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Past Episodes

NC #550 I Love You Man, Will Apple Pencil Make You an Artist, Star Trails with E-M10, Apple Certificate Problems

In Chit Chat Across the Pond #413 Bart is back with a rather short installment of his series Programming By Stealth, this time taking a look at in-line elements for HTML. Download that episode here: I have a rather mushy discussion of how much the NosillaCastaways mean to me, I ask and answer the question of whether the Apple Pencil will make an artist out of you, and I tell you how I finally succeeded in getting a photo of star trails using the Olympus E-M10’s built in function called Live Composition. In Security Lite Bart sheds some light on what exactly went wrong with Apple’s certificates that caused so much grief for users of the Mac App Store this week.

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I Love You, Man

Claus Allison Steve up by the Hollywood sign overlooking Santa Monica BayThis weekend, long time NosillaCastaway Claus Wolfe from Germany flew from his home in Frankfurt to the United States for a short vacation.

He wrote to us a while back to tell us he’d be passing briefly through Los Angeles and wondered if we could get together. We talked about everything WE thought he might want to see in the area, but he told us he really wanted to do a hike and it looked like there was a nice one up to the Hollywood sign.

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Will the Apple Pencil Make You an Artist?

Ipad pro pencilI was born with a really well developed left brain, the side associated with logic. Science and math came easily to me and it was natural that I went into engineering as a result. My three brothers were also reasonably bright boys, but they were gifted with artsy fartsy skills associated with a well developed right brain. My oldest brother is a musician who reads books on string theory if you can picture that! Alas, I was the only one not musically inclined (even after 6 years of playing the flute and picolo) and with zero artistic talent.

However, like many of you out there, I always wished I could draw and paint. When Apple announced the iPad Pro and the Pencil, I wondered whether I could become an artist?  If I just had the right technology, talent would suddenly exist in me, right?

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CCATP #413 Bart Busschots Programming By Stealth 4 of x (HTML In-line Elements)

In the previous installment Bart introduced us to the concept of block-level tags, and in-line tags. Block level tags define blocks of text like headers, paragraphs and lists, and starting a new block-level tag generally starts a new line in the page. Inline tags on the other hand effect a part of a block, and opening an inline tag generally doesn’t start a new line. In the previous installment we looked at some of the most important block-level tags, in this installment we’ll look at some of the most common in-line tags.

Follow along with Bart’s written tutorial at

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Star Trails with the Olympus E-M10

Star trails smallHave you ever seen those cool photos of the night sky where you can see the trails of the stars in arcs around the North Star? I love those shots and have always wanted to get one, and this week I succeeded. I’d like to back up and set the stage for you.

Steve and I drove to Julian, California this week with our good friends Diane & Bill to stay at a remarkable place called Observer’s Inn. Michael Leigh built Observer’s as a two room inn combined with an observatory. This sounds crazy and it kind of is, but Michael is a self-taught astronomer with research-grade telescopes and a passion for teaching people about the solar system. Read More

NC #549 iPad Pro, Change Everything, Smart Cover Physics, Amadeus Pro Review

Listen to David Sawyer of TSOLife on Chit Chat Across the Pond, I talk iPad Pro on SMR Podcast, Daily Tech News Show, and Mac Roundtable. We’ll talk about how I changed EVERYTHING in my workflow on the podcast. Then I’ll explain why Apple can’t keep iPad Pro Smart Covers on the shelves, and then I’ll give a technical review of Amadeus Pro and how I use it now to produce the podcast instead of GarageBand. Remember to use the Amazon Affiliate link to support the sponsor-free show.

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Replacing GarageBand with Amadeus Pro for Podcasting

Amadeus pro icon 250Recording a podcast isn’t really similar to recording music but for years I’ve used GarageBand to do the podcast. For example, GarageBand defaults to having the metronome on, keeping track of beats per minute, and even having reverb on voice tracks. MANY years ago Will, a good friend of the show, created a little script for me that turned all that stuff off that I was using up until I stopped using GarageBand. In another irritating example, GarageBand introduced Flex Time editing which allows the audio editor to change the pitch of a vocalist’s recording in case they were off key. I never ever wanted that, but I would accidentally trigger it during editing and it would take forever to analyze the track to apply the effect and then let me undo the effect.

