A Testimonial to Totes Umbrellas, and then talk about the fantastic NosillaCastaways party at Macworld Expo – picture available on the Flickr Photo Gallery of the NosillaCastaways party at Macworld 2010. In Chit Chat Across the Pond we go over the 238 Adobe flaws from this week and then we get into some fun talking about the different applications Bart is considering to replace ChaChing as his financial application. The top contenders are Moneydance from moneydance.com and Squirrel from squirrelapp.com.
Listen to the Podcast Once (1 hr 01 min)
Today is Sunday February 14th, 2010 and this is show number 245. We’re just back from the Macworld Expo up in San Francisco and what a fabulous trip. This was the first year Steve got to go and we had a blast. I’ll be talking about some of the things we learned about over time, but I wanted first to tell you about my umbrella. (I know, you thought I’d start with MWE didn’t you?)
About 20 years ago I needed an umbrella and I bought one from May Company. I remember thinking “how absurd” when I saw the “lifetime guarantee” on the box it came in. Come on, seriously? How long can an umbrella last? And who can even hang ON to an umbrella till it breaks anyway? Well fast forward 20 years and I’m still using that same umbrella. That is, until the end cap fell off and all of the levered spines started going every which way.
And then I remembered that lifetime guarantee I had mocked. But of course I had tossed the box years ago. I took a closer look all over the umbrella and I found a little tag that said Totes. Just for grins and giggles I typed into Google “Totes umbrella lifetime guarantee”, and I was immediately treated to the guarantee! It was real! They gave clear instructions on how to return the umbrella and explained that I did have to include $3 for shipping. I wrote them a lovely letter telling them of how many years of flawless service my little umbrella had given me and how even if they couldn’t fix it or if the warrantee didn’t work out I’d still be a happy customer. One week later (not the 3-5 they said in their guarantee) a brand spanking new Totes umbrella arrived at my house.
So have you ever wondered why I named my podcast such a weird name that has nothing to do with anything? It was so I could talk about anything I wanted to talk about! And this week I wanted to talk about my umbrella and so I did! Next time you’re interested in a new umbrella, check out Totes from isotoner.com
Ok, time to talk about Macworld now! We went up on Wednesday and came home on Saturday night. By far the coolest, funnest, best thing of the whole week was the NosillaCastaways party. We had it in the Martini Bar at Jillians, right next door to the Expo hall, which sounds all boozy and stuff but it actually let us have an intimate gathering of 40 close friends! It’s indescribable (but I’ll try anyway) to explain how happy it made me to have people literally from all over the world gather for the joy of the show and the friendships we’ve made through the chat room and Twitter. who could have predicted this would come of a tech geek thing?
Don McAllister and Hal from Philidelphia (aka @halidelphia) helped sponsor the event so we had TONS of good food for all. I discovered a truth through this – if you tell people you’re buying food, but NOT drinks, guess who shows up? The people who really care to meet you and the other guests. Makea note of that!
There were more than a few who couldn’t get there for the party, notably Bart, Kevin Allder (big_in_va), and Stu Helm, so you know what we did? We brought them in on Skype? Connor (@connorpj1) and I both brought our laptops and we walked them around the event so they could say hi to everyone. Steve was in charge of ushering Bart around – it was nearly 4 in the morning for him by the time we were done! I think it was fabulous that there was a way he could participate. When Connor put Stu up on his laptop we thought it would be fun to let him talk to Kevin on my laptop – which was just so geeky we loved it. The video worked but the audio wasn’t loud enough so it was kind of a bust but it was still good geek fun.
I don’t know if you remember but George from Tulsa sent me a beautiful giant banner a few years ago with the NosillaCast logo on it – so I wadded that up and brought it in my suitcase so we had that up on the wall too which added a festive flair to the event. Rose (aka @ozrose) really outdid herself for the party. First of all she had the most adorable tiny podfeet pins made for everyone. I’ve been looking for exactly this kind of giveaway – no words, no clutter, just the little happy feet. It was fun to walk around the show floor and see people proudly displaying their podfeet pins.
