The decline and fall of podcasting

I don’t like where podcasting is going:

In recent months, Audible, the audiobook service owned by Inc., has been meeting with talent agencies and producers to discuss acquiring potential new podcast projects—or, in the terminology that Audible prefers, “Audible Originals.” Audible is offering anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million dollars per show, according to people familiar with the matter, more than every competitor except Spotify Technology SA.

Recently, as part of an effort to reframe its popular music app as a home for all types of audio, Spotify has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire podcasting studios and to sign exclusive distribution deals with major stars like comedian Joe Rogan. Spotify’s share of U.S. podcast listening still pales in comparison to Apple’s, but the Swedish company is the leading podcast distributor in many international territories where the iPhone is less popular. Spotify’s investment in podcasting is putting pressure on its competitors, including Amazon, to broaden the types of audio programming that they offer customers.

I use the Audible app every day, but this stuff is just going to segment the podcasting audience into content ghettos. I have no desire to have to use different apps to get different podcasts, that would be a pain in the ass, to say the least.

Apple’s podcast app is nothing to rave about, but it has met my needs. All of my podcasts were there, and it complemented my Kindle and Audible apps nicely. When I wanted a podcast, I opened the Apple app, when I wanted a book or audiobook, I opened one of the other two apps.

I had a feeling that things were going to go this way when Joe Rogan made his move to Spotify. I’m a casual listener of his podcast, I usually just like the JRE Clips stuff that shows up on YouTube. The clips are short, and topic focused, so I don’t have to sit through a full 3 hour show. Thankfully, the clips are still going to be on YouTube after the show moves to Spotify, and perhaps he’ll put them on Apple’s podcast app too.

All of this is too bad. Podcasting used to be open and accessible to everybody. Now podcasts are going to become radio shows, available only on certain services and requiring particular apps. Some will also no doubt be behind subscription paywalls too at some point.

Oh well, podcasting was fun while it lasted.


Isabelle’s annoying announcements in Animal Crossing New Horizons

I’ve been playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons since its release, and there is one thing that grates on me each time I start the game:

Isabelle’s stupid announcements.

Every day we are treated to a long load time as the game starts up, only to see Isabelle come on the screen.

She tells us the time and date, then says she has no news to share. Then she babbles on about a TV show or some other uninteresting crap we don’t care about in the least.

When is this going to stop? I used to like Isabelle, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t stand her. Nintendo needs to do a patch that stops these useless announcements unless she has actual news to share.

It is a shame that Nintendo’s developers opted to do this to a character that most people liked. There seems to be widespread disgust and irritation with Isabelle, as I’ve seen in comments on Reddit and other places.

Cut the crap, Nintendo. Do a patch and remove Isabelle unless she has actual news to share. You are undermining one of your most popular Animal Crossing characters by using her this way.

Isabelle Announcements Suck New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons stuff at Amazon:

Nintendo Switch: Animal Crossing New Horizons Edition

Animal Crossing New Horizons game

Animal Crossing New Horizons goodies


I ordered the new iPhone SE

As usual, Apple got me. I ended up ordering the new iPhone SE despite my earlier post barking about the size of it.

So what got me to give it a try? Well my beloved first generation iPhone SE has a battery that is slowly dying. I could get it replaced, but I wondered whether it was worth the bother since a new model was available.

Since I had a credit for the Apple Store that has been sitting unused for months, I thought I’d give it a shot and see how the new iPhone SE is and if I can tolerate the slightly larger size.

My phone won’t be here until the first week of May, so the jury is still out on it. But I’ll try it for a week or so and see if I like it. I ordered the red version as I’ve always had black phones and it was time for a change.

We’ll see how it goes.




Mario Kart 8 plays great on Switch Lite

I was out at the mall the other day, and went into Target. They had the Switch Lite available to play, and I could not resist.

Here are my impressions:

1. Games still look great on the smaller screen.

2. The Switch Lite is considerably longer than my 3DS XL, and thus not nearly as pocketable, but it’s still better than the original Switch.

3. The Switch Lite is definitely lighter and more comfortable to use as a handheld than the original Switch.

I played Mario Kart 8 for a little while on the Switch Lite and I must admit that I enjoyed it more as a handheld than my regular Switch. It just felt better in my hands. The tracks all looked great on the Switch Lite and I quickly found myself getting into the game in a big way. Mario Kart 8 looks pretty damn good, even on the smaller Switch Lite screen.

However, I am not going to buy the Switch Lite. As I said above, it’s a bit too big to be easily pocketable compared to my 3DS XL and I still have tons of 3DS games to play. Plus, I still have my regular Switch and it’s just not worth another 200 bucks to have a slightly smaller one.

But if you are a handheld only Switch player, definitely grab a Switch Lite. It’s a much better option for handheld only gamers, and it’s significantly cheaper than the regular Switch.

You can buy the Switch Lite or regular Switch from Amazon.


Apple’s iPhone SE 2 is just an iPhone 8

Rumors are circulating now about Apple’s upcoming new iPhone SE 2. I’ve been looking forward to this phone for a long time, but there’s just one problem:

There is no iPhone SE 2.

The phone in the rumors appears to be a tweaked version of the iPhone 8. I have nothing against the iPhone 8; it is undoubtedly an excellent phone. But it’s not an iPhone SE 2.

The design of the iPhone SE comes from the iPhone 5, not the iPhone 8. The rumored “SE 2” has a 4.7-inch screen and the same kind of body as an iPhone 8.

One thing that particularly irritates me about all of this is how all the usual Apple news sites are mindlessly going along with Apple’s marketing department (assuming that’s where the name came from) and are branding this phone as the iPhone SE 2.

Talk about the big lie theory in action. If you say the lie enough, over and over again, people might accept it as the truth. Sorry, but I’m not going to buy it. A modified iPhone 8 is just a modified iPhone 8, it’s not an iPhone SE, and it never will be.

You’d think publications like MacRumors, MacDaily News, and Apple Insider would have the journalistic integrity to honestly label the new phone as what it is rather than what Apple might want us to think it is.

The iPhone SE is arguably the best iPhone I’ve ever owned. Oh sure, there are other iPhone with faster processors, bigger screens and other doodads. So what? The iPhone SE fits in any shirt or pants pocket and can be used comfortably one-handed.

Every other iPhone is too big for my needs. I use my phone as a phone (gasp!), for music, audiobooks, ebooks, and a few other things. The 4-inch screen of the iPhone SE lets me do all of those things without having to carry a clunky, heavy phablet.

So I’m going to take a pass on the iPhone “SE 2” because it’s not an iPhone SE, it’s a modified iPhone 8.

You can still buy the real iPhone SE on Amazon.