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TapCellar - The Next Generation

TapCellar just got a big update. Many of the user requests Gabe and I have received have been included – things like bar-code scanning and list sharing – as well as a number of performance improvements, fixes and enhancements. with over 45,000 beers available for your offline searching and perusing, it has gotten a lot more useful for those of you who care about what we call “anti-social” beer drinking.

Many of you don’t care about sharing your latest beer escapades with the world at large. You might share a suggestion or two with a group of close friends or make a note or grade a beer to remind yourself that you had a beer at one point, but social sharing isn’t a focus. That is where TapCellar works best. It functions as a personal diary, library and cellar manager for your beer experiences.

If you’ve been on the fence, now is a good time to try TapCellar. That said we’re introducing something with this version that might raise a few eyebrows.

With this release, we are making our “Pro” features in-app purchase. For those of you buying the app prior to this release, and for the next month, you will get all of the TapCellar features that we consider key to managing your beer experience, including the in-app features. You’ll also get all future upgrades and new features going forward. For now, this will set you back $4.99. To enable this switch for current users, the in-app “Pro” feature unlocks will be FREE for a month. For current and brand new users, just “purchase” these features from within the app for $0 and then, when the pricing tiers change (at the end of September), you’ll own them forever.

After a month, we will be changing the price of the base app to $.99 with the Pro features setting you back $3.99. For those of you good at math, you’ll see that the price of the app isn’t changing but we’re just lowering the barrier to entry for those of you who want to try the app without making such a huge financial commitment. We think you’ll like the app enough to unlock the Pro features.

Here are the release notes:

It’s been a great summer for beer and we’ve been hard at work trying to drink them all. We’ve also been hard at work adding some cool new features and cleaning out a bunch of floaters.

Barcode Scanning

TapCellar now has an optional feature to help you find beers faster. We can scan barcodes off of most beer bottles and cans to find them in the database. Barcode scanning requires a network connection.

Share as a List

We made this feature for ourselves and think it’s super cool. While viewing any list less than 200 beers, you can export a plain text version using iOS sharing. That means you can quickly text someone your top beers or post the spoils of a really good Asheville beer-cation.


TapCellar now includes OVER 45,000 beers and it’s all available offline. We work where you drink. Syncing should be much faster now. All of the data is still local but we try to go out and get the latest data every day. Syncing requires the TapCellar to be active but we think we’ve made it much faster so you’ll always be up to date. We fixed a bunch of bugs with data export and import. Our testers drink a lot. Err, I mean they are great at testing large exports. You can now purge label image caches if you’ve viewed a bunch of labels and want to save some space


We’ve changed the pricing model for TapCellar. The app is now much cheaper but offers an in app purchase for some of the new hotness. To celebrate, the in app purchase price is FREE as in beer.

An Apple Music Article I Agree With

Here’s a good Apple Music article on Cult of Mac.

Apple Music meets this simple, basic desire. I launch it on my iPhone or via iTunes on my Mac and I check out For You. I look at the new playlists that show up. Are they interesting? Most of the time, they are. I hit play. I hear new and familiar tunes all in a row; I rarely need to skip tracks. It’s instant, and has thoroughly replaced my radio in the car; something Spotify or Rdio never really did.

When I want to find an album or a song I want to hear, I use Search. I’ve only had one instance of not finding what I want so far – the catalog is huge. I can download albums to my iPhone with a simple tap; it’s as good as owning the songs for my level of listening.

I agree with this whole article. People are overthinking this stuff.

Apple Music - Deep Cuts

I have been happy with Apple Music so far. I went into it with some hesitation because (a) it was an Apple cloud service and those haven’t been solid at launch historically and (b) I was happy with Rdio as a streaming music service.

After using Apple’s offering for a while, I was confident enough that it would work for me and ended up taking a leap and canceled my long-standing Rdio account. I haven’t regretted it.

Apple Music’s “For You” section has been fantastic and I have been impressed by the well-curated playlists. After uploading the rest of my local music collection (about 19,000 songs)1, it is now available for streaming to all of my devices which has been working out really well for me as well. As a result, I have been re-discovering music that has been sitting on unplugged hard drives for years. The waltz down music-memory lane has been fun.

While I have seen some of the infrequent issues encountered by others2, these are things I have experienced before with other streaming services. They aren’t perfect. I admit it has been interesting watching my Twitter stream when there’s a temporary outage. It is like the internet has never actually used something on the internet before. With so many ways for things to break, interruptions happen. It doesn’t mean I am happy about it but I am certainly not surprised when it happens and never so frustrated by a minutes-long outage that I want to stop using the service and return to the dark days of syncing music to my phone again.

Jim Dalrymple wrote an article a few days ago skewering the service and leaving a very frustrated “goodbye” note to Apple Music for his readers to mull over. I read it and wasn’t too surprised by what I found there. It is no surprise that he is frustrated about losing 4800 songs but I find myself befuddled as to why he wouldn’t have backed up his music collection before uploading his entire collection into a 1.0 Apple cloud product having used 1.0 Apple products before (let alone their iffy cloud offerings).

Also, Jim’s music collection was the years-long creation of a music fanatic who had a lot of strange cuts, alternative versions of songs etc (with nearly-identical metadata no doubt) and spanning multiple albums. I don’t think this is going to be the case for 99% of the music listeners out there. Dalrymple, of all people, should know that Apple’s focus is on the mainstream use case. Being on the fringe as an Apple user can sometimes be a frustrating experience. Should Apple’s offerings serve niche users? Sure, but not for v1.0.

The takeaway here is more of a cautionary tale – if you have an extensive hair metal collection and four versions of the same Bob Dylan song, Apple Music might not deliver the best out-of-the-box experience.

I have some very eclectic music tastes however and Apple music still seems to serve my needs just fine. I am not alone either. Jonathan Poritsky, over at Candler Blog, wrote a great piece which really resonated. Go read that for a different take that is far different from Dalrymple’s.

I just want to put it out there that Apple Music is the best streaming service I have ever used. My guess is that there are a lot of people out there who have used it without any issues. But that’s not much of a story.

I agree, Jonathan. I agree.

  1. After backing up the data, naturally. 

  2. I was unable to connect to my library once or twice. 

Research on Tech News Sites

This is the state of tech journalism.

Samsung hit with lawsuit for crazy amounts of smartphone bloatware

Samsung phones have been bogged-down with bloatware for as long as they’ve been around, but a Chinese consumer protection group is doing more than just complain about it — by suing Samsung and another Chinese vendor, Oppo, for loading their phones with literally dozens of pre-installed apps which are impossible to delete.

Sorry, Apple! Samsung named most reputable tech company in U.S.

While its profits may be falling on the back of weak smartphone sales, it’s not all bad news for Samsung. The South Korean company has been named the most reputable company in the U.S. technology industry in the Reputation Institute’s latest RepTrak report.

Samsung beat out all of its biggest competitors in 2015, including arch rival Apple, which didn’t even come close. The Cupertino company now sits in 21st place in the technology industry rankings, but fell from 57th place overall last year out of the top 100 companies in 2015.

I don’t really care about the rah-rah element around tech companies at this point but I have always viewed Samsung as a bad joke given that they skirt the legal edges of aping competitor products and software and present themselves with a generally ham-fisted “me too” approach to their business.

What I find surprising is that tech “news” sites can dump these dissonant messages to readers as a form of random idea soup. Reading about research like this doesn’t provide useful information. Meanwhile, RSS readers and Twitter feeds fill with time-wasting garbage and is largely why I’ve been brutally culling sites like this out of my feed-reader lately.