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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we present commentator and columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Tech and Wirecutter, who discusses, at length, the new wireless data plans from AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile, and why “unlimited” data plans are actually not quite “unlimited.” He’ll also talk about the issues involved with municipal broadband, why “everybody is getting hacked,” and the Microsoft’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Now that it’s no longer free, is it worth the upgrade price? What about Microsoft’s shady efforts to force people to upgrade when it was available at no cost to customers?

    You’ll also hear from Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. In a special pop culture segment, Gene and Jeff will discuss the plans for a musical episode of two of The CW’s super hero shows, “Supergirl” and “The Flash.” Jeff will continue to express his concerns about the different DC Comics “universes” on TV and the movies. This is where there are different actors playing such characters as Superman and The Flash. Jeff will also talk about Uber’s project to establish a self-driving ride-sharing system and the new efforts to fight spam robocalls by Apple, Google and the FCC.

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    Some Thoughts about macOS Sierra

    August 23rd, 2016

    Since the middle of June, Mac developers have had the chance to pound on betas of Apple’s operating systems to find bugs and make sure their products are compatible. The public got their chance a couple of weeks later with macOS Sierra and iOS 10. All told, more than a million have had their chance to see what Apple is working on, and there’s been plenty of coverage.

    Let’s hope Apple pays attention to all that user feedback they must be receiving.

    It’s unfortunate that a few have treated these betas as final releases in the way they cover them. The bugs, of which there are plenty, are described in exquisite detail, and Apple is criticized for their lapses. Forgotten is the fact that prerelease software is apt to have lots of problems, and the purpose of a beta is to iron out as many as possible, with the emphasis on things that can cause crashes, data loss and poor performance.

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    Newsletter Issue #873: Hopes and Dreams for Apple Watch

    August 22nd, 2016

    The Apple Watch has been somewhat of a controversial product. Not that it’s necessarily bad or anything, but some tech pundits were expecting a runaway success. But even the most optimistic assessments of Apple Watch sales don’t point in that direction, though it does fare better when you compare it to the first generation iPhone in 2007.

    The starting price isn’t terribly high. The cheapest Apple Watch Sport, the 38mm model, is $299. This is $50 less than the original price. The 42mm version is $50 more. Compare that to the very first iPod in 2001, sporting 5GB of storage capacity, which cost $399. The big pull was having 1,000 songs in your pocket, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot, but the iPod quickly gained traction; more so when capacities were boosted and a Windows version became available.

    But the price climbs rapidly, and an Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000. I can’t imagine very many people are buying them, but I can see where Apple gets some street cred in the fashion industry by having devices with five-figure price tags.

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    Solace for Data Bingers?

    August 19th, 2016

    I remember when I bought my first iPhone in 2008, a year after its debut, and I signed up with AT&T. At the time, data usage was unlimited, and I suspect the bigwigs at the company formerly known as Cingular Wireless didn’t have a clue how much data iPhone users would crave.

    Now for those of you who used AT&T then, the network was none too good. Dropped calls didn’t happen that often, but often enough to be downright annoying. While the “unlimited” deal was grandfathered for some years, it got to a point where, if you exceeded a certain amount, they’d throttle the speed. Traditional cable-based ISPs may pull the same stunt if you exceed their bandwidth caps after too much binging on Netflix. That is, if they don’t simply shut you down until the next month.

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    Android, Security and Failed Promises

    August 18th, 2016

    Every year or so, Google promises to make the Android update system more reliable. As it is, when an OS update is posted, there is no guarantee your Android smartphone will ever receive it. Sure, if you own a Nexus device, it should arrive, eventually, but otherwise you may be left waiting and waiting.

    Suppose there’s a critical security bug. Google does its due diligence, confirms the bug and releases an update. For those not using a Nexus device, the update goes to the handset manufacturer, not the end user. The manufacturer, in turn, has to decide to push it. So they will integrate it with their own customized junkware. Once that’s done, it goes to the carrier, who may have its own junkware collection and its own agenda.

    But once they sell you a phone and a service plan, there’s little incentive to provide ongoing support. Better you buy more hardware. Worse, buying a new Android handset may still saddle you with a fairly old OS.

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