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    Listen to The Tech Night Owl LIVE on the GCN radio network

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    A PREMIUM TECH NIGHT OWL LIVE EXPERIENCE! Welcome to Tech Night Owl+! For a low monthly or annual subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free higher-resolution version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE and other exclusive content. For more information and simple signup instructions, click here.

    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: We present blogger and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” He’ll talk about his strange problems moving from the beta channel of iOS 10 to the release version, outline the interface changes that are meant to simplify Apple Music, and briefly comment about a decision by the U.S. Senate to spend a mere $19.5 million on plans for Mars exploration and a new spaceship design. The discussion moves to computer speakers, as Gene talks about his quest to find a system that won’t blow the circuit breaker for his office when he’s listening to music and also printing a document on his laser printer.

    You’ll also hear from commentator Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. He’ll also talk about Gene’s quest for new computer speakers, Apple’s application to patent an exclusive design for a — paper bag, Apple’s alleged attempt to discourage customers from buying music with Apple Music, new developments in AI technology at Apple, and the latest scuttlebutt about alleged plans for an Apple Car. Is Apple giving up on building a car and focusing on self-driving technology? What about those published reports that Apple is in talks to acquire a luxury sports car maker, McLaren Automotive, and whether such a move even makes sense.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — September 24, 2016

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    Yes, There is an Apple Car; No There Isn’t!

    September 27th, 2016

    I read two articles before writing this column. One suggested Apple had scaled down Project Titan to focus on CarPlay on steroids, more or less. Another considered recent developments to suggest that an Apple Car was still on track. So what do Apple executives think when they read two articles from two relatively well-known publications drawing opposite conclusions? Does Tim Cook have a bemused smile on his face as he watches people fall over themselves attempting to figure out what’s really going on?

    Understand all this is mostly happening in a vacuum, without official statements from Apple. But the report that former hardware executive Bob Mansfield took control of the project probably wasn’t made up of whole cloth. It’s very possible that story was quietly fed by Apple to keep up the chatter.

    As to the rumors of a purchase of McLaren Automatic, who builds luxury sports cars, maybe it’s all about acquiring technology rather than the entire company.

    Continue Reading...


    Newsletter Issue #878: Computer Speakers, Laser Printers and Circuit Breakers

    September 26th, 2016

    My efforts to solve a problem with the electrical wiring in my home, where outputting a document on my laser printer would sometimes trigger the circuit breaker for that room, has taken on some curious twists and turns. When it first happened, the landlord agreed to have an electrician install a more robust circuit breaker, from 15 amps to 20 amps. Yes, the wiring is capable of handling the larger current load.

    After the installation, the problem continued to occur, only not as often. So I did a little online checking, and found that other owners of the low-cost Brother HL-5450DN printer had encountered similar problems, as did owners of other Brother lasers. So I contacted tech support, and talked with a supervisor who seemed very aware of the problem. He promised to offer a solution.

    The first attempted resolution to circuit breaker tripping was to install a special version of the printer’s firmware. Only it cannot be installed using the Java installer available on Macs. Instead, I needed to use Brother’s admin utility for Windows. I ended up downloading the firmware via Windows 10 on a Parallels Desktop 12 virtual machine.

    Continue Reading…


    Some Early macOS Sierra Chatter

    September 23rd, 2016

    So as regular readers know, I updated my work iMac to macOS Sierra (the first Golden Master) last week, ahead of recording an interview for The Tech Night Owl LIVE. As I wrote at the time, I was foolhardy enough to do something that I might have avoided were I not in the tech business. I always recommend that my readers be careful about new operating systems, to take the process seriously.

    At least I had taken precautions, with three full backups (one online) and a second Mac on hand to manage the radio show if something went wrong.

    It didn’t, but I wouldn’t assume that Sierra is going to be the perfect experience for everyone. There are far too many variables, so it’s best to prepare for something to go wrong and have a backup. It is also a good idea to check online and see what sort of problems others are reporting. While almost anything can happen to someone, if you see a number of Mac users describing a specific problem, it has to be taken seriously, even if it may not impact your setup.

    Continue Reading...


    More Confusing Signs for the Alleged Apple Car

    September 22nd, 2016

    It started out simply enough. Apple established a Project Titan with the purported intention to build an electric car with self-driving capabilities. Well, the actual goal might not be at all simple to accomplish, but the facts appeared to be correct, along with hiring of up to 1,000 people, plus setting up a test facility near the corporate campus with which to design the new vehicles.

    But over time the stories, understandably lacking any confirmation from Apple, underwent a few twists and turns. First came the report that the presumed project lead, Steve Zadesky, a former Ford engineer, had left the company. Not that he actually made any announcement, but the rumors had it that the project allegedly lacked a clear vision, and changes were necessary.

    Continue Reading...