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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we feature Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. In addition to a brief pop culture segment where Gene schools Jeff on the correct pronunciation of the wacky DC Comics character, “Mister Mxyzptlk,” the discussion focuses on the MacBook Pro and the controversy over the battery tests from Consumer Reports, in which Apple’s notebooks were at first not recommended until retested. And what about all the great gadgets introduced at the CES in Las Vegas? According to Jeff, there were more products that appeared to be ready to sell, rather than to show off an idea that may never make it into production.

    You’ll also hear from Russell Holly, managing editor of VRHeads. After a brief focus on smartphone sales, and whether the market can continue to grow quickly, the discussion moves to the upcoming Nintendo Switch gaming console. Nintendo is trying to get a leg up on the competition from Microsoft and Sony by including a small embedded tablet that can be used for gameplay on the road. You’ll also hear about popular gadgets at the CES, but the main focus is Russell’s special introduction to VR technology. Are those goggles poised to take over the consumer electronics market in a big way? What about shared experiences among more than a single player? Are there any downsides other than the relatively high price of admission for the best VR gear?

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — January 14, 2017

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    The Future of macOS: Fix the Old Stuff?

    January 4th, 2017

    The wish lists for the next version of macOS are beginning to appear, but it’s a small list so far. After all these years, you even wonder how many bright ideas Apple might come up with. Before you even go that far, I wonder if it isn’t time for Apple’s Mac developers to be tasked with fixing things old bugs, making things work better, before wondering what features look impressive in a demonstration at the next WWDC.

    Take the Finder. The Finder is the core of the Mac user experience dating back to 1984. With the advent of what is now known as macOS, first released in 2001 as a version intended for developers and power users, there was a new Finder. While it inherited the features of the old Finder, it had more of the look of a traditional browser.

    Over the years, Apple took the hint and added such features as tabs and backward and forward buttons to cement the deal. For the most part, it works pretty well. I use tabs to setup folders for my radio shows. Once a show has been broadcast, it goes in an “Archives” folder, another tab in the same Finder window, and please don’t tell me about the lack of creativity in my titles. I set up folders when I need them, and enter the first name that occurs to me. So long as I know what it means, that’s all I need.

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    Mac Upgrades: Finding Innovative Things to Do

    January 3rd, 2017

    Over the past week or two, I’ve read a number of articles suggesting what Apple may or may not do with the Mac platform this year. Most take a lean approach, that several models will get minor processor/graphics/drive refreshes, and that’s about it. There have been scattered mentions of a price adjustment for the MacBook and MacBook Pro, but question marks remain about Apple’s commitment to the platform.

    Now one recent story from a major financial publication claimed that Apple is giving short shrift to the Mac division, particularly when it comes to the frequency of meetings with design chef Sir Jonathan Ive. Of course, the insider corporate maneuvering within Apple is usually a secret, and the facts, assuming they are facts, usually come from former employees. Even then, if the news isn’t favorable, you may worry whether it’s a case of sour grapes.

    Clearly CEO Tim Cook took such reports seriously enough to reaffirm the company’s commitment to Mac desktops in a message to Apple employees. But he talked about the future roadmap in vague terms without specifically promising that any particular model would receive an upgrade.

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    Newsletter Issue #892: Apple — Waiting for Innovation?

    January 2nd, 2017

    The media is busy tripping over themselves to pronounce 2016 as a bad year for Apple. Supposedly they fell short on the innovation front. One major national daily newspaper awarded a mediocre B- rating as a result. Others were even less disposed towards Apple’s abilities to deliver the goods.

    While there are legitimate reasons to criticize Apple, you have to wonder how a company that can generate a couple of hundred billion dollars every year can be so terribly flawed? The implication is that Apple has this cult of hundreds of millions of avid fans that have been brainwashed into buying iPhones, iPads, Macs, and the Apple Watch, not to mention downloading stuff from the app stores and iTunes.

    Do you see a disconnect here? Or does Apple’s management still have the ability to generate a reality distortion field to fool people into spending large sums of money on their gadgets? This is certainly an amazing ability that any political candidate would love to acquire. They would win elections by landslides without actually having to compete with anyone for votes.

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    Tech Industry Scandals: Does the Public Really Care?

    December 30th, 2016

    As most of you know, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was pulled from the marketplace because it had a battery that could overheat or burst into flame. This was — or should have been — a major story not just for the few million users of the product, but for anyone who might have considered a Samsung product.

    In retrospect, it appears that Samsung mostly did the right thing when it comes to issuing recalls. But it’s also clear the company’s engineers never got a good handle on the cause. They assumed a manufacturing defect with the battery, but even the “fixed” versions exhibited the same symptoms. So those units were also recalled, and Samsung finally got the message to take if off the market.

    Only later was an actual apology issued. At first, the information released to the public was about the problem and how to return the devices for a refund or credit towards buying something else.

    Now if that problem afflicted an iPhone or any Apple product using a battery, it would make worldwide headlines. There would be demands for investigations in the U.S. Congress and other government bodies around the world. They’d be calling for Tim Cook’s head if he didn’t provide a reasonable explanation as to what actually happened and why.

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