This is the nineteenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, Nathan Greenstein, and Mike Bradshaw.

  • We’d like to welcome a new co-host to the Ask Different Podcast, Mike Bradshaw! Mike is the #1 user on Ask Different by reputation, and worked in an Apple Stores for 4 1/2 years. Thanks for being on the show, Mike!
  • Last Friday, Apple opened a new retail store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The store looks beautiful, and quite different than many other Apple Stores. Some of Stack Exchange’s CHAOS team members got a chance to visit (and promote Ask Different!), and posted some photos and info on our Ask Different Blog.
  • One of the interesting notes in that post is mention of Apple employee with an Android phone in his pocket leads to a discussion of how the hardware in Apple Stores has changed. We recall the old Windows CE-based point of sale devices, the transition to the iPod touch-based checkout, and the recent self-checkout options. We consider how Apple controls theft with the new system.
  • Kyle thinks self-checkout is great because he wants to get in and out of the store quickly, without extra interaction with the sales people. We share experiences with launch day traffic and Apple’s ability to scale for that kind of event, and how we feel about Apple’s decision to spend lots of time with a smaller number of customers.
  • Twitter has recently updated it’s flagship iOS app and web interface. Twitter is putting more emphasis on discovering content and facilitating the “global conversation”. Like many users, we’re not big fans of these changes that seem to put emphasis on featuring promoted accounts and topics, and less on usability.
  • Additionally, some visual and interface changes to the iOS app make Twitter feel less like a native app. Kyle likes Tweetbot, Mike likes Twitterific. For someone like Nathan, who is a read-only Twitter user, Jason recommends TweetDeck. Kyle and Mike love the TweetMarker service, which lets you synchronize what you’ve read between supported clients.
  • Conversation turns to iTunes Match. Kyle and Jason both use it frequently and enjoy it, especially the abilities to upgrade lower-quality songs and to free up space on your hard drive. iTunes Match is the logical conclusion of Apple’s cloud and music offerings, and it’s very well executed.
  • While Kyle and Jason are enamored with iTunes Match’s 20-second download time, Nathan is skeptical. He uses Spotify to stream music and play downloaded music, and it’s performance seems considerably better than iTunes. After selecting a song, music starts nearly instantaneously over Wi-Fi, and with a 2-3 second delay on 3G.
  • Talk of streaming music and storing things in the cloud leads to a discussion of being a ‘digital packrat’. Our habits vary from keeping everything possible to deleting when things get in the way to deleting whenever something is unlikely to be useful. One manifestation of this is Gmail’s archive vs. delete. We share our practices there, as well as with general file retention.
  • The next product that we have to fall head over heels for is the Nest Thermostat. This device automatically programs itself based on how you use it, so eventually you don’t even have to use it at all. We hope that this marks the beginning of a big expansion in home automation that spreads to other things, beyond heating. Nest was founded by ex-Apple iPod SVP, Tony Fadell
  • Our question of the week is Is there a real benefit to removing applications from the iOS multitasking bar?, asked by estephan500 on December 9th. This question asks whether or not there is a benefit to removing apps that you’re done with from the multitasking bar. Does it save memory or improve performance? Generally, this does little and you’re okay to just let the OS manage memory. In some situations, however, it can help clear old things out.
  • Our app of the week this week is Skitch. Skitch is an app that allows you to easily take and annotate screen captures, or any other photo on your Mac. It’s principle benefit is that the drawing tools are very vivid, and take no time in producing beautiful, explanatory edits. It has seen lots of use in both questions and answers on Ask Different! Skitch is available for free on the Mac App Store.
This episode was recorded on December 10th, 2011. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We would appreciate it if you could take a second to give us a rating on iTunes. We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at Thanks for listening.


This is the eighteenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, Nathan Greenstein.

