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May 28, 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, cutting-edge commentator Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine and AppleInsider, dissects the facts about the presumed success of Google, the Android mobile platform, and Chromebooks, those cheap notebooks that are evidently selling well to K-12 school systems. Daniel asks the questions journalists seldom ask about the problems with Android, and the lack of serious new features in the latest version of the OS. He also discusses the problems Microsoft has had as it disengages itself from the failed multibillion dollar purchase of Nokia’s handset division.
You’ll also hear from an ethical hacker, Dr. Timothy Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm, who delivers an update on the Apple versus FBI controversy, where the two parties were locked in a legal battle over attempts to unlock an iPhone used in a terrorist attack. The case ended after the FBI paid over a million dollars to hackers who succeeded in breaking into the phone. He talks about Microsoft’s lawsuit agains the U.S. government over the right to inform customers when a federal agency wants to examine their emails. There’s also an extended pop culture discussion, where Dr. Summers comments on how computer hackers are portrayed in the movies and on TV, and whether those portrayals accurately reflect how these people actually do their stuff. The segment concludes with an overview of how hackers attacked the SWIFT interbank funds transfer system in an attempt to steal $100 million.
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NOW PLAYING! May 21, 2016 — John Martellaro and Kirk McElhearn
We present outspoken commentator John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer. His bill of fare this week includes speculation that the desktop version of Siri will make its debut in the next version of OS X — or will it be rebranded macOS? — this fall. The discussion will also cover Apple’s challenge in developing an electric car, and whether it’ll be offered as a car-sharing scheme, rather than sold to individual customers. And what about the cooling iPhone upgrade fever? Is Apple going to deliver a compelling enough upgrade to entice customers to buy the next iPhone?
You’ll also hear from columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy,” who will focus much of his discussion on iTunes 12.4 for Mac and Windows. Has Apple managed to respond to customer complaints about the loss of a full-time sidebar and an increasingly complex user interface? The discussion will also include hopes for improving the look and feel of Apple Music, the possibilities for an Apple subscription TV service, and whether Siri will make its debut on Macs with the next OS upgrade? There will also be a short discussion about TV show spin-offs.
May 14, 2016 — Adam Engst and Rob Pegoraro
On this week’s all-star episode, we present publisher/editor Adam Engst, of TidBITS and Take Control Books, takes control of a variety of topics. He talks about the confusing array of chatting apps, including WhatsApp, and it’s peculiar set up process on a Mac and PC, the use case for different Apple notebook computers, such as the MacBook and MacBook Pro, and what Apple might improve to boost sales. The discussion turns to the state of iPad keyboards, and whether Apple should produce one that’s closer in design to a more traditional Mac keyboard.
You’ll also hear from columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Tech and Wirecutter. The discussion begins with Gene’s concerns about unexpected changes in Skype’s option to automatically adjust microphone levels, where the feature was turned on after being switched off. Rob will talk about the controversy over Facebook’s priorities in posting the “Trending” news list, and he will give some projections about what might come from the forthcoming Google I/O conference, where the next version of Android will be launched. And what about Apple’s lagging Mac sales? What can they improve to boost sales, or is that even possible?
May 7, 2016 — Kirk McElhearn and Bryan Chaffin
On this week’s all-star episode, blogger and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy,” talks about Apple’s peculiar standards for mentioning their products. So it’s never “the iPhone,” but “iPhone,” which is, to them, a proper name. The discussion moves to Apple’s product refreshes, and whether they are just too tame to convince people to upgrade. With the iPhone SE selling for $50 less than its predecessor, the iPhone 5s, is Apple considering setting lower prices for other iPhones too when new models arrive this fall?
You’ll also hear from commentator Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, who talks at length about Apple’s financials, and how Wall Street sets expectations (correct or otherwise) for a company. The discussion moves to rumors of major fixes to Apple Music, and ongoing speculation about whether Apple will actually build a car. Bryan will explain why he feels it would be wrong for Apple to buy an existing car company, such as Tesla, because Apple never buys “income” in making acquisitions. There will also be a brief discussion about Apple’s plans to introduce paid search in the App Store.
April 30, 2016 — Kyle Wiens and Stephen Baker
Kyle Wiens of iFixit joins us to give the results of teardowns of some of the very latest tech gear. During this segment, he’ll discuss Apple’s 2016 MacBook, and whether, aside from minor hardware upgrades, it differs much from last year’s model. He’ll also present the results of the teardown of the iPhone SE, the latest smartphones from Samsung and LG, and some virtual reality headsets. He’ll also remind you about the poor repair rating of the Microsoft Surface tablets.
