The BirchTree Podcast
By Matt Birchler
A micro-podcast about tech, Apple, and design.
Framing the Conversation (the iPad is a General Purpose Computer)
Today I dive into why I think framing the conversation a certain way is really important, and why I've taken time to make sure we're talking about "small and medium businesses" rather than "developers" and iPads in addition to iPhones in the recent App Store debates.
August 24, 2020
Bean Counters and Microsoft Fanboys in the 90s
The show is back! Well, sort of, I just had to talk about a concern I’ve been having in recent years, which has only amplified in recent months. Short version: Apple fans in 2020 are reminding me more and moe of Microsoft fans in the 90s.
August 18, 2020
The “What is a Podcast?” Podcast
At this point, I think I may have had my say on what is or isn’t a podcast, as well as what open podcasting should be focused on if it wants to stay the default option for podcasters in the future.
May 22, 2020
Buying Into a Philosophy
Does using an iPad require you to buy into it’s philosophy? Yes, but so does every other platform out there. We can debate the merits of the features there today, but I think it’s a fool’s errand to put your chips on this philosophy argument as to why the iPad has a fundamentally different problem than any other platform.
May 05, 2020
The iPad’s Cursor
iPadOS 13.4 added a cursor, and I finally have time to talk about it!
April 05, 2020
Doom Eternal Review
My review of Doom Eternal, the latest game in the classic franchise.
April 04, 2020
WWDC in March
9to5Mac and MacRumors have dueling iOS 14 and watchOS 7 leaks this week, and I do my best to address as many as I can.
March 10, 2020
Playing the Original Halo in 2020
Watch the video version of this trip down memory lane here https://youtu.be/UYHTbQSDcuU
March 05, 2020
Value, Values, and More Value
Inspired by the book, Start With Why, and The Verge’s review of the Mac Pro.
March 03, 2020
Forza Horizon 4 Might be my Favorite Racing Game Ever
I don’t think I was prepared for just how good Forza Horizon 4 is.
February 26, 2020
Why I, An Apple Nut, Bought a PC
Well, I didn’t see this coming until recently!
February 25, 2020
iOS Isn’t Adware, but it Ain’t Perfect
Is iOS just adware as an article this week suggested? I don’t think so, but I also see where they’re coming from, and Apple needs to be careful with how they balance a great software experience with getting people to pay for their ever-growing library of premium services.
February 18, 2020
My Take on the Galaxy S20 Lineup
Samsung announced their Galaxy S20 lineup yesterday and these are my impressions after having a day to process what they announced.
February 12, 2020
Uppercuts and Body Blows
I recently gave a big presentation and the best advice I got going into that talk was a boxing metaphor, and it reminded me of a few things about not only public speaking, but also how we talk to each other everyday.
February 04, 2020
What is COTS and Why Should I Care?
COTS is a way for merchants to take card-present credit card payments with their phone only; no separate credit card reader required. It’s pretty cool and Samsung just announced the first phone that will support this out of the box. But of course, it’s a little more complicated than that…
January 14, 2020
My Tech Wishlist for 2020
My hope and dreams for what we get from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Nintendo, and Sony this year.
January 07, 2020
My Top 5 Games of 2019
These are the 5 games that impacted me more than anything else this year.
December 29, 2019
The Reinvention Trap and the Reinvention High
We’re getting close to New Year’s resolution time and I thought it only fitting to talk about how making changes can bring about a new level of excitement and turbo-charge something I want to change or get better at. But that excitement fades and you need to have some core that keeps you going.
December 16, 2019
My Favorite Android Phone of 2019
The Samsung Galaxy S10e is my favorite Android phone of the year, and it took spending significant time with the Pixel 4 to really appreciate how much I actually enjoy this “low end” phone from Samsung.
December 04, 2019
My 10 Favorite Songs of 2019
Listen to this episode at 1x speed (and be aware of some strong language in the lyrics)! These are my top 10 favorite songs of the year. Grab the playlist on Apple Music if you want to add these to your collection today. https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/2019-top-10-songs/pl.u-pZarRF4ZK463
November 22, 2019
I Don’t Know
There is a power in being able to say “I don’t know” or “I need to think about that first” instead of having hot takes on everything. This is true in life in general, and it’s something that is sometimes hard to square with the reward systems in place on social media.
November 18, 2019
iPhone 11 Pro Review (after 2 months)
I’ve had the iPhone 11 Pro for almost 2 months and I thought it was high time I give it a quick review. Long story short: I think this a damn near perfect phone in 2019.
November 13, 2019
My Favorite Non-Apple Tech Buys
Despite mostly talking about Apple stuff on this show, they’re definitely not the only tech stuff I buy and I wanted to spend today celebrating some of my favorite things from companies outside Cupertino.
November 11, 2019
Shoehorning it Into Your Life
Some of us keep waiting for the iPad to “become a real computer” and I continue to be worried that this isn’t something that’s ever going to happen in a way that will make people looking for this happy.
November 07, 2019
The Apps Keeping me on iOS
The reason I stick with iOS over Android really comes down to the third part software library and not the operating systems themselves. Today I looked through some of the apps that make me happier and more productive on iOS.
October 31, 2019
Google Pixel 4: The BirchTree Review
This is my review of the sometimes excellent, but deeply flawed Google Pixel 4. Find the full review at: https://birchtree.me/blog/google-pixel-4-the-birchtree-review
October 28, 2019
What Makes a Phone “Pro”?
The word “Pro” in the iPhone 11 Pro line this year is causing YouTubers the world over to lose their minds over what a pro device should be. Today I try to ascend over the BS to look at what a “pro” phone should do and how well the latest iPhones fall into that category.
