234: Catching up with Merlin Mann

Today’s guest, and the first guest in what I’ll call season 2 of Systematic, is Merlin Mann. He’s a prolific podcaster and man about the internet, and a repeat — one might say regular — guest on Systematic. Merlin joins me to inaugurate season two of Systematic. From mediocre home automation tools to the latest in Teppanyaki videos, it’s two ADHD podcasters catching up after a couple of years.

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Check out more episodes and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. I’m @ttscoff on Twitter, and you can follow Systematic at @systmcast.


Brett: [00:00:00] so this is my first show in, how long has it been? This one was, November 8th, 2018. Yeah. So, so this is you are my first guest and I picked you because you are the easiest interview in the world.

Merlin: [00:00:19] It’s really hard to get me to talk.

Brett: [00:00:21] Yeah, right. Like with no planning or forethought, conversations with you just happen and

Merlin: [00:00:29] enjoy our visits. So very much as you know, I am a huge fan of your work and I’m honored to be your first guest in, you know, Years. I, you know, as I’m revealing myself as somebody who has not noticed the absence of your show, and it’s just because in the same way that I forget why I muted somebody on Twitter, I also sometimes forget why I kept the podcast, but turned off new episodes.

So the lack of episodes to me can be, could be written down to the fact that I just can’t [00:01:00] remember why I turned it off. At on. I just didn’t notice.

Brett: [00:01:03] I had quietly just decided to take a hiatus. At first it was going to be a couple months, and then it was going to be six months. Then it was going to be a year. And then I stopped worrying about it and just decided if it comes back and then some turns of events and all of a sudden, I just found myself excited about it.

Again, I built a whole new website where we’re network free

Merlin: [00:01:27] that’s so awesome. Well, I have this thing that, I mean, I’m not certainly not the first person in middle age to realize this, but something I have learned to accept and leverage is that. Every time. Well, for example, every time I’m leaving the house , I either have the feeling that I have everything that I need or they don’t have everything I need that I’ve done everything I need to do, or I haven’t done it.

Yeah. Everything I need to do. And if I have even the slightest feeling that there’s something I’ve forgotten [00:02:00] and I don’t know what it is. If I take a minute, it always turns out to be something that I have indeed. Forgotten. And so while I’m trying to become less of a who quote unquote trust there, gut, I believe in that in your case, I think when your brain tells you, your brain is trying to tell you yeah.

Something it’s time for a break. This is not fun.  if you’re not looking forward to a thing that you do, this is very privileged, but I believe it. If you’re not leaning forward to the thing that you’re doing, it’s worth interrogating that. Like what, why is that? And if you don’t know why. You know, why push a rope?

A brakes are good.

Brett: [00:02:39] Do you know Alison Sheridan?

Merlin: [00:02:42] I feel like I

Brett: [00:02:42] pod feat, the most know Zillow  podcast.  She’s been doing that podcast for  15 years and has never missed a week.  That kind of blows me away.

Merlin: [00:02:55] E so wait, that’s 2005.

Brett: [00:02:59] Math. I [00:03:00] don’t know. I don’t want to do math.

Merlin: [00:03:01] This is the thing that Jason Snell and I call dropping a decade. When you reach a certain age, one of the, one of my three

Brett: [00:03:08] 20 minus 15. That’s

Merlin: [00:03:10] Well, the thing that Jason and I do is we’ll go like, Oh yeah, I can’t believe that record came out 20 years ago. And somebody goes, that record came out 30 years ago, or like in one of my recommendations today, somebody mentioned that 1980 was 40 years ago and I go, come on.

And that in that case. Oh, that feels really not like 40 years ago.

Brett: [00:03:32] yeah.

Merlin: [00:03:33] Well, good for a good for Allison shared and that’s wild.

Brett: [00:03:36] I just turned 42 last

Merlin: [00:03:38] Oh man. Now you just need to learn what the question was.

Brett: [00:03:42] Well, yeah, exactly. I had for years now had planned to have a hitchhikers themed party

Merlin: [00:03:49] Oh, man.

Brett: [00:03:50] and fortunately time is not a linear construct and I can be 42 again. When things are [00:04:00] when parties are more feasible.

Merlin: [00:04:03] Exactly right. You just need to figure out the most improbable thing we’re going through. My, my wonderful, 12 year old daughter is on a tear about Sam Rockwell right now. And. she got very into Sam Rockwell because of Jojo rabbit, which is a movie, the whole family adores. But now we are burning through like so many Sam Rockwell movies and we’re returning to Sam Rockwell movies.

She didn’t remember him in, so of course, you know, iron man too, but more watch moon, but, she did. She forgot. She forgot. Oh, okay. Oh, you know, it also matchstick men, very good movie. and which has now got us pivoting to cage a little bit, but, but it’s pretty much that movie, the Hitchhiker’s guide movie is very strange, but I think it’s, I think it’s more fun than a lot of people give it credit

Brett: [00:04:51] I think it’s like the PBL or not PV, the BBC.

Merlin: [00:04:56] yeah,

Brett: [00:04:56] it was like spot on. Like, it was [00:05:00] almost too close to the book.

Merlin: [00:05:01] yeah.

Brett: [00:05:02] like the book wasn’t a screenplay and it was

Merlin: [00:05:05] no, it’s just one of those things that could, that you could, I think you could fairly describe as being unfilmable.

Brett: [00:05:11] Yeah,

Merlin: [00:05:12] I mean, what, how are you going to make a Vogue on look the way I imagine a Vogel looks,

Brett: [00:05:18] Yeah. No, I found that, I thought that movie was delightful in its own way, but you should definitely see mr. Right. It is the best assassin movie ever.

Merlin: [00:05:28] What are the oddest and most improbable catchphrases phrases in our house for some years now is the moment when, Arthur wakes up and looks in the mirror.

And so when we read the book, this just made us all. How I, of course I read it when I was a teenager, but now like my kid loves it. But, where Arthur is hung over and he looks in the mirror and he sees the construction equipment. And it’s just the single word. Yellow. Yeah. It’s such a nun sequitur because yellow is, you know, it takes a while for Arthur to like, have it all [00:06:00] sink in what’s happening.

The first thing you realize is it’s yellow.

Hi, Brett. How are you?

Brett: [00:06:08] swell and swell. what I was to, so the only thing I’ve heard from you about me lately was that you really enjoy bunch.

Merlin: [00:06:23] Oh, yeah, I literally, I clicked on it three minutes ago, five minutes ago. So I’m like, well, sorry. Now I could tell from call recorder. I’m lying now. It’s 15 minutes ago, but time is a very relative concept,

Brett: [00:06:33] yet you re you haven’t lodged any feature requests.

Merlin: [00:06:37] Oh, I, you know, the thing is with your stuff. Every time I returned to the page, you’re so good at the documentation and the change log stuff. You’re not cute about it. It’s really useful. Like when you introduced God, what was it? There’s a lot of advanced features I’m not using, but the, one of the ones I’m most proud of figuring out is.

