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February 13, 2016: Each week, Gene speaks directly to the industry’s movers and shakers, including corporate leaders, industry analysts, and regular panels that feature the most respected journalists who cover personal technology.

On this week’s all-star episode, we present freelance writer and podcaster Peter Cohen. He covers the “Error 53” controversy, involving iPhone 6-family handsets that have had Touch ID sensors repaired or replaced by unauthorized service shops. When you try to update the smartphones, they stop working and display that obtuse error. Although Apple maintains the move was done for the customer’s protection, it has already sparked threats of class-action lawsuits. Peter will also talk about the fourth-generation Apple TV and whether some might have expected too much from it. And what about Apple’s so-far moribund attempts to start a TV subscription service?

You’ll also hear from prolific author and commentator Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus. After he and Gene have a brief chat about Texas culture and cuisine, the discussion moves to the “Error 53” controversy and Bob’s take on it. He also talks about cable cord-cutting, admitting that he would actually like to shut off his cable TV service if he could replace the programming in other ways. Bob also details the course he’s taking in online marketing, and his plans to write a book on how to stop procrastinating when you’re trying to get work done with your Mac. He’ll also introduce his new recording and petition to persuade Apple to overhaul iTunes, entitled “iTunes Must Die!” You’ll hear an excerpt of the recording during the episode; we’ll present the full song in stereo exclusively in the version of the show posted for members of Tech Night Owl+.

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Download NOW PLAYING! February 6, 2016 — Stephen Baker and Kirk McElhearn

We present noted industry analyst Stephen Baker, Vice President for Industry Analysis at the NPD Group. He provides an extensive discussion about the arrival of 4K TVs, their success so far in the marketplace, Will enhanced color features, such as the Ultra HD Premium standard, continue to push sales? What about the lack of 4K content? Stephen also discusses flattening sales of iPhones and other smartphones, and whether one key reason is the longer upgrade cycle?

We also present commentator and talk show host Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” He offers a change-of-pace discussion about the technology of dealing with autoimmune diseases. The discussion moves to why iPad sales are falling, and have fallen for several years. Is it much, again, about the fact that people who buy them see no reason to upgrade? Kirk goes to explain that the older iPad actually works fine other than some possible performance issues with games and other software. He also cites an article, from tech columnist Jason Snell, about the rise of Chromebooks against iPads in budget-conscious school systems. And what about competition from cheap competitors, such as a $50 tablet from Amazon? What about Apple buying BMW? Are we serious?


Download January 30, 2016 — Josh Centers and Jeff Gamet

We cover Apple’s financials for their fiscal first quarter, where they reported record sales and revenue, but just barely. For this quarter, they are projecting lower sales. Just what headwinds is Apple facing, and can they resume the pace of torrid sales growth? Were Apple’s 2015 product introductions, especially the Apple Watch and fourth-generation Apple TV, not compelling enough? We’ll also cover a proposal from the FCC to open up the cable set-top box market, so you can pick the devices you want to watch programing instead of being forced to buy or rent theirs. If the proposal is approved, and it will be considered on February 18 of this year, would that open up new markets for Apple, Google, Samsung and other companies?

Our guests include Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, and Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer.


Download January 23, 2016 — Kirk McElhearn and Bryan Chaffin

We present commentator and talk show host Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” He describes a system in use in UK supermarkets — it’s not in the U.S. — where customers can use their own hand-held scanners to tally purchases. The discussion turns to the planned phaseout of the free version of iTunes Radio, the possibilities for a sales slowdown of Apple gear, and Apple’s excessive prices for Mac RAM and drive upgrades. Since only a few Macs can be upgraded by customers, this has become an annoying problem.

You’ll also hear from Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer. A major portion of the episode will focus on bills introduced in both the California and New York legislatures that would ban the sale of encrypted smartphones that don’t have backdoors that would make it possible for governments to have access to the contents. Such tech companies as Apple and Google have come under fire by authorities, including FBI Director James Comey, for using industrial strength encryption. During the interview, Bryan will explain why he feels this backdoor would also make encrypted smartphones vulnerable to hacking by criminals, hackers, and other governments.


Download January 16 2016 — John Martellaro and Rob Pegoraro

We present commentator John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer, who talks about the future of the Mac Pro, how Apple, denied leadership in 4K TV, is hoping to gain traction with an electric car. You’ll also hear a brief debate about whether Apple will really attempt to acquire Time Warner and how that move might restart moribund plans to establish a subscription TV service. John will also talk about how children can learn how to program on an iPad. He’ll also tell you why he loves his Mac Pro.

