original “The Secret of Monkey Island”? We live in exciting times and the Internet Archive comes to the rescue!

On this page you’ll find a fully playable copy of the game you can play in your browser. If that’s not enough, there’s also the Ultimate Talkie Version of the game with full speech instead of text.

Playing in the browser is OK for a preview of what it’s like, but the best way to play it is through ScummVM. On both pages above you’ll find zip files containing “The Secret of Monkey Island”. The talkie version is much bigger, but by today’s standards, quite small still.

Download the game, unzip and point ScummVM at the extracted files and you can play the game on your home computer! As you’re unlikely to finish the game in one sitting, here’s how to save and load the game in ScummVM. Enjoy!

PS. It looks like Simon The Sorcerer is also available in multiple places on!


A C2N in The Matrix resurrections?

I presume I’m not spoiling anything when I post the screenshot above from The Matrix Resurrections. Close to the middle of the frame is the distinctive, rounded casing of a Commodore 1530 (C2N) Datasette. It’s the cassette player the Commodore 64/Vic 20/Pet used for storage way back in the 80s and early 90s. This Wikipedia page has more if you’re interested.

I’ve searched online, but so far only found one person who thinks the same as I do. If it’s not a C2N cassette player, then what is it?


Is this why our plane circled?

We flew into Cork Airport early this morning after circling around County Cork for what seemed like half an hour. Our Ryanair flight went from Carrigaline to Fermoy, passing Blarney a few times, I think. My son was watching Google Maps on his phone, and we all noticed the banking of the plane as it traversed the skies around the greatest city in Ireland.

When we eventually did come down to land, my son wondered why there was still cloud outside when suddenly the runway was there outside, and we experienced a not too rough landing. Deep fog lay over the runway and airport. We couldn’t see any buildings as we roared down the runway but, brakes and reverse engines were applied harder than I remember in a long time, making me imagine the pilot had landed too far down the runway! A cheerful, “Welcome to Cork!” was announced shortly after, and the plane taxied off the runway to a stop. Phew.

We were last off the plane. The rush to get off, only to stand around for luggage and passport control, doesn’t make sense does it?


There’s a lot of radon in Cork

The Irish EPA have an interactive map where you can see the radon area in your area. Enter your Eircode to zoom in. If you’re in Cork, it’s probably bad. Keep the windows open? Get a radon detector.


Backup your social media accounts

I’ll keep this short. You should download your Twitter data, Facebook data, and as you probably have that too, your Google data. You never know when you might be banned from using them, even accidentally.

After you’ve saved that data, go to Instagram and Reddit and do the same!


Download your data from Settings->Your Account->Download an archive of your data.


Download your Facebook data from Settings->Your Facebook Information->Download your information. I like that they offer HTML and JSON options.

Google Takeout

Google Takeout is where you download your Google data. There is a lot there. At the time of writing, it shows 53 products, which includes YouTube, Gmail and Google Photos.


Download your Instagram data from their Privacy and Security page where you will find the request page.


And finally, Reddit. You can download your data from their data-request page.

Keep that data safe. Don’t leave it in your download directory. It potentially has lots of private information you won’t want to be shared with anyone who uses your computer.

Google lets you schedule up to 6 data downloads per year, but it might be worth setting a calendar reminder to do this at least once a year. Store your downloads in dated directories to make it easy to keep track of when they were downloaded.


Smoke from the burning Sunset Ridge Hotel

There’s an old derelict hotel in the village of Killeens near where I live and this evening it went up in flames, spewing a huge mass of ugly smoke into the air. Tonight’s bonfire night in Cork so it’s obviously done maliciously.

Paul Reidy posted photos from the scene on his Facebook account. I’m surprised there’s anything left to burn there as it’s been set alight multiple times in the past. The place should be demolished and something productive done with the site.

Here’s a video from someone who was going to film it for a Cork history video.