#227 Colluquy, mIRC, Lucian for Honda Bob, FTC on Bloggers

Vote for your favorite podcasts at podcastawards.com, I feel sorry for Leo, and why does anyone buy a Mac with how expensive they are? Evan gives us a review of the iPhone app OffMaps from offmaps.com. Ramblin’ Rosie gives us a few PS’s from last week, and I’ll tell you why eBook readers aren’t doing so well. I explain that I get software for free to evaluate (see FTC guidelines on testmonials). In Down a Blind Alley with Shane Jackson, he tells us what it’s like to be an Apple specialist who just happens to not be able to see. I learn how to use IRC chat clients to go to the live chat room – for enhancements and for accessibility – check out Colloquy from colloquy.info for the Mac, or mIRC at mirc.com for Windows. Lucian makes his debut with the best Honda Bob commercial yet, and Gazmaz joins me in Chit Chat Across the Pond where we talk about the proliferation of Macs in Europe, what it means when you see a Mac on TV, and macs in education vs. retail.
Listen to the Podcast Once (1hr 19 min)

Today is Sunday October 11th, 2009 and this is show number 227. Well Steve and I are getting all geared up for Blogworld, are you coming to the show? You can create your schedule online, it’s very cool, and you can see who is going to what sessions too. I’m so excited that a bunch of people have shown interest already in my talk! if you’re trying to find it, I’ll be talking at 11:30 on Friday morning so you’ll be HUNGRY while listening to me! Another big deal is that the Podcast Awards nominations are open. If you want to vote head on over to podcastawards.com and let your voice be heard!

Leo with his hands on his headI feel sorry for Leo. I really do. After all my diatribe against his character last week, you wouldn’t believe the number of people who wrote back agreeing with him. The level of support was wonderful of course but I didn’t really mean to unleash venom about him! I have a lot of respect for Leo and I still listen to a lot of his shows, and I even still do my monthly $2 donation to the TWIT network. I guess I hold him to a very high standard and I want him to live up to it and I was very disappointed when he didn’t.

Amongst all the agreement emails and blog comments, Donald Burr did send in an email entitled “In Defense of Leo”. Now even this email wasn’t really in defense, it was more of an explanation. He suggested that Leo’s 180 on Snow Leopard was because he made the critical newb error of upgrading all of his production machines on day one. He also pointed out that Leo gave David Pogue ample time on his show to rebut his accusations.

Now on the call with Caroline about licensing, I can’t agree with Donald’s viewpoint. He suggested that the fact that Apple doesn’t put copy protection on their OS disks was because “Apple is taking the “wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean, know what I mean, say no more, say no more” approach” because it’s better to have more people on the latest and greatest. I see no evidence to suggest such a thing. They also don’t put copy protection on their iLife disks but I’m sure they don’t want to lose the revenue on those either. I stand firm that since Apple treats us right by not putting onerous copy protection on that software we should treat their license agreement with respect.

One thing I do want to ask is that you challenge me if you see me being hypocritical or inconsistent like that, ok?

Expensive Macs
I sometimes wonder how anyone ends up picking a Mac. I know better than many all of the incredible reasons why you would be happy with a Mac, but these days it’s really getting hard to justify the price. This week there was a very unusual Fry’s Electronics ad. Fry’s is a local electronics store that has always been pretty PC oriented, but this week’s ad has the top third dedicated to the Mac. It has a nice wide spread showing the 13/15/17 inch models, then a section on why you’ll love a mac with four examples like iLife 09 and the great Apple support.

But then right below that they show in the center a regular ad showing the 15″ MacBook Pro for $1700, and right next to it is a Lenovo 15″ laptop for $377. Seriously. They’re both 15″, the Mac has 4GB while the Lenovo only has 3, but they both have 250GB drives. The Lenovo even comes with a coupon t upgrade to Windows 7 after rebate. They both have DVD writers, but the Lenovo only supports wireless G, not N. If you know your geek stuff you’d notice that the Lenovo is running an Intel Pentium instead of an Intel Core 2 Duo, which is a world of difference but normal people would never know that! And seriously is the Mac 4.5 times as good? I think maybe it’s time Apple look at it’s margins and see if perhaps a reduction there might finally be in order.

