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August 6, 2019
437: The Credit Section
Dan and Merlin explore the complexities of personal style. Not personal style as in fashion, but as in preferences, identity, and modes of interaction. How do we let others know how we are? How do we derive a sense of what works best for us, and why is it such a shameful struggle to effectively communicate that to others? What do AirPods, Snapchat, and Bloomberg Terminals potentially have in common? And, would it be cool if I just listen to this podcast instead of talking about my blouse and the weather?
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65 min
July 30, 2019
436: Better Than a Lipstick
DISCUSSED: the admirable candor of B.B. King; the simple joys of the Ordinary Night; movies that are or are not dated and how that affects your enjoyment; how sci-fi seemed to mostly miss the internet; our embarrassment of media options; tech in media and what it means for plot stuff; technology adoption curves are definitely speeding up; doing everything you can not to use your phone as a phone; more generational stuff; how time and context changes our perception; should they take all the smoking out of movies and tv?; remember: you're not making errors—you're adding information; and, finally, Dan has an exciting announcement and a wet notebook.
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70 min
July 23, 2019
435: Scanner of Horizons
DISCUSSED: kindness; eyeglasses, at length—including eyeglasses indignities, discounts, and injuries; a renewed surfeit of dingalings, fake friends, and a dumb podcast hit piece; and, finally, your hosts respond to a listener question on getting stressed about personal quantization.
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74 min
July 16, 2019
434: Grist for an Unnecessary Mill
Show notes are short this week because Merlin had to go buy contrast paints for his figs. Main topic is speculating about speculation.
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73 min
July 2, 2019
433: The Muscle of Worry
DISCUSSED: Dan has found a terrific solution for his son's iPad case; on the benefits (and challenges) of getting away from our devices for a while; listener recommendations for YouTube keyboard commands, a book about cities, and some Disney scholarship; and, finally, your hosts respond to a listener's question about "circular thoughts."
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68 min
June 25, 2019
432: Fingerspace Pollution
DISCUSSED: Merlin is a little hoarse; but what's an actual pony versus an actual little horse?; there's a lot of sadness and housing problems in the Hundred Acre Wood; the challenges of recommending starter media; the further challenges of being a media super-fan; (and how this relates to not seeing The Flintstones and stealing a copy of Fight Club from Blockbuster Video); Florida is hot; may everyone live long enough to feel bad for saying something really stupid on a podcast; is Piglet a small pig or just a pig baby?; Dan needs your help to find Cash a durable iPad case and keyboard solution; Merlin needs your help understanding the logic of keyboard media keys; to Dan, Piglet was always a baby pig; then, there's some follow-up on Disney parks; Dan again threatens to permanently ruin Disney for you, but he promises to clearly bracket it; and, finally, Dan has had it with people stealing flu valor. Just stop it, people.
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75 min
June 20, 2019
431: Costly Branded Waiting
First and most importantly, Dan is back! Woo! Second, now, listen: please bear with me, and do not leave. Because, when I say we talked mostly about Disney—and especially Disney properties—it's way more interesting than you'd think. Or, so we hope. Essentially, Walt Disney World in particular has the control, data, and means to be extremely good at resource management, and that's just fascinating to think about. There's also some thank-you's, as well as some podcast recommendations, plus a response to a listener's question about choosing to use Apple's native apps.
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101 min
June 14, 2019
430: Shiny Red Cleric
Dan's away this week, so Merlin tries going it alone. Topics include lessons from painting D&D minifigs, listener letters, and some recommendations. Feel better soon Dan; we need you!
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59 min
June 4, 2019
429: A Seer of Trees
DISCUSSED: Merlin has a catastrophic off-by-one-week error; Roderick's June is very triggering to your hosts; sometimes, it's nice to be exposed to stuff you didn't expect, but…; at a certain point in life, you mostly just see trees of inconvenience and risk; this leads to a long (and surprisingly pretty good) meditation on FOMO, acceptance, and not pretending to be a person you never actually were; Dan helps Merlin unpack a scene near his workplace; Merlin gets in the weeds about Roger Deakins, Torquay, and two different Richards Burton; then, there's a brief side trip into the reboot of Nick Fury; and, finally the boys answer listener questions about taking notes in college and feeling resistance to completing tasks.
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92 min
May 28, 2019
428: Prepare for Draculas
DISCUSSED: Nobody got enough sleep last night, but they're gonna power through anyhow; your hosts fawn over the amazing Chernobyl miniseries; various hardware mute button options are discussed; Merlin can't draw but is very excited about making pictures on an iPad; Dan is looking forward to seeing more Olyphant; your hosts address a listener's question about their "everyday carry," but honestly mostly end up talking about bags; also, you really need a bag in a bag in a bag; and, finally Merlin has an admittedly privileged aspiration involving keys.
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84 min
May 21, 2019
427: C. Thomas Hobbled
DISCUSSED: nasty, brutish, and short sleep; watching TV with a game controller; Dan has to deal with suite concatenation; your hosts crave the expertise of a craftsman; Merlin realizes he and his lady friend see very different forests (spoiler: hers is way better); popcorn ceiling comes in cans; your hosts contrast their views on kipple, sentimentality, and need; Dan struggles to turn off his buttons, and Merlin loves his iPad's Paste button; provisional, anecdotal praise for AT&T's Call Protect service; there's a distinction between long sleep and good sleep; Dan has to stab a prestige TV doppelgänger, and Merlin learns about Night Company; Merlin has recommendations for a Mac automation app, a new David Sparks Field Guide, and a handy new IoT dingus; speculation that smart home adoption truly won't tip until the interactions get less dorky; mobile charging options for travel are debated; everybody needs a Dad Hat; and, finally, with only three days of school left, Dan receives a very concerning email.
