Mac Power Users 463: All Good Things

It is difficult not be be biased. At the time they became a sponsor, your relationship to the software might be as you described. Then it is no problem.
But what happens if Keyboard Maestro languishes and QuickKeys becomes more attractive to you. Are you going to start saying to your listeners/readers that QuickKeys is better? Perhaps not, particularly if the difference is not too great. And that is what bias is all about.

Thanks to @katiefloyd and @MacSparky for their great work together – a weekly source of enjoyment and learning for me for many years. The appeal of their show transcended the topics that they covered together each week. I usually felt like I was listening to two intelligent siblings share their likes, dislikes and differences in a manner that was respectful, comforting and engaging.

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I do understand your point of view.

I am someone who had to deal with obsolesce as a normal part of my job.

Businesses rarely do things that don’t make money. Some of us may be willing to pay for software upgrades that allow us to keep running our old hardware, but not when the cost is too high. (i.e.$200 for an iSCSI upgrade).

When Apple dropped support on the Xserve, I had to replace $50,000+ of hardware that would have otherwise given up many more years of service.

Many times supporting old hardware just isn’t practical for the vendor (and/or the customer).

" . . . I have to disagree" - that’s what keeps things interesting around here :slight_smile:

In my defense of Scansnap, I failed to mention another reason why I used them for so long. I was able to give them to ordinary users, who are not tech savvy, and they rarely needed support. I found the scanners to be rock solid for my Mac and Windows users, needing only the occasional software upgrade when we replaced a computer, or moved a user from Windows to Mac (or vice versa).

I admit few here would find that a requirement.

I have seen support for Macintosh Computers used in business rise from the days when it was nearly non-existent to what we have today. But Apple has always had an “our way or the highway” attitude that has required vendors, and users, to find workarounds for various problems. Like those faced by programmers in the App Stores or the problem with the Synology NAS you mentioned.

I’ve never used Synology hardware, but I did use multiple iSCSi Drobo’s at work. Drobo used to provide iSCSI software with their systems but stopped a few years ago when the software vendor they used raised their price. iSCSI support is included in Linux distributions and, ASAIK, is still included in all versions of Windows. Apple doesn’t support iSCSI, and I suspect Synology doesn’t write their own software for the Mac. Whether they do or not, Synology just passes on the extra cost to their Mac customers.

I think the problems we face as Mac power users are likely to increase as we go forward. Apple’s primary focus is not on the Mac, they are interested in high volume. They aren’t the scrappy “Think Different” company of old, they are the new 800 pound gorilla.

Apple apparently sees no reason to worry about making changes that break third party solutions. Businesses that run Macs have always just rolled with these changes.

I think we will have to do the same.

True, and I would add … Businesses that sell to Mac users must also roll with these changes.

Because that’s the way Apple operates. Just Apple being Apple.

Look for a moment at the IOS ecosystem. IOS developers constantly update their IOS apps. Almost daily one or more IOS apps are updated on my iPhone or iPad.

For Mac app updates … not so much. I contend that Mac app developers must follow the IOS app paradigm: consistently keep up with OS changes and update the apps. This is a part of the reason for the ongoing switch to subscription-based software - apps need continued development, thus justifying the subscription charges.

Fujitsu’s situation with its ScanSnap line is a bit more complicated. For starters, the hardware is quite expensive. Customers who pay a high price expect the scanner to work in its intended environment - which changes frequently, because Apple is just being Apple, replete with macOS updates. Next, Fujitsu has chosen a software driver software strategy that uses and depends on critical parts of macOS, rather than software that operates independently of macOS changes. You might view this as “riding on macOS coattails”. That’s OK … as long as Fujitsu is nimble enough to update its software to stay on the ever-changing coattails.

So what exactly is Fujitsu selling? An expensive scanner that breaks with macOS changes. And stays broken until Fujitsu gets around to updating its software. Fujitsu’s track record on this is not stellar. Witness its latest software, ScanSnap Home. It permanently breaks older (but really not so old) perfectly functional scanners. And it substantially restricts the use of newly-purchased scanners though onerous licensing/registration restrictions.