October 23, 2019
My Pixel 4 Event Impressions
Google unveiled their worst kept secret ever yesterday and as a Pixel fan I had to talk about it. This episode is on the longer side, but apparently I had a bunch to say about this phone that I think misses the mark in many ways, but also appeals to me at the same time. Come along with me as I try to sort out my feelings!
October 16, 2019
Link’s Awakening for Switch is Just Brilliant
It’s my game of the year and I just couldn’t help talking about it.
October 16, 2019
On Interesting Tech (recorded on my Apple Watch)
A quick episode that I recorded in the Voice Memos app on my Apple Watch on why the Pixel event next week will get a lot of coverage what why that’s alright.
October 09, 2019
Microsoft Surface: Inverse Taco
Microsoft unveiled their new Surface products yesterday and as someone who likes Surface products quite a bit, I wanted to take some time to go over what they talked about.
October 03, 2019
Introspection on Camera Comparisons
Today’s episode explores camera comparisons and why even though I think I do a responsible job with them, it brings me into a fanboy war that I don’t really want a role in.
October 02, 2019
Don’t Trust the Comments
The conversation online, specifically in places like Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit, tend to focus on the technical merits of products and not the actually product-focused elements of things like phones and computers. Today’s off-the-cuff episode (and my third of the week!) addresses this disconnect.
September 27, 2019
Apple Arcade Early Review
Apple Arcade has been out for about a week and I wanted to share my thoughts on how it’s been for me. Basically, I love it.
September 24, 2019
Series 5 and 11 Pro First Impressions
I’ve had the Apple Watch Series 5 and iPhone 11 Pro for a long weekend and have some thoughts.
September 23, 2019
iPhone 11, Apple Watch Series 5, and More
You know the deal, Apple had their September event today and these are my initial impressions from watching the event.
September 10, 2019
Episode 200! Why Hardware Still Matters in 2019
This kind of snuck up on me, so thank you for listening for 200 episodes! Today, on the eve of a new iPhone announcement, I talk about why hardware still matters in 2019, specifically in terms of photography, as well as why Google seems to get all the credit when it comes to “computational photography.”
September 09, 2019
My Android 10 Review
This is the audio version of my review of Android 10. I'm just going over the major updates: gestures, dark mode, and privacy/security.
September 05, 2019
Dark Noise Review
My review of the new white noise app, Dark Noise.
August 27, 2019
Just Here for the AirDrop Memes
It’s hard to keep up with iOS and Android, and today I dive into why I think it’s important for people like me to provide the context normal people simply can’t be expected to figure out themselves.
August 26, 2019
The September Preview
We’re only a few weeks away from Apple’s annual September event and I’ve not really taken any time to talk about what I’m looking forward to there. Today, that is rectified.
August 21, 2019
Micro.blog, the Open Web, and Good Vibes
I can only really say nice things about Micro.blog and it felt like it was time to have an episode about only good stuff.
August 14, 2019
Did the iPhone Kill Phone Design?
Turn on voice boost in your podcast app for this episode. I apparently drifted away from the mic around the middle of the episode and I couldn’t get the audio to be totally level throughout…sorry :( The iPhone undeniably shifted our thinking as a society about what a phone is, but did it “kill design” while it was at it? I argue it didn’t kill design, but had a design that was so far ahead of what everyone else was doing that it made little sense to keep pursuing those older designs.
August 12, 2019
Falling in and Out of Love with Companies
Just because you love a company one day does not mean you are going to love them another day. Even of those changes make logical sense for them to make and even if the writing is on the wall that the change was going to happen, none of that means everyone is going to be a fan of these changes.
August 08, 2019
Why We Don’t Take Android Tablets Seriously
Android tablets just haven’t caught on, and today I dive into some reasons why I think that’s the case.
August 05, 2019
Sea of Solitude Game Review
In this bonus episode, I review Sea of Solitude, a new game that deals with depression, ego, and sorrow. It's not "fun" but it's definitely worth a look.
July 27, 2019
Why Breath of the Wild is Absolutely Brilliant
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a brilliant game, and if you’ll allow me, here’s why.
June 30, 2019
The iPadOS Marketing is Working
The iPadOS public beta came out yesterday and that means all the major tech outlets got out there “here’s what’s new in iPadOS 13” videos as well. If Apple’s goal in changing the naming of the iPad’s operating system was to shift the conversation in terms if its “ability to replace your PC” then I think they it seems like it’s working.
June 25, 2019
Apple Beta Status Report: macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS
Quick episode today on how the betas are holding up for me and why I'm desperately hoping for new betas today to fix some of the crazy problems I'm having with my iPhone and Apple Watch in particular. These were explicitly messaged as unstable and I knew that going in, so not complaining by any means, just wanted to let other "thrill seekers" out there know where these stand after a few weeks of use.
June 17, 2019
Google Stadia and the State of Game Streaming
Google's upcoming Stadia service looks like a really hard sell to me, especially compared to things like Microsoft xCloud, not to mention the years of baggage the gaming industry has with very similar services.
June 11, 2019
Maximizing Updates to iPadOS
Apple made some very targeted updates to the iPad this year and they are reaping the rewards in the tech press. I think people are getting their hopes up a little too much for how much these updates are going to fundamentally change the iPad experience though. Yes, the iPad will be better than ever, but this is still the same fundamental experience it was before.
June 10, 2019
WWDC19 watchOS and iPadOS Impressions
Recorded minutes after Tim left the stage at WWDC 2019, here are my thoughts on what Apple shoed off for the Apple Watch and iPad. Short version: I’m a very happy camper.
June 03, 2019
Google Pixel 3a Review: The MacBook Air of Smartphones
My review of the Google Pixel 3a.
