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    Coming May 28: On this week’s all-star episode, cutting-edge commentator Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine and AppleInsider, dissects the facts about the presumed success of Google, the Android mobile platform, and Chromebooks, those cheap notebooks that are evidently selling well to K-12 school systems. Daniel asks the questions journalists seldom ask about the problems with Android, and the lack of serious new features in the latest version of the OS. He also discusses the problems Microsoft has had as it disengages itself from the failed multibillion dollar purchase of Nokia’s handset division.

    You’ll also hear from an ethical hacker, Dr. Timothy Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm, who delivers an update on the Apple versus FBI controversy, where the two parties were locked in a legal battle over attempts to unlock an iPhone used in a terrorist attack. The case ended after the FBI paid over a million dollars to hackers who succeeded in breaking into the phone. He talks about Microsoft’s lawsuit agains the U.S. government over the right to inform customers when a federal agency wants to examine their emails. There’s also an extended pop culture discussion, where Dr. Summers comments on how computer hackers are portrayed in the movies and on TV, and whether those portrayals accurately reflect how these people actually do their stuff. The segment concludes with an overview of how hackers attacked the SWIFT interbank funds transfer system in an attempt to steal $100 million.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — May 21, 2016

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    Newsletter Issue #860: Debating Apple’s Future

    May 23rd, 2016

    If you thought Apple was getting a little too much attention before, you haven’t seen anything yet (I avoid the famous ungrammatical version of that phrase). Now that the company’s solid growth has stalled, for at least one quarter and possibly two, there is hyper-attention on everything Tim Cook and crew devise.

    This week, the coverage included Cook’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. You’d think that the Apple CEO’s trip to India involved a visit by a President for the coverage it received. But the four-day visit included launching a development center and making plans to open retail stores in that country. Apple is looking towards India’s growing middle class as a huge potential source of new customers over the next few years.

    Of course, as the world continues to develop, assuming there’s no planet-wide financial breakdown, Apple will soon be out of space in which to grow. But there are certainly hundreds of millions of additional potential customers to be found, and it does seem Apple will go after every last one of them, or at least the ones with enough money to actually buy something.

    Continue Reading…

    Chromebooks Up, Macs Down?

    May 20th, 2016

    The news might have come as a shot across the bow. In the last quarter, notebooks featuring Google’s Chrome OS — or Chromebooks — outsold Macs, but not everywhere. But this is certainly being touted by Google fans as evidence that the Mac is on the way out, that Chromebooks are taking over.

    But it’s not that easy.

    Now just to put things in perspective, this data is based strictly on U.S. sales as estimated by IDC. I will not dispute the numbers, although IDC is notorious for underestimating Apple’s sales. Nonetheless, it’s true that Mac sales were off some worldwide in the March quarter, so this might give the report some level of credence.

    Thus, I’ll assume it’s true for the sake of argument.

    Continue Reading...

    OS 10.12: Is it All About Siri?

    May 19th, 2016

    You hardly think a single feature would be sufficient to hang a major operating system upgrade on, but it appears to be that way, at least based on the first predictions for the next version of OS X. Or will it even be called OS X?

    If past is prologue, it’s a near-certainty that the next version of OS X will be demonstrated next month at Apple’s WWDC. That, along with iOS 10, watchOS 3 and other goodies. But it’s not at all likely there will be much in the way of hardware announcements, unless a new Mac Pro appears, and that’s certainly overdue. Some even doubt Apple’s commitment to its flagship workstation.

    In any case, there is speculation, based on findings of some resources in recent OS X versions, that it’ll be rebranded. In keeping with Apple’s current approach with iOS, watchOS and tvOS, it’ll become macOS. In a sense the approach reverts to the original designation of Mac OS, or Mac OS X. Regardless, that’s just a minor relabeling.

    Continue Reading...

    Apple, AT&T and Google Follies

    May 18th, 2016

    It is the end of a long, annoying day, not made better by three large tech and telecom companies. As I write this column, I’m decompressing and wondering about the conventional wisdoms of some services.

    So let’s start with Apple Maps and Google Maps. The conventional wisdom has it that the latter is much better than the former. We’ll see.

    I planned a visit to a client in Peoria, AZ, a suburban community west of Phoenix. The trip would take from 50 minutes to an hour from my home, such as it is, in the East Valley. Now through force of habit, I called up Google Maps and entered my home address and the address of my client. As per my usual routine — and call me old fashioned — I printed out the route.

    Continue Reading...