Pragmatic 97: Back To The Mac

1 January, 2020


Myke Hurley returns to the show to follow on with Optimal Interfaces, now looking into application specific advantages of the different user interfaces we have available to us for our specific use cases. We also consider an apocalyptic world where we can only have one device and what it would be.

Transcript available
I like that you said it right and then corrected yourself, now you have to correct yourself back again. Welcome to Pragmatic. Pragmatic is a discussion show contemplating the practical application of technology. By exploring the real-world trade-offs, we look at how great ideas are transformed into products and services that can change our lives. Nothing is as simple as it seems. Pragmatic is supported by you, our listeners. If you'd like to support the show, you can do so via Patreon for early release, high-quality, ad-free episodes. Visit to learn how you can help. Thank you. This episode is brought to you by ManyTricks, makers of helpful apps for the Mac. Visit ManyTricks or on for more information about their amazingly useful apps. We'll talk more about them during the show. I'm your host, John Chidjy, and today I'm joined by Mike Hurley. How are you doing, Mike? Very well, my friend. How are you? I am exceptionally good because, yeah, we're talking again. It's been a little while and I'm so thrilled to have you back on the show. Thank you for making the time. Pleasure. One of the things I was talking with Jason Snell a little while ago about optimal interfaces and part of the journey that I've been on back and forth and now landing somewhere in in the middle, starting off obviously with desktop and machines moving then to laptops because they're more flexible. And then of course, with the advent of tablets, particularly the iPad, I had a brief flirtation with a Microsoft Surface, I said brief, and it didn't last that long. And technically I didn't pay for it, work paid for it, but anyhow, nevermind. And now back to the Mac again. So I'm always seem to be endlessly searching for the best device. And one of the things that I've been grappling with for quite some time is the whole concept. And I suppose part of the conclusion of episode 93 was looking at can any one single device actually give you everything that you need? I think the short answer is probably no. If you had to pick one, that's where it gets difficult. But I remember a tradie once said to me a long time ago, right tool for the job. Yeah, meaning you don't use a flathead screwdriver in a Phillips head screw, unless you want a bad result, I guess. So what I'd like to sort of like tease out little bit today is just some more of the threads of that and the strengths and weaknesses of each of those and I suppose more the practical applications of, well, literally the applications that we use, as in like you and I use. And in order to actually start at the beginning, I suppose, I want to sort of start by just running through the list of the devices that you use, just day to day that you use for doing what you do. Yeah, on a daily basis, I will be using my iPhone 11 Pro Max. I would typically be using my 12.9 inch iPad Pro and my iMac Pro as well. I have two other devices that get used in travel, right? So that would be the 11 inch iPad Pro. I don't travel with the larger iPad Pro. And I also have a MacBook Pro, a 13 inch MacBook Pro that I would take if I'm recording on the road. but on a daily basis, it is a mix between iPhone, iPad, and Mac, depending on what I'm doing. - Okay, fair enough. Well, that's a pretty decent list there. Mine, for my smartphone, I'm using an iPhone X. I'm sorry, I always, nevermind. - You know, I like that you'd said it right and then corrected yourself, and now you have to correct yourself back again. - You're right, I absolutely corrected myself back to front. Oh my goodness, nevermind. I just want to mention Apple Watch Series 5. Just bought in late November. So I'm going to throw that one out there. Are you wearing an Apple Watch by the way? Just curious. - Not daily. - Not daily. - I do have the Series 5 and I like it, but it's in my watch rotation now. - Oh, okay. Fair enough then. I pretend to do a watch rotation by changing bands and swiping the screen, but I- - That's a good way to do it. Gives you a bit more personalization. - I do enjoy it. but the thing is I also, I've been actually looking after, looking, lusting after a Longines watch, mechanical watch, but I just, I don't know, it doesn't have notifications. So I haven't pulled the trigger on that yet. Anyway, right, so beyond that, iPad Pro 12.9 inch, which is the second gen with the original Apple Pencil. And my workhorse machine is my 13 inch, 2018 MacBook Pro, quad core i7. And one of the key points of that is that I do run as a desktop most of its time, plugging into a couple of 28 inch 4K displays. Well, when I'm at home and when I'm at work, well, to 23 inch, nowhere near 4K displays because IT is IT, but oh well, what can you do? So that's sort of the, so that's the list of things that we use. And I sort of, I guess I was thinking about how did we get to where we are? So like when we think about way back in the past, we had a desktop PC, that's all we had. There were no laptops. There was nothing, no mobility, there's no nothing. But we wanted to, how could we get the desktop machine to do more for us? First thing is we want to take it with us. So we're not tied to a desk. So that drove the development of laptops, okay? We had phones and we had mobile phones, but we didn't have any of the computational capabilities just a dumb phone. Like I think we, that's everyone calls them dumb phones now, not smartphones. but we wanted to be able to make phone calls and video calls and so on. We don't always have a phone handy, so we can always get the computer to do that. So we, you know, we used some computers to develop that ability and then you can use it to