Monthly Archives: July 2016

Big Co Podcasting

This morning I was listening to Recode Media’s show with Jacob Weinberg of Slate. I was listening mainly because I agree with Mr. Weinberg when he says “I think this guy’s a menace and a danger to democracy”, but that’s not what I’m going to write about.

AHHHHHH!There were two things that stood out in the interview. First off Mr. Weinberg mentioned he was working with a company called Panoply, a podcasting network. That’s great, we need more podcasting networks, but something he said didn’t sit well. Mr. Weinberg said part of what Panoply was doing was “tracking and advertising”. It sounds like this is going to become a reality. While checking into Panoply I also discovered ART19. Both sound like they’re creating systems that report back to them. How much of the show you’ve listened to, did you fast forward, rewind, or skip over the ads. It looks like ART19 has a way to update ads in a podcast episode so they never go stale. If this is something they can do using open standards, more power to them. If they have to create closed systems to pull it off, that’s not good for anyone, except them of course.

Another thing Mr. Weinberg said was “Apple was the gateway to podcasting.” This simply isn’t true. Apple provides a free podcast directory service built on open standards. Apple is not a gateway to podcasting.

To make a podcast is really, really, simple. You record something, upload it, and make an RSS feed so people can subscribe and you’re done. That’s the 20,000 foot view, but that’s how you do it in a nutshell. You don’t need Apple to publish a podcast. Let me say that again. You don’t need Apple to publish a podcast. You need some shared drive space; Dropbox, Google Drive, your own web host, any number of companies can provide you cloud space to keep files and share them.

Having Apple’s Podcast Directory is super nice. They supported podcasting long before it was popular and chose to use open standards, like RSS. RSS supports namespace extensions, so Apple created their own. They used an open standard and an open extension mechanism to create their directory.

Knowing that, can you call Apple the gateway to podcasting? No. Definitely not. Anyone can create their own podcast directory using RSS feeds. In fact, others have, like iPodder. It just so happens Apple’s directory became super popular once they had a built in audience due to the popularity of the iPhone.

Having said all that. If you want to get into podcasting, go for it. You will probably want to list your podcast on a few different directories, including Apple’s, but that’s something for you to decide. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

One Photographer’s Take

Dave Rogers: “Allow me to vent my spleen here briefly on what an utter piece of crap Apple’s Photos app is on iOS, and the Photos iCloud architecture. The MacOS app is slightly better, but it’s still crap too.”

RibbitBeing a fan of Apple can be frustrating in the modern era. It’s no longer focused on creating the best tools for professionals like it once was. We’ve entered the 800lb Gorilla phase in Apple’s life. They’ve switched focus to creating the best experience for the lowest common denominator, they are now the everybody company. This isn’t a bad thing overall, it’s just different. Apple still creates the best integrated hardware and software experience on the planet, but it’s aimed squarely at the masses, not professionals or, as in the case above, power users. We’ve seen this with the abandonment of Aperture and the lack of hardware upgrades in the Professional Mac hardware lineup (the flip side to this is my 2011 MacBook Pro is still plenty of computer for iOS development.)

The land rush that has been iOS App Development is beginning to lose its luster. The market is full of crummy games that milk users for cash to buy their way past levels. That market is really designed for the attention deficit. I’d love to find the time, money, and energy to focus on the Professional Mac using market. I really believe there is something to be had there as a developer and a user.

MacBook Pro Wishlist

I’m not a crazy spec guy any longer. But Apple’s continued obsession with making everything thinner and lighter kind of bothers me. The thing that really pushed my BS-O-Meter was something posted by John Gruber.

“Any laptop thick enough for an Ethernet port is too thick.”

countSmallWhen I read that I thought “Too thick for who?” Don’t get me wrong, I love John’s work. I’m a fan of Darning Fireball and The Talk Show. He’s one of the top Apple technology writers in the world, if not the best. But that quote feels empty, like a cheap line on a marketing brochure. Apple’s obsession with thinness smacks of razor manufacturers that hail the creation of a razor with five, count ’em, five blades! Not one, not two, not three, not four, but five, five blades!

I’m composing this on MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014.) It’s a great computer, it’s very thin, I don’t need a thinner computer. I develop iOS Apps for a living and this machine is plenty fast enough for my use. It’s not like 20 plus years back when I was writing Windows Code on a 486 with 4MB or RAM. In those days it took so long to compile we’d get “build wander”, you know, you wander around long enough for your build to complete. Thinner doesn’t matter to me. I’d prefer something else.

ULTIMATE POWER

What I do want is not something Apple typically gives us. A powerful computer I can easily upgrade. It would be nice to get a new MacBook Pro in the Fall with the best CPU, GPU, memory, and SSD money can buy. A year after getting that lovely new beast it will be old and crusty (at least for a lot of people.) Wouldn’t it be nice if you could crack the case open and add RAM and possibly a new CPU? For me, the answer is yes, that would be really nice.

Do I expect to get it? No, I don’t. My only hope is they don’t give it the horrible tapered look of the MacBook Air.

When you hear “Thinner and lighter” think “Five blades instead of four.”