  • After we open with talking pleasantly about weather and recount the amount of time we’ve now been doing this show, we discuss the state of iOS 5′s Notification Center and apps that don’t seem to play nice with it. And speaking of not playing nice, Facebook’s iOS app. After our round of kvetching concludes, we talk a bit about Facebook’s direction, what demographics may be most beneficial, and who they have in mind with new features.
  • Upon realization of our dislike for the subject matter, we quickly move to Nathan’s recent visit to his local Seattle Microsoft Store. While there are many obvious differences, there’s also a significant amount of similarity in presentation, layout, and choice of terminology. Nathan has also elaborated on his thoughts and more in his blog post on the subject, and you can view all of his pictures from the visit in his Flickr set.
  • Returning to the subject matter at hand, we discuss Apple’s announcement that by next March, all apps sold via the Mac App Store will be required to be sandboxed, and will have a defined set of privileged activities they will be allowed to use, which must also be accepted by Apple at the time of the App’s submission to the Mac App Store, called “entitlements”. We discuss the implications this has in the near term, and how this trend could continue over the course of a few years.
  • Continue Reading »

This is the seventeenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, Nathan Greenstein.

  • Starting with some site news, Ask Different has seen record traffic lately. On the heels of iOS 5, iCloud, and the iPhone 4S, visits have gone way up! We hope to see similar increases after future Apple updates. We encourage our users to ‘seed’ the site with questions that people are likely to have after a major software or hardware release.
  • As we get more traffic, there is a noted increase of ‘help desk’ questions that specify a vague problem with few details. The Stack Exchange system works best with long, detailed questions, and detailed answers. Back-and-forth troubleshooting is not a good fit for SE. We encourage our users to edit the question (if possible), vote to close, or flag these questions.
  • Concerning flagging, note that the moderators can’t review every question on the site, but we do review every flag. If you see something bad, please flag it! And if we decline your flag, don’t take that to mean that you should stop flagging. Kyle and Nathan always try to explain why a flag has been declined.
  • Continue Reading »

This is the sixteenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, Nathan Greenstein.

  • We begin by asking Siri to introduce herself. She tells us who she is, and what she can be used for. We demo some of Siri’s core productivity functionality, as well as some more… playful things. For instance, we get Siri to call Nathan, Shirley.

  • On the less playful side of Siri, we show how Siri can, by default, accessed from a locked phone without entering a passcode. That means that you can make calls, send texts, and send emails from a ‘locked’ phone. Nathan demonstrates how this could be a very effective way to mess with someone.

  • Just as we’re finishing demonstrating what Siri can do, she decides to stop working! As it turns out, the day we chose to record was the same day that Apple’s Siri servers began experiencing difficulty. It seems that the issue has been resolved by now, but this is an important reminder of Siri’s complete dependence on the cloud.

    Continue Reading »

This is the fifteenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, Nathan Greenstein.

Now that we’ve had time to digest Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event, we share our thoughts about the announcements and how they fit into the bigger Apple picture.