organize photos, TV shows, movies, home automation, all of it. So at that point, the desktop PC sort of evolved into laptops and that's been around for the longest amount of time and it's the most evolved. But now going along from that, we've also had dumb phones evolving the same kind of direction. And then of course, that's rubbed off into tablets and some of it's rubbed off into smartwatches as well. Those smartwatches are probably the least mature of all the different product lines. And as they each sort of like extend a little bit more about what they're capable of, it now creates a completely different problem, which is now which is the best device for what I need to do right now. I guess if people had infinite money, they could just buy and use every device there was and just pick the best one for the job. And that's great for some people, but I think the problem is that for most people, that just doesn't work. I mean, it's either financially prohibitive or they don't all fit in your pocket. So that's where the challenge comes. So what is, if there's one device, what would it be? And to circle them back to that again. So if you're really honest, if you could pick just one device and only one, what would you have from all the lists of the things that we just listed? - Oh God, you know, I knew you were gonna ask me that question. And in my head, I answered all three of them, right? Like individually, it's like, oh, I would choose this one. No, I would choose this one. So here's the predicament, right? Now, I figure my iPad is the closest between the two, right? Of like a phone and that, like, 'cause it has all of the apps that I want and connectivity with the power or with getting towards the power of a desktop machine and it's got more flexibility. And like, if I wanted to record podcasts and edit them, I could do that. Like it would be more tricky, but I could do all of that on an iPad in a way that would be really difficult to do on a phone. Right? But then if I think of myself, realistically, if what I'm thinking about is I need to continue my working life, the Mac is the most important in that because it's the, well, it depends what work I'm thinking about. If it's running my business, the iPad is what I need. If it's making the shows, then the Mac is what I need. But realistically, who can survive in the modern world without a phone these days, right? Like it's becoming more and more and more difficult no matter where you live in the world to get by without a smartphone, right? Which is why there is like pushes like Google with like Android Go, which is to run on like cheaper devices so they can be sold into more developing parts of the world. So I guess if I could only have one, it would probably be the phone, I think. I think that's where I'd have to go. - I love your work, Mike. - That's exactly my answer as well. - 'Cause it's so difficult though, right? Because then it's like, well then what does that do to my working life? If I think about just like being in modern society, the smartphone is what I need. - Yeah, exactly. And having gone through this process and thinking about this as well and doing the prep for this episode, I mean, I come up with exactly the same answer. And for pretty much the reasons that you stated, the truth is, yes, you could actually record and edit a podcast on a phone. people have done it, but I don't think they do it and enjoy the experience. It is like, yeah, is it? It's like, it's like a logic question, right? Like, is it technically possible? Yes. Will I be able to produce something of the same quality that I can currently produce? Probably not. Can I do it in anywhere near the same time? No, because I'm used to the tools that I have, right? And I would, so, so it, yes, technically possible, like in a, in an apocalypse-like scenario, could do it, but it would be unlikely to work. - Okay, so we'll now step out of our technological apocalypse and move forward to where now to allow to have a second one. So you can now have a second device. You've got your smartphone in your hand and your iPhone 11 Pro Max extra size, massive phone, which is awesome. If you're in a pinch, you can use it to beat somebody, which is cool as well. So that's another feature. But anyhow, so now you can take a second device. What would the second device be? And I think you've kind of answered this already, but I'll let you say anyhow. - Yeah, see, I need to be realistic at this point. All right, I prefer iOS as an operating system to macOS. It's just how I am. It works better the way that I think the apps are all there in the way that I want them. But if I'm going to only have two devices, I'm going to pick one iOS device and one macOS device. I'm gonna go for the Mac Pro at that point. I'll go for a Mac Pro I guess, but that's not... If we're talking about defense in apocalypse scenarios, that's good. Maybe I could strap some wheels on it and roll down the road. But I would go for a Mac in that point, because it will then... I will then at least get pretty much everything I want from iOS and everything I need from Mac OS. Not necessarily in the device form factors that I want, But I feel like at that point, I have to be realistic if I'm making those decisions. Absolutely. And those are some nice wheels on that Mac Pro, I'm just saying. I'm sure that they would work very well for me. I've often thought with the Mac Pro on the wheels that if you do have wet wheels and how much airflow that thing can do, you might want to tether it to something under the desk so it doesn't blow itself away down the whole corridor. Yeah, if you're on like hardwood floor, maybe, maybe move around a little bit. Yeah, I'm just, I think that's a valid concern. But anyhow, all right. So I actually, this is, I'm not gonna say this might get tedious or boring if we end up having exactly the same answers, but unfortunately at this point, yes, we are more or less the same answer as well. I think