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    DOWNLOAD: 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 25, 2014

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

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    Apple’s Record Quarter: But Don’t Count the iPad!

    October 21st, 2014

    Predictably many of the stories about Apple's record fourth fiscal quarter concentrated on diminishing iPad sales. It wasn't so bad this time, some 12.3 million sales. Consider what the competition is doing, and it's not pretty. But compared to last year's results of 14.08 million, it didn't look so well. During the quarterly call with the financial community, Tim Cook boasted of sales conquests in education and the enterprise, claiming sales were what they expected. He also said that channel inventory was drawn down in the September quarter ahead of the launch of new models.

    That puts a positive spin on the matter. Certainly Apple delivered a credible iPad update last week. I expect the critics will find it insufficient, but Apple plays the long game. The new deal with IBM is clearly intended to move both iPhones and iPads, but it'll take time before the impact is known. Meantime, Apple is clearly not panicking over short-term sales shortfalls. Indeed, Cook calls the current sales slump a "speed bump," promising that things will get better moving forward.

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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.

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    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.

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    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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