2021, Allison Sheridan
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[0:00] Music.

[0:07] Podcast with an ever so slight apple bias. Today is Sunday December 18th 2022 and this is show number 919. Well I think I'm in good shape to produce next week's show and it will probably,
come out on Friday the 23rd of December. Just to remind everyone even though Michael Westbay will,
be sad there will not be a live show on Sunday the 25th because it's Christmas night. This is the last live show of the year and Steve and I are dressed up in holiday garb we have Santa hats on it's a whole thing. Anyway, the show for New Year's Day will be a bit dicey for me to pull together,
because while I got a bunch of contributions with the I'm Still Using It stuff for the Christmas show, I don't have content for the New Year's Day show. So I may have to move some of the I'm Still Using It segments to that week, but if you have anything you could do to record for me,
you can sit and read a phone book if you got a good voice. I'm talking to you, Alistair. No, No, no, Alistair doesn't have to do anything.
Anyway, if you have anything that we can play for the New Year's show, that would be great. Would sure appreciate some help.

[1:10] But I'm actually here to ask you for a bit farther out. I want you to see if you can pull something together for the reviews for Bart and Alistair, because they're going to be doing shows for the middle to end of February while Steve and I will be in Antarctica.
We will be off grid. I'm pretty darn sure there's no good satellite coverage or anything in the Antarctic. So we need content for Bart and Alistair before the middle of February. I really appreciate them doing this.
And the only way those shows are gonna happen is if you give your help.

Ccatp #756 — Bart Busschots On The Meaning Of Verification And Twitter/Mastodon Implementations

[1:40] In the final installment of Chit Chat Across the Pond Lite for the year, Barb Bushotz joins us to talk about what verification really means. How do you know what a website is,
what it says it is, and then how does that verification is accomplished? And then he folds that forward to talk about how do Twitter and Mastodon do their respective verification.
It's a little bit nerdy, but it's not too nerdy for you. And I think it's a really interesting thing to know, especially as so many of us are moving to Mastodon, to try to understand what it would, what does it mean if you see a green check mark in Mastodon?
Because it's very different from the other services. I hope you'll go take a look for Chit Chat Across the Pond, number 756, in your podcatcher of choice.

Cordkillers 435 - Little Tv Guy (W/ Allison Sheridan) — Cordkillers

[2:25] This week I had the absolute great delight of being on the Chord Killers podcast with hosts Tom Merritt and Brian Brushwood.
They've been my inspiration in finally cutting the cord here at Casa Sheridan. I wanted to go on the show and have them pat me on my little pumpkin head because I'd finally cut the cord.
You know, I was acting like I had made fire cutting the cord, and it was actually the tenth anniversary of when Brian cut the cord.
But you know what, they're great guys and they didn't make fun of me at all. And in fact, I got to teach them about a really nifty tool called channels. And I'm actually going to give you all of the nitty gritty details about channels in this very episode.
But the discussion on Cordkillers is really, really fun, and I suggest you go listen or watch episode 435 called Little TV Guide with Allison Sheridan over at

Memory Of Honda Bob And The Night Before Christmas

[3:16] Next up, we have a message from Steve. Long time Nocilla Castaways will remember our good friend Honda Bob, especially this time of year.
For those of you who don't know the history, I'd like to relate how we came to know Honda Bob and what he meant to the show and our family.
Allison and I first met Honda Bob in 1978 when he became our go-to car service and repair man.

[3:40] Since he came to our home to work on our cars, we were able to spend time with him and get to know him as he did his work.
It was mainly because of him that Allison and I continued to buy only Hondas and Acuras from then on.
We just couldn't imagine having our cars serviced by anyone else.

[3:56] Having your car worked on by Honda Bob was always an interesting experience that included humor, surprises, and just a good time. I recall the time when I came outside to see how our car's
service was coming along. I was a bit shocked to see Honda Bob standing behind the engine compartment with the sound of fluid streaming into a bucket. Although I could only see him from above the waste, he appeared to be relieving himself and had a big guilty grin on his face. As soon.

[4:24] As soon as I came around the car, I realized he was just draining the radiator fluid into a bucket and the joke was on me.
He sure had a good laugh with that one.

[4:34] One thing you learned while watching Honda Bob do his work was to never lean over and stick your head down in the engine compartment.
Doing so would undoubtedly result in the horn being honked quite loudly by, you guessed it, and you could always count on humor that included a chrome muffler bearing somewhere in the joke.
Thoroughly enjoyed those moments. Honda Bob felt like a member of our family. Our kids grew up knowing Honda Bob and he was like an uncle to them. He used to kid
around with them and tell them jokes. When the kids grew up and moved away from home to start their own families, he always asked about them and showed
sincere interest in how they were doing. Honda Bob first entered the Nocilicaast community back in 2006, one year after Allison started the podcast. She wrote a
short segment in Nocilla Cast number 38 entitled Geek Mechanic where she described how Honda Bob not only serviced our cars at our home but also was a geek. She gleefully recalls the time when he called her on a video chat,
a rare event back then, using AOL Messenger on a Logitech quick cam. I've,
included a picture of Honda Bob talking with Allison about Star Trek and how to check transmission fluid levels in the show notes. Yes, Honda Bob was a big Trek fan.

