Hello and welcome to the next episode of The Brew and Bite Show.
We’ve finally reached episode number 26.
First up we’ll say hello to Tina. How are you this evening?
I’m well. I’m very well, thank you. Yeah. You know, it’s getting warmer. I’m doing a bit of gardening.
Ooh, I hope the gardening apps have been installed in that case.
And we’ll also say hello to Alistair. How are you?
I’m good, thanks, Craig. Just catching up on various Apple news at the moment.
Just relaxing at the moment.
No new tech challenges as yet?
Not yet. It’s early in the year. We’ll probably come across something new.
Brilliant. Well, this week we’ve had lots of Apple news, whether that’s
softwares or we’re still continuing the rumour mill, which will go on right up until September.
What will the phone look like by then? I don’t know.
Small notch, small keyhole.
Punch hole, punch hole, that’s the word, yeah.
Who knows. But more importantly, we saw lots of software issued from Apple this week in terms of
updates. What kind of updates did we see Alastair? We mainly saw updates to iOS, iPad OS and WatchOS
and I think it was also maybe software updates to Safari. There was also one other little one that
kind of didn’t get a mention which was there was an update to HomePod minis. Some bug fixes came out
for that one too. That got missed off of the news for some particular reason but mainly there wasn’t
actual changes as such, was there? There wasn’t exactly anything new, was it more around security
and bug fixes rather than anything? We mention software updates a lot on here, but my question
would be is how can listeners keep up to date? And I think Alistair had some answers to this one.
Well, we’ve put a link in the show notes and that gives you a list of all Apple’s current updates.
Also, if you have an iPad or iPhone, you can go into general and then software update and
force it to check for updates because often the network will often not want to pass the
update out until it’s been tested by a large group of people.
But most people just leave it on automatic at the moment as far as I’m aware.
And it also in using that website, I’d say it’s quite useful because sometimes the software
update in system preferences doesn’t always alert you straight away.
So that is a good way of keeping track of changes that go on in all of the operating
systems to be honest.
But what else did Apple mention this week in regards to launching apps in an unlisted
So developers will now be able to distribute their apps to a limited audience, whether
that’s part-time employees, business affiliates, conference attendees.
Would you say it’s different to MDM type devices, Alastair?
So MDM is whereby you can manage the apps on your iPad or iPhone for your business or
So if you are the IT department and you only want 12 apps on the phone, you only have 12
apps on the phone, no one’s allowed to change it.
Which is good from a security point of view, also for consistency so everyone has the same
12 apps, no deviation.
The other thing with this disability is it allows a very large companies to say, “Okay,
we’ve got an internal app.”
It might be like a messaging system or a notification system or a bug fixing program, or it might
be something as simple as something in education.
A university or college or school has a notice board.
Please put on the notice board ideas or we would like you to…
This is the sort of the bulletin board of what’s happening this week.
Nothing is going to be useful outside of it.
I mean, was it Google in the past got in trouble for putting something in the Apple Store for
bug fixes and it was an internal app?
I think it will do quite well from this.
I also thought about wouldn’t it work well for people that are like contractors that
require an app to do something in particular and that way also allows them to use the company’s
particular app without needing for their device to install a profile or have a managed device.
It’s a clever way around it.
Yeah, that’s a good idea.
It could also be useful for if you just wanted the administrator of a university to be able
to monitor something as simple as bandwidth or something to just monitor which iPads are
going out of sequence, you know, simple things like that or little maintenance tools, something
helpful. You haven’t mentioned the most exciting thing though on Apple News. In the news, Apple
released a new webpage listing all the things you can do to prevent stalking. Did you see that?
Which we put in the show notes as well. That’s an interesting one. I do find the discussions around
air tags very interesting because when you look at a lot of the news that
they’re talking about air tags like they’re unique and they might be a slick
version of it but there are other companies that do Bluetooth trackers.
You don’t have to have an air tag though obviously if you are a more
sophisticated criminal perhaps you do but you could have tile for instance and
there isn’t necessary enough to say that someone’s planted a tile on your person
on your car, on your whatever. And so this isn’t a new problem. At least with Apple,
there is an Android app, apparently. Not that I mind, but that’s good. And then if you’ve
got an iPhone, it’ll say you’ve been tracked by an airtag.
I was listening to a security expert talk about this and he said the reason it was more
worrying about Apple was because Apple have one of the biggest networks. So tile is all
very well and good. But if you don’t have the tile app installed, you’re not going to
appear on the tile system, whereas Apple will appear quite happily on most iPhones because
try walking a mile and not find a single iPhone. It is going to be quite tricky. So it’ll be
interesting. I mean, unless you’re on like underground or something similar to that,
you’re going to sort of struggle, aren’t you? It is interesting because obviously I’ve had my
experience of find my phone when the nice man picked up my phone and took it to a estate
agents in North London and he was a nice man because I got my phone back but what was frightening
at the time was how much information there was. I was watching my phone move in real time and I
presume the air tags are just the same. He went to his office, he stayed there for half an hour,
then he went round I presume to visit houses and I watched him go round. It was stunning the amount
of detail that I got about my phone. It’s less useful obviously for things like air pods because
you need to open the case. You need to actually take it out of the case. So if the person gets
them and walks away with them until they open the case, you won’t know where they are. But yeah,
I can imagine that the AirTag has got a big system because it’ll bounce off all the iPhones.