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98 min
May 14, 2019
426: New Wave Night
DISCUSSED: Dan has a new setup, and Merlin randomly recommends a kids' book; your hosts remember too much; Dan realizes he took the wrong shop class, and Merlin realizes why Generation X was (and remains) mostly useless; Dan walks us through his new setup, and the boys talk about the joys of VNC; Merlin is excited about the new "Guard" functionality of the Amazon voice dingus; Ferris Bueller's Day Off is still very good; what is the sound of one Koan falling?; your hosts discuss an article proposing why everything should take 20 minutes; Merlin dives deep on his own longstanding use of this heuristic; this leads to some classic #productivity talk; there's some instamatic camera nostalgia; Dan has a new project, and you should maybe contact him; Once AGAIN!; the glory of Spirited Away is discussed; Dan recommends a good TV show for date night; and, finally, Dan and Merlin admit they'd probably watch basically anything about Watchmen.
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88 min
May 7, 2019
425: Off the Cushion
DISCUSSED: Dan explains what the photos he sends mean; Merlin encourages Dan to air a beef, and Dan kindly assents; Oh, boy, Windows! My old nemesis…Windows!; the Mac's interoperability glory days were amazing; it really sucks to watch a computer start up and start up and start up; ports confuse Merlin, who is now officially an old; Dan and Merlin talk about a few things they enjoyed watching on YouTube; Merlin has a recommendation for downloading internet videos (purely for educational reasons); Merlin also recommends a really good podcast episode about "data-driven parenting"; then, Merlin kinda pops off a little; hey, listen: you can rarely have benefits without risks (and kinda vice-versa); Dan's watching Deadwood again, and Merlin gets kinda excitable again and does lots of quotes for some reason; and, finally, Merlin has a super-tip about improving your results in Apple Health.
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90 min
April 30, 2019
424: A Roach Riding a Rat
DISCUSSED: the restorative tonic of a good night's sleep; a return to sleep as video game; it's okay to tweet your hosts about hoagies and Publix; concerns about butt cancer; Dan recommends a Netflix series; Merlin endorses Overcast clips; the difficulty of balancing user requests with reality; Merlin commends the deliberate simplicity of his daughter's spork; Merlin recommends a podcast; and, finally, your hosts respond to a listener's email about the therapeutic benefits of "controlling a small area."
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73 min
April 23, 2019
423: It Only Hurts for a Minute
DISCUSSED: Dan and Merlin get hungry, but they've had it with all the bread; the trough food is so costly; no one is sweating Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons; Marvel-ish movies are discussed, including the new one with Lady Sansa; Merlin is very concerned about aphasias; Dan introduces us to Forbidden Snacks and endorses his new shoe appliance; shoe appliances are then discussed; Dan hasn't had to use his sword…yet; people sure love them some pencils; there was some weather, so the seder got all fakakte; the finer points of Judaism and sundry Hebraica are clarified; Dan got scrolls-on-tape from a sympathetic cantor; Buster Scruggs is recommended; the boys receive a quick surprise visit from the great Tom Waits; and, finally, your hosts talk about a terrific YouTube video about what we can all learn from our worst trainwrecks.
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88 min
April 16, 2019
422: Magic Rub
DISCUSSED: Dan has just started a new pen; there's some pen, pencil, and eraser talk; Dan has an important anecdote about utilizing eraser-based people skills; Dan's iMac is working fine, but he's concerned about the poofs coming out of the balloon blower; Dan saw Venom and has some thoughts; Merlin commends a comic and a podcast and an app launcher; the evolution of computer interaction has rewired our brains; why do they have to make the print so small?; Merlin has songs in his head; and, finally, Merlin apologizes to Nick Fury.
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70 min
April 9, 2019
421: Black Dress Cowboy Boots
DISCUSSED: What we talk about when we talk about optimism; the power of "Act as Though"; on edibles; a YouTube recommendation, then more YouTube recommendations; how even do we tell YouTube what we never want to see again? HOW?!; the difficulty of sensible algorithms; the fascinating concept of "pareidolia"; Professor Shoelaces's extensive metatags; your hosts answer a listener's question about when to go physical versus when to go digital.
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72 min
April 3, 2019
420: Baby Thorin
DISCUSSED: Merlin is back on his old cans; Dan is pivoting to video; Cash stepped in paint, and kids are terrible storytellers; a book recommendation; a case for the Oxford comma, please and thank you; Dan starts asking for help with his new iMac; gross nickel–and-diming by Apple; praise for Southwest Airlines; Dan (finally) gets to finish asking for help with his new iMac; a cool new open source Mac video app; the Mac laptop keyboard problems ain't going away; Dan really likes Final Cut; Merlin fights with UPS, both on principle and as a game; Merlin thinks Dan's egg cooker rules.
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67 min
March 26, 2019
419: The Elephant in the Sword
DISCUSSED: allergy attack!; big anniversary today; elegy for Two Cats Comics; some D&D talk; Dan got a sword!; yet more D&D talk; key commands for line-moving; Dan got his YouTube URL back; a Theranos book recommendation; Dan almost got cast in a TV show; some observations and reckons about Apple's big Services event.
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102 min
March 19, 2019
418: This Man…This Monster!