Maybe Fujitsu should really be selling Scanning-as-a-Service, payable through ongoing subscription charges, with timely, ongoing software updates to keep up with macOS changes. But that’s not what it is doing. It is selling in the old-school manner, charging a high price for hardware, with almost nonexistent (or at least inadequate) disclosure to customers of the limitations and issues with operation in the macOS environment.

Serious Mac users need tools (e.g., scanners) that continue to work when Apple updates its software. If Fujitsu can’t provide that, others will.

That was probably true at one time, but I would hardly describe Fujitsu’s scanners now as “rock solid”. Maybe the hardware is, but not the software required for the hardware to work.

We live in interesting times, as the saying goes. I will enjoy observing how this plays out over the next few years (i.e., macOS upgrade cycles). But it will not be with an expensive new Fujitsu scanner, despite MPU podcasters’ recommendation.

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Fair enough … but be careful what you ask for.

There is new software available, but it works only on specific models. And there are onerous registration/licensing restrictions that (in my opinion) have no place in hardware of this type, marketed in this manner.

Details are posted above (post #26) so they won’t be repeated here except to mention the additional restriction described by another MPU forum member @tomalmy in this MPU thread:
Apparently the new software is even more restricted when obtained for a previously-purchased scanner such as the iX500.

Think about that. If you recently bought an iX500 scanner, still currently marketed by Fujitsu, and “upgraded” to the new software … you are stuck using your expensive scanner on just your one current computer.

Fujitsu is displaying a stunning disregard for its customers. Not acceptable.

What if you want to get a new computer? Or simply “nuke and pave” the macOS software? Or replace the disk drive? Or use the scanner on another computer in your home - maybe on a MacBook laptop in the TV room temporarily while you watch TV?

Katie will be missed and I am especially sad to see a woman host leave the tech scene… and Katie was one of the best. David – lots of women guests then!


“Maybe Fujitsu should really be selling Scanning-as-a-Service . . .” Yes, that would be one way to go.

A lot of companies are looking for a continuing revenue stream rather than one time purchases. Or they are moving to the cloud to reduce the need for constantly updating their software. My church recently upgraded their primary software package to a cloud based solution. (“The cloud” was their software vendor’s solution to constantly having problems caused by Windows Updates).

There are several major vendors now offering direct to cloud desktop scanners that can work with any OS. I’m starting to think this might be the best way to go.

With Google Cloud Print there are already ways to use Scanners from Canon and others to save directly to Google Drive, and there are some entities offering GoogleDocs OCR services, but I don’t know how secure or reliable (or trustworthy) they are. I’m just surprised Google, Amazon, Xerox, etc haven’t yet put together affordable SOHO packages.

Interestingly thread with a lot of different points of view. I don’t usually comment on the less technical threads, but here I go on this one… Just a few thoughts running through my head on this.

— I repeat the near-OP’s point of view that he is moving on from MPU. I have stopped listening to padcasts in the past when I found the contact focus had shifted outside my interest zone or when I found that new ground was not being covered. I also respect his concerns re Fujitsu sponsorship and failure to call them out regarding their software/hardware obsolescence policy.

— However, I plan to continue to be a constant listener to MPU, as I continue to find the content relevant and useful (not to mention entertaining), and while I join everyone else in sadness that Katie is leaving and wish her the best in her new endeavors, I am hoping change in leadership will lead to a new era for MPU.

— That said, I do wish that Katie and David had taken a more supportive role in the Fujitsu situation. As a longtime user of Fujitsu scanners (that predates my discovery of MPU), I am very disappointed int he company’s decision to obsolete a unit that so many of us still use regularly. I do NOT expect Fujitsu to make a business decision to suit our needs or wants, however, and for whatever reason, they have decided to move to a different licensing model for their software and to sunset hardware that many of us still use. In truth Apple does the same thing in its own way. Have fun loading High Sierra or Mojave on your old PPC G3! As in any other consumer circumstance, the company whose products I have used for many years happily has made a business decision that hurts my use case, and that means that I am going to have to look carefully at other vendors when it is either time to replace one of my two current ScanSnaps (ix500 at home and S1500M at work) either because they stop functioning well, or because MacOS does not support the older units and I decide to upgrade to that version of MacOS. Since Katie and David continue to accept Fujitsu as a sponsor, and continue to promote their products, I do feel that they owe listeners the courtesy of also acknowledging this major issue we are all facing, not in any sot of legal sense, but rather out of responsibility to a viewership that they know rely on their opinions to make purchasing decisions.