I’m glad you mentioned AirTags because by the time this podcast is broadcast, it will be a week
to the day that we have our members meeting in which we’re going to focus on the discussion
of air tags, how they work, what information you can get from them and how they work.
When is that Alistair?
That is on February 14th at 7pm UK.
We’re not British summer time yet, so it’s still winter time.
month. On the subject of updates, we saw lots of betas and people rushing to, in particular,
to download a public beta because of something called Universal Control. So what exactly
is Universal Control? My next question is Universal Control got announced at WWDC last
year as in 2021 and it’s the ability to use a Bluetooth or keyboard and mouse to control
another Apple device. So if you have an iPad and a MacBook you could use the keyboard on one to
control the other and so you could put something from one iPad onto a MacBook or from the MacBook
onto the iPad. So it was quite useful being able to control both from one set of devices. But you
You have to have the latest version of Monterey, which is the beta, and the devices have to
be both compatible with the new Universal Control.
It was really impressive when they demonstrated it at WWC.
I can remember that was the thing we all talked about.
We were all going, “Wow.”
It felt so seamless, like they were next to each other and they’re swapping backwards
I mean, I don’t do betas because I’m scaredy-cat, but it will be interesting when it comes out.
The interesting thing is literally the ease of use from this. From somebody that’s tried
it earlier in the week, it is literally a matter of putting one Mac next to the other
one or an iPad and it literally does what it says on the tin. It just works. From experience,
the first time you do it on an iPad in particular is you drag across the mouse and you’ll see
a little box appear at the side to let you know that it’s coming in from another device,
but you will only ever see that the first time. There are some funky features involved
in that. So I think shortcut keys on keyboards is going to become far more supported for
iOS apps. Great work to the people that already support them. One of them that I can think
of straight off is things on drafts. Both of those support keyboard shortcuts. I will
be intrigued to see what this lies in the future for other devices. Is it something
else that Apple is working on that needs this kind of universal control or is it a more
modern version of AirDrop?
I think I could see a use of it being helpful if you were in a big room and you have one
computer in one area of the room and you’re the nothing. You just pick up a keyboard and
control it. So if you have a Mac mini connected to your TV or you were wanting to use it in
teaching presentation and you wanted to use one keyboard to control the overhead display
as well as your own computer and drag something onto the overhead display that would work very
successfully. So I can see there will be some usage is from the videos I’ve seen they said that
the swipe gestures don’t transfer over because there’s a slight difference between the two.
If you’re dragging a photo from the Mac to the iPad it has to go into a compatible app so it has
has to go into something like notes.
You can’t just dump it on the desktop
because there isn’t really a desktop
for it to drop onto on an iPad.
And if you’re going from the iPad to the Mac,
you can put it on the desktop
because that’s how a desktop is designed to work on the Mac.
So I think we’re gonna start off with a small group
of actions that can be performed and then it will improve.
- I think it’ll be eventually something
that we don’t think about.
I think that’s what’s gonna happen.
I mean, like I’ve started to take for granted that,
for instance, if I’m staying around with friends
or I’m visiting somewhere and they’ve got a password.
Now, if I’ve got my iPad or I’ve got my iPhone
and one of them’s got the password
and you bring it near the other one,
it just goes, “Do you want to share the password?”
And you go, “Yes!”
It’s like amazing.
It’s one of those things where the first time you do it,
you’re like, “Whoa, that’s amazing.”
And then after a while, you’re blasé,
’cause, “Oh, done that.”
I think that’s what universal control is gonna end up.
Once people start using it more extensively
and they iron out the kinks, people will be excited
and then Blase because it will just be like,
why wouldn’t you have that?
And it’s a bit like, I used to laugh
because I have lots of windows
that I swap between on my Mac,
so I’d slide between them.
And then I would show that to people
that had a Windows machine and go,
look, look at this window, look at this window,
look at this window.
And they were like impressed,
especially as at the time I ran Windows 7
in a virtual machine,
so I could turn my Mac into a Windows 7 machine
just by slipping across.
You just won’t think about it.
it would be so useful that it will become second nature.
I think it’s watch this face, it could be quite exciting.
- Did anybody pick up on some other exciting things
that have been mentioned in 15.4, the beta?
I can think of two or three that’s quite useful.
One of them was the mention of the unlock your phone
or device whilst wearing a face mask.
And yes, it does work for someone that’s tested it.
One that I didn’t think that really got a mention was something that some of us might be familiar with that own an Apple watch is the unlock with watch function.
So you can actually now unlock your iPhone with your watch, which didn’t really get a mention in any of the news stories.
