Hello and welcome to episode 20 of the Brew and Byte show,
Contextual Computing and the Date at the Apple Store.
My name is Craig and coming up on the show the panel is back.
We’re very lucky to be joined by two fantastic guests this week
as we discuss everything WWDC. We also have Shorty the Shortcut does Pro mean Pro and we take a deep
dive into the subject of contextual computing and how does it fit into our workflow. But first up,
we’ll say hello to Martin that’s returned us after swimming all the way from Cornwall last week.
I’ve dried out a fair bit now, yeah it wasn’t too bad. We were almost blown off the end of
land’s end. It was quite intriguing. So pictures to follow. But yeah, good evening.
And next up, we’ll also say hello to Alistair. How are you today?
I’m good. Enjoying the nice sunny weather.
And Tina, how are you?
Excited. I want a new laptop.
But you’ve only just bought one. You can’t have another one.
I can. I can.
Brilliant. Thank you. Well, first up, let’s say hello to Jay Miller, a developer, content creator,
a podcasting host, former network specialist to the Marines, and somebody that knows a
lot about transcription, as well as recently starting to develop his YouTube channel. Let’s
say hello to Jay Miller. How are you today?
I mean, you could just say person who mucks around the internet. That’s probably a better
description of who I am these days.
The list was actually longer. I forgot to add a lover of bowling and fishing as your
CV does tell me. No more. No more. I’m going to ask how you have so much time for all these
different things next. You know that’s coming. ADHD. That’s the answer. Awesome. And we’ll also say
hello to one more guest or should I say an I’m all guest. Our second guest this evening has more than
a decade writing about technology as such household names as One Password, Cult of the Mac,
I’m Aar of Core and now helping developers with their press kits, we will say hello to Oliver.
How are you this evening?
I’m not bad, thank you. I’m enjoying the calm before the storm that is tomorrow, but I’m okay for now.
Have you got your cups of coffee at the ready?
Coffee, yeah, that’s definitely what it will be.
And I don’t think it would be cups or I think a cup will do the whole show.
Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.
My question is, who’s going to be updating all the Twitter feeds?
because the last time I did it for the Mac user group, I needed a set of new thumbs by the end of the show.
I couldn’t do it quick enough.
Yeah, it’s chaos at the best of times, but hopefully it’s worth it by the time we’re finished.
We have seen quite a lot of news this week. We are going to briefly touch on WWDC,
because yes, we are recording just before it, but there is some interesting things to come.
And most importantly, it is our 20th show.
Thank you for all the listeners that have decided to still tune into us every other
That’s much appreciated.
But most importantly, let’s focus on the Apple news.
The first thing we saw this week was some announcements about some more Apple stores.
Did anybody see any more information about that?
I saw the one about the one opening in Rome look quite impressive.
It surely would be an interesting dynamic with the changes that’s gone on in retail
here in this country.
I can only really speak about around here. So many places closing.
To actually say that you’re going to open new shops is a pretty
ballsy decision to make. As far as I know, a lot of shopping malls
and places like that thrive because they have an Apple store
inside them or adjacent to them. And so I’m sure they’ll be
hoping that Apple do maintain that shop presence. But yeah, I
think it’s a very interesting decision in the current the
current light of the everywhere you listen at the moment, you’ve
got shops being closed or stores being closed down.
What is interesting though, isn’t it, that in the local shopping centre in Westfield, in Stratford,
they’ve obviously taken advantage of the shop shopping because they’ve got Apple Express. So,
if you have an order that you pick up, you don’t go into the main shop. They’ve got like this little
shop and lots of sanitiser and you go and pick up what you want. Will that maintain or will they?
I don’t know. I could see it because you can see, isn’t it? I mean, when you think about London,
We’ve got Regent Street and Covent Garden which are like their flagship shops and they’re huge
whereas the one in Stratford is not that big so I can see it would take the pressure off
off the main store in the shopping centre. True, true and the shops themselves have never relied
on sales as being their mantra for actually being in existence. Not a few people that have
worked for Apple stores over the years and they’ve all said the same thing is that they don’t have
or didn’t have sales targets like a normal retail outlet. It’s just basically tab of presence and
it’s customer support as much as anything. Just having that place where people can go for
for questions and problems and people like Microsoft don’t have it over here.
The thing I would see the Westfield near me, Westfield White City, they paid from November to
when it got the whole of the shopping center to be open. So they were open seven days a week
to be open for the express so anyone wanted to come and collect anything and for genius
bar appointments which couldn’t be done over the phone. So they were open all the way through. The
only day we were closed was Christmas Day because Westfield is not open on Christmas Day because of
trading restrictions but they paid for all their staff to be employed because they said it was
better customer service to do it. So they closed all the other ones in London, just kept Westfield
West open because they said that they still needed to have bring a machine in for transfer
or you bought something for Christmas and it doesn’t work, we need to transfer that over.
And if you think about it, not everyone who’s not technical can describe the problem over a telephone
or via email chat. So it was good to go in. And the second thing,
Apple have always said it’s all about the experience of the store.
Strange, those of you who can remember going back pre-Apple Store days, the only one I ever
used to use was a computer warehouse. And that was like going to an industrial state inside a
dark and gloomy showroom. It was a typical computer store. It was dark and dingy. Nothing
like the cathedrals that we now have. Jay, did you have any express stores in the US?
Not really. And I think, well, that’s not entirely true, I guess. It’s a little weird because we have
just two-door delivery. I know when we bought our series of AirTags, which funny enough,
when we ordered them, they were like, well, we can have them to you later today. And it’s like,
okay, that’s great. And it’s like, and they’ll be delivered to your house. And it’s like, even
better. I don’t have to get up. So I think that there is, there’s kind of that weird challenge of
do we like we need the store so that they can drive to us and drop them off on our doorstep,
instead of us having to brave the mall and figure out what’s happening there and have
our forehead scanned at least three times before they let us in and go, “Why are you
Even beforehand, the Apple Store, at least our Apple Store, I don’t live in a very large
town, but we do have an Apple Store there.
And I think with that, a lot of the experiences that having an Apple Store in Los Angeles
or in the Bay Area that comes with that, having all the classes and like those great experiences.
We don’t really have those as much. I think the Apple stores here are very much a someone
needs to drop something off kind of like what all of what Oliver was saying where if you
have a problem, you know, you take it to the Apple store. I often, you know, make one of
once a year trip there to show my wife the the latest devices and say, Okay, which one
do you want and then you know I’m going to get the same thing but probably with
twice as much storage and you know we’ll call it a date and but other than that I
mean that sounds more like a permissions trip Jay honestly I heard the words date
in an Apple store there that’s that’s the best I mean it’s it’s great you can
look and like I’m getting my shopping list in my head because you know I you
You know, now I’m like, hmm, which iMac do I want?
And it’s like, well, I probably want to see these in person.
So let’s schedule an appointment.
And it’s like, well, I’m not going to get an iMac anytime soon.
But they’ll announce new phones eventually.
So let me just make sure I know which ones I want to have my eye on
and kind of plan for the future with.
But ultimately, I mean, the Apple stores are nice.
But I could probably get the exact same features
that I get out of my Apple store at any other electronic store.
That said, all the other electronic stores
are shutting down in our area, so I don’t really know what to do.
We have a large chain here, John Lewis,
and they usually have an Apple section
within their tech space on the floor.
And they’ve definitely had to up their game there
in how that’s presented and how it’s dealt with.
One downside of the Apple stores that we’ve noticed,
I think in the years that they’ve been around.
It’s had a really bad effect on mug groups
because we were the kind of places
where people went for support and camaraderie
and dealing with issues and problems.
And now there’s all these wonderful shiny shops
with ever-vessing staff who are all too willing
to show off what they can and can’t do.
And of course the genius bars.
And I think it’s had an effect on the retainership
of membership of mug groups in particular.
though you would have surprisingly where you haven’t got stores,
you would have thought it would have boomed, but hasn’t been the issue.
There’s too much support online these days, I suppose.
I think the other side of that too is you have a lot more access to that
information now though, where before you had kind of,
I mean, if we want to go super old school, you had like a BBS system and then,
or you, then you had like a forum.
And if you couldn’t figure out what you wanted within, you know, an hour,
or I guess back in the early days of the internet
in a few weeks, you were always looking for
what’s the fastest route to a solution.
And sometimes that was a public user group.