DISCUSSED: Top o' the Morling!; praise for the home release of Spider-Verse; Dan and Merlin offer some more TV recommendations; Merlin endorses an excellent "turns out" podcast; a deep dive on slow-rise squishes and related stress toys; Merlin wears his childhood privilege on his sleeve. Finally, the guys answer an excellent listener question about the complex work of maintaining a household with someone you love.
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73 min
March 12, 2019
417: Fish Bishop
DISCUSSED: Merlin is trying some new things and probably needs to adjust his DIP switches; audio equipment is discussed; remembering Hal Blaine; German words; fish dropsy; dining at Alamo Draft House; kids and crafts; follow-up on Power Puttering; recommending a Siracusa anecdote; recommending a philosophy podcast; recommending several cool products; some strong (if muddled) thoughts on the Michael Jackson documentary.
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70 min
March 5, 2019
416: A Squishy for the Ages
DISCUSSED: Merlin is living the Domino lifestyle; R.I.P. Two Cats Comics; praise for iA Writer; Merlin needs help with his sudden Gmail spam; a meditation on comics as some awesome fun and an ugly damned business; nostalgia for hobby shops and Expedition to the Barrier Peaks; and finally Merlin reintroduces the concept of "Power Puttering."
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75 min
February 26, 2019
415: Fifty and Monogamous
DISCUSSED: Dan has an awesome new video; Spider-Verse is out!; Merlin's dorky Segway is discussed; app recommendations for a clean new Gmail and an even-smarter Dark Sky; Dan spills the beans on his new sound bar setup; TV selection and purchase is a known thistle; idiot trolls hassle poor Carol Danvers; Dan has an important new egg technology; and, finally, the boys fret about Apple's new 2FA requirements a little.
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70 min
February 19, 2019
414: Inheritance of Pain
Mostly one big topic: screen time.
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71 min
February 12, 2019
413: Bumbleditch Cumperdam
DISCUSSED: It's the optimistic day, but Merlin really screwed up an edit; there's some Inside Baseball about how podcasts get made; it's nice to have someone notice the shaving cream on your jowl; movie ratings are explored; why all the bosoms in 80s movies?; Dan wonders if he should have approached a celebrity; Merlin introduces further thought technologies for not being a creep with a famous person; the paucity of public experiences; Dan talks about Austin's mussel water; we learn about the prevalence of weevils; meth sourcing; a nice note from a listener about when podcasts are absolutely not evil; and, finally, a desperate plea for podcast platforms to stay independent and open please please pretty please.
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76 min
February 5, 2019
412: A Hobo in a Cartoon
DISCUSSED: Gong Hei Fat Choy!; follow-up on the FaceTime bug and the complexity of getting bug and security reports from normals; the weirdness of bug-finders demanding a bounty; Merlin is fascinated to learn about "combinatorial explosion" and how it helps to explain why power-cycling fixes stuff; why you should always blow the dust out of the plug; recent examples of how restarting just fixes stuff; Merlin logs out of email apps and recommends an iOS calendar app; a case for killing OAuth where you don't need it; and, finally, your hosts respond to a listener question about whether podcasts can be "evil."
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76 min
January 29, 2019
411: It's Not Butt
DISCUSSED: Dan's fighting his computer and explores font corruption; Merlin hates pebbles in his shoe; Dan has an anecdote about massages; Merlin has an anecdote about the FaceTime exploit; this leads to discussion about how big companies deal with huge-scale, unexpected problems; some thoughts on The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect; the problem with journalism about stuff we actually know about; remembering Michael Crichton; Heartbeeps!; a clever way to reduce damage from careless delivery; is there a new Browser War underway?; and answering a question from Listener Stephen about life after Editorial.
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81 min
January 22, 2019
410: The Childhood Cocktail
DISCUSSED: dreams and whether people like hearing them; turns out: Merlin recommends a podcast episode about mental stuff; practice vs. rehearsal; visualization as a rehearsal thing; follow-up on science fair projects; our new, post-search-engine habits; Math is hard; Merlin didn't get Anna's emails; cool screen-grabbing mojo; and Dan reviews excellent listener book recommendations.
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61 min
January 15, 2019
409: He Says Hard
DISCUSSED: moisture; kids and watches; some recent media consumption; encouraging kids to have good taste; memories of watching VHS movies in school; follow-up on Dan's new keyboard experiment; Drobo concerns; thinking about modern backup and, gosh, how that's evolved; frustrating typos; Dan and Merlin have iOS concerns; Dan has further thoughts on Bandersnatch.
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64 min
January 8, 2019
408: The Pwn Key
DISCUSSED: Optimistic Tuesdays; office cleanup; a grave bleach mishap; follow-up on Wirecutter; a listener suggestion on, of all things, acupressure; Dan loves his cool new keyboard, but has a big caveat; Merlin is working with magnets; on "Hardware Disease"; request for Riordan-style book recommendations; exciting follow-up on the Burger Decay Project; plus, some closing thoughts on Apple's recent results dustup and what it might suggest about near-future tech trends.
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75 min
January 3, 2019
407: The Wad-Shooter Option
DISCUSSED: "Rabbit Rabbit!"; partial shutdown and the toilet problems it creates; updates on options for Bluetooth keyboards; some extremely random and anecdotal reckoning about the recent Big Apple News; your hosts' beef with Wirecutter; some odds and sods recommendations and cool life hacks.
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93 min
December 24, 2018
406: Peak Burger Decay
It's the most wonderful time of the year, so the boys answer listener mail and get a little silly. Happy Holidays, jackals.