Where would you want to use this?
I mean, I take it this would be sort of like for edge case scenarios whereby your phone
was slightly further away than your hand and your watch is attached to you and you wanted
to unlock it so your iPhone was connected to something or?
I love the way that you broke down all of these technical different ways of possibly
doing it, but I’m going to give a really dumb example here that bugs me every time I go
to do it.
This is using a self-service checkout in a supermarket or a cafe and you’ve never got
both hands free to type in your PIN when you were wearing a mask. Now you can literally just unlock
the payment with your other arm, which makes life a lot, lot easier. And you haven’t got to fiddle
and enter your PIN code or try and hold your phone up to your face to unlock the payment.
So that was a dramatic change I saw in the last 48 hours.
But there’s also this funny thing called cash where you could just put your hand in your
pocket and put cash across. It’s a damn simple thing.
What is this primitive form of payment system you have Alistair?
And one they’re trying to get people not to use in our current COVID times.
On that subject, did anybody see the news story involving Apple Pay? Apple Pay to pay?
has it is that Apple are developing a system in which you can pay personal devices directly
without the need of a payment device. So not requiring a card reader or I’m trying to think
of an example, Square, iZettle, PayPal card readers, maybe a thing of the past. Maybe
this is another Apple service that they want to offer.
Well, we’ve run up against a few problems on that one because I have a Zettel and they’ve
dropped the I since PayPal bought them. You need it in certain scenarios because the law
still says the merchant is the person who has to pay out if it’s a fraudulent transaction.
So to prevent that, you need to have a PIN code put into the card. So it’s chip and PIN.
Whereas if you do it as a phone transaction, you get no refunds if it’s proven it’s a fraudulent
So that’s part of the way Apple are getting around it. They’re saying in certain edge case scenarios, like for example, you go into a coffee shop, you will be able to do it there, but not have to do it in other ways. So it’s from what I’m working out, it’s areas where it you’re there in person, but not remote, because the laws are different in each country. So I think that’s what they’re coming up with.
But do you think that Apple is then going to be the merchant? Or will they use a third party as the provider to do the transaction?
Because isn’t there a third party who they use for their Apple credit card? I think it’s Goldman Sachs.
Because we’re not fortunate enough to have Apple cards in the UK.
But even the Canadians don’t get it either.
No, this rumor resurfaced itself after they purchased a company called MobiWave, if anybody was familiar with them.
They developed a payment technology allowing smartphones to be used as a payment terminal.
and Bloomberg this week mentioned that Apple is believed to have paid $100 million for the company
and it still retains its headquarters. I reckon they’ll do it. I don’t know what you think,
but I think that is kind of the way forward for Apple Pay or mobile payments because other
big merchant banks can do payments via text, can’t they?
But it depends on which country you’re in because don’t forget that each country has its own laws
about payment. In this country, we fall under one particular payment thing, which is the
PCI DSS and other long distance trading regulations. But that changes as soon as you move outside
the UK, even somewhere as simple as Ireland or France or Germany, it all changes again.
So whatever they’re going to do, they have to have a system which works effectively across
boundaries or borders.
I think they’ll have more trouble with boundaries and borders than they will technology.
I think the technology is there to do it with.
It’s just whatever legal rights they come up against more than anything.
I think it’s going to be the financial compliance that’s going to be important.
And also because there’ll be different things.
I mean, if you’re going to pay someone on their phone,
does that mean a credit card?
Does it mean a bank card?
And in the UK, that matters because there are different rules
and different laws for credit cards and for debit cards.
So, for instance, if you buy something for over 100 pounds
and I think under 30,000 on a credit card,
you have rights. Whereas if it’s a debit card, you’ve lost the money. So it really matters
what you’re using. My advice, use a credit card. So if a company goes bust and you’ve
paid with a credit card, your credit card company and the company that have gone bust
are jointly liable for whatever you bought. So they have to give you the money back. They’re
not very happy about it, but they will give you the money back because that’s what the
Okay, do we want to go on to our main topic this evening or where the idea of the main
topic came from? So it’s kind of a follow on from the notch or not that we spoke about
last week. We was discussing, is it a good idea? Do we like it? Which made me think about
something that we kind of use every day and probably don’t value it, which is our menu
bar and what things we keep in our menu bar and I’m sure there are many different apps
out there on different uses. So I thought we would just discuss a few or what things
we think are important. And first up, Tina, what do you have in your menu bar or how have
you chose what goes in there most importantly as well?
