My new favorite podcast

My favorite podcast is Lance Armstrong’s The Forward. I listened to my first episode in July of 2016. At the time, I wasn’t all that impressed and didn’t listen to any more episodes.

When this year’s Tour de France was approaching I was looking for a way to follow the race. I’m a cord cutter so TV was out. I could follow VeloNews on Twitter but that wasn’t the kind of coverage I was looking for. Then I learned Lance Armstrong had a podcast called Stages.

Lance Armstrong shares his incisive perspective on the 2017 TDF with a new daily podcast, Stages. Co-hosted by longtime Austin radio personality JB Hager, Stages airs about an hour after each stage finish, from July 1-23.

The podcast features special guest appearances, insightful course previews and race analysis from Armstrong’s distinct point of view, which takes listeners deep inside the world’s most iconic cycling race. In addition to a daily recap of all the action, Armstrong, who also hosts The Forward podcast, shares anecdotes from his years racing Le Tour.

Followers can watch this year’s race unfold through the lens of someone who knows the suffering and splendor like no one else.

Stages was what I was looking for. Lance and his co-host JB Hager gave excellent coverage of each stage of the TDF. In fact, it was so good I thought I would check out The Forward podcast again.

I don’t recall which episode of The Forward I listened to first but I came away thinking Lance had become a great interviewer and was interviewing some really interesting people. I’ve since gone back and listened to almost every episode.

The Forward Podcast with Lance Armstrong gives the audience a rare and revealing listen into Armstrong’s conversations with some of the most interesting people he’s met through the years. Guests of the weekly podcast include an eclectic range of personalities—some well-known, others simply with intriguing stories to tell—from the world of politics, entertainment, art, business, sport and more. The podcast, which often touches on current events, is also a community forum where the audience is encouraged to send questions, comments and any feedback directly to Armstrong. Above all, The Forward Podcast is a personal, honest, engaging and always entertaining dialogue that leaves the listener with new insights and information every week.

I know folks have strong opinions about Lance. Love him or hate him The Forward podcast has some amazing interviews with some great life lessons.

If you like podcasts you should definitely check The Forward out. Here are some of my favorite episodes: Michael Morton, Becky Hammon, Rahm Emanuel, Shep Gordon, John Paul DeJoria, Jimmie Johnson, Troy Aikman, and Roy Spence.

Listen on iTunes here: iTunes
Listen on Soundcloud here: Soundcloud
Listen on Google Play here: Google Play

Thinking about the apps and web services I’ll be using in 2018

I’ll be writing my article about the apps and web services I’ll be using in 2018 soon. Between now and then I’ll be choosing those apps and web services.

I have some prerequisites for next year:

  1. The apps I’ll be using must be cross-platform. That means there must be a Mac, iPhone and iPad app.
  2. I don’t want to manage files anymore. I want to use apps that have an app-based organization.
  3. And lastly, I want to keep subscription-based apps and services to a minimum.

That means there will be some departures from what I’ve done in the past. I’m excited about sharing my must-have apps and web services for 2018 with you.

Addresses in Bear notes link to Maps

I discovered this totally by accident. I was creating a note in the Bear notes app that included an address. What I found was, when I place an address in a note it becomes a link to the address in Apple Maps. Of course clicking the link takes me to the address in Maps. This saves having to launch Maps and type the address again. This can also be frustrating if you want a plain text address because there’s currently no way to disable address linking. I did find this workaround. If you bold the address it won’t link. It would nice if Bear would include an option for an address to be a link or plain text.

Problems upgrading to High Sierra

Well, I should have waited a few weeks, like I usually do, before installing High Sierra on my Macs.

Let’s start with my MacBook Pro. So far everything has been working fine. I did have to reset some of my settings. For example, all my startup apps were gone so I had to re-add them to the user login items. Not a big deal.

Now let’s talk about my late 2013 iMac. Everything didn’t go so good. I spent two and half days working with Apple Support to get my iMac running.

The first issue happened during installation. A lot of water has gone under the bridge. I’m not sure if the first boot up problem was at install or the next time I did a restart? The bottom line is my keyboard wasn’t working so I tried a reboot to see if that would fix the problem. It didn’t reboot. It got stuck during the reboot process. I shut it down by holding down the on button. This time it booted up. I tried a few more restarts and sometimes it would boot up and other times it wouldn’t. At this point, I knew something was wrong so made my first call to Apple Support. The Support tech ask me a few questions. Then he had me do a P-Ram reboot ⌥ ⌘ P R (I think that’s what he called it). That fixed the boot problem. Feeling like everything was working, including the keyboard problem, I shut down for the day.

