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Past Episodes

NC #598 YouTube Takedown, Not Sad About Samsung, Reminders, Echo Dot, Dyn DNS DDoS Attack

I got to host Bart’s show, Let’s Talk Photography at…. My RecoLive Tutorial is up at ScreenCasts Online, check it out at…. I go on a bit of a rant about how the Live Show almost died because of a guy doing a takedown notice on YouTube of an interview we did with his company. That rant is followed by another one where I explain why I am neither sad nor surprised about the mess Samsung is in. If you get value out of the show, please consider pledging support at I do a deep dive into the Reminders app for iOS and macOS. Then I walk you through my experience setting up the $50 Amazon Echo Dot. Bart Busschots jumps in for an out of band Security Medium where he explains what happened to the Internet this week. We talk about DNS and how the servers work, the role insecure IoT devices played in it and some suspicions about who was behind the attack.

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Echo Dot 2nd Gen is Clumsy on Initial Setup

DotEvery once in a while there’s a device comes out that everyone loves, and urges you to get, even if they can’t articulate to you why it’s so awesome. I remember a hundred years ago when my friend Eric told me to get a Palm Pilot. He explained to me that it was a small handheld device that would hold my contacts and calendar. I pointed to my 3 pound full-sized Franklin Planner notebook and said, “My planner already does that, why do I need this?” He was relentless. I took his advice and of course I was hooked.

This same kind of enthusiasm and zeal is happening around the Amazon Echo. People love their Echos. They don’t just like them, they loooooove them. You may remember when I had Mike Elgan on the show, he said one of the few things worthy of being carried around the world in his nomadic life is an Amazon Echo. He said all the usual things I’d heard before, play music, ask the weather, set a timer or listen to podcasts. I pressed him that I could do all of those things with Siri. He said it was different but hard to articulate, so I should just get one. Read More

Reminders is a Hidden Gem in iOS and macOS

Reminders overviewThere are a lot of terrific to do apps out there, from the simple little Wunderlists of the world to the great and powerful OmniFocus. But I thought it would be fun to do a deep dive into the Reminders app that’s built right into our Macs and iOS devices. I hadn’t poked around in there in a long time, but it’s really quite amazing what we get for free.

Reminders is sort of a go-between that connects a to do list application with your calendar. If you’re an iCloud user, it automatically creates a set of list that trigger off of your iCloud Calendar. But what if you have a work account through Microsoft Exchange (or even use that voluntarily)? You can add an Exchange account calendar to Reminders and have a whole separate set of Lists attached to Exchange inside Reminders. If you haven’t gotten rid of your Yahoo account after the recent hacking and improper scanning of emails scandals, you can add an account for your Yahoo Calendar. Google? Sure. It even supports AOL. Read More

Why I Am Neither Sad nor Surprised About Samsung

person with magnifying glass inspecting Samsung logoI’ve been silent up until now about the Samsung Galaxy phones catching on fire. At first I felt badly for the employees. Can you even imagine being in the room when the CEO found out about this? It must have been a dreadful couple of months for everyone there.

In case you need more convincing of how bad this really was, Tom Merritt on the Daily Tech News Show did a bit of research and came up with a good way to understand it. Chemical and Engineering News in 2013 cited the failure rate of Lithium ion batteries at one in 10 million cells. Samsung shipped approximately 1 million Note 7s in the US alone and received 96 reports of phones overheating. That’s 960 times as many as the average.

So nearly a THOUSAND times more likely to catch on fire than any other lithium ion battery. While that makes me feel better about how many batteries we use in our day to day lives, it does shine a light on how dangerous these Samsung really phones are. Read More

CCATP #460 Shelly Brisbin on Self-Publishing

We’re joined by Shelly Brisbin, author of the book iOS Access for All and host of The Parallel Podcast. As she’s written more than a dozen tech books, I asked her to come on the show to explain how she creates her books, what tools she uses, and how she migrated from using an agent and a big publishing house to doing self publishing. It’s a really fun episode because while you’d think creating a book is all about writing, Shelly gets into how she uses TextWrangler and writes her own Cascading Style Sheets to create her books.

You can find Shelly on Twitter @shelly and you can find her book at…, and The Parallels Podcast at….

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Links to things Shelly mentioned in the show:

NC #597 Credit Card Mixup at Apple, Easy Pill, Clean Install of macOS, Security Bits

Something appears to be fishy with Apple’s databases, based on my story of how someone else’s credit card got into my account. Mark Pouley of Twin Lakes Images gives a great review of the Easy Pill medication tracker and reminder for iOS. I’ll tell you why I think doing a clean install of your OS from time to time and not using Migration Assistant is a good idea, but I’ll follow that up with all the little fiddly bits I’ve had to modify to get things running again. Bart Busschots is back with Security Bits where he gives us an update on the security of the Internet of Things and more information that’s been coming out, along with all of the rest of this week’s security news.

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Clean Install of macOS is a LOT of Work, Is it Worth It?

No migration assistantI think I mentioned on the show last week that the trackpad on my 2013 MacBook Pro wouldn’t click any more. I took it into Apple and they said, as I suspected, that it was probably a swollen battery. Not a big shock, because I keep this MacBook Pro plugged in all the time. Luckily, I took it into them within 14 days of the expiration of my AppleCare.

I took it in on Monday so that I would have it back in time for the live show this weekend. I picked it up on Wednesday, but the repairs they did really surprised me.

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Easy Pill Medication Tracker and Reminder

Guest Blog Post by Mark Pouley

Easy Pill logoHello Allison and fellow castaways, this is Mark Pouley with a review of an iOS app that I discovered last year and have been using ever since. The app is called Easy Pill for iOS by Until recently I didn’t regularly take medications so tracking when to take a pill was never an issue, but that changed last year when I was prescribed a number of medications and supplements. Being a geeky castaway I took this as an opportunity to find a technological solution, hopefully one that involved my iPhone and AppleWatch.

Easy Pill is an iOS app that tracks all of your medications and sends you reminders when it’s time to take a pill. This was exactly what I was looking for. Read More

CCATP #459 Bart Busschots Programming By Stealth 23 – Creating Elements with jQuery

PBS_Logo.pngIn this installment of Programming By Stealth, we’re working towards our first truly practical assignment in the series – a function that finds all links on a page, and if, and only if, they lead to an external page, alters them to open in a new tab, and appends an icon indicating that fact. Bart’s amazing full on tutorial is over at…. I also mention a fun little jQuery Easter egg, which you can find at Just follow the link and open the console on your favorite browser and you’ll find a text based adventure game!

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The Day the Live Show (Almost) Died

Youtube takedown notice smallI want to do a little public service announcement about YouTube. Please don’t ever ever EVER hit the “Report” button on a video unless you really have a monumental problem with the video.

Now let’s back up and I’ll tell you why.

On Tuesday I checked my email and found a notice from YouTube telling me that one of my videos had been taken down and that it violated the community guidelines. Oddly the video that was taken down was an interview Steve and I did with a vendor at the CSUN Persons With Disabilities Expo last March.

Now let’s be clear. Steve and I are super careful not to ever use copyrighted music in our videos, we never record someone who doesn’t know they’re being recorded, we ask their permission beforehand, and we use no profanity. I couldn’t think for the life of me what could be wrong with this interview.

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