Mostly, I wait if I’m downloading something and it asks me, I think about do I want it,
I not want it. So I try and prune it before, you know, I try to be proactive. The one that
I’ve got, which is a little bit sad and pathetic, but I like it. So I use Busy Cow because I
like one calendar that shows what I’m doing and what my tasks are, because I like to see
them based around what I’m doing. My reminders aren’t divorce from my calendar. If I’m having
busy day I want not to put too many tasks on it and busy cow have something
that goes in your money bar and that’s what I like because sadly should you
forget the date it’s just sitting there and then should you want more
information you can just click on it and there’s your diary and there are your
tasks all sitting there. The other thing I like about the money bar the fact
that it’s dynamic so I’m speaking now and I’m using headphones and I know that
the system knows I’ve got headphones because there’s a lot picture of
headphones, things like that. So it tells me lots of things. And even I know I’m on a video call,
I know I’m being recorded, but actually that’s in the menu. So it just, there’s lots of little
things in there that are really informative. Alistair, what’s in your menu bar? So like Tina,
I have a busy cow and I have the little icon which tells you the current date of the day you’re in,
because I find that incredibly useful. Just glancing up to the top right and I can go,
okay I can tell what data is today. I also have the emoji keyboard and the normal keyboard because
the amount of times I have to go hunting for a peculiar sign like for example the copyright sign
or the apple logo or someone’s asked me to say well how do I put the this particular sign in
so it could be like ohms or something really obscure. Then I have iStatMenu which is probably
the first thing I put into every menu bar I have because I can see the CPU, the memory,
the internal hard drives and the incoming or downloads and uploads so I can currently tell
if my internet is working. And I find that incredibly useful because if my Macs slow down,
I can see what’s happening. So for example, when I turn on my MacBook Pro, it first, the CPU
races up on iSAT menu and shows that it’s all, everything is basically rushing and trying to
download and update itself. And if I didn’t have iStat, I would probably go, well, why is it going
so slow? So I find it very helpful. I also have Bartender. So I like to prune my apps. So I have
Bartender hide the items I don’t want to see on a regular basis into the menu bar. So that stuff
like Dropbox, Time Machine, Malware Bytes, things like that. I also have a firewall called Lulu,
which I’ve put a note link in the show notes by a very nice American company called Objective C,
which I think are based in Hawaii. I also have Flux. Does anyone use Flux? Or F.LUX.
So what that does is it automatically drops the color of the screen. So it puts like a yellow hue.
It’s a bit like night shift, but it does it by sunrise and sunset. So it adjusts every day.
So as the days get longer, the amount of time it comes on is less.
And it gives you nice little reminders and says,
“By the way, you’re waking up in six hours time or seven hours time.
You might want to go to bed.”
And there are fun little things like that.
You can also…
So I use that because sometimes I work late at night.
So I find that very helpful.
And what’s the other one I had on here?
Those are the main ones I use.
But I find it incredibly useful just to pair down your menu bar.
I have the standard ones, like Spotlight and notifications, but I get rid of everything else.
The other thing I turn on, which a lot of people don’t, is on a laptop. It’s very useful to turn on
the “show what language you’re in.” And you’re thinking, “Well, why do I want to have a union
jack or union flag, depending on your viewpoint, in the menu bar?” Well, because the amount of
times I go to type something and it doesn’t appear because the update has gone and switched
to the US keyboard and US keyboard and British keyboard are subtly different and that means
that you can’t type things like the pound sign. So it’s sterling for US listeners.
The other minor thing I’ve had for a long time is fast user switching because I have multiple
accounts on the same computer. So I can just click up there and switch around and save having to log
in and log out at times. Is it risky to have too many apps in the menu bar? Are there for’s and
against or is there a reason why I shouldn’t have lots of apps in the menu bar?
Well, the main obvious one is if you put too many apps on older computers or slower computers,
you’ll find that it will slow down your machine.
And I think this is a reversal. I think this is the first time ever that Apple have bought
something out and un-Sherlocked an app in terms of bartender. For people that have now
got the notch, I think bartender is a well worth investment because what exactly does
bartender do Alistair? So it gives you the ability to put a little tray in on your menu bar. So when
you have like three little dots horizontal and I click on it and it has like a little tray where
you put all your hidden notifications. So if I want to hide say five to ten apps I can put them in
there and then I don’t have to see them. Now why would this be useful? Well if you’re on a 13-inch
MacBook Pro and you’ve not got much screen real estate, you need to have as much space as possible.
So I put Bartender in, but it’s very useful. It’s not very much. It’s a one-time purchase from them.
And you can use it on up to five different Macs.
Am I right in saying that that app is also available for quite a long free trial?
Yeah, you do get a month’s worth, which is great. Thank you for the developer for that one. So people
can give it a go without spending any cash. I think that’s really useful. My menu bar is kind
of full, so it has very different things in the menu bar. And I’m going to throw a mix into that
in that my menu bar changes throughout the day. So I don’t necessarily have the same set of apps or
icons at the top. It depends on what I’m doing. And this kind of relates back discussion we had
with Jay about contextual computing and that things should only be there when you need them
or want to use them. For me, at the moment, I’d say some important ones are Backblaze to make sure
that I’m up to date in terms of backing up my machine or my data. Alistair mentioned iStat
menu. That’s really useful. I use that a lot throughout the day. I’ve got some other ones.
So for me, I use Shorty.