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59 min
December 18, 2018
405: Can You Feed Coke to Rocks?
Discussed: the harsh mistress of holidays, Hanukah presents, Cash's cool gift, the joys of good UX, some excellent very good recommendations, an exciting Science experiment involving hamburgers, kids are terrible at writing things down, things that changed Merlin's game, and some excellent follow-up on how we recognize number patterns. Happy Holidays, you jackals.
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82 min
December 11, 2018
404: Very Advanced Camping
Discussed: Merlin worries that Dan is getting ground down; web sites are getting very thirsty; Dan thinks it's like pads in football; Dan has updates and more thoughts about doing development work on an iPad; Merlin thinks we should talk more about which devices we choose for doing which things; the boys also have some recommendations.
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73 min
December 4, 2018
403: It's Just a Salad
Discussed: Why Tuesday is the optimistic day; pourover coffee for Dan's wife; confirm shaming; updates on iPad keyboards and covers; approximately annual history of "Bawk Bawk!"; some thoughts on Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart; kids and learning Programming; the things that are difficult to teach anyone.
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82 min
November 27, 2018
402: Watches & Barbecue
Discussed: Thanksgiving; spatchcock chicken; kids and their stupid eating; Dan's concern about how we talk to each other; Merlin encourages people to try not to be terrible. Also, some odds and sods on iPad Pro updates, and thanks to our nice listeners.
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83 min
November 20, 2018
401: Carrier Fluid
Discussed this week: Dan's MOSH setup on iPad; Dan's new NEW iPad; ease of setup on iOS; some iOS photo editing app recommendations; two things Merlin learned this week; and a little rant about how everybody apparently already knows everything.
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77 min
November 12, 2018
400: In The Penal Colony
Dan and Merlin talk about their first week using the new iPad Pro.
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76 min
November 6, 2018
399: Blue Whale Salt
Discussed this week: coffee water, voting, inertia, new iPads on the way, difficult buying decisions, returning merchandise (as a thing), some TV suggestions, Dan's new ODROID, 80s video game nostalgia, asking for your iPad-at-work input, plus seeking suggestions for apps for new joggers.
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66 min
October 30, 2018
398: So Much Unnecessary Beauty
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Apple's Fall event in Brooklyn today. They liked the event.
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83 min
October 23, 2018
397: My Manager is Water
Discussed: nailing it, the optimistic valence of Tuesdays, difficulties finding replacement parts on Amazon, headphone preferences, Alexa's service outage and new whisper mode, Austin's big water crisis and what it says about epistemology, reason, and society, plus 20 years of The Big Lebowski.
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80 min
October 16, 2018
396: Bean in the Sleeve
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the FitBit Charge 3 and where it fits into their worlds—as well its place in the larger tracker and smart watch ecosystems. Excursions also include: BroBot, weather stations, weather apps, some TV and movie talk, some space talk, plus children's failures to understand how time basically works.
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81 min
October 9, 2018
395: My Sleeves are Dynamic
Discussed: the tyranny of earliness, the benefits of timeliness, an interesting horology episode about Apple Watch, more watch talk, a blog recommendation, a quick look at Merlin's new FitBit, an update on home WiFi options, Merlin raps a little, Dan gets wired for Ethernet, what we'd like so see in an updated Mac Mini, some listener followup on Bear export and (deliberately) slow interfaces, considering oneself touch-ed, skeuomorphic sounds, and various Florida wildlife encounters.
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67 min
October 2, 2018
394: Dead or Angry
This week: some TV and movie stuff, Dark Mode and accessibility, OS stability and beta temptation, Merlin has an anecdote, the powers and frustrations of Siri via Apple Watch, updates to the Fitbit family, tech that does enough, Dan tried Bear, updates on the Chrome login thing, and an intriguing listener comment about Apple's ASP/inch3.
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76 min
September 25, 2018
393: Legacy Meat Stuff
This week, Merlin's got a LOT going on. Full Catastrophe Living! Discussed: booger colors, some tv and movies, a dream deferred, various X-Persons, loving GoodTask 3, plus Dan and Merlin just cannot remember many, many things. Next, your hosts dive into their first day with Mojave and reminisce about the days when you could make your Finder look all steampunk. This leads to a deeper dive on what the future of Macs might be and why they feel how they do (hint: they are both kind of old). They also both want to know what the heck is going on with Chrome, and Dan pitches a movie.
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88 min
September 18, 2018
392: Gentleman's Calling
A classic odds-and-sods episode, featuring important discussions about sleep tracking, the Apple Watch, Succession, sound bars, Chris Nolan's Batman, and Nintendo Online.
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80 min
September 11, 2018
391: The September Issue
Discussed: upcoming Apple announcements; do people with bigger screens use more apps more often?; some follow-up on adaptive testing; and comics for kids. Your hosts answer a listener question about knowing when it's time to quit something.
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76 min
September 4, 2018
390: A Festive Merry-Go-Round for the Very Lonely
Skype gets way too ambitious; sprinkling sauce on a service; a mandatory social network for doorbells; Dan acquires a new deity; some excellent listener follow-up on Computerized Adaptive Testing; Dan takes his boy to see a bona fide cinema classic; Dan has some great TV recommendations; Merlin reports in from the deep weeds of a fraught smart speaker ecosystem.
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75 min
August 28, 2018
389: Butt Baking
Discussed: homework and testing; wallets and wallet philosophies; things to learn from wallet philosophy; how to fall asleep; watching Star Trek; Dan's new smart speaker; Merlin yells at Alexa several times.