But I mean, now, you know, we have some apps in here
where I can just say, let me fire off a tweet really quick
and then get an answer back within, you know, a few minutes,
or let me check out a Reddit forum,
or let me check out the forum for the, you know,
product on the product’s website.
And even with Apple, it’s like, honestly,
I usually go into an Apple store
and I have to give them the checklist
of all of the troubleshooting steps
that I’ve done beforehand just to prevent like,
is the battery reservoir cleaned out?
Have you plugged it in?
Is it charged?
All of these things, it’s like, okay, look,
I’ve done this, I’ve done the whole eraser trick.
I made sure there was no lint in the charging port
and power’s on for 30 seconds and shuts off.
I don’t know what’s going on.
Yes, I’ve reset to factory settings.
Yes, I’ve done an emergency wipe.
But yes, I’ve done all these things.
and they go, “Okay, yeah, let’s just get you a new phone.”
Because at that point it’s like, well, that’s all they know
because they’re using the same information that I have.
I think that it’s great that, you know,
now user groups can be, I don’t wanna say fan clubs,
but they can be like appreciation groups
and groups for discovery of things that are new
and not just, you know,
have you tried turning it off and on again.
It’s both good and bad because like you said,
if people don’t feel like they need to be a member
of that group to get that information,
then yeah, they are gonna bounce rather quickly.
But that just means the people that are here are more dedicated.
You mentioned broken phones there.
So did any of us gamble and download the latest beta and have any issues?
I downloaded it.
It’s been fine so far for me, touch wood, but that’s all going to change tomorrow anyway,
So I gambled it on one.
This was on the 10s, the max, and didn’t have any issues.
And I’m holding out on the 12.
But I think, yeah, I think iOS 15 will come before I even get a chance to put that onto
I’m intrigued to find out why it suddenly kicked off people’s SIM cards.
But I don’t know if any of you read into it.
Rumor has it was it was something to do with the eSIM in the phone rather than third party
supplier SIM cards.
But I’m not willing to gamble that one just yet.
It’s always fun testing out betas.
Interestingly, the public version of the beta doesn’t have the issue.
So somebody knows something in there.
No, I haven’t.
I didn’t add anything that I saw that caused any problems.
Was it on the Mac version?
Was the Big Sur, the version 11.14, the one which allows you to boot off
an external hard drive again?
Wasn’t that the one which they were releasing this week?
So 11.4 now lets you boot from an external drive again, but there hasn’t been any official comments
on that as to why or what the change is or does it affect t-chip security devices? There’s not
been a final answer on that. I don’t know if anyone else has come across anything to do with that.
I’m intrigued. I’m not going to gamble it on a spare machine just in case.
No, the thing which concerns me is I do a lot of, I do the beta testing on an external drive because
I do Apple support. I’m an engineer doing Mac and PC as a day job and I have to often carry
external drives with me to test a Mac because often the hard drive is about to die or they
want me to test something. And so if I can’t boot off an external drive and they’re in an area where
where there’s bad internet connection,
the only place I can go is the Apple Store.
So the Apple Store knows me very well
because I’m going in there with clients and saying,
we’ve just spoken to Arlands or Cork,
they’ve said we have to come into the Apple Store,
this is the problem, let’s see where to go from there.
And I’m very intrigued to see what’s gonna happen
with the new iMacs because the repair system
goes on to DFU mode,
which is very similar to an iPad or iPhone.
So that’s gonna be intriguing to play with,
But the first we get the new IMAX in this country is the end of June.
So five week wait for the first IMAX.
I’m going to ask Jay this question now.
How’s the delay time on US orders?
Um, I mean, a lot of it just depends on how early you’re willing to wake up.
Uh, if you, you know, if you’re a day one person and you can jump in, then
you can usually get it on the, on the shipping date, which is actually funny.
Cause I know some people will say that like, Oh, it says it’s already arrived
and it’s the day before, which I’m like,
“Hey, those are good problems.”
However, it does fill up quickly.
And that’s something that I’ve always wondered about too,
where I don’t not believe Apple
when they say it’s the fastest selling,
ObjectX, whatever they’re selling.
But I also know from companies like Nintendo,
where they sell out very, very fast
and they delay their, you know, oh, we’re back ordered for the next several weeks
or months. And I wonder like a company as big as Apple,
they, they have to have a good idea of what the demand is going to be.
Right? Like I don’t understand why there’s such a delay. If you’re not,
um, before the past couple of years, you have to wake up at, you know,
you have to wake up at midnight or stay up till midnight to try and order or
wake up at four in the morning and try to order depending on what part of the
the U S you are in. And I don’t even,
I don’t even know what that time looks like in the UK. So I’m sure it’s probably
No, it was better for us. We were the lucky ones.
Cause it’s usually nine o’clock in the morning for us.
That’s so that’s amazing. So what’s yours?
So I need to make a trip like every, every release day.
Like that’s what I’m hearing.
Do you think that the delay is maybe designed so that after WWDC,
they release the public betas to the developers,
and then they wait a couple of weeks after,
and then they’ll release the gold master to say,
“This is the new release or this update,”
and that’s why we’ve delayed the IMAX.
So in case there’s anything which developers find on the IMAX,
that’s why there’s a five-week delay.
It’s possible. It could work out quite well for them.
I think that there’s an argument for,
has Apple shown a history of giving developers time
to adequately prepare for things,
especially with the last operating system release of,
oh, by the way, iOS 14 coming out tomorrow,
everyone get your gold masters in now.
I don’t think that that would be the case
just because I don’t feel like Apple is,
And before I preach the same statement that Marco Arman said about Apple doesn’t care
about its developers anymore, I don’t think that’s the case.
I know some of the advocates there.
I think they’re amazing.
I think that Apple has a lot going on and the developers and them being prepared and
the things that might cause some small bugs are probably the least of their worries in
that time when they’re trying to figure out how to release things and make sure
that they can have the smoothest and most marketable release today.
And I think that’s the big thing is they want to be able to say Apple sold out
everywhere on day one shipment times are pushed back by weeks because that makes
people want to say, let me get my order in now instead of thinking about it.
Because if it’s pushed back till, you know, July now it’ll be November before
I get my iMac if I decide to wait a month.
- You also have to remember that Tim Cook
is the supply chain guru.
That’s where he came from.
So he’s not gonna wanna have bundles of boxes
sitting in warehouse has not been sold.
So I think there’s a bit of both there.
I think the developers, the secrecy issues
that Apple have giving out their best secrets
to developers is always a bit of a challenge.
And I’m sure that gets them going
about what’s gonna be leaked.
but also just purely from a physical point of view,
they’ll wanna gauge which of the seven colors
is gonna be the most popular.
They won’t want to have thousands of orange IMAX
that aren’t being sold or aren’t moving
along the supply chain.
So I think that’s another reason
why they don’t release them on announcement.
It gives them a time to build up some kind of indication
as to what supply is needed.
- The thing is we’ve got,
there’s so many different moving parts as well at the minute.
Obviously we’ve still got plenty of companies
that are still reeling from pandemic problems.
Then you add a boat stuck across a canal
that caused chaos with shipments.
And then you’ve got the chip shortage
that’s causing problems left, right and center.
And I think it’s a perfect storm at the minute
of they just can’t build things quick enough.
We had AirPods Max turn of the new year.
That was another one where if you ordered a pair of those,
you had to wait six weeks before they come.
And then if you wanted to order a certain color,
it’d take three months.
And I think it’s continuing through the year.
I think it’d be interesting to see what the state of play is
come September when it’s iPhone time.
Because that’ll be the test.
That’s the one where all the stops will get pulled out.
And if we have problems then,
then we know there’s a real issue going on somewhere.
- And to be fair, they’re releasing products
at a rate of not.
I’ve not seen it at such a time
that they’ve got so many new products
or upgraded products all coming out at the same time.
It’s an impressive trick to pull off if you can.
And they do seem to have, am I right in saying
that people buying Apple products
will maybe wait slightly longer?
If you’re going into PC world to buy a HP laptop,
if the HP isn’t there, there’s at least another half dozen
that you might consider looking at
and you might be pushed towards.
So, you know, whereas if you want an iMac or a Mac mini,
you’re gonna wait for it.
The other thing I think about Max is they tend to follow a routine of when they’re going to release things.
So they’ve also got to cope with the fact that once you’ve been in the universe for a little while, you know that, well, if you want a new phone in June, how much you want a new phone?
Or do you want to wait until October, November and get the latest phone?