The next morning when I turned on my iMac it booted up fine. Then the keyboard issue reared its ugly head again. By the way, this is the Bluetooth Apple Magic Keyboard we’re talking about. Sometimes it would work sometimes it wouldn’t. I called support again. They walked me through re-pairing it to Bluetooth which did no good. Then they had me change the batteries. After that, the keyboard was working fine so I parted ways with Support.

After taking a lunch break I went back to my iMac to do some writing and the keyboard wasn’t working again. So I got to thinking this isn’t a keyboard issue. So I dug out a Logitech USB keyboard, I had in a closet, to see if it would work. Well, it had the similar issues.

After some trial and error, I determined that anytime I would leave the keyboard idle for a few minutes and then come back to start using it again it wouldn’t work. I called support again a third time and this time it was determined there must be a bug in High Sierra that’s causing the problem. With no available fix, they had me restore to Sierra from a Time Machine backup. After being back on Sierra the keyboard is working fine. Apple Tech Support was excellent. They ask me not to attempt to upgrade my iMac to High Sierra until they called me back sometime in the future to let me know the bug was fixed.

I’m sure glad I did a backup just before I started the update. So now I have Sierra on my iMac and High Sierra on my MacBook. Oh yeah, the boot issue caused a file in Dropbox to get corrupted, which messed up syncing, so I had to fix that too.

My initial thoughts on iOS 11 – iPhone

I waited for a few days to install the iOS 11 update on my iPhone 7 Plus. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t hearing or reading about issues before I jumped in. The installation went smoothly and it only took about 20 minutes. I had heard some comments about it taking up to an hour or more so I was surprised it went so quickly. After the update completed I tested all my apps and they are all working fine.

The overall look and feel of iOS 11 is somewhat different from iOS 10. The new iOS 11 design theme now features large bold titles that feel in your face. Don’t like it. I read part of Federico’s review and there doesn’t seem to be a way to get rid of them. Oh well. It’ll take some getting used to.

Two new features that I’ll be using are Do Not Disturb While Driving and Emergency SOS to disable Touch ID if I find myself in an emergency situation. The new Control Center was a little confusing at first but with the help of Federico’s review, I quickly got a grasp of how it works.

I’m not an iPad user so I can’t comment about iOS 11 on iPad.

If you’re looking for a full review of iOS 11 I recommend Federico Viticci’s review at MacStories or by Andrew Cunningham’s review at Ars Technica.

On its last legs?

I’ve been using nvALT for notes since I started using a Mac. Yes, I’ve tried other options but have always ended up coming back to nvALT. I’ve written a few posts about nvALT on this blog in the past.

Today Brett posted that he had been having problems getting nvALT to work with High Sierra but had finally gotten it fixed and released a new version 2.2.8.

Here’s to nvALT’s survival until BitWriter gets back on track!

I’m wondering if it isn’t time to make a permanent move to Bear which I’ve used, for short periods, in the past? Or at least until Brett gets BitWriter finished.

Equifax breach caused by failure to patch two-month-old bug

Negligence! If they would have patched their server(s) the day the patch was released this would have never happened.

This is inexcusable! Heads should roll. Maybe it’s time some people go to jail for this kind of sh^t.

Dan Goodin, writing for Ars Technica 9/13/2017, 8:12 PM

We know that criminals exploited a US website application vulnerability. The vulnerability was Apache Struts CVE-2017-5638. We continue to work with law enforcement as part of our criminal investigation, and have shared indicators of compromise with law enforcement.

The flaw in the Apache Struts framework was fixed on March 6. Three days later, the bug was already under mass attack by hackers who were exploiting the flaw to install rogue applications on web servers. Five days after that, the exploits showed few signs of letting up. Equifax has said the breach on its site occurred in mid-May, more than two months after the flaw came to light and a patch was available.

Up to now, Equifax has said only that criminals exploited an unspecified application vulnerability on its US site to gain access to certain files. Now, we know that the flaw was in Apache Struts and had been fixed months before the breach occurred.

The mistake I made by re-publishing my blog content to Medium

I came across this article the other day “Do’s & Don’ts of Re-publishing Content on Medium or LinkedIn”. The article has some good guidance on re-posting your blog content to Medium.

Here’s what I got out of the article. My blog was losing readership because I was re-publishing my content on Medium. Why? Google was ranking my Medium posts higher in googles search results. Thus my Medium posts were getting all the readership. I tested this with a few google searches. In each case tested my Medium post would show up on the first or second page of results. The original post from my blog didn’t show up at all in the first ten pages of results and I didn’t look any further.

