The BirchTree Podcast

The BirchTree Podcast
A show that covers the most interesting tech and gaming stories of the past week.
108: Trying to Muster Up Enthusiasm for New Macs
Jul 12 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 5 min
There is a reason I keep going back to OmniFocus.
078: A Straight Up Windows 10 Rant
Apr 25 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 4 min
Quick episode today where I gush about the latest Zelda adventure.
071: Strongly Held Opinions, but Opinions Nonetheless
Apr 10 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 5 min
It’s all about the camera, the feel, and the speed.
066: A Platform that Inspires no Passion (from me)
Apr 3 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 5 min
Watch The Verge’s video that inspired this episode here:
062: Paying for Time or for a Result
Mar 19 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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.
056: Opportunity Cost
Mar 12 • 7 min
When I was 21 I didn’t have to grapple with opportunity cost. If anyone wanted me to do anything, I’d do it. 10 years later I have found myself in a different place and I have to weigh the pros and cons of everything I choose to do, because doing one…
055: They Annoy the Hell Out of Me, but I’m Keeping Them
Feb 26 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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…
046: My iPad Pro Setup
Dec 18, 2017 • 7 min
I have 100% more iPad in my life this week than last week so you know I have to talk about it! Today I’m just talking hardware, not software just yet.
045: 3 Reasons I Prefer iOS to Android
Dec 11, 2017 • 7 min
It comes down to 3 main things for me: 1. Third party software 2. General look and feel 3. Sync with my Mac
044: Back on iOS
Dec 7, 2017 • 3 min
I put my SIM card back in the iPhone!
043: The camera you have with you
Nov 28, 2017 • 7 min
My updated thoughts on the Pixel 2 camera and why I am actually pulling out the Pixel before my iPhone when it’s time to take a picture.
042: Tech I’m thankful for this year
Nov 20, 2017 • 6 min
A quick look back on some of the tech that I am thankful to have this year.
041: Third party software on Android
Nov 13, 2017 • 7 min
It’s still terrible, even through the operating system itself has gotten better over the years. Here’s the list I mention in the episode of apps I have not been able to replace yet. Apple News Files Reddit OmniFocus HomeKit Ulysses Mic Scanbot Television…
040: Face ID and changing your engrained habits
Nov 6, 2017 • 7 min
I don’t have an iPhone X yet, but I’ve been talking to a lot of people who do and had to take today’s episode to talk about Face ID, how our habits change, and what I expect we’ll see in Face ID 2.0.
039: The Pixel 2 camera
Oct 30, 2017 • 10 min
Today I’m mulling over my feelings about the camera in the Pixel 2. Does this camera live up to the hype?
038: A key iOS advantage (bonus episode!)
Oct 24, 2017 • 5 min
In an off-the-cuff episode, I talk about third party services and why iOS has a fundamental advantage over Android in this area.
037: Let’s talk fanboys
Oct 23, 2017 • 8 min
Consider this: if you were hired by Apple or Google tomorrow as a social media specialist who’s job it is to report only the good news about their company and only the bad news about their rival, would the things you share online change at all? Are you…
036: It’s officially time to gush about the Nintendo Switch
Oct 16, 2017 • 8 min
The Nintendo Switch was released 7 months ago and for the first time in a while, I feel like the software library available on the console is worth of gushing over for a few minutes.
035: Switching to Android
Oct 11, 2017 • 9 min
I ordered a Google Pixel 2 this weekend and will be using Android as my main phone for at least a month. We’ll see if my results are better than they have been in the past.
034: Siri, Alexa, and Google
Oct 2, 2017 • 13 min
I’ve been using the 3 major voice assistants constantly for the past year, and took today as a chance to reflect on what I like and don’t like about each of these services.
033: iPhone 8 First Impressions
Sep 27, 2017 • 10 min
My thoughts after a couple days with the iPhone 8 Plus.
032: watchOS 4 Review Preview
Sep 18, 2017 • 6 min
Why watchOS reviews are fundamentally different from iOS reviews, and 3 of the features in watchOS 4 that I think you’ll love.
031: This isn’t some generic sky!
Sep 12, 2017 • 15 min
My first impressions of the Apple iPhone event. We talk iPhones and Apple Watches and Apple TVs, weeeee!
030: Lessons from first week on the App Store
Sep 5, 2017 • 7 min
My first app, Today’s Forecast, on the App Store was released 7 days ago and I’m still catching up on sleep and emails as we roll into week two. There is lots to do when releasing an app, and I wanted to take a few minutes and talk about some of the…
029: Crappy privacy policy? Get out of there!