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84 min
August 21, 2018
388: Defcon Water
Discussed: courting a vegetarian; The Information Problem; FU on Dan's new slide remote and keyboard; also, belts; travel pre-screening options; a recommended article on hypocognition; Dan saw IT; thoughts on Twiki and Erin Grey; and Dan's recent home problem.
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86 min
August 17, 2018
387: Deploy the Dongle
Discussed: tech that's gotten so much more dependable (and, yeah, so much less dependable); Dan needs a new presenter remote; Marvel's First Family (finally) returns; who would win if The Hulk fought The Thing?; Merlin introduces Dan to the Ponyverse; some camp equipment follow-up; and Merlin goes off on the awesomeness of libraries with some hot new service recommendations.
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71 min
August 7, 2018
386: Cherry Brown
Discussed: Merlin sounds like a saxophone, keyboards are extensively discussed, pros and cons of various MacsBooks Pro, Dan likes using one monitor, pining for best-of-class hardware from Cupertino, Merlin has dorky and boring follow-up, recommending an Apple Watch sleep app and an iOS location tracker, some excellent ice replacements, Dan's favorite bespoke cooler, a disappointing belt, a very good belt, Dan gets a creepy email, Merlin did NOT forget something, Cash gets more cool stuff, and Merlin recommends a Zelda tome.
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81 min
July 31, 2018
385: A Picture of a Clown
Discussed: current monospaced font preferences, experimenting with text sizing, getting on the sucker list, old McDonalds had some styrofoam, new tech that would kill old stories, kids bewilderment with old tech, the bonkersness of Face/Off, wonderful listener gifts for Cash, a book about anxiety Merlin likes. Dan and Merlin also answer listener questions about mise en place and doubting one's future after college.
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77 min
July 24, 2018
384: Cosmic Jazz Hands
Merlin really likes the ones where Dan prepares. Discussed: four-twenty in The Mile High state, some tv and movie recommendations, the creativity that comes from constraints, The Information Problem, plus thanks for some lovely gifts to Cash from listeners. Most of the episode focuses on a provocative new article about whether podcast hosting should be "free." Merlin nerds out on iOS Trackpad mode, and Dan drops a Science Corner about heat versus temperature. Also: Star Trek.
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68 min
July 10, 2018
383: Funding the Unicorn
This week: Dan may or may not be sanguine, and Merlin is having another meetup; comics, movie and TV discussion (and recommendations) abound; Cash is impatient for a red DS; the magic of ubiquitous capture is extolled; Merlin has a problematic thumb and spends hours on the phone with AT&T; a book about anxiety is endorsed; handles for the emotional suitcase are offered; a new unicorn is born; and, Merlin has a summer project for you to try.
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75 min
July 3, 2018
382: Bad Tech Dad
Dan's ex-cold, some media recommendations, strobe light problems, Dan's new phone, bad eyeglasses, your fault versus your problem, plus listener feedback about estimating hours and costs.
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78 min
June 26, 2018
381: Sandwich Doctor
Discussed this week: head colds, Florida, vitamin shots, Pleiades, Pigeon Pose, a new kind of spam, some media recommendations, iOS 12, and a listener question about a job they just don’t wanna do.
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72 min
June 12, 2018
380: Chung Chung Machine
Follow-up on the Benjamin family phone plan, what it's like to use a phone that's not a phone anymore, excitement for Siri Shortcuts, an AR measurement app recommendation, Dan's new TV recommendations, some travel headphone recommendations, massive disruption in the fizzy water space, some pseudo-insider-ish follow-up on Siri, plus Dan's adventure back into the world of Android and how it went.
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92 min
June 5, 2018
379: Permanent Hole
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about some of their favorite announcements at the big computer show. They also deep dive into how to handle the Benjamin family's need for a new phone.
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71 min
May 29, 2018
378: A Hong Kong Phooey Situation
Discussed this week: media dustups, the deleterious career effects of social media, a week or so of Instagram, love of dogs, a podcast appearance, two great services for spotting fake Amazon reviews, some Netflix recommendations, Inspector Gadget, remastering Star Trek, kids and black & white movies, serious mail, inventing The Sabbath, and some freestyle advice.
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70 min
May 22, 2018
377: Packs a Lot of Lux
Discussed: trust my method, beards, foo bar baz, casting Mysterio, villains of Peter Spiderman, an unpaid debt to Dan, medieval electric billing, endorsing Evil Genius and Belief, the power of Spotify podcasts via Alexa, more on Apple TV and voice commands, the pain of scrubbing, 4k HDR via Movies Anywhere, a question on soundbars, Hulu's awesome new "Live Guide" (finally!), a word on TV remote usability, eero's new "Labs," updates to Spark, a new light therapy lamp, and some suggestions on getting a FitBit.
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77 min
May 15, 2018
376: Alexa, Light It Up!
Discussed: lame patents, Salvador Dalí, allergy season, backpack discrimination, friend cosplay, things Dan can't say, AT&T woes, Merlin saw a bear, a YouTube rabbit hole, and some excellent historical Disney content. Dan and Merlin answer a listen's questions about sleep tracking and leveraging Alexa at the office.
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70 min
May 8, 2018
375: Night Punching
Discussed: time flies, nesting dolls, cloud saves for Switch, oy vey the service subscriptions, wheat and chess boards, WiFi and health, abdomen cinchers, more Netflix recommendations, the hollow face illusion, Marked 2 update, and a couple more recommendations. Dan and Merlin answer a listener's question about balancing work momentum and "down time."
