- We have been featured on the Stack Exchange Podcast, Episode #16. We recorded a short 30 second ad that Stack Exchange offered to air. You can listen to the entire episode, and note Kyle’s comment listing our ad’s air time, at Episode #16 on Soundcloud.
- Additionally, Ask Different wants to be part of Blog Overflow! We’re looking for dedicated, dependable users able to write regularly on topics you are interested in. If you would like to be part of a team of writers, we invite you to post some details about your ideal topic(s) on the meta post on Ask Different.
- Our guest today is the Stack Exchange designer-in-residence: Jin Yang!
- We start by asking Jin how he came to be employed by Stack Exchange. Even though he knew Jeff already, he had to work hard to get the job. The first work he did for Stack Exchange. His debut was Area 51, which he created in one night! Next came Super User, and then the Stack Exchange 2.0 sites. Today, he’s designed 27 sites! more »
This is the eleventh episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts are, as always, Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, Nathan Greenstein.
- We have a special guest today: Long time Apple user, speaker, and author Tom Negrino!
- Tom was introduced to Macs by accident. He got a Macintosh after seeing the 1984 commercial, and has been using them ever since. He tells the story of how Macs have factored into his life over the years.
- Tom has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. He tells us how he accidentally started writing, and how that’s lead him to where he is today, with more than 40 books published.
- Out of us four, Tom is the only one who has been using Macs since before OS X. When asked what he misses from those days, he tells us that “OS X is so much better than the original system that there’s really no comparison.” He shares some of the things that have been drastically improved (or added altogether) with OS X. more »
- We’re back! Our (unplanned) summer sabbatical has ended, and we begin again. The length and frequency of our previous shows was too exhausting, so we’re cutting back a bit. Our shows will not occur every single week, as we’ve chosen to focus heavily on single subjects rather than attempt to cover the every-continuous stream of Apple and related news. We are currently planning on bi-weekly shows, with exceptions for significant events and product releases.
- We begin by sharing our experiences with the fast-growing Google+. These three early adopters’ are generally impressed by the circle management features and the ability to mute posts from people in your circles, but the service has its share of rough edges including a less-than-stellar native iOS client, and post ordering that doesn’t always keep older posts below newer ones.
- Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is finally here, and sure enough we’ve dedicated the lion’s share of the show to discussing it! We share our thoughts and experiences with the changes, big and small, to the most recent version of Mac OS X.
- We discuss transitioning to Lion’s auto-hiding scroll bars and reversed scrolling direction, and debate what configurations are appropriate for various types of input devices. Everyone’s made the switch except Nathan, who’s promised to give the changes another chance.
- We love gestures! Kyle and Jason’s high praise for Lion’s gesture integration leaves Nathan wanting a multi-touch input device.
- Lion’s new native full-screen capabilities are useful and slick, but they have at least one serious limitation. We discuss when full-screen is useful and when it isn’t, especially when used in combination with the new Mission Control. Kyle also put together a short video demonstrating how trivial it is to have multiple operating systems set up, and switch seamlessly between their desktop environments leveraging multiple spaces via Mission Control, and full screen modes.
- None of us have tried out Lion Server. Jason lays out the various reasons he’s reluctant to do so. We briefly touch on the notable changes generally known, such as the removal of MySQL invariably due to legal reasons with Oracle, and the continual lack of ZFS, originally slated to appear on Snow Leopard Server. On this and other topics, Kyle highly recommends John Siracusa’s review of Lion on Ars Technica, with particular reference to the “What’s wrong with HFS+” section, and Episode #27 of Hypercritical for details on ZFS’ numerous benefits among many other topics.
- Lion’s Versions feature is promising, but has its share of limitations. We compare it to other revision tracking technologies and look at its key features and potential pitfalls. Hopefully, we’ll soon see more apps start to integrate Versions in exciting and original ways.
- Lion brings a complete overhaul to the way Mac OS X is installed and restored. We share our feelings on Apple’s decision to move everything away from restore DVDs to internet downloads and a recovery partition.
- Our question of the week is What tiny thing in Lion makes you smile or has caught you off-guard?, asked July 20 by bmike.
- Each of us pick our favorite tips that have originated on this question, and references to it from Reddit and Hacker News.
- In addition to these sources of traffic coming to our corner of the Stack Exchange network, Ask Different sponsored Daring Fireball!
- In lieu of just one single app, we talk about some of our favorite apps that have been released or updated after Lion’s release.
- Nathan revisits Coda and how the new features that Lion brings could greatly benefit the app.