How can I put this without committing a [00:07:00] federal crime? there are certain demons that run on my computer for purposes. Yeah. And media acquisition. And one of them is that I can, I went and I looked up the URL for the API, the request to turn this service or to pause this service and to unpause this service.

And so I slapped one of those into my start podcast punch, and one of those into my end podcast punch, and it works a charm. it’s a, it’s such a, it’s such a clever idea. And it’s something I’m really trying to try to socialize with my friends. love it. Yeah, no, I am on your stuff all the time.

your, my computer is lousy with Terpstra title. Okay. Yeah. I mean, what, I mean, what are the services? I use the services a lot. 

Brett: [00:07:46] Oh, you don’t have to go into like all the things you use. I just know that bunch of, I see traffic come in, to the blog when you do a podcast and you mentioned me and it seems like a [00:08:00] lot of it has been centered around bunch. the app I wrote the app, I wrote much like NBL. I wrote it over a lunch break.

Merlin: [00:08:08] Jeez Louise, but I, you know, the thing that’s clever about it for folks who haven’t used it is I just love the fact that it’s a text file. It’s a text file with lines and align here means this. It’s almost like, you know, Python for running your computer or something because like, well, it doesn’t require weird tabs, but it’s so cool.

The way you just like, these are the sites I want to launch. These are the things I want to quit. But like, so the reason Dropbox, I hate tech support. The reason Dropbox won’t quit is probably because it’s not accepting a proper AppleScript event. Like why does Dropbox never quit? Is it broke back mountain what’s happening?

Brett: [00:08:47] it’s a fair question.

Merlin: [00:08:49] Do you know what. I don’t think it’s you. I think it’s Dropbox. Dropbox is like so goddamn evil and I hate how much I love and sort of need it right now. I mean, there’s so much dumb stuff I took out of [00:09:00] my

Brett: [00:09:00] so you’re saying when you quit the Dropbox app or you say quit Dropbox and it keeps sinking.

Merlin: [00:09:07] No, I have a line in my start podcast bunch. To quit Dropbox and I’ve tried several different ways. So to get the name wrong and in every instance it, is it sending an Apple script event. How w how do you tell an app to quit

Brett: [00:09:22] yeah, it’s it sends an Apple event

Merlin: [00:09:25] Apple in that? Okay.

Brett: [00:09:27] I mean, I could make it send a,

Merlin: [00:09:29] no, I know this is actually not a feature request. It’s more just like Dropbox is a bad, a is a bad citizen.

Brett: [00:09:35] I haven’t run into any  apps that won’t quit. I’ll have  to check that out though.

Merlin: [00:09:40] Yeah. 

Brett: [00:09:40] some apps take a couple prods before they

Merlin: [00:09:43] wonder if I should look at  monitor for things beside the user-facing gooey Dropbox app. I wonder if there’s some other process that has to be stopped

Brett: [00:09:58] Oh,

Merlin: [00:09:58] to make it super quick.

Brett: [00:09:59] there probably [00:10:00] is. As you put

Merlin: [00:10:00] They’re so sneaky. I hate how sneaky drop off is just like it’s. I mean, on the one hand, like I like everybody, I guess I applauded the cleverness of them somehow getting past the gatekeepers to make Dropbox a folder on your Mac.

I, that was brilliant. They took this boring, difficult unprofitable problem that we all had. And finally nailed it in a way Apple never could. They were snarky with Dropbox. And I think Steve famously said, that’s a product, not a company or something like that. But, now it’s over the years, they’ve gotten more and more like skeevy.

I mean, they’re not quite at like a zoom level yet, but they’re not that far off. They really want to. when you see all the popups for what Dropbox wants to control, it’s wild.

Brett: [00:10:44] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, some of it’s fair, but some of it’s a bit out there

Merlin: [00:10:49] But it’s like a virus. It just wants to get like a literal, like, you know, health virus, like it wants to get in, it wants to attack and get into anything. It can, but no, I love it. big fan. You are. You hope my life every day. [00:11:00] And, I appreciate that.

Brett: [00:11:01] so you wrote me yesterday about, internet cameras you had what’s what seemed like a cranky, like you had just had a bad time with a smart camera.

Merlin: [00:11:13] All right, let’s be fair about this. Yes. Let me find my actual email to you because a, you know, a person likes to be prepared for these kinds of things. And I had not yet thought of a topic, although I’m happy to just hang out with you. And so quoting myself, I said, I was thinking about how almost all the smart home cameras I’ve tried suck.

And that made me think about how smart. Home items don’t seem to be getting that much smarter. And then that got me thinking about how there are whole classes of products, like email apps and streaming apps that almost all suck. So I mentioned I’m Carrie Bradshaw on the bed with the laptop. And so that makes me ask why are some kinds of product offerings so difficult to get?

Right. So somewhere in there, I think there’s a ton we could start

Brett: [00:11:57] I can speak to, I can speak to email apps. [00:12:00] I’ve never owned a smart home camera. Tell me what sucks about them.

Merlin: [00:12:04] Well, okay. So let me just tell you the kind of superclass idea that I’m working with here. Kind of can I use exactly one curse and you can cut it if you need to.

Brett: [00:12:12] no, I have made this show officially, officially explicit when you

Merlin: [00:12:16] Well, it’s not. Yeah. So this is very, this is a PG 13, but, there’s a phrase that we started using on the Dubai Friday podcasts.

We finally came up with a name for this thing that I do, and that name is pound sign Merlin shitlist. and all that means is if somebody says to me, Hey, you know, what email app are you using right now? and I’ll say I use X email app, but I don’t recommend it. Or like, what do you mainly use to stream TV?

And I will say I mainly Hulu. I use it constantly, but I absolutely can. The problem with the cameras. The thing of the thing that superclass big idea here is that it’s so rare [00:13:00] in some cases is for some certain kinds of products. I find it. I don’t find so in a given class of products, I’m sometimes surprised at how few. Options I have for something that does everything that I want in the way that I want without doing the things that I don’t want. Do you know that phenomenon of like, it’s sort of that Marco Arment thing, I’m going to buy 10 of these and said nine back because. This one gets this, you can’t nail this, like one thing that’s so important to me, or you do this creepy g-mail signing thing.

That seems kind of unnecessary, but you’re basically hosting my Gmail, which freaks me out or like, you know, so, so with cameras and in some of these things are great. The image can be great in a lot of cases, whether it’s a smart home sensors, smart home cameras, smart home lights, the hue app is actually I think, quite good.

Personally, but almost all of the things fall short on something. So like [00:14:00] some get geo-fencing bad, some get geo-fencing wrong. some don’t do face recognition, very well. Some of the ones that do think a soccer ball, it was a face, but, you know, whatever, it’s mainly that like, there’s some new niggling thing about this product Makes me want to keep looking. And I, you know, whatever that is, email again, smart home, but I don’t know. I just thought that’d be, can you talk about it? Because it just seems like it’s the unknown. I know that like, things are difficult. It’s hard to make something good, but like, you know, some kinds of products are such a delight to use the opposite of pound sign Merlin shit list is again, one of my recommendations to today will be this app called descript.

