January 3, 2013


Mac Roundtable 2012.10.23 Episode #120

Filed under: Podcast — themacattack @ 3:00 pm

Mac Roundtable #120

The Panel:

Chuck JoinerThe MacVoices Group, Twitter, App.net

Steve StangerSteveStanger.com, Twitter

Jonathan CostThinkmac.net, Twitter – MacTipsDaily

Some of the topics discussed: Death of Netbooks – Anyone Surprised? Anyone care? BlueStacks – Android Mobile Apps on the Mac, Hackulous shuts down – Piracy on iOS defeated?…and much more.


Steve – Alien Breed – iOS game

Jonathan – iOS Remote controls for TVs, Media controls, etc.
Viera Remote
TiVo Remote
Roku Remote
Apple TV Remote

Chuck – Google app



  1. The iPhone 5 is just the perfect size and weight imho. I do a lot of moblogging and liveblogging at conventions, and holding the iPhone 4/4s up for extended periods really did get tiring. The iPhone 5 is much better in this regard. But I could see how someone might want a bigger screen, a stylus, etc.etc. I’m just glad that all of these options exist so that the consumer has choice in the matter.

    The iPad mini is a lot easier to use in bed (which I often do), both because of its small size and lighter weight; holding the full-size iPad up to read or watch videos while lying down got tiring very quickly. Plus it (the mini) just about fits perfectly in the breast pocket of my jacket, wich means I am much more likely to carry it around and have it with me while I’m out and about, something I could not say for the full-size iPad.

    I’d also like to remind everyone that jailbreaking != piracy. Yes, it can be used to run pirated apps on an iDevice. But that is not the only raison d’etre for jailbreaking. I am a small time app developer so I have a horse in this race; I understand the ramifications of app piracy, and I definitely do not support it. However I also do not support the notion that jailbreaking is tied to piracy. There are legitimate reasons to jailbreak your device, mostly involving customization (jailbreaking allows you to customize just about every aspect of your device, much more so than what Apple allows you to do); it also is used for running software that Apple would not allow in the app store. For example, until the new AirPlay Mirroring feature came, the only way one could get a good screen recording off your device (other than pointing a camcorder at your iOS device’s screen, which is pretty terrible) was with jailbreak-community apps such as Display Recorder.

    The only possible reason I would have to pirate an app (NOTE that I am hypothesizing here, I have never ever done this) is to “try before you buy.” And that is because the App Store does not have a good means of allowing developers to provide a “demo” or “trial period” for their apps. (This applies for both the iOS and Mac app stores) I’ve been forced to buy quite a few apps that turned out to be not what I was expecting, or really badly written/crasy, etc. Individually these may only be a few bucks each, but they do add up. Had I been able to test these apps before committing to a purchase, I would have found out that they weren’t for me and would have saved myself that purchase. Some developers do make separate “lite” and “full” versions of their apps available; others sell their apps for free, with crippled functionality, and provide an in-app purchase to unlock the full functionality. These are okay as workarounds, but they require alot of extra work on the part of the developer to maintain. Android still leads in this point; when you buy an app in the Android marketplace, you can, within a certain time period, cancel an app purchase and receive a full refund for it. Unfortunately Google has taken a step backward in this respect; it used to be that you had (I believe) either 24 or 48 hours after purchasing an app in which you could return it for a full refund, which I thought was pretty reasonable. However they recently reduced this to 15 minutes, which, in my opinion, is way too short.

    Comment by Donald Burr — January 4, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

  2. One more thing: I do agree that providing good screencasts showing off your app is a good idea; however it is no substitute for actually being able to get hands-on time with the app and put it through its paces yourself. For one thing, the developer, when demoing his app, has complete control over the environment: he/she controls the data that gets put in the app, etc. In other words, a developer demo’ing their app in a screencast would not accurately mirror *your* use of that app. Also, video is easy to edit; an unethical developer could easily edit out parts of their video where their app crashes, misbehaves, etc. or could use “speed up” tricks to make a poorly performing app seem fast and responsive. And so on. Remember that classic video where Bill Gates was demonstrating Windows live and it crashed. If that was done as a video instead of live, well, you get the idea.

    Comment by Donald Burr — January 4, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

  3. First rate discussion. The size/weight issue is not limited to computers, there are definitely guitarists that prefer a 10 pound Gibson Les Paul to a 7 pound one. I am not among them, nor do I feel that the iPhone is too light. For me, light weight is one of my highest priorities. I own an 11″ Macbook Air and would not even consider a 13″ for this reason, and my biggest disappointment with my 3rd gen iPad is that it was heavier than the previous generation.

    And, since you asked someone to say it, I loved my netbooks. I am obsessed with small size and light weight. They could run a legitimate OS – Windows XP or Linux, and apps well, and met most people’s computing needs – web access, media playback, social media, etc. at a good price. I even hacked one to run Snow Leopard at a time when it looked like Apple would never produce a device smaller than 13″, and it ran OS X well. They were made obsolete by the advance of technology. At the low end, they were hurt by tablets, which had better batter life and better ease of use and often even lower prices (Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, etc.), in the middle by the more capable tablets – iPads, now Windows tablets, etc., and at the high end they were outclassed by the Macbook Air and ultrabooks.

    Comment by Bob DeGrande — January 4, 2013 @ 10:45 pm

  4. Great show boys! Couple of comments. My sister-in-law has a PC desktop, an iPad, an iPad mini and an iPhone – and yet uses a netbook on the counter in the kitchen. I simply cannot explain why she has it but she’s still using it.

    Great tip Jonathan on the TiVo app – had not downloaded that, excellent tool!

    And Chuck, I tried out Google search on iOS on your recommendation. I asked it to take me to podfeet.com and it took me to potty.com. I thought you’d enjoy that!

    Comment by Allison Sheridan — January 6, 2013 @ 12:47 pm

  5. and one more thing – in response to Donald’s comment about having a video screencast. I completely agree with Chuck that having it is EXCELLENT. You don’t have to do a bangup job like Don to make it highly useful. I went looking for an app to put drop shadows on my images before posting to my blog. I found Drop Shadow from Del Sol Software in the Mac App Store. I saw in their description that they had a screencast of how it works. There was no audio, no description, simply the developer going through the motions with the video. I saw in 2 min that it was exactly what I wanted, AND I found out there were features I likely would not have discovered on my own (e.g. you can set the border to match a color in the image). I jumped right back to the Mac App Store and dropped (I think) $4 on the app. So what if the developer COULD game the video, I would presume most people would not. In fact Donald, when I heard this discussion I made a mental note to ask if we should have a video for the NosillaCast App!

    Comment by Allison Sheridan — January 6, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

  6. Thanks for the good comments. I’ve never personally owned a netbook, was intrigued by folks that wanted to run OS X on one, and even more intrigued by people who no longer use them.

    @allison – perhaps your sister-in-law has all of her bookmarks on it – and that’s what drives her to keep coming back.

    I have my own app, and yet do not have a screen cast on it. Maybe I’ll consider it for my app NetRef http://bit.ly/netrefapp

    Comment by Jonathan Cost — January 7, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

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