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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > The MacNN Podcast, episode 37: 'Podcast does whaaat?'

The MacNN Podcast, episode 37: 'Podcast does whaaat?'
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NewsPoster
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Oct 20, 2015, 03:24 AM
 
Yet again, time to set aside an hour and check out the latest episode of The MacNN Podcast, where we geek out about new shiny things from Apple and wonder about the old shiny things, and lament the shiny things that aren't here anymore. From the sadness of saying goodbye to a serious Apple fan to the joy of watching those hilarious new PC commercials, Charles and Mike (and special guest stars William and Malcolm from One More Thing) debrief you on the week in tech.

We kick off talking about the new 4K Retina iMacs -- 21.5-inch screens, but even more unrepairable than before! -- and the upgraded 5K Retina iMacs. That leads us to the Mac Pro, and then down the path of fondly-remembered old Macs. In short, we do tend to wander a bit, but we try to keep it fun, funny, and fast-moving -- there's also the weird turn of events between Apple and IBM, the delightfully tone-deaf new ads for Windows PCs, the new Microsoft Bribe (special for Apple lovers), the App of the Week, a fond remembrance, and a brazen plug. Show notes do whaaat after the player.



00:01:30 -- Instead of talking about the specs, we talk about how the rise of super-reliable, super-beautiful, and now 5K pro-class Retina iMacs have become the machine of choice for many creative professionals, leaving the Mac Pro and similar machines to those who are more crunching some numbers rather than pushing around pixels. It's that seductive Retina display. We also talk about how photogenic some Macs have (and have not) been, how the Retina machines aren't very "repairable/customizable" -- but that this is becoming less important (unless you have a defective one) because the odds of having a defect or problem is dropping.

00:18:35 -- Whither the Mac Pro? To borrow a phrase inspired by insipid recent PC ads, whassssssup Mac Pro? It's been coming up on three years with no significant upgrades, even though there's a bevy of newer technology that could easily be used to pump out a new and more muscular model in the exact same form factor. So what's the holdup? Is it because the audience for such a machine is tiny, and getting smaller by the day? Are servers on the high end and Retina iMacs on the low end doing the work we used to buy Mac Pros for?

00:26:32 -- Speaking of the enterprise markets, IBM and Apple have a thing going on. Not just the "selling Macs and iOS devices to enterprise thing" either -- that's going great guns already. What's interesting is that Apple is changing IBM in a pretty fundamental way, and IBM is loving it. For two companies that started out as rivals, this story has gotten pretty weird of late. If you're a veteran Mac user, you're going to really, really enjoy this segment.

00:36:13 -- There's a long and hilarious history of terrible PC ads (and, to be fair, Apple has had its share of unsuccessful ones in the past as well). There's a new campaign in town, and we think this one might be the best (in a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 sort of "best" way) yet. Hoping to boost sagging PC desktop sales, the big makers of said equipment have launched a joint campaign titled "PC Does What?" to educate consumers that PCs are versatile and can do much more than Facebook and online gambling? It's true! I know, you're shocked, we're shocked. You gotta check out the commercials.

00:48:26 -- On another front, Microsoft Store employees are really lonely, and Microsoft's response to this is to try and bribe Mac and iPhone users to come visit them. They'll even pay you a fairly handsome reward for turning in your old machine towards a nice shiny Surface or some such. There may be, for some users, a compelling reason to stop by -- but for the most part there's still a fundamental issue stopping Mac users from enjoying MS hardware, and its name rhymes with "schmindows."

00:54:05 -- We spend a few minutes reflecting on the life of Gary Allen, the founder of ifoAppleStore and -- whether he knew it or not -- a good old-fashioned journalist. Apple Stores were his "beat," and he covered them like bar bands cover classic rock songs. If there was a store opening, or Apple Store construction underway, Allen was all over it; digging up records, taking pictures, attending openings, and telling the world (and a hungry audience of Mac news sites that couldn't afford to send reporters all over hither and yon) what made each one special and interesting. That's great reporting, and we salute both the work he did that benefitted us all, and the joy with which he did it. RIP, sir. To lighten the mood a bit, we also discuss our latest podcast, Off Topic -- our haven for our other geeky passions. We think Gary would be able to relate to this.

01:00:03 -- William pops by with his App of the Week, and this time it is podcast player OverCast. Why do you need a different one? Some interesting features, and its free, among other things. Also, we find its ideal for audio-only podcasts (doesn't do video podcasts -- yet) such as our three. You'll see.

