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    Coming August 27: We present columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” During this session, Gene will tell Kirk about the free Internet service he’s received and how its speed and reliability compare to the service you have to pay for. Kirk will discuss his article on the iPhone’s schizophrenic store numbers, where you get different figures on how much space you have available on your device. He’ll also talk about mastering and remastering techniques for music recordings.

    You’ll also hear from commentator Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer. Bryan will talk about the information leaks from the supply chain and what they might tell you about forthcoming Apple gear, whether there is reason to freak out over reports Apple plans to ditch the headphone jack on the next iPhone, incremental improvements in battery technology, his concerns over the lack of a Mac Pro refresh since 2013, and possible Apple products in the future and how they might be even more significant than Apple’s present-day gear, including the Mac and the iPhone.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — August 20, 2016

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    The Mac Betting Pool

    August 16th, 2016

    If you’ve purchased a Mac in recent years, you may have considered buying the latest and greatest. But it doesn’t seem as if much has changed. While the iPhone of every other year looks different, Apple can keep the same Mac form factor for years before it changes. If you bought a 2010 MacBook Air, you may wonder how it differs from the current model, released in 2015. I mean, they do look the same and all, aside from the near-microscopic lettering on the bottom, although the specs have been beefed up substantially.

    That’s certainly one of the shortcomings of Apple’s Mac upgrade cycles and the labeling strategy. You cannot easily detect what model Mac you have unless you consult About This Mac to see. Or you have a good pair of reading glasses to help you check the underside labeling. Even then you have to translate the model or serial number.

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    The ABCS of Becoming a Successful Online Gamer

    August 15th, 2016


    Playing online for real money might seem an easy task, but it involves a lot of things you have to keep a lookout for. If you plan to make your first foray into this unique form of online entertainment, you have to make sure you don’t run into issues that will ruin the whole experience for you. Online gaming is supposed to be fun, after all, not just something to swallow your cents and leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. These tips will help you take your first steps in this amazing world of games, glitter, and (possibly) big wins.

    A stands for Advice

    When looking for a gaming outlet, it’s best to take a look at what other users are saying about it — and take their advice. User opinions are (usually) not paid for, but written to help others take the right decision — or warn them before they take the wrong one. There are quite a few online sources where you can find unbiased reviews of online gaming outlets, with true opinions posted by real players. Read them, and keep them in mind when choosing your gaming destination.

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    Newsletter Issue #872: A Case for Upgrading Your Apple Gear

    August 15th, 2016

    One thing is certain about tech gear: People are hanging onto their gadgets for longer periods of time. So I know a lot of people who are happily using Macs that are more than five years old. Indeed, just how much incentive is there to buy a new Mac anyway, assuming your existing machine is working correctly? Indeed, Apple helps the process along by supporting older Macs with the latest and greatest macOS.

    So macOS Sierra will work on any Mac from 2010 or later, and a 2009 or later MacBook and iMac. This a pretty large range, even if it’s less than OS X El Capitan. It is true that older Macs will not support certain features, such as Metal graphics and HandOff, the ability to start a task on one Apple gadget and continue it in another. But for most of you, that missing feature won’t make much of a difference.

    That doesn’t mean the experience is necessarily perfect otherwise. Users of older Macs very likely don’t have machines with SSDs, although they are available, even if you have to jump through a few irritating hoops to install them. So the presence of a traditional hard drive will make performance seem more and more sluggish. I can’t say if that phenomenon is the result of the higher resource needs, but it’s not at all unusual. In fact, it’s the main reason why I put an SSD in my 2010 17-inch MacBook Pro some time back. Waiting long minutes for startups and agonizing seconds to launch an app became just too much, and it only seemed to get worse year after year.

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    Is Apple Back From the Dead?

    August 12th, 2016

    I don’t know if this makes any sense, but for months, some members of the tech media and financial pundits have been pretty much calling Apple nearly dead and buried. Any time now, and the recent drop in iPhone sales — and similar results for the Mac platform — clearly indicate the company is in trouble. Lots of trouble.

    Or at least that’s the claim, although it is one that I do not regard is correct.

    However, it’s clear Wall Street was concerned. After reporting the first-ever dip in iPhone sales for the March quarter — and indicating the same would be true for the June quarter — a shaky stock price became shakier. While Apple isn’t the only company to report lower sales from time to time, it is a company that is supposed to be bulletproof. What that means is that it’s supposed to be immune to market forces or global economic conditions. Or at least that’s the illusion created by some.

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