By Casey Liss
Walking in Memphis

Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited to visit Memphis, Tennessee, to participate in the invite-only St. Jude Play Live+ Summit. Just about 400 game streamers, fashion and fitness influencers, and a handful of podcasters all came to learn more about St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The two-day event was something else. I sent this message in the Relay Slack about halfway through the opening session:

I'm so in the bag for St. Jude and I haven't even made it on campus yet. 🥺

During my time there, I heard many stories that went something like this:

[I/my child/my sibling] was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Our local doctors had no idea what to do, and told us [patient] had about a 10% chance of surviving.

We called St. Jude, and hours later, we had plane tickets to Memphis in-hand. Days later, [patient] was getting treated.

Many times, the same story. St. Jude would turn a hopeless situation — often times quite literally a death sentence — to a story of perseverance, effort, and survival.

How can you not love such an amazing organization?

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

The campus is, of course, amazing. It’s also a bit odd — it’s a place that, at a glance, serves two different masters. On the one hand, their number one priority is the treatment of the patients that come through their doors. But simultaneously, they are doing everything in their power to complete their mission: ensuring no child should die in the dawn of life. That means intense, multidisciplinary, collaborative research. Research that is then given away, so that hospitals around the world have the opportunity to use treatments invented at St. Jude. All this while also doing everything they can to accommodate patient families, including siblings, who are swept along for this terrible, awful ride.

Naturally, St. Jude endeavors to think of everything — including such basic needs as having a salon and school on-site.

To quote my dear friend (and patient dad) Stephen:

The sheer scale of St. Jude is hard to convey unless you’re walking around some of the buildings, learning about the interplay of research and patient care that is unique to St. Jude.

And all of this is accomplished without patient families paying a cent.

It’s a breathtaking place. The magnitude of their mission, the size of the operation, and the staff that believes, through-and-through, that they have a calling to do this. To do whatever they can to help sick kids.

As a part of the tour we took on campus, we spent some time in the Pavilion, which has several exhibits about its history, and that of its founder, Danny Thomas. In there, they had two boards, where you could answer the question “I went to St. Jude and was inspired by…”.

Board with a ton of post-its on it

I can’t help but share two post-its I saw while there:

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. If all goes according to plan, I will be joining several of my friends to participate in the 12-hour Relay FM Podcastathon for St. Jude. I’ll be posting about it again when the time comes, but I hope you join us in raising money for this incredibly meaningful cause.


In my journey to become a Tailscale super-fan, I watched several videos done by a talented Tailscalar who has a great knack for instructive videos. Shortly after my Tailscale post, Alex Kretzschmar reached out and asked me if I’d be willing to guest on his podcast, Self Hosted.

Imagine my shock — and how flattered I was — because Alex is that talented Tailscalar whose videos I had been watching! 😊

Self Hosted is Alex and Chris Fisher discussing exactly what you’d expect: hosting services yourself, and how to make the most of it. On my episode, we discussed my journey into self-hosting, what I’m hosting, and how I do it. We also can’t help but discuss Alex’s newest purchase: an Apple Vision Pro.

I knew this was going to be fun when I came to find out that Alex, Chris, and myself all drive Volkswagen Golf Rs or GTIs. But that was just the first piece of commonality between us. 😆


While Jason was off chasing waterfalls Talons eclipses, I joined Myke on this week’s episode of Upgrade.

Talking tech news with Myke is something we typically do sparingly when we record Analog(ue), so it’s always a pleasure to swing in and have a chat exclusively about nerdy stuff. On this week’s episode, we discussed our Apple Watch band collections, what’s new in Vision Pro videos & apps, new developments in third-party and first-party app stores, as well as some iPad & robot rumors.

Myke also facilitated me trying Spatial Personas, and hoo boy did we both have some thoughts. We also made our return to the Casey Liss Vibe Check segment, which is always so fun, because I never know which direction it’s going.

Naturally, we rounded out the show with #askupgrade and in the bonus Upgrade+ we discussed my recent experience with Sonos.

Upgrade is not only on my list of can’t-miss podcasts, but it’s one of the very few shows that are on the listen-immediately list. It’s an honor to appear on it, and always so much fun.

As a bonus, you can also watch the show on YouTube, featuring our actual faces, if that’s your kind of thing. 😊

Every Failure is an Opportunity

I am a Sonos super-fan. I had heard for years that their stuff really does what a lot of Apple stuff doesn’t do anymore — it just works. In late 2022 I bought a home theatre setup, as well as a Roam, which is Sonos’ Jambox-style portable speaker.

I cannot say enough good things about both products.

However, yesterday, the Roam died. It was sitting on its charger, and just… bricked itself. I couldn’t reboot it, I couldn’t factory reset it, I couldn’t charge it, nothing. It’s almost as though the battery decided to ride off into the sunset.