And it’s one of those apps where like, I want more opportunities to use this. You know, sometimes there are things out there where I wish I had a reason to use it. Like slug line. I wish I wrote scripts because slug line is such a delight to use. It’s [00:15:00] so clever. It’s almost like when you first you got an iPhone and you just play with rubber banding for half an hour at boing, pull down, pull just to watch a bounce, just the light.

And yeah. So let me throw to you. What do you have a feeling on this.

Brett: [00:15:11] It does. If some, if you have one niggle with something that it just can’t get. Right. But the other things it does are so good. It’s easy for you to just work your life around that niggle.

Merlin: [00:15:24] everything about that is true, except the easy part, which is that. Yeah, that is a situation in which I exist, like to this day for, I can can’t even tell you how long on my Mac. My email app is mail plane. Which basically is a web rapper with extra features for g-mail that retains all the things that make Gmail special, nobody ever gets this.

I’m sure people are sick of me saying this, but like once you get into the keyboard, lifestyle in Gmail, you’re not going to believe how many hours you wasted clicking,

Brett: [00:15:56] Yeah. What, so,

Merlin: [00:15:58] Let, you know, left bracket. I [00:16:00] love that every time, but then there again, and that kind of it’s like back in the day with Photoshop or like, or word were the only time it ever opened was by accident or when I had to send something to a lawyer, I just,

you know what I mean? Like, like, you know, people who demand it’s like the entire PR all the professions that love fax machines, like that’s what you gotta use word for. You know, and it’s, I would much rather be writing everything in envy, all previewing it. And Mark too. This is all true. I’m not kissing your ass.

This is how I live my life. And that’s the way I would prefer to roll. And, yeah. Yeah.

Brett: [00:16:37] So when it comes to email, have you tried MailMate?

Merlin: [00:16:43] Is that the DBR people one

Brett: [00:16:45] No. 

Merlin: [00:16:46] I’ve got

Brett: [00:16:46] free run. so I have, MailMate set up with all of the single letter Gmail shortcuts, and I have, plus I can make my own like G one G two G three jumped between my three most used [00:17:00] mailboxes

Merlin: [00:17:01] Oh yeah. Look at this. This is very appealing

Brett: [00:17:03] smart nested criteria, smart inbox or smart boxes.

Merlin: [00:17:08] it felt look express. We’re pretty. it’s really

Brett: [00:17:10] Except it’s not pretty, that’s my one niggle with it is it feels very, it feels very interface, builder, default.

Merlin: [00:17:20] Yeah. Yeah.

Brett: [00:17:21] but

Merlin: [00:17:21] Like sort of, sort of like the way early, before they called it iOS early iPhone apps, I’ll had that same super Beverly table view. Look,

Brett: [00:17:29] Yeah, exactly.

Merlin: [00:17:31] this is, I’ll have a look at this. I do have it. It is installed and configured. So I guess I tried it at some point. But, you know, this also extends to, if it, as long as I’m, you know, shining your Apple, this also extends to why I’m still stuck in some ways in I’m going to use this word once in my workflow for how I deal with text files.

So everything tends to fall apart at the point of how do I continue to use task papers [00:18:00] app on the Mac, which sounds ridiculous. Like why would that be difficult? Well, I would love to be all in, on drafts. Like I think drafts is incredible, but if I’m all in on draft does not do sinking in a way that accommodates the test paper can be accommodated.

And so I continue to use stuff like editorial on iOS, which I think, you know,

Brett: [00:18:22] is that even supported anymore?

Merlin: [00:18:24] I mean, I’ve DMD with him a little bit about it and. I mean, I don’t want to talk out of school, but my sense is it’s unlikely to get a lot of updates,

but it’s got the grabby handles. I love the grabby handles for moving lines.

And you know, you can do that in drafts, but that’s a couple of clicks away. You can do anything in drafts. It’s like Emacs for text, but you know, it’s.

Brett: [00:18:49] what’s Emacs for, it’s not per text.

Merlin: [00:18:52] Well, you can also, it’s a dessert topping and a floor cleaner it’s okay. Bassett Maddick. [00:19:00] Yeah. Anyway, but yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. There’s nickels I can live with, but, so for example, like I’ve gone through. Wise cameras. This is, we’re talking here about my office, what I do at my office.

why is cameras? I’m currently trying to, you fee I’ve used Canary for a long time. and they all have benefits. The reason I got the  are they all have benefits and they all suck, but I got the UV because it was. I was meant to understand that it’s HomeKit compliant and super friendly, a lot of stuff that says it’s home kit compliant is not super great in home kit, but I am looking

Brett: [00:19:36] kits, just not great.

Merlin: [00:19:38] well, I don’t love home kit.

It’s pound sign Merlin shit list, but it is cool how much you can automate via home and shortcuts, the stuff like, you know, the personal automations where you see, like, whenever I. Am, whenever I’m on this particular wifi access point, do these things that’s way better [00:20:00] than geo-fencing to me. Oh yeah. So, so to come back, one quick thing, the UV, some of their cameras seem to support geo-fencing, but the camera I’ve got does not support geo-fencing. So I wanted to use you fee in the non-home kid state until HomeKit gets the big upgrades for face for facial recognition in zones and stuff. So, you know, but it’s critical that camera be off when I’m here. There’s no way to do that. You have to do it manually. And so then what do I do now? I have to go with home kit because home kit has that accommodation to say, allow this kind of filming to happen.

given these conditions, just stuff like that just drives me nuts. And then all the things, especially like, Oh God sensors that work with home kit. I mean, there’s so few and they’re so lame and they’re so unreliable for the kind of stuff I would like.

Brett: [00:20:50] kind of sensors? Like motion.

Merlin: [00:20:52] Yeah, like this is so we have, we use Phillips hue, motion sensors at home that worked great for detecting people.

[00:21:00] This is weird. Now I’m going to say something very weird, cause I’m a weird guy. One thing I do, yeah. Is I have developed a way using sensors to know when our mail has been delivered and I’ve tried it a whole bunch of different ways. And the current way I have it is there’s two different sensors in the little bag that catches our mail.

And I, there’s no tweaking. I can do to make it a hundred percent always work. It’s not what it’s for, but I don’t have a huge number of options to even attempt different kinds of things, because there’s not that many that work with home kit. And they’re the ones that even don’t work with home kit, like they’re the apps for these things are just garbage.

They’re just so bad.

Brett: [00:21:44] do you want to hear about the male sensor before we get to the top three picks the male sensor I’d built probably.

Merlin: [00:21:48] time we can keep going. I got time.

Brett: [00:21:50] It was, would’ve have been like 2000. Wow. Like 2002 maybe. And, most of my house ran on X [00:22:00] 10.

Merlin: [00:22:00] Oh, wow. You are old school.

Brett: [00:22:02] Right. I’ve been doing this a long time

Merlin: [00:22:05] This isn’t your first

Brett: [00:22:06] and radio shack. that’s how old I am.

radio shacks

Merlin: [00:22:10] real one.