[5:49] For a few years, Allison advertised for Honda Bob's mobile service on the Nosilicast. It was a bit odd since there aren't many Nosilicast listeners who live in the Los Angeles area, but we were happy to internationally promote a local service that we loved.
As a result of these ads, several people joined in by sending in their own recordings of Honda Bob ads.

[6:10] We received several fantastic and creative recordings including from Connor, Rose and Paul from Peru along with many others. Good friend of the show Nightwise took the Honda Bob commercials to a new level when he submitted an ad for Honda Bob's mobile service,
spoken in the voice and perspective of a Klingon warrior, making Honda Bob an intergalactic celebrity. He loved all of the commercials sent in by the Nocilla cast listeners, but one was his favorite. Honda Bob became such a fixture of the Nocilla cast that in 2013 I,
thought we needed a poem to recognize his contributions to the show. I'm not very good with poetry so I decided to co-opt another poem, The Night Before
Christmas, and modify it with a hat tip to Honda Bob and an ever so slight Apple Bias. This marks the 10th year that we've included the poem in the Nocilla
cast show during the holiday season. Sadly, in 2019 we lost our dear friend, but Honda Bob's memory and the humor and silliness he inspired in the Nocilla Castaways will live on. So grab a hot
beverage and some cookies, sit back, relax, and enjoy a slightly modified version of The Night before Christmas dedicated to Honda Bob.

[7:27] Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a track pad. Okay, work with me here. The AirPods were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that all things eye-maker soon would be there. The nocilica stoways were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of iPads danced in their heads. And Potfede and her kerchief and eye
and my cravat had just settled down for a long winter Skype chat. When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the keyboard to see what was the matter. Away.

[8:03] To the windows! I flew like a flash drive, tore open the shutters, and nearly did a nose dive. The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave the luster of brushed aluminum to
objects below. When what to my eyes seemed very bizarre, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny cars. With the little old driver with whom Helv's hobnob, I knew in a moment it,
must be Honda Bob. More rapid than 5G his vehicles they came, and he tweeted and shouted,
and called them by name. Now Accord, now Civic, now Fit and CRV, on Element, on Ridgeline,
on Pilot and Odyssey, to the top of the porch, to the top of the wall, now drive away, drive away, drive away all!" As dry leaves that before the reality distortion field endowed,
when they meet with an obstacle and mount to the cloud, so up to the housetop via vehicles they flew, with the sleigh full of apple products, and Honda Bob too. And then in a twinkling,
I heard with a squeal the skidding and sliding of each little wheel. As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney Bob came with a bound. He was dressed in coveralls from his head to his foot and his clothes were all tarnished with oil and soot. A bundle,
of SSDs he had flung in his Scottie vest, and he looked like a geek who was extremely obsessed.

[9:30] A wink of his eye and a look not too pious soon gave me to know he had an apple bias. He spoke not a word, but texted his concern, and he filled all the stockings and then hit return.

[9:43] And laying a finger aside his levitation app, a command to his iPad, Up the chimney! ASAP! He sprang to a sleigh and the autos did they bristle, And away they all flew as if shot from a missile.
But I heard him exclaim as the poem prescribed, Happy Christmas to all, and please stay subscribed.

[10:07] Well, thanks for that, Steve. As Sandy in the live chat room said, it's not Christmas until Steve reads his poem.
It sounds like he may have done a little bit of dubbing to modernize the poem this time, but I really appreciate it. And it's great to hear the memories of Honda Bob. He was a terrific guy.
He was a no-cilla castaway and we still miss him every day. And by the way, I know Lynn York listens to the show and Lynn York is a good friend of ours and Lynn York was a good friend of Hada Bobb's, so I wanted to give a hat tip to her as well.

Cord Cutting Part 2 — Channels Dvr

[10:39] Last week, I told you that Steve and I finally cut the cord, as I talked about earlier, replacing Frontiers TV service with YouTube TV and how we'll be saving $1,217 per year going forward.
After I posted the article about our experience, I got two nearly identical messages explaining one more thing we needed to try.
Both Dave Hamilton of the Mag Geekab and Ed Tobias, our good friend in Osceola Castaway, suggested we try out a service called Channels.
So Channels doesn't replace YouTube TV, but rather augments whatever streaming TV service you decide to use. Channels isn't free, and as Dave pointed out, he knows it would chew into our savings to the tune of $80 per year.
Well, I figured if Dave and Ed both think it's cool, I had to give it a try.
So let's talk about the problem to be solved here. When I told you about our cord cutting experience, I described a few minor inconveniences with YouTube TV, and I gotta tell you, Channels fixes all of them.
The first thing I mentioned was that scrubbing through commercials is a real bear on the Apple TV remote with YouTube TV.
On fully recorded shows, when you come up to a commercial, Channels gives you a prominent button to skip it.
Scrubbing in general is much less janky on Channels than even when using the Apple TV remote so it's I would even call it janky on channels and YouTube TV definitely janky.

