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December 3, 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.
We feature commentator John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer. His bill of fare includes the “tribal warfare” that often surrounds the Apple ecosystem, the difficulties in “extracting truth” from Apple, along with how the company has been blindsided by such products as the Microsoft Surface Stereo all-in-one desktop and HP’s Z2 Mini Workstation; the latter is designed to compete as a higher-end alternative to the Mac mini. John will also focus on Apple’s mistakes in releasing a fourth-generation Apple TV set-top box without such key features as 4K and HDR support, comping at a time when 4K TVs are really taking off.
You’ll also hear from outspoken columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” Gene and Kirk begin the discussion covering the so-called resurgence of vinyl, and Gene’s personal experiences listening to some of the most famous recordings on the cheap record player his parents bought him. The two also provide a no-nonsense look at the real differences between analog and digital. Kirk moves into rant mode as he complains about the delays in shipping the Late 2016 MacBook Pro and the fact that, except for a brief period, the LG 5K display that was supposed to accompany Apple’s upgraded notebooks was not available to order. Kirk calls it “bait and switch.”
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NOW PLAYING! November 26, 2016 — Peter Cohen and Joe Wilcox
We feature outspoken blogger and podcaster Peter Cohen, who focuses on the questions raised about Apple’s ongoing commitment to professional users. And what about published reports, since denied, that chief designer Sir Jonathan Ive may no longer be fully involved in developing new Apple gear? The discussion also includes ousting the manager of the automation division, home of AppleScript, Apple’s decision to give up building its own displays, and the ever-controversial Late 2016 MacBook Pro, which features the contextual Touch Bar and a much higher price.
You’ll also hear from columnist Joe Wilcox, of BetaNews, who will explain why he prefers his new iPhone 7 Plus despite the fact that he finds some of Google’s services, such as its voice assistant, to be superior. What should Apple be thankful for during the holiday season? Joe offers his opinions about his 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bear, and also the impact of Google’s Chromebook in American school systems, and whether its cheap price and focus on cloud-based apps makes it a better educational alternative. And what about Microsoft’s controversial decision to force Windows 10 upgrades on users, and what about sharing telemetry data culled from users with third parties?
November 19, 2016 — Kyle Wiens and Kirk McElhearn
We feature Kyle Wiens of iFixit, a company that routinely tears down new tech gear to check for repairability. During this segment, Kyle brings up the recent report of the recall of 2.8 million Samsung washing machines due to a serious defect which can hurt people. He suggests that the quality of such appliances is far lower than it used to be. He will bring you up to date on recent gear his crew has taken apart, including the iPhone 7, the MacBook Pro with and without Touch Bar, the flawed Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phablet, which had an unusual number of battery failures, and the Pixel, Phone by Google. He’ll explain why iFixit has awarded Apple’s refreshed notebook one of its lowest ratings because it’s near impossible to repair.
You’ll also hear columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” Kirk expresses his concerns about the future of AppleScript in light of Apple’s decision to fire long-time automation executive Sal Soghoian for “business reasons.” Does this mean that AppleScript will soon be history? Kirk is also concerned about Apple’s apparent lack of attention to professional users, citing the fact that the Mac Pro hasn’t been updated in three years, and the controversial launch of the late 2016 MacBook Pro. He’ll also explain why calls for Apple to build iPhones in the U.S. don’t recognize reality and the serious difficulties of building factories and establishing supply chains. Or is it all about politics?
November 12, 2016 — Dr. Timothy Summers and Sean Aune
We feature ethical hacker Dr. Timothy Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm, who discuses the recent DDoS attack on DynDNS, which resulted in the slowdown or loss of access to such large sites as Netflix and PayPal. According to Dr. Summers, this attack came from botnets that were assembled by hacking home devices that connect to the Internet, such as web cams, and he provided advice on how you can protect your gear so it resists such attacks. He also talked about what changes might come when Donald Trump becomes President of the United States. Will he attempt to reverse the spin-off of ICANN, the non-profit corporation that manages Internet names? What about net neutrality and other FCC actions? Dr. Summers also speculates about three potential cyber threats.
You’ll also hear from editor Sean Aune, director of operations for TechnoBuffalo, an online blog and gadget review site. He’ll talk about Internet bandwidth caps, the hot tickets for holiday gear, the controversy over the MacBook Pro and its various new features. So did Apple make a mistake not to support 32GB of RAM? What about the Touch Bar, and can it become a key tool in boosting productivity, particularly from creatives? What about the impact of the price hikes for the new models? Sean will also discuss the latest gear from Microsoft, including the Surface Book and the Surface Studio all-in-one desktop. And does the current generation of 2-in-1 PC notebooks with touchscreens make sense from a usability standpoint?
November 5, 2016 — Josh Centers and Bryan Chaffin
Featured on this episode is Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles. Josh talks extensively about the controversial MacBook Pro, and its tentpole features, including the Touch Bar and Touch ID. Did Apple overprice this new computer? What about Apple’s desktop Macs that haven’t been upgraded in quite a while? Gene suggests a potential replacement for the Mac Pro, a souped up iMac with eight-core processor and dual SSDs. You’ll also hear about the forthcoming TV app for Apple TV and iOS. He’ll focus on the missing services, including Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, and move on to the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner.