Brett: [00:22:11] They sold a, A mailbox, a notification system that was a light detector that went in the mailbox and then it used RF signals to light up a light inside your house when the mailbox had been opened. So I took apart the receiver from that wired it, and then I took apart an X, 10,  key pad and wired the receiver into the key pads.

So when it received the signal, it would turn on an X 10 signal that I could then have go to my computer and announced that the mail had arrived.

Merlin: [00:22:47] that’s so clever.

Brett: [00:22:50] It worked anyway.

Merlin: [00:22:51] do feel like,  I feel like sensors. Are well, I think for people who’ve been using this stuff for a while, you will [00:23:00] eventually realize that sensors are way more important than you might’ve thought. because the more of the stuff you get in your house, the more you risk or the more you risk having go wrong or be creepy, like there’s so much stuff where like, you know, you really want to get all this, right.

And geo-fencing is, it’s such a clever idea. If you travel large distances, Like chief fencing is really cool. If I’ve done stuff in OmniFocus really wild, but I’ve done stuff in OmniFocus where I’ve created a custom, like a con a context for a given like store in another town. And like, or like I Kia. So like when I’m near an Ikea, you know, remind me of this, or when I’m near this particular comic shop in Walnut Creek, California, remind me to go in and get that figure that I’ve been wanting or whatever.

that works. It’s really great. w why does it work? Well, you can make this. Giant circle. That is an incredibly blunt [00:24:00] instrument, but that’s still very powerful where this falls apart for me is, as I said before, my office and my house are in probably close to each other. So I know I’m an edge case here, but like w if you don’t have sensors in your house and it really, I mean, how many times have used, how many times does this happen to you?

You get a notification about something regarding geo-fencing and in case of Canary, I’ll get this to rapid notifications in a row. Your kid has left home. Your kid has arrived at home. Well, my kid was at home the whole time. It’s just, it’s something got silly with geo fencing to cause that incorrect a event to happen.

And you think, Oh, maybe that’s not a big deal, but like, you know, door locks, cameras. I mean, there’s all kinds of stuff or, you know, cameras that have a siren attached to them. Like it’s really important to get that stuff right. And, you know, that’s why I say like, you know, you can do these location, [00:25:00] what it used to be called location manager back in the day, but you could do cool stuff in shortcuts.

Like I say, I think a lot of people don’t delve into that deep into that personal automation stuff. It’s wild, you know, w when I hit this NFC today, ag to this, you know, There’s just so much granularity. That’s all great. But I do want to be able to say, okay. All of, almost all of the things I want to have when I’m not at home. I really need them home control system to honor the fact that someone is at home. So, you know, I tried to do this, what seemed to me the simplest thing, which they put a Phillips here in the bathroom and was trying to use homecare to say, after this hour a certain time, when the lights are off, anytime the, it detects you, I want you to put on a, turn the lights in here at a very damn of, I think they call it Caseta.

Those, you know, dimmers. Yeah. I want you to do a low. Light that will, you [00:26:00] know, wake us up too much, but will still allow us to use the bathroom. And then I want you to turn that off after a period of time. And I’m not a programmer, but I found such a, I had such a difficult time avoiding weird errors with that such as well.

What if you go in there and you turn the light on and then it detects you and then it dims the light, right? that’s not desirable or.

Brett: [00:26:24] these are the things I don’t like about home kit. Like it doesn’t have the granular control I’m

Merlin: [00:26:29] not that smart.

Brett: [00:26:30] used to really powerful home automation systems where I can have variables and controls and double checks on things. And if, if, it like you can set it within Sianna devices, you can set it to raves the light level.

Meaning if it’s at zero, go to 20. But if it’s already at 80, there’s nowhere to go. So it doesn’t do anything. so my lights don’t dim when I want them on like in my office. If I [00:27:00] turn on a light and it’s before six in the morning, the light only comes up to 30% and my screens dim, just for the sake of my eyes, but trying to get that set up with my Hugh was it drove me nuts.


Merlin: [00:27:15] he’s got all that stuff in hue labs. It’s like, you know, you make your, Make your lights look like a Scandinavian village, or, you know, you can have candlelight at this when this song plays or whatever, or there you can change the lighting when you’re watching TV and identify with great granularity, the location of all your lights and how that should effect.

That’s all. That’s all really great, but across almost all of this stuff says, okay. It’s basically, if this, then that when the following thing happens, this, which is, you know, this is why you ended up looking at them shortcuts that people make that are so bananas. So many conditionals nested in all of these things, which is so powerful.

And that’s obviously what I feel like is lacking a little bit right now in home. I’m like, I’m on the beta of everything right now. And I, the home [00:28:00] kit is going to be real good. I mean, I love the way that it is now recommending. Oh, you just added this new camera. how would you like, for example?

Yeah. In this part of the office where you’ve identified the camera is when it detects motion, which you’d like it to turn on the lights. That, to me, that’s a great way to get people started if they don’t want to spend their day working with NFC tags. But I think it’s still got a long way to go.

Brett: [00:28:22] I hope that shortcuts and automator on the Mac merge, 

Merlin: [00:28:28] I think a lot of

Brett: [00:28:29] I want shortcuts on the Mac. I want if loops and if else, statements in automator, like I don’t want to lose automator. I worry that shortcuts would dumb down certain parts of OD matter for me, but I would kill to have logic in automator.

Merlin: [00:28:46] The shortcuts, let you do stuff like run a shell script.

Brett: [00:28:48] no, not that I know

Merlin: [00:28:50] Cause it’s iOS only

Brett: [00:28:51] my solution for that has been to set up API so that I can ping with URLs, to handle some of that stuff. But.

[00:29:00] Merlin: [00:28:59] Yeah, I, yeah, I agree with you something that demand Jamon and I ended up talking about a lot is, you know, me, and to a much greater extent, Dan, we are people who still love using the Mac. and you know, we have been expressing this concern of well, you know, it feels like I understand wanting to take, especially features of iOS and bring it to the Mac.

that’s cool. I guess I kind of even understand the catalyst thing a little bit. I have not yet met a catalyst app that I like, but I understand what they’re doing, but we always kind of walk away from that saying, instead of trying to make iOS like the Mac, make iOS a better iOS, make the Mac a better Mac.

You know, instead of trying to create this weird, Kymera or Frankenstein that mashes these things together, how about we continue to leverage what each of these platforms is better or best at? Yeah. Yeah. I know. I don’t know. [00:30:00] I dunno. I, you know, it’s, it is very exciting, but like, I certainly, you know, there’s a reason I’m bummed that I’m not on Instagram anymore.

Cause my friends, obviously to me, it seems like they derive so much joy from it, but I just couldn’t conscience. I had to do it for a Dubai by Friday challenge. I had to like resuscitate. no. In the end I ended up keeping my Facebook account. Dead. It’s been dead for years. I kept being just like, keep my name, but I got an Instagram account, but like, I’ve gotten, I don’t use Chrome anymore.

