Archive for May, 2012

Update on the Benjamin-Talk Show-Gruber Controversy.

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 | Opinion | Comments Off

So there has been more information revealed this week about the whole controversy which I posted about earlier. If you want a different summary, take a look here.

First, Gruber’s second episode of the Gak Talk Show he finally opened up about what happened. CandlerBlog has a post with a transcript that says

Dan, the co-host, is obviously very popular and extremely talented. He’s extremely good at what he does and I’m super proud of the work we did together. And I think we had lots of good shows and some great shows. Dan, the owner of a podcast network, I have longstanding disagreements with. Came to an end. Why did I take The Talk Show with me? Because I love it.

Candler is a little more deferential to Gruber, acting like now that Gruber talked about it everything is hunky dory. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

So what’s the disagreement about? Well, Gruber just posted a star story about the New Talk Show. In it he writes that he is selling sponsorships directly. As Space36 writes,

So it sounds as though the suggestions made at the time were pretty much accurate: a fundamental disagreement over the cut of sponsorship money, etc. with Gruber able to earn significantly more from the podcast by taking it to Mule.

CandlerBlog agrees. Which is interesting, but I think not that damaging to Gruber. While sad that Gruber was leaving behind a great show for more money, its not that rare, and in any case its not why this whole thing blew up. It was because Gruber and Benjamin said nothing when it happened, and then after fans starting reacting, Gruber and his cronies started attacking, insulting, and mocking the fans. That’s what drove people crazy.

Benjamin then pretty quickly put up a podcast response, and you can tell he he was blindsided and hurt by what was done. People latched onto that and the attacks and just went on the offense against Gruber. This lead to very bad iTunes reviews, and I’m guess poor sponsorship requests. The first two shows were sponsored without hearing the episodes, and most likely without the PR disaster surrounding the show. I know that Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software and Rogue Amoeba got hammered for their support (rightly or wrongly).

Since Gruber has shown he cares more about money than fans, this is a huge problem. So he was forced to respond for damage control. But just like any other scandal (think politician cheating, who denies it at first), responding this late makes it seem he only cares about fixing his image instead of sincerely caring about the fans. That’s what really damaged Gruber’s reputation.

If this post immediately followed up after announcing the new Talk Show, we all would have speculated, and if Gruber and his cronies did not respond harshly to the critics, this would have blown over in a day (which is really short in internet time). Instead, its almost two weeks late and its still being talked about.

This serves as a great lesson for managing splits and managing PR. Though it should be common sense, apparently its not. I think the three things to learn are:

  1. Don’t attack your own fans who support you, even via advertising
  2. Control the message yourself by releasing an honest statement, don’t let others speculate
  3. Control the message early, not waiting until its a big drama

However, I’m sure Gruber won’t be the first to ignore that advice.

Keeping Out of the Sandbox

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 | Company News, Opinion, SMART Utility | Comments Off

With the impending sandbox deadline coming up (FOR REAL THIS TIME, YO!), I thought I re-visit my decision to keep SMART Utility out of the App Store, when it was announced. This was both a political and technical decision. The technical part was simple- it would take a fair amount of work to rewrite SMART Utility to meet the App Store rules. There would be features left out, or features that would be restricted (the menu item for example). And even with all of that, it still may not have been approved. I found all of that completely unacceptable. The sandbox restrictions are just the icing on the cake.

The political part was a little more complex. I do not like the idea of somebody else approving apps and deciding what my customers are allowed to see. I feel that curated apps can be a good idea- but I entirely disagree with Apple’s rules for curation. I believe that they should put every app submitted up, except for ones designed to cause damage (i.e. trojans). They should not restrict based on APIs or ideas. I would love to use the App Store’s features (Software Updates for example), but not at the expense of features. That is bad for my product and my customers. I will not stand for that. I also do not like the lack of trials, as well as paid upgrades for apps.

The sandboxing issue has also lead to some developers pulling apps. Manton Reese has decided to pull Clipstart. He has a followup about the lock in with the App Store, which helps reaffirm my decision to stay out of the App Store. Atlassian (who helped prompt Manton to pull his app) has also decided to pull SourceTree. He documents many, many issues with sandboxing. And check out the comments for more complaints (hey comments can be good, surprise!!).

And not only are good apps not available in the App Store (which is big problem for Apple), but as Brent Simmons says, it has a chilling effect by stopping developers from even thinking or developing apps for the App Store. As Michael Tsai, you don’t know what the costs will be ahead of time. You could develop a great app, only to have Apple change the rules.

This is bad for customers and bad for developers. Apple needs  new way.


Another Silly App Store Removal

Friday, May 25th, 2012 | Opinion | Comments Off

From Rogue Amoeba: Apple Has Removed Airfoil Speakers Touch From The iOS App Store

Seriously? Apple needs to get out of the curated app business. All it does is give them bad press. If we had a GateKeeper type solution on iOS devices, this wouldn’t be a problem.

My Take on the Gruber-Benjamin-Talk Show Drama

Friday, May 25th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Last Friday the Mac Podcasting community exploded with the news that John Gruber had taken his podcast, The Talk Show, to Mule Radio from 5b5. Gruber had being doing The Talk Show for several years and over 100 episodes with Dan Benjamin, which runs 5by5. Suddenly, without explanation or warning from either of them, he stops doing it with Dan, and starts on his own.

