The BirchTree Podcast

The BirchTree Podcast
A micro-podcast about tech, Apple, and design.

The “What is a Podcast?” Podcast
May 22 • 10 min
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.
Buying Into a Philosophy
May 5 • 5 min
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…
The iPad’s Cursor
Apr 5 • 7 min
iPadOS 13.4 added a cursor, and I finally have time to talk about it!
Doom Eternal Review
Apr 4 • 8 min
My review of Doom Eternal, the latest game in the classic franchise.
WWDC in March
Mar 10 • 10 min
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.
Playing the Original Halo in 2020
Mar 5 • 4 min
Watch the video version of this trip down memory lane here
Value, Values, and More Value
Mar 3 • 9 min
Inspired by the book, Start With Why, and The Verge’s review of the Mac Pro.
Forza Horizon 4 Might be my Favorite Racing Game Ever
Feb 26 • 4 min
I don’t think I was prepared for just how good Forza Horizon 4 is.
Why I, An Apple Nut, Bought a PC
Feb 25 • 12 min
Well, I didn’t see this coming until recently!
iOS Isn’t Adware, but it Ain’t Perfect
Feb 18 • 10 min
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…
My Take on the Galaxy S20 Lineup
Feb 12 • 17 min
Samsung announced their Galaxy S20 lineup yesterday and these are my impressions after having a day to process what they announced.
Uppercuts and Body Blows
Feb 4 • 8 min
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.
What is COTS and Why Should I Care?
Jan 14 • 10 min
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…
My Tech Wishlist for 2020
Jan 7 • 16 min
My hope and dreams for what we get from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, Nintendo, and Sony this year.
My Top 5 Games of 2019
Dec 29, 2019 • 8 min
These are the 5 games that impacted me more than anything else this year.
The Reinvention Trap and the Reinvention High
Dec 16, 2019 • 10 min
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…
My Favorite Android Phone of 2019
Dec 4, 2019 • 9 min
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.
My 10 Favorite Songs of 2019
Nov 22, 2019 • 13 min
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.…
I Don’t Know
Nov 18, 2019 • 7 min
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…
iPhone 11 Pro Review (after 2 months)
Nov 13, 2019 • 9 min
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.
My Favorite Non-Apple Tech Buys
Nov 11, 2019 • 15 min
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.
Shoehorning it Into Your Life
Nov 7, 2019 • 8 min
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.
The Apps Keeping me on iOS
Oct 31, 2019 • 11 min
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.
Google Pixel 4: The BirchTree Review
Oct 28, 2019 • 29 min
This is my review of the sometimes excellent, but deeply flawed Google Pixel 4. Find the full review at:
What Makes a Phone “Pro”?
Oct 23, 2019 • 8 min
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…
My Pixel 4 Event Impressions
Oct 16, 2019 • 20 min
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…
Link’s Awakening for Switch is Just Brilliant
Oct 16, 2019 • 7 min
It’s my game of the year and I just couldn’t help talking about it.
On Interesting Tech (recorded on my Apple Watch)
Oct 9, 2019 • 6 min
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.
Microsoft Surface: Inverse Taco
Oct 3, 2019 • 14 min
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.
Introspection on Camera Comparisons
Oct 2, 2019 • 8 min
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.
Don’t Trust the Comments
Sep 27, 2019 • 8 min
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…
Apple Arcade Early Review
Sep 24, 2019 • 14 min
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.
Series 5 and 11 Pro First Impressions
Sep 23, 2019 • 13 min
I’ve had the Apple Watch Series 5 and iPhone 11 Pro for a long weekend and have some thoughts.
iPhone 11, Apple Watch Series 5, and More
Sep 10, 2019 • 23 min
You know the deal, Apple had their September event today and these are my initial impressions from watching the event.
Episode 200! Why Hardware Still Matters in 2019
Sep 9, 2019 • 9 min
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…
My Android 10 Review
Sep 5, 2019 • 18 min
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.
Dark Noise Review
Aug 27, 2019 • 4 min
My review of the new white noise app, Dark Noise.
Just Here for the AirDrop Memes
Aug 26, 2019 • 11 min
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.
The September Preview
Aug 21, 2019 • 9 min
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., the Open Web, and Good Vibes
Aug 14, 2019 • 6 min
I can only really say nice things about and it felt like it was time to have an episode about only good stuff.