The real surprise was that she designed shirts for the Nosillacastaways party and got people to order them and wear them to the party! Their shirts said, “We are the World Famous Nosillacastaways because” and on the other side it says “we love Allison”. And then she had a shirt made for ME, that said “And I’m Allison!” They are just gorgeous, great style and design and of course made me feel very loved.
I sure hope I don’t forget anyone but I’m going to go through and explain who was there and then you can go over to the Flickr photo gallery I posted to see all of the people I’m talking about.
Pierre Bourgeois came from Canada, Hal from Philidelphia. Gita, aka @justG from 1Password and I had met before and it was great fun to catch up again – she’s a real sweetheart, as Steve says, “she’s good people”. Robert Lachman of Photography and the Mac and his wife Lorelei came to the party too – he’s the guy who took all those great photos of me waxing his car a year ago or so. We had fun going to breakfast and coffee with them a few times too. Jeanne MacDonald from Smile On My Mac was there too – we’ve met up a bunch of times but usually SHE’S the one hosting the party so it was nice to get to see her relax for once. Bastian Wolfe aka @schlingel and his cohort @intenso came all the way from Germany (not just to meet us, but for Macworld too! Bastian is a frequent contributor to the MacReviewcast so we’ve gotten to know each other through Tim’s show.
Jena Duffy aka @duffjen came from the northeast, and Karen Boerner @keb007 who tries to get to the live show but often her dumb old job gets in the way (don’t you hate when that happens?) Her son Jeff made the party too – they are writing iPhone apps together for pilots like her son-in-law Chris Rust, check them out at www.codeburners.com. At the Podcast Expo this year I met a lovely gentleman named Barry Fulk (@fulkb), and ran into him at the Apple store our first day along with Liana Lehua (@fittorrent) who I’d not had the pleasure of meeting before and luckily they were able to come the party too. Barry is such a gem, he spent most of his week shuttling people around visiting the mother ship (Apple Headquarters) and getting them good discounts because he has some friends there, and even driving them to parties. Gentleman is the best way to describe him.
Cindy Compton aka @macpug made the trip, and we got to meet Jonathan Burke who ended up becoming friends with Haladelphia while he was there! It was a lot of fun meeting Zach (@zml2008) – he’s a brilliant young man, I predict great things for him in his geek future. My one regret was that he and I never found the time to sit down and have him show me Camtwist Studio – Zach, I WILL make time for this! We were also joined by the delightful Mark Pouley aka @switchermark and Julie aka @bonnyface. We first met Matt Hillyer aka @bldngnerd of the Stealth Mac Podcast in one of the keynotes and then got to play with him at the party and more again in several keynotes. Great fun to get to know him too.
A great joy to me was to meet my good friend Tim Verpoorten. He and I have been friends for years and yet had not once met in real life, even though we both live in the states. He is just as sweet and kind in real life as you’d hope, with a nice sprinkling of snide comments thrown in for flavor. We were up on stage about to record the Mac Roundtable in front of the live audience, and he started fretting about what we were going to say, and then he looked at me and said, “what am I worrying about? I’m sharing a mic with you, I won’t get a word in edgewise anyway!” I like that of course.
Victor Cajaio and Adam Christianson came to the party too, fitting it in between events was a bit hard though – Adam hosted the Podcasting Birds of a Feather event at the same time but they did make a showing so that was nice for everyone to get to meet them. Chuck Joiner (@chuckjoiner) and I always have fun sparring with each other and we took it to a new notch when we gave each other a hard time at the Mac Roundtable event.
We did have one party crasher – Alex Lindsay of the Pixel Corps dropped in. Turns out he’s a friend and co-worker with Connor’s mom. I guess it’s ok he crashed the party (I was secretly thrilled of course!) John F Braun from The Mac Observer’s Mac Geek Gab came by – he’s so darn funny, just love talking and tweeting and goofing around with him. I only got a brief hug and hello from Jeff Gamet @jgamet from TMO but we both agreed we’d spend more fun time together at the next podcast expo so it’s all good.
