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    Coming October 25: On this week's all-star episode, we welcome columnist Dan Frakes, a former Macworld editor, who discusses the decision to discontinue the print edition of the oldest Mac magazine, and to put the Macworld / iWorld conference on "hiatus." He'll also discuss current Apple issues, such as iOS 8 and Yosemite.

    You'll also hear from security expert Alain Ghiai, CEO of DigitalSafe, who focuses on smartphone safety and whether Americans should be concerned over the government's claimed right to "break down the doors" to our digital privacy. He'll also discuss the company's encrypted cloud storage system, which is based in Switzerland.

    Our final segment features commentator Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. His bill of fare includes the possible reasons that iPad sales are flagging, the disconnected coverage of the goings on at Apple, the prospects for the Apple Watch and how it sucked the air out of the smartwatch market for this holiday season. He'll also comment briefly on Microsoft Windows 10, which is currently available as a Technical Preview.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — October 18, 2014

    For more episodes, click here to visit the show’s home page.

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    Newsletter Issue #777: The Yosemite Report: Clearing the Cruft

    October 20th, 2014

    With the arrival of OS X Yosemite, or OS X 10.10, on October 16th, tens of millions of Mac users were able to join all those beta testers in downloading the official, final release. This is the first time, since the release of the original Mac OS X Public Beta in 2000, that Mac users had a crack at trying out an unfinished OS. Well, maybe not quite, since the release version that arrived the following March was, according to Steve Jobs, intended for power users and early adopters. It was still beta quality software.

    In those days, though, beta testers had to pay for the privilege, to the tune of $29.95. At least you got credit towards the release version. These days, Apple gives away OS X, and as part of a new policy of relative openness, a beta program was set up for up to one million Mac users who merely signed up and accepted the user agreement. However, it doesn't appear that Apple ever enforced that cap, since a figure of more than a million users was cited at last week's media event, which also included those iPad and Mac refreshes.

    In theory, allowing loads of customers to beta test OS X should result in a more reliable release, assuming Apple received plenty of feedback about problems. In passing, I see some lingering issues, one possibly significant, another mostly an irritant, which survived the beta process but wasn't fixed. But I'll get to that shortly.

    Continue Reading…

    So What Exactly is the Best Start in iPhone History?

    October 17th, 2014

    Normally, when Tim Cook introduces an Apple media event, there are lots and lots of numbers. That's Tim's expertise, and you expect he's working his Numbers spreadsheets overtime to select the results that are most favorable to Apple. That sort of happened during Apple's Thursday media event, where new iPads and a 5K Retina iMac were introduced.

    But when it come to the raw figures, all I heard were crickets. Yes, this presentation was shorter and smoother than last month's, which was plagued by frequent interruptions in the video stream and, for a time, an audible simultaneous Mandarin Chinese translation. This time, playing to a smaller venue at Apple's Cupertino, CA headquarters, video quality was smooth, never missing a beat. Software chief Craig Federighi even had a few moments to banter via telephone with comedian Stephen Colbert, who was introduced as a mythical security czar to deal with product leaks.

    Continue Reading...

    About Android Boredom

    October 16th, 2014

    It's been a while since Google had a major Android upgrade, one that merited a full version number increase. After a few years of 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4, modest updates all, there's Android L 5.0, now confirmed to be Android Lollipop. This is said to be the most significant change in Android in quite a while, but what does it offer in the real world?

    With iOS 7, Apple made a substantial change in the looks, a flat-style interface with a parallax view to convey dimensionality. Good or bad, it ended up on 91% of all iOS gear until replaced by iOS 8. In passing, adoption of iOS 8 is beginning to surpass iOS 7, though it's happening at a slower rate than its predecessor. Maybe it just didn't look different enough. All right, there are other reasons that I've covered previously. But let me continue.

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    Is Apple Making the Case for the iPad?

    October 15th, 2014

    Let's put all this in perspective. Before the iPad arrived, the typical tablet computer was basically a notebook with a touchscreen. The display might swivel, it might be removable, but it was all a variation on a theme. One thing is certain, though, and that is the fact that, after being touted for years by Microsoft as the next great thing, tablets never succeeded in the mass market.

    The 2010 introduction of the iPad changed a lot. Rather than derive from a notebook, the iPad came across, at first glance, as a larger iPod touch in physical form. The internal workings were the same or similar to the iPhone, minus the telephone and the larger display. Over time, apps took advantage of the larger screen real estate, and, with an accessory physical keyboard, you might actually have a thinner and lighter replacement for a notebook.

    Continue Reading...