I don’t use, I don’t use Instagram anymore. And increasingly I’m getting real picky about specialty stuff like cameras and voice devices. And I’m really starting to, you know, at long, last as an enthusiast of this stuff, trying to be a little more sort of steely-eyed about. How much benefit do I get out of this versus how much could I be risking in ways I do or don’t know

Brett: [00:30:55] So what is your browser of choice now? Okay.

[00:31:00] Merlin: [00:30:59] Yeah. yeah, I’m all in on. Well, except for calendars and mail are Google, but, everything else I do, I love the sinking of stuff, even as imperfect as it is. Like there’s times where it just has missed like a day of Safari history or right now, understandably in the beta.

it’s when I re my reminders are not sinking very well and stuff like that, but, you know, they’ve solved, sinking where their platform is really in a lot of ways. I love handoff. I love this. The fact that I can now confidently know that something I just typed in drafts on my computer, you know, I hit command C.

With my phone on, and now I can just drop that right in. I love stuff like

Brett: [00:31:38] Yeah, for sure. I’ve gone all in on player Fox.

Merlin: [00:31:43] Oh, I love fire. Firefox is my other browser. Like whenever I have to like ensure you, like, you’d have those things where like, okay, I, this is how I see this. How does the world see this? Can they see this? Make sure that the settings and for privacy or right on something, you know what I mean? Like, so, so [00:32:00] like, so I’ll be on Safari doing something. Where I do or don’t want the public to be able to see it. So for example, every time share a file in Dropbox. I have to remember to turn off comments. I wish there were a way to shut that off. I don’t want, yeah. I don’t want comments on any of my things and I don’t want anybody to know when I looked at their document and there’s ways to turn some of that stuff off.

I now, like, for example, so what I’ll do is I’ll say, Oh, here’s the, this thing. Oh yeah. Here’s my running file of like all the quotes I try to get. Right. Cause they’re really good quotes. So go over to Firefox, drop that URL in, and then I get to see it how a stranger would see it. But Firefox is awesome.

Brett: [00:32:40] automatically fences, things like Facebook for you. So it doesn’t, you don’t carry any cookies out of Facebook and they don’t track you anywhere else, stuff like that. Like their privacy

Merlin: [00:32:49] I’ve got it on strict. I’ve got it on strict. And I mean, I’m not using it as my daily browser, obviously, but it makes it all the clearer to me. Like what a weirdo I am [00:33:00] about this, because I want to say at least once a month or so I guest on somebody’s podcast and you know, they’re like, Oh yeah.

Here’s the URL. I’m like, well, we’re not doing Skype. And they’re like, no. We’re using a. dingleberry.io and it’s this amazing thing. And then I opened up a Safari and guess what? Of course it literally cannot work in Safari red flag. So then I have to go to Chrome and put it in and Chrome’s like, yeah, we’ll accommodate anything.

Click here. Anything that’s red click here. We’ll turn on everything. It’s like, I don’t love that. And then I have to go through some conversation with some, someone explained to me how to record a podcast. And I’m like, yeah, well, if it requires Chrome, I don’t know if I’m in. Are you free?

Are you freaked out by Chrome?

Brett: [00:33:42] I, yeah, I am. And

Merlin: [00:33:44] I can’t talk to your QC out of it. He’s still, he still loves it as a developer, especially, but it creeps me out.

Brett: [00:33:50] as a developer, I love Firefox.

Merlin: [00:33:54] There were the, Oh, gee. I mean, I feel like Mozilla Firefox with the original, like,

Brett: [00:33:58] but they

Merlin: [00:33:58] if you view this, inspect, [00:34:00] this element kind of thing. Yeah.

Brett: [00:34:01] There was this Renaissance though, like I had let Firefox go because it seems so old school. And then when I came back to it, it turned out their memory management is amazing. Their plugin selection is amazing.

Their developer tools are on par with Chrome and in some areas better, it, 

Merlin: [00:34:22] And I really do believe that unless I’m really missing something here, I really do legitimately believe that they are trying very hard to protect your neck. You know, it’s in a way that like, you know, okay, if this harms the way you need to view the web from your work, like you can turn this off and just have your, you know, put your Dick in the mashed potatoes.

But like, I love that about it. And I think it’s sometimes quite shocking how much people go again. I fall back on that funny bit. We it’s funny bit for us on do by Friday. I need this for my work. I have to be on Facebook for my work. I have to use Chrome for my work and I don’t doubt [00:35:00] for a second that’s.

Possible, but can you ever imagine a scenario where even if it’s for your work, what will it take for you to see stop using Facebook setting aside that you’re contributing to the downfall of democracy like that the company is really screwed up and. We only know what they’ve been caught at, but everything they’ve been caught at is not very good.

So this is my open question is like, what will it take for you to stop using Facebook? If somebody asked you to go eat a baby for your work, would you do it? Like, I hope you’d like, give it a second. You know,

Brett: [00:35:36] take a beat.

Merlin: [00:35:38] I, a blast last thing on this, as far as I’m concerned, I have a request cause I’m imagining a lot of developer types. Listen to your podcast. I don’t know if this is even possible, but I have a, I have a. Request for, product, I want to plug in for Safari that makes it easier for me, a California resident and me, a us resident [00:36:00] to not have to jump through all the hoops to say, don’t sell my data. I w I don’t know if that’s, if it’s even possible to do that. I know there are things like FF has that thing where you, I think it’s eff where you can like, see the sort of human readable privacy to see policy or stuff like that. That’s been around for a while, but you ever encountered Ilana site and because of, the European union rules, or because of the California laws, you land on that thing.

And it’s all often named it’s in this weird way. Like, Do you want us to sell your data? And I’m not sure if clicking it makes it, so yes or now, is that even possible? Probably not

Brett: [00:36:37] yeah, I think there’d be so many edge cases. It would be hard to make one plugin to do that. But I do think that sweeping, legal reform can make a difference. it might be more of a political thing than a developer thing.

Merlin: [00:36:51] Do you, are you familiar with guardian?

Brett: [00:36:52] Yeah, like the publication.

Merlin: [00:36:55] Sorry. there’s a, there’s an app that this is gonna sound crazy. It’s one of the people who I started [00:37:00] this company, was one, I think one of the, Oh, gee jail breakers. Yes. this fellow who really knows those. Where have you speak?

Where have you speaks with them? iOS stuff, but guardian, which I is not on Merlin’s shitless. I can recommend guardian until I learned that they’re terrible. they are, first of all, AVPN she run on your iOS device. And in my case, it’s pinging off a server in San Jose down South of here, but it makes websites think that I am in Parsippany, New Jersey, which is fine.

Here’s the other thing it does. I don’t know how it does this. It does this with secret sauce. It regularly scans the app store in a way that it dictates techs, which apps have stuff in it that you might not want, like location tracking. Like it basically not malware. Exactly. But you know, Darth malware, that’s stupid. And, but it’s so wild to pop this. Let me pop [00:38:00] this thing open real quick and it keeps a tally. It doesn’t currently the one thing I guess I wish it did that. It doesn’t is it doesn’t tell you what is the app that generated this problem? But I’ll send you a screenshot. so like, you know, it says, okay, data tracker blocked, something called app measurement is known to collect analytics and device information.

this is the thing is trying to track your location. And now the hack here is if you force quit an app and then open it and then pop, right, right over to guardian, you can see the, probably these alerts are because of the app that you just launched. But this thing I’ve had since, I don’t know how many months, it’s blocked 25,595 attempts to Nick.