[12:04] Now in my review I explained that the YouTube TV interface was different, not bad different, just different from what I was used to using a TiVo. Well for TiVo lovers the channel's interface,
is like coming home again except the home got repainted and the kitchen got remodeled but they kept all of the silverware and appliances right where they were so you can still find everything.
So Channels provides an interface that uses your live TV service. In my case, I'm feeding channels through YouTube TV, but Ed and Dave both use channels with Fubo TV.
You could use channels with Sling, Verizon Fios, Dish, DirecTV, Xfinity, and more.
I'll be explaining channels from the perspective of a YouTube TV user, but remember you can just substitute in the name of how you get your live linear TV.

[12:51] Fundamentally, it's important to understand that channels record your TV shows to a local device on your network.
This device will be your channels DVR. I installed channels DVR software in my Synology, but you can create a channels DVR server on
a Mac, on Windows, on Linux, on a Raspberry Pi, on free BSD, free NAS, QNAP, Netgear Ready NAS, Seagate NAS, Western Digital My Cloud, Unpaid, Assoostr, whatever that is, Nvidia a shield, and a Drobo or in a docker container.
That's gotta be enough. You must have one of those things laying around if you're no silicaway, right? It turns out you don't even need a fancy new fast computer.
The minimum requirements for channels are a 1 GHz CPU and 1 GB of RAM.
They say to take an old computer, connect a big hard drive to store your shows, and you will be in business.
The Channels DVR Server software is a free download from
Channels DVR software is controlled through a web interface to the server that you designated.

[13:54] The first step to configuring channels is to tell it the source you use that you're gonna be recording your shows from.
You would think that would choosing a source means choosing between your live linear TV service like YouTube TV or Fubo, but unfortunately there's another abstraction layer to this. It's not hard, but it is an abstraction layer.
The four choices in the web interface for channel source are HD home run device, and that's a physical box you can buy to get antenna or cable TV and then use channels to record it.

[14:25] You can do custom channels and that's where you can add streams from your IP cameras. There's Play On Cloud, which is a cloud DVR service for video content from streaming TV providers.
Or finally TV Everywhere, which is a system used by cable and streaming providers to give you access to network channels. TV Everywhere is a free service that will connect your live linear TV
service, for example, your YouTube TVs, to your channel's DVR. Now you may not realize that you've authenticated through TV Everywhere before. It's the service you get kicked over to when an app
like CNN or Apple TV asks you to authenticate to your Live Linear TV service. Once you choose TV Everywhere in the channels interface, you choose your Live Linear TV service provider and authenticate
to that provider. Now it's a bit head-bendy to picture in your head how the TV shows are going from YouTube TV to TV Everywhere to channels to your Apple TV or whatever device you end up viewing it on, so I created one of my internationally famous diagrams to help clarify what's happening.

[15:27] Here.
Now, I know this sounds a smidge complicated when I describe it, but it actually wasn't that hard.
Let me just give you an example. I told our buddy Ron about it on a Friday night and the next morning in a half an hour he had it set up at his house.
But there is one stupid part. In order to authenticate to TV Everywhere, we had to use a YouTube TV account, and I I was using Steve's Gmail account to connect it to TV Everywhere, but TV Everywhere doesn't support two-factor authentication, which is really stupid.
And of course, Steve's Gmail account has 2FA enabled.
So I thought about temporarily disabling 2FA on the Gmail account, but then I wondered whether there might be some ripple effects where the codes got out of sync when I turned it back on.
Steve came up with a workaround that is sure to bite us later, but it works for now. YouTube TV lets you share your account with up to 5 total accounts.
So we created a placeholder Gmail account without two-factor authentication and we added it to our family on YouTube TV.
Okay, once we were past that hurdle, TV Everywhere churned away on YouTube TV and eventually it found 163 channels for us to record.

[16:36] We're actually done with the main part of the heavy lifting here. Let's have some fun. has apps for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, and Fire TV.
If you have an Apple Silicon Mac, the iOS app works just fine on your Mac. It's a little bit ugly, but it still works.
I said at the beginning that channels will feel like coming home to TiVo refugees. If you search for a show in the channels app, you'll see the familiar create pass option just like you had on TiVo.
When you create a pass, you get to choose whether to record just new episodes or all episodes, how many recordings to keep, and whether to start and end the recording on time for those shows that slop over there a lot of times.
Once you create a pass, your show will start to record storing the video files on the channel's DVR server that you created. Your recorded shows will now show up under the Library tab,
in all of the channel's apps. Now if you like looking at the TV Guide to see what's on live TV,
it's quite pretty on channels. Calling it the TV Guide brings back memories of my childhood when the TV Guide was a paper magazine you bought at the grocery store every week to see what was going to be on. Good times.
Alright, I hope you like purple because channels is all shades of purple. The guide is all different colors of purple and the icon for the channels app is a vivid purple background with a striped TV symbol on it.