Did the iPhone Kill Phone Design?
Aug 12, 2019 • 8 min
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…
Falling in and Out of Love with Companies
Aug 8, 2019 • 8 min
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…
Why We Don’t Take Android Tablets Seriously
Aug 5, 2019 • 7 min
Android tablets just haven’t caught on, and today I dive into some reasons why I think that’s the case.
Sea of Solitude Game Review
Jul 27, 2019 • 4 min
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.
Why Breath of the Wild is Absolutely Brilliant
Jun 30, 2019 • 22 min
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a brilliant game, and if you’ll allow me, here’s why.
The iPadOS Marketing is Working
Jun 25, 2019 • 6 min
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…
Apple Beta Status Report: macOS, iOS, iPadOS, and watchOS
Jun 17, 2019 • 9 min
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…
Google Stadia and the State of Game Streaming
Jun 11, 2019 • 11 min
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.
Maximizing Updates to iPadOS
Jun 10, 2019 • 8 min
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…
WWDC19 watchOS and iPadOS Impressions
Jun 3, 2019 • 15 min
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.
Google Pixel 3a Review: The MacBook Air of Smartphones
May 31, 2019 • 18 min
My review of the Google Pixel 3a.
12 Lightning Book Reviews for Things I’ve Read in 2019
May 21, 2019 • 13 min
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.
The Pixel 3a and OnePlus 7 Pro and Diverging Directions
May 16, 2019 • 9 min
Quick chat about the differences Google and OnePlus are taking with their new spring phones.
Killzone Shadow Fall: An E3 Demo Come to Life
May 14, 2019 • 6 min
Video version here: 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,…
I Fundamentally Treat iOS and Android Differently
May 13, 2019 • 7 min
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.
Pixel 3a First Impressions
May 9, 2019 • 14 min
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…
The Google I/O 2019 Extravaganza
May 7, 2019 • 15 min
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…
Gris is a Mini Masterpiece
May 2, 2019 • 6 min
My full review of Gris, a Nintendo Switch game that deserves your attention. Check out the video version of this episode on YouTube:
Emptying My Brain
Apr 30, 2019 • 7 min
I’m reading Getting Things Done, the classic productivity book by David Allen, and one concept in particular really clicked with me.
Why Journey Deserves its Legendary Status in Gaming History
Apr 29, 2019 • 8 min
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…
Bonus: Metal Gear Solid 2 Retrospective
Apr 28, 2019 • 46 min
This extended bonus episode takes you through all of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, which is one of my all time favorite games. The full video series can be found here if you’d prefer to watch instead. Part 1: Part 2:…
The Galaxy Fold and Editorials Invading Reviews
Apr 22, 2019 • 9 min
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…
On Video Game Accessibility
Apr 17, 2019 • 9 min
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.
The Android App Ceiling
Apr 16, 2019 • 8 min
There is a ceiling to the quality and variety of apps you can get on Android, and I needed to talk about it.
Major iOS 13 Leaks!
Apr 15, 2019 • 9 min
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.
Why I’m Doing All This Video Game Stuff
Apr 9, 2019 • 10 min
Why the heck have I been doing all this stuff with video games lately?
Sonos One, One Month Later
Apr 5, 2019 • 12 min
How’s the Sonos One holding up as a HomePod replacement?
Metal Gear Solid 2 Retrospective - Part 1
Apr 5, 2019 • 12 min
Bonus episode! My look back on the tanker mission from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.
Living in a Galaxy of Samsungs
Apr 4, 2019 • 13 min
My feelings towards the Samsung Galaxy S10e, Buds, and Watch Active.
On the Third Day of…Apple Christmas?
Mar 20, 2019 • 5 min
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.
New iPad Day!
Mar 18, 2019 • 7 min
Apple announced new iPads moments before I started recording today, so we get some hot breaking news in this episode!
We Need To Talk About Watches
Mar 14, 2019 • 13 min
My Technical North Star
Mar 9, 2019 • 10 min
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.
Samsung Galaxy S10e First Impressions
Mar 7, 2019 • 16 min
These are my first impressions of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S10e!
Replacing a HomePod with a Sonos One
Mar 2, 2019 • 7 min
I swapped out one of my HomePods for a Sonos One and had to share my inital impressions.