Because they’re quite routine in some areas.
they’ve got to worry about managing the supply because it is all up and down, isn’t it?
You can see that, you know, who would buy a phone in September?
The other interesting thing about this is that the education markets and I checked with
Jerry on this one, but I would imagine that a lot of universities will be buying kits
in July to set them up in August because if you’re a university, you tend to do all your
maintenance, your repair work, you changing of labs and getting everything ready during the
quarantine period, which is the long summer holidays. And you’re going to start ordering
that ahead of time. So you can put in the broken stuff or the new kit. And what would be nice is
to have an internet room with, you know, all the nice colorful iMac. So when I was at university,
we had the first generation iMac. So we had all the different colors.
You mentioned the idea of having an internet room that was full of Macs. I think for a lot of
colleges these days, they just want an internet room in general. The libraries aren’t going
anywhere. They’re there. They’re full of stuff and a lot of students use them and they use a lot of
the study rooms and things. But even when I was in college for the short time that I was there,
That was, you know, 12 years ago.
And even then they were removing computers because everybody just brought their own.
And I mean, that’s you’re definitely right that the time to update equipment, update, you know, all of the logistical stuff, make sure your floors are scrubbed and everything else is in the time where there’s less split traffic.
But I still think that Apple has the same problem that they’ve been trying to resolve for years
Which is how do we even get our devices into schools most?
Colleges and universities if you don’t bring your own device
You’re going to use you know a dumb terminal that’ll have the library lookup
it’ll have a browser and it’ll be powered by an Intel nook because
No matter which way you slice it
You can throw in a hundred nooks for the price of you know
10 iMacs and that’s just going to be a better deal for them especially when
they know that the majority of their devices aren’t getting used regularly on
a day-to-day basis. Some breaking news that some media outlets put it is did
Johnny Ive design the new iMac? No one knows nobody knows. There’s talk that he
had a hand in it towards the end but no one will say how much or what
part or exactly when it happened. I mean these things are designed so far out that it’s entirely
possible that it was something to do with him and if we want to blame him for those silly white
bezels that’s fine by me. But who knows, they’re still, they’re supposed to be working together
anyway aren’t they? They still talk that they signed an agreement where he would still get
involved here and there. Again we’ve not heard anything about what that looks like or if it even
happens or if that was one of those things that you say when someone of his
stature leaves and you want to save face or who knows he’s working with Airbnb
last I heard so could be working with McDonald’s by now. I think you have to
say that the Johnny Ive design logic is still there for everyone to see I don’t
think they’ve moved away from his emphasis and ethos a great deal the
system still looks like something he would put his name to. It does, it does.
When you’ve got to turn the headphone jack sideways to fit it in because
it’s longer than the width of the entire machine. That’s that sounds like I’ve that sounds like
something he did. Yeah, I think he has a lot to answer for for the orange to be supposedly
Johnny I’ve is an orange fan. And to be honest, so am I I like the orange one. If I bought
one, it would be orange. The original iMac when it first came out, the was the version
C the orange was the highest in demand. And the lowest demand. Can anyone guess the color?
- Better not be Bondi blue. – Grey.
- It was the lime, the green. – Oh, yeah.
Followed by the ruby one.
And so they were the ones which a lot of people ended up
because it was the colours that no-one really wanted
because people associated certain colours with depression
or other colours with sort of energy
and so they wanted sort of bright, vibrant colours.
- Didn’t they do an orange… Was it an eye book? – They did, yeah.
that clam shell thing they had with that orange handle on it.
And I remember looking at it and I thought,
there’s no way I’m walking down the road carrying that on that handle.
It’s just, no, sorry. Sorry.
I may be an apple lover, but that’s a step too far.
It looked like it should have a VTEC logo on it, didn’t it?
The question of if Johnny Ive had anything to do with the design of this,
Has Johnny Ive become the new quote unquote,
well Steve wouldn’t have done it this way,
you know, at this point.
I feel like there’s a lot to say about,
like Apple has a design language
and Johnny Ive has a lot to do with that language.
No one is coming in with a brand new idea
and they go, all right, this time the iMac’s
gonna look like an octagon.
And they go like, oh, it’s brilliant,
it’s such a revolutionary idea.
No one’s doing that.
They’re looking at a gigantic PDF that just says,
all right, here’s how Apple products should look.
They should either have like no hard edges.
They should be as thin as possible.
iPhone Jack, optional, but you know,
like follow the instructions on the book
and then find the blanks that are empty here
and then we’ll fill them with new design ideas.
And over time, you’ll slowly adopt new things
the technology improves. I don’t think that Johnny Ive’s design language or ideas had as much to do
with the fact that this system is as small as it is as much as the iPad Pro. We see a lot of the
cooling technology that looks very similar to what the iPad Pro had with the little vents trying to
push it down outwards. Working with silent fans and bringing the decibel levels down, that’s, I mean,
that’s something you always want to do. But now we have the technology to do more of those. The display,
the technology behind it, all of these things.
It’s not a Johnny Ive thing, it’s an Apple thing.
And I think we kind of forget that because, oh, the great designer left.
So from now on, we’re allowed to have color again, which is great.
That might be the one decision that Johnny Ive like didn’t have much of an agreement to of like,
oh, everything needs to be space gray or silver.
So yeah, if Johnny Ive had anything to do with this design,
it’s the fact that there’s still a silver iMac that’s available.
But other than that, does it matter at the end of the day?
I’m just wondering remember when the MacBooks came out the number one color that everyone wanted to get was the black
They tried to get the black MacBook and they said they just couldn’t get it where it wasn’t peeling off because remember the MacBooks
They would sort of that outer case would peel off the black one had that sort of sophistication
And it would remember it was more expensive to buy. Yeah, then the white one, but the other one which is interesting
It’s a product red is one of the highest demand products. So we’ve never had a
Red Mac was that we’ve got phones which are red, but we’ve not had any red
Desktops or laptops and so can you imagine that that would be a big statement couldn’t you could have you’ve done some strange things with?
The product where I mean we had the spell where the red ones would come out six months after the the model launched
We still don’t get product red pros of any description
So if you want red you have to get mid-range model
You can’t get a high-end model and I’ve just never understood that I can’t like you said the product reds are always popular
They always look brilliant. I’d happily buy a red 13 Pro in September day one. No problem. No questions asked
I wouldn’t need to see one that would be it done
but it never seems that because because member Ferrari released they teamed up with was Acer and
They produced the Ferrari reds. They licensed it. It was the highest selling Acer
Laptop in the market, even though there are other laptops which are windows which were better than it
people love the fact that it was red.
When I asked someone, why did you buy a red one?
They said, ’cause when you go through the airport
and everyone’s putting their laptops
on the to go for security check,
they could see theirs ’cause it was bright red.
It’d be silver, silver, silver, black, red.
And they knew which one to pick.
- One upmanship in the security channels, I love it.
- Okay, so as we sit on the eve of WWDC,
I’m gonna ask the question,
what is the next OS going to be called?
and I want one guess from each person and see who gets the closest.
Let’s go with something different.
We’ve done a bunch of mountains,
we’ve done these landscapes.
I want some busy city life.
Let’s go like Mac OS Malibu.
That’s got such a nice feel to it.
That feels like you could be using your Mac and drinking a cocktail,
Pina Colada time. I like that.
The one I think would be great is if they went OS Monterey,
and you went for a yellow iMac you could then have Monterey Jack.
The one that comes to mind I would think that maybe Golden Gate.
Carmel, that’d be quite nice. Fishtagate is quite expensive.
It’s going to be Mammoth or Monterey. I think that’s pretty much guaranteed
based on trademarks that they’ve got hanging around and ones that they’ve little apps.
So whichever one you fancy out of that pair, Mammoth.
I had the same suggestion as Martin. I’d like to see him call it Mac OS Golden Gate.
That would be my suggestion and I can just see the wallpaper being the bridge.
I’m afraid of that direction though because if you keep going with landmarks eventually
you’ll hit Mac OS Alcatraz and nobody wants that.
You mean to say we’re not locked into a system already?
I mean it is an island so…
Is there any weird islands of California which haven’t been named?
We’ve had Catalina so…
My next question. Oliver, you’re in the realm of news and tech updates.
What would be your most requested thing from WWDC?
That’s a tough one.
If we’re going to get hardware 16-inch MacBook Pro, definitely.
Been waiting for that to happen for too long with whatever processor they want to put in it.