  • We begin this show with some site news. Ask Different is now a member of Blog Overflow. You can visit our blog at We have some posts up already, but we’re searching for more contributors! If you’re interested in contributing, either regularly or on occasion, please leave an answer to this meta post or send us an email at We’re looking forward to seeing what members of our community can come up with!
  • Additionally, Ask Different was given a refreshed navigation bar in honor of Steve Job’s death.
  • There is disagreement among pundits about the significance of Apple’s iPhone 4S announcement. We agree that the keynote felt disappointing, but we acknowledge that there have been some hardware improvements. Jason’s guess is that, since most of the software improvements (iOS 5) have already been announced, the focus on hardware made the announcements feel underwhelming. Nathan’s guess is that people are mainly disappointed because they waited a long time for such a seemingly small change.
  • We debate why the iPhone 3GS is still available. Kyle thinks that this is a Tim Cook move, and worries that Apple will start keeping around their older hardware for a long time. Does this degrade the brand so much that it isn’t worth having a low-cost offering? We discuss whether keeping old models around is a good idea for iPhones, as well as for desktops.
  • We discuss the changing release cycle for iPhones. With more time between releases, it seems like development has been gradually losing speed. We predict when the next iPhone will be released, and what we expect Apple to do in the future.
  • From release cycles, the discussion turns to the holidays. Is the holiday season a big selling time for iPhones? We wonder about how one goes about giving someone an iPhone without making them pay for a pricey monthly contract.
  • It seems to us that the iPhone 4S was released later than Apple had hoped. We discuss potential reasons for this, and agree that it was probably software-related. Our guess is that Apple was busy fine-tuning Siri to get it ready for general use. This leads us to wonder again about how cloud-based Siri is. Are local commands that interact with first-party apps and media playback sent to Apple’s servers? Dictation only? Or are there commands whose processing in only done locally?
  • We talk about voice control options on other platforms. Nathan’s old flip phone has a voice control function, but it doesn’t exactly… work. Kyle wishes that there was something like Siri for Mac, and Jason and Nathan tell him about the little-known voice functions of OS X. The built in software is lacking, but we mention some third-party alternatives, like Nuance’s Dragon Dictate. We agree that, if it existed on OS X, Siri would be much less useful than it is on a mobile device.
  • Thinking more about Siri, we reiterate a point from the last episode: Siri will be much more powerful if Apple opens it to third-party developers. We discuss the technical difficulties involved in doing this, but hope that Apple gives motivated developers the opportunity to do the work and integrate their apps with Siri.
  • We further compare the speech recognition software we’ve used. Our experience is varied with Google’s speech-to-text, despite their giant amount of data to analyze. We hope that Apple (and Nuance, who they’ve partnered with for Siri) can do a better job. Jason is hopeful because of his good experiences with the voice controls available on his iPhone 4. He especially likes its ability to recognize artist and album names spoken in Japanese, even if the English voice cannot speak them back.
  • Our App of the Week is Growl. Growl is a Mac app that provides a framework for system-wide notifications. Lots of popular apps (like Sparrow, Spotify, and Firefox) have Growl support built in. Growl is available for $1.99 on the Mac App Store.
  • Our Question of the Week is, “Is there an app that creates a system-wide audio equalizer?“, asked by Nathan. Nathan’s been using Spotify, which doesn’t have a built-in equalizer unlike iTunes, and wants to know how to create one that applies to the whole system. ioi recommends a nice app called Boom. Boom lets you boost system volume, as well as apply an equalizer to all audio output. Boom is available for $8.99 on the Mac App Store.
  • We finish with the big news of the week, Steve Jobs’ death. We share our impressions of Steve and his work at Apple, and wonder a little about the future. We end the show with a moment of silence.
This episode was recorded on October 9th, 2011. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at


This is the fourteenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle CroninJason Salaz, and Nathan Greenstein.

Today, we cover Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” event:

