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    A PREMIUM TECH NIGHT OWL LIVE EXPERIENCE! Welcome to Tech Night Owl+! For a low monthly or annual subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free higher-resolution version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE and other exclusive content. For more information and simple signup instructions, click here.

    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 23rd, 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.

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    Some Troubling Information About Consumer Reports’ Product Testing

    May 23rd, 2018

    AppleInsider got the motherlode. After several years of back and forth debates about its testing procedures, Consumer Reports magazine invited the online publication to tour their facilities in New York. On the surface, you’d think the editorial stuff would be putting on their best face to get favorable coverage.

    And maybe they will. AppleInsider has only published the first part of the story, and there are apt to be far more revelations about CR’s test facilities and the potential shortcomings in the next part.

    Now we all know about the concerns: CR finds problems, or potential problems, with Apple gear. Sometimes the story never changes, sometimes it does. But the entire test process may be a matter of concern.

    Let’s take the recent review that pits Apple’s HomePod against a high-end Google Home Max, which sells for $400 and the Sonos One. In this comparison, “Overall the sound of the HomePod was a bit muddy compared with what the Sonos One and Google Home Max delivered.”

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    Newsletter Issue #964: As the WWDC Approaches

    May 21st, 2018

    My waking hours are not consumed wondering what sort of goodies Apple will reveal on June 4th, the date for the WWDC keynote. Last year’s announcements were more voluminous than than many expected, so it may well be there will be lots to predict, lots to talk about this year too. So it’s natural that the tech media is getting set to talk about it.

    Last year, we had the predictable demonstrations of iOS 11 and macOS 10.13. While the superstitious among you might have felt a letdown that Apple didn’t succumb to the unlucky 13 stigma, such as it is, High Sierra still wasn’t such a compelling release.

    It has worked all right for me, but I’m somewhat disappointed that the “future update” promised by Apple to add support for the Apple File System (APFS) to Macs with Fusion Drives has yet to arrive. Indeed, after the initial claim that it would come, there has been little or no discussion about it. The option to convert the Fusion Drive on my iMac to APFS is still grayed out.

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    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.

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