I suspect it’s going to be something beyond M1, whether it’s M1X, M2, whatever they end up calling it.
Software-wise, iOS 15 is going to be the highlight for me.
I love getting new iOS releases to play with.
I just want something to change on the lock screen.
I’ve always wanted, I remember having a Motorola Android phone years ago during the dark days
and having an always on screen and interactive widgets and that kind of thing. And iOS 15,
I’m hoping is going to sort of take what we got from iOS 14 and go a step further. I’m hoping
we get something, sort of complications on the lock screen kind of thing. And I’d take that.
I’d be happy with that, to be honest with you. Awesome. And Jay, what would you suggest being
your most look forward to thing?
I’m kind of, I don’t want to say underwhelmed this year, but there isn’t really much that
I’m hoping for.
Call it a talk year, call it a year that they just solidify everything else.
I mean, we were talking earlier about issues with, you know, computers crashing and boot
loops and things like that.
They just got Apple Silicon out.
It’s the fastest, most reliable question mark system.
I want them to remove that question mark.
I want them to I want them to just say, hey, we’re going to give people an extra year to
provide as much support for Apple Silicon as possible.
I know it’s not the fun or sexy answer, but it’s kind of the answer I’m looking for of
like I just want to make sure that when I do retire this old Intel 16 inch MacBook and
pick up a 16 inch M1 that all of my systems that I have to move over aren’t going to immediately
like stop working and I don’t think that they can do that if they keep, you know,
pushing ahead, which I get it. Like you have to, it’s competitive. You have to stay competitive,
but I feel like they’re more competitive on iOS, on iPadOS. Well, iPadOS, they’re like king of the
hill because there’s not really much in the tablet space outside of an iPad. So yeah, I just want them
to to solidify the operating system for macOS and say, you know what, we’ve fixed a lot of stuff
under the hood, it’s going to be more reliable, it’s going to be the expected performance all of
the time. I just want some nice software updates. iPad OS, please do something better with it. I’m
getting a little bit frustrated with it and that is something I use all the time, sometimes more
than being on a Mac. If I had a wish list, I want to see shortcuts but for Mac OS. A lot of people
People are shouting that shortcuts on Mac OS is coming.
I don’t know if there’s anything behind the scenes
that show that, but I’ve had this conversation
on Mac voices a few times.
I think what they’re waiting for is a more connected system
between iOS, iPad OS, and Mac OS.
And I’m not saying they all gotta be one system,
but I think with the introduction of Catalyst,
Catalyst apps were bumpy getting off the ground.
Swift UI will help a lot in some of those features,
but I think what they want is the ability to say
that if you have a shortcut on your iPhone,
if you have a shortcut on your iPad,
you should be able to port that over to your Mac
and it should just run.
And in order to do that,
they have to make sure that the applications
that are on iOS and that are on iPadOS
can run in some way, shape or form on macOS
and are set up for that.
And I think they are close.
So I do think it’s coming,
but I don’t think it’s coming this year.
I think they’re gonna wanna introduce something
on the developer side that says,
okay, we’ve given you a little bit more assistance
in getting your iOS device,
your iOS apps ported over to the Mac
so that they do feel like native apps,
because I don’t know, I’ve seen people show off their,
hey, look at this iOS app on my Mac.
and it’s like, “It doesn’t look like it really belongs there.”
I think they want it to feel like it belongs there first,
and then that’s when they’ll go, “Shortcuts,
we’re killing auto the automator,
and we’re bringing out shorty the shortcut,
and we’ll have a great time there.”
- I think you are right in some of that.
I think it may be that we have to see
an entire product line of M-chips,
and maybe the year after that they push it slightly further,
because for someone that loves shortcuts and automation things,
there are some big hiccups in that I have to have the same workflow
process for iOS and then I have to have a different app doing the same
thing for Mac OS and it is frustrating.
I agree with you on that for sure.
What would Alistair’s suggestion be?
So I was thinking about this one and I think on iOS, I would say the two
requests I would have on iOS are this.
One, when you take a screenshot, when you save it to files or somewhere else on iCloud,
you could actually give it a name because at present it’s calling it something PNG and then
you have to go on your Mac and it comes up with a stupid error which says “would you like to save
this file even though it’s got the same name as another screenshot you just took five minutes ago?”
Two, second one, I would like Safari to be able to deal with certain web pages or certain archaic
pages which still insist that you have to go onto an Apple computer to look at the website.
I would say as the macOS, I would say reliability would be good because we’ve seen so many issues
with Bluetooth, so many issues with wireless keyboards. That sort of reliability is slightly
more pro version of iTunes. You know, like iTunes of old because the current iTunes,
you can’t see all the, you know, what genre it is or because if we’re going to a better
audio, we’ve got the new headphones, it would be nice if we had on I/O because on the Mac you can
do your own customized equalizer. Why can’t we do that on the iPhone or the iPad? Because we’re
getting high-end music which we can now get and high-end headphones. Wouldn’t it be nice to have
a nice little equalizer? But that’s just my own personal preference. Ah, but would Tina want high-end
headphones to work with high-end audio? At the moment there is currently a big problem with that.
I think I’m looking forward to the if there’s hardware, I want to see what they produce
for the 16 inch MacBook Pro. That’s what that’s my focus. Even though it’s old fashioned,
if there was a version of Mac face, I would like that. You know, that’s one of my the
earliest adverts I can remember the one where Mac doesn’t break his leg and PC does, because
it just strikes me safety wise. It’s just really clever. You know, having an SD slot
would be nice and having the speed to deal with, you know, big files.
So that’s what I’m looking for.
Uh, well, I’d like a new form of bootcamp so that you could run on an iPad,
either iOS or you could run Mac OS since they’re putting the same chips into both.
Surely there must be a way that you could choose which system you want to use.
I’d love to see Mac OS on, on the iPad.
Cause then all the pro apps you could run on your iPad.
And the other thing I’d like to see Apple bring in is similar to their phone system.
I’d like to be able to swap my MacBook Pro each year for the new version as it comes out.
OK, you got me on that one. I like that one.
The thing that I’m hearing from most of us at being like professional users
is that we want professional tools.
We want our professional tools to feel like they’re designed and reliable
and performant as professional tools.
And it’s not to say that what we don’t have isn’t better than what it’s been.
But I do think that there is a divide between not the Steve Jobs apple,
but the apple of old and the apple of now.
Apple is the wealthiest company in the world.
Its job now is to make sure that it continues to be the wealthiest company in the world
and that it somehow creates more people on the planet to sell these products to
until they can achieve that goal.
They have to figure out who isn’t buying their products and how do they get them
to buy their products?
I don’t think the goal for Apple at this point is to make the Apple fans, the
Apple pros want to go out and buy more Apple devices.
I think very much it is how do I get the people who can’t be bothered with Mac OS
to buy an iPad?
How can I get the people who can’t be bothered with their Android devices to
now join the Apple ecosystem?
How do I get someone whose child only has an Apple watch?
How do I convince their parents to upgrade them to an iPhone SE?
I feel like that’s the market. And I mean, again, I’m not a, I,
I work for a marketing department. I am not a marketer for Apple.
So I can’t speak on their behalf,
but I feel like if they want to remain in this field
where services are the most important thing.
You have to be able to sell those services to somebody.
And the same people that you sell those services to,
they’re just gonna want something
that’s gonna play their movies faster,
listen to their music better,
and ultimately get out of their way
in terms of all of the other performance stuff.
They’re not really gonna care
about all the professional apps that are out there.
And it’s not an Apple’s lost its way.
It’s a Apple has new responsibilities
that it has to think about.
I feel like that’s the hard part with this.
I’m trying to keep my expectations low and just be like, “All right, let me think like someone who has
trillions of dollars and their job is to make more trillions of dollars. How do I do that?”
And sadly, it’s none of the things that any of us have asked for. So that’s kind of a challenge.
But surely if that was the case, all they have to do is remove the Apple tax. If they really wanted
to go over bulk and sell that quantity and catch the other 90% who don’t buy Apple products.
I don’t think they can do that because then they lose the status symbol.
