Saturday, March 23, 2013

Two Lawyers Share Their Knowledge of All Things Apple

I discovered the Mac Power Users podcast a few months ago. The podcast is hosted by David Sparks and Katie Floyd. David and Katie are lawyers but this isn’t a podcast for lawyers. It’s a podcast about all things Apple. David in particular is a long time Mac user with a very deep knowledge of how to get the most out of working on a Mac.

For example, David and Katie introduced me to an app called Hazel.  Hazel monitors folders and will move files in the background as you specify. I use it to keep my downloads folder from overloading and to delete files I define as old from the trash.  I also use Hazel to keep my Lightroom Catalog backups limited to five files.  Lightroom otherwise will keep an unlimited number of backups. I wish Adobe would allow auto deletion of more than a certain number of backups but it doesn’t.  Hazel fits the bill.  Hazel is capable of far more but I am still learning.

As a result of listening to this podcast, I am now reading Markdown by David Sparks and Eddie Smith.  John Gruber of Daring Fireball developed Markdown to enable people to write using an easy-to-read, easy-to-write plain text format, then convert it to structurally valid XHTML (or HTML) for publication on the web.  I have always wanted to learn Markdown and this book explains it very clearly and  includes many easy to follow screencasts.  It takes all the mystery out of the topic. The book is available on iTunes if you are interested.  This book will help me publish to this blog, among other things.

But there is room for  improvement: The podcast generally lasts about 90 minutes. I think it would be a better podcast if it were limited to an hour. This probably would require more preparation time but in my opinion would be worth it. As it is, some things are repeated multiple times, which can be a distraction. I understand that the podcast needs sponsors but do the ads need to last more than two minutes? I know the length of the commercials because my podcast app -- Downcast -- has a plus two minute button that I use when a commercial comes on and most of the time that isn't enough. User feedback is another concern. Even with a 90 minute podcast there is almost never time for user feedback. I think user feedback is important to build community. Overall, I think it’s a valuable to leave listeners wanting for more.

Having said this, nothing is perfect. These are quibbles. David and Katie devote many hours to their podcast and website. I am sure they could earn more doing legal work and billing clients but this is a labor of love and it shows. If you use a Mac, an iPhone or an iPad and want to learn to get the most out of your devices, this podcast should be on your list.