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Reconcilable Differences

Author: Relay FM

Subscribed: 548Played: 8,155


John Siracusa and Merlin Mann try to figure out exactly how they got this way. Hosted by John Siracusa and Merlin Mann.
117 Episodes
Things kick off with some quick Macintosh and video game nostalgia. John redrew his sprites, and Merlin enjoyed some stolen pinball. Merlin did lots of work this week. Your hosts discuss Sayonara Wild Hearts in particular and Apple Arcade in general.Merlin's family recently rented a *very* large automobile, and its various interfaces are reviewed. John declares the vehicle to be as ugly as it is large. Where is innovation welcome, and where is it mostly preferable to avoid? And what happens when that "innovation" was really just kind of a cheat?Apple TV+ is on the docket, but, first, Merlin wants to share the detailed results of his scientific Apple TV and Siri experiments. This leads to him saying much more than "exactly one thing," and it takes much longer than the promised thirty seconds. Strap in, because this one is quite a ride.John takes over to talk about his thoughts on the new Apple TV+ shows. Viewers and critics seem to really disagree, but John found things to like. Reviews and ratings come up again. Mikhail Baryshnikov is not the guy from _Die Hard_, and there is **so** much TV.Damon Lindelof seems like a really smart guy. John gives a thumbs-up to The Space Show but feels like _Watchmen_ is still walking a line. John crosses-over with _Do By Friday_.(_Recorded on Tuesday, November 5, 2019._)
John opens with some follow-up questions, and Merlin realizes it's going to be one of _those_ episodes. John calls out Merlin's racism against his people. Both your hosts are now living the arms-free lifestyle.Merlin has follow-up on his ongoing Siri and Apple TV experiment, and, improbably, this leads to further discussion of Cupertino's frustrating quality slide. Voice dinguses are reviewed, and IMDB is bad.John has some water issues, and Merlin's lizard apparently has an unconventional face. Then, more with the Apple complaints. Messages is making Merlin look insane.John has some harsh words about Merlin's _Star Wars_ spoilers, and he doesn't even like those movies anyway. Getting tickets to the movie requires some detailed instructions, but then it ended up being unnecessary. Sometimes, it's just easier to do stuff yourself.Avoiding spoilers is difficult, because, as stipulated, pretty much everything is a spoiler. _Watchmen_ is lightly discussed. John's level of commitment to media he doesn't actually like is remarkable and weirdly admirable.And, finally, John has questions about Merlin's bizarre obsession with the House of Commons' Brexit proceedings. To be clear, John is not _telling_ the joke, he's _communicating_ the joke.(_Recorded on Tuesday, October 22, 2019._)
John has some questions about productivity, and Merlin has realized the new dragon is an attractive nuisance. Merlin has questions about his costly new chair, and John offers some further arm removal encouragement. John's flying monkeys chime in, and Merlin gets a reference in one. Merlin's family watches some _Star Trek_, and technical drawings are considered.John gives Merlin some stick about his _entirely proper_ USPS formatting. Next, John has follow-up on using the Apple TV TV TV app, and Merlin is very impressed with his results.Believe it or not, this leads to discussion of problems with using the Apple TV. How do you click left on a diving board?John agrees to skip talking about the new dragon for now, but, somehow, still manages to work in some side dagger.The PG&E power debacle is discussed. Merlin assures John that his spreadsheets are safe.Your hosts return to their Secret Weird Things People Do project. You'll have to just listen and judge for yourself: are John and Merlin secretly weird?(_Recorded on Tuesday, October 8, 2019._)
Thanks to everyone who pitched in to raise money for St. Jude!Your hosts talk about playing Apple Arcade games with a PS4 controller, and Merlin wants to hear John's take on the new Apple TV app functionality. John doesn't want anything to screw up his place, and Merlin never wants to watch something with the Starz app. Believe it or not, this leads to some criticisms of Apple TV.John thinks he might be getting sick, and Merlin remembers when children were pumped full of cold medicine. John considers mixing up some placebos. In a mini-topic, your hosts discuss Merlin's chair results. John again makes the case for removing the arms. Games are discussed a little more.In a side-door main topic, middle school is discussed, and this leads to an exploration of the value of test prep and learning how to understand and exploit systems. Not everybody learns that.John thinks everyone needs to learn how to find food, and Merlin finally appreciates the gentle wisdom of his high school Drama teacher.
Things kick into gear fast as John interrogates Merlin about his weird reaction to the recent Apple event. Why all the Charlie Brown? John has calibrated his expectations for these things, but Merlin still struggles to articulate what felt so off this time. Maybe it's just not understanding the profile for the Apple customer any more, but who knows?Then, your hosts return to **Secret Weird Things People Do**, and this week it's John's turn. Merlin wants to learn about the benefits that John gets from keeping his things nice. John's introduces a _fascinating_ new thought technology involving the swirly circles emanating radiation from sources of pleasure and pain. Merlin thinks minimizing entropy can be a great source of pleasure plus a bulwark against madness.The benefits of the Tiny Life Improvement Project are extolled, and ways of detecting sources of both radiation and weirdness are examined.(_Recorded on Tuesday, September 10, 2019._)