[17:58] That purple icon is actually one of the things I love about channels because I could never find the YouTube TV logo apart from the regular YouTube logo on my Apple TV.
That channels icon in bright purple mana can be spotted a mile away. I love the way Channels implements the ability to skip commercials.
I know I said this already, but it's too glorious not to repeat.
The timeline, done in shades of purple of course, shows gaps where commercials will be so you can manually scrub right over them and stop precisely where you want.
It's so much better than YouTube TV.
Now I'm actually not going to go through more features of the Channels app because it's just intuitive.
It's super easy to use. If you've ever used a DVR before, and especially if you've used a TiVo, you won't have any trouble at all watching TV using the Channels app on your Apple TV or other devices.
Now, after we got Channels working, we realized that none of our local channels were showing up.
I poked around a bit in the web interface for the Channels DVR software, which to be perfectly transparent has a lot of very weird settings I don't understand, and at the very bottom was a simple checkbox that says, local networks via TV everywhere.

[19:09] Since I'd already enabled TV everywhere as a source, I checked the box, it rescanned the channels, and now I had our local channels showing up as well.
Now there is a problem channel solves that I didn't actually know was a problem. YouTube TV is evidently problematic when you're away from home.
It gets confused between where you're watching and where you were when you enabled the service. It seems to really annoy people who watch their local sports ball.
With channels, since you're recording the shows from your own home on your own channel's DVR service, the experience is much more predictable.
However, to be able to remotely connect to your channel's DVR server on your home network, you must open a port on your router. That's not a huge deal, but if you've gone down as nerdy of a path as this, you're up to the challenge.
Now they do offer to let you use UPNP, which stands for unplug and play, but we know from listening to Bart that that's a very bad idea from a security standpoint, so I enabled a a specific port instead.

[20:07] Now if you use Tailscale on the same device that is your DVR, you might run into a problem. If you're running a VPN on the same server as the DVR, then channels can't be accessed from outside the network.
Now I'm not running a traditional VPN, but Tailscale is a specialized type of virtual private network.
I had to phone a friend on this one, asking Dave Hamilton how he navigated around this since he's who turned me on to Tailscale in the first place.

[20:33] Without calling me names, he gently pointed out that there was a checkbox to allow tail scale right under the checkbox I just checked to add local networks.
Well, I did have to do a bit more faffing about setting my Synology as what's known as an exit node, and it's caused me a little bit of grief in some other ways, but it's mostly working.
We may just use the YouTube TV when we're away from home and just stop worrying about that.
Now, another benefit to having the DVR recordings stored on your local machine is you can view them even when your internet service goes out.
Heck, you can actually move the recordings to your laptop or mobile device and take them with you on a plane.
I don't have any desire to do that, but I'm excited to know that I could if I wanted to. Before I finish up, I wanted to tell you about a few more fun things to explore on the channel's DVR web interface.
I mentioned that there are some somewhat baffling things in the web interface, but I didn't realize I was only looking at the Settings tab, and that's where the scary stuff is, but there are so many more cool things to do on the other tabs.
While on the Settings tab, there is one more super valuable section. Remember when I said that TV Everywhere found 163 channels available to me?
Well, I can guarantee you I don't want to scroll through 163 channels on the guide.
Turns out there's a gear next to the source you've provided that allows you to manage the TV lineup.

[21:50] From this interface, you can favorite channels and more importantly, hide channels. In the app interface on your device, you can then view the entire guide or just the favorites you've identified there.
Alright, now that we've done some cleanup, let's play with the fun stuff in the channel's DVR interface.
There's a live TV tab where you can view the guide in the web interface, see what's on TV right now, and see scheduled shows coming up. This interface is really for discovery of new shows.
The library tab lets you see a very pretty interface of the shows you've recently watched, recently updated, or recently added.
It's pretty because each show has the album art for the show. The DVR tab lets you view the passes you've created a list and for each one you can directly edit the pass, pause it or delete it.
You can see what's scheduled to record as well.

[22:37] This section was invaluable in realizing that we were recording one show on the wrong channel. 60 Minutes is on CBS on Sunday nights at 7pm at our house, but it showed that it had recorded
the show on Monday at 10pm. Baffled, we started poking around and discovered that we had set it to record on CBS N. We looked at the channel lineup and sure enough, there's a whole pile of
rogue CBS channels. Another reason to clean up your channel lineup. Now I was curious about how how much storage we were using on our Synology with all of these DVR'd shows.
When I did my check, we had 24 shows set to store only one episode each, and it was taking up 95 gigabytes on our Synology.
That's not really that much, but I started poking into the folders to see what I would find.
I discovered that there were 44 episodes, even though I'd said every all 24 of these shows should only record one show. So what were those extra 20 shows?
In the channel's DVR web interface, there's a tab called trash. Aha, in the trash, I found the 20 shows with details of what shows they were, when they were recorded, and I had options to restore them,
delete them, or just wait for automatic deletion.
I couldn't figure out how long they sit in the trash, but some of them said they would be deleted that very day, so I figure it's probably not more than a week.

