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I love Pocket Casts. But as it loses millions and puts itself up for sale, who would buy into it?

Podcast app Pocket Casts is looking for a buyer. NPR, which owns 34.6% of the company, reports their share of the company’s loss was $812,000 (p15): which could put the company’s net loss at more than $2m, though the company denies this.

I’ve used Pocket Casts for a long time. To me, it has two unbeatable features:

1. A really, really good audio player - the skip-silence and the voice-boost is light-years ahead of anything that anyone else has produced (with the possible exception of Overcast, but I don't use it enough to know)

2. The full Apple Podcasts catalogue (since BBC content is blocked from Google Podcasts). This isn’t unique to PocketCasts, but is one reason why I came back to it. …


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I don’t fancy this privacy much

Apple Podcasts is surprisingly keen to share information with podcast hosts, it turns out.

You’d think, from some of the coverage on privacy, that Apple is the saviour of the internet, and single-handedly saving us from those that would spread our personal data as far as it’ll go.

Apple is, undoubtedly, doing some good. The new privacy label in the App Store is certainly alarming some companies, as it should. The EFF, which I’m a personal member of, calls it “one more step in the right direction”, and I’d agree.

Apple are using their heft and scale to force change for online privacy. This is a good thing.

But not all of Apple’s products are as private as they should be. And one of them, which doesn’t have a privacy label since it’s part of the underlying OS, is built very poorly indeed when it comes to privacy. …


I take the plunge and reinstall Mac OS on day one of a new release. What could possibly go wrong?

After checking whether the two daily-drivers that I use were fully compatible with the new MacOS release of Big Sur, I followed some rather arcane instructions to produce a USB install key for Big Sur, wiped my hard drive, and started afresh. This machine dates from 2016, and I suspected that after four different versions of OSX it was time to have a clearout.

I’m keen to run the latest builds of things, since I suspect that the security is better. …


Is it a worthy replacement for an Apple iPad? Here’s why it is — and why it isn’t.

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(First off: this isn’t one of those reviews which lethargically go through the features of a product. I’m assuming you already know all of that; but are more interested in how it actually works. And if you don’t know all that, there are plenty of pages that are product descriptions disguised as reviews for you.)

This is an updated review, after more use.

I knew what I was hopefully letting myself in for. I have a Samsung Chromebook Plus, a beautiful piece of hardware with a lovely screen, a pen, and it folds back to be a tablet. It’s brilliant, but as a tablet it’s really heavy and a little too large. …


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Joe Budden, from 2003, in Berlin. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

What can we, as podcasters, learn from his time at the podcasting and music giant?

Yes, Joe Budden is leaving Spotify. He had an exclusive podcast on the service for two years: but he won’t be signing that contract again.

In almost two hours, which you can watch below, he goes into the detail of what happened, and why. Or, you can read a barely comprehensible machine transcript. Either way, there are invaluable lessons for all podcasters in here.

Invaluable lessons to learn

1. If you accept a contract that doesn’t let you take any vacation time, you’re an idiot.

2. If you accept a contract that makes you read advertisements, and then you decide you don’t want to because you’re too precious for that, then you’re an idiot. …


Is this class action lawsuit against Gimlet the right potential solution? Or is it a bit more complicated?

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Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Spotify’s Gimlet is the subject of a class action lawsuit in the New York courts. In the complaint, the plaintiff, Kahlimah Jones, argues that Gimlet violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide closed captioning on various podcasts. Here’s the complaint in full:

The central point of the complaint is:

§5 [Gimlet] has chosen to post podcasts without closed-captioning, or with limited closed-captioning, that are inaccessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

Podcast transcripts

A podcast transcript — here’s one — is the contents of a podcast, written out, so people can read it. …


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I stole this picture from the bank’s website because I can’t steal their pens because they don’t have any

A really good Australian neo-bank, that isn’t a neo-bank, but is, and is better than the Commonwealth Bank in almost every way

Updated on 14 December 2020

Banks in Australia are all pretty good, and their features are all ahead of most other countries, but last year it slowly dawned on me that I’ve been growing increasingly dissatisfied with the Commonwealth Bank, who I’ve been using since I moved here.

The Commonwealth Bank, or Commbank as it’s thankfully abbreviated to, has a pointless and irritating runaround for their savings accounts which at the time of writing can increase your interest rates from just 0.05% (that’s not a typo) to 0.5% for a few months. …


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Libraries are useful even if you never go into one

It’s surprising how much free reading material you can get from your local libraries without even having to walk outside your front door. Every so often I find myself telling someone new about this — so, I thought I’d write this down. This is a guide for those living in Brisbane, but libraries have similar all over the world.

Brisbane City Libraries offer a free ebook library called Overdrive. It’s built-in to Kobo e-readers, or you can download the free Libby app for iOS or Android. It’s a very excellent service, and both the app and the Kobo integration work brilliantly. …


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Grumpy dog. Grumpy HEY. Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash

I tried the new email app/service in a desperate attempt to get better at email. It’s good. But it’s not right.

I loathe and hate email. I often say to people, as I battle with my inbox, that if I was ever going to retrain, I’d be an email trainer: because email is a horrible time-sink for all of us. It’s broken, it’s horrible, and it pains me. It fills me with dread each time I open my email box: that sinking feeling of horror at another four hundred million people who all want my attention.

I watched the video above, and so much resonated with me. This might be the email service that I need. …


Stop handing all your visitor data to Google, and still keep some decent numbers if you need them

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Photo: Mika Baumeister https://unsplash.com/photos/Wpnoqo2plFA

If the only thing you want to measure is pageviews, then here’s a simple(ish) scalable way to do it, if you use Amazon Web Services or similar.

Gather the data

  1. You’ll need a new subdomain, or a new domain entirely. If your website is at example.com then how about clicks.example.com as an example.
  2. Upload a transparent GIF file (the smallest legal one I found was 42 bytes) to a new Amazon S3 bucket. You could call it “c”. Set the Content-type to image/gif
  3. Point clicks.example.com at Amazon Cloudfront. Tell that Cloudfront distribution to a) get its data from your Amazon S3 bucket; b) to upload its logs to a different Amazon S3 bucket; and c) not to cache anything. …

About

James Cridland

I am Editor of https://podnews.net, the daily podcast newsletter. I am also a radio futurologist: a writer, speaker and consultant. https://james.cridland.net

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