May 31, 2019
12 Lightning Book Reviews for Things I’ve Read in 2019
I’ve read 12 books in 2019 and felt it was high time I talk about them. There are some really good ones here, so I hope everyone is able to find something they enjoy.
May 21, 2019
The Pixel 3a and OnePlus 7 Pro and Diverging Directions
Quick chat about the differences Google and OnePlus are taking with their new spring phones.
May 16, 2019
Killzone Shadow Fall: An E3 Demo Come to Life
Video version here: https://youtu.be/ule7fvg2uAQ Killzone Shadow Fall was the launch title for the PlayStation 4 and I wanted to give it some love for being a rare game that feels as cool as even the fanciest E3 demo. It’s not the best game in the world, but I think it’s worth more that some people give it credit for.
May 14, 2019
I Fundamentally Treat iOS and Android Differently
More Pixel 3a talk that hits on something that I hadn’t really thought much of before, but is an important difference in how I use iOS and Android.
May 13, 2019
Pixel 3a First Impressions
Camera, performance, and build quality. You can get all three of those by spending $800+ but midrange phones always require some sacrifice. The Pixel 3a is no different, but it makes different trade-offs than many phones in the same price range and I think that makes it a really interesting and compelling phone.
May 10, 2019
The Google I/O 2019 Extravaganza
Google I/O kicks off today and I have a lot of thoughts! This episode is split in half, recorded both before and after the keynote, so you’ll get to see how close I was to guessing what Google would focus on (spoiler: I nailed the security angle and missed on my OnePlus 6 being included in the beta).
May 07, 2019
Gris is a Mini Masterpiece
My full review of Gris, a Nintendo Switch game that deserves your attention. Check out the video version of this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RSRkqSByltg
May 02, 2019
Emptying My Brain
I’m reading Getting Things Done, the classic productivity book by David Allen, and one concept in particular really clicked with me.
April 30, 2019
Why Journey Deserves its Legendary Status in Gaming History
FULL GAME SPOILERS AHEAD Journey has been around for a with now, but it's just as amazing to play today as it was when it came out originally for the PS3. In this video I take a look at three reasons I think it's an amazing game. These are by no means the only reasons, so don't think of this as a complete list, it's just what struck me when replaying the game this time.
April 29, 2019
The Galaxy Fold and Editorials Invading Reviews
The reviews for the Samsung Galaxy Fold really brought to light something I’ve noticed about tech reviews in recent years. We’ve moved past the “is this product worth your money” style of review and moved more to editorial-style reviews which seems to be creating a disconnect between reviewers and readers.
April 22, 2019
On Video Game Accessibility
I felt compelled to weigh in on the video game debate of the day: should games like Sekiro do more to enable more people to play them? It’s a sometimes raucous debate and I wanted to weigh in.
April 17, 2019
The Android App Ceiling
There is a ceiling to the quality and variety of apps you can get on Android, and I needed to talk about it.
April 16, 2019
Major iOS 13 Leaks!
Rambo has some major leaks on what we’ll be seeing in iOS 13 this fall, and I have to say I’m really excited about most of this stuff.
April 15, 2019
Why I’m Doing All This Video Game Stuff
Why the heck have I been doing all this stuff with video games lately?
April 09, 2019
Sonos One, One Month Later
How's the Sonos One holding up as a HomePod replacement?
April 05, 2019
Metal Gear Solid 2 Retrospective - Part 1
Bonus episode! My look back on the tanker mission from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
April 05, 2019
Living in a Galaxy of Samsungs
My feelings towards the Samsung Galaxy S10e, Buds, and Watch Active.
April 04, 2019
On the Third Day of…Apple Christmas?
This is the third day in a row Apple has released new hardware, which is unheard of, as far as I know. Today it’s all about AirPods and no AirPower.
March 20, 2019
New iPad Day!
Apple announced new iPads moments before I started recording today, so we get some hot breaking news in this episode!
March 18, 2019
We Need To Talk About Watches
I’ve been using a couple smart watches lately and I need to get some stuff off my chest. My Galaxy Watch Active sorta-review
March 14, 2019
My Technical North Star
I’m using the Galaxy S10e more and more, and my current challenge is finding a way to talk about this device in a way that does not preach to the choir.
March 09, 2019
Samsung Galaxy S10e First Impressions
These are my first impressions of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S10e!
March 07, 2019
Replacing a HomePod with a Sonos One
I swapped out one of my HomePods for a Sonos One and had to share my inital impressions.
March 02, 2019
164: This Podcast Folds in Half
Let’s not be afraid to get hyped for tech that’s not ready for mainstream phones just yet!
February 25, 2019
163: Software is More Complicated Than That
Recording on an iPhone SE, in my car, on a rainy day because I need to talk about surface-level software analysis.
February 23, 2019
162: March 8 is Going to be Fun
Remember how I wasn’t getting a Galaxy S10 yesterday? Yeah, that was short-lived.
February 22, 2019
161: The Samsung S10 Checkout Page
Samsung announced a bunch of new phones yesterday and only one of them was insane! My thoughts on the Galaxy S10 lineup (not the folding one yet, though). Support the show on Patreon BirchTree
February 21, 2019
160: My Review of Resident Evil 2
My review of the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2.
February 10, 2019
159: Woof! Spotify Buys All the Things. Woof!
I hold a dog while I record today because sometimes you just need to get the work done one way or another.
February 06, 2019
158: iPhone XS Smart Battery Case Review
My review of the iPhone XS battery case that is definitely not late to the party.
February 05, 2019
Ok, so I’m not “switching to Android” or anything, but I gotta send some love to the Pixel 2.
