I compose music and write software.
Get in touch.

PageTurn 1.2 is out! It now supports ePub files, which opens up a whole new use case for the app—ebook reading.

It works exactly the same as before, just open an ePub file and get turning. ePubs also come with a few advantages over PDFs; you can change typeface, font size and colour scheme to your preference.

It’s live on the App Store now.

Announcing PageTurn, an app that lets you read PDFs and turn their pages hands-free, using facial gestures. It's targeted at musicians, and designed with them in mind. It'll work with any PDF, though, so is useful for any situation when hands-free navigation is needed.

Note: you'll need an iOS device with Face ID to use these features.

Download PageTurn on the App Store

I've been programming now for about three years. For the entirety of that time, I was also doing a PhD in music composition. That changed yesterday when I submitted it.

One of the feelings I enjoy most, in areas both hobby and professional, is that of looking back over old work and wondering how on earth did I manage this while knowing so little? Sure enough, I recently took stock of the code that used to underpin this site, and had that feeling in abundance. At first, vanity might present feelings of embarrassment or disdain for oneself, but pushing past that allows for a far more constructive outlook: if code you once wrote now looks 'bad' or 'wrong', it means you've improved since writing it.

I've added a much-requested (and much-needed) feature to PodStand - you can now have it email out your profile details. Previously it relied on cookies, and users bookmarking the signup page. Probably unsurprisingly, this often led to confusion and people losing access to their profiles.

The new system also allows existing users to send out their details (assuming they still have their cookie/bookmark) by going to this page. I should note that it's an optional feature; you can stick with the cookie/bookmark system, but if you enter your email it's not stored and you'll never hear another peep from the site.

About a year ago, I made my trusty electric piano wireless using a Raspberry Pi Zero and some nifty software. It worked pretty well, but wasn't quite perfect. Here's how I made a better one, using an Arduino.

Here's a little app I made, my first of 2019, inspired by my girlfriend Karen Quinn's recent posting of images featuring quotations from her work. It's a simple little utility that lets you turn some text into an image, with lots of options for changing the layout, font, and more. Check it out on the App Store.

New project: a website that I think will be really useful for podcast discovery. It's very simple, you can create a profile, upload your podcast subscriptions, and browse other people's subscriptions. It's a cool way to see what others are listening to, and to find some new podcasts to listen to. You can also browse by podcast, and see everyone who listens to a particular show.

Check it out at https://podstand.co.

I've started a company - we're called N56 Software, and we're making apps and CMSs for events, festivals and venues. We're really excited to be working with Culture Night Belfast as our first partner, and will be launching soon. Have a look at our website for more info.

The referendum to repeal the 8th amendment to the Irish constitution is happening in a couple of days, and you should vote yes.

It’s vital that women in Ireland have freedom over their own bodies, and frankly I don’t think that there needs to be any further justification than that. If you feel some kind of religious or moral obligation to vote no, I urge you to do some balanced research, and at least consider reconsidering.

Repealing the 8th amendment is a necessary step towards better physical and mental healthcare for women; retaining it would mean continuing to cast off a very serious issue that isn’t going away, when we should instead be extending a helping hand towards those who need it.

Some calculations on what might be required for a VR/AR headset to provide a 'Retina display' experience.

A recording of my piece which made the final of the 2018 Peter Rosser Composition Competition, performed by the Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble at the award final, in Belfast.

I’m pleased to say that Lady Death, a short film written by my very talented girlfriend Karen Quinn, which I filmed and composed the soundtrack for, is now publicly available to watch. It’s about Lady Death, her difficulty in trying to lead a normal life, and her attempts to find a companion.

Watch it here.

Some improvements to my app, Spectralizer.

On Saturday night, I saw a beautiful sunset during a car journey, and did what I've done many times; I took out my phone, took a picture, and was disappointed with the results. Between the movement of the car, the lack of light, and the reflections on the car window, it was a blurry mess. The colours were very nice, though, which led me to this idea...

Spectralizer takes a horizontal or vertical row of pixels from an image, then stretches them to create a high-resolution image comprising the colour palette of the original image. Suddenly a blurry, disappointing image becomes an interesting, abstract image with the same colour tones as the source. I think they make really nice wallpapers, and just nice images to look at in general. It's fun to see the patterns that come out.

It's free to download, give it a whirl!

Spectralizer on the App Store

I had the pleasure of being asked to be a guest on one of my absolute favourite podcasts recently, Worst Case Scenario. Thanks to the guys for having me, it was lots of fun. I've linked to the episode that I'm on, but I highly recommend subscribing to the show!

051 – All Our Indie Dreams Have Been Crushed – with Stephen Coyle, Worst Case Scenario

Following others' leads, and after a fresh (but far from final, I suspect) batch of news on how shady Facebook is, I've decided to close my account. Being honest, I've generally had a positive-ish experience there; I was a fairly casual user, posting the odd photo in addition to the usual sorts of news people post there. Despite that, though, I've developed a pretty harsh distaste for its effects on other people I know, whether in the form of addiction or anxiety-induction. The recent news has really solidified how pointedly they are actually trying to engender those sorts of feelings, and I'd rather have nothing more to do with it.

