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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: In a special encore presentation of a previous episode, we feature outspoken podcaster and commentator Kirk McElhearn. After Kirk mentions seeing a performance in a Shakespearean play by Ian McKellen, the subject turns to pop culture. Kirk isn’t a fan of super heroes, well except for The Shadow, an old radio and pulp novel character featured in a 1994 movie that starred Alec Baldwin as the titular character. Gene and Kirk discuss who might play the character if it was brought back. With Apple CEO Tim Cook making positive comments about the future of the Mac mini, the discussion moves the future of the cheapest Mac. The apparent backorder situation with Apple’s new flagship smartphone, the iPhone X, is also discussed. Gene mentions a published report that some iPhone X preorders might have been delayed because customers put freezes on their credit reports as the result of the hack at Equifax that impacted 143 million Americans.

    You’ll also hear from longtime Mac peripheral maker Larry O’Connor, of Other World Computing. Larry will give you the down and dirty details about upgrading Macs with new drives and RAM, and the fact that many recent Macs cannot be upgraded. He’ll also explain why he believes that Apple will eventually support more drives with APFS, especially Fusion drives, and about an app his company is developing that improves the efficiency of such drives, which combine a traditional hard drive with an SSD. A Fusion drive delivers most of the performance of a true SSD at a fraction of the cost. The discussion will also include the price of Apple upgrades, when available, and some of the products Larry’s company is working on, such as a 4TB SSD, and  peripherals to enhance new Macs equipped with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. And what about the possibilities of the forthcoming iMac Pro, and the promised Mac Pro refresh?

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — December 9, 2017

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    The Most Expensive Mac — Cheaper Than Expected?

    December 15th, 2017

    So before the iPhone X came out, there were oh-so-many complaints about an expected starting price just shy of $1,000. It was the most expensive mainstream smartphone, although the critics were pushing it. After all, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 wasn’t all that much cheaper, particularly when you paid for one on a monthly basis.

    And if you can see people freaking out big time over a smartphone that can cost over $1,000 in its top-of-the-line configuration, imagine a Macintosh computer that can be optioned to a price north of $13,000!

    Indeed, the media meme has focused heavily on the fact that the iMac Pro is Apple’s “most expensive computer,” and that might be technically true. But the original Macintosh IIfx, a computer workstation that debuted in 1990, retailed for $8,969 in its entry-level configuration, and that’s the equivalent of $16,797.90 in 2017.

    And it didn’t even come with a display, though you could upgrade it to a fare-thee-well. So it may have ended up costing even more in 1990 dollars.

    Continue Reading...


    Another Slant on Google iPhone Searches

    December 14th, 2017

    The other day, the Night Owl posted a column suggesting that you can’t judge potential sales of a product on the basis of the number of searches recorded by Google. But it’s also true that high search volume certainly indicates that people are interested.

    At least when the product is finally available.

    So in 2016, speculation persisted about what Apple might deliver for a 10th anniversary iPhone, assuming such a thing would even happen. Even during the rumor run-up to the iPhone 7, some suggested you might as well not bother. Next year there would be something a whole lot better. It didn’t hurt that Apple decided to ditch the headphone jack, which kind of/sort of raised a ruckus for a while. But it doesn’t seem as if a significant number of potential sales were lost.

    After all, didn’t Apple provide a free adaptor so you could plug your wired ear buds or headphones into the lightning port? Well, unless you wanted to listen and charge at the same time, in which case you needed a more expensive combo adapter with both the headphone jack and a lighting port for the charger.

    Continue Reading...


    Apple’s Mac Christmas Present

    December 13th, 2017

    When Apple launched the iMac Pro at June’s WWDC, I have to admit I was surprised. I expected a regular old iMac with some higher-end configurations. There are versions of Intel’s Core chips with extra cores, and I thought Apple would choose them.

    What I didn’t anticipate was a new model with, essentially, the guts of a Mac Pro in an iMac case. But that’s precisely what Apple is giving us with the iMac Pro, which was promised to ship this month. The internal cooling system was revised to handle the expanded needs of 18-core Intel Xeon, AMD Radeon Pro Vega graphics and up to 128GB of ECC RAM.

    As I said, the guts of a Mac Pro, or at least one possible configuration of a Mac Pro.

    The new space gray computer with a chassis you expect in an all-in-one workstation, including four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, four regular USB 3 ports, an SDXC card slot and even 10Gb Ethernet for super-fast networking.

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    Sir Jonathan Ive and a “Renewed” Commitment to Apple Design

    December 12th, 2017

    Funny how some Apple critics are so often proved wrong.

    Take the claim that, when Sir Jonathan Ive became Apple’s Chief Design Officer in 2015, it was the first step on the road to leaving the company. Maybe he’d just gather up his family and return to the UK, or perhaps find another gig. In the meantime, other Apple executives reportedly took the lead in product design.

    Ive allegedly focused most of his efforts on finishing up the new Apple “spaceship” campus said, in part, to represent a memorial to the memory of Steve Jobs.

    In 2016, Apple delivered fewer new products than usual. The iPhone 7 was regarded as, at best, a subpar upgrade, although it did fairly well in sales. Macs were virtually ignored until the end of the year, except for a minor speed bump upgrade for the MacBook.

    The long-awaited MacBook Pro refresh was controversial. It was thinner, lighter, and the changes weren’t believed to represent a commitment to building a professional notebook computer. It was more about needless fluff, and don’t forget the Touch Bar. And what about such neglected products as the Mac mini and the Mac Pro?

    Continue Reading...