164: This Podcast Folds in Half
Feb 25, 2019 • 9 min
Let’s not be afraid to get hyped for tech that’s not ready for mainstream phones just yet!
163: Software is More Complicated Than That
Feb 23, 2019 • 8 min
Recording on an iPhone SE, in my car, on a rainy day because I need to talk about surface-level software analysis.
162: March 8 is Going to be Fun
Feb 22, 2019 • 7 min
Remember how I wasn’t getting a Galaxy S10 yesterday? Yeah, that was short-lived.
161: The Samsung S10 Checkout Page
Feb 21, 2019 • 11 min
160: My Review of Resident Evil 2
Feb 10, 2019 • 16 min
My review of the 2019 remake of Resident Evil 2.
159: Woof! Spotify Buys All the Things. Woof!
Feb 6, 2019 • 7 min
I hold a dog while I record today because sometimes you just need to get the work done one way or another.
158: iPhone XS Smart Battery Case Review
Feb 4, 2019 • 5 min
My review of the iPhone XS battery case that is definitely not late to the party.
157: Pixel…Um…Perfect
Jan 28, 2019 • 5 min
Ok, so I’m not “switching to Android” or anything, but I gotta send some love to the Pixel 2.
156: Punching a Hole in the Galaxy
Jan 24, 2019 • 9 min
The Galaxy S10 leaked and it’s full of holes!
155: New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe Review
Jan 21, 2019 • 7 min
My review of New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch.
154: Hard Drive Formatting Nightmare
Jan 18, 2019 • 8 min
Well, i finally got my capture card working, but it was quite the adventure getting there.
153: It’s All About the Battery Cases
Jan 16, 2019 • 4 min
We have new battery cases!
152: One Year With HomePod
Jan 14, 2019 • 9 min
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.
151: It’s Been a While, So Let’s Talk iTunes
Jan 9, 2019 • 8 min
It’s been a few weeks and I’m finally back to talk tech!
150: Why God of War was My Favorite Game of 2018
Dec 27, 2018 • 7 min
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.
149: Merry Christmas! (and blowing up workflows)
Dec 25, 2018 • 6 min
Holiday episode about some changes in forcing myself to make in the new year.
148: The BirchTree Smartphone Awards
Dec 18, 2018 • 11 min
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.
147: My Favorite Albums of 2018
Dec 17, 2018 • 12 min
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.
146: The Magic of Keyboard Maestro
Dec 11, 2018 • 9 min
Keyboard Maestro is a wonderful app that I app for the Mac that I took way too long to embrace.
145: Why We Can’t Shut Up About the iPad
Dec 10, 2018 • 6 min
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.
144: Night Sight on the Pixel 3
Dec 7, 2018 • 8 min
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.…
143: A Major Pain When Editing Video on iOS
Dec 3, 2018 • 7 min
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…
142: I Got the New iPad!
Nov 29, 2018 • 13 min
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
141: Am I Just Doing Eff-All Work?
Nov 20, 2018 • 5 min
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: Nilay made this point on Vergecast, but the…
140: 2018 iPhone, 2018 iPad, and 2012 Mac
Nov 15, 2018 • 6 min
“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…
139: A Simple Printer Rant
Nov 14, 2018 • 6 min
I think it’s healthy to rant about (and privide a sliver of hope) about printers ever now and again :)
138: I Did it!
Nov 8, 2018 • 9 min
Bye bye MacBook Pro, hello iPad Pro. My review of the best calendar app for the Apple Watch on The Sweet Setup:
137: About Those iPad Pro Reviews
Nov 6, 2018 • 8 min
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…
136: Holy Explitive, Those New iPad Pros
Oct 31, 2018 • 11 min
Apple unveiled their new iPad Pro lineup yesterday and I’m so freaking on board.
135: Sorta Back on the Android Train
Oct 29, 2018 • 4 min
Just a brief episode today on what the heck I’ve been doing tweeting and writing about the OnePlus 6 out of the blue.
134: Mice and Trackpads and iPads, Oh My!
Oct 24, 2018 • 15 min
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.
133: The Pixel 3 is All About That Camera
Oct 17, 2018 • 11 min
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.
132: Everything but the Pixel 3!