Has anyone come across Shorty?
Shorty is a service that allows you
to create a server or mini notification center
So it runs in the background on your machine.
And if you make a change to a document or an app that’s
linked to a shortcut in some way,
it will send a push notification or update
to that remotely, which is quite useful.
And the other one that gets lots of use
is the drafts capture clipboard.
People that use drafts, that’s really useful.
So you can actually do lots of different things.
So you could write a quick note directly from the menu bar.
Or as it says on the tin, capture the clipboard.
And it will create a new draft document
with the contents of your clipboard on it,
which is helpful if you’re doing lots of research,
What else do we have on here?
I’m sure Alistair’s come across that at the moment.
And one of my personal favorites,
which comes up a lot in discussions on the internet,
and it has one of the best app icons,
I think personally, is AirBuddy.
Does anybody use AirBuddy?
AirBuddy is similar to what’s on an iPhone
in terms of you can view the battery percentage
of all your Bluetooth devices in one particular space
that also includes your Apple Watch, your iPhone,
and it can even get down to the details
in terms of your left and right AirPods
and which ones have the most battery percentage.
Mainly it’s used if you switch devices a lot.
So yes, this is a great feature from Apple
in that your AirPods will join to the nearest thing
you have them to but sometimes you don’t necessarily want that. So this app allows you to quickly choose
or kick off certain devices that might connect to them. That’s very helpful in terms of AirPods
when you’ve got your phone sitting next to you and you would rather have it connected to your
phone rather than the Mac. So that one comes highly recommended. How many is too many would
probably be my next question. Or how many can fit amongst the notch? That’s a good technical question.
How much screen real estate do you want to give to the menu bar? I think Alistair, you had an
interesting question earlier in regards to the menu bar of what if you don’t like the new menu bar
on Monterey? How do you go back? So I came across a, so there’s a couple of ways you can do it. So
you can go into accessibility mode in system preferences and you can turn off transparency,
which will turn off the transparent menu bar on your dock as well as the menu bar so you
can actually see it as a solid color. You can get an app called Boring Old Menu Bar
or BOM which is, I’m convinced they did it on purpose just to wind up antivirus software
which was recommended by John Saracusa from ATP podcast. There are a few other apps but
Those were the two which I came across which were very effective.
In doing some research into the notch, I found some quite interesting ones.
As anybody come across Forehead, that’s an interesting one.
It lets you effectively hide the notch in that it turns the menu bar at the top of your
screen black so you don’t notice the notch so much.
And it has some very interesting customizations.
You can change the color, you can make it more rounded at the edges, typical Apple feature.
This reminds me, how many people do you know or yourself, when you’re on your MacBook,
turn on battery percentage or even show the battery in the menu bar?
Because the amount of people I go around to and I see, and they don’t even have to admit
the battery in the menu bar.
And I’m going, well, how do you know when the battery is running out?
So just bring the percentage in is quite useful.
I showed people and said, by the way, if you click on this, it tells you how many minutes
and hours you’ve got left.
I think that should be turned on by default.
I’d love to know what the decision was to remove the percentage.
It used to also be on an iPhone, didn’t it originally?
And now it’s a feature to turn it on and off.
There’s also the other one that I came across an app called Coconut Battery, which is very
helpful for telling you how much your lifespan of your batteries or for those who, so that’s
for those who are not so technical literate but those who are technical literate. If you
click on the Apple menu, so the Apple logo on the top left and hold down the Alt key
or Option key, it will say system information. If you click on that, it will list up your
battery status under power and you’ll be able to see how many cycles your battery has.
on average, Apple say a battery will get about a thousand cycles. Although I have seen that
exceeded, I think the highest one I saw so far was over 2000 cycles and it said the amount
of hours it was on there for was over 10,000 hours. This was for one of the polycarbonate
2009 models, the cute little 13 inch ones. I had it plugged in 24/7, never unplugged
Some of the names that people have come up with for the menu bar apps for the notch.
We have the rundown, the top notch, the forehead, the denotcher fire, notch pro, notch Meister.
The list goes on.
Some of them are free and interestingly some of them are paid for.
I wonder what some of the functions are.
Top notch is actually made by a very well known developer.
if people are familiar with the Clean Shot app for screenshots. He’s providing that as
an actual free application for people to make changes to the Notch.
Do you know that you can buy on eBay now and other websites, you can buy Notch stickers.
If you feel Notch left out, you can put the Notch on your phone, your iPad or your Mac.
you can get Notched Up, which is an app that simulates a notch.
Yeah, so for instance, although I do have an M1 Mac, obviously it’s an Air,
and at the moment that doesn’t have a notch.
But if I wanted to confuse people, I could get Notched Up and pretend to have a notch.
I had some other questions regarding menu bars.
So, yes, there are the menu bars, but what about the widgets?
Does anybody have any interesting widgets installed on Monterey or Big Sur?
I mean, it used to be very useful. And I was at 1040, the tiger and leopard and snow leopard.