My understanding is that this issue isn’t common, but perhaps isn’t exactly uncommon either.

So, I called Sonos support this morning, and braced for a fight — I’m about six months out of the warranty coverage.

Thirty minutes later, without any sort of arguing nor complaining, I have a RMA, and I’ll get a new Roam in a couple of weeks.

I know this isn’t a new thought, but it struck me so strongly after getting off the phone with Sonos: when a product fails, the company that sold it has an incredible opportunity: they can sour the opinion of a super-fan, or they can absolutely cement it in place.

If I had to fight to get the Roam replaced, it would have made me think twice about buying more Sonos stuff. If they refused to replace it, I would likely stop buying Sonos products altogether. The Roam wasn’t dropped, it wasn’t abused, it wasn’t left outside for days. The Roam just failed. It’s annoying as hell, but these things happen.

Sonos could have given me a bunch of stick about replacing a $180 speaker, at the cost of me possibly never spending another dollar with Sonos again. Or, they could swallow [their cost of] a $180 speaker, all but guaranteeing that not only will I continue to spend all my too much money at Sonos, but I’ll also continue to evangelize Sonos to everyone around me in the market for speakers.

They chose… wisely. I’m glad and thankful they did.


Has anyone told you the good word about Tailscale? If not, I’m here to do it right now. This isn’t “sponcon”[1], but in retrospect, I probably should have given Tailscale a call. 😆

If you have multiple computers in your life — including computer-adjacent things like network attached storage — it’s likely you’d like to have access to each of those devices, always. If I need to inspect a file on my Synology in my house while I’m a passenger in the car, I want to be able to do so.

The easiest way to do this is to expose the port(s) your device needs for remote access through your router/firewall. This way, when someone on the Internet says “I’d like to access information using port 80, please”, your router knows what device should respond.

Unfortunately, this exposes your device to the entire Internet and that’s… undesirable.

Traditional VPNs

The easy solution to this problem is a Virtual Private Network; broadly, this means you run some sort of server inside your network that will allow devices outside the network to tunnel into the network. Once a device is on the VPN — that is to say, tunnelled into your network — it can access anything within that network. Said differently, if your phone is on a VPN that is hosted in your house, then your phone can access all the devices in your house. Most corporate VPNs work this same way.

If you’ll permit some hand-waving and over-simplification, traditional VPNs tend to be a sort of funnel — there is one server running inside the network you wish to tunnel into, and all clients connect to that server. That makes setup easy, but generally, it’s sort of an all-or-none scenario: you’re either on the VPN or you’re not.

What if there was a better way?


Coming back to my initial conundrum — getting files from Synology → phone, what is the actual thing standing in the way of that happening? I need the two devices to be able to talk to each other, no matter what network each device is on. If the phone is on cellular in London and my Synology is on FiOS at home, I need them to be able to communicate. I don’t particularly care how, just that they can.

Tailscale is the how.

Tailscale is a mesh network of all your devices. Each device that is running Tailscale is on your “Tailnet”; every device in your Tailnet can talk to any other device on your Tailnet. This all works by way of fairly common VPN software, extremely clever tricks for poking holes in firewalls, and relay fallbacks when no other approach works.

The net effect is that I’m always able to connect to my Synology. Or my Mac mini. Or my ridiculous assortment of Raspberry Pis. And so on. I can also always connect to my Linode nanode that runs this website. Or a Digital Ocean droplet. I can access any of these devices no matter what network I’m on, and no matter what network the device I’m targeting is on.

It’s ✨ magic ✨.

In Practice

So how does this look, in brass tacks, in my everyday life? Tailscale works by giving every node on your Tailnet additional ways to access it:

  • An IPv4 address in the 100.x.y.z address range
  • An IPv6 address
  • A bare hostname
  • Optionally, a fully qualified domain name

For example, my MacBook Pro that I’m using to write this can be referred to as the following within my Tailnet:

  • fd7a:115c:x::y:z
  • blackbook-pro

Naturally, I’ve lightly changed the addresses, because I’m paranoid, but that shouldn’t be necessary: if you’re not on my Tailnet, it should be impossible to access my devices.

So, anywhere that you may have used an address such as, you can instead use Or, even better, you can be IP-agnostic and use Regardless of what network I’m on, if I need to access my MacBook Pro, I will find it at

The is my “Tailnet name”, and is a randomly-assigned pairing of two hyphenated words, with the suffix.

Who cares?

Perhaps the best way I can sell you on Tailscale is to enumerate why it’s useful to me.

Always-Available Pi-Hole & Swiftbar Widget

I really love Swiftbar, a small utility that lets you add things to your Mac’s menu bar. I use it for a couple of status widgets:

  • Is my garage door at home open or closed?
  • What is the current count of ATP members

I know neither of these is necessary, but they make me happy.