You’ll also hear from Stephen Baker, Vice President for Industry Analysis at the NPD Group. He discusses why he feels Mac sales dropped so much in the March quarter; he suggests some of Apple’s notebooks are long in the tooth and need major refreshes. He’ll also talk about the impact of the iPhone SE, and whether there’s a big market for smaller smartphones. The discussion will also focus on 4K TV, and where the new format is going. What price points are most popular, and what about getting more genuine 4K content to watch? Stephen also talks about the contribution of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to the infotainment systems of a growing number of motor vehicles.
April 23, 2016 — Kirk McElhearn and Jeff Gamet
We present columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy.” On this episode, he talks about the new monthly price plans for Amazon Prime, Amazon customer service, a possible smudging problem on 9.7-inch iPad Pro’s display, and Apple’s user hostile upgrade policies for most Macs. There will also be a brief discussion on Kirk’s search for a new hybrid car.
You’ll also hear from commentator Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. Jeff will talk about lingering Apple/FBI issues, concerns about proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress covering device encryption, the European Commission’s antitrust case against Google over its alleged restrictive policies on the Android platform, the prospects for an Apple Car, the inability to upgrade RAM on many Macs, and the need for new features in the iOS to make it possible to do more productive things on an iPad. Gene repeats his concerns about the fact that he cannot use an iPad to record episodes of his radio shows due to Apple’s “sandboxing” limitations.
April 16, 2016 — Daniel Eran Dilger and Jonny Evans
We present cutting-edge commentator Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine and AppleInsider. He’ll discuss what you need to understand about the Apple versus FBI conflict over iPhone security and its implications. Daniel will also talk about the well-known security shortcomings of the Android platform, that only a small number are using a slow software-based encryption scheme. Sales of iPhones and the high-end Samsung Galaxy smartphones are also compared and contrasted.
You’ll also hear from Jonny Evans, Computerworld’s “Apple Holic.” Jonny will talk about the prospects for an Apple Car, and what we might expect from Apple. Does the forthcoming mid-sized Tesla 3 pave the way? Jonny will also question why Apple hasn’t pushed the fourth generation Apple TV to the educational market, Apple versus the FBI, and how things are being done in the UK. The discussion will move to how Apple has been able to boost Mac market share against Windows, and the growing presence of Macs and other Apple gear in the enterprise.
April 9, 2016 — Josh Centers and Kirk McElhearn
We present author Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles. He’ll focus his discussion first on the forthcoming Tesla 3 electric car, which garnered over 325,000 preorders days after it was announced. He’ll also talk about the lingering Apple/FBI issues, OS X security and his latest book covering the fourth generation Apple TV. Gene explains why he’s still using the previous model.
You’ll also hear from commentator and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy,” who discusses the latest security exploit involving Adobe Flash, and why he removed Flash from all his Macs, and only uses the embedded version in the Google Chrome browser. He’ll also comment on the lingering Apple/FBI controversy, and talk up his new iPhone SE and iPad Pro. The discussion concludes with Amazon’s efforts to expand same-day delivery and supermarkets that allow you to place online orders for home delivery in the U.S. and UK.
April 2, 2016 — John Martellaro and Dr. Timothy Summers
We present columnist John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer. At the top of John’s agenda this week is Apple’s dispute with the FBI over an iPhone 5c used by a terrorist. Now that the authorities have recovered data from it, is the dispute over — or is it beginning? The very thought takes us to a compelling issue, that, to John, iPhone technology is “indistinguishable from magic.” John will also explain why he feels Apple’s 9.7-inch iPad Pro will “breathe new life into the product line.” He’ll also talk about OS X, which debuted as a Public Beta in 2000. Is it time for Apple to think about making OS X and iOS more proactive, more intelligent?
You’ll also hear from ethical hacker Dr. Timothy Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm. Dr. Summers will participate in a thorough discussion of the ins and outs of the FBI’s solution to unlocking that iPhone. He’ll also speculate about what techniques the authorities may have employed to recover the data, and whether that method can possibly present security problems for users. He’ll also explain why he thinks that Android’s more flexible encryption model might present a higher level of security. The discussion concludes with credit card safety and whether Bitcoin has seen its day. Is there anything about the Bitcoin financial model that banks might still find useful?
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