- Kyle highlights BBEdit 10 as a dramatic improvement to a fantastic multi-purpose editor, which is currently on sale for $39.99 ($10-off for the next two months!).
- Jason sings praises for a post-only Twitter client known as Wren, and talks about how it takes advantage of many Lion-specific features.
- We wrap up our discussion talking about Spotify and it’s integration into our respective music and media listening habits.
This episode was recorded on Wednesday, August 3rd. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. If you have any feedback or questions you’d like for us to answer on air, leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at [email protected].
This is the eighth episode of the Ask Different Podcast, a podcast about Apple and related technologies created by members of the Ask Different community.
- We begin by bringing you some podcast news: We have created an ad for the podcast (Lion-themed!) and posted it in the Community Promotions Ads meta post. In order for the ad to show up on the Ask Different homepage, we need you to vote for it! If you like the show, please take a look at the meta post and give our ad an upvote.
- The Stack Exchange Shop is now open. You can buy hoodies, shirts, beer steins, and more bearing the Stack Exchange, Stack Overflow, Super User, and Server Fault logos. We hope to see some Ask Different merchandise soon.
- Also in Stack Exchange news: A new button! Not one that you can buy; one that you can click. All Stack Exchange sites now have, right along with Facebook and Twitter buttons, a button to share a question to your LinkedIn stream.
- Continuing on the subject of social network integration, we discuss the sinister side of Facebook’s sharing buttons. This leads us to compare other tracking services, like Google Analytics, to Facebook’s. and to an overall comparison of Facebook’s and Google’s security track records. And for those who don’t like being tracked across the Web, we recommend Ghostery, a free browser extension to notify you of such tracking, and optionally block it. Disconnect is another option for Chrome users.
- We discuss the increasing importance of a having a good password on your Apple account. As Apple begins tying more and more to this account, especially with the introduction of iCloud, it is more important than ever to have a secure password on your Apple account. We then discuss the limitations of entering strong passwords on mobile devices, and things Apple could do to make it easier to be more secure.
- Moving back to Facebook, we discuss the recently-discovered Project Spartan. With it, Facebook will be attempting to challenge Apple’s App Store with their own. Except that the Facebook app and its apps are used in Safari on your iOS device. Can Facebook’s HTML5 app store and apps take down Apple’s App Store?
- Google offers a service called Google Sync that provides push GMail, calendar, and contacts synchronization for mobile devices through the Exchange protocol. The service has been recently updated with support for searching mail on the server, accepting/declining calendar events, and sending mail from multiple addresses.
- We share the surprise news that Apple is now selling unlocked iPhone 4 handsets. We discuss the target market that would pay the high price, and whether future unlocked iPhones might offer the ability to switch between AT&T and Verizon.
- Kyle lays out his gadget history, and tells the story of his experience with a string of fragile iPhone 4’s. Jason and Nathan chime in with their own experiences about Apple hardware (including previous-gen iPhones), and we compare other brands’ durability to Apple’s.
- Our question of the week is Why do I have to drag my new apps into the Applications folder?, asked by Drew on June 4th. We talk about the way Mac OS X handles applications as a single package, and how this approach is better than the approaches Windows and Linux take, especially for non-administrative users. We also touch on whether a non-administrator can install apps from the Mac App Store.
- Our app of the week is Divvy, Jason’s and Nathan’s favorite window manager. We talk about what Divvy and similar apps are useful for, and discuss Mac OS X’s built-in window management capabilities. Divvy is available on the Mac App Store.
This episode was recorded on Sunday, June 19th. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. If you have any feedback or questions you’d like for us to answer on air, leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at [email protected].
This is the seventh episode of the Ask Different Podcast, an unofficial podcast created by members of the Ask Different community about Apple and related technologies.
- Last week was WWDC, and keeping up with the coverage of the keynote was a very intense task. Not to mention the active discussion we had with our fellow Ask Different chatters. We discuss the act of covering the keynote, or more specifically attempting to keep up with the coverage across at least 4 or 5 websites, and keeping up with all of the details flowing continuously for over 2 hours straight. We also delve into what we expect to see as all the new features begin to release, and where we would like to see as time goes on.
- On Tuesday, Steve Jobs presented the next major architectural work by Apple to the Cupertino City Council. We discuss the so-called “Apple Mothership” building to be worked on for the next 4 years and the consideration that is sorely lacking in too many other architectural endeavors.
- We know that as part of iOS 5, Apple will make Twitter functionality a first-class citizen with pop-overs including location sharing, single sign-on functionality, and a dedicated Twitter account field in Contacts. What we have recently learned is that additional social networks will become first class citizens and be added as contact fields in the Address Book.