I mean, Apple will argue that the MacBook Air, the Mac Mini, that’s that market. That’s what
they’re aiming those two machines at. The Mac Mini was always supposed to be that switcher machine,
wasn’t it? It’s like bring your own crappy monitor, bring your own crappy keyboard,
plug it in, you’ve got a Mac. Whether they were priced low enough is a different matter.
and the MacBook Air is still the best-selling laptop on the planet. People are buying them clearly
priced at what is it a grand these days or 900 for a MacBook Air low end. The weird thing about
Apple at the moment is Pro doesn’t mean Pro anymore, Pro means more expensive and to start
to get to top of the Pro machines you’re talking iMac Pro which is now dead and buried and then
obviously you get to Mac Pro which is six grand before you start adding anything useful and there’s
that big gap between MacBook Pro, which is MacBook but better, and then the proper Pro
machines, which in laptop world, there isn’t one.
And then you start getting up to sort of silly money for Mac Pros. And I think finding a
way to make that MacBook Pro fit everything that Pro photographers, videographers want
is something that they’ve got further and further away from over the last few years.
if the rumors are right we’re going to start to get back towards that now with HDMI ports,
SD card slots, we’re never getting Ethernet back but we’re getting ports back at least
whereas we’ve spent the last however many years taking them away and I think it’s promising,
it’s it’s it’s I’m looking forward to seeing what this next round of of MacBook Pro type
devices looks like because I think it might give us something back that we lost over the last five
years and it’ll be interesting then to see where we go from there and I’m most
interested to see what the prices are because for years we’ve had Intel’s
processors bumping prices up especially when you look at like the mic pro of
that five thousand pound five thousand dollar price how much of that is a Xeon
chip you whip that out and shove an M1X or whatever in will the mic pro get
cheaper because the overheads are lower. Maybe knowing Tim Cook,
probably not. But you can see the same thing with the rest of
the lineup. And that’s where we come back to the cheaper
machines, could the MacBook Air get cheaper? And could it
compete with your Aces or your Lenovo or whatever the PC world
buying these days, it’s always a balancing act between what
we’ve got the chance of making more money or do we sell more
by making it cheaper. And that’s why people like Tim Cook and
code get paid a load of money to make those decisions and I talk about it on
podcasts. I think the interesting thing is the fact that the new M1 chip has
thrown all of that scenario and that level and that kind of thinking
line out the window. A colleague of mine has bought got
himself an M1, run some tests, not benchmark tests but real-world tests of
doing stuff in Final Cut Pro and the little Mac Mini was five times faster
than the old Mac Pro trash can they had which was fully keyed that was a top
range kit they used for video processing and the and the Mac Mini
absolutely thrashed it so what you’re saying is quite right how are they gonna
justify a Mac Mini compared to the Mac Pro at what nearly ten times the price
all of that is gonna be thrown out the window it’s gonna be a new brave world I
think about what you can or can’t afford.
Apple Silicon sort of finally gives Apple what it’s wanted to do for years.
And that’s get away from speeds and feeds.
It doesn’t matter how much RAM you’ve got these days because 8 gig in the
lowest, well, the entry level MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, everyone looked
at that and thought, including me, you’re thinking that’s no way that’s enough for
most people that’s going to be chopping and changing constantly.
And yeah, it will do, but it’s got SSD and it’s sat next to chip and it’s like
lightning and you can’t tell the difference whether it’s swapping or not
and no one’s going to care.
It doesn’t matter.
It’s just any machine.
It’s an appliance.
It’s a kettle.
It’s a microwave.
It just doesn’t matter anymore.
It’s that quick.
And then you start selling them features like SD card slots, connectivity,
portability, colors, that kind of thing.
And that’s what we’ll start looking at in the future.
It won’t be how quick it is because everything’s quick and it doesn’t
matter which one you buy.
It’ll be interesting though because I watched lots of reviews on comparing the MacBook Pro
with the MacBook Air and lots of people said that there wasn’t enough of a differential.
Why would you pay that much extra for the MacBook Pro?
That M1 MacBook Pro is a machine that I don’t think needed to exist.
It seemed to be put out as a stopgap until whatever gets announced because they didn’t
want the Air to be beating the Pro that you could buy next to it in an Apple store.
So there’s a couple of interesting things which I think we’ll probably see.
So we’re going to have some mention of accessibility.
So that will either be mental health, audio hearing or some disability mentioned at some
point because that’s what their current theme is.
The second thing we’re going to see is with this new M series, what have we been able
So it’ll be some sort of grand target.
But the other interesting thing was the reason they had to make the pro indicator was when
they had that lineup originally, remember you had the iMac was the consumer grade and
then you had the higher, you know, the G3 to G4s. So they had to have a distinguisher.
Then you had the iBooks and then the Mac Pros because you needed to distinguish them and
they were slightly more expensive chips and you had to explain that. And then when asked
some time back what was the most popular MacBook Pro being sold, it was the 2011 stroke 2012
MacBook Pros. Those were the most popular at the time. Everyone had them. It was the
most popular one. And I think the biggest problem we had was that things sort of went
downhill because they were trying to sort of cover everything, you know, go for the
thinnest, lightest type of computer. And then they discovered that the people who bought
those type of computers didn’t really care about Apple and it wasn’t looking good for
Apple. They were just sort of like, “Oh, I don’t like it now.” You know, it was just
simple as far as they were concerned. And I’d be very interested to see where they
move to and whether they’re kind of have a look at like this is the roadmap for the
next five years. This is where we’re planning going with this. It’d be interesting to see
how they sort of utilize their dominance on that market, especially as we don’t know who’s
going to be buying on.
There are lots of things you can look at. The webcam, what’s that all about?
I love that.
You know, with now things like Zoom calls, Skype, Teams, whatever your video calling
app of choice is, Messenger, whatever, a lot of that’s going to remain.
So there’ll be some things I think that they should be looking at changing relatively easily,
you would hope.
But that said, you know, my sister’s going to be distraught that the touch bar is going
because she loves it.
It’s the things you don’t notice.
I mean, I’ve got the MacBook Air, I just don’t notice now that when I switch it on, that,
you know, I put my finger over the on button and it just reads my fingerprint. Whereas
I had when I was still in the Windows world, I had a Sony one with this stupid fingerprint
reader that never worked. It is how seamless the experience is. I think that’s what I find
hard saying to people that aren’t in the Mac universe. You know, the fact that if I change
bookmark on one laptop, it updates on the next one so that I don’t even think about it. All the stuff
it does in the background, I don’t think about, you know, making everything all work together
seamlessly, which when it doesn’t work is very irritating. So our main feature for today was to
look at a slightly different subject in terms of contextual computing. So not necessarily a feature
in Mac OS or iOS, but a way of how we use our machines. And I thought I would ask Jay
what his opinion or view of contextual computing is.
I feel like you got the budget David Sparks on this one because a lot of my opinions will
wind up coming from some of the work that he’s done. I have recently been on kind of
a wide array of contextual computing thought and setup. As Craig mentioned in the introduction,
there’s a lot going on in my life. Little less now that we’re post pandemic, pandemic times,
you know, a lot of things have kind of faded, but there’s always a lot going on. And how do I
change from J Miller, the father, the husband to J Miller, the developer advocate and developer to
to Jay Miller, the psycho tweeter, to Jay Miller, the podcaster, to Jay Miller,
the YouTuber. And how do I keep everything kind of balanced?
How do I know where I’m going to be able to find things?
And there have been a lot of tools that have come out lately that really help in
that process. And I know that we have a few in here that we’ll probably jump into,
but to me,
the idea of contextual computing is putting yourself in kind of a mode state of
When Jay the podcaster is here,
all of the other things that Jay does have to go away
because if they don’t, then, you know,
I’m not able to focus fully on doing the podcasting things.
And then when it is time to switch over
from Jay the podcaster to Jay the YouTuber,
I, you know, hit some buttons, flip some switches,
turn some dials, and it’s really not that glamorous.
I think I just type in a couple of commands.
But then the things that go away from that,
Jay the podcaster stuff disappears
and now Jay the YouTuber stuff now appears.
and I have all the applications there laid out
the way that I want them to be laid out.
The email is muted and do not disturb is turned on
and I can focus on the recording, the editing,
the B-roll and all that other stuff that comes up.
And it’s being able to switch in and out of those modes,
whether it’s different devices, different applications,
maybe even different operating systems.
I mean, I haven’t gotten that crazy yet,
but I’m sure there’s someone.
I mean, I guess the best way to think about it is
if you ever worked for an IT department for an all Windows company and you would
prefer to be on a Mac in a way you are switching your you’re switching from
Windows administrator to Mac enthusiasts. This is just doing something similar to
that, but all within the same ecosystem.