My shit  thousand 51 location trackers 24,500 data trackers and a male tracker. That’s a new one to me. And I guess, Oh yeah. And then page Hijacker, 30 times it stopped a page from doing some skeevy shit [00:39:00] in Safari. But, you know, that like installing iOS 14, it’s really interesting to notice what works and does not work. If you’re not permissive about your data. Do you know what I mean?

Brett: [00:39:14] for sure. Yeah.

Merlin: [00:39:16] Because there’s a lot of stuff that it’s something business, plus we get your data. So you look at something like citizen, which is only available in a few cities, I think, but citizen is an app that it’s like Nick, next door for nerds.

It basically, like, I think it’s basically, you know, watching the police scanner and then you can go and see videotape of stuff, but like, it really wants all kinds of permissions that I don’t want to give it. And it does a weird thing where like we do a screenshot and says, Hey, it looks like you just took a screenshot.

Do you want to share that with the up arrow? It’s like, dude, get out of my pants.

Brett: [00:39:53] Yeah, that and that’s on the iOS 14 beta is all those notifications of apps checking your clipboard.

[00:40:00] Merlin: [00:39:59] And that’s how they found the Instagram thing. Or do you use it Instagram?

Brett: [00:40:03] I use Instagram.

Merlin: [00:40:04] How did you feel? so tell your listeners what happened and how you feel about it?

Brett: [00:40:08] What are, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I know

Merlin: [00:40:11] The Instagram camera thing.

Brett: [00:40:14] Oh, I don’t know about this actually

Merlin: [00:40:16] Oh boy. Oh yeah.

Brett: [00:40:18] my day.

Merlin: [00:40:19] Yeah. I’m good at that. Instagram, Kara. okay. This is from the verge.

A headline and Instagram bugs showed a camera on indicator for iOS 14 devices. Even when users weren’t taking photos. So, you know, remember the thing back to our old friends, in Palo Alto, do you remember when it was discovered that Facebook was, what was it doing? It was doing stuff like that. At one point, I think it was keeping, having some kind of inaudible.

Yeah. They had some, they were broadcasting some kind of an inaudible signal in order to keep. You know, the microphone on or something. It was. Yeah. But you know, trying to basically, [00:41:00] you know, he’s the stuff like that is like, and then like, Oh, sorry, my bad. That’s a bug.

Brett: [00:41:05] Yeah. Yeah.

Merlin: [00:41:06] you who made this app?

This app not, you know, delivered by a stork, somebody could made all of this stuff. And then somebody tested all of this stuff. And your answer to that is sorry. My bad

Brett: [00:41:19] yeah, that’s the thing is you don’t accidentally check someone’s clipboard a hundred times.

Merlin: [00:41:25] Oh, that’s I, you know, my kid is, so she basically looks at tick tock all day, even while we’re watching TV even, or eating dinner, I’m reluctant to take it away because it’s a hard time to be 12.

Brett: [00:41:41] yeah.

Merlin: [00:41:42] And, there’s not that many things. There’s been a few really good articles about this, about the. You know, one way kids are avoiding utter depression is through things like FaceTime through things like, you know, zoom calls with their friends, my kid FaceTimes with their friends almost every day, which is awesome.

But also through tick tock for slightly [00:42:00] older folks, maybe like it makes you feel connected and entertained. And I wish somebody out there would make it less gross, but I don’t know. I’m probably being a real sucker here, but I’m reluctant to take that away from

Brett: [00:42:14] Yeah, no, I get it. I mean, I don’t, cause I don’t have kids, but I feel like I can understand

Merlin: [00:42:20] but you’re an empathetic man. You do yoga.

Brett: [00:42:22] I do yoga.

Merlin: [00:42:23] If yoga gloves I’ve seen him, it was a great look. You don’t think a drummer, you think he played bass originally, right?

Brett: [00:42:31] Yeah.

Merlin: [00:42:32] Yeah. Yeah.

Brett: [00:42:32] But I wear weightlifting gloves to do yoga. all right. If we’re going to keep this around an hour, we should get to top three picks. I don’t do ads of this new reboot of the show. I’m not going to try to come up with my own top three picks for every single episode. So we’re going to go through your top three picks and they can be as conversational as you

Merlin: [00:42:53] you. Yeah. They inspire you. yeah. Three things. Number one. I cannot say enough. Good stuff about this app called [00:43:00] descript, T E S C R I P T. Have you played with this

Brett: [00:43:03] I have not

Merlin: [00:43:04] Oh boy. Okay.

Brett: [00:43:05] me.

Merlin: [00:43:06] All right. So I learned about this through front of the show, Adam lonely sandwich, who had made a video for these folks.

And I was just talking about how, you know, one of the things that’s held me back. It’s my problem. But one of the things that holds me back from it being, you know, very aggressive about Mac updates is the one show that I have to edit every week. A, on the line I’ve been doing in the very old version of garage band, because the newer version of garage band is not really podcast friendly logic, twist my melon with all the features.

I mean, I could learn it, but I mean, I could learn to fly a jet, but so anyway, he just mentioned in passing, go check out this video for descript and here’s what, how can I’m going to try and keep this short, but descript is magic. You get the script, you get an account and you, in my case, you drag media files, let’s [00:44:00] say into the app.

In my case, I drag in the two tracks, I’ve split out of Ecamm call recorder so that I can edit Roderick on the line. I drag them in. It says, okay, cool. Here’s these files. Do you want to transcribe this? And I said, yes. Do you want me to, Detect multiple speakers. Yes. A few minutes later I have a transcript.

Pretty good. They see 95%. I pick it more 80%, pretty good, like automated transcript of us. And, it now knows when each person is speaking. So it looks kind of like a script in some ways. And that’s cool, but so I’ve got the transcript in this pain up here, and then down here, I got a timeline. With wave forms and different colored wave forms and titles, because guess what, that transcript has now also associated each word with its spot on the audio

Brett: [00:44:55] Oh, that’s amazing.

Merlin: [00:44:56] editable separately or together.

[00:45:00] it’s got a, and, but here’s the beauty part. It’s like, if you’re just doing some basic editing and you want to take out something, a sentence that somebody said, you select it in the script and backspace. And that’s exactly that part out. How about this? Let’s say you’ve got a lot of uhms and AHS and a, you knows, you know, what they called filler words.

Well, no problem. Just go to the remove filler words, functionality. It’ll take all of those out. let’s say you want to just take it up a little bit? Well, you know, one manual way to tighten it up is to remember every single word is now a tab above. The wave form. So grab the tab for that word, drag it left, and it non-destructively makes that it’s a tighter edit, or you could just say remove long pauses new one for me, I always say, Oh yeah.

you know, on the show, I’ll be like any given show. I’ll be like, Oh yeah, I’ll post a link to that. Or I’ll find that article, do a search for link or article or YouTube and find all the places where you need to do [00:46:00] links. You can export it. As all the usual things, but you can also export it as this really cool, like, like pseudo video that like each word pops on screen.