  • Apple announced Cards, an iPhone app for sending cards via snail mail. We talk about what the app is, but we can’t help but ask “Why?”
  • Apple gave a recap today of some of the key features of iOS 5. There was very little new info today, but we do have one thing: a release date, October 12th. The iPhone 4S will ship with iOS 5 two days later.
  • Also recapped today was iCloud. We learned that Apple will be expanding its Find My iPhone service to OS X, and will release Find My Friends. Find My Friends is a location-based service that tells you where your friends are at a given time, provided that they have chosen to share their location. Apple also confirmed a detail we were previously uncertain about for its iTunes Match service: music can be streamed, or downloaded to the device. iCloud ships October 12.
  • The first new product announcement to come out of Cupertino today was a new iPod nano.  The new nano will have the same hardware as the previous generation, but it features much-improved software. The nano is now easier to navigate, and includes extra fitness support. Apple will add 16 additional clock faces to all versions of the current generation of nano, available via a software update. Lastly, the price on the nano dropped from $149 to $129.
  • The iPod touch was not completely absent from today’s announcements: its price has dropped from $229 to $199, and now comes in your choice of black or white.
  • The iPod shuffle and iPod classic were left unchanged. They have not been updated, but will continue to be sold in their current form.
  • To the meat of the announcements: the new iPhone. Apple did not, in fact, announce an iPhone 5. Instead, they released the iPhone 4S, a souped-up version of the current iPhone 4. New features include an updated CPU, the dual-core Apple A5, intelligent antenna switching for faster download speeds, and the fact that the 4S is now truly a world phone, packing CDMA and GSM radios into a single device.
  • The other major hardware improvement to the iPhone 4S is its camera. The new camera has an 8 megapixel sensor, and includes numerous other image quality improvements. Combined with the updates iOS 5 is bringing, the delay between opening the Camera app and taking the first picture is down to nearly one second, and the delay between taking pictures at just half a second. The 4S will record 1080p video at 30 frames per second, and uses the gyroscope to provide imagery stabilization for smoother video.
  • The newest feature of the 4S is born from an acquisition Apple made over one year ago: Siri. Siri is a tool that lets you control your phone with your voice. It has numerous features that make it more powerful than the Voice Command features of the previous iPhones. For one, you can say things however you want and it will understand what you mean. Siri also has very deep OS integration: you can use it to make calls, send texts, manipulate your calendar, and many other things. Additionally, in places that would normally cause the keyboard to come up, you can tap a new microphone icon on the on-screen keyboard and Siri will allow you to type via dictation. All of these features will require the iPhone 4S, dictation requires an active internet connection.
  • The iPhone 4S will be available for pre-order on October 7th, and released on October 14th. It comes in three capacities: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The prices are $199, $299, and $399 respectively, all requiring a 2 year contract. The 4S will be available on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint. With this new phone also brings a price drop to the two previous models. The iPhone 4 drops to 8GB and $99 with a 2 year contract, and the CDMA model will also become available on Sprint. And finally, the iPhone 3GS 8GB remains on sale, for free, with a 2 year contract.
  • Nathan shares a final thought wondering whether the Siri service would be opened up to third-party developers. We discuss how Android provides the capability for the system to hook into third-party apps, and whether Apple will do something similar with Siri.
This episode was recorded on October 4th, 2011. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at


This is the thirteenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, and Nathan Greenstein.

  • We’d like to welcome our special guest, Stack Exchange’s Valued Associate #36, and member of the MAYHEM CHAOS team, Abby Miller!
  • The CHAOS team’s “Raison d’être” is community engagement and promotion, both on Stack Exchange sites and external to them. The first site Abby managed as part of CHAOS is Ask Different, and she’s now begun working with Game Development.
  • In addition to the metrics that Stack Exchange provides for each site, the CHAOS team has taken site quality research to task. They compared Stack Exchange sites to other sites covering similar topics, to guage a visitor’s ability to start with a Google search and end up with their question answered as quickly as possible. Ask Different, for example, was compared against Apple’s Support Communities.
  • In the early days of the CHAOS team’s involvement on Stack Exchange, a major task was to spruce up the quality of content on selected sites. They started by going through top questions and fixing up spelling and grammar, focusing on ensuring that question titles were formed as a question and not something more like an e-mail subject.
  • We discuss an interesting situation that the Stack Exchange network creates, in that Stack Exchange maintains, designs, and hosts the sites, but lays no claim to any of the content that the users create, which is very unusual for a profit-seeking company. The virtues of community-driven and community-maintained sites is a staple of Stack Exchange’s philosophy.
  • Abby expands on the CHAOS team’s goal of doing 80% external community promotion and 20% internal. CHAOS team members no longer edit the top 1000 questions, they shifted focus to more things like sponsorships to grow the community in terms of members and visibility. Ask Different has sponsored Daring Fireball, 52tiger, and is sponsoring the NCMUG’s upcoming Mac Computer Expo. Also, you heard it here first: there is also a not-yet-announced promotion in the works, a partnership with an Apple blog for an iPhone giveaway!
  • As previously noted, the Top User swag has started arriving! We will soon schedule our Ask Different T-Shirt episode of the Ask Different Podcast. This week, we talk about our preferred sticker placement strategies.
  • Abby talks about CHAOS’ 20% internal involvement in helping a user organize an event, in this case, planning and identifying the infrastructure needed to host a GameDev Game Jam developer event, in tandem with Stack Exchange’s community team. We’re also reminded of Stack Exchange’s beta tester matchmaking service, a program that Ask Different will participate in for both Mac and iOS apps.
  • We slip in a quick side conversation to talk about a product Joel Spolsky, representing FogCreek software, demoed as part of Tech Crunch Disrupt San Francisco 2011, Trello. Trello is a list management system with the features you’d need in a multi-user support system. Free, instantly collaborative, painless to sign up for, and beneficial when you need rudimentary (or not-so-rudimentary) organization of tasks, for yourself or multiple parties.
  • After diving into playful zealotry over the devices that your hosts do or do not own, our ire turns to Facebook as we discuss the changes made a few days prior to their developer conference, F8. Notably, the feed is now Top News only, and all non-post activity got squished into the tiny sidebar. This leads us to discuss our thoughts on and intended uses of Facebook given the latest round of changes.
  • We ask Abby about her Mac hardware history. Her experience ranges from her 17” iMac (from about 5 years ago) to her current MacBook Pro (from just after the release of the unibody style) to her iPhone 4. She discusses her reasons for not using her personal hardware at work, and the initial pain of using her work-provided ThinkPad with it’s inward-bumped touchpad. We share our thoughts on this and similar ‘alternative’ touchpads on the market.
  • Some of Abby’s favorite iOS apps include GoatUp, which was coincidentally featured as TUAW’s Daily iPhone App the day after this recording, Instagram, despite version 2 removing one of her favorite filters, and Agenda Calendar.
This episode was recorded on September 21, 2011. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at