[23:57] The final fun tab in the channel's DVR web interface allows you to see all of the clients connected to your channel's service. It shows you each device and a ton of information about each one like the operating system, what version of the channel's app it's running,
and whether it last connected remotely or local to your network.
Next to each client is a gear and this opens up a giant list of settings you can override just for that particular device.
There are way too many settings to describe and many I don't completely understand, but one setting that would illustrate why you might want to wander around in there.
You can set a content filter to kids only content for a specific device.
Like I said, there's a lot to explore so it's worth poking around in there.
The bottom line is that I find channels a prettier and more intuitive interface for watching live TV, making recordings of shows, and viewing the channel guide. Having an automatic
skip commercials button is delightful and scrubbing is a joy. We were happy with YouTube TV and an annual savings of $1,217, but we are much happier with YouTube TV plus channels,
for a savings of $1,137. Remember, you don't have to have a Synology to have all this fun.
Dust off that old PC, Mac, or Raspberry Pi and hook up a hard drive and have some fun with channels from

[25:14] Now here's the value of doing this show live, and I make no guarantees about what next week's show is going to be like. John just corrected me. I said UPnP was unplug and play.
It's universal plug and play.
Thanks John for the correction.

Support The Show

[25:28] A lot of wonderful people support the work we do here at the Podfeed Podcast through Patreon, but some people prefer to be more proactive in their support.
The most delightful Christoph Trusch chooses to support the shows by actively going to PayPal once a quarter and making a donation.
I love that he does this because it helps the show a lot, but also when I get the email it gives me a chance to chat with him and catch up.
It's nice to be reminded that he's still out there getting value from the shows.
If you'd like to actively support our work, please consider going to slash PayPal and choose an amount that you feel represents the value you get from the shows.

Why Ron And I Love Stage Manager And How We Use It

[26:05] Well, I thought I was the only one really digging Stage Manager until last Friday night when my buddy Ron came over for his weekly visit for Pizza and Wine.
I mentioned how much fun I was having with it and he said, me too. I thought it'd be fun if we got on and talked about why do we like it so much. Welcome to the show, Ron.

[26:23] Thanks, Allison. All right. Let's start with a quick explanation of what Stage Manager actually is, just in case anybody hasn't messed with it. Ron's job will be to correct me every time I call it at center stage, which is what I had written all through the notes and he fixed it so that they say stage manager now.
So stage manager is the technology introduced with Mac OS Ventura and iPad OS 16 that gives you one or more apps in the center of your screen.
And then this left sidebar showing four to six piles of apps, depending on the size of your screen.
From what I understand, Apple actually calls them piles, which seems funny, but they are, they're just little lumpy piles of apps.
But they have nice big thumbnails and then icons for the apps that are in each pile. So is that a good enough explanation of what it is, Ron?
Yeah, yeah, I think it's interesting that the piles of apps, they do make sure that on the thumbnails that you get to see each distinct icon for each of the apps that's in there.
So it makes it easy to see what's in there. It's not just a stack of apps.
Yeah, you see the windows and you see the icons. So you get thumbnails and icons, which on a big screen works pretty well.
But let's start out with, you've been able to play with that on your iPad and so have I. You have an older iPad and found out that you can use it on the iPad. What do you think of it, Ron?

[27:50] I think it's good, although I prefer it on the MacBook Pro that I have, particularly with the large screens like you were just talking about.
But even on the smaller screen, and I have a whatever it is.

[28:06] 10.9, one of those, I can't remember the exact. 11-ish, if we call them. Yeah, 11-ish iPad Pro.
It works very well.

[28:16] It's just that because you have less screen real estate, obviously, if you leave those icons on the bar there, then it takes up some of your screen.
Yeah, I've been playing around with it on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and even with that, it still feels cramped.
I feel like my shoulders are, I'm in the center seat on a plane a little bit.
I did like it better when I figured out that if you have an app open and you're in center stage, that's right, center stage.
Stage manager. Stage manager, yeah. If you're in stage manager and you've got an app open, but you'd like it to be full screen, you've got some little handles and you can grab the handle and drag it down and you can actually expand it to full screen.
So you can kind of change the sizes of them.
What that does give you is the ability to have two apps on screen at the same time. So sometimes dragging and dropping between things that is helpful.
I found that I eventually turned it off. I used it for a while, for a couple of weeks.
I really get annoyed when people go, yeah, I tried it for an hour and I hated it, so I turned it off.
I said, well, you know, come on, come on, give it a little more try. I may go back and try it again, but for now that was, it was just a little bit, a little bit annoying to me.

[29:27] I'm gonna jump to something I wrote at the end of her notes, but I wanna, I wanna put this in before we go into why we like it on the Mac, and that's who is this good for?
So if you're a John Syracusa who has every single window, and actually Steve Sheridan is in this category, if you're a John Syracusa or a Steve Sheridan,
who has every single window in a defined place, this is always in the upper center left, this has, then I've got my chat window down to the left of that, and then I've got my browser windows over here, and they're always precisely set,
and maybe use an app like Moom to get it all set up.

[30:02] Center stage, wait, stage manager is not for you, right? I don't think those people get a benefit from it because they've already organized their life.

[30:12] The other group of people it's not for is people who just don't care. They just got garbage all over the place. They got 72 icons on their desktop. Just living in a pile of mess doesn't bother them.
I think this is for the people who are in between. I really like an organized controlled desktop experience, but that's not what I create.
I create anarchy. I open up all of my applications all the time, and then all of a sudden it's like too much visual noise. I'm just like, oh my God, you're bothering me. So I hit, I hit, what is it, keystroke, command option H to hide others, and then I start bringing things back one at a time.
Well, this is like a fancy hide others that's basically just turning itself on and off as you move between your apps.