10 year comparison of apple vs microsoftThen again I look at Apple’s stock performance and it’s astounding. If we set aside what we want and really look at Apple as a business, then we might sing a different tune. On Friday Apple hit over $190 a share, when the all time high was $199 back in 2007 before the recession hit. To put this in perspective, I asked Google Finance to plot Apple against Microsoft over the past 10 years. the graph is rather dramatic – Apple goes up above Microsoft in 2000, then they track virtually identically through 2001, 2, and 3 (under water by about 50%). But then in 2004 Apple starts to rise as Microsoft stays down 50%. Apple’s up 200% in 2005, 400% in 2006, then as I mentioned hits an all time high in 2007 with a big dump in 2008, but during 2009 it goes from 400% up to 1062% up from 10 years before. A thousand percent growth in 10 years. And what happened to Microsoft in that period of time? Down 46%. So we may want Apple to lower more prices, but if you were a stockholder, could you really argue with this approach?

Evan on OffMaps
===========insert Evan===========
Hi Allison and Nosillacast listeners. This is Evan from Colorado with another review of a great iPhone app. This weeks app is OffMaps. By Felix Lamouroux.

Let me start with the potential problem. You are in am area with your iPhone where there is no Cell service, but need assistance finding your way with maps. You open the default maps app on your iPhone and the GPS has no problem locating you since it works everywhere on the planet, but without an internet connection it can’t load the maps, and just shows a blue pin on a blank background.

image of offmaps showing the LouvreEnter OffMaps. OffMaps allows you to download detailed maps of selected areas when you do have a data connection, so you when you don’t, you can use those maps.

So if you know you will be traveling to an area with limited network connectivity you can download the maps for that area, then when you get there. You have them stored on your phone and you don’t depend on your carrier to find your way.

OffMaps is also great if you are traveling to another country and you are not paying for the overpriced international plans from your carrier. Or even if you are paying for the international plan, you don’t want to use all your expensive bandwidth loading maps. So it is great to have the maps already on your phone so you don’t need to worry about it.

Its also fantastic for iPod touch users, who may need maps after they leave a wifi connection. Even though the iPod touch doesn’t have GPS, you can still manually find your location.

You launch OffMaps and it’s really pretty simple. Similar to any other maps app you get the ability to search for a place, or the ability to enter Start, and end points, and it will give you directions. As long as you have a data connection this works just as you would expect, you can search or get directions for anywhere, no matter if you have downloaded the maps for the area or not.

To view maps when you are off line you must first download them to your phone. To download maps to your phone for offline viewing tap the “Download” button on the bottom of the map. You are then told to Select map area to download. You do this by Dragging your finger diagonally across the map to draw a box around the area you want saved.

You are then given a slider which is used to select how much detail you want to download. Be warned that the more detail you download the more space you will use on your phone. So if you have an 8GB iPhone like I do, you may not want to download all the details unless you know you will need it.

You tap “Start download and you see a progress bar showing the download progress. When it is done downloading it looks the same as it did before. But now, if you don’t have a data connection, you will be able to view the maps for the area you just downloaded. After you have downloaded the maps for an area it gives you the option to bookmark the location, so it is easy for you to find later.

It is probably time I tell you about the 150MB limit. For each download you preform there is a 150MB limit. So you can either download a broad area of many square miles, but set the detail slide lower, or download a very small area if you want all the detail. However there is no limit to the number of times you can download maps. So if you want detailed maps of a large area you will need to download many small areas, instead of one big one. This is kind of a pain in the butt if you need to download large areas, so its a good thing its pretty easy to do. This 150MB limit applies as long as you are on wifi. At least with AT&T in the U.S if you are downloading maps over the cell network there is a 10MB limit. So I try to download all my maps over wifi to avoid this.

OffMaps has a few settings I will go over. The first is the ability to change the Display setting. Under this setting there is the option to view distances in Miles or Kilometers. As well as the option to turn on or off things like: HUD (the heads up display), Landscape mode, Distance ticker, and the option to reload bookmarks on start. You can also change the map style, which is just the way the maps look.

There is also a setting to delete the downloaded maps, either all maps at once, or selected areas. As well as the option to force offline mode. And thats about it for the settings. If you frequently need maps in a foreign country, are often in an area with no service, or are planning a trip to a place where you aren’t sure if there is cell service or not. I wold highly recommend OffMaps.