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79 min
May 1, 2018
374: Pouchboy
Discussed: places that are closed, dinosaur eyes that follow you, a TV show about makeup, some thoughts on Infinity War, the joy of content that really nails the medium, more on B2W shirts, Merlin hates everything, eminent domain, Dan has questions about Venom, Merlin recommends Uncanny X-Force (Remender & Opeña), and Rob Liefeld's pouch life. Your hosts also answer listener questions about finding a mentor and knowing if it's time to move on from a job.
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85 min
April 24, 2018
373: Red Cheekums
Discussed: Dan's gummi vitamins, vitamins in general, the childhood shame of those weird plaque pills, exotic sickness images, Fifth Disease comes to Austin, Dan's car troubles, Faraday Cages and how to build them, a potential t-shirt for you. Dan was cleaning out his garage, and Merlin has a lot to say about the philosophy and practical components of getting rid of junk at scale. Also, Dan really kills it on eBay. Merlin is very excited about Fantastic Four coming back and has some potential warnings about the new Wes Anderson film. Spoilers: there's nothing weak about knowing what freaks you out. Also, the boys discuss why Merlin changed his mic setup. Which is fascinating.
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108 min
April 17, 2018
372: Hole That Rabbit
This week, the boys discuss Drafts, The Archive, Merlin's love of Spotify, some great playlists, and weird rules for cheerleaders. In extensive follow-up, your hosts talk about the listener who was having trouble with addressing employees and social media use. This goes lots of interesting places. Next up, even more input from listeners on social media policies and living life in a fishbowl.
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91 min
April 10, 2018
371: Avocado People
Bula vinaka, bee tee dubs nation! This is an epic odds and sods episode, replete with TV follow-up, font follow-up, and Wild, Wild Country follow-up, along with book recommendations, happy Splatoon 2 talk, and a pretty terrible 70s board game. Also, ubi sunt retail amirite? Also, your hosts finally (finally!) address a listener's excellent and very difficult question about her millennial employee's use of social media. Lot of levels!
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94 min
April 3, 2018
370: King Jeremy the Wicked
This week, Dan and Merlin discuss Jessica Jones and the problem of super power constitution, plus some more Netflix recommendations ("Look away! Looooook awaaaaay!"). They also do a dive into updates on the monospace fonts they like and use. Next, up they talk about the new app, The Archive, contrasting with nvALT. Finally, your hosts answer an excellent listener question about struggling to manage more experienced developers.
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100 min
March 27, 2018
369: Comic Blood
This week, your hosts say "Bula Vinaka!" They also discuss phone cards, some Netflix recommendations, Merlin's phone usage, and "accidentally" getting punched in the face by your kid. Of course, they also talk about the TV and voice control ecosystems. They also respond to listener questions about better active listening, and how they each take notes for podcasts.
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79 min
March 20, 2018
368: Call the Mouse Guy
This week, your hosts discuss Steely Dan, digital mastering, The Police, Dune, high-quality VCRs, and Dan's brother-in-law's close call. Next, they dive into a fascinating article on why projects fail. Finally, the boys respond to a listener's question about cautious workplace enthusiasm.
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74 min
March 13, 2018
367: A Favorite Child
This week, your hosts talk about some stuff they're doing, loving Spotify, some Echo podcast-listening tips, the attraction of Google Drive, some thoughts on backup strategies, getting swole, the joys of rock tumbler ownership, scary times in Austin, weird iMac problems, some more thoughts on backup strategies, Merlin's obsession with drumming videos, and yet more Apple TV foibles.
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79 min
March 6, 2018
366: Five Sides of the Street
This week, your hosts talk about using Windows, technology modalities, making sane decisions as a developer, reality TV, 20th anniversary of The Dude, Merlin's new fondness for Spotify, analyzing takes on the HomePod, options for high-quality in smart speakers, dealing with recurring financial (and psychological) eels, competitive heat in the smart home ecosystem, Canadians, and the name of Scotland Yard. They also answer a listener question about feeling overwhelmed by content options.
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83 min
February 27, 2018
365: Volume Eight
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about weather as a thing and giving up on Cash's dumb iPad problem. This leads to discussion about the risks, opportunities, and frustrations of having lots of data in different places (probably). The main topic this week is an exploration of TickTick. Neat app. They also almost talk about Black Panther.
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83 min
February 20, 2018
364: The New Fudge
This week, Dan and Merlin talk a little too much about Harry Potter, but also manage to cover some other media properties as well as the shockingly limited options for British casting. Dan has a new task management app, and Merlin decides to give it a spin too. The need for help from the jackals who make Cash's iPad app is escalated. In a somewhat classic style, the conversation moves to considering Big Issues around work, friction, modality, usability, and apps for pound-sign productivity. Twitter, its apps, and its perplexing (lack of?) company direction are discussed. Merlin has something like a razor for this. Dan is told that he is upset.
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84 min
February 13, 2018
363: She's My Horcrux
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about lots of recent experiences with the weird and often-frustrating world of streaming TV. What a mess. There's also some discussion of sauna suits, The Eagles, Mummers, and Dan's victorious t-shirt. Also, Dan needs your help with solving a terrible problem with one of Cash's iPad games.