I think that really sums up what the idea of contextual computing is. I don’t
know if some of the other members of the panel use it in a different sense or see
in a different way. For me, I see it more about being more organized or productive.
I would say it’s also a massive time saver, but there is kind of an argument of, “Oh my gosh,
it looks so complicated. It takes forever to set up.” I’d love to hear what other people think of
how they go about doing that or how do you save time. The only thing I do use is the different
desktops available in OS. So if I am doing, like you say, if I’m doing video work where I’m doing
a podcast, then I need to see my files. I need to see obviously got Flycock Pro and I might need
some internet connections. That’s what I want to concentrate on. And then when I’m doing my general
office work stuff and accounts and all that kind of stuff, then all that, as Jay said, needs to go
away. Don’t annoy me. Don’t bug me with stuff I don’t need to know about. I could do that being
tighter because it’s all too easy to be dragged off into side streams and rabbit
holes and stuff like that when you’re and you’re it’s impacting on the work
you do so from that point of view yes it would be nice to see a way of doing that
and I’ve tried different bits and pieces of ways of doing that. Automator I tried
to use to section off what I want to do but haven’t found it easy to do and it
to me I’m not a great coder or programmer anything like that just an
ordinary user, I find it difficult to get all that in a workable system.
So the things I do, I think the only things I do at the moment is I have a
geotagged location so that as soon as I leave my house, the wifi and Bluetooth
goes off because I don’t need it when I’m traveling and it’s to save battery life.
But it’s a bit sort of hit and miss at times.
It doesn’t always seem to work.
So I would like it to be a bit more reliable.
So maybe it’s just the way I’m coding it with shortcuts.
But I have tried in different ways.
I mean, I do a very simple way.
I have a series of different desktops and I will say,
iTunes open in this desktop,
Emo open in that one,
Fudgy shop in this one,
because I can be jumping between three or four spaces
simultaneously and in order not to get distracted,
I will have everything open in their own space
so I don’t get distracted in what I’m currently doing.
The other thing I found was that
you almost have to watch a video to find out
what is capable of doing because it’s all very well someone talks about it but
you need to know what the capacity it can do in order to go “Oh that’s useful!
Oh that would save me time!” You know I’m not gonna go read a manual because that’s too
boring. So I want someone to show me in five minutes what I can do with this
thing and then I could go “Yay!” because that’s a sort of the fun sort of exciting
way of doing it. I mean what was it the fastest way I learned about Evernote was
okay I went and tried to collect everything and stick it in Evernote and
then sort of, oh, I want this web page, I want to do this, because the biggest problem I had was, you
go and create a load of bookmarks. And then you forget which computer did you store the bookmarks
on? Was it my MacBook Pro, my Mac Pro, my G3, my G4? Was it in Firefox, Safari or Chrome? And so you’re
having to hunt where this this page was. And so just sticking into Evernote, when it was a big thing,
2012, I thought that was excellent because I could say
perhaps what I need to look when I’m on the move and when I was
traveling. So I’ll be intrigued to see what has changed what has
moved on because I’m at present I’m sort of not the most
automated as I could be.
Would you say it’s device specific in terms of automation
or what you can and can’t do because let’s say 85 90% of the
population is probably carrying some form of smartphone at this
I don’t want to say that it’s device specific on what you can and can’t do.
I want well, other than writing code, because Apple still just hasn’t provided
a great way of doing that on an iOS device other than remoting into your Mac
OS device and doing it.
But I don’t think that it’s necessarily device specific on what you can and can’t
I think it’s device specific on how you do it.
And I think that that’s something that in the realm of Apple, it is still very
hard to do no matter which device you’re using.
I think as a few people have mentioned here, you almost have to devote your life to becoming
an automation guru to really utilize these tools in a way that makes sense.
Often, I mean, most of my friends are those automation gurus, so it’s kind of hard for
me to think outside of that box where I’m like, “Hey, I want to do this thing and this
thing and this thing,” and then all of a sudden you have like 50 shortcut blocks in this long
thing that says solve all J’s problems, click here to add untrusted shortcut. But there’s a lot going
on in both the Mac ecosystem and the iOS ecosystem. And I think the story there is a little muddied.
Of course, shortcuts solves a lot of the questions on how do you do a thing. But how do you get that
data ready for shortcuts at times? What if the app doesn’t support shortcuts? What if, you know,
all of a sudden, you know, my wife and I use a meal planner and not to push any,
you know, gender norms or whatever. I prefer to cook.
My wife prefers to go shopping and buy the groceries.
So I often know what we need, but she’s the person getting them.
And the app that we use to plan our meals doesn’t support shortcuts.
So how do I take this list of ingredients that I’m going to need for the week
and send them to my wife so that she can add them to her favorite,
you know, shopping list application of choice?
And will it be prepared for that?
And the answer is often, I don’t know, maybe.
And sadly, I think that in a world of context computing,
maybe is like the worst place to be in.
Do I have this file?
Do I have the application I need installed?
I don’t know, maybe.
Like, I can’t work with that.
And I think that that’s where this idea of saying,
like, I have to think of so hard
before I even begin to set up these processes.
I think that’s what prevents people from ever jumping in.
It’s not the device, it’s not the operating system,
it’s okay, let me do my mise en place.
Let me get all my ingredients and lay them out
in front of me and make sure I have everything I need
before I ever get started.
And I think that Apple has to make that a little bit easier.
I think the content creators need to stop
trying to write magnum opuses and making these videos
that are just like, I built the Berlin wall using shortcuts and 15 steps and start going
with here’s how you start with the basics and do more of those things.
I’m going to ask Oliver how he deals with all of his research and recording documentation
for all of his articles. I’m intrigued to understand how this works.
I go through spells with this sort of stuff. I go through weeks where I get really into
it and I spend more time tweaking and messing around and trying to automate things than actually
doing work and then I go the complete opposite way and just throw it all away and do everything
manually instead and I just I don’t think we’ve ever really got to the point that we were promised
a couple of WWDCs ago where we’ll be able to serial say that oh this is the time you normally
have your coffee and I’ll order it for you from the nearest Starbucks and it’ll be ready for when
you get there and it’ll do it all automatically and that never happened did it and I mean my phone
can’t even tell me the basic things I don’t think Siri suggestions ever really worked from from beta
one through to now so I I don’t know I have a love hate relationship with that kind of thing
I like the idea it seems brilliant in theory I’ve never been able to make any of it work properly
but I think that’s partly my own lack of patience more than anything.
I think J Spawn when he says that sometimes we get people that get
far too into the weeds with building mini apps out of shortcuts.
I can think of one very prominent person that tends to do that kind of
thing and things that they make are their apps, they’re not
shortcuts anymore, they’re apps and I think if you get to the point of
trying to wrangle iOS or iPadOS to the point of doing something it was never meant to do
through a shortcut then maybe you should do it on a Mac instead. That’s me being old fashioned.
I’m going to give some kind of insight or some behind the scenes to how some of the things work
for the podcast. You all received some show notes prior to that. They are entirely constructed
with shortcuts on iOS. It has 109 actions and it literally goes off, pulls all the information that
I would ever need to put together a show. But Jay hit the one topic that really bugs me is how to
get different information into the shortcut, which is probably the hardest thing. And I’m going to
to ask him if he has any ideas or suggestions of what works nicely in terms of getting information
in and out of different apps. I’m going to throw the argument out there now.
I don’t think we have enough time on this show, so we might have to do that later. But
wow. And I mean, that’s why I don’t think shortcuts is ready for the Mac yet. Because
you know, like you said, to do a thing on your iOS device, it took 109 actions when $20 a month in
a Zapier subscription could probably do a lot of that work for you. And again, it’s one of those
things that once you’ve figured it out, once you’ve built that 109 actions, two things have happened.