Paul Shadwell (@paulshadwell) came all the way from Switzerland and we did get to spend a lot of time with him. We first ran into him on the show floor I think and bumped into each other several times and it was like meeting up with an old friend, which I guess is just about right! At the end of the Mac Roundtable, Paul asked if he might approach the table and handed out PILES of Swiss Chocolates for us! no quicker way to a woman’s heart, I’m telling you. He gave the boys chocolate bars, but Katie and I got these beautiful specialized chocolate boxes, which really made us happy. I had to share mine with Steve, but I still enjoyed it. Many thanks to Paul for his kindness and thoughtfulness.
I was telling Bart this morning that one of my favorite people at the show was Pat Mahon (@patmahon). Bart promptly responded with “well he IS Irish…” Are all Irish as sweet as these guys? Pat is a genuinely nice guy, so gracious and fun and interesting and geeky, all rolled up into a delightful person. I’ll miss you Pat, sure hope to see you again some day. Maybe we really should get going on that Ireland trip we keep promising we’re going to make.
Whew – if I missed anyone I’m very sorry – I’ve been plowing through Robert and my photos to make sure I didn’t but I bet someone is sitting there thinking “why has she foresaken me?” but I assure you it’s unintentional if I did. Let’s take a break from all the Macworld talk for a Dumb Question. We’ll come back to Macworld, don’t worry.
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Dumb Question Corner
This week’s Dumb Question comes from the inimitable Kate:
- Hi, Allison – I think this is the dumbest question ever! I’m sure everyone else knows this – I just can’t figure it out! Is there a difference between tags and keywords? Why wouldn’t I just put all my search term into the title? Or in some cases where search is pretty robust and searches on the entire text – why bother with tags or keywords at all?
- I’m specifically thinking about iPhoto and Evernote. I’m in the midst of a big project. I built a “photo stand” and I’m in the process of photographing every piece of paper littering my house and archiving it in iPhoto and/or Evernote… notes, recipes, business cards, old receipts, appliance manuals, baby books, magazine clippings, photo albums… you get the idea. Thanks! Kate
Dearest half of Kate (her email name is Semi-Kate for reasons that escape me) –
This might be the best dumb question ever because I also struggle with these terms. I have had countless arguments with Research Assistant Niraj about the difference between tags and keywords on blog posts. I think I sort of get it – you might put a blog post in the category “tutorial” but the tags might be about the application, usage, things like that. Your example of tags and keywords is even worse, I’m pretty sure they’re the identical thing.
So now onto the meat here – why not just put in the name everything you might search on? This is exactly how I do my photos, if Lindsay is in the picture, then I would have Lindsay’s name in the name of the photo. To track where or when it was taken, I make anal folders by date and event/place name. So for our trip to Puerto Vallarta I would have a photo named Lindsay rides a donkey, in the folder Puerto Vallarta Day 2 ATV riding.
I think where tagging starts to make sense is if you take a lot of pictures of the same type of thing and you want to be able to look them up by different sorting criteria. Let’s say Bart has taken 263 photos of a particular type of flower. He would tag it with the flower name, the place name, and the season. He would end up with several identically named photos if he did it in the name. But this way he can see all of the flowers he has photographed in the same place, regardless of their type, or the date. Likewise he could look up all spring flowers.
In your Evernote scanning adventure I think that tags/keywords would be vital. Recipe could be a tag since you’ll have tons of those, but also meat or vegetable might be other great tags. That way your Eggplant casserole (which doesn’t have the word vegetable in the title) would easily be found by that tag. Receipts would definitely cry out for tagging. I could see tagging a receipt with electronics, Best Buy, and < $200. This would allow you to quickly scan electronics receipts separately from housewares, while the name of the receipt might be "USB key for mom Christmas 2002", which of course has none of the tag/keywords in it.
Some of your tags might even be visual for you – for example if you got the clipping from a magazine, your brain might catalog that as shiny or yellow right? sounds funny to think of cataloging that way but it causes no harm to add all of the keywords/tags that your brain would use if you were searching on your desk for it. I hope this helps, let me know if you end up finding a use for tags or if you just skip the whole keyword idea!
MacWorld in General
Ok, break time is over, let’s move on to more general thoughts and stories about Macworld, shall we? I’ll have some interviews at some point that I recorded but I have to tell you I’m pretty buried with only one day to prepare for the show!