Podcast #12: Jin Yang

Kyle Cronin

This is the twelfth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, and Nathan Greenstein.

  • We have been featured on the Stack Exchange Podcast, Episode #16. We recorded a short 30 second ad that Stack Exchange offered to air. You can listen to the entire episode, and note Kyle’s comment listing our ad’s air time, at Episode #16 on Soundcloud.
  • Additionally, Ask Different wants to be part of Blog Overflow! We’re looking for dedicated, dependable users able to write regularly on topics you are interested in. If you would like to be part of a team of writers, we invite you to post some details about your ideal topic(s) on the meta post on Ask Different.
  • Our guest today is the Stack Exchange designer-in-residence: Jin Yang!
  • We start by asking Jin how he came to be employed by Stack Exchange. Even though he knew Jeff already, he had to work hard to get the job. The first work he did for Stack Exchange. His debut was Area 51, which he created in one night! Next came Super User, and then the Stack Exchange 2.0 sites. Today, he’s designed 27 sites!
  • Next, Jin goes over his design process, and we ask him about his experience designing Ask Different. He started by asking fellow designer Mike Rundle for a mockup. Jin liked it and started making some tweaks. He soon realized that it took a lot of extra CSS to make the design work. We appreciate the extra effort he put into our site!
  • We also discuss a recent blog post by Mike Rundle about designers who can code. Jin tells us that he used to program, using ColdFusion and ASP/ASP.NET, though his work with Stack Exchange is dedicated as a Graphic Designer.
  • We briefly talk about the visual evolution of Apple-branding that has occurred since the official launch of Ask Different, and whether or not certain Apple style changes should make their way to Ask Different in some form.
  • As previously covered, we discuss the traffic-bump as a result of an Ask Different ad being placed on Daring Fireball, and how Stack Exchange could be improved to display better user referral metrics for site moderators to view.
  • This brings us to note how the growth of Stack Exchange has led to many additional sources needing uniquely designed graphic work. In additional to all of the website work Jin does, he’s also begun designing logos and layouts for T-shirts, business cards, and promotional fliers.
  • If you view Jin’s Twitter Profile, his biography includes the words “Professional bacon eater”. The discussion of bacon leads to Reddit, as Kyle and Jin discuss Reddit inside jokes, and the Alien Blue iOS app for Reddit.
  • Jin explains more about community design involvement and other details that go into creating a Stack Exchange logo and site design. This leads to a discussion of how the design should fit into the language and culture Stack Exchange sites, such as English, Japanese, French, and Jewish Life & Learning among others.
  • Since employment, Jin has not done every single site. He discusses his reasoning for contracting out the work to Alex Charchar for the English Stack Exchange site, and Dmitry Fadeyev for UX Stack Exchange. Though not covered on the show, note also that the design Ask Ubuntu was done by a graphic artist within Canonical, Ubuntu’s controlling company.
  • We briefly discuss the Area 51 proposal process, how it could be intimidating to non-technical users, and how that may prevent some of the best ‘civilian’ proposals from becoming available on Stack Exchange’s network.
  • Thanks so much to Jin for appearing on the show! You can find Jin on Twitter and his blog.