Here’s how this is explained in the “Do’s & Don’ts of Re-publishing Content on Medium or LinkedIn” article:

Re-posting your content or syndicating it on other sites is great for expanding your reach and capturing a new audience, but if it’s not done correctly, you could run into some ramifications, such as a loss in traffic and being penalized by Google, hurting your rank.

Due to higher site authority, there’s a good possibility that your article on LinkedIn, Medium, or other sites could outrank the original piece on your website in search results.

If you have a blog and are re-publishing to Medium or LinkedIn do yourself a favor and read the article. You may want to quit re-publishing to Medium as I have.

Blogging on Medium

I used to love Medium but I’ve become disillusioned with the new direction it has been taking both from a reading and writing stand point. Looking for interesting stories to read used to be simple. Not anymore. Medium was a place for the little guy to write and hopefully get noticed by a few people. Not anymore.

I know the folks at Medium are looking for a way to make money but I’m not sure the changes they’re making are going to get them there. There are those who think Medium is destined for ultimate failure.

Medium stumbling forward | Manton Reece

Dave Winer isn’t optimistic about the recent Medium changes:

We’re in the long tail of the demise of Medium. They’ll try this, and something else, and then another thing, each with a smaller probability of making a difference, until they turn it off.

This has been the concern with Medium since the very beginning. Because they defaulted to Medium-branded user blogs on medium.com instead of your own blog at a personal domain name, there was a risk that if Medium didn’t work out as a business, many great posts would disappear along with the service. You might get more readers in the short-term, but it’s a bad trade-off when links break and you have to start all over again.

I’ve been re-publishing the original content that I write here on Medium since I started this blog. Not anymore.

Productivity Apps and Subscription Pricing

This post by David Sparks from a couple of days ago got me to thinking about the impact the subscription model will have on the end user and ultimately the developer.

David uses the recent event of the journaling app Day One going to a subscription model as the basis for his post. He also makes reference to a post by Gabe Weatherhead on the same subject.

David Sparks:

Day One, the best diary app for iOS and Mac is transitioning to a subscription model and they are taking a beating for it. Gabe Weatherhead wrote a post about this and I agree with every word.

Gabe Weatherhead:

So, the obvious question: Am I signing up for the new Day One service? The answer is “not right now.”

David Sparks:

I spoke with a developer friend that makes legal-related apps. He explained the transition of his app to a subscription model as a last resort to keep the lights on but also “the worst two months of my life”.

My fear, as someone who really likes quality productivity apps is that all this will end up driving productivity apps out of business.

Those apps take a lot of time and attention to do right while at the same time consumers are not used to paying subscriptions for them.

The traditional model for productivity apps was the upgrade price, where developers released a new version every year or so and everyone paid a reduced fee upgrade price.

In the meantime expect more quality apps to go to the subscription model and, if they are apps you love (or even like), I’d encourage you to support them through the transition.

My thoughts on the subscription model for the end user:

I have two productivity apps that I use many times every day. They have a lot of overlap. But each does things that the other doesn’t do. Now let’s say they both decide to go to a subscription model. I’m likely not going to pay a subscription for both. So one of the developers will lose. With the upgrade price mode, I have the option to upgrade none, one or both apps. Whether I upgrade or not I can continue using the app that I originally paid for.

I’m not a fan of this model. I think the subscription model has the potential to kill some great apps. Many end users myself included have to take a hard look at the cost of app subscriptions. With only so much money to go around I have to be selective with the subscriptions that I sign up for. With the upgrade pricing model, I have the option of upgrading and paying the price or continuing to use the current version of the app.

Rambling, March 19, 2017

I tried out a few new Mac apps this week. Devonthink, Better Touch Tool, Magnet, and Brett Terpstra’s SearchLink. These are all apps for increased productivity. Devonthink and Better Touch Tool are both Mac apps that come highly recommended by Mac power users. SearchLink is a specialized app for use in conjunction with writing in markdown.

These are powerful apps but their power capabilities are beyond my simpler needs. Like Keyboard Maestro the more power an app has the harder and longer the learning curve is. The investment in time doesn’t pan out for me. And in some cases I can do the same thing in Alfred.

I came across Magnet on Mac Stories this week. Jake Underwood gave it a good review so I thought I would check it out.

Magnet increases your options for snapping windows into pre-defined positions from just two to over fifteen. Rather than just choosing which side you’d like each window on, you can display a window in several different ways, including in the top right, bottom half, or left third. The value of Magnet is in the flexibility and freedom it enables.

Since it’s on sale for 99 cents I went ahead and purchased it. Money well spent! What I like about the app is the ability to control my open windows with hotkeys or the dropdown menu in the task bar. Magnet is definitely worth the price. You can grab Magnet here while it’s still on sale.