Tag Archive for ‘Matt Birchler’

Boot Camp’s Influence on Buying Decisions ➝

Matt Birchler, on the idea of no longer recommending Macs because you can’t install Windows on Apple Silicon:

Ah yes, the large group of people who buy a Mac, decide they don’t actually like macOS, and then install Windows instead of getting a new laptop. There are literally dozens of them!

I don’t think it’s particularly common for people to actually buy a Mac, decide they dislike macOS, and then install Windows. But I never would have purchased my first Mac in 2006 if that wasn’t possible. In the sixteen years since then, I’ve never installed Windows using Boot Camp, but I think it’s silly to dismiss the notion entirely.

Imagine you’re someone who has been using Windows for your entire life. Aside from your smartphone and maybe a tablet, it’s the only operating system you’ve ever used. Now imagine giving that person two options — a Mac that uses an Intel chip and a Mac that uses Apple Silicon. Even with the increased performance of Apple Silicon, I’m sure there are plenty of people that would be hesitant to choose that model simply because there’s no option to go back to Windows if they find themselves disliking macOS.

Again, I’m sure it’s incredibly rare for that to actually happen, but when it comes to purchasing decisions, I can completely see that being a factor because I’ve experienced it personally.

On a related note, some of you may remember that I upgraded my home server last year — opting for a 2018 Intel-based Mac Mini rather than an M1 Mac Mini. There were a number of reasons I made that decision, but among them was the reassurance that I’ll be able to use the Mac Mini for many years to come — even if Apple drops support for it, I know I’ll be able to install Linux. If I got an M1 Mac Mini though, the jury’s still out as to whether Linux will ever fully support the hardware.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

On Google Analytics Alternatives ➝

Matt Birchler, on the state of Google Analytics alternatives:

The cost for these have some just insane numbers. $89/month, $500/year, and the dreaded “contact us for pricing” abound! Even the most affordable option costs $9/month, which is already more than I spend on hosting for this site through DigitalOcean! I want to have basic analytics for my site, but the pricing for these solutions are clearly made for businesses and not indie writers like myself.

He mentions WordPress.com stats, which is available in the Jetpack plugin for free, but that’s only available for sites built on WordPress.

Aside WordPress.com stats and Google Analytics, the only free options that I’m aware of must be self-hosted:

If I wasn’t using WordPress, I would probably use Ackee. It looks pretty slick and can be easily installed using Cloudron, which I’m currently using to manage software on one of my server.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

Peek Performance ➝

A great overview of the announcements at yesterday’s Apple event by my buddy Matt Birchler, writing for The Sweet Setup. Of the lot, the Mac Studio and Studio Display are the most interesting to me.

With the Mac Studio, Apple basically gave us the $2,000 Mac Pro that I had hoped for over the past few years. It has a ton of I/O, powerful components, and a quiet cooling system. It’s a shame I’m not in the market for something like this at the moment — I bought a Mac Mini last year — because I probably would have ordered one.

The only downside to this machine, for my usage, is the chassis. I want Apple to make a relatively affordable Mac with internal expandability again. I don’t want a bunch of permanently attached, external peripherals. I want room for internal hard drives and all the expansion cards I could ever need.

As for the Studio Display, I’m not much of an external display guy. I find large displays to be a bit unwieldy for my workflows and I appreciate the focus that a smaller monitor encourages. I almost exclusively work from my 13-inch MacBook Pro’s built-in display. If I was in the market for an external option, though, I think I’d want something in the 24-inch range.

Why can’t Apple build more than a single display offering? Why can’t they use the same panel in the 24-inch iMac in an external display? Something that would look great as a secondary monitor next to the 24-inch iMac. Something that folks with smaller desks might find a bit more comfortable to connect their laptop to. Something that’s priced in the slightly more affordable $1,200 range. Why can’t Apple build something like that anymore?

➝ Source: thesweetsetup.com

Apple Could Make Podcasting Better for Everyone ➝

Matt Birchler:

What I’d prefer to see is Apple work on improving the standards for podcast feeds and how they display shows in their directory that third party apps can access. For example, if I’m listening to an episode of Connected, then I should be able to find in the podcast app I’m using a way to subscribe to Connected Pro from the app. This would require the directory to understand that Connected and Connected Pro are the same show, but the Pro version is paid, it would require Apple’s and third party apps to display this premium option to users in the UI, it would require a link (or an API integration) out to the payment page to sign up for the premium version of the show, and it would need to allow for a form of authentication showing who has access to the premium feeds.

Apple should start supporting the Podcasting 2.0 namespace in Apple Podcasts and even dedicate some engineering time to help building out that standard. There is already a funding tag, which can be used to link out to donation pages, online stores, premium versions of the podcast, or whatever monetization method the podcast author wants.

The link within that funding tag can be surfaced wherever the podcast app chooses to — the now playing and episode description screens seem like logical places to start.

They could also do a lot to help with adoption of the value tag. This would allow for integrating donations to podcast authors directly in the Apple Podcasts app, facilitated by Apple Wallet, which would allow Apple to take a small cut of the transaction to justify their investment in the features.

While all the other podcast services are trying to push the platform toward a more closed future, Apple should do the exact opposite. Put their efforts into making podcasting even more open and build tools and services around the ecosystem that allows them to monetize the efforts while leaning into what made podcasting so great in the first place.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

Users Love Settings ➝

Adrien Griveau:

Sitting on an airplane is one of those moments where I eventually get bored enough to start exploring my iPhone settings.

While I was reorganizing my phone, I had a sudden realization: Settings are typically seen as the result of design failure. The thinking goes that as designers, our goal is to create product experiences that don’t require any adjustments by the user. Consequently, offering customization options is interpreted as a failure to make firm product decisions.

I think there is a misunderstanding about what settings really are.

I love settings. One of the first things I do when I find a new application is explore its settings and tweak everything I can to my liking. I want to tailor the app to fit how I use it and hide any feature or user interface element that I won’t be interacting with. An app that allows me to do that is a great app.

(Via Matt Birchler.)

➝ Source: linear.app

Keep Using RSS ➝

Matt Birchler:

While I definitely agree that RSS seems less mainstream than it used to be (although how mainstream it ever was is unclear to me), but I don’t resonate with the feeling that it’s not possible to use RSS like we always have.

Yes, feed aggregators like Inoreader, Feedly, and many more have some tricks to get more sources into your reader, the fact is I can still easily follow almost everything I want in these apps.

RSS is still the best way to follow the news and whatever hobbies and interests you have. It’s supported by almost every site and works incredibly well.

If you’re already using RSS, keep it up. If you’re not, consider starting.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

The Ratio of Likes to Dislikes Is Useful ➝

Matt Birchler, on the removal of YouTube’s dislike counts:

When I open up a video and see a large proportion of dislikes to likes, that’s almost always an indicator that the video isn’t going to deliver on the promise. Yes, sometimes this is on videos where people are being unfair, but far more often for me are cases where it’s something like a tutorial video that is way too long, doesn’t get to the point, and isn’t worth my time.

A video with 2,000 views, 200 likes, and 10 dislikes is almost certainly good, but a video with 2,000 views, 200 likes, and 200 dislikes is probably pretty bad. After this change rolls out, those videos look the same.

I can’t say I checked the like to dislike ratio very often in this way, but that’s mostly because I just never thought to.

➝ Source: birchtree.me

App Bottlerocket ➝

A nifty web app by Matt Birchler for searching the Apple App Store for data about applications. The only thing I’d like to see added is a fancy site icon for adding to your Home Screen.

➝ Source: birchtree.me