One, you’ve wasted a whole lot of time figuring it out. Well, I shouldn’t say wasted. You’ve learned
a lot in that process. But then the other side of that is what happens when you decide, I guess,
to unveil a little bit more about what we’re doing. We’re using ZenCaster. What happens when
you decide we’re no longer using ZenCaster, you’re now using something like SquadCaster,
you’re now using something like, I don’t know, StreamYard or Vidyard or whatever. Now you have
to figure out, okay, what do I need to throw out that’s no longer relevant here? What do I need to
replace it with how is that even possible and you know like Oliver said at some point you got to
get down to just doing the thing so you don’t build the shortcut anymore and then the shortcut
is broken and then you truly have wasted a bunch of time because your 109 action shortcut is no
longer usable and you’re just like I spent all this time developing it and now I don’t use it
so what was the point to begin with that that brings up an interesting point actually I’m
trying to remember who said it and I can’t for life to remember who it was but I remember someone
ask them what’s the first app that you install when you get your brand new Mac
when you open it up, take the dream app off, what are you installing? Is it
Launchbar or is it Alfred or is it whatever? And they’re like no I refuse to
install any of those apps because that means that I’m then relying on that app
that’s I can’t work without that app being installed and I want to be able to
walk up to any Mac and be able to use it as quickly as it can mine and I think
that’s that’s an interesting angle to it of that if you’re not careful you rely
so heavily on all these different automations, all these different tweaks and quirks and that
it just what happens when it breaks or what happens when it’s not available but what happens when
some backend servers respond quick enough so that 109 action shortcut doesn’t work.
The idea is that we do these things to make repetitive tasks easier and quicker and less
repetitive which is fine while it works but when it doesn’t then it’s a whole different kettle of
fish. Considering I just have a freshly installed Mac I’m actually prepared to answer that question
I install craft first inside of craft.
There’s a document that I have that says new machine and in big
bold letters it says before you do anything like here’s the list
of all of the applications that you run that are vital to like
what you’re doing and I’ve still missed some. I realized that as
I’ve gone through my process and I go to do something and it’s
like oh that apps not installed. Well need to add that to the
It’s such a it’s a it’s a minefield to mess with because as I mentioned, I thought I had the list and why do have the list.
It’s just incomplete and it’s really hard to go.
Oh, I don’t use this app anymore and I replaced this app with this other app over here.
And Apple has kind of solved a lot of that with backups and all this other stuff.
And they’re making backups a little bit easier to do and deal with.
That said, it’s not perfect.
perfect. Again, it’s if you want to even believe that you can go down this
contextual computing pathway, it’s almost like becoming a monk. You must first
climb the mountain and accept the task. And then once you’ve done that, only now
are you ready to truly become, you know, someone who can master the arts of
contextual computing, but otherwise you’ll only just play in the garden a
It’s interesting you picked up on the whole installing a fresh Mac idea. So
I’ve played with this in two ways.
So one building like a deployment image so that it installs all the installer
files or another way of looking at it.
And this was kind of a play more than anything was trying to use
keyboard maestro to go off and then start installing or pulling all of the
usual apps that I would put on a fresh machine, which is kind of much of a play
more than it is anything, but the app store has caused havoc with that.
If you don’t use third party installers.
I would say that there’s one of the automators that everyone uses on a regular basis is Spotlight
because there’s more to Spotlight than what Search used to do.
In Spotlight you’ve got the ability to say okay, open up TextEdit, so you do command
space, you write in T-E-X-T, then you hit enter and it automatically opens up.
It’s done a series of steps, it’s automated straight into your operating system.
the amount of times I use that and the amount of times I would use that for being a calculator.
I can just type in the calculations straight into Spotlight and it does the calculations
on the fly and I’ve not had to open up calculator. It’s that type of automation which I love
and it’s those sort of fast quick actions which I think Apple was superb at. And when
I’m switching between Mac and PC, it’s those things that really drive me mad because Windows
search is not helpful. It doesn’t do any of that and it just drives you mad. But at the moment,
it’s a sort of, well, this is a sort of pet project we’re doing, but we’re not quite sure if we want
to do it or not. So whoever did the series side obviously doesn’t listen to different accents
because the amount of times you say something and it mishears and it spells it differently,
or if you’re doing voice prediction and you’re saying your text message and the amount of times
it transposes different words you’ve come across it and you’re reading someone’s text message and
you’re going right you’ve dictated this via voice because it doesn’t make sense or it doesn’t pick
up someone’s accent so we have automation automatically built in and contextualization
it knows where you are but i would love it to know simple things like okay we’ve already got one and
it knows that you’re traveling and turns off notifications. But could we adjust that one to
say I’m on the bus rather than or I’m on the tube. So can you move, can you turn off all the Wi-Fi
so you’re not going to drain the battery life or when I’m here, can you put turn on the Bluetooth?
Simple helpful things like that would be very nice. What’s interesting with all of this though is
finding it. For most people automation is scary because you don’t know what it is and yet there
are things that there are automation and but sometimes the worry is that it’s
going to take over and that’s the problem about I have with any form of
automation is that loss of control sometimes I’d rather do it myself
because at least I know where I’ve got it at least I know by arranging it it’s
how I want it. It’s interesting you you say that especially in terms of location
because I’ve been exploring this a lot more recently and I went down the route
of getting some cheap NFC tags to do some interesting things. An example that I use
is say the Wi-Fi name has the word ‘free’ in it so that when I connect to the Wi-Fi it will
automatically turn on the VPN so that it’s far more secure. Or this comes back to Alistair’s
‘on the bus’ comment. I took advantage of the free Wi-Fi that’s on the Tube in London so that my phone
knows when I get to the station, it will turn on and off the Wi-Fi or it will connect directly
securely to something. And it’s purely location based rather than anything else. I don’t know if
Jay has anything along those types. I’m a homebody. So no, I don’t tend to leave the house
that much. And I agree that I think Apple is doing this in some ways. I mean, I think the one that I
I can always think of is whenever I get in my car and it connects to my car’s Bluetooth,
it pulls up maps and says, “Hey, are you wanting to go to this location?” And usually it’s
right depending on what day it is and what, you know, I guess I’m a very trackable person
these days. But, you know, whenever I’m farther away from home than I normally am, and it’s,
It says, “Oh, hey, by the way, it’s an hour and a half
until home, would you like directions?”
And sometimes, yeah, I would,
because there might be an alternate route that I can take.
But I think that Apple, in some ways,
are doing these things.
We may not know it, and I’m not sure.
I might have to lean on Oliver’s research
to know more about that.
But I could have sworn they mentioned
that some of the things they do are processor optimizations
so that if you’re not using certain radios
or certain processes, they just shut them off
until you use them again.
And because it’s fast enough that when you go to do it again
or when you go to turn it back on,
they can cut it back on again without you ever noticing.
And that’s how they try to bring some of those
performance improvements to your systems.
- I know they do that with the 5G radios
on the new phones, don’t they?
Where 5G’s turned off if it’s not deemed required
And then as soon as there’s a spike in throughput,
it connects back to 5G.
And that’s where your extra data comes from.
Because obviously, 5G’s a battery hog at the best of times.
But these phones are so quick these days
that they can turn off cores, turn cores back on when needed,
and that kind of thing.
Does anyone have any particular contextual apps
that you use the most or that you think
you’ve got the most out of?
Boy, I’ve climbed that mountain.
So right now, there’s a few.
Now it’s just a matter of choosing which ones.
I’m going to say the two that I say all the time–
Bunch and Hook.
Bunch puts me in a contextual computing state.
Hook keeps me there.
These are both Mac apps.
There aren’t iOS versions of it, which I think there’s talk
about Hook having one, but that’s not necessarily a thing
But the thing I like about Bunch, and this is something that has happened before,
there are other apps that do this, Bunch just works the way my brain does.
Let’s say if you’re going into a podcast, I know Craig to pick on you a little bit.
When you go into a podcast, certain things always have to be open.
Probably Twitter so you can DM the person if they haven’t joined the call yet.
A URL that takes you into the call recording software or the call recording
system, and you may want to turn on, do not disturb.
You may want to load whatever document you have prepared
for that episode.
Bunch gives you the ability to do that
all within a text document.
You just say, you know, using its language,
which again, again, it’s a mountain to climb,
so you have to learn the language.
It’s pretty simple, but you still got to learn it.
Open these apps, open these URLs.
You can even enter certain commands,
turn off these system settings.
And then when I close that Bunch,
turn all that stuff off and get me back to where I was.
- But what is it about Hook that you like?
The thing I like about hook is that it utilizes a lot of the systems of old, including Apple
scripts and things like that to do what it does. But let’s say if I’ll pick on Oliver
only because I like the stuff he writes. But if Oliver is working on a project and he’s
doing research and, you know, he goes down these rabbit holes of, you know, this, this
link takes him to this link that takes him to this link that takes him to this link that
that takes him to this link.
If he has a tool like craft or some type of text doc,
even if it’s just a regular text document
and he has it in BB edit or text made or whatever,
he can hook all of those URLs
that he’s visited to that text document.
