The TR Podcast 109: Dude, where’s my Apple tax?

The Tech Report Podcast Date: April 8, 2012

Time: 1:22:10

Hosted by Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, and Cyril Kowaliski

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Show notes

We kick off this episode with a sizable amount of listener mail, and then dive into two OCZ SSD reviews with Geoff. Next, we cover a trio of Apple stories, including Geoff’s blog post highlighting the disappearance of the infamous Apple tax. Jordan follows up his smartphone earbud roundup from episode 104 with five new models, and then, it’s on to AMD’s new Radeon HD 7850 and 7870, followed by our musings on Google’s futuristic HUD glasses.

Send in listener mail, and we’ll answer on the podcast. – jdrake@techreport.com

Follow us on Twitter – ScottJordanGeoffCyrilThe Tech Report

Listener mail/tweets:


Windows 8 benching?(0:37:68) – from Paul:

“I’ve liked the new approach you guys took with the frametime benchmarking. I’ve been seeing a few things where people have benched
Windows 7 against the Windows 8 Preview, and was wondering if it would
be possible to do something similar. Possibly comparing the kernel
time thing that shows up in the Performance tab of Task Manager or
some other management tool? I know it probably wouldn’t be apples to
apples as Windows 8 might have newer SATA controller drivers or
something, but I think it might be interesting. Any thoughts on this?”

HTPCs? (0:04:25) – from Garrett:

“I would love to see some in-depth reviews or at least some discussions
regarding HTPC equipment. I was using HTPCs all the back in the
Windows 98 SE days and did for many years until it just got too
cumbersome and annoying with all the software required for ATI-AIW
cards. Anyway I built one about a year ago and enjoyed the results
quite a bit. I think it would be cool to see you guys suggest some
basic pre-built, custom-built and uber-cheap configurations. It also
might be interesting to see a combination of a HTPC/STORAGE/SERVER
device.”

HTML 5? (0:05:34) – from Garrett:

“The play button for the PodCast is flash…seriously…is this necessary? Here are some alternatives/resources: HTML5RocksAlistapartHTML5Audio.”

Transformer OS upgrades (0:07:24) – from Dash:

“Question for Geoff: Is Asus responsible/the gatekeeper for upgrading Transformer’s OS (ICS currently)? How fast were they in rolling out the update?”

Tech discussion:

That’s all, folks! We’ll see you on the next episode.

Comments closed
    • rjseo1
    • 7 years ago
    • rjseo
    • 8 years ago
    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    Price out comparative macbook airs vs any ultra book. Macbook air wins hands down its pretty sad.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 8 years ago

    Regarding IEMs, you need to try these out:

    [url<]http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=108&cp_id=10823&cs_id=1082303&p_id=8320&seq=1&format=2[/url<] Don't let the fact that its $7 fool you. These sound MUCH better than the price seems to imply. Theres a very long Head-Fi thread about them, as well as reviews: [url<]http://www.head-fi.org/t/580769/the-monoprice-8320-mep-933-the-7-11-club[/url<] [url<]http://www.head-fi.org/products/monoprice-8320-iem/reviews[/url<] I just bought a pair myself and I was shocked. They soundly defeated the $40 Audio-Technica headphones I had been using up until that point.

      • CuttinHobo
      • 8 years ago

      Ah, excellent! And timely, because I’m looking for earbuds that aren’t horrible or expensive.

      I’m continually impressed with the quality and value of Monoprice gear. Thanks for the heads-up!

    • Star Brood
    • 8 years ago

    Have you ever seen the price for RAM on the Apple store?

    My friends, you must think “Apple” is only doing iOS, and must only be looking at basic 16GB models, they are extortionate for upgrading your onboard flash storage. I get that they don’t include an SD card or USB reader so that you have to buy the more expensive one, but why no SD/USB on the 64GB models then? The iPad isn’t a desktop replacement until you can expand its memory without that Internet slave storage.

      • WillBach
      • 8 years ago

      You must be confused. That’s the “a****** tax” that every OEM charges for RAM, Windows PC and Linux server makers included.

      I do remember when I bought an iMac for my mother though, the salesperson raised his eyebrow at me and asked if I’d be able to run any virtual machines when I told him I wanted the smallest RAM configuration. I was surprised and then laughed, but I was too polite to sa, “I’m an electrical engineer, I can install RAM.” Glad I didn’t say what I was thinking, though, because they’ve always been nice to her when she brings her computer in for repairs.

    • bluepiranha
    • 8 years ago

    Hi Jordan,
    You mentioned around the 45-minute mark on your in-ear monitors review that all of the pairs you tried out this time ’round had a clip.

    There is a second reason for that clip: with in-ear monitors, you tend to get a unique phenomenon called “cable microphonics” or “cable thump.” This is what people call the noise made by the cable rubbing against some other material, usually clothing or your own skin. Because of the way IEMs more directly interface with your ear and make a seal with your ear canal (ideally speaking), such cable thump is amplified and is a usual occurrence.

    IEM makers throw in a shirt clip not only for isolating the weight of the cable dragging the IEMs out of your ear, as you mentioned, but also as a way of mitigating cable thump…and it does work.

    Granted, there are some IEMs that, by design, still exhibit cable microphonics even with the shirt clip on. I have the Brainwavz M2s as my personal pair (which you’ll probably like, as they’ve got good isolation and a pretty good, stiff – albeit basic – cable), and on windy days there is a bit of cable thump from the force of the moving air – perhaps due to its ported design.