As if you want to do like a teaser, you can create that. Oh, by the way, I should mention this. It also does video. So you drag a video in, and now you’re editing video by just removing text.

Brett: [00:46:24] this is insane. You may have just changed my entire

Merlin: [00:46:26] not. Inexpensive to subscribe to. Can I give you one more? They have a feature called that they just officially put into the production release. And so you record, they give you something to record like a Google doc thing, read this, and so re read this thing. Okay. Now read this thing as if you’re calm.

Now, read this part as if you’re angry, read this part as if you’re a neutral read this part, et cetera. Now I go in, I type a paragraph, and then say overdub, that midterm, what I just [00:47:00] said into my voice with the following intonation. Can, did you get the offer code wrong?

No problem. Just select that type in the right one. And it generates your voice.

Brett: [00:47:10] amazing.

Merlin: [00:47:12] It’s I encourage you to at least grab it and play with it because the front tech standpoint, because it’s still, as you can see here, like I only have one podcast. I need to edit it with that, but I can’t tell you how much fun stuff I’ve done.

I, well, like, like for example, I’ve, there’s podcasts that I love. And in the case of like my brother and me, or a blank check, I dragged a bunch of episodes in and then you can make a super cut. Like you could say fine every instance of this phrase and highlight it now, all those highlights, copy them and create new composition.

So you just made a super cut just by looking for words of this is video. This is audio. This is anything it’s wild.

Brett: [00:47:45] that’s insane. All right. It shows it if you pay for an annual plan, the pro subscription is $24 a month. That

Merlin: [00:47:53] I’m I’m at two 88, two 88 a year, but it’s worth every nickel to me. I think that’s going to be a tough sell for some [00:48:00] folks, but it’s really worth it for me. So the other, in my case, every show I do, I only have to edit Roderick, but every, but I am the show notes master for all of the programs.

So what I do, I drag in. The raw edit or the finished edit or whatever. And it makes it exceptionally easy to go through and find all these things. Like, for example, how often is that? You know, we do a podcast with somebody. Oh, dammit. What was the thing? Where did we talk about X? No problem. What are all the times we used, you know, the we’re descript.

No problem. Just going to do a search. It’ll find all of them for you. And then you can add markers. You can do whatever you need to do. It’s got compression. It’s got equalization per track. It’s got leveling. It’s just watch that video. It’s a, it’s pretty my

Brett: [00:48:46] I’m sold like two 88. Sounds like a deal to me.

Merlin: [00:48:49] Yeah. Yeah.

Brett: [00:48:51] All right. Number two.

Merlin: [00:48:53] and the next two are media things, in no particular order. I needed a third one of these this morning and it landed right in my [00:49:00] lap with the new, have a slate podcast called hip parade hit parade is hosted by Chris , who is a writer for slate. He does the why is this song or one column?

And he is a very. I mean this in the best possible way. He is a music nerd and a music history nerd, but in particular, he’s a beast board charts, nerd. He has a nearly encyclopedic knowledge of what band was doing, what at a given time. and so hip parade is a twice a month podcast where he takes this particular week.

In a given year and uses it as a jumping off point to talk about something musical. So this week in 1980, yeah. Which is 40 years ago is the week that Christopher cross’ sailing, I think went to number one. And so that leads to an hour and a half discussion of the genre called yacht rock. And he it’s just, it’s [00:50:00] so entertaining.

He does such a good job. It’s so well edited somewhere in here. There is an episode you will love. The one that got me hooked very early on was I think the second episode was the weird history of what we think of as you be 40, but technically Neil diamond song, red wine. and it varies a lot. It could be like, this is going to be the one about, you know, I’m trying to think of some of the other classic ones fit.

Yeah. Hip parade, with crystal  available on slate.

Brett: [00:50:24] perfect.

Merlin: [00:50:26] Nice companion to other shows like song Exploder, strong songs. And if you love getting your hands dirty, you know, doing the mechanical work of how a song is, the way it is or how this genre is the way it is and

Brett: [00:50:39] Yeah, I can definitely get into that.

Merlin: [00:50:41] Last one.

Brett: [00:50:42] Yep.

Merlin: [00:50:43] Well, like, you know, 2.5 or 3.0, I guess I’ve really gotten into these YouTube videos.

Oh, Japanese chefs, cooking teppanyaki. So teppanyaki best-known into Americans is what they’re doing at Benihana, which they do in kind of a fun Disney Disneyland way. But it’s [00:51:00] a, I think a fairly common, way of cooking. Especially in places like Tokyo. you go in, you sit at this counter, there’s a heated, you know, hot surface in front of you and the chef prepares your meal.

And, I love watching videos of people being great at cooking. so that’s a side recommendation, a specific YouTube video. I want to point people to, cause I think it’s kind of magic. it’s a video of the head chef at the only Michelin three star restaurant in Las Vegas. Which I think is called, is a Joel Robuchon.

Brett: [00:51:34] I wouldn’t know.

Merlin: [00:51:36] Well, but here’s the thing. Okay. So my wife wasn’t into this either. but I’ve taken a little bit of heat, I think from people who say like, Oh, how could you not like the movie free solo? And well, first of all, the guy, he clearly needs some kind of a diagnosis. You ever see free solo. It’s about the, a guy who free climbs, the face of.

[00:52:00] I think a, of Yosemite and notoriously even like for people with the right equipment and experience notoriously difficult. So he free climbs the face of this giant mountain. and he’s an asshole. I think he’s really mean to his super sweet girlfriend, but everybody says, Oh yeah. But look, despite his personality, don’t you like enjoy.

Like watching him do this amazing thing. And like, I go, no, I’m totally distracted by what an asshole he is. I found my version of that with this video. The guy’s not an asshole, but he is this guy, this head chef at this restaurant is so. He cares so much about everything that he is doing to like a rain man level, the Lake, the, these beans are the wrong length.

Like the geometric pattern of dots on this plate is not right. It’s it is what some people call too. I’ve heard called competence porn. I just like watching this particular guy care this much about what he does and how his whole life [00:53:00] revolves around doing it. Well, It’s, this is a very COVID sort of thing to me.

Cause it’s not only like very interesting looking food, but like, you know, watching somebody try to be better every day at what they do is, is thrilling to watch.

Brett: [00:53:14] all right, so you’re going to send me a link to this.

Merlin: [00:53:17] Yeah, absolutely.

Brett: [00:53:18] right. That, yeah, I definitely, I get into

Merlin: [00:53:22] Yeah. What do you, what are you into for stuff like comfort videos or YouTube times?

Brett: [00:53:26] Well, I’ve been watching, like educational, YouTube channels a lot. Like I never, it was very recent that I got so into YouTube that I started joining Patriots,

Merlin: [00:53:36] Yeah. Yeah, I have I’m on a couple because of YouTube. Yeah.

