Apple AirPods – Bluetooth With Less Fiddling?

Al airpods christmas hatI’ve mentioned many times that I got really lucky in the husband department. Last week highlights that. Steve gets up pretty early (especially for a retired guy) and when the AirPods went on sale early one morning, he immediately ordered me a set before the ship dates moved out to January. They arrived a day early, on the 20th and he didn’t make me wait till Christmas to open them.

The promise of the AirPods is many fold. One aspect is that they’re supposed to make pairing much easier. Let’s see if Apple really got rid of this major annoyance. We’ll start with the first experience of opening them up.

Packaging and Setup

People seem to be getting disenchanted with Apple in some ways but it’s indisputable that they do packaging like no one else. The AirPods come in a very small plastic case that acts as the charger. I was really surprised at how small it is, It’s about 2 x 1.5 x .75 inches. It looked a lot bigger in the photos I saw ahead of time. Remember the case itself charges the AirPods, so It has a Lightning port on the bottom.

The top of the case flips open and closed with the most delightful magnetic click. Seriously, you’ll find yourself opening and closing this obsessively. Continue reading “Apple AirPods – Bluetooth With Less Fiddling?”

NC #554 Black & White with Red Filters, Everything is Fiddly, Taming the Drobos

Steve and Antonio had a great conversation about red filters on black and white photographs, I go on a rant about how every one of my Apple tech toys is fiddly. I tell a fun story about how I used what I learned in Taming the Terminal to finally tame my Drobos.

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Everything is Fiddly!

Angry gnome faceLast week our friend Rod Simmons came over for a visit and he brought the new Microsoft Surface Book. He tried to connect it to our home network but it kept getting in and then losing the connection. I wanted desperately to make fun of it, what with my ever so slight Macintosh bias, but I couldn’t. You know why? Because EVERYTHING is fiddly now. Let me give you just a few examples.


I love my new AppleTV and was excited when I heard about the new Plex app that lets you view your ripped and home movies on your AppleTV. Pat Dengler shared her Plex account with us so we could watch her movies on our TV and it worked great. But later when I tried to use MY Plex library it got fiddly. I had our media library on a hard drive hooked up to the Mac mini and had to upgrade it to get it to work with the new Plex app on the AppleTV. Ok, that’s reasonable. But after I did that, I couldn’t get OUT of Pat’s library!
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Alexa Doesn’t Like the NosillaCast

I was listening to Leo Laporte talking on one of his shows about how cool it was that you can play TWiT podcasts using an Amazon Echo, via TuneIn Radio. TuneIn is a service that lets you listen to over 100,000 live radio stations but also on-demand content like podcasts. I heard about TuneIn from Todd Whitehead who runs Alpha Geek Media. Todd spreads the live NosillaCast show via Alpha Geek which in turn sends it to TuneIn radio which is awesome.

That got me to thinking it would be cool to find out if Alexa, the Amazon Echo’s personal assistant, would play the NosillaCast. My friend Diane has an Amazon Echo which she loves. She’s showed off to me all this really cool stuff it can do so I asked her to test podcasts for me. I told her that TWiT should work but that I really wanted to know whether the NosillaCast would play on demand by voice.

I should warn you, it does not go well.

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Diane explained one more interesting bit after the comedy. There is an Amazon Echo app for iOS with which she can ask it to play the NosillaCast via TuneIn…and it works just fine. So the Echo doesn’t hate the NosillaCast, it’s only Alexa who has the attitude!

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