I posted my contact details this evening, for anyone who wants to keep in touch and doesn't have them already. In an attempt to get the best of the down-ranking that post is sure to experience, I'm going to re-post it in a week or so, and then I'm out for good.

The fate of my Instagram account hangs in the balance for the moment...

A commission for the Ulster Youth Choir in 2016.

I’m delighted to have been shortlisted for the third Peter Rosser Award for composition, run by the stunningly good Hard Rain SoloistEnsemble. My piece, Taking[Up][In][Off][Away], will be performed at the final, alongside the other two shortlisted works, this coming Tuesday 27th March. There will also be a recording of the event posted online afterwards, so I’ll be sure to post that here as soon as it’s available.

I don’t usually go into massive detail about the subject matter of my music, if it can be avoided, but this piece (unavoidably, really) reflects upon a number of things that have happened in my life recently. There are a few different compositional processes going on throughout the piece, which are what its title refers to.

It’s been great to get shortlisted, and best of luck to my co-finalists on Tuesday!

Some thoughts on a better alternative to YouTube's seek bar, for audio especially.

I released Tapt 2 at the weekend. It's a complete rewrite, sharing pretty much zero code with the original. I'll do a post soon explaining the reasons for that, and going into a few things I did differently this time around. In the meantime please check it out! You can search for it on the App Store, or grab it at the links below.

Tapt 2 on the App Store.

A fun project I tried out, to allow me to wirelessly connect to my digital piano.

Some thoughts on AirPods after a year of using them, prefaced by a harrowing story that happened a few days after I got them.

A few thoughts on how Apple might improve the Touch Bar for its second revision.

Being both fed up of and annoyed at WordPress, last week I decided to rewrite this site from scratch. If you can read this, it means that wasn't a (completely) foolish decision.

It's been a fun evening project - it's the first full-featured site I've made from scratch. I've implemented most of the features I used in WordPress, but without all the unnecessary cruft that it also includes, so it should load fairly quickly on slow connections or lower-specced devices.

I've written it using HTML5, PHP and MySQL. With the exception of Parsedown, which I'm using to parse Markdown, it's entirely my own code running things.

It should fit nicely on all screen sizes, but if you spot any places where it has problems, let me know. All my previous posts should still be there, at the same links, but if you happen to come across a dead link anywhere, I'd appreciate it if you let me know about that too.

I may do a more detailed write-up about it soon, but for now I need to get back to the work I was supposed to be doing when I did this...

I've just launched a new app! It's called Déjà, and it's a quiz game with a twist. The basic gist is that instead of answering the question you see on-screen, you have to answer the previous one. It's a good memory challenge, and I hope strikes the fun-infuriating balance well. It's also pretty hilarious to watch someone play it.

If you fancy giving it a shot, you can download it on the App Store.

I'm always keen to hear thoughts and feedback, so do give me a buzz if you enjoy it!

An idea for how Apple could bring a trackpad to the iPad in an unobtrusive and intuitive way.

Explaining the setup I use for syncing and backing up large volumes of data.

Reflecting on a year on the App Store, how much I've earned from it, and what factors affected it.

This is a rough transcript of the talk I gave at Úll 2016.

Reflecting on my first year writing software.

Testing the Bluetooth latency of AirPods

Examining some of the negative consequences of moving towards Bluetooth audio.

The Pi Zero Simpsons Shuffler is simple - you press the yellow button, and it plays a random episode of the Simpsons.

A little experiment comparing processing power on the new iPad Pro to some other devices.

I much prefer the iPad.

Donegal is gorgeous. Filmed with my DJI Phantom 3 Pro, with some original music.

This was my second short film, starring my wonderful dad.

This was my first brush with virality -- fun.

Here's a little project where I set up a Raspberry Pi to detect motion and trigger my SLR.

Here's experiment I'd been wanting to try for quite some time, after seeing it in a YouTube video several years ago.

The explanation of the phenomenon is pretty simple:

  • The camera is recording an image 24 times per second (23.976 to be exact).
  • There is a speaker which vibrates the water at the same frequency, causing it to drip in a near-perfectly repeating pattern.
  • The camera images the stream of water in exactly the same position every time, thus it appears not to move.

When the audio frequency is changed to be slightly faster than the camera's sample rate, the drops appear to fall very slowly. Likewise, when it is made slightly slower, the drops appear to move slowly in reverse.

First There are Whispers from Stephen Coyle on Vimeo.

Near the end of 2013, after a recommendation from a lecturer of mine, the potential opportunity for me to show a short film at the Aubagne International Film Festival arose. Without going into all the boring details, I seized the opportunity and made a film, and ended up getting to show it in Aubagne in March 2014. I had only fairly basic experience in videography at the time, and it represented essentially my first attempt at writing and directing. On top of that, there were fairly significant time restrictions, with the film going from an idea to its complete state within about two weeks. I was very pleased with how the project turned out, though, and goes towards confirming my suspicion that I'm at my most productive under pressure or a harsh deadline.