After some opening remarks, your hosts reveal the _very_ special guest for their forthcoming [member]( episode. They also invite you to please help Relay with a really cool project to benefit [an excellent cause]( has some follow-up on his Apple TV, and John wants to understand why Merlin overpays his bills. Talk turns to the evolution of ecommerce. John assures Merlin he's still a valuable part of the team.John critiques how well or poorly Merlin helped Roderick fix his computer. Talk turns to the care and feeding of a Synology NAS running Plex.Merlin gets John to talk a little about Phoebe Waller-Bridge and her TV show, _Fleabag_. This leads to a brief, spoiler-free discussion of this terrific series. Two enthusiastic thumbs-up.This week's main topic is the backdoor pilot for a multi-episode arc: **secret weird things people do**. _Are we even able to even realize when there's something extremely weird that only we do?_The inaugural sub-topic is Merlin's strange obsession with making spreadsheets. What is he tracking and why? Does he really need to know the historical price of asthma medicine he doesn't even use any more? Are Halloween costumes and flashlights the sort of thing a normal person would ever need or want to track?And, importantly, what sorts of things will John be trying to notice about himself? Does he have anything like separate sock drawers, and how even would he know? Tune in next time to find out!(_Recorded on Tuesday, August 27, 2019._)
John wants to take another shot at promoting Relay dot fm, and Merlin admits a shame. In follow-up, John has an update on _Millennium Actress_. As you know, Satoshi Kon is not the bitcoin guy. Listener response about cast iron skillets was huge.Merlin has updates on his Apple TV, and John has trouble understanding Merlin's beta obsession. Unsurprisingly, this leads to yet another discussion of the Apple TV's ample room for improvement. Children are not qualified to know which things are good or bad.In what amounts to a main topic, John interrogates Merlin about his weekly reminder errand. John assures Merlin that he does not ever need this reminder, and Merlin assures John he has his reasons why he does things.Merlin does not like creating unnecessary work for himself, and John has thoughts about the implicit encouragement to overextend oneself. How are you training your audience?John knows how this book turns out.(_Recorded on Tuesday, August 13, 2019._)
This week kicks off with a critique of Merlin's new haircut and eyeglasses. Also, Happy Birthday to Relay dot fm.John's recommendation of a movie viewing option is very quickly withdrawn, but then he has an even better recommendation.Next up, your hosts talk about John's experience with opening his Twitter DMs. This leads to a discussion of PR spam and the people who make it. What are the benefits and risks of making yourself more available? It's important to know what not to needle people about. Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop!Merlin reads some listener mail, and John briefly disappears down a series of recursive memory holes.Talk turns to chairs. Late chairs, lost chairs, and extremely coincidental chairs. _Chairs!_Finally, since John has recently returned from his Summer trip, it's time to review his vacation results.(_Recorded on Friday, August 2, 2019._)
This week kicks off with John quizzing Merlin about his **vacation results**. After the usual quibbling about terminology, Merlin confesses to being terrible at travel. John thinks vacations don't have to be fun for everybody all the time, but Merlin feels like he was definitely a drag. Can't we just have a plan? If you want ice cream, just put it on the dang calendar. Travel anxiety is discussed.Next up comes an extended meditation on **kitchen things**. Merlin cleans his pan with chain mail, and John's cheese grater finally died. Knives should not be sharp in the wrong places.In what becomes an unintentional **lightning round**, the guys cover internet consumer products, a podcast recommendation, Atari arcade games, more mispronunciation virality, jokes people miss, the Baader–Meinhof Effect, and the pointlessness of asking your family not to talk to you. Merlin tests his wife's mental TiVo-ing skills.
Merlin is not mentally-prepared, but John reminds him that preparedness is an illusion. Or is it? The boys try to remember quotes from _The Godfather_. Sally is a cool name.Your hosts discuss what happens when your friends have different taste in movies, and then you have to listen to them talk about it on a podcast. I mean, who doesn't like _Hot Fuzz_?John and Merlin recall the probematic films of their youth and enumerate several that their kids are specifically not encouraged to watch. John lets his son choose the movie by genre only, and Merlin worries about robbing his kid of a precious film gift. Merlin has thoughts on the humanity of Vines, and John doesn't enjoy Merlin's favorite Vine, although, Merlin really likes John's frog video. Why are the Daddies popping all those cherries, and what's the name of that Ewok guy anyway?In follow-up, Merlin has some excellent ancillary material on _Hamilton_, but John just won't let him have this one. Isolated track videos are discussed. Your hosts struggle through various aspects of Boston indie rock history.This week’s main topic is the controversial debate over running Apple betas. Who should and shouldn’t be running them? What are the risks and benefits? And what happens if all your iCloud data gets borked, smart guy?Things get a little silly, and the guys start doing voices. John has a challenge for Max.In Super Tech Support, John helps Merlin diagnose a weird iOS audio problem. John struggles with his Console, and Merlin does one last voice.(_Recorded on Tuesday, June 25, 2019._)
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