OffMaps is available in the app store for $2.99.

To find out more about what I do you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/vanmo92

=========end insert================

Evan – what a great find! I remember ages ago Alex Lindsay complaining about how he’d travel to places where the iPhone knew where he was, but couldn’t tell him. I had no idea what he meant until one day I was traveling and I hit the Google Maps button, and it was blank. confused, I hit the geo-location button that moves the map to where you are, and it happily glowed saying “yup, you’re right here”. on a blank map. That’s when I realized I was out of range of any 3G or even Edge service. This is where OffMaps could have come in very handy. You also gave the example of traveling where maybe you don’t want to pay the huge roaming fees – like when Americans travel to Europe. We spent 95% of our trip to Italy hopelessly lost, with no good maps. We didn’t dare turn on our iPhones or it would have cost us $75 to find the Leaning Tower of Pisa (which isn’t worth $75 IMHO.) For a mere $3 we could have downloaded maps ahead of time using OffMaps. EXCELLENT find Evan!

PS from Ramblin Rosie
Last week Rose from Hobart gave us a review of her the iPod Nano with video, and later dropped three “PS’s” into my dropbox. As always, her submissions entertain but defy explanation:
=======insert Rose=================

You know, I just don’t get the whole business model of eBook readers. Here you’ve got this cool tech gadget with great reviews, but because they’re priced so high, the adoption rate isn’t compelling yet. And here’s why. I haven’t bought a book in YEARS. I read constantly, don’t get me wrong – I always have a book by the side of the bed and usually another one in the car just in case I get caught in heavy traffic. I love to read. Why haven’t I bought a book in years? Because people give them to me. I have a couple of sources who actually do buy books and we swap them around, so a good book may get at least 4 reads I figure.

But if ebook readers were, say $50, I’d have bought one by now for sure, and I would be buying books! I’d have to, to justify the purchase of the ebook reader, right? Even paperback books are like 10 bucks now aren’t they? maybe even higher? I wouldn’t be able to justify reading the one my friend Marian hands me at the gym, I’d look it up on my reader and download it and hand her the book back.

Ok, here’s a flipside explanation. Let’s say you keep the readers in the $200-250 range like they are now. Then they have to set aside greed in exchange for reasonable profitability. In this example I believe greed means less money.

So let’s break this down. The paperback starts as a digital copy. Then it has to be printed. it has to be bound. It has to be physically boxed. It has to be carried by truck and plane. It has to be delivered to a facility near you. it has to be sorted. it has to be recarried by truck to your house. Now let’s think about the digital book. Um, it has to squirt through the interwebs. that’s it. So what I think they should do is take the selling price of the physical book (and let’s assume it’s got a reasonable profit margin on it, and the author and everyone else involved in the creation of the book is being reasonably compensated.

Now subtract the printing cost, binding cost, boxing cost, plain/train/truck cost, local facility costs, and final delivery cost. Make THAT be the price of the eBook. You haven’t removed anyone who’s providing value to the end product from getting their due payment, right? The price difference from what I could gather from my exhaustive research of 3 authors is around $2-$4. If they really did as I say, would the delta be that small? That’s only like 15-30%! The cost of all that physical handling has got to be way more than that. You can’t convince me (without a spreadsheet complete with pivot tables and bar graphs) that this is unreasonable. So listen up guys – either make the eBook readers so cheap that I can’t resist and I start buying my own books, OR drop the book price to make a reasonable and non-greedy profit!

FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials
There’s been a lot of bruhaha going on in the blogging and podcasting community about a recent FTC ruling in the US that addresses the issue of bloggers being paid to do good product reviews. I’ve been trying to sort through all the chaff to get to the real facts here, but here’s the basic gyst. The ruling is intended to protect the consumer from reviews that lead the reader/listener from believing it was unbiased. If the reviewer is paid to do a good review, then the review isn’t worth anything.

This sounds perfectly reasonable and I endorse it 100%. I even endorse the extended interpretation which is that bloggers need to disclose if they received anything of value, such as getting the software for free, from the company for which they’re doing the review. That’s not the same as getting paid, but it seems reasonable that you guys should know when that’s happening.