Oct 10, 2018 • 10 min
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…
131: Microsoft’s New Surface Lineup is Here!
Oct 4, 2018 • 11 min
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…
130: Apple Watch Series 4 Review
Oct 2, 2018 • 14 min
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:…
129: The Mac’s Draw is More Than Automation
Oct 1, 2018 • 8 min
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…
128: 5 Things I Love About the iPhone XS
Sep 23, 2018 • 9 min
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.
127: Creating my watchOS 5 Review
Sep 18, 2018 • 11 min
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 ;)
126: watchOS 5 Review
Sep 17, 2018 • 32 min
My complete review of watchOS 5. Check out the full written review here:
125: The Morning After (Ordering Apple Stuff)
Sep 14, 2018 • 9 min
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.
123: iPhone XS, XC, XR, Oh My!
Sep 10, 2018 • 6 min
An iPhone lives and dies on its quality, not its name.
122: The Always Approaching, Never Arrived “Post-PC Era”
Sep 7, 2018 • 8 min
The “post-PC era” sure is taking a long time to get here.
121: Surface Go to Pro
Sep 4, 2018 • 7 min
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.
120: Office, Netflix, and Web Browsing
Aug 22, 2018 • 7 min
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…
119: 1 Hour for Every 1 Minute
Aug 20, 2018 • 6 min
- 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!
118: The Surface Go Performance (or lack thereof)
Aug 16, 2018 • 7 min
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.
117: Surface is Changing My View of the Mac
Aug 14, 2018 • 9 min
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…
116: Shh, Surface is Sleeping
Aug 11, 2018 • 8 min
The Microsoft Surface Go definitely still runs the same Windows we know and love(?).
115: Surface is a Go!
Aug 7, 2018 • 7 min
I’ve spent a couple days with the Surface Go, my first Surface device, and I, of course, have a few thoughts.
114: Apple Ends their App Store Affiliate Program
Aug 2, 2018 • 8 min
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…
113: Arguing With Myself About Apple Financials
Jul 31, 2018 • 7 min
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…
112: What’s the Motivation for USB-C on iOS?
Jul 30, 2018 • 8 min
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.…
111: Buying a Hammer
Jul 25, 2018 • 6 min
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…
110: Why I Love Ulysses
Jul 24, 2018 • 6 min
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…
109: The BirchTree Patreon
Jul 23, 2018 • 6 min
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.…
108: Trying to Muster Up Enthusiasm for New Macs
Jul 12, 2018 • 4 min
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.
107: What Automation Means on iOS and Android
Jul 10, 2018 • 7 min
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…
106: My Favorite Movies, Music, and Games of 2018 (so far)
Jul 6, 2018 • 9 min
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…
105: Remembering We Don’t Have All the Information
Jul 5, 2018 • 6 min
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…
104: Nest Thermostat First Impressions
Jul 2, 2018 • 7 min
I got a Nest Thermostat over the weekend. It’s my first foray into smart thermostats and my initial impressions are really positive.
103: When Passion Projects Pay Off
Jun 27, 2018 • 8 min
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…
102: Podcasting From a Closet
Jun 26, 2018 • 4 min
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”.
101: Talking Walkies
Jun 20, 2018 • 5 min
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.
100: Sticking With It
Jun 18, 2018 • 9 min
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…
099: Auditing Your Digital Workflow
Jun 14, 2018 • 8 min
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…
098: It’s Beta Summer!
Jun 12, 2018 • 9 min
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.
097: Demystifying Shortcuts in iOS 12 and watchOS 5
Jun 11, 2018 • 10 min
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.
096: 10 Awesome Features Coming in watchOS 5
Jun 5, 2018 • 11 min
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…
095: Hugely Smarter, my WWDC18 Keynote Impressions
Jun 4, 2018 • 8 min
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…
094: Pre-WWDC Warm Up
Jun 4, 2018 • 3 min
A quick show this morning to talk about what I’m doing for this WWDC keynote day.
093: Castro 3 Review
May 25, 2018 • 6 min
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:…
092: Why I’ve Already Switched Back to the iPhone
May 24, 2018 • 6 min
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.
091: Dumb to Clever to Smart, My History with Watches
May 23, 2018 • 8 min
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,…
090: Android P Isn’t That Miserable After All
May 21, 2018 • 6 min
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…
089: Google Pixel Buds Update
May 18, 2018 • 8 min
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.