January 28, 2019
156: Punching a Hole in the Galaxy
The Galaxy S10 leaked and it’s full of holes!
January 24, 2019
155: New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe Review
My review of New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch.
January 21, 2019
154: Hard Drive Formatting Nightmare
Well, i finally got my capture card working, but it was quite the adventure getting there.
January 18, 2019
153: It’s All About the Battery Cases
We have new battery cases!
January 17, 2019
152: One Year With HomePod
I’ve had the HomePod for almost a year and wanted to take a few minutes and talk about how it fits into both my life and the larger speaker ecosystem.
January 14, 2019
151: It’s Been a While, So Let’s Talk iTunes
It’s been a few weeks and I’m finally back to talk tech!
January 10, 2019
150: Why God of War was My Favorite Game of 2018
God of War was my favorite game of 2018 and I felt compelled to share why that was the case. I also talk briefly about 5 other games that I loved this year.
December 27, 2018
149: Merry Christmas! (and blowing up workflows)
Holiday episode about some changes in forcing myself to make in the new year.
December 25, 2018
148: The BirchTree Smartphone Awards
There are tons of good phones out there, but for the first time in years, my picks are not the most expensive phones money can buy.
December 18, 2018
147: My Favorite Albums of 2018
This week I take a look at some of my favorite albums of 2018. Links to all albums are in the chapter titles so that you can easlity check these out on Apple Music if you hear something you like.
December 17, 2018
146: The Magic of Keyboard Maestro
Keyboard Maestro is a wonderful app that I app for the Mac that I took way too long to embrace. https://www.keyboardmaestro.com/main/
December 11, 2018
145: Why We Can’t Shut Up About the iPad
Some of us can’t seem to stop talking about the iPad, and I wanted to add a smidge of clarity as to why that’s the case.
December 10, 2018
144: Night Sight on the Pixel 3
I got my hands on a Google Pixel 3 and took some time to compare how it handles low light photography with the iPhone Xs. Long story short, I’m very impressed, and I hope that something like this will be coming to the iPhone in the not-too-distant future. https://birchtree.me/blog/pixel-3-night-sight-vs-iphone-xs-in-really-really-low-light-comparison/
December 07, 2018
143: A Major Pain When Editing Video on iOS
iOS really wants you to add all of your video files to the Photos app, which is opften convenient, but can be a pain for people like me who handle video files that we don’t really want to be included in our permentant photo and video libraries. This might be a niche episode, but it’s a pain point that I’m running into right now and wanted to talk about it.
December 03, 2018
142: I Got the New iPad!
I picked up the 12.9” iPad Pro last night and wanted to share my first impressions of the Pro-iest iPad ever. 1. Size and screen 2. Speakers 3. Performance 4. Apple Pencil 2 5. Smart Keyboard Folio
November 29, 2018
141: Am I Just Doing Eff-All Work?
Minor profanity warning on this one. The tweet in question has the f-bomb in it, and I do mention it a few times in the episode. The tweet in question: https://twitter.com/tomwarren/status/1063216386573504512 Nilay made this point on Vergecast, but the people who have replaced their laptops with an iPad are people who do fuck all work. The rest of us hard working people use a laptop, because we have real stuff to do other than send emails and fart around. Don’t @ me ¯\_(ツ)\_/¯ Wow…
November 20, 2018
140: 2018 iPhone, 2018 iPad, and 2012 Mac
"Apple doesn't want you to know the iPad Pro runs iOS!" is the sort of headline I feel like I'm seeing a lot with iPad Pro reviews, so let's talk about it. Also, I think the large of my 3 main computers tells you how passionate I am about them. My iPhone is from 2018, my iPad will be from 2018 (in a week or two), and my Mac is from 2012.
November 15, 2018
139: A Simple Printer Rant
I think it's healthy to rant about (and privide a sliver of hope) about printers ever now and again :)
November 14, 2018
138: I Did it!
Bye bye MacBook Pro, hello iPad Pro. My review of the best calendar app for the Apple Watch on The Sweet Setup: https://thesweetsetup.com/apps/the-best-calendar-app-for-apple-watch/
November 08, 2018
137: About Those iPad Pro Reviews
Nothing gets people in the Apple community riled up quite like an iPad Pro review. I'm one of the biggest proponents of the iPad Pro as a work machine and I use mine that way literally every single day. I use it because it's the best platform for me and makes me the happiest when using my computer. That said, I try to keep an open mind about what is still missing from iOS and why it keeps some people away.
November 06, 2018
136: Holy Explitive, Those New iPad Pros
Apple unveiled their new iPad Pro lineup yesterday and I’m so freaking on board.
October 31, 2018
135: Sorta Back on the Android Train
Just a brief episode today on what the heck I've been doing tweeting and writing about the OnePlus 6 out of the blue.
October 29, 2018
134: Mice and Trackpads and iPads, Oh My!
Apple announced an event on October 30 and the rumors are it's going to be all about some sweet, sweet new iPads. I'm really excited to see what's next for my favorite computer line, and have some crazy ideas for what they might be adding.
October 24, 2018
133: The Pixel 3 is All About That Camera
After taking 9 days off from the podcast, I'm back to talk about why the Pixel 3 is really more of a camera attached to a smartphone than any other phone on the market today.
October 17, 2018
132: Everything but the Pixel 3!
Everything but the Pixel 3! Today I'm taking a look at all the non-Pixel 3 things shown off at yesterday's Google hardware event. Oh, and the AC kicked on for the last couple minutes of the episode, so if you hear a hum start near the end, that's just me unexpectedly getting a little bit of air. Sorry for the hum!
October 10, 2018
131: Microsoft's New Surface Lineup is Here!