- Yet another iOS 5 feature has received more details: Wireless iPad 2 Mirroring via AirPlay. We discuss the possibilities of utilizing an Apple TV in a conference room in order to simplify the process of presentations, and how to immediately greatly improve the quality of presentations, notes, and interactivity.
- Continuing with the WWDC hangover, we discuss the state of launcher applications, and the possibilities after Lion’s release and official debut of Launchpad. We contrast the functionality offered by Apple, and the workflow exposed by launcher apps such as QuickSilver, Alfred, and LaunchBar.
- Our Question of the Week is Upgrade personal iPhone to iOS beta 5.0?, asked by Senseful on June 9. We discuss if they (or you!) should, or should not, and lament that we are not more involved in the Apple Development Community in order to make the leap ourselves.
- Our App of the Week is Soulver. Soulver is a new kind of calculator. Soulver is quick, smart, clear, and flexible. Instead of making a digital analog to a standard desk calculator, Soulver allows you to write calculations as a document, each calculation allowing you to represent a specific part of the entire series of calculations. Soulver is available for Desktop Macs on the Mac App Store, and for iPad and iPhone on the iTunes App Store.
This episode was recorded on Sunday, June 12th. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. If you have any feedback or questions you’d like for us to answer on air, leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at [email protected].
This is the sixth episode of the Ask Different Podcast, an unofficial podcast created by members of the Ask Different community about Apple and related technologies.WWDC Keynote:
- First up, the next version of Mac OS X, 10.7 “Lion”, will prominently feature multitouch gestures for moving between applications and invoking Mission Control and Launchpad (other new features in Lion). We discuss how we feel about Apple’s shift away from the mouse and if it means that desktop Macs will be sold with trackpads instead.
- Based on the successful iOS App Store, the Mac App Store has proven to be a big hit with Mac users. We discuss new App Store features in Lion and highlight the success that apps like Pixelmator have had in the store.
- Following up on our earlier discussion of the idea of the Continuous Client, we discuss how it ties in with Lion’s upcoming support for saving and resuming app state, autosave, and versioning of files.
- We wrap up our discussion of Lion by talking about AirDrop, a way to drag and drop files from one Mac to another without needing to configure file sharing, and the “iPadification” of the new interface for the Mail app.
- Apple also previewed some new features of the next version of iOS, iOS 5, starting with a completely redesigned notifications interface. We discuss what’s different and how it makes it easier to read and manage multiple simultaneous notifications.
- Twitter is now deeply integrated into iOS, and features a single sign-on area in the settings. We discuss what this means for Twitter, third-party Twitter clients, and the conspicuous absence of Facebook.
- Mobile Safari has also seen multiple improvements, including a tab bar and an Instapaper-like Reading List feature. There’s also a new to-do list app called Reminders. We discuss whether the tab bar was a good idea and the usefulness of location-based reminder alerts.
- The Camera app has undergone significant improvement. We talk about the faster loading time, the ability to quickly take a picture without having to unlock your device, and how the volume button has even been configured to act as a shutter button!
- The requirement to activate an iOS device through iTunes will soon be a thing of the past – iOS 5 has cut the cord and is PC-Free. We discuss what the benefit is, and how iOS has made it possible.
- Apple has brought its Messages app to the iPad and iPod touch, and they’ve renamed it… iMessages? Yes, it’s true – we discuss use cases, the similarity to Blackberry’s BBM service, and cringe at how bad the name is.
- Move aside Mac, Apple has re-envisioned the digital hub and it now centers around iCloud. MobileMe is being phased out as well, and the Contacts, Calendars, and Mail services are being absorbed into iCloud.
- iCloud also offers a cloud-based backup service for iOS devices, allowing users to back up and restore without ever needing to involve a computer. We discuss the benefits of this, and the limitations Apple has placed on it.
- Purchases made through the App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store are catalogued in one place and can be downloaded and re-downloaded to all the devices on your Apple account. We discuss our disappointment at the lack of a facility to stream music, and how the new price point – free – is sure to drive adoption.
- One More Thing… iTunes Match. For $24.99/year, you can have iCloud scan your iTunes library for music that had not been purchased through the iTunes Store. If the iTunes Store carries the file, you will be upgraded to a high-quality version. If not, iTunes will upload it to iCloud and offer the standard iTunes in the Cloud services for that music.
This episode was recorded on Monday, June 6th. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. If you have any feedback or questions you’d like for us to answer on air, leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at [email protected].Download
This is the fifth episode of the Ask Different Podcast, an unofficial podcast created by members of the Ask Different community about Apple and related technologies.