[30:53] Yeah, I would agree with that. The way I look at it, I suppose, is that in iOS, for example, Apple has recently introduced this focus mode where they're trying to help people focus on what they're doing at hand and excluding distractions.
And this is kind of like an Uber focus mode, especially on a Mac book or something like that, something like that because it pushes away everything that you're not presently working
on. And you're right. I mean, in the past, you had ways to do that. But this is a little cleaner way, I think, to do it. And I think certainly for people who have a lot of windows open all of the time, it doesn't really add any value because that's a deliberate thing,
that they're doing.
No, no, no. Because I have a lot open at a time, but I don't want a lot open at a time. But I can't stop myself from opening a lot at a time.
Well, in my case, for example, I do like a fairly clean desktop, but sometimes it's just too much work to get rid of some windows, and so I just let them sit in the background.
For me, I'm probably in that middle ground, so I like it, especially on the Mac.

[32:12] But it's interesting because I can also see people who want to, they have very defined workflows.
Like you're a writer or I don't know, web author or something and you spend two hours doing something, and then you go to the next two hours doing something else, you have a schedule, and those people, they have spaces.
They have three or four desktops that are all exactly customized to each workflow, and they can bounce between them because they don't keep bouncing back and forth.
This is for me the ADHD guy who I like to have a group of apps together maybe that I use at the same time, but I'm going to bounce back and forth between those piles.

[32:58] Yeah, that's a good description. And the distinct piece that you talked about with space is where you've got these, you know, these are the five apps I'm going to use or the three apps I'm going to use. And I'm just going to be in this context. And that's great. Every time I've ever tried to use spaces like that, invariably, I need an app that someplace else. And then I'm fussing around,
flipping between spaces, finding that app, dragging it up to the top of the bar, getting it to jump into the space I want, and then going back into the space I want. It's a big fat hassle.
Right now, I can look over and I'm working on under my roof right now.
I can go over and I can just drag that from its pile onto the stage that I'm on right now.
And then when I don't want it, I can drag it back out. I can get rid of things. So I can make them come and go, but I can see them.
I don't have to leave to go find the finder, because it's usually the finder, to be honest, because I'm trying to drag in a file into something else.
But I don't have to leave. I don't have to go to the space to figure out where it went, because I can see it in the list of apps in the piles.

[33:55] Yeah, for me, Spaces was always a little cumbersome because I didn't, maybe the way I work, the way I use the machine, it wasn't giving me a lot of value just because of the way I work.
But this seems to be a lot more in line with the things I actually do on a day-to-day basis.
And so that's nice.

[34:19] One other thing I will say on the iPad too, there are some little things that they did do that were nice, you mentioned about being able to resize the primary window of whatever app is there.
Also, when you first bring it up, you can tap it and it'll get rid of the icons, it'll slide them off the screen and it'll make it a full screen, which is kind of nice.
You're saying if you have one app open in center stage?
Stage manager so i'm gonna call center stage manager let's just be so if you've got if you've got one up in stage manager and you tap on it goes full screen. Yeah okay that was an update since i played with it last i gotta do it again.
Yeah it pushes it off or you can also on the ipad you can actually slide that.

[35:10] Those icons away off the screen. Okay. Either way.
And so there are things that they tried to do, at least on the iPad.
And then of course, I think, I don't know if you mentioned it already, but on the Mac, if you slide one of your primary app windows over to the edge, it also pushes those icons off.
Yeah, yeah. So the piles disappear when you do that. And at one point I thought I somehow I had turned it off.
And so I was like, well, I wonder where they went. and I move the window away, oh, there it is. So you always have access to your full screen.
You can move things anywhere you want, but when you wanna be able to see those, just stay away from the edge. And if you're on a big enough monitor, it does help.

[35:52] I find it useful on my big monitor and on just my internal display on my MacBook Pro. We are both living the laptop desktop life.
And do you find it just as useful in both contexts?
Absolutely. I don't mind on, I have a whatever, 14 inch MacBook Pro and it works just fine there.
I don't notice any, you know, I have plenty of screen space and I always leave enough room now so that I can see the piles.
Yeah. You know, there's a little bit of faffing about sometimes like, so we're saying I often need finders. So let's say in a pile, I've got the calendar and then finders behind it.
I do have to bring that pile up front, click on finder, then click back to where I want it to be, then I can drag the finder out.
I can't slide it out from under another app pile, but it doesn't seem to happen as often as I would think.
I think because it seems like they're the most recent, like if I had those two open and the finder was in the background, that's because the last thing I used was the calendar, not finder.

[36:58] Yeah, so in fact, that was something that it wasn't obvious to me at first, I had to learn that, is that the order of those,
and which ones are in those piles in Stage Manager,
are actually like a reverse stack of the latest to the oldest.
So that's the other thing, if you're a person who immediately goes in and like opens six apps or eight apps, what will happen is only the last four will be in the stack, the other four will not not appear.
Okay, because there'll be there'll be four.