I don’t attend any of the sessions that are part of Macworld but from those who did attend these classes I understand they were excellent as usual. David Sparks (@macsparky) did one on doing real work with your Mac using iWork, and Don McAllister did about 238 sessions that I know of. He did one in particular that interested me – he demonstrated the accessibility features of OSX. He’s hoping to do a screencast on this – which sounds a bit humorous, but I think it’s a great idea. Anything more we can learn about how the blind and visually impaired work with technology makes all of us more aware of what we should expect developers to do. I used to just type in captchas every time I saw them but now I check first to see if they’ve included an audio captcha and if they don’t they get an encouraging but stern letter from me telling them how to improve their service. I only know about that because other people teach me, so having Don teach us in his amazing style how this accessibility stuff works will be grand.
The show floor of MacWorld has these grand booths from some of the bigger vendors that can have maybe 50 people perusing products and talking to the vendors, and then it has what Merlin Mann dubbed Tiny Town. That’s where I spend most of my time, talking to the little vendors who are really excited about their products.
This year MacWorld took it up a notch, they created what I dubbed Nano Town. these booths aren’t really booths, they’re more like round tables, maybe three feet in diameter. In the center of the table is a post and attached to that is a cube. on each side of the cube is the name of a different product or company, and the vendor has one quarter of this circular table to show off their products. You’d think this was a bad deal for them, but let me tell you, Nano Town was PACKED! I went to meet with Guru from Global Delight, the people who make Camera Plus for iPhone and I had to wait in line to see him. I was very happy for him that he was getting so much action at his booth.
One thing for vendors to realize is that their success at a show like this has more to do with their attitude and enthusiasm than the size of their booth or their giveaways. Here was Guru delighted to be there, having a steady stream of interested people who may never have heard of Global Delight before this, and his enthusiasm was infectious with them. On the other hand, I went by this one booth several times, they were selling a product to mount your Mac on a wall. It was one of the bigger booths, had the products displayed well, but the guy in the booth was a) sitting down every time I walked by, b) he had his arms folded across his chest, with his legs stretched out, and c) he had the biggest scowl on his face you’ve ever seen. He might as well have been spraying mace on people as they walked by – it was that successful at repelling customers! What a waste of time and money. I wish I’d taken a picture of him to send to the CEO to explain who they SHOULDN’T send next time!
One of my favorite observations of the week came from Connor’s mom. She a normal person, and was just there to support Connor. She told me that when she walked into David Pogue’s keynote, she felt like she was on another planet. I told her to remember that feeling because that’s how we feel every day of our lives, like we’re on another planet where we rarely get to meet people who are just like us. I told her when we walked into that room, we felt at home. Years ago when people treated you like a leper when you said you used a Mac it was even more dramatic – nowadays we’re still weirdos but at least we’re looked at as cool weirdos!
At one point I was sitting listening to John Gruber talk (I had to go or Bart would have never forgiven me) and I met a lovely young man named Steven who was there with his dad Abe. We had a nice chat about my Fastmac iV iPhone charger/case/thingy and I offered Abe some power from it. During Gruber’s talk he was actually able to charge his phone completely (I believe I sold an iV during that one hour!) Anyway, the point I wanted to make was that Steven was obviously one of us – he was so thrilled to be able to geek out with all the fellow Mac heads. But when I asked him point blank if he was a geek, he tentatively said, “well, sorta.” I berated him, I took him by the shoulders (metaphorically of course) and said, “none of this sort of nonsense for you, if you’re a geek, sing it loud, sing it proud!” And he yelled out “yes! I am a geek!!!” It was a great mentoring moment.
Ok, let’s talk about the parties. There’s a great party called Cirque du Mac hosted by The Mac Observer and run by Dave Hamilton. The Macworld band plays (which is much cooler than it sounds) and there’s dancing and drinking and all around carousing. Steve and I went and had a great time, really enjoyed ourselves with all of our new and old friends.
The next night though, while there was evidently a fantastic party called the Mac Blast going on, Victor Cajiao, Adam Christianson, Katie Floyd, Don McAllister, Steve and I snuck up to our room and watched the new Star Trek movie and counted lens flares. It was wonderful! After all the intensity of meeting people talking to people bumping into people…it was so nice to just chill out with some friends and relaxed. Some of us even wore our jammies, I’ll let you just guess who.
