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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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    Yet Another Fingerprint Fantasy

    October 14th, 2014

    They talk about art imitating life, but more often than not, there's only a slight resemblance of the former to the latter. Take a recent episode of a police detective procedural, the rebooted "Hawaii 5-0," which had a plot device that might present concerns about the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on an iPhone. Before I go on, though, remember that TV dramas are obviously just fiction, even if they are loosely based on facts or ripped from the headlines. Besides, this particular show has no such pretense, but the public might still get the wrong idea.

    Here's how the story played out. It seems that three bikini-clad women staged a robbery on a touring bus, stealing, among other goods, a smartphone from a man who is shot and killed during that scene. Shortly thereafter, someone pretending to be the guy's wife visits the medical examiner's office and manages to grab his thumbprint. The staff doctor isn't smart enough to realize something is amiss. But it's strongly implied that the thumbprint will be used to gain access to smartphone.

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    Newsletter Issue #776: What Gear Does Apple Need to Refresh?

    October 13th, 2014

    When Apple schedules a media event, there's a teaser, a phrase or two to convey possible hints and drive speculation as to what's to come. But what does Apple mean by, "It's been way too long"? Too long for what?

    Predictably, especially tech writers who cover Apple, are wondering about the products that haven't been updated in a while, assuming they will be, in part, among the bill of particulars. But you also have to wonder just how many product lines can fit into a single session. After all, this event is scaled down compared to the September extravaganza that included the new iPhones, Apple Watch, and a guest appearance by U2.

    So perhaps Apple doesn't have anything near as critical to the company's bottom line, but still there are products that sorely need a refresh. Yet the most common speculation is about the iPad, which had its last refresh roughly a year ago. So that's pretty much par for the course, though I suppose their might be more changes afoot this time to help boost flagging sales. Or it may be a predictable upgrade with the usual faster processors, maybe better cameras, and surely Touch ID.

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    The Wackiest Reasons Not to Upgrade to iOS 8?

    October 10th, 2014

    As I write this piece, online stats show that iOS 8 is closing in on an adoption rate of 50%, moving ahead of iOS 7 for the first time. That number sounds impressive, and it would be except for the fact that migration from iOS 6 to iOS 7 was far higher at this point in time. But compared with any other OS platform, the numbers are still startling.

    There are legitimate reasons not to update, other than simply not having an iOS device that supports supports it. The oldest iPhone on the list, the 4s, may offer somewhat slower performance after iOS 8 is installed. It's not a whole lot slower — the timings I've seen are in the quarter second to full second range for app launches — but that could be the critical difference between snappy and not so snappy.

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    Dumb and Dumber Surveys

    October 9th, 2014

    So there a big story this week about a certain survey that appears, on the surface, to indicate that teens aren't especially interested in buying an Apple Watch. The results are based on a twice-yearly survey conducted by Piper Jaffray, a respected industry analyst company. The report comes from Gene Munster, known to like his Macs, so it has to be taken seriously, I suppose.

    But there are problems in this survey of 7,200 teens. Yes, it shows that younger people favor iPhones and iPads, which is certainly nothing new, although some have claimed Apple is losing its touch with our youth as the company's executives get older.

    But what about the iWatch?

    Yes, I said the iWatch. This widely-quoted survey was conducted before Apple took the wraps off the Apple Watch, when the media continued to refer to it by the original expected name. Until Apple Watch was introduced, the rumor sites didn't have a whole lot of information about the configuration or the features, beyond what they assumed from other smartphones. They certainly didn't know the price.

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