Microsoft had their hardware event for the fall and announced updates to their Surface Laptop, Studio, and Pro models, as well as a whole new product: Surface Headphones. As someone who has recently dabbled in Surface stuff, I thought it might be worth talking about what they showed off and how it moves the needle for me in regards to Microsoft's hardware strategy.
October 04, 2018
130: Apple Watch Series 4 Review
I've had the Apple Watch Series 4 for 11 days and this is my initial review. It's very good, but is it $130 better than the just-discounted Series 3 that it replaces? You can read the full review on BirchTree: https://birchtree.me/blog/apple-watch-series-4-review/ Support The BirchTree Podcast on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/birchtree
October 02, 2018
129: The Mac's Draw is More Than Automation
Shortcuts is a major step forward in automation for iOS. But there are still quite a few people who either don't "get" Shortcuts' appeal or still prefer their Mac for productivity. If Apple is serious about iOS replacing macOS for most people, and I think they are, then they need to keep chipping away at the things that make people pick the Mac today. The list is getting shorter, but they're clearly not there yet.
October 01, 2018
128: 5 Things I Love About the iPhone XS
I upgraded my iPhone 8 Plus to an iPhone XS yesterday and my goodness, do I like this phone! Today’s impromptu episode hits on 5 things that have stood out to me so far.
September 23, 2018
127: Creating my watchOS 5 Review
It was over 3 months in the marking, so yeah, I’m taking an episode to walk through the tools and process I used to get it all done ;)
September 18, 2018
126: watchOS 5 Review
My complete review of watchOS 5. Check out the full written review here: https://birchtree.me/blog/watchOS-5-review
September 17, 2018
125: The Morning After (Ordering Apple Stuff)
I recorded today's episode on about 4 hours of sleep, but I was indeed able to order myself a new iPhone and Apple Watch. If the fates are kind, they'll both be here in a week. Here's what I got and why I got it.
September 14, 2018
123: iPhone XS, XC, XR, Oh My!
An iPhone lives and dies on its quality, not its name.
September 10, 2018
122: The Always Approaching, Never Arrived "Post-PC Era"
The "post-PC era" sure is taking a long time to get here.
September 07, 2018
121: Surface Go to Pro
In a turn of events I'm rocking a completely different Surface computer since the last time we talked. I not have a Surface Pro which I'm hoping will be a better fit for me than the underpowered Surface Go.
September 04, 2018
120: Office, Netflix, and Web Browsing
The Windows-centric tech press is talking about the Surface Go's perfjoamcne in terms of "what more could you expect from a $400 tablet?" The answer is incredibly obvious, the $329 iPad, and I think makes the Go look worse than it would in a Windows-only vacuum. Like the show? Please consider supporting it on Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/birchtree
August 22, 2018
119: 1 Hour for Every 1 Minute
- Amount of work for a blog post: minimal - Amount of work for a podcast: a bit, but not terrible - Amount of work for a video: for-freaking-ever Support the show on Patreon! https://www.patreon.com/birchtree
August 20, 2018
118: The Surface Go Performance (or lack thereof)
The biggest question surrounding the Surface Go since its launch a few weeks ago is how well it performs. I didn't want to weigh in too early on this one, but I feel like I know what this device is and I need to talk about this.
August 16, 2018
117: Surface is Changing My View of the Mac
The Surface Go is only making me appreciate my iPad more, but it's also making me feel a little less enthusiastic about the mobile Mac lineup. If the Mac is going to stick around for the long haul, I'd love to see Apple start to play around more with the form factors they offer, because this Surface is making me desperately want a Mac in this type of hardware.
August 14, 2018
116: Shh, Surface is Sleeping
The Microsoft Surface Go definitely still runs the same Windows we know and love(?).
August 11, 2018
115: Surface is a Go!
I've spent a couple days with the Surface Go, my first Surface device, and I, of course, have a few thoughts.
August 07, 2018
114: Apple Ends their App Store Affiliate Program
Apple sent out an email last night that was crushing to a lot of people in the Apple community. They are ending their affiliate program for the App Store. This was a reliable, important revenue source for many creators out there, and this program's demise means that a lot of these people are going to have to reassess how they make a living.
August 02, 2018
113: Arguing With Myself About Apple Financials
Apple will announce their Q3 2018 financials, and I am as mildly interested as always. So instead of talking about the numbers (they're not out yet!) today I'm talking about how those numbers can and can't be used in debates on how good specific products that Apple makes.
July 31, 2018
112: What’s the Motivation for USB-C on iOS?
There have been people asking Apple to switch the iPhone and iPad to USB-C for years now, and Apple seems as uninterested as ever in actually doing this. Today I pondered why that is and if we can expect to see them change their tune in the near future. I’m skeptical, to say the least.
July 30, 2018
111: Buying a Hammer
Sometimes I fail to understand why people make the tech decisions they make. It seems so clear to me what the best smartphone or laptop is, but most of the world gets something different. I always have to remind myself that the way I look at a hammer is how many people look at computers: I need one, but I don’t really care that much about getting “the best,” I just need something that works.
July 25, 2018
110: Why I Love Ulysses
Ulysses has been my writing app of choice for years, and I get questions about it all the time. I know writing apps are very personal, and what makes an app great for me might not make it great for you, but here are some of the things that make Ulysses the undisputed king of writing apps for me. Download from the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ulysses/id1225571038?mt=8&uo=4&at=10l8rH
July 24, 2018
109: The BirchTree Patreon
I'm launching a Patreon and you can sign up for it right now! Take a listen to the episode for the details, and the blog post (below) goes into more details about what I'm trying to accomplish with this. This may work or it may be a dud, but I had to try. I really want to use Patreon to enhance the quality of work I can produce for you, so let me know any feedback you have. Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/birchtree Blog post announcement: https://birchtree.me/blog/support-birchtree-on-patreon/
July 23, 2018
108: Trying to Muster Up Enthusiasm for New Macs
Apple updated the MacBook Pro lineup today and I'm just over here doing my best to generate any personal excitement for these new machines. My heart just isn't in it for the Mac right now, it's all iOS for me right now.