And from there, when he goes and opens up
that document again, he goes,
“Oh, what was that link that I was looking at
“three weeks ago?”
He just has to activate hook again.
And there’s a list of all of the things that he’s connected to that item.
So he doesn’t have to start digging through emails.
He doesn’t have to start jumping on Twitter and scrolling.
And then all of a sudden see something, which if, if, you know, he has a brain
like mine, which is very wild, that’s where, that’s where research projects go
to die is the second I had to go on Twitter to look up something.
So I, I love the ability of hook to just say, you know, I’m working on the
London Mac user groups podcasts.
and I know that they have a bunch of apps
that we’re gonna talk about,
while I’m doing my research,
I can hook all of those back to the original email
so that when I’m in it, I can just say,
oh yeah, what was that again?
Activate hook and it’s, ah, it’s this one.
Click and then I’m there.
So it’s more of a defense tool to not go and get distracted
by rabbit holes and other things and have a direct link.
And I love, because of how Hook operates
using those Apple scripts and things like that,
if I move the file, it doesn’t matter.
Hook respects file location.
If I delete the file, it’ll even say, hey, it’s in your trash.
But sometimes that’s not always the best thing.
But it allows you to go in, write, do what you’re doing,
link all the stuff together, and not have to constantly go,
Where was that one thing that I did?
And to me, that’s the benefit and power of it.
- Do you always use the same type of file
or calendar event as the starting point,
or does it vary?
- And I’ve got videos coming out about this.
Not to shamelessly plug, but that is a good question.
There are templates that you can use in Hook
to say like, if I’m starting a new research project,
then you can have it open up craft
or open up BB edit and create a document,
or even if you wanted to create a folder
with a bunch of documents in it,
you can do that using their templating system.
The answer is kind of, I’ve developed again
in your own contextual computing world,
you have to know what tools you wanna use.
So I’ve kind of set up text expander snippets,
keyboard maestro automations, bunch activations,
all of these things to say,
hey, I’m working on a new presentation.
So let’s get all that stuff put in place
and let’s make sure it’s all hooked together
so that there’s no confusion there.
Same thing with like podcast interviews
and stuff like that.
That said, the different tools,
there’s a tool for every job
and sometimes those tools are the same,
but in most cases they’re not.
- See, for me, I use it in a slightly different way.
So my day job is being a photographer.
So the most important thing is knowing
when and where you’re going to be to shoot and take photos.
So it will start off in Fantastical,
which I can then plan what the weather’s going to be like
for that photo shoot if it’s outside,
or if it’s indoors, or however far I’ve got to go.
But then everything involving that shoot
links back to that calendar link.
So that would be Pinterest with all the outfit ideas.
It would be what equipment list am I taking with you
that’s in reminders?
It could be the email with the contact
that I’ve been speaking to.
But now I’m also looking at how I can use those
with other applications.
So it’s taking the link and embedding it
into something else.
So for me, a lot of the problem is dealing with so many files,
especially with photography, knowing
which ones are edited, which ones you’re going to throw away.
Are they in the right format?
Are they going to be shared to Instagram?
So there is kind of like a background automation process
that sits within that.
And to be honest, it kind of works between Hook and Hazel
how they operate, especially from a file management process.
But the one thing that triggers all of those is how they’re tagged within the
system so that the machine or the software physically picks up that tag and
then can activate whatever needs to be done.
So this all sounds fascinating from someone who’s not got any of this,
because what I’m now thinking of, what would be nice is when I go and see
someone to repair their computer and I got this weird error message on the
screen what would be nice is to attach to the to the address and the calendar
the email address which got me there in the first place the screenshots I take
with the phone any websites I look up whilst I’m there and what the messages
were and how long I was there so I know how much to charge the client and would
be nice if I could get all of that done in one go and then it would be attached
to a container and the other thing which I never could not quite understand is if
you’re always seeing the same person and you’re putting it into iCal why can’t
iCal Talk Contacts to pick up the information.
So if you’re saying I was going to go to Craig’s house,
it should be able to pick up Craig’s address and put in a little address so I
can tap on that and look at it in Apple Maps. But no, I have to do everything by
hand because it won’t link up. So it would be nice if I get someone to
automate it, I think. We need to sign you up to CardHop.
I was going to say, Fantastical and CardHop’s integration
might help with some of that. See, this is where I have to
learn about the new features.
This is the stuff they don’t teach you in Apple stores.
I’m a big busy cow fan, so…
But I guess I’ll have to try a fantastic cow now.
The brilliant people as well, the people that learn all that kind of thing,
that exhibit the great people.
And you can now get both of the apps for the same subscription price, which is awesome.
That was their biggest upgrade recently.
Well worth a look for sure.
You basically get card hop for free if you’re already a fantastic cow subscriber.
And I’m also looking apparently hook does have some limited support for busy calif. If you’re dead set on that
Well, thank you for that. But the other one I my other favourite app
I would love I would have to check on would be uh audio hijack, which i’m a massive fan of so
So, oh that’s that’s a big one there. Um, I have an email from rogue amoeba
I will only say I know the pain that Rogue Amoeba is going through with the M1 devices and all of those things.
That said, they need to start working on some automation support.
They don’t have Apple scripting for audio hijack, which means that the closest thing you can get to automating it is looking for the image of what you’re looking for and having it click with keyboard maestro.
or as Brett Terpstra has done, having it literally send keyboard signals to go left and right a
certain number of times and then hit enter, which is not acceptable for a program that is as
fleshed out as audio hijack. And it only tickled that nerve a little because I’ve emailed them
asking because at one point it did have Apple script support and they removed it
and have then said, it’s not a big enough demand.
Therefore we’re not going to continue to support it.
So yeah, that is in, in, in the,
I guess the wrap up of contextual computing that is always going to be the thing
that you fight with is what happens when the app just does not want to support
it. What do you do? And the answer is, honestly,
I don’t fully know.
Every situation is different.
I’m going to say thank you very much
for both of you for joining us.
Most importantly, where can we find each of you
on the internet if we want to find out more?
That’s the most precious thing.
Or what rabbit hole do we want to open?
- Everywhere by the sounds of things.
- Who would like to go first?
- I’ll let Jay go first, go on.
So I’ve narrowed it down a little bit more.
You can find me on Twitter @KJYMiller,
There’s a pattern here.
Look for me on the thing @KJYMiller.
If I’m there, I’m there.
If I’m not, I’m not.
But yeah, most, the biggest things are the YouTube channel,
Twitter, keep an eye on that.
I do have some announcements coming up about future content
and things that I’m doing
and where I’m speaking and presenting.
And if you’re a nerd, especially if you’re a developer that’s
not in the iOS and Apple side of things,
I love having those conversations.
And I would personally say, definitely
look out for Jay’s podcasts.
And I know that he has something exciting coming up
in the pipeline, which we’re watching with eager eyes.
And we’ll also say thank you to our Mr.
I’m all with these wonderful head sets.
- Many more knocking around somewhere.
- Is this where you’ve got each colour?
- Oh, don’t, I’ve nearly bought different coloured ear cups
’cause just because why not?
And then I saw 79 pounds and that’s why not.
That’s that question answered.
But anyway, yeah, thanks for having me.
It’s been a long time since I was on a podcast.
So it’s been great fun.
Thank you for that.
If you wanna find me anywhere,
Twitter’s probably the best place
because if I start giving you URLs,
be even longer. So twitter.com/oliverjpaslam because someone’s got my name on Twitter and
never posted a tweet in their life. Not that I’m bitter about that one bit. So yeah, thank
you very much.
I’d also say I wonder how you sleep because you seem active on Twitter all the time.
I don’t. It’s called living on American time and having two kids.
And we’ll also say thank you to Martin this evening. Thank you very much for joining us
It’s been a pleasure, been informative, learned a few new things, at least four more pieces of
software I’ve got to go download, try and then get rid of again after wasting hours and hours
trying to get used to them. But that’s the beauty, you actually do find the software that works for
you. But thanks guys, I really enjoyed tonight. Awesome, thank you, Martin. And we’ll also say
thank you to our technical expert, Alistair over there. It’s been a fun evening and I’ve learned
all about contextual computing. Thank you for the information. I’ll go down the rabbit
hole and start exploring it.
And I’ll also say thank you from me as always. Until next time, we will see you soon.[MUSIC]