So let me tell you how you know a podcaster/blogger was given the software they’re reviewing for free. All the time. Every review. We always get the software for free that we’re reviewing. On hardware it’s less common to get it for free, and it depends on how big you are whether you get free stuff to review, but it’s not uncommon at all.

so why is this ok? I got into a great debate with my friend Namdar about this very thing about a year ago. He told me that he thought it was wrong that I accept software for free. He felt that I should buy everything I review before I review it. Now you’ve got to hear how impractical that would be, right?
I load probably 3 pieces of software a week on my machine, I mostly do shareware, so let’s say it ranges from $30-$40 average, that would be $90-120 a WEEK on software I don’t even know if I’m going to need or whether I’m going to like it or not. Completely impractical.

What they’re really trying to protect you guys from is a case where the vendor says “I’ll give you this for free if you promise to do a good review.” I can tell you right now that no company has EVER approached me with that kind of proposal. I can also promise you that if anyone ever did, I would blog and podcast my little heart out about it and call them on it! I can’t imagine how angry I’d be if I were approached like that. You know I’ll do unfavorable reviews, you’ve heard them here. I try not to be too harsh because people work really hard trying to make great software and I don’t want them to be discouraged, so I say things like, “this feature could be improved if…” instead of “this thing is garbage!” Last week on the Mac Reviewcast I had to review some software that I couldn’t even come close to recommending and it was really hard. Sometimes if something is truly awful I’ll write to the company and tell them all that’s wrong with it and give them an opportunity to fix it first. Usually they’re really happy I didn’t do the review and ask me if they can send me the new version when it’s ready and I’m more than happy to work with them on it.

But can you imagine how annoying it would be to buy an application just to do a review and it ends up awful? I’d probably be writing these scathing hateful reviews all the time because I felt cheated! Almost as bad would be the ones that are mildly interesting but maybe don’t solve a problem I actually have, and I don’t ever use again after the review. That happens pretty often too – they might be great for someone else but I just don’t need them. That would be a big waste of money too.

One thing I’ve taken for granted is that you can tell that ScreenSteps is a paid sponsor of the show, and so is Honda Bob. Do you think I need to add a “time for a word from our sponsor” line before I kick into those? I think I don’t but maybe I’ll try it for a while. I think in order to comply with the extended interpretation of the ruling I will have to put something, maybe at the end of the show, that says “most if not all products reviewed on this show were donated by the developers”. Sounds boring, maybe I’ll get Ron David to do the recording for me so it sounds all classy and stuff! He’s the guy who does the voiceover for National Geographic and the Wings series on PBS – he’s a friend of the show!

Do you help your friends and families by teaching them how to do things on the Mac or PC? or do you run a development community that needs to be able to create documentation? There’s no better way than to use ScreenSteps from screensteps.com. After you try out the free trial, be sure to use the coupon code NOSILLA for 25% off the purchase price.

Down a Blind Alley with Shane Jackson
Shane tells us what it’s like to be a blind Apple specialist and how he finds the whole experience of working at Apple. You can email Shane at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jack728

====insert DBA=====================

Accessible Chat Room
So I keep telling you guys how much fun we have in the live chat, and friend of the show Marty wanted to join in the fun, but when he went to podfeet.com/live, he was faced with an inaccessible Flash player. Being blind, I’d left him out in the cold.

I rang up Bart on IM and asked him how we could bring everyone to the party. Turns out the text chat on Ustream, the service I use, is actually what’s called IRC, or Internet Relay Chat. IRC has been around since 1998 and is actually serving over a half a million concurrent users all over the world nowadays. I had heard of IRC and actually played with it a bit but I needed some clarification on how this whole thing can work without the flash version of the live Ustream NosillaCast chat.

The basic gist of this is that you download and install an IRC client application, then you tell it the server to go to, and then you tell it the channel to go to within the server. In our case, the server is chat1.ustream.tv and the channel is nosillacast. I asked Bart how he knew the server name and he confessed that Stu told him! If you forget this you can do a search in the interwebs for ustream irc chat server and it will come up pretty quickly.

setup as described in the textSo for the Mac, Bart’s favorite IRC client is called Colloquy from colloquy.info. I did some poking around for an IRC client for Windows and it looks like mIRC is pretty popular – I checked it out on CNET’s download.com site and they gave it an editor’s choice and it’s got 22M downloads. I’m always hesitant to recommend a Windows app I’ve never verified myself, but this one sounds legit. You can find mIRC at mirc.com.

