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Past Episodes

CCATP #466 – Terry Austin on an App and Headphones for Hearing Loss

Hearing aid plus logoThis week’s Chit Chat Across the Pond is a fantastic blend of technology, physiology and ingenuity to solve a very common problem. We’re joined by Terry Austin, a professor of Anatomy & Physiology and microbiology at Temple College in the Texas Hill Country. He turned his research background in neuroscience and his love of technology toward a solution for a very personal problem to be solved.

Terry has some hearing loss, but not bad enough (in his estimation) to warrant hearing aids. He went on a hunt for an app to help. He found Hearing Aid Plus from hearingaidproapp.com for iOS.

I don’t want to steal his entire story, but in this episode he tells us how his knowledge of physiology combined with the mad skills of developer Gábor Száanto may have come up with a breakthrough solution for those with non-cochlear hearing loss.

Terry tells the whole story on his blog at intelligentelectrons.com/…

Also referenced in the recording: Trekz Titanium bone-conducting headphones: http://amzn.to/2fUF2hV. He also suggested using an app to test for the high frequency point for your hearing, and here’s a few he found: Mimi Hearing Test, or Hearing Test – Check Your Hearing Health, or Audicus Hearing Test. You can find Terry on Twitter @ielectrons.

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My Favorite Tech Stocking Stuffers Under $50

I’ve not traditionally done “top holiday gift” guides but I’m inspired by a few little products this year. If you’ve been following along, you’ve heard of all of them, but I think it’s of value to hear what products I’m still using long after the shine of a new gadget has worn off.

I’d like to focus on a few stocking stuffers, but that title comes with questions. If you stuff stockings with candy canes and oranges, this is not the right list. It’s more of a list of things that would technically fit in a stocking. I’m going to keep the price under (and sometimes well under) $50US.

My Favorite Lightning Cables

ProCable UHD light grey braided cableWhat Apple geek doesn’t want more Lightning cables? Either you don’t have enough, you’ve broken the good one, or they’re too expensive to buy from Apple. Whatever the excuse, my top pick is still the RadTech ProCable UHD. These are super heavy duty, come with a life time warranty and I’ve personally tried to break them without success. Better yet, they cost less than the ones from Apple.

The ProCable UHD comes in 18″ for $12.95, 6ft for $16.95 (Apple’s is $29!) or a giant 10ft long cable for $24.95.

My Favorite Headphone Cable Manager

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OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock – Guest Post By Trevor Drover

Owc thunderbolt 2 dock angled viewHello Allison and NosillaCastaways. Trevor from Australia with a short review of a product that has helped breath new life into my 2011 iMac and could be the ultimate dongle for the new range of MacBook Pros.

With more Macs coming with fewer ports to connect your external devices, adding an additional monitor, external hard drives, other USB-based gear, or legacy Ethernet or FireWire peripherals can become a bit of a problem. My 2013 MacBook Pro only has USB 3 and Thunderbolt ports and the newly released MacBook Pros only have USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

Enter OWC’s Thunderbolt Dock which might just be the adapter you didn’t know you needed. It seamlessly adds lots of useful ports to your Mac.

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Amazon’s Brilliant Marketing

Amazon echo dotA little while back I bought an Amazon Echo Dot. For some reason, I haven’t really taken the time to learn what it can do yet. Sure I can ask it the weather and to play a song, but not much more. This is not for lack of Amazon trying to motivate me, though. I get emails every few days suggesting I teach Alexa some new skills. If I would just open the Alexa app on my iPhone, surely I would find happiness there.

Nobody does marketing better than Amazon. This week on Cyber Monday, Amazon sent out an email specifically for Echo owners. The deal was pretty cool. If you used your Amazon Echo to order one of the things on their list using your voice, you’d get 25% off the purchase price and a $10 Amazon gift card.
This was too good to pass up. I went to the kitchen where I have the Echo Dot, and called out her name. The little blue / turquoise ring floated around the top to let me know she was listening. I said, “Order a Fire Stick.” She said, “it’s not in stock right now, but will ship on Thursday. The price will be $29.99 plus tax. Do you want to order it?” I said, “yes”.