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80 min
February 6, 2018
362: A Yuck and a Yum
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the Eagles' big win, what constitutes a catch, Dan's cool new shirt, Merlin's surprisingly positive interactions with Kabletown, the seeming magic of Movies Anywhere, some recent TV recommendations, and a great listener tip for using Nuzzel. Your hosts also respond to Listener Daniel's question about new job responsibilities making him feel like an impostor.
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69 min
January 30, 2018
361: Caveman Arithmetic
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about crazy kids' homework, Dan's exciting nerd field trips in the Bay Area, the magic of PIXAR, a handy Netflix companion site, and using Siri on Apple TV. Things get a little heated during a discussion about all the weirdly fawning coverage of HomePod—and whether or when Apple's new speaker dingus might find a place in your hosts' lives. Recommendations include a podcast with Hawkeye Pierce, an excellent boiled eggs recipe, and some cool TED-Ed videos. Your hosts respond to listener feedback about bitter Nintendo cartridges and field an interesting question about creating consumer-friendly tech support.
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83 min
January 24, 2018
360: I Haven't Lost My Knife
This week, Dan and Merlin talk a lot about writing and respond to feedback from listeners.
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76 min
January 16, 2018
359: You Can't See Inside the Dog
This week, Dan has some weather, Cash makes a battery, homework can be a silly drag, management is about scalability and quantification, how to figure out how much you have to do, 80s movies can be problematic, ultracrepidarianism, making fish wanna get nasty, and you gotta give people ONE suggestion. Great listener feedback on the evolution of pro kitchens, real-life risk aversion, and a terrific use of Echo's drop-in functionality. Also, the possibilities and shortcomings of Machine Learning are discussed.
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78 min
January 9, 2018
358: Dumb Ohio Mouth
This week, your hosts cover some odds and sods, share some recommendations, design some fantasy podcast apps, and introduce an exciting new feature involving the Internet Science Site. They also respond to a listener's thorny question about dealing with negative chatter in the workplace.
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92 min
January 2, 2018
357: Scrolling Carousel of Pain
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why they're trending, an exciting update on the Mr. Robot ATV bug, the frustrating opacity of using Apple's stuff, Dan's love for Nintendo Switch, nostalgia for NASA, Merlin's love for the Amazon Spot, the problem of fish food and regret, updates on your hosts' sleep technologies, possible solutions for killing spam on iPhone, and some more thoughts on dealing with Netflix's filtering, ratings, and…jeez kinda just everything about their dingaling interface.
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86 min
December 29, 2017
356: Politics or Gender or Iron Man
The boys wrap up a big year—a huge year—with an unintentionally thematic episode about feelings, expectations, nostalgia, and the black boxes of life, technological and otherwise.
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79 min
December 19, 2017
355: Eleven Dollars and a Bottle of Yoo-hoo
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about keyboard preferences (and their noises), Merlin catching Dan's weird "Mr. Robot" bug on Apple TV, feedback about "inside jokes," exclusion as a weapon, more good Robert Wright interviews, a deepish dive on Netflix personalization techniques (alongside some speculation on how well it's working), platforms and technologies as lobster traps, the problem with cartoons about screaming, how much kids love YouTube, the challenge of partnering with podcast middlepersons, a new Netflix show Dan likes, possibilities for new Marvel properties, and listener feedback on the potential benefits of using work tools you don't prefer.
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99 min
December 12, 2017
354: One Whale
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about (partial) resolution to Dan's Apple TV bug, some venting about delivery problems, general complaining about customer service, a good TV podcast episode, a very good Buddhism podcast episode, some excellent Buddhism talk, listener follow-up on Dan's strange video mail package, shakeups and wild innovation in the TV bidness, that creepy/mean Netflix tweet, and a listener's question about whether the tech requirements at a promising new job should be a deal-breaker.
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105 min
December 5, 2017
353: Superagency
This week, Dan and Merlin discuss theories on Dan's Mr. Robot/Apple TV bug, living in an opinion bubble, an update on flu shot efficacy, Dan's recent insane mail delivery, speculation on how giant ad buys work, consternation about memory-holed media. Your hosts respond to a listener's question about the difficulty of choosing a career path that wasn't what you'd expected. Merlin also explains his shaving strategy.
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100 min
December 1, 2017
352: Get Away From My Formular!
This week, Dan and Merlin talk about…so many things. Merlin had a lot of coffee. Big topics include: Flickr nostalgia (and smart photo backup tips) Dan's crazy Apple TV bug A terrific podcast episode about Buddhism and the human mind A tough listener question about gracefully leaving a job
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103 min
November 21, 2017
351: Your Chest Is a Tunnel
This week, your hosts discuss: holiday disruptions, life patterns, the joys of regularity, discovering unnecessary existential vulnerabilities, scheduling as a video game, getting your head around sous vide cooking, modern kids' arithmetic, CBD dosage stuff, using the Sway app, meditation for improving attention management, dealing with the character who speaks your internal voice, some hot tips on starting meditation, a historical video series Merlin's family likes, a quest for a typeface, nostalgia for teeny tiny fonts, a listener question about how to end a conference call, a recommendation for Netflix's The Punisher, and some angry attempts to conceal ma' secret formular.
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90 min
November 14, 2017
350: Stacking Stones and Inspiration
TOPIC: Integrity and Fear. This week your hosts discuss: sandwiches, solar power, some recent movies and what makes them memorable (or not), the glory of Edgar Wright, fun movie commentaries, Dan's rowing machine, big changes for Chairman Bendis, a cool free font from IBM, awesome creativity from a listener, some thoughts on apps for meditation and relaxation (and the important distinction between those things), the downside of Competitive Mindfulness and similar, some excellent feedback on last week's episode, the fear of integrity loss, Dan's trip to NYC, follow-up on resetting an iPhone, and the fine art of computer troubleshooting.