- We begin with a piece of errata from the last episode as Jason corrects a keyboard shortcut he misspoke. For the record, to sleep your computer’s displays and lock your machine, use the shortcut Ctrl ⌃ + Shift ⇧ + Eject ⏏.
- With that out of the way, Kyle brings us some site news: Stack Exchange is now an OpenID provider. That means that you now have the choice to use a Google, Facebook, other OpenID provider to login, or create a traditional e-mail and password login, in order to have your OpenID hosted by Stack Exchange. We also discuss the strict requirements that Stack Exchange places on the password for an account. We debate whether or not they are necessary or reasonable, and how they compare with the practices of both other sites and users.
- With WWDC around the corner, Kyle brings us another piece of site news: the unofficial Stack Exchange WWDC meetup. Any developers who use Stack Exchange should drop by Eddie Rickenbacker’s on June 7th. Click here for more info.
- On a related note, as none of us can make it to WWDC, we put forth a request: We would love to have someone who goes to WWDC be present on a show to talk about their experience. If you’re interested, please send us an email at [email protected].
- Moving to news, we bring you an update about the new iMacs’ hard drive temperature sensor update. We share two apps, HDD Fan Control ($10) and smcFanControl (free) that regulate the iMac’s fan speed so that you can use a third-party hard drive without listening to constant, unnecessary fan noise.
- We discuss the current state of Apple hardware and what refreshes should be on the horizon. For one, we expect to see Thunderbolt make its way onto many of the Apple machines that do not yet support it. Macrumors.com predicts that the Mac Pro will be updated with a rack-mountable form factor, and we expect it to have multiple Thunderbolt ports. Will the inclusion of Mac OS X Server in Lion mean a refresh for the Mac mini server and increased server-oriented capabilities on the Mac Pro? Will the plastic MacBooks be discontinued altogether?
- In other news, the Mac security world has been shaken up these past few weeks by a new Mac trojan called MacDefender, which is one of the first major pieces of malware written for the Mac. We talk about how one can become infected, what the malware does, and how to remove it, and we discuss Apple’s promised upcoming software update that will eliminate this particular threat. With that in mind, we discuss the state of Mac security and where it may go in the future. Will the App Store become, by default, the only way to install software on your Mac? Will Apple continue protect us from threats with software updates?
- Apple is celebrating their 10th anniversary of the opening of Apple Retail Stores. In doing so they’ve rolled out some very significant upgrades for their stores. Almost all paper in the store is gone, replaced by a fleet of iPads. iPads are placed next to every hardware product in the store (yes, even iPads) in order to serve as an interactive kiosk for product information, and for a few personal store functions. This spurns a longer discussion on how a similar system would benefit another type of business.
- Amazon has announced and released the Mac Download Store. Amazon’s store features many key retail titles for immediate digital download, similar to the Mac App Store. The difference is that everything takes place through amazon.com in any web browser, then a tailored Amazon software downloader manages retrieving and installing the software after purchase. Amazon’s store features Microsoft Office for Mac, much of Adobe’s Creative Suite (individually packaged), and more.
- Our main topic is the pending litigation between Lodsys, LLC, and various iOS app developers. In the past two weeks, Lodsys has sent infringement claims to iOS app developers such as James Thompson of pCalc fame, and Patrick McCarron of mobileAge, that due to their In-App Purchase system, they are legally obligated to pay 0.575% of their revenues to Lodsys. Our recommended coverage of this news comes courtesy of Nilay Patel at This Is My Next.
- Apple has responded, stating that iOS app developers are covered, since they pay royalties for this patent, and since the applications were developed using Apple’s SDK, and leveraging Apple’s Distribution Platform and other features. We discuss responses we’ve heard in the Mac Development Community, our feelings on whether developers should pay or not, and our considerations on how this may affect iOS development down the road.
- Our Question of the Week is Great Apple (first and third-party) Accessories or Peripherals, asked by Steve Moser on May 16. All of us pitch in our respective answers, and elaborate on advantages and disadvantages of each.
- Our App of the Week is Handbrake. HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows. Handbrake is an extremely simple utility that allows you to encode H.264 Video Media in a heartbeat, from DVDs or from any other video file on your computer.
This episode was recorded on Saturday, May 28th. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. If you have any feedback or questions you’d like for us to answer on air, leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at [email protected].
This is the fourth episode of the Ask Different Podcast, an unofficial podcast created by members of the Ask Different community about Apple and related technologies.
- We begin with site discussion: What, exactly, is the scope of Ask Different? Are questions about Windows XP graphics drivers acceptable? What about Mac-compatible Unix distros? Kyle tells us the vision he had for the site when he proposed it, and how recent questions do and don’t fit in.