that iOS and Mac is, I need the desktop environment. And this is the, I'm gonna be very careful to characterize it as an environment because clearly you can have the iMac Pro, which is sort of arguably the most powerful current Mac that's available that you can buy on a desktop. And then of course you could also get a MacBook Pro. So for my case, the 13 inch MacBook Pro, so I had to choose, I only had enough budget at this point for me to get a laptop or a desktop. So I got a much more powerful laptop, which I then used to impersonate a desktop. And I realized that's not ideal necessarily for my performance per dollar expenditure, but it gives me the dual benefit of being able to unplug it and use it in a work setting in the office, as well as in a home setting. So I think that's fair. And the reality is that when you're sort of thinking about this, for me, Mac OS also, there's a lot of driver for things like screen real estate. And so it's not just the apps and the environment, but the apps in the environment are far more mature. There's more flexibility and choice of what you can do. That's sacrificed at the risk of complexity. And I think you nailed it before about iOS just being far more, it's just far easier and more intuitive to use. and that is very, very attractive. So I absolutely get that. And I was gonna say originally like laptops and desktops are better for mass data entry. And the problem with that is that since for the last few years now, you can get smart keyboards, which of course, well, have no lag or should have no lag. So long as I don't keep getting that annoying error message saying this accessory is not supported by this device. Anyhow, so there's that, but smart keyboards are still pretty good in terms of mass data entry. So I don't think that's an advantage that laptops and desktops have any more over an iPad Pro, for example. - No, there are great keyboard options. Like I use the Bridge keyboards. - Yeah, they're nice too. - And it effectively turns the, it just feels like a laptop at that point. Like I don't, the keyboards really, I mean, I prefer it to the smart keyboard, but the smart keyboard is great because it's easily available. It doesn't need power. Like it's, you know, it's a great product, but yeah, I agree, like as soon as the keyboard options became viable, I mean, there was always an attempt to make good keyboards for iPads, right? Like, remember, do you remember the stand one that Apple had for the original? Yeah, I had one. You could like, there's like a little keyboard stand and it had like a magic, it had like one of the magic keyboards like attached to it. You could put the iPad in it. It was super weird. Yeah, yeah. But I feel like since the iPad Pro's invention, there have been multiple good avenues for keyboards. And I think that that made it, it's made a big difference for a lot of people, like a lot of people. I would not be as heavy an iPad user as I am if there wasn't a good keyboard available. Like if they hadn't created the smart keyboard or there hadn't been really good third-party options. - Yeah, I completely agree. And I think that it's been as big a shift forward in usability for an iPad as the Apple Pencil. And the keyboard stand that you mentioned, I actually had one of those and it wasn't too bad except for the fact that you were stuck in portrait mode and I don't know how many people want to use an iPad in portrait mode when they're typing on a keyboard. It just never really made sense. - And I feel Apple know this, right? Like every iPad now can support a smart keyboard and an Apple pencil, like all of them, even just the basic regular iPad supports those products. Like, okay, say the iPad mini is the outlier, but the iPad mini is a kind of a product unto itself, but of the regular iPads, they all support those now. So I think Apple is as aware as everybody else that like to make the iPad work in people's minds, you need to show it with a keyboard. Like people want keyboards. That's what they're used to, it's what's comfortable. - Yeah, absolutely right. And so I see that as a huge advantage in the tablet space. And one of the big, I guess, there's several driving factors, I think, for the tablets that make them so attractive. And we're sort of talking about our third device at this point, which is, you know, it's not, I suppose, not so much about size, the weight and the battery life, the integrated 3G and LTE, but all of those things are all positives. Absolutely for sure, yes, they are, but it's more the fact that it's direct touch input and the fact that you can get a very accurate stylus, AKA an Apple pencil, with the keyboard problem long solved, I think, for it as a tablet. And there's just no way of really doing that on the Mac desktop environment. So you don't have that direct touch interaction and you don't have the Apple Pencil or the stylus. Now, how big a deal that is to you or not depends obviously on the use case, but I find a lot of the attraction with the tablet being the direct touch and the precision of having something like an Apple Pencil when I need that sort of thing on a tablet, that's something you can't do on a Mac. Unless of course you wanna invest in a Cintiq tablet, which is kind of pricey and very specialized, doesn't really drive the operating system exactly, just certain applications. and then that's another thing. All right, so you have two devices. Seems like it's a smartphone and a desktop, but some people might've leaned towards the tablet and that's okay. But if you could afford three devices, then probably you'd get one of each, I would suggest. - Yeah. - Which is what I've got and what you've got. (laughs) So on the desktop front, I think I sort of touched on the whole desktop laptop thing. I think it's okay. people will actually have a desktop and a laptop. And I, I'm just going back through that list. And I tried to make a mental note of it. Because you've got you've got to