You’ll also hear from Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer. Brian will also talk extensively about the MacBook Pro, the Touch Bar, and whether prices might come down after the first year, similar to other Macs in recent years. What about the future of the Mac Pro? Does Apple give it a decent burial, or deliver a refresh in 2017? Gene brings up his mythical professional iMac, as the discussion moves to the twin processor design of the MacBook Pro, which has not just an Intel processor but an ARM processor with a slimmed down version of watchOS that powers the Touch Bar. Should Apple consider wholesale move to ARM on the Mac platform? There’s also a brief discussion of the AT&T and Time Warner merger.
October 29, 2016 — Kirk McElhearn and Sean Aune
Featured on this episode is columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” Gene and Kirk dissect the good, bad and ugly points in Apple’s media presentation where the main focus was to introduce a new MacBook Pro line. But what about the tentpole feature of the refreshed notebooks, the Touch Bar. Does it offer enough advanced features, as a context-sensitive OLED-based control strip, to justify price increase of between $300-$400? More to the point, does Kirk plan to buy one? And what about the missing hardware, such as the three-year-old Mac Pro? It’s still available from Apple, but does it have a future?
You’ll also hear from tech editor Sean Aune, director of operations for TechnoBuffalo, an online blog and gadget review site. He starts the discussion with his observations about the new hardware from Microsoft, introduced the day before Apple’s event, where costly Surface Books and the Studio all-in-one computer were introduced. Did Microsoft take the wrong approach to actually exceed Apple’s prices on their new gear. Gene and Sean also talk about the MacBook Pro and the pricey new models with Touch Bar and Touch ID. The discussion moves to questions about the planned merger between AT&T and Time Warner. A match made in heaven — or that other place? And what about the DDoS attacks against DynDNS, which, for hours recently, nearly brought down a large portion of the Internet.
October 22, 2016 — Rob Pegoraro and Jeff Gamet
Featured on this episode is columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Tech and Wirecutter. He’ll discuss what’s expected from Apple’s October 27, 2016 media event, rumored to focus on new Macs, and what might come from it. He’ll also offer his personal experiences with macOS Sierra, cybersecurity and the recent hack of Democratic emails, posted in WikiLeaks, which has become a campaign issue, and tech policy and the election. Rob will also talk about the Pixel, Phone by Google, and its prospects.
You’ll also hear from Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. He’ll join Gene in a brief pop culture discussion, comparing the two visions of DC Comics, and whether the more optimistic TV version is a better fit for super hero fans than the dour movie version. The discussion will move to the prospects for the Apple Car, and whether the focus will be on creating a new car or offering a turnkey solution for autonomous driving to be licensed to car makers. Jeff will also talk about the prospects for new Macs at Apple’s media event, expectations for a refreshed MacBook Pro, and the possible fates of two models that haven’t been updated in a while. So will there be a refreshed Mac mini, and what’s going to happen to the Mac Pro? And what about the failure of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, and shouldn’t the company take a few lessons on corporate damage control?
October 15, 2016 — Peter Cohen and Dr. Timothy Summers
Featured on this episode is outspoken blogger and podcaster Peter Cohen. This week, Peter talks about Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 scandal, in which the product was discontinued because over 100 handsets overheated or caught fire. How is Samsung handling the controversy, and how will Apple deal with the fallout? The discussion also focuses on falling Mac sales and whether the dearth of new models is at least partly responsible. And what about the Pixel, Phone by Google smartphone? How will Google’s Android partners react to the competition?
You’ll also hear a comprehensive security update from ethical hacker Dr. Timothy Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm. This week, Dr. Summers talks about the reports that the Russians are responsible for the recent hacks of Democratic emails and Twitter accounts. Can we believe the WikiLeaks disclosure of this material, or has it been altered? Is this the beginning of a possible Cybersecurity Cold War? How will it play out, and how can you protect your own email and other online accounts from hacks? Dr. Summers also discusses the recently revealed email hack at Yahoo, and whether the late disclosure will impact Verizon’s decision to acquire that company.
October 8, 2016 — Andrew Martonik and Kirk McElhearn
Featured on this episode is tech journalist Andrew Martonik, executive editor of Android Central. The episode begins with a detailed discussion of Samsung’s ongoing problems with exploding batteries on the Galaxy Note 7 phablet. Andrew also discusses the main announcements at Google’s October 4th media event, in which the Pixel, Phone by Google was announced. Gene and Andrew will assess where this new product fits in the current saturated market, and how it might fare against the top gear from Apple and Samsung. The discussion will also focus on Google’s WiFi router system and other new products and services.
You’ll also hear from blogger and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” Kirk will detail the problems he confronted trying to set up Apple’s two-factor authentication scheme on his devices, and the inability of Apple’s tech support to help him. He’ll also discuss iCloud growth pains and respond to Gene’s query as to whether it would make sense for Apple to add online support for Time Machine and other backup systems. Kirk also discusses the Pixel, Phone by Google smartphone, Google WiFi and other products. The discussion concludes with the disconnect between regular users and tech savvy users, using Apple’s decision to make macOS Sierra an automatic download to customers as a notable example.
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