In the case of the garage door widget, it works by querying a Raspberry Pi in the house that reads a sensor on the door. The Pi will respond with whether or not the door is open. This works great in the house, but when I travel, I can’t access my Raspberry Pi. Well, I couldn’t, anyway. With Tailscale I can. Always. No matter what network my MacBook Pro is on.

Instead of having Swiftbar query, I have it query So no matter how my laptop is connected to the Internet, as long as I can get on my Tailnet, it will always show the status of my garage door.

All of the above is also applicable to my pi-hole, which I can now access always, from anywhere. Browsing the web with ads being suppressed via my pi-hole makes for a far more pleasurable browsing experience. Thanks to Tailscale, I can do so even when I’m out and about on my iPhone using cellular. Further, what’s great about using Tailscale to access my pi-hole is that all the web traffic is downloaded over my local connection to the Internet — it’s only the ad blocking (read: DNS queries) that are happening via my Tailnet.

Synology ↔ Synology Backup

I actually have two Synology devices — one that lives in my office and, frankly, is arguably the most important device I own. The other lives at my parents’ house, and serves almost exclusively as a backup destination for the main Synology.

In order to back up from one to the other, I needed to expose a port on my parents’ router/firewall, so my Synology could send data to the remote Synology. This is… fine… but certainly not what I’d prefer. There is no particular need for that device to be exposed to the Internet directly.

Enter Tailscale.

Now that I have both Synologies on my Tailnet, they can simply talk to each other through Tailscale. I’ve removed the port forward on my parents’ router, and the only way to get to my remote Synology is to either be in their house, or be on my Tailnet.

Remote Diagnostics

My dad is a very competent technologist… but he’s also getting older. As the world continues to run at warp speed, it’s understandably harder and harder for him to keep up. Occasionally, he runs into issues he needs my help with.

Though my parents only live about 45 minutes away, that’s not a trek I enjoy making under duress, in order to fix a computing-related issue my dad may be having. Often times, all I need to do is be able to see what he sees, or at worst, briefly control his computer.

At first, it seems obvious that the answer is to add my Dad’s MacBook Air to my Tailnet. While that would work, that’s not what I’d prefer — I shouldn’t need him to run software on the off-chance I need to help him.

Thanks to a combination of Tailscale and “subnet routers”, I can help him without any additional software installations on his part.

One of Tailscale’s advantages is that it is really good at incremental deployment — you can add a node here and there as you see fit. In order to assist in that process, Tailscale has a concept called “subnet routers”, which are bridges between your Tailnet and a network that is not in Tailscale.

I have my remote Synology — the one at my parents’ house — set up as a subnet router. This allows me to jump onto my parents’ network, and connect to any of their devices as though I was in their house.

Thus, I can use screen sharing to log into my Dad’s laptop and help him, when he needs it — with permission of course. No driving nor software installation required.

Selective Internet Egress

What with everything going SSL these days, you could make a strong argument that using public WiFi isn’t as dangerous as it once was. However, I’m paranoid, and I like to protect myself.

When I’m using public WiFi, I vastly prefer to actually enter the broader Internet from a known point — typically my house. This way, the venue where I’m sitting doesn’t get to know what I’m up to. Leaving aside data theft, just the possibility of someone following my footsteps across the Internet makes me very uncomfy indeed.

In addition to subnet routers, Tailscale also has the concept of “exit nodes”. In short, when one of your devices uses an exit node, they will use that as their point of egress onto the Internet.

Whenever I’m out and about, I choose to use one of the devices in my house as my exit node. Generally speaking, that device is actually my Apple TV — yes, really — which is almost certainly sitting otherwise idle. I’ve installed the Tailscale app on my Apple TV to allow for precisely this.

Thanks to using my Apple TV as an exit node, I appear to be inside my house to anything on the broader Internet.

Interestingly, if I ever wanted to appear to be in a different geographic region, I could stand up a tiny/cheap server in another region at Linode, and add that server to my Tailnet as an additional exit node. 👀

Tailscale SSH

Now available broadly, Tailscale SSH allows for quick-and-easy login to servers on your Tailnet, without having to futz about with passing keys around. Like all things Tailscale, it appears to work by way of magic.

For any Linux-based device on your Tailnet, you can opt that device into Tailscale SSH, which means you can instantly log into that device. And thanks to Tailscale favoring direct connections whenever possible, the experience should also be as fast and low-latency as possible.

But Wait, There’s More

I haven’t even spoken about funnels nor Taildrops, both of which have saved my bacon at least once. Seriously; there’s so much here.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Tailscale is that for individual users, in most contexts, it’s absolutely free. I’ve used everything described above, and I haven’t paid Tailscale a cent. Tailscale also has a ton of other features that I’m not using yet — such as sharing devices between Tailnets. There’s so much to unpack here; I’ve only glanced off the outer atmosphere.