- The recently released iMacs ship with a new feature! A new style SATA power connector replaces a thermal sensor cable. We discuss the purpose, and the positive and negative merits of this recent change.
- We discuss the onslaught of Google I/O news, starting with Google Music. Users can upload 20,000 songs from their own computer. Google Music only works on devices supporting Flash, and Android phones.
- “Chromebooks”, based on the Cr-48 prototype, to be released next month.
- Also announced was the Chromebook rental program. While originally announced as a flat rate $20/month rental for students, and businesses for $28/month, these prices vary depending on the exact model rented. Also, these rental programs with have a 3 year contract in tow.
- A flat rate purchase with no contract will range from ~$350-$500 depending on vendor (ASUS / Samsung) and features (WiFi only, 3G). Currently it appears that certain models will be available from Best Buy, and all from Amazon. Engadget has all currently known details.
- The war of attrition took another step between Facebook and Google, as we learn of Facebook’s attempt at smearing Google’s over privacy claims. An ad agency hired by Facebook promised placement in major periodicals to a independent blogger, but instead of writing articles the blogger released the correspondence between him and the ad agency.
- Microsoft now owns Skype! And they paid approximately $8.5 billion in cash. Not equity, not stock, all cash. Skype will continue to support all current versions (Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android) of it’s software. We also muse over separation of the Skype Engine from the desktop application GUI.
- Kyle reflects on the current state of software distribution by Apple. We talk about the current trends of shipping software digitally, the shrinking physical software selection in Apple retail stores, and how you install Mac OS X on computers devoid of an optical drive. Adding to this that Xcode and the Developer Previews of Lion are distributed via the Mac App Store, we consider how Apple may distribute Lion officially, possibly announcing it this summer at WWDC.
- Our Question of the Week is “Is There a Way to Password Protect Individual Apps”, asked by Rabskatran. This question spawned a discussion on “The XY Problem” that occurs commonly on the Stack Exchange network, what it is, and what may be the best answer to officially accept in these cases.
- Our App of the Week is Reeder. An iOS and desktop RSS reader that requires the use of Google Reader, but provides a much more attractive, functional, and native interface. We debate the merit of single-site apps, and the contrast between pushing functionality to the web and making them into webapps via Fluid, or building a specifically tailored interface for it like Reeder.
This episode was recorded on Saturday, May 14th. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. If you have any feedback or questions you’d like for us to answer on air, leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at [email protected].
This is the third episode of the Ask Different Podcast, an unofficial podcast created by members of the Ask Different community about Apple and related technologies.
- Kyle begins with some news about this podcast: We’ve launched! We want to thank everyone that has sent us feedback, we appreciate it. Also, we’re now featured on the Super User Blog.
- Nathan describes Stack Exchange’s recent efforts to boost voting on questions, especially relative to answers. Verdict: if you see a great question on Ask Different, vote it up!
- Jason discusses LastPass’ recent possible security breach, what this means, how LastPass is responding, and what users of the service should do as a result. Jason also brings us a correction to a previous episode regarding which features are available in the free vs paid plans.
- Nathan updates us with hard data about the white iPhone 4’s alleged width gain, and discusses whether or not the color of the actually makes a difference.
- Kyle delivers an iPhone tracking update: Official iOS update released. What it changes, and how it helps you stay more secure. Jason discusses Apple’s impressive response to the tracking issue.
- We discuss the fact that, while Android phones are more popular than the iPhone, the iPad is much more popular than the slew of available Android tablets. Do Android and iOS tablet customers expect different things from their tablets? Are the iPad’s main advantages timing and price?
- Nathan takes us through the recent upgrades to the iMac line, we discuss if it’s worth getting the 21-inch model, and whether or not the two Thunderbolt ports on the 27-inch model eliminate most of the need for a Mac Pro.
- Kyle compares how (relatively) easy it is to service the newer iMacs compared with the older iMac G3 and iMac G4.
- We share some tips on how to get Spotlight to work for you, including excluding certain directories and search paramaters (pdf) based on the file metadata.
- Our Question of the Week was asked by Carlos: Snow Leopard Server as main (everyday) OS, and we discuss whether it’s a good idea to run desktop apps on a server.
- Our App of the Week is Tiny Wings, a game for iPhone and iPad where you play as a bird and try to fly as far as you can before the sun sets. Tiny Wings is available on the App Store.
This episode was recorded on Saturday, May 7th. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. If you have any feedback or questions you’d like for us to answer on air, leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at [email protected].