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    DOWNLOAD — GCN Version: On this week’s all-star episode, commentator Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, considers the Apple rumor front, where speculation continues about a rumored iPhone 8 and the alleged problems Apple might be having in finalizing the design for production. But are such reports made by or influenced by bloggers who have been inspired by Apple’s competitors? What about the tepid updates for Apple TV? Has time passed Apple’s set-top box by, or is it possible for the product to be improved enough to realize its potential against the competition?

    You’ll also hear from tech columnist Joe Wilcox, who writes for BetaNews. This time Gene and Joe talk about Microsoft’s sales in the most recent financial quarter, and how it is succeeding beyond expectations at cloud services and Office 365. But is there any significance in the fact that sales of Surface PCs remain relatively flat? You’ll also hear Joe’s observations about the iPhone 8 and whether its potential might overshadow the expected refreshes of Apple’s mainstream models, which will probably be named iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus. With Comic-Con San Diego in force, Gene and Joe have a pop culture discussion, where they talk about super heroes, including Batman and Superman, and having the same characters played by different actors in the TV and movie versions. And what about a rumor that Ben Affleck may be encouraged by Warner Brothers to give up Batman’s cape?

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — July 22, 2017

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    Building Apple Gear in the USA — Maybe!

    July 28th, 2017

    Let’s put this in perspective: When I bought my first Mac in 1989 (I had been using them at the office till then), it was a IIcx that was assembled in the U.S. Apple also built gear in Cork, Ireland as I recall. But I never really paid much attention to where the gear was put together. Apple was the quintessential American company, founded in a garage — well, marketing VP Philip Schiller once told me a kitchen — and eventually growing into a tech powerhouse.

    When Tim Cook joined the company to manage operations in 1998, he overhauled the supply chain to build products as inexpensively and efficiently as possible yet still meet the company’s quality standards. Over the years, this meant setting up sophisticated offshore manufacturing facilities using such contract companies as China’s Foxconn.

    To put that in perspective, Foxconn, was founded in 1974 by Terry Gou, who remains its leader. As of 2015, it had 1.3 million employees, most  engaged in assembling tech gear not just for Apple, but other companies. The list includes such recognizable names as Acer, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Google, HP, Intel Microsoft, Nintendo, Nokia, Sony and Vizio.

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    GarageBand and Podcasts

    July 27th, 2017

    Apple’s decision to create a podcast repository in iTunes in 2005 was a watershed for radio broadcasters and would-be radio broadcasters. It gave us all a method for greatly expanded distribution. But, yes, there was already such a thing as Internet radio. I was already hosting an online show, the original version of The Tech Night Owl LIVE, which was streamed by a now-defunct online network.

    Indeed, the key reason I left the small network I was working with was their failure to understand the need to rejigger their production scheme to deliver a version that could be posted on iTunes.

    The podcast setup isn’t altogether complicated. You have to create a special RSS feed with a show description, some artwork, and listings for the available downloads. I currently use Feeder, from Reinvented Software, to maintain and submit new episode listings to iTunes.

    Recording my shows is probably a tad more complicated than most, because they are, first and foremost, designed to be broadcast on terrestrial radio stations. So I actually upload each show to the network, GCN, as 12 separate files. They insert the ads and broadcast the shows via Westwood One’s satellite system.

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    Goodbye Flash!

    July 26th, 2017

    Let’s take a journey back through time. Not so many years ago, the best — and sometimes only — method to present video on a web site was Adobe Flash. Indeed, we still have some Flash content one site, devoted to the sci-fi novels I wrote with my son, “Attack of the Rockoids.”

    But when the iPhone and the iPad came out, with desktop class browsers, Flash was nowhere to be seen. Adobe insisted that Apple add Flash to these devices because most online video used Flash.

    In a widely-qu0ted blog back in 2010, “Thoughts on Flash,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs explained why Flash wasn’t part of the picture in iOS. He went on to speak of three problems, “reliability, security and performance.” With regular reports of Flash-based exploits, Adobe was forced to release regular updates to beef up security. Jobs also cited its impact on system resources, that it would reduce battery life. Flash also offered poor support for touchscreens.

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    The iPhone 7 Headphone Jack Controversy and the Nothing Burger

    July 25th, 2017

    Last year, some people made a huge deal over Apple’s decision to ditch the old fashioned headphone jack on the iPhone 7. A feature that had been part and parcel of tech gear for decades would become history, and what was Apple’s follow-up plan?

    Some speculated that the headphone jack would also be removed from iPads and Macs too. But that hasn’t happened yet.

    So only the iPhone was given this treatment. One reason had it that this legacy port contributed to the difficulty in making the iPhone water resistant, and the free space could be used for other components or a larger battery. It’s also true that headphone jacks are a not uncommon source of breakage, and when it happens, replacement means a new logic board.

    I actually had it happen to me once, on a PowerBook, long ago. I managed to find a repair shop that could handle a component level repair at an affordable price. But remember that the headphone jack dates back to the 1950s, so what’s wrong with getting rid of it at a time when more and more headphones are wireless?

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