The MacNN Podcast can be found every Monday (barring holidays) here at MacNN, on its RSS feed, or you can subscribe via iTunes.

The MacNN Podcast is copyright 2015 by MNM Media, with all rights reserved. Opinions expressed by the hosts or guests of the podcast may not reflect the opinions or views of MNM Media, its sites, or advertisers. Original music by Bradley McBurney. Comments and feedback are welcome at our Tips email address.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Oct 20, 2015 at 06:38 AM. )
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Oct 21, 2015, 01:22 PM
 
Hey guys, first I wanted to say thanks for the podcast(s), I'm really enjoying it. (But, unless I'm missing something, you only have one actual podcast feed, right? Just different kinds of episodes within. I'm listening to all of them anyway, but just for clarification.)

re: Mac Pro

I agree with Mike on the frequency thing. I'm not sure they have to put one out each year, but come on! Power users are always screaming for more, so a bump (would doubling the CPU power be a bump?) would be most welcomed.

But, here's my take. Yes, for a LOT of the previous power-user or pro crowd, the new iMacs are a good fit. But, even if the Mac Pro is a tiny fraction of a percent of sales, it's a model they need. (again, thinking otherwise is short-term spreadsheet thinking vs long-term user-experience and serving your market based thinking) In fact, I'd go so far as to say they should refresh the cheese-grater model and offer both with similar hardware to serve the crowd that needs multiple cards.

Here's why people buy Mac Pros:
1) expandability
Apple killed #1 with the new Mac Pro, which is why they should bring back the cheese-grater (otherwise, they lose those crucial customers!).
2) flexibility
The iMac also isn't as flexible, as you can't hook up external video sources to the display and double-duty your primary display (as least I don't think you can do that anymore).
3) ECC RAM
This is a big one in certain disciplines (scientific, medical, etc.). I guess Apple exited the server business, but some people still use them for that kind of thing where precision and reliability are necessary.
4) 24x7 100% use
This is the big one, IMO. If you want to run something like video encoding, cg rendering, or even stuff like [email protected], you don't want to damage your computer by maxing it out for extended periods of time. The Mac Pro is made to do that.... not so sure about the iMac. I'd love to hear people's thoughts on that with new lower powered CPUs, but I've shortened the life of Macbook Pros in the past because of my cg rendering use and [email protected]

re: IBM find
This is SO true, and as I and you said, something we Mac IT types have been trying to get across for decades now!
*** BUT *** if current OS X trends continue, this is going to be short-lived. Apple lost most of their core UNIX talent, and the UI guys have been running amok. Quality control is nearly absent. If Apple doesn't fix this REALLY soon, (and Windows keeps improving at the rate it has), soon, the paths will cross. If Apple can't multitask between mobile, OS X, and chasing the Kardashians, they ARE going to fail on this one.

re: PC does what?
Mike, I think you're underestimating the mentality of the average person (and/or typical PC user?) these days. "Idocracy" 2006 comes to mind, which I fear is a very prescient movie... or maybe Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death" for a more scholarly treatment.
But, from an ad/marketing perspective... yea, a horrible campaign.

re: the way things were
Yea, I always find it funny in forums when people complain about Apple's positive press and act like that's why Apple is successful... they must be REALLY young, or have short memories! LOL
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Steve Wilkinson
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Mike Wuerthele
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Oct 21, 2015, 02:28 PM
 
Yeah, one feed for all three.

I'd really like a refreshed cheese grater, myself. Pack that mammajamma with four eight-core processors, and six regular size hard drives.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Oct 21, 2015, 10:48 PM
 
Personally, I'm fine with the new Mac Pro. When I get a new machine, it will be a tough decision between that and an iMac. But, from what I've heard, one of the biggest things is multiple video cards. I haven't looked into TB3 yet, but TB2 isn't even close to being able to support multiple high-end GPUs.

Maybe OpenCL has addressed that? I haven't exactly kept up on it, but when the new Mac Pro was released, the big complaint was lack of support for putting in a few CUDA-capable (nVidia) based cards. Adding cheap storage is nice, but at least there are good external solutions for that... they just add to the cost (which isn't as big of a deal for the high-end pros out there).
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Steve Wilkinson
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cgWerks | TilledSoil.org
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Oct 21, 2015, 10:49 PM
 
And yes, that crowd can never exactly get too many cores in a box.
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Steve Wilkinson
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cgWerks | TilledSoil.org
     
   
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