July 12, 2018
107: What Automation Means on iOS and Android
People have different ideas for what "automation" means on iOS and Android, and it can have a negative impact on how we talk to each other about our respective automation services. As someone who lives in both worlds, hopefully I can clear things up a little.
July 10, 2018
106: My Favorite Movies, Music, and Games of 2018 (so far)
The year is half over and I thought it was a good time to reflect on some of the best media I've enjoyed so far this year. ## Video Games God of War Celeste Hollow Knight ## Movies Annihilation Blockers ## Music Pusha T - Daytona Kanye West - Ye Kids See Ghosts - self-titled Courtney Barnett - Tell Me How Your Really Feel CHVRCHES - Love is Dead
July 06, 2018
105: Remembering We Don't Have All the Information
Apple announced they are doing a major overhaul of their map data and it reminded me that there is a ton going on in the world that we have no visibility to, even at companies we follow intensely. Smart to give yourself a little wiggle room and stay away from definitive statements when it comes to future plans.
July 05, 2018
104: Nest Thermostat First Impressions
I got a Nest Thermostat over the weekend. It's my first foray into smart thermostats and my initial impressions are really positive.
July 02, 2018
103: When Passion Projects Pay Off
Sometimes a passion project you do on the side pays off in your regular day-to-day life. I have had this happen a few times in the past couple years and I find it to be incredibly rewarding every time. I was reminded of this phenomenon this week as I had to step slightly outside my product shoes and do some iOS development work at my 9-5 job.
June 27, 2018
102: Podcasting From a Closet
Status update episode that I recorded from my closet because my office area isn’t set up yet. Also, 30 seconds of tech, just so I can call this a “tech podcast”.
June 26, 2018
101: Talking Walkies
The Walkie Talkie app on coming in watchOS 5 is one of my more anticipated features coming this fall to the Apple Watch. I think I’m going to get a lot of use out of it.
June 20, 2018
100: Sticking With It
It's hard to create one of something, but it's a whole other level of challenge to make something over and over and over again, all the while keeping yourself and your audience engaged. BirchTree is my 3rd blog, and this podcast is my 4th podcast. None of my older projects got off the ground, partially because they weren't great, but also because I wasn't invested in keeping them going. On today's show, I talk about how I personally keep myself working and why it can be hard to keep up sometimes.
June 18, 2018
099: Auditing Your Digital Workflow
People have a tendency to always be looking for the latest and greatest software to do their work with. They want something new, something shiny. And while tools are important and when possible you should try to use the best tool for the job, this quest to always find something better will not magically make you better at what you do.
June 14, 2018
098: It’s Beta Summer!
Just a progress report on how the iOS, watchOS, macOS, and Android betas are going for me. The short of it is that nothing is going horribly wrong, but all of these are definitely still beta releases that come with all the expected bugginess.
June 12, 2018
097: Demystifying Shortcuts in iOS 12 and watchOS 5
Shortcuts might be the coolest new addition to iOS and watchOS coming this fall, and today I do my best to demystify the many layers of this feature. https://birchtree.me/blog/understanding-shortcuts-in-ios-12/
June 11, 2018
096: 10 Awesome Features Coming in watchOS 5
Apple unveiled watchOS 5 yesterday and here are my 10 most exciting features I've seen and used in the first beta so far. 1. Automatic workout detection 2. Advanced running features (steps-per-minute, rolling pace) 3. Walkie talkie 4. Podcasts 5. Audio apps in the background 6. Grouped notifications 7. Third party integration to Siri face 8. Web views! 9. Better DND 10. Volume controls!
June 05, 2018
095: Hugely Smarter, my WWDC18 Keynote Impressions
Is "hugely smarter" grammatically correct? I hope it is because I said it with confidence in today's second episode of the podcast. These were my immediate impressions following the keynote. I had no notes and the Apple site hadn't been updated in time for this recording so I blanked on the names of a few things, but I wanted to get my raw feelings out there from the event. Happy beta-ing!
June 04, 2018
094: Pre-WWDC Warm Up
A quick show this morning to talk about what I'm doing for this WWDC keynote day.
June 04, 2018
093: Castro 3 Review
Castro 3 came out on Monday of this week and it's a very opinionated podcast player. Listen in to hear why I think this app works so well for me, even if it's not an app for everybody. Get Castro 3 on the App Store: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/app/castro-podcasts/id1080840241?mt=8&uo=4&at=10l8rH
May 25, 2018
092: Why I've Already Switched Back to the iPhone
Castro 3, Spark 2, OmniFocus 3, Apollo, and Pocket-Run Pool all came out for iOS since I switched to Android 16 days ago. In that same time there have been zero updates or new apps for Android that have me really exacted.
May 24, 2018
091: Dumb to Clever to Smart, My History with Watches
I have been wearing watches for my whole life. Long before the Apple Watch became my obsession, I lived for having the time on my wrist. This episode takes you through my history of being a kid with a cheap Timex, to the wonder introduced by the Pebble, all the way to the wonderful Apple watch I'm wearing today.
May 23, 2018
090: Android P Isn't That Miserable After All
I've been using Android P for 2 weeks and it might just be the least painful time with Android I've ever had. I'm not switching any time soon, but if I were an Android fan I think I'd be happy with this update. Also, it was basically a monsoon outside this morning, so pardon the rain in the background.
