Mac Power Users 457: 2018 Geek Gift Guide


#1

First impressions of the Sutter Tech Sling
#2

When David mentioned that he’s been playing with a Sutter Tech Sling that Waterfield sent him to review I was very jealous. Then what should pop up but a notice that FedEx had delivered my Sutter a day earlier than the scheduled delivery. :grin:


#3

David mentioned tech bags… in the stocking stuffer price range I can recommend Waterfield’s zippered Micro Wallet at $19 a piece. I had long lusted for their Finn Wallets but felt they were too big for my front pocket. Then they came out with the micro version. It’s the perfect wallet for me. Small yet it has room for all my cards and ids plus cash, coins, and receipts. And zippered.


#4

I posted my first impressions of the Sutter Tech Sling if anyone’s considering it.


#5

Thanks for the review, good coverage, nice clear pictures.


#6

Great show again!

I think @MacSparky is underutilising his Lametric clock. I bought one last year and it is one of my absolute favourite smart-home gadgets. With a little Web development background it is very easy to write your own “apps” for this display/clock. Currently I have a rotation of the following information running:

  • time (default app)
  • date, weekday and name of public holiday (if applicable, self-written app)
  • weather forecast (default app)
  • my Netatmo station data (app store app)
  • current moon phase (self-written app)
  • upcoming birthdays from friends + family (self-written app)
  • top-3 news headlines (self-written app)
  • current EUR/USD currency rate (self-written app)

It’s also easy to interrupt this rotation with notification messages. Basically you just send a http request to the clock. I am using a Raspberry Pi and a Smartthings hub which send all kind of messages to the Lametric like high and low indoor temperature warnings, high indoor humidity warnings, high indoor CO2 warnings and even a welcome message when I arrive home.


#7

@katiefloyd, I was on a similar quest for an indoor grill. Have a look at this one

Yes, it works. Yes it’s super easy to clean :grinning:


#8

Were chapters missing from this episode for anyone else? Funny how reliant I’ve become on visually scanning them in order to listen to the show with the overall structure of the episode in mind.


#9

Yep. No chapter markers on this week’s episode.


#10

Really looking forward to getting updates on StarTrek Discovery from @MacSparky :wink:


#11

Dear MPU Friends,
I thought long and hard about whether posting this was appropriate, especially given how much I value this community, and of course the show. I’ve been a happy listener since 2013, and I eagerly await each episode, especially the gift ones!

But this week’s gift show troubled me because I noticed just how many times David and Katie mentioned Amazon. It was one of those “hear the barking dog moments” when you might not notice an irritation until something makes it obvious. In this case, it happened that right before I tuned in the episode, a friend had shared this piece about what it’s like to be an Amazon driver:

[https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-delivery-drivers-reveal-claims-of-disturbing-work-conditions-2018-8]

This comes on the heels of growing alarm over the company’s size and reach, stories that are troubling me more and more to the point where I’m questioning my own complicity and am contemplating alternatives. Of course I know similar critiques can and should be raised against companies closer to our hearts, but this definitely isn’t the place for that; a celebration (and some healthy skepticism about “The Fruit Company”) are what I expect when I knowingly choose a show about the joys of all-things Apple.

But Amazon? I was surprised enough that I felt I had to say something.

Thanks for reading, and if this makes me person non-grata in the group, I’ll sadly bow out. Just know I mean it from a heartfelt place and hope that it resonates with the people I’ve come to appreciate and admire.


#12

Thanks for the link. I didn’t read the article because Business Insider throws up a cookies window, which I’d rather not deal with. I’m not doubting the accuracy of the article, but I consider Business Insider an unreliable source. In the past I’ve found their headlines, and the Apple News summaries of their articles, misleading click bait. Maybe I should give them another chance… Speaking of Bezos, his Washington Post also throws up annoying windows I’d rather not deal with.

I share your unease about amazon. I’m surprised more people, not just mac power users, aren’t complaining. It’s the behemoth you can’t avoid, like Bell Telephone used to be. Am I showing my age? What I hate the most about amazon is I’m never sure who the seller is. I prefer to buy directly from producers, even if I must pay a little more.


#13

If anyone becomes persona non-grata for sharing their opinion in a nice way, than is the community that needs changing. :grinning: not the case on any of the parties here :grinning: thanks for sharing!!

Re Amazon, think it’s a difficult one to resolve. One one hand it’s the working conditions, on the other hand is the trust on the brand (address, credit card,etc) and comodity. Almost like the Uber deleama …


#14

Good points and I have to admit I haven’t focussed on it as much as I should. I’ll definitely consider this going forward.


#15

Yikes. Why did they do that to me? I really liked that character.


#16

No worries about being persona non grata, everyone’s opinion is welcome.

I too can’t gt the business insider article to come in cleanly for me so my comments are without the benefit of reading it.

I agree on the potential issue with Amazon but from a small rural area let me offer another perspective.

We are 75 miles one way from the nearest medium size city. Basic groceries are 10 miles away, the closest big box store, WalMart, is 30 miles away. We have a vibrant local town whose business section is 2 blocks long. Our tactic is to first try the local stores because we are in town several times a week. However, if they do not have it then we have to plan a trip somewhere else. After multiple times of calling all around to stores in the towns 30 and 75 miles away and being told they had some specific part or thing we needed, driving down and finding out that they lied, then driving all over for several hours looking for the item before giving up and ordering off Amazon before we left the city I am less inclined to worry when I contact Amazon. Our parts/items were delivered the next day by either our local UPS driver or our local FEDEX driver.

Our local delivery drivers know everyone on their routes. We know them. We’ve used our tractor to pull the UPS truck out of the snow drifts and he’s called us when he’s running late and has a package for us. If we are the only ones up the mesa he has to deliver something to we’ll drive down to meet him in town. He’s delivered stuff to the local post office on the PO last mile type of delivery, seen it was for us, realized he had something else to deliver up here and just brought both packages up to us.

In some cases we’ve needed tractor parts and the local folks didn’t have it, called the tracotr dealer 75 miles away, they would have to order it and it would take a week but we could get it off Amazon and pay for overnight delivery. Guess what we did, we needed the tractor and couldn’t really wait and didn’t want toask the neighbor across the valley to bring their tractor up to do the work.

As a resource that allows folks like us who are combined high tech consulting and low tech farming, Amazon is a necessary part of staying in business at a reasonable cost.

Now, the urban Amazon drivers may have a totally different experience but for us Amazon is great.