Garageband 6.0.5 was my tool of choice for all this time, but it was deprecated a few years ago and replaced by GarageBand 10 which is so complicated and filled with non-podcasting things that I’ve never been able to get it to work for me. Much like the way I dropped The Levelator in favor of Auphonic before it stopped working, I decided it was time for me to make a change away from GarageBand before Apple stopped it from working in a future rev of the OS. I like to be in control of the timing rather than suddenly being surprised.

As I started on this quest, I thought about what is important to me in a recording application:
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Why Apple Can’t Keep iPad Pro Smart Covers On the Shelves

Smart coverI ordered the iPad Pro Smart Keyboard from Apple when I ordered my iPad but the delivery date isn’t until some time in December. In the mean time I’m walking around with a 13″, $1000 piece of glass in my hand and it’s terrifying.

I was chatting with Bart and he said he’s a big fan of the original iPad Smart Cover. I DO need a way to stand the iPad Pro up for watching videos and a way to comfortably hold it in my lap at an angle for typing until the keyboard cover comes into stock. $59 is a lot of money just to carry me over for 3-4 weeks but who knows, maybe I’ll like it and want to keep it.

I went to the Apple Store today to get the Smart Cover and I asked one of the specialists if they had it in stock. His answer was hilarious. He said that they DO have it stock but they can’t put it on the shelves.

He went on to explain that they’re too BIG and they keep falling over! He took me over to the shelves, and someone had actually put them back out that morning. The iPad Pro Smart Cover box is a little over 1/4″ thick and a FOOT tall.

Not only does the aspect ratio invite them to fall, there’s a second problem. This very thin boxes contain Smart Covers that are magnetic so they can grab onto the iPad. That means they all stick together. You might think this would make them one giant blob that would keep them from falling over, but when you grab one, it pulls the rest of them right off the shelf.

What a weird problem to have. Perhaps it would have been smarter to design the packaging to display them in landscape mode instead of portrait since then they’d only be 9 inches tall?

In any case, after a good laugh with the specialist, I bought the iPad Pro cover in spite of the falling down display and so far I think I’m going to like it.

Change Everything At Once

logos for all the toolsl I changedI don’t like change.  When I finally decided to spin off Chit Chat Across the Pond into its own podcast I told you about all the things I haven’t changed in my life in decades. But once you start changing things, it gets easier and more tempting to keep changing things up.  It’s almost like change causes more change.  You’ll see in this story that it was a cascading effect that has really gotten me  out of my comfort zone but I’m enjoying the ride.

Since I was changing the podcast, it seemed like a good idea to change my recording software at the same time. Instead of GarageBand, I started using Amadeus Pro.  Instead of using iTunes to add the ID3 tags I started using ID3 Editor.  ID3 tags are those are the little bits of information about the audio file, like my name, the fact that the show is clean, and the artwork. I chose ID3 Editor because it had a scriptable command line that would make Dorothy squeal with delight.  Read More

CCATP #412 David Sawyer of TSOLife

Tsolife logoDavid Sawyer is the CEO and founder of TSOLife, also known as The Story of Life.

TSOLife is a web application that lets users leave behind their own legacy for future generations including text, audio and video. David is currently a student at Stetson University with the vision of helping us capture our memories in a frictionless way through a web interface and have them stored forever.

We talk about how the site works, how to get people to record their memories, and even have a little cross-generational competition about technology. We talk about the business model ($79 for 20GB of storage for life) and how he really plans this to be for life. Listen to the podcast for a 20% off coupon on that price.

He tells us about the non-profit foundation they’ve created to work for free in nursing homes and in the later stages of life to capture their memories and give them something fun to talk about. For some reason, we close by talking about whether the caps lock key is a wonderful thing or if it’s pure evil.

You can contact David at and follow TSOLife on at

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