Aug 28, 2017 • 9 min
AccuWeather and Sarahah have both been hit with news stories in the past week about how they are sharing your personal data for shady purposes.Today I walk through why stories like this get under my skin and why all of us (including me) need to take a…
028: Embarrassing code that works
Aug 21, 2017 • 8 min
I’m getting close to being done with my new weather app for iOS, and I took a few minutes this morning to reflect on the process of going from web to iOS development. It’s messy, it’s challenging, and I’d be ashamed to show a professional developer my…
027: Figuring out your competitive advantages
Aug 14, 2017 • 5 min
This week we’re thinking about your personal advantages and how to leverage them. It’s hard to always know what you’re advantages are over everyone else in the room, so hopefully this episode will get you thinking about that a little more this week.
026: Be aware of your own narrative
Aug 10, 2017 • 6 min
A quick bonus episode on a trapball of us fall into all day, every day. We all have pre-conceived notions for how the world works, and that carries over to tech. This impromptu episode had no prep and was recorded and posted in 15 minutes!
025: The Nintendo Switch 3 months later
Aug 7, 2017 • 8 min
I’ve owned a Nintendo Switch for about 3 months. Today we’re taking a look at how my initial impressions have panned out over time.
024: Of course there’s an asterisk next to iPad
Aug 1, 2017 • 6 min
I take a quick look at Apple’s Q3 2017 earnings. Growth! iPhones up! Macs flat! iPads up! But are they the right iPads?
023: Quick Podcast Update
Jul 28, 2017 • 4 min
The podcast is getting back to its regular schedule soon! See the video version of this episode here:
022: WWDC Take 2
Jun 12, 2017 • 13 min
I wanted to take another look at WWDC now that I have played with some of the betas more and watched some of the developer sessions.
021: WWDC Reactions with Matt Bonney
Jun 7, 2017 • 44 min
Recorded immediately after the WWDC 2017 keynote, special guess Matt Bonney and I discuss Apple’s latest announcements. Follow Matt Bonney on Twitter or at
020: 2 Years of Apple Watch
Apr 22, 2017 • 7 min
The Apple Watch is about to turn 2 year old, and I’ve been there since day one. I reflect on what the last 2 years have been like for me with the Watch. This episode sounds a lot different from normal, and that’s because instead of recording this in my…
019: Talking about Apple’s new Clips app
Apr 11, 2017 • 5 min
Sorry I’ve been away for so long! Quick thoughts on my first week with Clips for iOS. Links Discussed This isn’t a vlog (using Apple’s new Clips app) Clips on the App Store
018: C by GE’s rocky first impressions
Mar 20, 2017 • 5 min
I got some new C by GE smart bulbs over the weekend and my first run with them is pretty shaky at best. We’ll see how they grow on me, but my advice after one day is to stay away and spend a little more on Phillips Hue bulbs.
017: Reimagining the iOS lock screen
Mar 15, 2017 • 11 min
We’re talking about the iOS lock screen again! Links: BirchTree Podcast episode 15: The next big thing in iOS notifications Concept: iOS 11 lock screen - BirchTree How location-based, persistent reminders could change the game for iOS - BirchTree
016: When pros legitimately need more power
Mar 11, 2017 • 5 min
Okay, so due to some weird scheduling yesterday, I was able to record, but not post yesterday. If only I hadn’t called out the day on numerous occasions in this one! I hope you can still accept me as I am. This episode is all about the very real…
015: The next big thing in iOS notifications
Mar 7, 2017 • 8 min
In which I run down my thought process when writing my piece on location-based, persistent notifications on iOS. How location-based, persistent reminders could change the game for iOS - BirchTree
014: Horizon + Zelda = Heaven
Mar 2, 2017 • 5 min
We’re in a very good couple of weeks for video games, and I had to take a few minutes to gush about them.
013: I just find Android so damn boring
Feb 24, 2017 • 5 min
Quick episode today about my experience using Android Nougat over the past month. It’s just not doing it for me.
012: Calendars as task managers
Feb 22, 2017 • 7 min
I have recently started using calendars to manage my tasks and it’s working out surprisingly well so far! Today I walk through why it works better with my brain and his currently helping manage both my busy and non-busy time better. WWDC17 wallpapers…
011: Apple Pay is the best Apple service you’re probably not using
Feb 15, 2017 • 10 min
I know a thing or two about payments, and Apple Pay is very impressive tech. Much like AirPods, Apple Pay is a simple idea executed incredibly well. I did my best to sum up why you should se this up on your iPhone today.
010: The demise of premium hardware?
Feb 10, 2017 • 5 min
I discuss this argument that some people make about Apple being in a lot of trouble because their high-end hardware will cease to be an important differentiator in the near future as low-cost smartphones start to take off. If hardware is commoditized,…
009: You need to go find inspiration
Feb 8, 2017 • 5 min
Brief discussion on how I make the time to create all the content for BirchTree, and why there is no magic bullet for creating great content online.