the iMac Pro and you don't have you don't have a laptop. I don't think did you say? No, I have a MacBook Pro. I have one of the I think it's the original MacBook Pro when the the touch bar was introduced, but I have the non touch bar version. Does that make sense? It's like the 2015 or whatever. It's an OG MacBook Pro. And I use it, honestly, four times a year. But those times when I use it, they are very, very important times. So it's like recording podcasts during WWDC week, which is arguably my most important time of the year. So I need to have a laptop available for those times. And that's what I'm rocking a MacBook Pro for. I want to get a MacBook Air because that's all I need, but I'm waiting for keyboard change before I do that. - Yeah. And that's fair enough. My MacBook Pro, this is the 2018 model, so 13 inch, and it's still got the, it's got the third, it's Apple's third attempt at the interesting keyboard mechanism. And whilst I personally haven't had problems, if I could have waited a year and two months ago when I bought it, I would have waited. But unfortunately I needed a laptop and you just, you get what they have available at the time. And besides which the 13 inch model still hasn't had the refreshed keys in it anyhow. So yeah, so I guess, yeah, we'll be waiting a bit longer before we do that, but that's okay. So, all right. So on the application side, I sort of briefly touched on the problem I had before, which was Mac applications. The problem with them in air quotes problem is that they tend to be because of the fact they've been around for longer, generally speaking, they're less focused. and that is to say they're heavier and more bloated, well, to some people, depending upon what they wanna do, and generally will have a higher learning curve than newer software. And a lot of the newer software recently has been written and developed for iOS. And that's because they're outselling Macs. The refresh cycle on iOS devices, particularly the phones, and their purchasing model via carriers, and in some countries where Apple have got the whole rental program thing, not here, but oh well, means there's a more regular purchasing cycle. And then of course that drives new models, new iOS features, that drives more uptake and more investment. And hence, ultimately you get more software development, which is what we see. That means that iOS apps typically tend to be more focused and more design and development is put into them recently. So you're seeing more evolution in iOS than you're seeing incremental evolution in macOS. So that's on the application side. And this is where things get a little bit more interesting. And that is, I'd like to then sort of like talk through some of the things that we use specific use cases now. And we touched on one briefly before, might be worth fleshing that a little bit more though, which is the whole podcast editing thing. So for each of these on the two different platforms and like a touch platform, like an iPad Pro, I would suggest, or maybe a smartphone depending and on a Mac. And so just to quickly recap on podcast editing then. So have you ever done podcast editing on an iPad? I have tinkered around with the app Ferrite, which Jason Snell uses, you know, to actually edit The Incomparable. Like, that is what he edits The Incomparable on now. I think no matter where he is, like, that's what he uses. And I can see how I could learn this software. Like, I can see that. And I've tinkered with it, I've played with it, I've done some stuff with it, and it's great. But I have not yet put the time in to do it significantly, I know it's possible to do because I know someone who publishes a very popular show and it's not, you know, I never tune into the incomparable and be like, "Oh, this sounds wrong." No, like Jason has and has also worked with the developer, right, to like make it the right tool. So yeah, I think it's pretty good, but I have not yet really dove into it. But I know it's possible. - Okay, so in terms of editing then on the Mac, what software do you use on the Mac? - I use a combination of things. I use Adobe Audition for pre-production. It has a really good noise leveling tool that I use. I can't remember their actual name for it, but it basically just levels out the audio and matches it to a specific volume loudness. It just works very well for me. It takes out a lot of things that I used to do with compression and stuff like that. So I really like it for that. It's worth it. Then I use Logic Pro, Apple's Logic Pro 10 or whatever it is, to actually do the editing. And then I use Marco Armit's Forecast to do the final mix to MP3 in any chapter work and stuff like that, to write the MP3 tags. Those are the tools that I mostly use. course, I have a bunch of other audio apps that I will use, right. So like the recording is done in a combination of core recorder and audio hijack. I use efficient by Roger Meeber, if I need to grab some audio quick, like I have a bunch of like, little utilities, but the main ones are for like for the editing or audition logic and forecast. And this is the thing for me, like I produce a lot of shows on a weekly basis, I spend a lot of time doing this stuff. And the workflow on the Mac, I have nailed down. And I'm not really interested in disrupting that because it will disrupt everything else, which is why I've never really played around with the iPad stuff too much, because it's like, I have no idea when I would actually be able to do it, you know. So one of the things that I'm, so I've, I've played with both ferrite and logic, and I'll sort of walk through my workflow in a second but do you find that when you're working in logic that you predominantly use a combination of the keyboard and the mouse or one or the other that you'd you stick with or any any preferences for how you interact with it? So I use them I use multiple tools for this I use a Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet that is the way that I actually operate the iMac most of the time anyway because I find more comfortable around like arm strain and stuff like that. And the Intuos has a bunch of programmable buttons. So I actually do a vast majority of my editing just using the pen tablets. The pen tablet supports the mouse. And then I have a bunch of buttons for like selecting all and cutting a play head and stuff like that, like I've customized them. But I also mix it up and use the like the the Wacom with the keyboard and I use the keyboard shortcuts. And I also have a magic trackpad, which I use for like scrolling around the timeline and stuff like that. And this is mostly for me, it's just a way to be able to vary my input method, because most of my editing now, it takes multiple hours to do the edits that I'm doing. So I need to be careful with ergonomics. And I found for me, having a variety of tools at my disposal keeps keeps the ergonomics pretty sound. Okay, that's, I just want to say that's exceptionally cool. I, I, hmm, do you have you had problems with RSI? Or is it like, like, yeah, pains that you had? Yeah, which is why I started down this path of finding different tools. And then what I settled on right now, I actually, knock on wood, I have not had any significant RSI problems this year. And I think it's because I've I've learned a lot about how to operate my own body. If that makes sense? - Yeah, yeah, it makes sense. - Like a simple thing for me that I've found out, I'm usually more susceptible to getting RSI as the weather gets colder. - Okay. - So I now have a heater in my office that I use to keep the office warmer and it keeps it at bay. So, you know, I know that this is a big topic for you, right? - Yeah. - 'Cause you had the big John Siracusa episode, right? episode, right? - Yes, we did, yeah. - Is that RSI stuff? - Yep, episode 15, that's right. - Yeah, so I know it's like a thing that comes up on the show a lot, but yeah, I've felt it a little bit here and there. - Yeah, sorry, forgive me. It is something that I have gone through myself as well, and I find that the rotation of input method is what resolves it for me. I'm not sure that Brisbane gets as cold as where you are, so maybe having a heater in my room, mind you, it's the middle of summer at the moment, so. - I think it's different for different people. Like I don't only get these problems in winter. I've just noticed that I am more susceptible to them in winter. But I think it really, it's like, you've really got to like work out what's best for you. And what's best for me is to not use any input method of any kind for too long. Like I have to rotate. - Yes, absolutely. And that's the key. And one of the things that I, every now and then I bring it up with my wife, I say, I need to get one of those converting, standing sitting desk things because we have them in the office and they're brilliant. So I'll like alternate between standing and sitting desks essentially when I go into the office, but at home I've got a fixed height desk and I'm not necessarily suggesting I'm going to get a treadmill desk. I think that's probably a bridge too far specifically for me, but that's okay. I'm glad that works for some people. But being able to vary my seating position and seating height actually is another great way of preventing any RSI from starting. And for me, again, it's been probably a year and a half at least since my last cordon episode, if you will, of RSI on my right arm. Yeah, I'm on a good streak. Yeah, that's a good record. Yes. Okay, so thanks for that. Let's just circle back then to the podcast editing that I do. So I'll start the other way around on the Mac. So yes, I still have Logic and I have used it and did use it for several, quite a few years actually, three or four years. And I predominantly did my interaction through the mouse, a couple of keyboard shortcuts, but predominantly through the mouse. And I was editing on that regularly enough. That is to say, when I was at that point, I think I was doing pragmatic once a week and so on. So that was, it was regular enough, I guess, probably not to the volume that you do editing know. This episode is brought to you by ManyTricks, makers of helpful apps for the Mac. Whose apps do? You guessed it, ManyTricks. Their apps include Butler, Keymail, Leech, Desktop Curtain, TimeSync, Moom, NameAngler, Resolutionator and Witch. There's a lot to talk about for every app they make, so we're just going to touch on some highlights for 5 of them. Starting with TimeSync. 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Simply use Pragmatic19 that's Pragmatic the word and 19 the numbers in the discount code box in the shopping cart and you'll receive 25% off. Now this offer is only available to Engineered Network listeners for a limited time, so take advantage of it while you can. Thank you to ManyTricks once again for sponsoring the Engineered Network. (upbeat music) Then I discovered Ferrite on the iPad and it was actually suggested, it was, I found out about it through Jason Snell, interestingly enough, And it's been a tool that has grown on me very quickly. And one of the things I like about using ferrite is that I'll actually use it as old as it sounds. Well, maybe it doesn't sound old, but I use the keyboard as well as touch. And I don't tend to use the Apple pencil, but. - Yeah, no, I actually really requested more keyboard shortcuts from the developer. And they very kindly did something that I didn't even know could be possible, but they did it. So, Woojee Juice, who make ferrite, They have keyboard shortcut sets. So you can change your keyboard shortcuts to default to a program you're already used to. So there is a choice to add logic keyboard shortcuts instead, so you can switch over the keyboard shortcuts so they operate like logic does, which is great for like muscle memory stuff, depending on where you're coming from. - Oh, for sure. I've been using