[37:37] The four most recent that you opened will be the four that are still there. They'll push the others down off the stack.
Okay, so because as you open one, it gets the top slot in the set of stacks.
But if you then dragged one onto the other, then you'd open up room for more stacks to exist or the others to not exist. Exactly.
Yeah, and that wasn't obvious to me at first. Yeah, yeah, that's interesting. And that would be relevant, especially, I know Steve has a sequence of apps that just all open at once for him. And so that would, you'd see them sliding off in the stack list, I guess.
Now I said four to six stack, or piles, gotta call them piles, four to six piles. That's because it's something you taught me.
It has to do with the size of your screen, is that right?
Right. Yeah. So on my MacBook Pro, it will put up to four. That's the maximum.
But when I'm on this 32 inch screen, external screen, it'll put up six, which turns out to be the maximum right now.
So I thought it was five, because I'd written five in the notes and then you told me it was six, and I dragged something over to the left and it made a pile and became the sixth one.
So I'm not quite sure how it decides when to expose you to the different numbers of piles.

[38:59] Yeah, I just did it because I was curious whether I could keep stacking them up and end up with like 27.
But unfortunately it stops at six. Littering the left side, yeah. Well, I think they need to protect us from ourselves.
You know, one of the funny things that I think makes me really dig it is that I like the animation.
I like the way when I click on a stack, the thing I'm, a pile, the thing I'm looking at goes, woo, and the new stuff goes, woo, and comes in. I mean, it should make that noise, but it doesn't.
But it just kind of swoops in and out. And I know a lot of people don't like animations. They want it just to switch, but I think it would be disconcerting if it just blinked into the other configuration.

[39:40] I personally like the visual. I think that the way that they implemented this is very smooth and very slick.

[39:50] Also, of course, the fact that if you really hate it, you can just go in and turn it off, no big deal.
And also if it's off and you want to bring it on, Apparently you can type from the finder, you can type command M and it will turn on stage manager.

[40:09] Really? That's odd. Cause command M is minimize. Is it no longer minimize maybe? Maybe it means something else now.

[40:20] That's interesting. I don't know. I set up a keystroke for it that wasn't Command-M. I went into system settings, keyboard, keyboard something, keyboard, keyboard, keyboard, accessibility,
you know, whatever. It always has to have accessibility, right? So yeah, that's kind of interesting. One thing I was going to ask you, oh, I did want to go back to the iPad thing.
My iPad was installing Mac or iPadOS 16.2 while we were talking. It just came back up.
So I've got stage manager up on my iPad. I've got one window open and it's not full screen and I can see my piles on the left. How is it you said I can go full screen on that with a tap?
I think if you just tap the main window.
It didn't seem to do anything.

[41:05] Can you swipe to the left, the piles? Let's see.
Nope. There is that three dot menu that we were all excited about at the beginning and then we all forgot about that has an enter full screen so I can do that or I can add another window or I can minimize.
So I can go full screen from there. Interesting. But that has turned off stage manager.

[41:32] Yeah, because on mine, if stage manager, if the piles are off to the left, I just put my finger over to the left edge and I drag to the right and the piles show up.

[41:46] Yeah, but we were trying to- When I'm gonna app. get into full screen from, how do I get to full screen from being in stage manager? So if you're in stage manager and you're in one app then effectively right now you see
the piles to the left? Yeah.

[42:09] Okay, and so if if I tap right now if I just tap on the window Then the piles just disappear off to the to the left.

[42:20] Okay, but but you still see your dock down at the bottom. Oh, yeah Okay, I think you met first. I say you met full screen. So the doc is only showing in stage manager.

[42:32] Right if you're full screen, it does not show a manager, right?
So when you say full screen, you mean it covers up the piles, but not the dock. Correct. Okay. Now I understand what you're talking about. Okay. Okay.
So yeah, without going, so there's a couple of different ways you can turn it on and off or I seem to have it partially enabled.
If you go into control center, there's a, a, an icon with a rectangle and three little squares to the left of it. And that's designates, um, stage manager. I have that on right now, but I'm looking at a window that is full screen, which is interesting.
But if I use the three dot menu at that point, then I can hit add another window and I can find an app that's, let's see, let me add, I'll add another app, tap on it.
And now I've got the two of them up. So I am in stage manager center stage. Yeah, I have not tried it with more than one app.

[43:24] Oh, oh, okay. Oh, you've only been using it with one app. At a time.
Oh, okay. I thought the whole reason to do it was to be doing it with multiple apps?

[43:37] Well, I still haven't had much time with the iPad, so. Oh, right, right, right, yeah.

[43:44] So it does for me, especially on the Mac, solves the problem that Spaces gave me.
The main thing was that I couldn't find the Finder to drag it back in. Is there anything else about it that makes it better than spaces for you.

