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Stephen Hackett's blog about things that light up and make noise. 512 Pixels is about Apple, technology, journalism and design.

Ecamm releases Call Recorder for FaceTime

Ecamm is a familiar name to most podcasters. The company's $29 Call Recorder for Skype allows for easy capture of both local and remote sides of a Skype call, making it easy to get a show out the door quickly.

Late this week, the company released a similar tool for FaceTime.

The app allows you to convert a call to an .mp3 and will capture HD video if you're on a FaceTime call that's more than just audio.

Call Recorder will also record regular phone calls that have been handed off to a Yosemite-running Mac, which is a feature well worth its own application in my opinion.

While FaceTime still isn't a Skype killer for podcasts like mine with more than two people — and Apple's audio compression still sounds weird to me ear — Ecamm just gave two-host shows an alternative to the beast that is Skype.

Our favorite deliveries tracker

Bradley Chambers, over on The Sweet Setup:

Just this week, I’ve received packages from UPS, USPS, Fedex, and DHL from 3 different retailers. Each of these carriers use tracking numbers, but their websites are all annoying to use, especially on the go. On iOS and OS X, instead of having to check multiple carriers multiple times, you can have one app that manages it all.

What are we looking for in an app to track packages?

Spoiler alert: it's Delivery Status, which just got a really nice update earlier today.

The Wirecutter picks the best minivan

John Neff:

The Honda Odyssey is the best minivan now, as it has been for many years. The EX model is the best configuration when both price and features are weighted equally, while the EX-L is also a good choice if you wants its extra features and can afford the higher cost. The Odyssey beats its rivals on paper as well in practice, from safety to efficiency to usability, and though it’s been criticised for being expensive, it’s really the best value in the long run. The future of the minivan segment may always be in question, but a family shopping for its next truckster will never second-guess buying an Odyssey.

My wife drives a 2006 Odyssey, and it really is just about the perfect family car.

The Old Mac Paladin

This week, on Connected:

Myke escaped. Federico and Stephen talk about Twitter and WatchKit, then debate productivity for a while before realizing the irony of it.

This episode was made possible by:

Get

I thought the App Store was broken. Jason Snell explains it's just dumber than it used to be.

Follow-up: Backwards compatibility in show notes

On episode 12 of our podcast, Federico told people to use Netscape Navigator to view the show notes.

A listener named Malik came through, sharing some screenshots of Relay.fm in the ancient browser.

This week, I got an email from a listener named Simon, who has looked at our site in several old browsers:

Passing on Uber

Buzzfeed's Ben Smith:

A senior executive at Uber suggested that the company should consider hiring a team of opposition researchers to dig up dirt on its critics in the media — and specifically to spread details of the personal life of a female journalist who has criticized the company.

The executive, Emil Michael, made the comments in a conversation he later said he believed was off the record. In a statement through Uber Monday evening, he said he regretted them and that they didn’t reflect his or the company’s views.

Even if we weren't in a world where assholes have rallied under the GamerGate banner to dox women in the gaming industry, Emil Michael's comments are unbelievable.

The journalist in question is Sarah Lacy, the Founder and Editor-in-chief at PandoDaily.

She writes, referencing the BuzzFeed article linked above:

Today, in his horrifying scoop, Smith writes about the the lengths that at least one Uber executive, Emil Michael, was willing to go to discredit anyone– particularly a woman– who may try to question how Uber operates.

Ruining her life? Manufacturing lies? Going after her family? Apparently it’s all part of what Uber has described as its “political campaign” to build a $30 billion (and counting) tech company. A campaign that David Plouffe was hired to “run,” that’s looking more like a pathetic version of play acting House of Cards than a real campaign run by a real political professional. Because step one of an illegal smear campaign against a woman is: Don’t brag about it to a journalist at a party.

The woman in question? The woman that this Uber executive has vowed to go to nearly any lengths to ruin, to bully into silence? Me.

Horrifying.

There's not a shadow of a doubt in my mind that Uber should fire Emil Michael, but instead, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick took to Twitter and wrote:

Emil's comments at the recent dinner party were terrible and do not represent the company. His remarks showed a lack of leadership, a lack of humanity, and a departure from our values and ideals

Of course, considering this, I can see why Michael still has a job.

Uber has a serious culture problem, and it seems to come from the top. Investors should push for these assholes to be fired, and customers should respond by leaving the service behind. Next time I need a hired car, I won't be taking an Uber.

On interacting with the Apple Watch

Nilay Patel:

One of the best things about the iPod when it first came out was explaining how it worked — it was so simple, and people figured it out so fast. Same with the iPhone and iPad. You get the feeling that won't be the case with the Apple Watch.

I have the same concerns, honestly.

Apple ships WatchKit

Developers can get started on Glances and Actionable Notifications now; it looks like "fully native app" support is coming until later next year. Looks like the Watch will require iOS 8.2 on the iPhone.

The Sweet Setup turns one

Shawn Blanc:

Just one long year ago today we launched The Sweet Setup. Our aim was to be the place you go when you (or your friends) want the best app for a certain category. That is still our aim.

Over the past year, we’ve done our best to write some of [the best app reviews you can find, share interesting and fun interviews with folks about the computer gear they use, and write helpful tips to help you get the most out of the apps you use.

I remember when Shawn called me — yes, we talk on the actual phone — to pitch me an idea for a new website. That conversation became The Sweet Setup. I was happy to join as managing editor, and wrote one of the launch-day app reviews. In the year since, I've taken over as Editor-in-Chief, and get to work with some of the smartest guys in the business.

Apps are a personal thing. The tools we choose to use day in and day out can make our work faster and easier. Picking the right one is hard; a lot of work goes into our app picks, and the TSS staff and our army of freelancers take picking our favorites very seriously.

Here's to another year of being serious.

Spotify to add podcast support?

Ingrid Lunden at TechCrunch:

Spotify’s upcoming integration with Uber — getting announced formally today — is not the only development the music streaming service has planned to grow its business. The company has plans for a podcasting service as well as an as-yet undetermined feature that is currently set up under the name “Magic.”

iTunes adding podcast support was the Big Bang for medium, and if Spotify is about to follow suit, it could be just as big of a deal.

However, I'd be lying to say I'm not nervous about this potential move. If Spotify moves in with terms that aren't favorable to podcasters — hi, Stitcher! — it doesn't really help anyone who isn't willing to play ball.

Of course, it's way too early to know how this will go down. I'm excited for a service of Spotify's size to embrace podcasting, but I worry how they may throw around their weight.