088: Google News First Impressions
May 16, 2018 • 6 min
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:…
087: Wear OS is Treading Water
May 14, 2018 • 7 min
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…
086: Podcasts, iPads, and Headphone Jacks
May 10, 2018 • 6 min
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:
085: Google I/O At Lightning Speed
May 8, 2018 • 11 min
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.
084: Microsoft Build Is All Business
May 8, 2018 • 7 min
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.
083: Pocket Casts Changes and Cancelling Spotify
May 4, 2018 • 6 min
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…
082: Prioritizing “Quality of Life” Features
May 3, 2018 • 6 min
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.
081: Apple Made a Ton of Money Again
May 2, 2018 • 8 min
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.
080: Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Trust
May 1, 2018 • 5 min
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.
079: What I Value Most in a Task Manager
Apr 26, 2018 • 5 min
There is a reason I keep going back to OmniFocus.
078: A Straight Up Windows 10 Rant
Apr 25, 2018 • 10 min
How am I annoyed by Windows on a daily basis? Let me count the ways ;)
077: Ideas are Always Better Than Reality
Apr 23, 2018 • 7 min
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…
076: 3 Ways I’m Stepping Ever So Slightly Outside my Comfort Zone
Apr 19, 2018 • 7 min
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…
075: Drafts 5 Micro-Review
Apr 18, 2018 • 4 min
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…
074: Expanding Your View Outside Yourself
Apr 17, 2018 • 6 min
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…
073: Try Another Browser, It Won’t Hurt
Apr 16, 2018 • 5 min
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.
072: The Ridiculously Brilliant Breath of the Wild
Apr 11, 2018 • 4 min
Quick episode today where I gush about the latest Zelda adventure.
071: Strongly Held Opinions, but Opinions Nonetheless
Apr 10, 2018 • 5 min
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.
070: My Android adventure lasted 6 days
Apr 9, 2018 • 6 min
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.
069: How I’d fix AirPods and Google Pixel Buds
Apr 6, 2018 • 5 min
The AirPods and Pixel Buds have features I wish they’d steal from each other.
068: Love for Apple’s Under-appreciated Calendar App
Apr 5, 2018 • 4 min
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…
067: 3 Things I Love About the Google Pixel 2
Apr 4, 2018 • 5 min
It’s all about the camera, the feel, and the speed.
066: A Platform that Inspires no Passion (from me)
Apr 3, 2018 • 5 min
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…
065: I’m Back on Android, Baby!
Apr 2, 2018 • 5 min
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…
064: Privacy on BirchTree
Mar 26, 2018 • 7 min
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,…
063: (Bonus episode) “Only” vs “Main” Computer
Mar 22, 2018 • 5 min
Watch The Verge’s video that inspired this episode here:\_zQP9JIJI
062: Paying for Time or for a Result
Mar 19, 2018 • 6 min
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.
061: The iPhone 7 Plus: Power and Damn, What a Camera!
Mar 17, 2018 • 6 min
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).
060: A Ridiculously Good iPad
Mar 16, 2018 • 5 min
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.
059: The Apple Watch Series 3 Was Finally “Enough”
Mar 15, 2018 • 5 min
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…
058: The iPhone X Changed the Conversation
Mar 14, 2018 • 5 min
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…
057: AirPods are Apple’s Best Hardware Release in Years
Mar 13, 2018 • 5 min
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.
055: They Annoy the Hell Out of Me, but I’m Keeping Them
Feb 26, 2018 • 8 min
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.…
054: Desks, how do they work?
Feb 20, 2018 • 5 min
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.
053: HomePod, HomePod, HomePod
Feb 12, 2018 • 11 min
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…
052: Apple’s Video Service Might Actually Have a Shot
Feb 5, 2018 • 8 min
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…
051: 15 Million Switches
Jan 31, 2018 • 8 min
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.…
050: HomePod Eve
Jan 25, 2018 • 9 min
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…
049: iPad and RSI Issues
Jan 22, 2018 • 5 min
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.
048: The Apple Watch Doesn’t Really Have a Peer
Jan 16, 2018 • 6 min
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…
047: A Detail Often Forgotten
Jan 8, 2018 • 7 min
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…