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102 min
November 7, 2017
349: The Kid Who Never Won Anything
TOPIC: Trials, Trophies, and Trying Harder. This week, the boys arrive from either the past or future to talk about Dan's spoon problem, the refuse racket, the slog of incremental improvement, the perils of black and white thinking, folding paper seven times, and Dan’s mad cart-riding skills. This leads to this week’s main topic: an epic exploration of success and failure. No spoilers, but this is a good one.
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104 min
October 31, 2017
348: Optionitis
Dan and Merlin talk about Halloween, the Chromebook, Apple, WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux), and hair removal.
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81 min
October 24, 2017
347: Beast Coast
TOPIC: Too much ambiguity in time. This week, your hosts discuss hot weather adjustments, Merlin's Skype woes, the state of the union on Skype replacement contenders, ruminations on Mac troubleshooting, the fraught future of retail comic book stores, a side rant on the really dumb economics of the comics industry, hobby shop nostalgia, lobby bell techniques and triangle mounting options, some great tips for pressing things on iOS Safari, the joys of Safari Reader mode, Chrome vs. Safari, changing our browser habits, and Dan's weird screen problem. Then, Merlin just goes freaking OFF on the problems with how we talk about time.
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89 min
October 23, 2017
346: Disagreement of the Genders
TOPIC: Turns out. This week, the boys talk about audio problems, hot dogs, kegeling, Merlin's next meet-up, Tsum Tsums, comic suggestions, Battle of the Sexes, excellent recent TV series, All the President's Men, the app Pacifica, warming buns, Dan's encounter with Koo Koo Kanga Roo, a dearth of good information about VPNs (yikes!), levels of "Turns Out," a podcast episode about gluten, and hot phones with possibly low batteries. In a very surprising "turns out," Dan has a surprising call that leads to a very interesting experience with a hardware device. Dan really wants macOS on an iPad. Don't at him. There's also some fruitful if fraught discussion about habit-building. Merlin is not a fan of "The Countdown." Dan is attacked by a sky spider and might have to move now.
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79 min
October 10, 2017
345: Chow Mein Hour
TOPIC: Surface Tension. This week, Dan and Merlin discuss names of cities in Florida, wireless neckbands, elliptical bikes, chore systems (and parental withholding), iOS battery life, canny Mac laptop battery monitoring, how battery cycles work, Todd, and things you already know (unless you don't already know them). Two pretty good YouTube channels are recommended. Your hosts talk about that weird thing where iOS throws up a password pop-up, including some recent bad news on how it might be exploited. Gross. There's also some exciting news about possible Brand Synergies. Things wrap with responding to listener questions about smart home location woes and choosing a VPN. Murrrrrrph!
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81 min
October 3, 2017
344: The Microwave Moment
TOPIC: You're not supposed to pet the car. This week, Dan and Merlin discuss Nest Cam updates, Ring doorbell tracking, Echo family additions, HDMI questions, the fraught landscape of 4K HDR TV stuff, and how shopping makes Merlin feel kind of vulnerable. Two excellent music podcasts are recommended. Dan has a new MacBook Pro and a lot to say about it. Merlin introduces something he calls "Power Puttering."
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100 min
September 26, 2017
343: Lo Sierra Mucho
TOPIC: Publix Hustle This week, Dan and Merlin talk about grocery store promotions, transactional help, the racket of school photos, Occam's Razor for public schools, Time Machine troubleshooting, the scourge of The Crackle, and BMO the salesman. The boys help a lot of people by responding to listener questions about the state of Siri, making friends after college, and the seeking of universal truth.
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82 min
September 19, 2017
342: Ultraman Scenario
After some Followup and Front Matter, your hosts dive into iOS 11. (Spoilers: it's really good.)
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81 min
September 12, 2017
341: Rich Boy Phone
This week, Dan and Merlin convene to talk about today's big Apple event.
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96 min
September 5, 2017
340: It's-a Me, Dan!
This week, Dan has useful updates on Windows backup options and answers questions about building a Hackintosh. Both of your hosts extoll the virtues of their new Apple TV remote case dinguses. The big topic this week is Nintendo Switch, and Dan has a lot of great stuff to share about his family's first weekend with their new console. (Spoiler: everybody likes it!) Your hosts respond to listener questions about iOS wishlist items and how to freshen up a moribund OmniFocus setup.
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92 min
August 29, 2017
339: True Love Weighs
TOPIC: Don't provoke Dan. This week, Dan and Merlin (once again) complain about what works and what just kiiiinda works with smart devices. Who's winning the voice control game, and who's struggling to play catchup? Ecosystems! Next up, the boys talk about some surprisingly handy and useful cases for that befuddling Apple TV remote. Also, Dan needs your help to back up Cash's Windows box. Merlin has an important request, too. Also provided are scientific updates on how much a scale weighs. Finally, Merlin offers a whole goddamned book's worth of awesome productivity advice via a cheap notebook and five (5) daily bullet points.
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86 min
August 22, 2017
338: Ambush Site
TOPIC: It's like elevator buttons. This week, Dan and Merlin talk a lot about komodo dragons. Also, homework sucks, seed codes rule, and @Movesapp drools. How do we get so scared about things? How cool did flying used to be? Your hosts respond to listener questions about the state of self-tracking, and the scourge of extraneous device notifications.
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86 min
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