This episode was recorded on September 9, 2011. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at


This is the eleventh episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts are, as always, Kyle Cronin, Jason Salaz, Nathan Greenstein.

  • We have a special guest today: Long time Apple user, speaker, and author Tom Negrino!
  • Tom was introduced to Macs by accident. He got a Macintosh after seeing the 1984 commercial, and has been using them ever since. He tells the story of how Macs have factored into his life over the years.
  • Tom has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. He tells us how he accidentally started writing, and how that’s lead him to where he is today, with more than 40 books published.
  • Out of us four, Tom is the only one who has been using Macs since before OS X. When asked what he misses from those days, he tells us that “OS X is so much better than the original system that there’s really no comparison.” He shares some of the things that have been drastically improved (or added altogether) with OS X.
  • That’s not to say, however, that that era didn’t have its share of great hardware. Tom’s SE/30 remained in use from 1987 to 2002! Amazing for its time, that machine had an expansion slot (for a color monitor) in addition to a 9” grayscale screen. This leads us to discuss Apple’s masterful use of clean, monochrome displays.
  • Tom explains how he initially learned of Ask Different during MacWorld Expo 2011. Tom had only recently learned of Ask Different after his wife, Dori, had a business meeting at MacWorld with Stack Exchange’s own Jeff Atwood back while she was a Moderator Pro Tempore.
  • We touch on Tom’s opinions of the Stack Exchange engine and it’s various sites, which draws the inevitable comparison to other networks such as Yahoo! Answers, and just how dramatically different the content and demeanor of the sites are. Kyle explains his theory about this difference in intent by referencing the broken windows theory, explaining that people answer with shock value on Yahoo! Answers, but answer with quality on Stack Exchange, due to the quality of both questions and answers already on the site.
  • Tom and Dori both recently attended WorldCon 2011 / Renovation both personally and also to help promote Stack Exchange and their Science Fiction and Fantasy site and Writers StackExchange as well. We talk about the attendee experience, such as one of Tom’s favorite costumes, specific qualities present in Las Vegas conventions based out of a hotel and casino, and some of Tom’s experience speaking on Renovation panels. If you’re interested in science fiction, Tom recommends the podcast The Incomparable.
  • This turns us to talking about the tech, both hardware and software, used by writers not only for the literal act of writing the content, but also the choice of software and operating system used for various application screenshots. Tom mentions that he could not live, professionally speaking, without Dragon Dictate and OmniOutliner.
  • We discuss the state of OS X with regard to the numerous methods of installing and updating your third-party software. What works, what doesn’t, and what gets in your way. With particular reference to the completely trivial upgrade methods employed by Panic for their software such as Coda, but also the completely different flow used by apps listed in the Mac App Store.
  • Currently, Tom has a single computer upgraded to Lion, and another one still remaining on Snow Leopard. We talk about early adoption habits past and preset, beyond OS updates, also covering the release of the original iPod, the more recent release of each iPhone, and the iPad.
  • We contrast the decade-long evolution of the original iPod to the current generation iOS devices, to the drastic changes that Lion suddenly brought us with regard to Natural/Momentum Scrolling, Reverse Scrolling, Hidden Scrollbars, the revamps to spaces found in Mission Control, and more. Tom has many of the same opinions that Chris Breen detailed in an opinion piece he wrote for MacWorld.
  • And finally, we talk about the biggest headline of the week, the resignation of Steve Jobs as CEO. We explain the fundamental changes this brought, and the details that speak to the amount of trust placed in the new CEO Tim Cook. We talk about much of the coverage that we’ve seen since that announcement on Wednesday, including Tom’s suggested read; Glenn Fleishman’s article on how Apple has personally affected his life, and the lives of so many others.
  • Tom Negrino can be found on Twitter, Facebook, on his personal site, and of course on Ask Different. His latest book is JavaScript: Visual QuickStart Guide, 8th Edition.