It was the most frictionless purchase l’ve ever made. Now think about what Amazon accomplished here:

  • They got me to buy something
  • They taught me how to use what I’d already bought to buy more things
  • The thing they got me to buy was a device to help me buy and rent video content from them
  • They gave me a gift card… so I could buy more things from them
  • And they taught me to like it

NC #603 Touch Bar MacBook Pro Challenges, How Not to Do Migration Assistant, Security Bits

NosillaCastaways go see Mamma Mia!, I solve some interesting challenges with the new Touch Bar MacBook Pro, I explain how not to do Migration Assistant when getting a new Mac and Bart Busschots joins us for another lively session of Security Bits.


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How Not to do Migration Assistant

Migration assistant starting screenWhen I got the 2016 Touch Bar 15″ MacBook Pro, it was only about a month after I’d done an involuntary nuke and pave on my 2013 MacBook Pro. For those unfamiliar with the term nuke and pave, that’s when you erase everything, including the operating system, and then install everything from scratch. You can drag your documents over from a backup or another Mac, but you don’t bring over network settings or license files or any customizations you’ve made.

I have lauded the benefits of a nuke and pave over the years on the podcast and I’m a huge believer in doing it around once a year. It’s painful and time consuming (think days before everything is back to “just so”) but the advantages of speed and freed up disk space are enormous. Your Mac will feel like it did when it was new.

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Touch Bar MacBook Pro Challenges and Solutions

Desktop with thunderbolt dockSix years ago I splurged and bought myself a 24″ Apple Cinema Display. I loved that display. It was huge in that day and worked perfectly with my 2011 MacBook Pro. In 2013 I upgraded to a the fancy new Retina MacBook Pro, but something weird started happening. Fairly frequently, the monitor would blink off and then back on again.

I took the new Mac and the display into Apple (which is a lot to carry) and they checked it out. Nothing wrong with either device but the genius found documentation that there was a firmware issue between the two devices. He suggested that I give it a little while and I would be pushed the firmware update. I know I live on the bleeding edge and this is the penalty, so I was cool with it. At first. Read More

CCATP #465 – Bart Busschots Programming By Stealth 25 – Case Study of a JavaScript API

PBS_Logo.pngBart gave me another two weeks to get my homework done on Programming By Stealth and brings us a case study of how to create a JavaScript API on Github. He uses a real life example of a small, open source library he released over the weekend called barfificer.linkTookit.js. This library includes many of the bits and pieces we’ve been working on in Programming By Stealth, how to add a rel of no opener on all links with a target of _blank (the ones that open in a new tab) and adding a little icon in the url to politely tell the reader that you’ll be navigating away from the page you’re on. It’s a great lesson in the structure of how Github works and even more importantly how it automatically creates beautiful documentation from Markdown comments in the code.

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NC #602 HomeKit Not Easier, Just Can’t Win, 3D Touch Part 2, New 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

There will be no live show next week as we’re going to hear Shai Yammanee (good friend of the show) perform in Mamma Mia! If you’re in the LA area and can join us, check out scfta.org for matinée tickets. I was on the Clockwise #163 The Ultimate Dongle and Let’s Talk Photography at lets-talk.ie/… this week. Chit Chat Across the Pond was actually a Taming the Terminal episode and you can see the shownotes at bartbusschots.ie/…. I give a rant on the show first about how HomeKit isn’t making home automation any easier, and then I’ll complain about how I just can’t win on delivery of Apple products. Then I’ll finish up my two part series on how different apps implement 3D Touch on the iPhones 6s and above. Finally I’ll give you my first look review of the 15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.


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15″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Four macbooks front viewI’ve been using a late 2013 MacBook Pro to produce the podcast for the last three years, and an early 2011 MacBook Pro before that. I decided to upgrade to the 2016 Touch Bar-enabled MacBook Pro. I chose 15″ quad-core 2.6GHz i7, 16GB of RAM, with a 2TB SSD. It’s not quite top of the line, just one button click short. For another several hundred dollars I could have gotten a 0.1GHz uptick in processor and a bump in the discrete graphics. I’m trying to prove to you that I have self control.

People have been losing their ever-loving minds about several things on this new design. The keyboard, the 16GB memory limitation and the ports. I already talked about the ports last week and I think they’re pretty awesome. Let’s talk first about the keyboard. Read More