[44:01] Again it just was something that is probably more me than it. It's not you, it's me.
Yeah, it was me.
I never really resonated with spaces. I played with all kinds of different virtual desktop stuff over the years.
It wasn't just spaces. I just never found enough value in those kinds of things to use them consistently. But for some reason, I think because this one is just so much easier to access,
it seems like it's something I'll use going forward.
Yeah. One last thing I was thinking about. If an app isn't visible in the piles, since you only have between four and six piles, sometimes there's apps that you just don't see them there. They may be running,
but you can always command tab and then they create their own tab or their own pile, and they come to the foreground and then you can drag other things in with it.
And that's exactly what I've been doing. It was very natural to do that, I think.
Yeah, yeah. And of course, then once you bring it up, then it will take the, you know, if you go to the next one, you'll go and put that in the next pile and so on and so on, right?
Yeah. You mentioned that you can always turn it off if you hate it, but you can also turn it off if you like it, but just not right now.

[45:27] Right. So I'm running into accounts right now. I'm working on a screencast online tutorial and I need things to stay still and not be swooping around when I'm doing a tutorial.
It would be really disconcerting if things were flying around when I hit command tab. But so I have it turned off in that account.
And when I'm done doing my recording, I can turn it on and turn it off. Just toggling it, like you say, with a keystroke or with control center.
Yeah. And there's one other feature that I really like, and that is with my MacBook Pro, I'm currently using two large external monitors,
and Stage Manager sets up a set of piles for each individual monitor that's unique.
That shocked me.
I didn't- You too. I'm using my MacBook Pro as my second monitor, so I don't have two big ones like you do,
but I realized that I could flip between a couple of messaging apps over on my MacBook Pro while the productivity stuff I was doing was on the main one and they weren't getting confused by each other.
No, and you can drag between the two because I tried that as well.

[46:33] Drag between the two so you can just you can still take an app from one window to the other. Do you mean you can pull from one pile over to the pile on the other side?
One pile to the other pile. Oh wow. Wow.

[46:46] It's pretty flexible actually. Yeah.

[46:51] I'm going to come back to that but I'm going to tell you the one thing that is disconcerting when I'm on a video call like I am with Ron right now we are looking at each other and we're not recording video but it's more fun to you know talk to humans this way.
When I go over to do something else, like I just opened up system settings, I can't see Ron anymore.
It's like I can hear him coming out of my headphones, but I don't know where he is because he's over in another pile.
I'm in the ether. What I was going to say about the fact that the second monitor is doing its own piles,
I remember something about spaces and displays allowing you to say you have different spaces by different displays.
And I wonder whether that same thing is what's allowing you to have a different set of piles in stage manager.

[47:38] It makes sense i think i remember something along those lines to although it's been a while but i was also surprised when i realized when i was on the second monitor and i went over to the pile and i realized it wasn't there basically because i hadn't set it up on that monitor yet i only had one app open. And then i looked over and the other other one still was the same and that's when i realized that they were not connected.
Independent, yeah. Yup. You know, even if we could remember where it was, it's not wherever it was before, because now it's in system settings and we'll never find it again, right?
There are so many settings these days that's not surprising. Yeah, I thought about trying to draw a diagram of where everything moved to, and I just got exhausted thinking about it before I even looked at it.
My life is too short. I will not live long enough to make that diagram for everybody, but it'd be cool if it existed.
I also can picture what I would draw it like, because it'd just be one of those spaghetti diagrams. We have a column of stuff down left, a column of stuff down the right, you have arrows and lines going everywhere.

[48:44] Yeah, it's like trying to figure out all of the preferences and all the Microsoft Office apps. Yeah, and where all the what's on the ribbon, depending on where you are in the context. Don't get me started.
No. Well, this is cool. I'm glad you're as excited as I am, and I hope this encourages people to maybe give it a try. Don't give it a try for an hour.
Give it a try for a while. If you hate it, you hate it, but give it a good college try.
I'm a believer in trying stuff.
I will say that of all of the latest OS new features, this is probably the one that I'm using the most and getting the most enjoyment out of,
which surprised me because I hadn't read much about it ahead of time.
I didn't have any expectations one way or the other, but I did read about, you know, you ought to try this. And so I turned it on and I really, so far, I haven't looked back.

[49:40] That's a really good point. A lot of these OSes lately, you install them and you're like, oh, yay, I waited, I waited, because I wanted to make sure it was a stable release and then I installed it. And then I start yawning almost immediately because I just get back to work and nothing's different.
This one feels different. It feels new, it feels fresh. And it feels more productive to me to be able to erase all that clutter around what I'm working on and just focus on the thing I need to focus on.

[50:05] Me too. I couldn't say it better. Until our ADD kicks in and we switched contacts and go over to the other one.

[50:13] All right, Ron, well thanks for checking in with us again. I appreciate you having a happy, happy, joy thing with me today.
Not at all. Thanks for inviting me as always. Had a good time and I hope that people do check it out because I think it's worth a look. Well, I did have a lot of fun with Ron and I had a lot of fun with the live audience this week.
The last live show of the year. I'm going to miss them next week when I'm talking to a microphone all by myself.
Anyway, that's going to wind us up for this week. Did you know you can email me at allison at and you can send me audio reviews that you've done that you're going to do for the shows for me for the New Year's week and for Bart and Alistair.
Send those to allison at
If you have questions or suggestions, you can send those over too.

[50:59] You can follow me on Twitter at I'm not actually posting there very much anymore. So you can also find me at mastodon at podfeed at And of course there's links in the show notes. There's links. So there's links on
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[51:56] Music.