Ferrite for multiple years and I didn't even know that they had support for that. Ah, wow. - 'Cause this is one of those apps, which as it should has a million settings. Yeah, it's what you want in a pro app. - Yeah, exactly. And it's, but the good thing about the depth of those selections is as they are, they're specific, they're very relevant to a broad array of use cases, but it's still very honed for that one application, which is, you know, editing a podcast. I don't know if ferrites necessarily design specific, is gonna be as good for doing something like a 12 string orchestra sort of thing. I guess you probably could use it for that if you were trying to compose on it or something, I don't know, or edit that. But I mean, to be honest, it was really developed more for what we do, I think, whereas Logic's far more flexible in what you can do with it. But anyway, so yes, I use Ferrite for everything. So this show has been edited, if future tense will be edited in Ferrite, and pretty much every episode of a podcast I've edited for the last nearly three and a half, well, maybe three years has been in Ferrite. And much with your workflow as with mine, I find now that going back to logic is sort of messes up my workflow considerably. So I remember how to use it, I know how to use it. And for noise reduction on my iPad, I use an audio unit plugin called Bruce Free. Again, I think that's how you pronounce it. I'm probably mangling it, but nevermind. And this particular one also does the noise reduction. It does a pretty good job so long as everything you're editing is less than 100 minutes in length. That's another story. Anyhow, yes, if it's over that break it down into 100 minute chunks, sorry, 99 minute and 59 second chunks. Sorry, nevermind. All right, so I find that the flexibility of being able to do the editing on the iPad is great. It's lightweight, I can take it with me. It's got decent battery life and so on and so forth. And if I'm gonna be editing in Logic, I'd do it on a desk environment rather than try to do it in a laptop environment because that would completely throw my workflow at that. Okay, so that's the first one that we both do a reasonable amount of. So let's think about what devices we then use and applications for something more mundane. And I say mundane, I mean, I'm sure everybody uses a word processing app of some kind. So whether that's Pages or Microsoft Word. So if you were doing editing on one of those, which would be the device you would go to? - Always iPad Pro. - Wow, okay. Quick answer, very good. - Yeah, see for me really, the Mac is only used for audio work. Everything else I'm doing for work stuff on my iPad. - Okay, fair enough. So for me, I'm a big believer in flexibility of screen real estate. And screen real estate and pixels is king. And when I'm doing most of the stuff that I'm doing for my J-O-B job, as I say, requires that screen real estate. So I need to have multiple documents up for reference, comparison, sometimes copying, pasting text, not plagiarizing between documents and such, unless it's my own stuff, I technically can't plagiarize your own work, I guess. Anyway, point is I need that screen real estate. And for me, that's always been the issue with using the iPad for those sorts of documentation. However, having said that, there are still cases where I will be doing something like an independent memo or something like that, or a very short document that doesn't require that screen real estate. And I have on occasion then used the iPad Pro for that. And to be honest, it does a perfectly good job. It's a perfectly passable job, but I always find myself like looking at the edges of the screen, wishing I had a little bit more space. All right, I think you could probably bundle together things like spreadsheets, PowerPoint, keynote applications and so on and so forth under this similar kind of a bucket. And based on your previous answer, I'm assuming it's the same kind of answer. - Yeah, yeah, it's always gonna be on the iPad. - Okay, so for me, the funny thing for me though, is that I actually find with spreadsheets, PowerPoint and keynote, I will do them on the desktop, but I need screen real estate less generally when I'm working on those, some spreadsheets maybe, and I lean more towards the iPad. But it's, I guess one of the things I do love about the world we're in right now is that we have that choice. Because when the iPad first came out and iOS was available, there was this whole thing with Microsoft where we weren't sure that we were ever gonna get proper desktop class citizens, I guess you could say, on iOS and now we have them and they're brilliant. And do you use, have you used Office at all on the iPad? - Yeah, I use, yeah, I've used both Word and Excel, there we go. I don't, I will typically gravitate toward pages and numbers, but sometimes depending on who you're working with and the documents that they require, Word and Excel are needed. And so I've used them. And I think they're really good on iOS, but I just, over time, have just gravitated toward numbers and pages, but I do use both. - Oh, for sure, I understand. And I'm in one of those situations where my office is Windows, Microsoft, more or less, although recently they just started to accept Max more, which is great. The truth is that Office 365 is the backbone of the organization. And so, as it is for a lot of organizations. So, I've had to use them and being able to use them on an iPad and watching the improvements that Microsoft have made to the applications over the last four or five years has been truly impressive. They've gone from being, we will never develop anything on a Mac because it's not running Windows, to we will now embrace the major platforms and we are actually gonna seriously put time, effort and energy into doing it really well, which is great. So having that flexibility to jump between the iPad and the Mac working on a spreadsheet is