And I like using the converter and the money conversion, weight conversion, temperature
conversion, because the amount of times you have to do that and clocks, you know, what time is it
in San Francisco for when Apple does everything they always announce in their time zone. So you
So you want to know what it is in our time zone.
So that was always very helpful.
But I haven’t put in any widgets because I keep forgetting they exist.
And now I’m sort of looking at it and I’m thinking, okay, then, because I can remember
having widgets and you just flick across and look things up.
You know, I can remember having a widget for the weather.
I had a widget for I think on the BBC News and I just flick across, have a look.
Yeah, sort of miss them.
Now you’ve mentioned them.
I’d forgotten about them.
interesting because I was always very dismissive of widgets. In Big Sur, I never really used
them, but I’ve kind of fell back in love with them with Monterey and more and more developers
are coming on board in supporting them. And interestingly, there is one for Find My and
you can see your AirTag devices throughout the day in the widget. The one I probably
use the most is podcasts, obviously keeping up to date, as well as the world clock for
different time zones. But there are a lot more out there than just the typical notes, reminders.
Will Barron The weirdest one that always used to come out
wasn’t it on Leopard? It used to have ski, wasn’t it? There was measurement ski, there
was about four of them. And it wouldn’t work outside of… As soon as it recognised you
weren’t in a US city, it dropped off the ski thing. And there was a Fandango, it was the
other one, but that wouldn’t work. It was quite funny. And for people of a certain age,
may remember in the UK that there was a John Smith advert which had a widget in it. And
so I think there should be a John Smith widget which tells you where the nearest pub is open
with their beer served on tap.
Are there any other areas that you wanted to cover with the menu bar? Because we’ve
looked at one end of the menu bar, but what about the other side in terms of about this
Mac access to system preferences? Because there are some changes there as well, isn’t
One being, wipe my device.
Oh, that’s a scary thought.
I haven’t seen that one.
I want to know if actually what the usage of that is.
I wonder if Apple would ever give information in regards to that.
That’s really easy.
Data protection rules.
So if you are lent a computer by your work, you have to hand back the laptop.
You click the wipe button and it wipes all your data.
So it doesn’t have to be wiped by anyone.
So it protects your data.
Work very well in education, you see.
and I think they’ve tried to make that ease of use because it was always a complicated process
for people that wanted to sell on their Mac. It wasn’t the most sophisticated or easiest way to
figure out how to do it. Normally you had to do that from, or the easiest way prior to that was
activate find my. Yeah true, that’s a good point. You could do it that way. One thing we missed off
the menu bar is what about syncing apps? Does anybody have any notifications for apps that sync
One of them being Dropbox, Google Drive.
I have Dropbox.
I have Dropbox and Google Drive.
They both are hidden by Bartender.
So they stay hidden and then when I need to, I will use them.
But I use the menu bar a lot for Dropbox because it’s the way I get all my links.
But when I’m doing podcasts,
I deactivate it so it doesn’t use up any bandwidth.
But yeah, very, very helpful.
Would you say that a lot of menu bar apps are also linked to launch when logged in
feature which seems to be a common thing with these menu bar apps.
Yes, although I’ve deactivated some of them because I don’t want them
activating all the time. Or you get really pointless ones I’ve come across.
They say silly things like, “I am constantly checking and there’s nothing
bad with your computer.” And you’re thinking, “Well, that’s not very helpful. Don’t tell me when it’s
happy. Don’t you tell me when it’s gone wrong.”
I missed a vital one. I just suddenly thought, “Oh gosh, the list grows.”
One being Mac Updater.
Does anybody use Mac Updater?
Mac Updater is great.
It’s worth every penny.
It keeps track of all of the updates
to the apps on your machine.
So it will regularly scan each of the apps
that’s sitting in your applications folder
and check their version number against its growing database
to let you know if you’re actually running
the latest version of an app.
similar to the way that the App Store app shows the little red icon to let you know there’s an
update. But if you think about it, there are many apps that you’ve probably got on your machine
that are not part of the App Store. And it’s a really clever way of making sure that they’re
up to date and staying safe from security aspects. The interesting thing with that one is also,
it kind of bypasses the long process of installing an app. I don’t know, I find it quite tedious where
it asks you for an update and then it’s the next button, then the terms and conditions,
then the next button, then the install, then the restart. This kind of handles it all for
you, which is really useful. And it has a list in which it has approved developers and
checks their developer certificates to make sure that it can install with ease in that
respect. That one’s worth while. We’d find one caveat I would say with this is if you’ve got a
piece of software where there is a paid upgrade, the machine will bug you that you require an
update on that app that you may or may not want to pay for the upgrade to. You can turn off the
notification for it or hide it but it can get annoying. But they have put an on/off switch in
there thankfully as well. On that subject, is there anything else on the menu? And I
think Tina had another piece of news you wanted to talk about then.