— There have been comments that Katie and David are not objective in their views due to sponsorships, and while I agree with others that they tend to very reasonably promote products that they use personally and less so products they have less direct experience with, I will state that I am certain that they ARE influenced by sponsorthips. I do NOT believe there is any evil intent or dishonesty on their part, but rather it is an inevitable part of human nature to be so influenced. In my own day job as a physician, there was a time when we doctors were often plyed with various trinkets and handouts such as note pads, post-it notes, pens, flashlights, etc by drug and medical equipment manufacturers. Today, with those handouts having been drummed out of the industry, many of us earn fees as consultants or speakers. As someone who is often asked to speak by various medical device manufacturers in my field, I can tell you that I and my colleagues will vigorous defend the impartiality of our medical prescribing, and while I feel strongly that my prescribing is driven by patient need and not by any affiliation with vendors, it would be naive, if not dishonest, to fail to recognize both that human nature is such that it is a rare physician who remains completely unswayed by even the smallest of corporate affiliations, and also that the companies would not be spending money if they did not have reason to believe it impacted behavior. In fact, a recent medical journal carried a report analyzing the relationship between money earned through corporate consulting and medical practice and found a clear linear, if not provably causal, relationship. As a physician, I can tell you that we medical practitioners are certainly not worse than those in any other field, but I doubt we are any better either. Therefore, I do not fault our MPU hosts for bias that may be unconsciously present as a result of sponsorships, but rather commend them for the efforts they have gone to over the years to reveal such affiliations and be as transparent as possible. That being said, I am surprised that they haven’t more aggressively reported the issue with ScanSnap, as they have always been in my opinion very fair in their product evaluations.

This has come out much longer than I intended, for which I apologize to those who have suffered through reading it.

Again, best wishes to Katie in her new endeavors, to David and Stephen in the new incarnation of MPU. I remain a loyal listener; look forward to the new shows; and of course hope that Katie will return as a guest and keep as informed as to her successes.


@nlippman - Well said, I agree with all of your points.

When mentioning the Fujitsu issue, it is commendable that you included the point about the licensing change as well as the more frequently-cited obsolescence issue that is causing so much consternation in this forum.

Like you, I am a physician and have seen firsthand the conflicts of interest that are difficult to manage, human nature being what it is. I have reached the same conclusion as yours, that David and Katie have shown no intentional bias toward sponsored products or against non-sponsored products. Their recommendations appear to be made in good faith.

Also like you, I am nonetheless surprised that they continue to praise Fujitsu’s products (at one point even describing Fujitsu’s software as “awesome”), while not disclosing the well-known problems for Mac users. David almost broached this subject in this podcast (#463) when he cautiously mentioned VueScan software as a possible alternative for no-longer-supported scanners. Again, however, there was no mention of the serious Fujitsu issues discussed in this forum, including the new licensing restrictions. These omissions have become almost embarrassing, given the level of sophistication and technical expertise of the podcast’s audience.

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Not exactly the farewell thread I had imagine. I always wondered why someone would spend their time on a podcast and a forum only to be criticized and accused. I doubt the sponsorship money is worth it. Anyway, thanks to David and Katie for putting themselves out there and trying to help. Best wishes.


Exactly … you never know what’s going to happen when you let in the unwashed masses …

Edited to add: Someone complained about the term “unwashed masses”. This was intended as a humorous, self-deprecating term referring to all of us podcast listeners who are now allowed the privilege to access this forum. No insult intended to anyone.

Another take on this is that the podcast industry is an exciting, growing, vibrant “happening place” these days. MPU included. Lively discussion is a necessary - and desirable - part of this. For David and Katie there has been overwhelming praise, some criticism, but not much in the way of true “accusation”.