This episode was recorded on August 27, 2011. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at


This is the tenth episode of the Ask Different Podcast. Your hosts this week are Kyle CroninJason Salaz, and Nathan Greenstein.

  • We begin with some Ask Different news:
    • On August 17, we celebrated Ask Different’s first birthday! On that date in 2010, Ask Different entered private beta. Since then we’ve seen tremendous growth, exceeding all our expectations. We’d like to give a big thanks to all of our supporters, users, and everyone else who’s helped make the site what it is. We’ve celebrated this and have more details in the the birthday meta post!
    • This leads us to a discussion of moderating Ask Different. We talk about how the Stack Exchange engine makes it easy to keep a site clean while being friendly towards users. We’d like to thank all of our users who flag posts as well as encourage everyone to click flag if they see something in need of attention. We couldn’t do it without you!
    • We also briefly discuss the concept of Community Wiki posts, and the recent movement to get rid of CW-style posts across Stack Exchange. While we sympathize with this point of view, we feel that there are certain types of expression that are very valuable to the community even though they don’t exactly fit the Q&A format. We cite as an example our Question of the Week from last week; “What tiny thing in Lion makes you smile or has caught you off-guard?“. We discuss why we think this is a worthwhile post to have on our site, but we also acknowledge the times when Community Wiki hasn’t worked. Please be aware that Community Wiki questions have their place, but their place is sparsely present.
    • We bring you a public service announcement: Ask Different will be participating in a beta testing service! Stack Exchange will be running a service that matches developers from the community with testers from the community, including Ask Different users. All the details and forms to fill out to sign up are on Abby’s Meta Post.
  • Moving on to tech news, this has been an exciting week! For starters, Google is going to acquire Motorola Mobility. We predict the implications of the sole developer of Android also being a major handset manufacturer. Will this move improve Google’s products and worsen their competitors’? We’re betting that some device manufacturers are seriously considering their other options in the mobile OS department.
  • The other major event of the week comes from HP. They’ve announced what amounts to a radical shift in their focus as a company. For one, the TouchPad and webOS are both being discontinued. While HP claims they will continue to allow apps to be added to the webOS app store, there will be no more software updates and no new hardware using the OS.
  • Additionally, HP, the single largest computer manufacturer in the world, announced the possibility of spinning off its consumer computing business. We discuss the possibilities ahead for their new direction, and how this could change the consumer computing landscape.
  • Our main topic for this episode is Owning Your Data. With the proliferation of server-side content services (e.g. Amazon Cloud Drive, Google Music, Delicious Bookmarks), we consider it unsafe to treat these services as sole-source backup solutions. We cite examples of disaster due to loss of account access, the service closing its doors, or suffering its own disaster.
  • Our Question of the Week is “Why doesn’t the red dot shut down the program?”, asked by Andrew Warner on August 10.
    • We discuss the reasoning, implementation, and comparison of this feature that has existed for all of Mac OS X’s life.
  • Our Apps of the Week revolve around music!
    • Kyle picks AudioGalaxy, a utility that runs on your computer and let’s you stream music stored on your computer to any other computer or Smart Phone connected to the internet. AudioGalaxy is currently free, including it’s iOS client.
    • Jason picks iScrobble, a utility used to submit your music listening history from your iOS device to iScrobble has a free version, called “iScrobble Pick and Mix” (ads and limited functionality, upgradable via in-app purchases), or $6 for “iScrobble Premium” with all features up-front and no ads.
    • Nathan picks I Love Stars, a menu bar app used save time when you want to rate the song you’re currently listening to, without having to open the iTunes interface. I Love Stars is available for $1 on the Mac App Store.
This episode was recorded on Saturday, August 21st. You can subscribe to this podcast via RSS or iTunes. We welcome any feedback, so please leave a comment on this post or e-mail us at