Spotify. So the only thing I, you know, the only thing that was about Spotify is obviously
the big news is that Neil Young has taken, asked for all of his music to be taken off
Spotify. Interestingly, he doesn’t actually own any of it anymore. But anyway, because
I think he sold his catalog to someone else.
So it’s come off on Spotify.
But the thing about Apple is they did a tweet
which basically said,
“For all of you that want to enjoy Neil Young’s music,
it’s all here at Apple Music.”
They’re not the only music artists
to have issues with like that, are they?
- So Joni Mitchell has withdrawn.
Nils Lofgren, which is a Springsteen guitarist, I believe,
is talking about coming off.
there’s rumours that possibly the Foo Fighters might come off.
But there was a rumour that Barry Manilow had come off.
Apparently that wasn’t true.
- My question is, is where does that leave the consumer?
Does that impact people that have bought music in Spotify
and the artist suddenly decides to pull out or not?
- But have you bought music or are you renting it?
And that’s the whole point, you’re renting it.
And it extends, it’s a digital problem.
I once had a book that I’d bought on a Kindle
and it was taken off the Kindle store. I don’t know why. So it came off my Kindle and I got the money back because I didn’t own it. I’ve rented it.
Is it the famous rumor that allegedly Bruce Willis was upset that no one would inherit his Apple Music? And I think that’s an urban myth as it happens.
There’s a difference. You can buy music in perpetuity. So that means you can have it if you die, whereas most of the music is rented, as you say.
But what was unusual was they said that the Josh Rogan experience was being paid for by
Spotify to be on their network.
And that’s what the peculiarity was, you know, so that they’ve lost out because they’re trying
to get people to come in.
But the main thing with streaming services is the license, if I remember correctly, is
a rental, like a library, and you never actually own anything.
You can own a right to play it, but you can’t change it.
I mean, there used to be some time back, about 10 years ago, you could buy a game, you could
buy software, Microsoft for example, Office, and it was a one machine license. So if you
upgraded your Mac and you didn’t use Time Machine, it wouldn’t transfer over. It was
a one-time authentication and they were selling it at a cheap price because it was one time.
You could only ever use it once. So this has been a problem in the past.
I can think of two different examples with that. One being, this wasn’t necessarily to
do with Apple or Spotify was Taylor Swift. She has on a huge mission to re-record all
of her music after falling out with her management. So you’ll find lots of her music in the app
store or music store with Taylor’s version listed, which is the ones that she owns the
rights to and not her management company.
And another example that I can think of is having music that I play on Apple Music to
find that half the album is missing. Has anybody come across that?
I’ve come across that and it turned out that I have two Apple accounts and I was signed
into a wrong Apple account. You don’t have license to have it. I mean, I’ve got music
which I’ve bought, but because I’ve bought it, I got the right to play it. Then it gets
taken off the Apple store and only certain tracks get put back on. But because the one
Apple ID had the purchase, the other one didn’t, I was able to play it. The other one I’ve
discovered is there’s a difference between web player and device player. Have you noticed this?
So the terms and conditions for Spotify are different for web compared to downloadable app
and to handsets.
Yeah, with my example, when I went to play the track in Apple Music, it was grayed out.
And then when you play it, it says that this track is no longer available in your region.
So there must have been some falling out or licensing issue that only affects certain
regions of half the album, which doesn’t really make sense.
But yeah, what you’ll also find is that Spotify got asked by was Adele to lock down their album.
So it can’t be played in any other order because they were getting annoyed at the algorithms were
picking random tracks and sticking them in playlists.
And that would make sense because there are certain albums that have been done and meant
to be listened to in a particular order. If they’ve got some sort of thematic thing going
on, like War of the Worlds for instance, if you’re going to listen to the whole story,
you’re going to play the album. If you’re going to play the headline singles, fair enough,
but if you’re going to play the album, it actually tells a story. So I can see why you
would possibly want the order locked down.
There’s also some which I know of like the latest ABBA album.
They set it up so that it would increase or go up in melodies.
They work it all out ahead of time and they’ve put the CD in a set format which is not easy
to copy off because they don’t want you to play it on your computer.
They want you to play it on your CD player or your record player but they don’t want
you to play it independently.
They want it played in a set order.
I’ve seen that with a CD in that it plays in the CD player, but then you put it in the
machine and then it appears blank and it doesn’t play at all or recognise the disc and it throws
it back out for when disc drives were a thing.
Yes, but this is in the past. I think in a way that the artists aren’t getting very much
from it, but the companies are in the streaming music car and the big record labels like it
because they can keep control over it, but they don’t have to give the artists much.
So it doesn’t really benefit us, the consumer that much.
I think that’s one of the other arguments because Neil Young has, to use him as an example,
he’s come off Spotify before and I think he’s had two issues with Spotify. One, how much
they pay artists and two, the quality of the sound. So he’s saying that basically the quality
on Spotify is rubbish, so it’s not a good thing to listen on. And interestingly, he’s
offering people four months free Amazon music. So that’s who he’s decided to go for. It’s
sort of takes the edge off, is this a principal decision? Because I’m not sure. I mean, you
can argue about Apple not being particularly nice, but Amazon have got lots of issues to
do with how they treat their staff. So they’re also problematic.