The “good” podcasters (like Katie and David) will thrive as long as they inform and entertain their audience. And, crucially … if they respond to their audience. By monitoring not only the so-called “analytics” of downloaded episodes, but also by monitoring and being responsive to the audience - through forums such as this.

We in the podcast community audience are watching history happen. Podcasts are proliferating, consolidation is occurring, financing models are changing - sponsored ads, subscription models, donation requests. Exciting to watch … let the good times roll.

I’m glad that Katie and David have been part of this, and particularly pleased that they have opened this forum for all of us. Cheers, and Happy New Year!

I agree the timing is strange, but my guess is these feelings were bottled up and Katie’s leaving seemed like a communally acceptable transition time to a few people who checked out of the show awhile ago.

the “real” farewell thread is here :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe it could be more befitting to take the Fujitsu discussion in an ad hoc thread?

Yes about the farewell thread. But in all fairness to this thread, David did mention ScanSnap in this MPU episode, so it is on topic here. Interesting that the only topics mentioned here are Katie’s leaving and the ScanSnap problems. Was nothing else discussed in that 92 minutes? These two appear to be the really hot topics!

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This forum is a good adjunct to the MPU podcast. It’s members appear to be genuine listeners, and the feedback to the podcasters is potentially valuable. The message in this thread is that the two topics mentioned by @tomalmy struck a chord with the listeners. Now let’s see how the podcasters deal with it going forward.

The podcast industry is thriving, with MPU along with it. I hope this lively forum will help David and his new partner continue to do well.

Not at all so far. The absence of @MacSparky in these discussions is remarkable.

Which is probably exactly the reason why there is no single statement from the MPU team. The stakes are (relatively) high. And don’t tell me they’re too busy. I assume the doctors, managers, it pro’s on this forum are quite busy too, and still find time to take part in the discussions.

This whole podcast industry is still in its infancy (at least at networks like Relay, probably less with reputable organizations like NPR). What’s needed is a clear separation between advertisements and ‘editorial’ content.

I am an occasional listener to MPU and I often have a feeling that David and Katie were too enthusiastic about some software for no good reason. Yes, you can be excited because TextExpander is doing text replacements for you, but you should also have in mind in a podcast for power users that they were neither the first to provide such functionality, nor do they have something special. Interestingly is also, that TE is one of the apps where all predictions about going for subscription model for just a money grab without providing any additional value or increased development speed were true.

It should not mean, that you are forbidden to praise such a software, it just means that it could look suspicious for some listeners especially if Smile is a regular sponsor. Praise of Fujitsu is, I guess, the same story — high-price hardware with poor software support. The part with software problems is never properly addressed. Happens to be also one of the main sponsors of the show. Could be a coincidence, could be not.

I am not offended because I take their advertisements as what it is — advertisement. I would agree with value of some of the advertised products, like OmniFocus, for most of others I would say “nah, it is not worth the money and there are better options anyway”. The problem is: if you make ads look like your personal opinion, people will make you responsible for nor mentioning the dark sides. Especially if you say something like “Fujitsu is a sponsor of this show, but I am recommending them only because they are sooo gooood”. I guess, now it would be time to un-recommend them if it is really about the personal opinion and not about sponsorship.

There is a lot of mediocre software in the internet full with fake customer praise like “I’ve installed this wallpaper changer and my life is not the same since!”. MPU surely does not want to end like this. I was in science for some time and would say this thread is a classic about sponsorship, conflict of interest and credibility. David should be more cautions about such things in future because the ice is very thin. Nobody likes marketing. It is the necessary evil, we all get it, but it should be marked as such.


Just catching up with this thread and I find it kind of sad that Katie’s farewell has been hijacked by people complaining about sponsorship especially when D&K have, by my recollection, always indicated when they were discussing sponsoring products.

I don’t use a Fujitsu scanner or Mojave, so I haven’t followed that discussion closely at all. But I would recommend if you’re looking for scanner software to consider ExactScan ( ) – I used it with my 2002 Xerox Documate 510 from 2005 when I first got a Mac until 2017 when the scanner finally broke down. The developers are quite responsive and will probably add any missing drivers if asked nicely.