We also present a CES wrap with columnist Rob Pegoraro, of USA Today and Yahoo Tech. The main focus will be on 4K TV. Are customers finally ready to flock to the new high resolution TV format? Rob will talk about the latest enhancements that include Ultra HD Premium, which will deliver better color and a wider contrast that will really make the picture pop. And what about the possibility of affordable OLED TVs, and plans to release a new HD tuner system to allow 4K shows to be broadcast by TV stations? Why will the new TV tuners eventually mean the end of existing HD broadcasting? You’ll also hear Rob’s opinions about the prospects for an Apple car.


Download January 9, 2016 — Kirk McElhearn and Nancy Gravley

We observe the 15th anniversary of Apple’s iTunes with commentator Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” He focus first on the history of Apple’s original jukebox app, and how it’s changed and expanded over the years. Kirk and Gene also talk about the need for Apple to overhaul the way movie and TV content is handled. As it is, movie rentals may suddenly disappear, while the option to buy a movie remains. Does Apple solve this by launching a TV subscription service — and will the entertainment companies accept a simpler buying/renting scheme?

You’ll also hear from columnist Nancy Gravley, of The Mac Observer. The discussion will focus on her ongoing efforts to help senior citizens become competent with Macs, iPhones and iPads. So if you have someone in your family who is uncomfortable with technology, you’ll want to hear Nancy give you some quick hints and tips about what’s confusing about even the personal computer “for the rest of us,” the personal computer that is supposed to “just work.”


Download January 2, 2016 — Kyle Wiens and Kirk McElhearn

We present a 2015 teardown roundup with Kyle Wiens of of iFixit. He discuss the products that were easiest to repair, and the ones most difficult. He’ll also answer the Night Owl’s hypothetical question, whether adding upgrade capability to more Macs would seriously degrade the thin and light design. In short, is Jonathan Ive and/or Apple marketing going just a little too far with their “thin fetish”?

You’ll also hear from commentator/author Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” On the agenda during the opening pop culture segment is his reaction to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Does it really fulfill the hype, and justify the amazing box office receipts? Kirk will also talk about Apple’s agreement to pay $350 million in back taxes to Italy, and the possible consequence in the action in the rest of the European Union. Kirk also talks about his ongoing concerns with Apple Music, its inability to learn about his musical tastes, and what he’d like Apple to do in order to overhaul iTunes.


Download December 26, 2015 — Dr. Timothy C. Summers and Peter Cohen

We present an important security update with Dr. Timothy C. Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm. We discuss the ongoing debate over whether Apple, Google and other tech companies should allow back doors to governments to retrieve and decode encrypted information from smartphones and other gear. The discussion also covers fake emails that purport to come from your bank, fake emails that purport to come from your family and friends, why you should be skeptical of emails from people who claim to know you and request financial assistance, and how to stop leaving digital breadcrumbs.

We also present a special year-end wrap-up from tech commentator and columnist Peter Cohen, whose writings are found at iMoreMacworld and Tom’s Guide. On this visit, Peter will talk about Tim Cook’s increasing social activism in contrast to his predecessor, the usability of the iPad Pro, the prospects for an Apple Car,  Apple chief designer Jonathan Ive’s unfortunate “thin fetish,” and whether it makes sense for Apple to move the Mac platform from Intel to Apple’s own A-series chips. Yes, there are potential downsides.


Download December 19, 2015 — Jeff Gamet & Kirk McElhearn

We present Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, who focuses on the New York Attorney General’s probe into broadband Internet speeds, and whether customers are getting the performance for which they’re paying. He’ll also cover the concerns over bandwidth caps, and Samsung’s appeal of Apple’s patent win against them to the U.S. Supreme Court. You’ll also hear Jeff’s opinion about the iPad Pro and the joys of the Apple Pencil for creating illustrations.

You’ll also hear from author and columnist Kirk McElhearn, Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” As a classical music aficionado, he praises the improvements in Apple Music by offering a richer display of information about classical. He also discusses the touchy subject of iTunes and faulty metadata and how it messes up your playlists. The discussion turns to whether Apple is releasing operating systems prematurely, thus resulting in numerous defects.


Check out the Show Archives for earlier episodes.