Tailscale gets my highest recommendation.

  1. Tailscale did sponsor one episode of ATP, but that was quite a while ago, and they have no idea whatsoever I’ve written this blog post.

Callsheet on visionOS

Callsheet is now available on the Vision Pro!

Watching a movie or TV show in the Vision Pro is one of my favorite use cases. Now, you can slide a Callsheet window up next to your media player, all within visionOS. A full dual-screen experience, all within the Vision Pro.

Callsheet for visionOS is fully native. The overwhelming majority of the code is shared between the iOS, iPadOS, and visionOS apps. However, Callsheet is not running in compatibility mode — it’s a full-bore visionOS app.

I’ve taken a pass over the app and made Callsheet a good platform citizen. The visionOS version of Callsheet uses the accent color far more sparingly, uses depth where possible, and embraces background materials where appropriate. I’ve already discovered a couple places where things are awry, but I hope to have a new release in the next couple weeks to fix those oversights.

A couple small caveats, however:

  • Because icons are a different shape on visionOS, I’ve promoted one of the alternate icons on iOS — one that is better-suited for a circle — to be the full-time icon on visionOS
  • Speaking of icons, it’s not currently possible for users to choose an icon for any visionOS app, so that functionality has been disabled on visionOS.

Perhaps my favorite feature of Callsheet for Vision Pro is that Callsheet for visionOS is not a separate subscription. As always, I try to do right by my users; if you’ve subscribed to Callsheet on any platform, that subscription will carry over to all other platforms.

Though I will always think of Callsheet as iPhone-first, I’m already loving having it available when I’m watching a show or movie in my Vision Pro. If you’re a Vision Pro owner, I suspect you’ll really like it too.

You can grab it from the App Store right now!


In my [likely-futile] quest to unseat James and Shelly as the king and queen of Clockwise, I gratefully accepted Dan’s offer to join guest-host Rosemary Orchard and fellow guest Lisa Schmeiser on this week’s episode.

On the show, we discussed the recently-disbanded Project Titan, generative AI, simple fixes for problems that should be simple (but aren’t), and the 🤢 factor when it comes to using the Vision Pro in public.

Come for the nuanced discussion about an Apple car and AI; stay for me trying to justify using the Vision Pro outside the house. 🫣

Some Additional Callsheet Press

The Callsheet train keeps on chuggin’! I’ve been lucky enough to catch wind of a couple of really delightful pieces about Callsheet.

Today, Jason Aten (of, among other things, Primary Technology), wrote a lovely piece about Callsheet for Inc. Jason and I spoke briefly via email, and the piece came out really well. I particularly liked (and yet was slightly horrified by 😆) this quote:

To be completely honest, the only thing I can think of wrong about Callsheet is that it is incredibly underpriced (it’s only $9 per year). I mean that with all sincerity, Liss should be charging three to five times what Callsheet costs, and it would still be an incredible value. Ultimately, it’s an app that is successful primarily because of how much value it adds to its users. That might be the simplest lesson of all.

This week’s Mac Power Users was all about Stephen and David’s favorite iPhone apps, and they were kind enough to say some really lovely things about Callsheet as well.

The segment starts at 7:40, and included this lovely quote from Stephen:

Casey does not charge enough for this subscription; I’ll say this publicly: he should charge more.

And from David:

Casey knows what he’s doing; I feel like this is the big winner for Casey. He’s made several apps over the years, but to me this is the one.



This week I did something quite weird: I appeared on a Polish podcast. To make it even weirder, I did so as my Persona.

I joined Wojtek Pietrusiewicz in discussing all things Vision Pro. We tried to keep the episode to half an hour, but, I blew us a bit past. Whoops.

Interestingly, for me, having known Wojtek some but never having met in person, I found his persona to be a completely reasonable representation of… him. My own ignorance to his actual appearance made the Persona a perfect stand-in. Conversely, having seen me on video before, Wojtek was… less enthusiastic… about mine. 😆

You can also see the conversation yourself, as Wojtek recorded it and posted it on YouTube.


As one would expect, I seem to be doing a press tour discussing the Apple Vision Pro. It’s been discussed on ATP twice, as well as on Analog(ue). New today is my appearance with my friend Max Roberts on Max Frequency.

On this episode, we ease in by discussing the last year-and-change of Max being a dad, Max’s recent Part 107 certification, and how things are going with Callsheet. Then, the main course: a discussion of all things Apple Vision Pro.

I always enjoy my appearances on Max Frequency; this one was no exception. While you may be chock-full of Vision Pro opinions, I thought this one was a fun recap of my first week-or-so with the device.