But they’ve got one big advantage that you can buy the music outright, but it’s on any
device. That’s their license agreement. The most interesting one I came across on this
was years ago when Harry Potter was just coming out and I had one of the first generation
iPods. Then we got an audiobook and I discovered that you could get the Harry Potter UK read
by Stephen Fry, but it was against the terms and conditions to play that outside the European
Union. So if you went to America, you had to get Dick Dale, which was reading the American
version because at the time that was the only one who was playing in that area. And because
they hadn’t really like recognized iPods at the time, they had locked it to say it was
region locked to which someone at Apple said well how are you going to identify what someone’s
going to be listening to when they cross the Atlantic it’s not like there’s a big sign
it says by the way you now must switch versions so you can you can impose all these rules
but the the consumer at the end of the day will just listen to whatever’s easiest.
And who wouldn’t listen to Stephen Freud? I mean come on. As opposed to whoever Dick
Yeah. Okay, that’s priceless. On the subject of listening to one another, Tina’s going to love me
on this one because we mentioned before we were going to talk about an update of how far we’ve
got with our New Year’s resolutions or what we’ve learnt. Has Tina been doing her homework?
Yes, on and off. So I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos. I had a conversation with you,
so I now know how to update my lens firmware. That was pretty exciting.
All that, don’t touch anything, open brackets, because you’ll ruin it,
it will die and it will be your fault. So yeah, and so I’ve done things like
gone out with my new camera and I’m currently experimenting with how it focuses
because I’ve got to learn a new system because it’s not the same.
to the extent that there are times when there are things I can’t do that I used to be able to do,
which is very irritating. So at the moment, YouTube is my friend. Though sometimes if you
talk to someone, that’s also better. You know, I had a nice chat with a man that I thought might
one of my lenses were screwed, but they’re claiming that I need to focus in a different
way because it’s mirrorless. So I am I’m getting there just not as fast as I would like to.
How about the mission with the Dolby? Or is that the the bad word of the show?
Do you know what’s happening with me in Adobe is that I am becoming more fluid with what I do.
I like how it, there are things it does. So it’s much, because it’s a newer software.
So I file things in a way that I read an Adobe book and the man criticised it,
but this is how I do it and I’m probably still going to do it. So I file my photographs according
to year, month and then event because then I can go, okay, I went to this place in September,
let’s look at the photos. I like it. One thing that Lightroom does better is it notices if
you put new stuff into random folders. So previously I would put, say I scanned a ticket
and then put it in with the photos from that event, I would have to remember where I put
that new picture, whereas Lightroom does it automatically. So I’m not a power user, but
I’m improving. Does it mean that I would rather I had I could use aperture? Yes, I would still
rather use aperture, but I am accepting I’m getting better. Lightroom is getting easier.
So I’m getting there. If Apple brought out a new aperture though, I’d go back to that.
And I know they’re not going to don’t don’t nod your head. Don’t don’t just feel for me.
I know it’s not going to happen, but in my dreams. Yeah, so I’m getting there.
Perfect. I would say if you do end up with files, especially images being all over the place,
one particular app you should look at is, I think we’ve mentioned it before, is RetroBatch.
And it’s the same developer which has the best name ever, Flying Meat Company. It’s also the
creator of Acorn for people that use the well-known photo editing app. That’s great,
that comes in handy for dealing with photos. For me it was to do with organizing processes
and time management and I bit the bullet and invested in things three to control my long to
do list and initial thoughts on it is that it is working, it is much better at reminding me to do
things as such and to break them down into other tasks and me being the shortcut person it also
work so nicely and talks nicely with Fantastic Howl, which is useful if people really like
Fantastic Howl and don’t necessarily use the to-do function of it. So that’s been helpful for me over
the last few weeks. And by the next show, I hope to be able to share some shortcuts which people
might find useful as well. So stay tuned and hold me to that. And then on that note, I don’t think
we have anything else do we? I think we’ve covered our entire list so in that case we can say thank
you too. Let’s go in the opposite order. Alistair thank you for today until next time. Yeah it’s
been great discussing the little apps and I’ve been trying to put stuff in the show notes as we’ve
been going so that our listeners can download the apps and experiment and play with them. I thought
would it be a nice idea if we took a screenshot of our menu bars and we shared those in the show
notes so we could have a variety of three different menu bars to see how it all works.
And for those who don’t know how to do it you do shift the command force spacebar.
Perfect, he even added his tip.
Did you know about one Tina?
And of course you are next on the list. Thank you Tina.
Thank you. I hope everyone has a great time and you all get to make your Spotify choice
or not Spotify choice depending on whether or not you’re a new Young fan.
I’m sure the list grows where you’ll find other music artists in the next few weeks.
And of course it is thank you from me. Until next time, we will see you soon.[MUSIC PLAYING]