The BirchTree Podcast

All the things I love but are not fit to print on BirchTree (not that that's a bad thing!).
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The BirchTree Podcast


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Jul 12, 2018

Apple updated the MacBook Pro lineup today and I'm just over here doing my best to generate any personal excitement for these new machines. My heart just isn't in it for the Mac right now, it's all iOS for me right now.

Jul 10, 2018

People have different ideas for what "automation" means on iOS and Android, and it can have a negative impact on how we talk to each other about our respective automation services. As someone who lives in both worlds, hopefully I can clear things up a little. for all your Shortcuts needs.

Jul 5, 2018

Apple announced they are doing a major overhaul of their map data and it reminded me that there is a ton going on in the world that we have no visibility to, even at companies we follow intensely. Smart to give yourself a little wiggle room and stay away from definitive statements when it comes to future plans.

Jul 2, 2018

I got a Nest Thermostat over the weekend. It's my first foray into smart thermostats and my initial impressions are really positive.

Jun 27, 2018

Sometimes a passion project you do on the side pays off in your regular day-to-day life. I have had this happen a few times in the past couple years and I find it to be incredibly rewarding every time. I was reminded of this phenomenon this week as I had to step slightly outside my product shoes and do some iOS development work at my 9-5 job.

Passion projects give you new skills and you never know when those skills will be useful down the line. If you find something fun, do it now for fun and you might be lucky enough to have someone pay you to do it in the future.

Jun 26, 2018

Status update episode that I recorded from my closet because my office area isn’t set up yet. Also, 30 seconds of tech, just so I can call this a “tech podcast”.

Jun 20, 2018

The Walkie Talkie app on coming in watchOS 5 is one of my more anticipated features coming this fall to the Apple Watch. I think I’m going to get a lot of use out of it.

Jun 18, 2018

It's hard to create one of something, but it's a whole other level of challenge to make something over and over and over again, all the while keeping yourself and your audience engaged.

BirchTree is my 3rd blog, and this podcast is my 4th podcast. None of my older projects got off the ground, partially because they weren't great, but also because I wasn't invested in keeping them going.

On today's show, I talk about how I personally keep myself working and why it can be hard to keep up sometimes.

Jun 14, 2018

People have a tendency to always be looking for the latest and greatest software to do their work with. They want something new, something shiny. And while tools are important and when possible you should try to use the best tool for the job, this quest to always find something better will not magically make you better at what you do.

Photoshop doesn't make your ideas any better. Ulysses doesn't make your writing magically more profound. OnmiFocus won't make your more productive on its own. But we sometimes tell ourselves this is the case. We think we can get out of a slump by getting a new, cool app to work with. That may lead to a temporary surge, it's only temporary.

Focus on what tools remove friction from your life. That is my main motivator for software and I'm trying to get better at optimizing for that over looking for the new and flashy stuff.

Jun 12, 2018

Just a progress report on how the iOS, watchOS, macOS, and Android betas are going for me. The short of it is that nothing is going horribly wrong, but all of these are definitely still beta releases that come with all the expected bugginess.

Jun 11, 2018

Shortcuts might be the coolest new addition to iOS and watchOS coming this fall, and today I do my best to demystify the many layers of this feature.

Understanding Shortcuts in iOS 12 - BirchTree

Jun 5, 2018

Apple unveiled watchOS 5 yesterday and here are my 10 most exciting features I've seen and used in the first beta so far.

  1. Automatic workout detection
  2. Advanced running features (steps-per-minute, rolling pace)
  3. Walkie talkie
  4. Podcasts
  5. Audio apps in the background
  6. Grouped notifications
  7. Third party integration to Siri face
  8. Web views!
  9. Better DND
  10. Volume controls
Jun 4, 2018

Is "hugely smarter" grammatically correct? I hope it is because I said it with confidence in today's second episode of the podcast. These were my immediate impressions following the keynote.

I had no notes and the Apple site hadn't been updated in time for this recording so I blanked on the names of a few things, but I wanted to get my raw feelings out there from the event.

Happy beta-ing!

Jun 4, 2018

A quick show this morning to talk about what I'm doing for this WWDC keynote day.

May 25, 2018

Castro 3 came out on Monday of this week and it's a very opinionated podcast player. Listen in to hear why I think this app works so well for me, even if it's not an app for everybody.

Get Castro 3 on the App Store.

May 24, 2018

Castro 3, Spark 2, OmniFocus 3, Apollo, and Pocket-Run Pool all came out for iOS since I switched to Android 16 days ago. In that same time there have been zero updates or new apps for Android that have me really exacted.

  • Castro 3:
  • Spark 2:
  • OmniFocus:
  • Apollo:
  • Pocket-Run Pool:
May 23, 2018

I have been wearing watches for my whole life. Long before the Apple Watch became my obsession, I lived for having the time on my wrist.

This episode takes you through my history of being a kid with a cheap Timex, to the wonder introduced by the Pebble, all the way to the wonderful Apple watch I'm wearing today.

May 21, 2018

I've been using Android P for 2 weeks and it might just be the least painful time with Android I've ever had. I'm not switching any time soon, but if I were an Android fan I think I'd be happy with this update.

Also, it was basically a monsoon outside this morning, so pardon the rain in the background.

May 18, 2018

The Google Pixel Buds got a few new gestures for controls this week and it got me thinking again about how these stack up to AirPods, their clear competitor.

May 16, 2018

Google News is now available for iOS and Android (if you know where to look) and I have been spending some serious time with the app. Here are my first impressions.

Android APK:

iOS App Store:

May 14, 2018

Google only showed off Wear OS at one developer session this year, which was realtively disappointing from a smart watch fan’s perspective. They didn’t show off anything that got me jealous of their wearable platform, and that was a huge disappointment for me.

Wear OS at I/O:

My watchOS 5 proposal:

May 10, 2018

How I produce my podcast, why I think the iPad is great for content creation, and why needing to use a headphone jack is actually kind of inconvenient these days.

Unco episode 14:

May 8, 2018

Google I/O's keynote ended literally 2 minutes before I hit record on this episode, so enjoy my completely off the cuff thoughts about the event. There's more to come from Google this week, so expect to hear more about I/O in the coming days.

May 8, 2018

My initial reactions to Microsoft's lengthy, and all business keynote presentation from Build 2018. As someone who focuses on consumer tech, there really wasn't a lot for me at this show, but Microsoft did have a few things of note to talk about.

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