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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we present Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, with a busy agenda. Gene and Jeff will share their 14 years of experience with OS X, and talk about the prospects for USB-C, the new standard that Apple is including as the sole peripheral port, aside from a headphone jack, on the forthcoming 12-inch MacBook. You’ll also hear a discussion about the dueling biographies of Steve Jobs, and whether Apple is engaging in a sort of spin control in order to sanitize the reputation of the company’s mercurial co-founder.

    You’ll also hear from columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Tech and other outlets, who will discuss the confusion and fear mongering surrounding net neutrality. He’ll also talk about Google and the value of the European Union’s “Right to be Forgotten” ruling and its impact on individual privacy. The possibility that Apple will introduce a subscription TV service along with a new Apple TV set-top box, and the implications is also on the agenda.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — March 28, 2015

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    Microsoft and the Stench of Internet Explorer

    April 1st, 2015

    In the old days, we sometimes referred to Microsoft’s browser as “Internet Exploder.” Although it wiped Netscape all over the floor to become the number one browser on the planet, it wasn’t because of quality. It was about marketing strategy. Unfortunately Microsoft also went its own way when it came to web standards, meaning developers had to code their sites a little differently to be compatible in Internet Explorer.

    It wasn’t fun.

    But Internet Explorer ruled the roost. Indeed, when Apple and Microsoft made that deal in 1997 that resulted in the latter investing a $150 million in the former, Internet Explorer became the default browser on the Mac too.

    With the arrival of Firefox, an open source browser built upon the ashes of Netscape, Microsoft’s Internet dominance began to lessen. It was first released in 2002 as Phoenix, morphed into Firebird the following year and became Firefox in 2004.

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    Of Halo Effects and More Halo Effects

    March 31st, 2015

    You know the score: People who buy other Apple gear, such as an iPhone or an iPad, are tempted to consider Macs the next time they are in the market for a personal computer. In recent years, Apple has claimed that some 50% of the people who buy new Macs at an Apple Store are new to the platform. A lot of that interest appears to be the result of buying something else from Apple in the past, appreciating the quality, elegance and smooth integration, and wanting to extend the joy.

    But the halo effect didn’t begin with Apple, although I suspect some of you might believe that it did. When I looked it up, I came upon this reference, “The halo effect is a cognitive bias in which an observer’s overall impression of a person, company, brand, or product influences the observer’s feelings and thoughts about that entity’s character or properties. It was named by psychologist Edward Thorndike in reference to a person being perceived as having a halo.”

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    Newsletter Issue #800: Apple and the Cult of Personality

    March 30th, 2015

    If I asked you to name the top ten executives from the major multinational corporations, I’m sure most of you might manage one or two without having to cheat and Google the information. Corporations are usually considered to be managed by faceless entities, and you know them strictly by their products and their services.

    When it comes to personal computers, however, two of the pioneers in the business are world-famous personalities known for their brilliance and their faults, sometimes in equal parts. I suppose part of that is the early attention they received as they built tech gear meant for regular people to use.

    So we have the original “pirates of Silicon Valley,” Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, as much close friends as serious competitors, who have provided much of our cultural picture of the typical Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Some movies and TV shows depict, for example, a megalomaniac tech company executive who bears more than a passing resemblance to Gate. He was once and always the quintessential computer nerd, though these days his life is more about philanthropy.

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    When Apple Went to the Dark Side

    March 27th, 2015

    As some consider the implications of 14 years of OS X, what about over nine years of Intel Inside? It also boggles the mind, especially considering how Intel and Microsoft were once regarded as one humongous competitor. The term “WinTel” was the common reference to a Windows PC with Intel parts, although AMD processors were also used.

    As we entered the 21st century, Apple had long since settled in on the PowerPC. The Intel Pentium ran hot and was underpowered for its processor speeds, which ranged up to 4GHz. Today’s fastest Intel parts have attained that rating, but with genuine performance gains. They are powerhouses.

    In those days, it was common for Apple to stage bake-offs between a Mac with PowerPC against an Intel-based PC with a much higher clock speed. Running such benchmarks as Adobe Photoshop rendering functions, the Mac was almost invariably considerably faster. At the time, with Apple’s testing protocols at hand, I ran the very same tests and achieved comparable results. So when people complained that Apple was faking it, I was able to say that I knew the tests were genuine.

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