very, very useful. So it allows you to use the best of both. That said, I still prefer numbers on an iPad. I think it just works better. Just silly little things like dragging columns and rows around is something that's very much more difficult on Office Excel for the iPad. Anyhow, all right. It's about as exciting as Excel ever got, so we'll move on. Social media is something that we both deal with, I think, interact with, you know what I mean? It's hard not to say deal with, anyhow. So just broadly, 'cause it's obviously, And maybe it's a different answer for some of these between smartphones and tablets potentially, but just to reel off the list, the ones I'm interacting with, which would be the Fediverse, otherwise known as Mastodon, Pleroma, Misci, and all those different ones, but I think Activity Pub. Then of course, our old faithful Twitter, Facebook, Instagram sometimes. And I'm going to get in and say, first of all, I almost entirely use those on a smartphone because of portability, I think, more than anything. So my main social networks would be Instagram and Twitter and I will, you know, for obvious reasons, mostly use Instagram on my iPhone. The web app is pretty good and sometimes I will check stuff but it's very rare that I would actually be doing anything of note. And then Twitter is, it varies between the iPad and the iPhone for the majority of time. It kind of just depends where I am and what I'm doing. Like if I'm on the move, I'll be using my iPhone, but if I'm at home, I'll be using the iPad. And I use the official Twitter client now. I've moved to that. It works perfectly fine for me and has over time, actually reduced the amount of time I'm spending on Twitter because the app isn't as good. So, you know, that's actually a nice little benefit that I've found in the official app. - Yeah, I have this, I keep the official app installed on my phone for Twitter. because it passes through more information if I want to see it, whereas other ones don't get that forwarded onto them anymore. The API had the legs cut out from under it. Yeah, which is kind of unfortunate, but in any case. So yeah, I do actually, in fairness, sometimes do use interact on the desktop, but that's more of a question of convenience, not having to physically pick up the phone if I'm at my desk, but yeah. In my J-O-B job work environment, all of that's firewalled to death. So you don't get notifications for, yeah, of course, right? You know, so it's not like you get a heck of a lot through on the desktop anyway. So you predominantly look at your phone. So any, I just try to think about any other classes of application. And I was thinking specifically, 'cause obviously there's other areas we could talk about things like, you know, watching movies and so on and so forth. But I guess it's kind of less interesting to me at this point, I was thinking about more of like interaction stuff. Any other key things that you could use on a Mac or on a tablet, for example, and a preference for one or the other that come to mind? I'm just curious. - Do we cover email? - No, we didn't. It's a good one. - Yeah, email for me, it's everywhere. It's like, it doesn't matter for me so much of email because I don't really go to email very much. Email comes to me, right? So I will mostly handle email wherever I am, whenever the thing comes to me and I'm gonna reply to. I have notifications on for email and that's typically just how I do it. When I worked in my office job, I actually just checked email a few times a day. So I would go in and check email a couple of times a day. But with what I do now, I much prefer to just have to deal with email whenever I see something I need to deal with. So in that sense, I do email from everything and I'm using the app Spark and that works for me and it's basically the same application everywhere. So it doesn't really feel very different. - Okay, now fair enough. I dabbled with Spark there for a while and I'm trying to remember why I went away from it. It was, I think it was one of those service side cache credentials and things maybe. I was going through a bit of a privacy bent at the time. I think, yeah. has that. I actually am not the biggest fan of the application itself, but I'm a big fan of their team services. It works really well for me. Okay. I never actually delved into that too much. So, well, it sounds interesting. It's very particular, right? Like if you don't have a team, a small team or like that you have control over in regards to what services could be used, right? Then it seems unlike, I can't imagine people being able to, they're working for a big company and convince everyone to go to Spark. It doesn't work. But because I run my own small business, I can say, "Oh no, for our team email, we're going to use this, and that's what we will use because that's what I need." So it's like a different environment. And I think that's probably the difficulty of running a service like that. It's not like a, they're not this huge enterprise company, like a Slack or whatever. So I don't really know what the future of a service is like that, but I know for me right now, it's working great. - Interesting. Okay, cool. So for me, I have two different apps that I use for my email. I've got Microsoft Outlook, which I more or less exclusively use for my JIB job for work. And I use that to essentially put it in a bucket and say, you work email, sit over there and I'll open you when I wanna open you, which is eight till five, Monday to Friday, generally speaking. And if someone calls me on the phone on the weekend or after hours and says, "Hey, I sent you an email," which is always hilarious, someone calling you and saying, "Hey, I sent you an email," but nevermind. So that's something I'll do almost exclusively on the desktop environment. And that's mainly because I'm using my laptop when I'm working. Whereas on an iPad and an iPhone, I will do that when I'm out and about if I have to, if