Brett: [00:53:39] there’s this girl who does a channel called how to ADHD

Merlin: [00:53:45] She, the one with the mask video, how to put on or how to wear a mask with glasses. Is

Brett: [00:53:48] no, I don’t

Merlin: [00:53:50] or is it the really cute girl with the kind of long

Brett: [00:53:52] Yeah. Yeah. Cute girl. Long hair, slightly squeaky boys.

Merlin: [00:53:56] Yeah, she’s charming. I love her

Brett: [00:53:58] Yeah. And they’re super well [00:54:00] researched and she’s a very empathetic person. I really enjoy those. And, and then answers with Jo. that channel has been like he’s well-researched, but also willing to admit when he’s wrong.

So he’s opinionated, but if someone presents a valid argument to him, he’ll do a whole show about, you know, what, here’s how it actually

Merlin: [00:54:23] making tech videos, if you attract an audience, boy, you’re going to get a lot of notes from people you’re going to get a lot of, well, actually it’s one that I love and support on patriotic is called. I think it’s called technology connection

Brett: [00:54:34] Okay.

Merlin: [00:54:35] and it’s this, which I really recommend to you.

he, I think Mark was a patron too. He, he’s this really interesting guy who delves into how mostly, ubiquitous consumer technology works and the miracle of it, the miracle of how VHS tape is works is saying the guy he usually wears like a tee shirt in a [00:55:00] blazer.

Brett: [00:55:00] Yeah.

Merlin: [00:55:01] Yeah. He’s got the stuff behind him.

Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s called technology connection. Let me look. But like he did his stuff about like, sometimes he’s got to just gotta be in his bonnet where like, he’s just like these air conditioners and heaters don’t work. And here’s why toasters suck now, like this kind of stuff. and some of the, like one, one that ethic think is, again, pretty miraculous is how they hacked it together to be able to have.

what do they call it? Like when you get a Spanish language version of subtitles and how they, when you see that, when you see that weird, tiny, like one pixel is banned, like pulsing and doing weird things in the top of a video, that’s part of an ind band message that’s used. I didn’t know that. And like learning all of that stuff is just delightful to me.

Brett: [00:55:48] that crash was my cat knocking over my iPad stand. 

Merlin: [00:55:53] it is. Are they both? Okay.

Brett: [00:55:54] the, I don’t know about the iPad, but the cats. Okay. he’s got a feeding tube in right now, so I basically, [00:56:00] I feel so, so much pity toward him that I let him get away with anything. Yeah. He had pancreatitis and he stopped eating. And for the last month I’ve been.

Feeding him as to his food, through a

Merlin: [00:56:13] Oh,

Brett: [00:56:14] for the last week, for the last week straight, he has eaten on his own. So he’s going to get the tube out next week and we’re all very excited to

Merlin: [00:56:22] I hope he’s going to be okay.

Brett: [00:56:24] He’s got a couple of years left in him. I think he’s

Merlin: [00:56:27] Well, Mark that’s like our cat is our cat has hardly any teeth left. She’s like 14, she’s a goddamn mess. She looks like a rejected model for star Wars knockoff. she’s horrific. And her anus is pure black. It’s like that black, that it’s so black. You can’t see it, you know, like that, like she it’s like a black hole.

Literally. I’m going to say this, you know, you’re a special friend of mine and I only give this advice to literally everyone I know, but [00:57:00] Patricia, you need to get a bearded dragon.

Brett: [00:57:02] Aye.

Merlin: [00:57:03] dragon is a very strong pet.

Brett: [00:57:04] I have had one in the past.

Merlin: [00:57:06] How’d it go?

Brett: [00:57:07] I loved it.

Merlin: [00:57:09] I feel like on the matrix of hassle to fund, it’s like the opposite of a goldfish it’s, they’re so delightful.

And I know they’re just dumb lizards and don’t understand things like transparency, but, there’s a phenomenon you probably know in the lizard owning community called glass surfing

Brett: [00:57:26] I’m

Merlin: [00:57:27] where sometimes.

Brett: [00:57:27] with this. I’ve owned a NOLs, which so I feel like I

Merlin: [00:57:30] the room and the tank in such a way that the lizard will be confused and angry about its own image in reflection.

And then it goes like this and it gets on a tine legs and it’s like trying to try and do attack itself. And it never stops because there’s a goddamn, stupid lizard. I have, I would love you to put this in notes. The only thing I am actually comfortable promoting my entire life is the Twitter account of. Our, bearded, our rescue bearded dragon. his name is Bando and it’s [00:58:00] on Twitter. It’s Bando. Amanda, B a N D O M a N D O N. It’s a, he’s a delight.

Brett: [00:58:06] Oh, like, man, I get

Merlin: [00:58:08] Yeah. Yeah. I doesn’t have to come up with something.

Brett: [00:58:10] All right. Yeah. and I just want to, in case I didn’t put it in the beginning, if anyone doesn’t know, you look nice today as back and they have videos.

Merlin: [00:58:24] Wait a minute. Why didn’t you tell me about this video aware what’s it on? Is it on like MySpace or like what. Okay. Yeah, we have a channel. You can also just, the new show is, that I’m having a lot of fun with. I almost don’t want to point people to the site because the audio is not nearly as fun as the videos, but, but you can learn more@californiaking.org. Also, we, I spent a couple of weeks, very happily resuscitating all of the old classic episodes of you look nice today.

And those are available at  dot com. They’re nice and safe. They have a [00:59:00] home. They have a forever home now on fireside.

Brett: [00:59:03] Nice. Yeah, I just, I built as in the process of moving over tired and systematic off of any networks, I had to build sites and I ended up being able to revive the original a hundred, some episodes that were five by five, which means, yeah, a couple of your appearances are now back available along with some that I was really sad, had disappeared and they’re all back now.

And thanks to the internet archive and a bunch of crawling scripts.

Merlin: [00:59:37] I mean what I went through to recreate this busted as Drupal site from 2008, I had to recreate so much like art. I had to take out so many broken links because, Oh, by the way, Dropbox doesn’t support hotlinks anymore. So I had to get rid of a lot of little blue question, Mark boxes, but isn’t that a nice feeling to like complete something like that.

It’s like, and now I’m done.

Brett: [00:59:59] yeah. [01:00:00] Accomplishments.

Merlin: [01:00:02] Thanks for having me.

Brett: [01:00:03] Yeah. Thanks for coming on. Thanks for being the first guest

Merlin: [01:00:07] Yeah. Well, welcome back. I bet this, when this comes out, it’ll pop up in my eye, my overcast.

Cool. Cool. Well, how do you feel about how apart from me talking so much, because I just had my add medicine. How do you feel like this went?

Brett: [01:00:18] I feel like it was exactly what I expected it to be eat easy fluid conversation full of surprises and delights.

Merlin: [01:00:26] Conversation full of fluids. Thanks for having me, Brett.

Brett: [01:00:30] Yup. Thanks for being here.