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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: This week, we are joined by tech journalist Derek Kessler, managing editor of Mobile Nations — who also leads their coverage of the Tesla. The owner of a Tesla Model S luxury sports sedan, Derek offers sage insights into recent reports of problems with self-driving vehicles, such as Tesla’s Autopilot. He cites cases involving a Tesla and an autonomous driving test vehicle from Uber, the ride hailing company. Are self-driving features ready for prime time, or will it take longer, much longer, for them to become fully dependable? What about drivers being lulled into a false sense of security when exposed to such systems? Derek also discusses his experiences with his Model S, and the prospects for the company’s Model 3 mid-sized vehicle. Will production hit acceptable targets before the company runs out of cash? What about widespread charging stations, and what about all the incompatible systems?

    You’ll also hear from commentator Rene Ritchie from iMore.  During this episode, Rene will talk about the recent Google I/O event, focusing mainly on a controversial AI demo. What about the fact that Google seems more focused on flashy demos than user privacy? What about published reports that the AI demo may have been faked? He’ll also talk about Apple’s ongoing problems with Siri, which hasn’t advanced all that much since its introduction in 2011. What does Apple have to do to make it comparable to digital assistants from Amazon and Google? Did the introduction of the HomePod reveal Siri’s limitations in a way that convinces Apple to fix what’s broken? You’ll also hear Rene’s reaction to all those fake news stories that the iPhone X was a huge failure, even while it became the best selling smartphone on the planet for two straight quarters. He’ll offer a possible reason why investors have continued to spread false rumors about iPhone sales over the years.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — May 19, 2018

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    Special Notice to Readers!

    May 17th, 2018

    As you know, the Night Owl has been suffering from serious financial difficulties. To make matters worse, hackers have gone after my bank and Twitter accounts in recent months.

    If you are in a position to help or want more information about the ongoing hate campaign, please read this:

    My situation so far!


    Net Neutrality and the Alternative

    May 17th, 2018

    Shorn of the silly excuses about hampering innovation by ISPs, ditching Net Neutrality is more about reducing regulations. But regulations quite often are responses to abuses, so the issue may never have come up if people didn’t find their Netflix signals constantly stuck in the “buffering” zone.

    The reason that was happening was because some ISPs, such as Verizon, were throttling the stream because it was using up what they regarded as too much bandwidth. After one failed attempt that didn’t pass court review, the FCC, under President Obama, found a scheme to establish Net Neutrality that worked, by reclassifying ISPs under Title II.

    So against industry opposition about more regulation, ISPs were no longer allowed to slow down online traffic. All legal traffic had to flow freely, so users of Netflix and other services didn’t have to worry, especially when streaming 4K content, such as the latest episode of “Jessica Jones.”

    With a new administration, with its extreme anti-regulation approach, a Republican-controlled FCC voted, by a 3-2 margin, to reverse Net Neutrality protections. What this means is that those protections are poised to disappear.

    Continue Reading...


    The Apple Store — 17 Years Old!

    May 16th, 2018

    To understand what the Apple Store meant to me, let me tell you a personal story. In the 1960s, I had a hobby, building radio and general audio gear. Some of it I bought for myself, others I assembled for friends — at no charge. Well, I was a teenager, living at home. I wasn’t rich, but I had a tape recorder and a radio and a mic, so I was mostly happy.

    In those days, I made periodic trips to one of the early consumer electronics stores, Lafayette Radio. After going bankrupt in 1980, its assets ended up in the hands of the company that eventually became Circuit City.

    After moving to the Phoenix area in 1993, I shopped occasionally at a local Circuit City, but mostly for CDs. If I wanted a new Mac, I went online and saved money. It’s not that Circuit City didn’t carry Macs. They had some, and I remember visiting the retailer a few years later and seeing a few dusty models placed haphazardly on a single display table off to the rear somewhere. Most had been left off. The few that were running mostly displayed a Hypercard slide show that didn’t really entice anyone to buy anything.

    Continue Reading...


    Newsletter Issue #963: Yet Another Class-Action Lawsuit Against Apple

    May 14th, 2018

    Having used Apple gear for over 30 years, I realize there’s no such thing as perfection. Different models had different glitches that sometimes required extending the warranty to cover repairs.

    That didn’t happen with such models as the Macintosh IIcx, the first personal computer that I brought into my home, after using Macs at the office for a few years. But floppy drive failures were frequent, because it appeared that the cooling system drew in the dust rather than push it away. I remember the office admin, Adam, took on the task of repairing Macs, with my help, and he constantly complained about the poor design.

    My IIcx never developed any problems, or maybe our home wasn’t a dust magnet. Regardless, the first Mac I owned that exhibited a product defect was my PowerBook 5300ce, the first model with a PowerPC CPU. It was expensive, late to market due to an early battery defect, and a source of constant annoyance.

    Continue Reading…