One person I bumped into was a bit of a thrill for me – I ran into Brian Tong – he does the Apple Byte video podcast for CNET. It’s kind of a silly show but I really like it. He calls it like it is – mocking Apple when necessary, mocking himself and his co-workers even when it’s unnecessary, with a sprinkling of product reviews and viewpoints thrown in for fun. He couldn’t have been nicer, seemed genuinely pleased to talk to him so he must be a gifted actor as well as an enjoyable performer.
In the middle of the show floor is the Main Stage. I would say it has seating for maybe 150 people. On Saturday morning we had the Mac Roundtable live on the Main Stage. It was fabulous – Chuck Joiner had to actually coral about 10 of us at the same time, making us take turns – it was so much fun to mess with him. Chuck and I have a “special” relationship, so while everyone else behaved themselves Chuck and I kept a running banter throughout the show.
We had a LOT of recording issues unfortunately, we had three recordings going simultaneously and only one of them actually worked, so the show will be delayed till the latter part of the week, but be sure to check out the Mac Roundtable at macroundtable.com and give a listen, should be great! Chuck video’d the event so hopefully there’ll be video as well!
Another event on the Main Stage was The Mac Power Users with Katie Floyd and David Sparks. They did a great job, I find them very entertaining together. Hopefully THEIR recording came out properly – again there were three recordings going and I know two of them did fail, but keep an eye out for that episode over at macpowerusers.com. I hope they kept in the question from the floor where this woman asked “why should I read your magazine?” It was a test of Katie and David’s professionalism that they didn’t answer, “hey moron, were you listening to ANYTHING we said?” Evidently she came in at the end and thought it was Macworld she was listening to. They were gracious and explained themselves without mocking her even once. I couldn’t have done it.
Speaking of not paying attention, right before Steve and I left the show floor this woman came up to me and politely asked me if I was from Apple. When I said no, she asked me if I knew where they were, because she couldn’t find them on the show floor. I gently explained that they weren’t here any more. She got this very puzzled look on her face, and said, “Isn’t this Macworld Expo? Why wouldn’t Apple be here?” It was hard to explain…but I didn’t mock her either.
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Chit Chat Across the Pond
- Adobe release MANUAL security patch for Illustrator CS3 & CS4. What do I mean by manual? I mean it has instructions to tell you where to find the bits of the app you need to update on the file system yourself! No installer, YOU have to be the installer. The mind actually boggles. I could script this in minutes, and I’m not a professional programmer! The app also doesn’t tell you it needs updating, you need to stumble across the details on Adobe’s site. So, this came out on Jan 7 and it hit the news this week! – more: adobe.com/support/security
- Adobe released ANOTHER critical Flash security update – more:adobe.com/support/security
- Adobe announce emergency patch for Adobe Reader to be released on Tuesday 16 Feb (cross-platform) – more:adobe.com/support/security
- Last Tuesday was Patch Tuesday – usual drill, wake up those VMs, patch them, and put them back to sleep (or if you never use ’em, nuke ’em!) – more:microsoft.com/technet/security
Update – Start SSL more recognised than Bart Thought
- When Bart upgraded to Snow Leopard, suddenly the root cert for the free SSL Certs from startssl.com started to be recrognised as valid!
Main Topic – Bart’s quest for a new Finance app
Well I promise to do some actual product reviews over the coming weeks from the things we learned about at Mac World, I really do. Steve had his first fan talk to him at the show – so clearly he needs to do more reviews. I’ve given him two assignments to work on so stay tuned for that. To all that I got to meet during the show, I miss you already. And to the friends I have yet to meet – see you at Macworld 2011 – Connor is already taking roll call already! If you haven’t come to the live show to enjoy all of the Nosillacastaways, be sure to come over at 5pm GMT-8 (also known as Pacific Time) to podfeet.com/live and join in the fun. In the mean time be sure to follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/podfeet, and send in comments, suggestions, and those questions you think are too dumb to ask anyone else to firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, keep them dumb, ok? I’ve been getting lots of hard ones lately! and until then, Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.