Ok, so we’ve got our chat clients but there’s a pre-step to make first. Ustream doesn’t allow anonymous chatters so you need to go over to ustream.tv and create a login and password. Might be a good idea to get that ready way before 5pm GMT-8 on Sunday. Now when you open Colloquy or mIRC, you tell it you want to join a room, put in the chat server as chat1.ustream.tv, put in your nickname (login name) and password. I can’t check this on mIRC, but on Colloquy there’s also a tab called Automatic and in there you can set it to automatically join a room and to connect on launch.

So now you wait for the live show to get started, launch your IRC client and you’ll automatically get into the show to chat with all the other nutballs. I asked Bart why he uses an IRC client instead of the flash chat window, and he said it was much nicer to have a real app – specifically he mentioned that it’s easy to make a private chat with another person.

I found a link on the ustream forums explaining how to set up mIRC too, so rather than reading all that off I’ll put a link in the shownotes to the post. One thing the poster did say is there’s an alternate server at c.ustream.tv in case you can’t connect to the other one.

If all this IRC fun isn’t enough for you – Colloquy has an iPhone version too so you can join the live chat on the go! How fun is that???

Honda Bob
We’ve had a lot of great Honda Bob ads over the last few years, we’ve had Irishmen, Dr. Who, German, Australian and Spanish, we’ve even had Klingon, but this may be the unstoppable Honda Bob ad of all time.

=========insert Lucian=========

Chit Chat Across the Pond
===============insert Gaz about tweetup in Liverpool========

Proliferation (or lack thereof) of Macs in Europe vs. US
How do people decide to switch, what then is they’re buying route to own an Apple Mac.
Mac’s appearing in TV programmes and films
Are Apple that concerned about getting into the Education and industry markets, do they serve those that want Apple Products, but does pushing for that market lead to lower prices ?
Does anyone know the percentage of Apple Products to the commercial and education market Vs Retail?
iPhones and iPod Touches the new gateway products for Apple?

Find Gaz at gazmaz.com and on twitter at twitter.com/gazmaz.

It’s that sad time of the show again when we must bid adieu! There’s a real good chance that next week’s show will actually be a rebroadcast of my talk at Blogworld, so don’t get your heart set on a live show. I will be having too much fun playing with my homies to do any work getting ready to produce a show. Steve will be in charge of video so you might actually get to see me jumping around as I try to explain in 60 minutes how to create an audio podcast including all of the tools! If you’re going to be there look for me at 11:30 am on Friday morning! Don’t forget to do your Podcast Award nominations – you can vote till October 18th podcastawards.com.

Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, audio reviews, compliments and complaints to [email protected], and follow my daily nonsense on Twitter at twitter.com/podfeet. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

4 thoughts on “#227 Colluquy, mIRC, Lucian for Honda Bob, FTC on Bloggers

  1. Chris - October 14, 2009

    LOVED the Honda Bob ad this week. Listened twice. Made me laugh and smile and has brightened up a rough Wednesday morning! I have never heard a better pronunciation of “affiliated” EVER. While “ads” on other podcasts can sometimes irk me because of their repetitive nature, the way you change yours up and add creativity actually makes me look forward to them. Thanks!

  2. GaryKPDX - October 17, 2009

    I have appreciated your commentary about Leo. Having accomplished a great deal as a pundit and technical analyst, he deserves a full measure of respect. But as a listener I think I deserve a little bit of his respect of my time if nothing else. Two hours is too long. Often, much of it is easily editable flatulent bloviation. Leo and, really, all media producers need to remember that it’s a show: It needs to deliver its promised content and be interesting. Why not leave the worst of it on the proverbial cutting room floor and save our time and his reputation?

  3. podfeet - October 17, 2009

    Gary – that’s a great point. We were just listening to MacBreak Weekly on our way back from BlogWorld and Leo starts by saying how hard it is to put out a weekly show on one company where there isn’t much news. And then it went on about an hour. Wasn’t hard though since just the Audible ad alone was 5:45min! That’s 10% for one ad (and there were 2 or 3!)

    But I actually like long shows – the way I deal with them now Is I listen until the time runs out for the activity I’m doing (washing a car, raking leaves, working out) and then I just stop it and feel no guilt! I just start the next week’s show when it comes out. It’s liberating – try it!

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