May 21, 2018
089: Google Pixel Buds Update
The Google Pixel Buds got a few new gestures for controls this week and it got me thinking again about how these stack up to AirPods, their clear competitor.
May 18, 2018
088: Google News First Impressions
Google News is now available for iOS and Android (if you know where to look) and I have been spending some serious time with the app. Here are my first impressions. Android APK: https://www.apkmirror.com/apk/google-inc/google-news/google-news-5-0-0-release/google-news-5-0-0-android-apk-download/ iOS App Store: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-news/id459182288?mt=8&at=10l8rH
May 16, 2018
087: Wear OS is Treading Water
Google only showed off Wear OS at one developer session this year, which was realtively disappointing from a smart watch fan’s perspective. They didn’t show off anything that got me jealous of their wearable platform, and that was a huge disappointment for me. Wear OS at I/O: https://birchtree.me/blog/wear-os-at-google-io/ My watchOS 5 proposal: https://birchtree.me/blog/watchos-5-a-relatively-modest-proposal/
May 14, 2018
086: Podcasts, iPads, and Headphone Jacks
How I produce my podcast, why I think the iPad is great for content creation, and why needing to use a headphone jack is actually kind of inconvenient these days. Unco episode 14: https://www.unco.fm/unco/014
May 10, 2018
085: Google I/O At Lightning Speed
Google I/O's keynote ended literally 2 minutes before I hit record on this episode, so enjoy my completely off the cuff thoughts about the event. There's more to come from Google this week, so expect to hear more about I/O in the coming days.
May 08, 2018
084: Microsoft Build Is All Business
My initial reactions to Microsoft's lengthy, and all business keynote presentation from Build 2018. As someone who focuses on consumer tech, there really wasn't a lot for me at this show, but Microsoft did have a few things of note to talk about.
May 08, 2018
083: Pocket Casts Changes and Cancelling Spotify
There was some news about Pocket Casts yesterday, and people are a bit conflicted on what to think about it. Also, my one dollar month of Spotify is almost up and I had to make a decision about if it would replace Apple Music for me. The answer was a resounding no.
May 04, 2018
082: Prioritizing "Quality of Life" Features
On iteration and making time for those features that don't make money on their own, but make your experience better so that people stick around.
May 03, 2018
081: Apple Made a Ton of Money Again
Apple seems to be pretty good at making a stupid amount of cash, huh? See also my post from this morning with some fancy actions for you Drafts users out there. https://birchtree.me/blog/draft-5-actions-the-birchtree-collection/
May 02, 2018
080: Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Trust
I just travelled to Austin, Texas for a long weekend and learned a little about myself when it comes to which mapping service I trust more to get me where I'm try to go.
May 01, 2018
079: What I Value Most in a Task Manager
There is a reason I keep going back to OmniFocus.
April 26, 2018
078: A Straight Up Windows 10 Rant
How am I annoyed by Windows on a daily basis? Let me count the ways ;)
April 25, 2018
077: Ideas are Always Better Than Reality
This week is a case study in how this impacts the Apple Pencil charging situation, which some have called bad design. I disagree, and I only do so after working out the implications of making other choices. There are complications with ever product decision, and the challenge is in picking the path that makes the best compromises. https://birchtree.me/blog/apple-pencil-charging-is-good-design/
April 23, 2018
076: 3 Ways I'm Stepping Ever So Slightly Outside my Comfort Zone
I'm experimenting with computer platforms, media, and content creation mediums, all in the interest of challenging my own assumptions about who I have decided I am. These are not life-changing differences, but they are small steps to challenge some decisions I made many years ago.
April 19, 2018
075: Drafts 5 Micro-Review
Drafts 5 will be releasing today and it's a great update! I am not going to post a full review of the app because I'm far too casual of a user to provide much insight into it, but I had to take a few minutes and talk about why I love it and how it fits into my very specific workflow. Drafts on the App Store: https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/app/drafts-quick-capture/id905337691?mt=8&at=10l8rH Tim Nahumck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/nahumck
April 18, 2018
074: Expanding Your View Outside Yourself
It's easy to tell the world what you think is important, or what you see and good and bad. It's much harder to step outside yourself and understand, or even argue for, the opinions and world views of others. But just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not important. Quite the opposite, actually. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/05/what-alexa-taught-my-father/556874/
April 17, 2018
073: Try Another Browser, It Won't Hurt
So many people just seem to use Chrome these days, and odds are you are too. I'd seriously recommend trying something like Safari, Firefox, Vivaldi, or Opera. https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/15/17239548/firefox-chrome-safari-competition
April 16, 2018
072: The Ridiculously Brilliant Breath of the Wild
Quick episode today where I gush about the latest Zelda adventure.
April 11, 2018
071: Strongly Held Opinions, but Opinions Nonetheless
I love the Magic Keyboard, and I actually really like the new MacBook keyboards too. These keyboards are not factually great, but they're great for me.
April 10, 2018
070: My Android adventure lasted 6 days
I spent less than a week back on Android full time and it was just more trouble than it was worth. I'm a little harsh on Android in the episode, so maybe skip today if you're a die-hard Android fan, but I had to be honest.
April 09, 2018
069: How I'd fix AirPods and Google Pixel Buds
The AirPods and Pixel Buds have features I wish they'd steal from each other.
April 06, 2018
068: Love for Apple's Under-appreciated Calendar App
I've found myself very happy with and impressed with the Calendar app for iOS recently. There are few apps that I have made such a full 180 on and it's a good illustration on how software is deeply subjective and how a change in circumstance can totally change your opinion on things.