I'm out and about during the day, but it's a separate app again. And I just use the built-in mail app for everything else. As much as I have a love-hate relationship with it, it kind of mostly usually does the job and it's good enough. And again, I'll email, I tend to try and email as much as I can on the desktop because I prefer the keyboard. If I only have my iPad with me, I will use the iPad, of course, but generally speaking, I'll, 'cause email being an asynchronous thing, typically I'll wait until I'm in a more suitable environment with the best keyboard and the nicest screens and everything and, you know, whatever, whatever, just makes it easier. So, anyhow, all right, cool. So, there's email. Any others that come to mind? I don't think so. I think we've covered the vast majority of the, honestly, the types of work that I do. Okay, fair enough. So, I guess then just looking to sort of like wrapping up a little bit on this is that I was thinking about if you've got, if it's a portability debate, then once your performance or the performance of your portable device exceeds the requirements for any given task, then the portability or not of it doesn't matter anymore because it's essentially fully performant for whatever you might need. So as we evolve forward, imagine in future a perfectly light, fully performant, unbreakable, yeah, well, I can dream, an unbreakable tablet. So you drop it from three feet off the ground and it's totally fine. So it's like, it doesn't matter anymore. You can't make the argument, well, you know, I don't want to use a tablet because it's too easy to break or, you know, it's not as performant as something like an iMac Pro. There will come a time when its performance will far exceed, if it doesn't already, for some Macs, desktop Macs actually come to think of it. And such, that's not a problem. It's all about the interface. It's like, what's the best interface? And then of course you can go the other way and say, well, imagine it's a desktop PC or a Mac and it's connected to multiple massive screens. And maybe the screens are worth $10,000 because it's only money. It's an XDR display, you know, and so on with a nice stand. Nevermind. But the idea is you've got a massive array of screen real estate, best keyboard, best mouse, best track pad, arguably most of those exist already. So it's now down to the interface. And what does it, which is the optimal interface for the application that you're using? And if you are able to have a device of each type, then that's great. And understanding which device you should go to and having the flexibility to choose. I think that the time we live in is amazing because we are rapidly reaching that point where you could use a smartphone for everything. You could use an iPad Pro for everything or even a MacBook Pro or an iMac Pro for pretty much anything and having that flexibility is great. And if you can manage to have multiple devices, then you can fine tune to a point where you are using the best application and the best device for what you need, which is awesome. - Yeah, I think so. Which I mean, it's a great time to be a computer user, right? - Yeah, exactly, exactly. I think it's fantastic. And I just, every now and then I walk outside and I forget to take my phone, but that's okay I've got my Apple Watch on and it's got LTE and I can still send and receive messages and phone calls and it's just incredible and I love it and I think that the future is only going to have more options not less and then you could argue that now it's creating more of a dilemma but how do you choose? All right so if you want to talk more about this you can reach me on the Fediverse at [email protected]. You can find Pragmatic at or you can follow engineered underscore net on Twitter to see show specific announcements. If you're enjoying Pragmatic and and want to support the show, you can via Patreon at or one word with a thank you to all of our patrons and a special thank you to our silver producers, Carsten Hansen, John Whitlow, Joseph Antonio and Kevin Koch and an extra special thank you to our gold producer known only as R. Patron rewards include a named thank you on the website, a named thank you at the end of episodes, access to raw detailed show notes as well as ad-free high quality releases of every episode. So if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, there's lots of great rewards and beyond that it's all really, really appreciated. Of course, there's other ways of helping the show like favoring the episode in your podcast player app or sharing the episode or the show with your friends or via social. Some podcast players let you share audio clips too of episodes, so if you have a favorite segment feel free to share that as well. All these things help others to discover the show and can make a huge difference. I'd personally like to thank ManyTricks for sponsoring the Engineered Network. If you're looking for some Mac software that can do many tricks, remember specifically visit this URL, for more information about their amazingly useful apps. So, if you would like to get in touch with Mike, what's the best way for them to get in touch with you, Mike? I'm pretty much on all social networks. It's imike, I-M-Y-K-E. Awesome. Well, that's easy. So, once again, a special thank you to our patrons, a big thank you to everyone for listening and as always, thanks once again for coming back on the show, Mike. It's been a blast. Pleasure. Thank you for having me. Anytime. [MUSIC PLAYING] (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (Music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) (upbeat music) [Music]
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Episode Gold Producer: 'r'.
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Myke Hurley

Myke Hurley

Myke co-runs the popular podcast network and also writes occasionally at his blog.

John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.