It was mysterious that there was no new episode in two weeks, but that happens sometimes. However, listening to the last episode, it got a little weird with Gruber after Dan asked about t-shirts and about next week. Looking back, it does seem like something was amiss.

So in the vacuum of information, people started speculating, a lot of that was on Twitter. Gruber nor Dan responded, but the operating of Mule Radio, Mike Monteiro, started mocking people for their feelings about the change. Gruber’s wife joined in. Eventually, Gruber did a little mocking of his own. However, since Mike is a known asshole, it kind of makes sense that Gruber, who is an asshole in his own right, goes to a place called Mule Radio. There are a couple of great blog posts/forums herehere, and here with people explaining their frustrations.

I still don’t understand how insulting long term fans of the Talk Show gets them to listen to the new show, as well as brings in new listeners. Yes, its a free service, but its paid by advertisers, and the audience is subjected to them, and may even use their services. So is not necessarily free, and regardless, the listeners deserve an explanation. MacDrifter disagrees, but I like the response on CandlerBlog here and here. We welcome these people in our lives- and talk about them to each other and even to the hosts. They can think we don’t deserve a response, but if they want our attention (and money via advertisers) they should give us one.

Gruber has continue to remain silent on the issue (except for passive-aggressive posts and sweets). I think he believes this will all just go away. But I disagree. He has already split the audience. I won’t listen to his new podcast. Its not because he left 5b5, its the way he did it. He provided to notification, to his audience, and it seems like to Dan as well. He and his cohorts insulted his audience. This is what he should have done, but instead, he did the exact opposite.

However, Dan finally did respond. He shows what a class act he is. He understands the audience and his responsibly. It does sound like Gruber broadsided Dan with the move. Dan took pains to wish Gruber well, but we can tell it hurts him to talk about it. He expected that since it was their show, they would retire together. And he said Gruber could have ended it at any time if he was unhappy. But I think Dan, like the rest of us, didn’t like how Gruber handled it. It just shows how sad Gruber is. Its all about him- screw the audience and anybody else who gets in his way. But what do you expect when he doesn’t even allow comments on his blow.

So The Talk Show is no longer on my podcast list. I’m going to be added some more 5by5 shows to it, Build and Analyze, and possibly back to work.





Das Keyboard for Mac Review.

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 | Reviews | Comments Off

About a month ago I finally received my Das Keyboard for Mac. Prior to that I was using an Apple Design Keyboard. I know the Apple Extended Keyboard II is all the rage in geek circles, but I found the softer key action of the ADK much nicer. Still, I wanted to try the Das Keyboard out since its a USB keyboard that the closest to the ADK, and even closer to the AEKII.

I really like the design of it. Its black, which aesthetically fits much better with my MacBook Pro and my external monitor. It has two USB ports on the side- which are powered. That requires a cable with two USB plugs to plug in. Since I have a hub, and I’m not losing ports (but gaining better access to them), this is great. The weight is very solid, which helps keep the keyboard stable.

It also has media buttons, which are helpful- though I don’t like the placement of the function key. Its in the opposite spot over where the MacBook Pro has it. I would much rather had it in the same place. They key font is weird- and maybe that’s because all the text is in lower case, which I find not as pleasing and harder to read. Finally, they replace the Insert key with an eject key- which is great except I need the Insert key for vSphere servers!

As far as the action of the keys- I like it. Its not as nice as the ADK, but I bet its pretty close to the AEKII. It took me a bit to adjust as I think they keycaps are smaller. But after using it a month, I’m now pretty fast and accurate on it, which is great. The sound isn’t as pleasing as the ADK, but its not annoying at all. I actually like it.

My final verdict- if you like the old style keyboards, but want a modern replacement, get the Das Keyboard. It doesn’t get better than this.

Apple Continues to Find Ways to Ruin the User Experience on iOS

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 | Opinion | Comments Off

This is just stupid. The link they are banning doesn’t even TRY to bypass the rules, but because it POTENTIALLY could, the apps are being banned.

Apple is going about this the wrong way. Now, to buy a Kindle book, I’m forced to use Safari, instead of the much better user experience of just doing it in App. What they should do, if they are so concerned about bypassing the In App Purchase system, is only allow paid apps to bypass the In App Purchase system. That way they make money and make the experience better, instead of the opposite now.

Apple Allowed to Intervene in Lodsys Case

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 | Opinion | 2 Comments

This may be a bit of old news at this point, but its still great news. Apple can now offer a defense to those developers being attacked by Lodsys. Hopefully they can defeat them, and then Lodsys will be out of business.

A sad note to come out of this is that some developers caved and started paying Lodsys. I understand the logic (saving money), but its only a short term gain. If they fought and lost, they would pay regardless. But by paying, they only funding Lodsys to go after developers like me, and that hurts the whole industry. And they also set a precedence for other patent trolls to come after small developers. Sure, its only 1% now, but when there are 50 companies asking 1% because nobody fault, then that’s a huge problem.