April 05, 2018
067: 3 Things I Love About the Google Pixel 2
It's all about the camera, the feel, and the speed.
April 04, 2018
066: A Platform that Inspires no Passion (from me)
I'm a few days into Android again, and it really struck me already how little passion I feel for this platform. The types of experiences that make me really appreciate iOS and macOS just aren't here. There are some surface-level customizations that are nice, but the third party (and even first party Google) apps are just so lifeless.
April 03, 2018
065: I'm Back on Android, Baby!
I moved my SIM card back to the Pixel 2 yesterday and I'm going to try and do a full month on Android. There's not intention of writing anything specific about the differences between iOS and Android this time, so I am curious to see if using Android in a non-critical mindset changes how I feel about it. I don't think it will, but I feel like I need to give it a fair shake again.
April 02, 2018
064: Privacy on BirchTree
I audited the tools I'm using to collect user data on BirchTree and have made some decisions on how to trim down what I'm collecting so that even the most privacy-oriented person feels comfortable browsing my site. DuckDuckGo gives my site a B rating, which is pretty good, but I want to do a little better.
March 26, 2018
063: (Bonus episode) "Only" vs "Main" Computer
Watch The Verge's video that inspired this episode here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rm\_zQP9JIJI
March 22, 2018
062: Paying for Time or for a Result
Today I discuss why I like doing my freelance jobs for a flat rate and not by the hour. People have many differing opinions here, and different work may call for different payment methods, but for me, this has always seemed better.
March 19, 2018
061: The iPhone 7 Plus: Power and Damn, What a Camera!
The iPhone 7 Plus may have looked similar to the 2 generations of iPhones that came before it, but the tech inside was really something else, and it stands in my memory as the best iPhone upgrade in recent years (besides the X, of course).
March 17, 2018
060: A Ridiculously Good iPad
The 10.5" iPad Pro is a marvelous computer, and is just so damn good. It's the best iPad I think Apple has ever released, and in some ways the best personal computer they've ever made.
March 16, 2018
059: The Apple Watch Series 3 Was Finally "Enough"
The Apple Watch hit what I would consider the threshold where it was finally "good enough" for almost everyone. It's fast and new wireless capabilities made it more independent from your iPhone. It's a great product, and one that I'm happy to be wearing on my wrist today.
March 15, 2018
058: The iPhone X Changed the Conversation
The iPhone X was released in November 2017 and has been Apple's best-selling phone ever since. That's pretty impressive for a $1,000 phone, and even though I don't personally own one, my experience as well as what I've heard from friends who have one has convinced me this is one of the best products Apple has released in recent years.
March 14, 2018
057: AirPods are Apple's Best Hardware Release in Years
It's time to gush a little bit about the best products Apple has released in the last couple years. Today we're talking AirPods. https://twitter.com/mattbirchler/status/972868569158639618
March 13, 2018
055: They Annoy the Hell Out of Me, but I'm Keeping Them
I reviewed the Google Pixel Buds for BirchTree and took to the microphone to rant a little about them. There's a lot of progress to be made here and I hope Google is listening to the feedback from not only me, but most other critics. https://birchtree.me/blog/google-pixel-buds-review/
February 26, 2018
054: Desks, how do they work?
Does anyone know what they're doing with their desk? I feel like I'm always just winging it and have no grand plan to "optimize my work flow" or anything like that. Either there is something I'm missing, or we're all just guessing our way through.
February 20, 2018
053: HomePod, HomePod, HomePod
HomePod is here and I've been using mine for a couple days now. It's a very good speaker with some challenges when it comes to other aspects. If you literally just want something that sounds good, then this likely will fit the bill for you. But if you want a little more, or something that just keeps up with the other wireless speakers on the market, this has a few challenges that it needs to overcome.
February 12, 2018
052: Apple's Video Service Might Actually Have a Shot
Apple Music is on pace to overtake Spotify in the US in 2018. This got me thinking about whether Apple is too late to overtake the likes of Hulu and Netflix in the video arena. They have an uphill battle, but giving the success of Apple Music, I'm reassessing how likely their odds are here. https://9to5mac.com/2018/02/04/apple-music-subscribers-spotify/
February 05, 2018
051: 15 Million Switches
Apparently the Nintendo Switch has just about hit 15 million sales worldwide, months ahead of other big gam console launches like the Wii and PS4. Nintendo has a hit on their hands, and I'm just enjoying the ride. https://nintendosoup.com/nintendo-sold-close-15-million-switch-consoles-2017/
January 31, 2018
050: HomePod Eve
We're t-minus 8 hours from HomePod pre-orders and I did an impromptu episode of the show to get some of my thoughts about how odd this release is for Apple. I still have so many questions about it that are not answered and I can't remember the last time I felt this in the dark about an Apple product at its release.
January 26, 2018
049: iPad and RSI Issues
The iPad has helped me a ton with some minir RSI issues I’ve had recently. It may not be true for everyone, but for me it’s an absolute godsend.
January 22, 2018
048: The Apple Watch Doesn’t Really Have a Peer
I discuss the unique challenge of coming up with new features for a product that doesn’t really have anyone to steal ideas from. iOS can look to Android for things to improve, and macOS can look to Windows, but watchOS really has no peers at this point in time. Android Wear is on life support, and companies like Fitbit aren’t making comparable products. https://birchtree.me/blog/watchos-5-a-relatively-modest-proposal/
January 16, 2018
047: A Detail Often Forgotten
We often forget that people make different choices on what computing platforms to use. This leads to heated, sometimes angry debates about why the other person is clearly making a bad decision and they should change. That is not a helpful way to talk about this stuff.
January 08, 2018