    I have to say your review was quite educational; many thanks for it. Most people I’ve read who’ve tried the Marshalls didn’t really like its fit either. Looks like the Shure SE215s were a win design-wise 🙂

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    No talky on the corsair keyboards?

    • Freon
    • 8 years ago

    Re: earbuds, some constructive criticism,

    I’m having issues following as you as you talk about all these products. I’m also checking the front page and not seeing any review on the site to help. It seems like you’re trying to cram a 34 page review of a bunch of earbuds in a tiny timeslice in a podcast. It just doesn’t work.

    Less words, speak more slowly, repeat the product names in there every once in a while as you go. Maybe give us the gist in the podcast and actually have a print review. There’s just too much to cover (especially the visual descriptions of each product) in an audio form. The podcast cannot be used in place of a normal review. Reviewing some news and product reviews you have on the site is great, but there’s only so much you can do.

    Not sure about anyone else, but the whole reason I listen to podcasts is because I’m doing something else with my hands and eyes. Getting ready in the morning, driving the car, etc. I am not spending 100% of my brain power listening. I couldn’t follow the part about the earbuds at all.

    Thanks, guys, still love the podcast.

      • swampfox
      • 8 years ago

      Haven’t listened yet, but I was also looking for the “Read More” option in both podcasts with earbud reviews. Appreciate you talking about this. Also, curious if you have ever tried Yurbuds?

        • jdrake
        • 8 years ago

        Haven’t tried Yurbuds but I’m intrigued. Not sure I’ll do a round three just yet, but I’ll keep these in mind.

      • jdrake
      • 8 years ago

      Really appreciate the feedback, Freon. It’s been a while since I’ve recorded a podcast-only review (with the exception of the first earbud roundup in ep 104). The positive feedback (and request for more products) from the first roundup was substantial, so that’s why I went for round two. I’ll take your thoughts into account the next time I do a review.

      As for a written article, that’s not really my forte, so I’m sticking to spoken word. It’s also a bonus to have content you can only hear on the podcast, if just for categories (like consumer electronics) that we don’t normally cover on the site. You can always just skip to the next section if you’re not keen on a review you can’t listen and read along with.

        • ImSpartacus
        • 8 years ago

        Meh, I can understand your comment well enough. You can’t be [i<]that[/i<] bad of a writer.

        • bluepiranha
        • 8 years ago

        May I suggest spacing out the IEM reviews so that they are more frequent, but shorter? Let’s say, this episode you could review two IEM models, then another couple on the next podcast.

        This might help people who aren’t spending 100% of their brain power listening, as they are doing so while working (as I usually do) or driving (as Freon mentioned doing). Describing, for example, how the Shure SE215s are actually meant to be worn with the cable over the earlobe instead of the more usual straight-down could be a bit of a challenge to do without relying on photos.

        Just a thought.

          • ssidbroadcast
          • 8 years ago

          idk I still need him to draw me a picture.

    • NarwhaleAu
    • 8 years ago

    …my play button doesn’t appear. Have you switched it away from flash already? Ignore the trolls – it worked fine as flash before.

      • odizzido
      • 8 years ago

      No it’s still flash. Flash just doesn’t work properly so.

    • mcnabney
    • 8 years ago

    Take it easy on Ashton. I know he has been somewhat typecast with That 70’s Show and Dude, Where’s My Car -but he isn’t exactly a dim bulb. Before he got sucked into Hollywood he was a chemical engineering student in Iowa. He showed that he is more than a one-trick-wonder in Butterfly Effect and No Strings Attached. This should be interesting.

      • NarwhaleAu
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, I saw him in “Punkd” and thought the same thing – closet genius. Same impression I had when he built that giant prime mover truck for cruising around town.

    • dpaus
    • 8 years ago

    Have you guys ever tried using speech-to-text/recognition software to be able to offer the podcast as a readable text file? I just don’t have time to sit and listen to the whole thing on the off chance I hear something of interest to me, but if I could skim through text and then jump in to listen to a portion of audio that corresponds to the text that caught my attention, that’d be [u<]so[/u<] cool....

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      They can’t even rid their player of Flash. I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 8 years ago

    FINALLY the 7800s get their due in the podcast.

    //goes to listen to podcast.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 8 years ago

      //finished listening.

      Hey Jordan, on your recommendation I bought some V Moda iPhone earbuds. These aren’t the ones you talked about in ep 104, as the ones I bought had a price of around ~$40 or $50 but they indeed have the heavy “Kevlar” reinforced wiring. I have had them roughly since a week after ep 104 and they are still going strong. My only complaint is that the mic placement on the cable isn’t ideal but I’ve been told people can hear me just fine. Thanks for the follow-up. I agree with you that Tech Report doesn’t really do write ups on earbuds and that’s not your forte, but please at least include pictures of the products in the website’s podcast notes or image gallery. Particularly strange or good looking earbuds. And not that I uh… am into you in *that* way, but if the earbuds are otherwise unorthodox in how they are worn, please include an image of the side or three-quarter view of yourself wearin earbuds. If Cyril can post an image of himself holding a ridiculously ostentatious phone up to his face, I think you can man-up and do the same.

    • evilpaul
    • 8 years ago

    Thank you, Geoff for anwersing my question! (I didn’t have anything to add.)

      • Arclight
      • 8 years ago

      I will add something: You owe the guy a beer for answering your question, so if you ever meet him you’re paying.

        • Dissonance
        • 8 years ago

        Sounds like we need more questions for the next podcast 😉

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          alcoholic.

            • Arclight
            • 8 years ago

            beverages….indeed.

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