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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 — Free Version: This week we return to cybersecurity with Carlos Perez, principal consultant and head of APT (advanced persistent threat) research at TrustedSec. Carlos is tasked with investigating the latest hacking techniques and tools being used by sophisticated cyber-criminals  from around the world. As part of his work, he also trains the DoD’s “hunt teams” known as Cyber Protection Units, or CPTs, which are like the rapid response teams for national security cyber incidents. The CPTs are flown out on C130s. There will also be a heavy focus on common sense security tips that you can use to help protect yourself from online danger.

    In a special encore segment, you’ll also hear from industry expert Stephen Baker, Vice President for Industry Analysis at the NPD Group. Stephen will discuss Apple sales, particularly the saturation of the smartphone market. What about those outrageous claims that the iPhone X was a miserable failure, and that suppliers had received reduced orders from Apple even though sales hit record levels? Stephen will also talk about the state of the PC market, including the recent drop in Mac sales. Gene and Stephen discuss the prospects for the HomePod, which hasn’t been a big seller, and set-top streamers from Apple, Amazon and Roku. Is it true that Apple TV sales are much lower than the others? What about the efforts to move more product by offering an Apple TV with special sign-up offers from AT&T’s DirecTV Now, and reports that Charter, one of the larger cable companies in the U.S., will be offering Apple TV. Gene wonders if we even need one of these devices with more and more TVs offering a decent collection of “smart” features.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live —September 22, 2018

    For more episodes, click here to visit the show’s home page.


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    Special Notice to Readers!

    September 20th, 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, and I’ve been the subject of regular online attacks on the social networks. I’ve twice faced the threat of eviction; as I wrote this we’re stuck in a cheap motel until the money runs out.

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

    My ongoing struggle!


    Newsletter Issue #971: A Predictable Apple Event with a Predictable Outcome

    September 20th, 2018

    In the run-up to Apple’s September 12th media event last week, there was speculation aplenty. But most of it coalesced on three new iPhones and an Apple Watch Series 4, the new operating systems under test since June — and not much else.

    This is not to say that Apple’s announcements were disappointing. The new products are tempting, particularly one reasonably affordable iPhone that I’ll mention shortly. But it may well be that the Apple Watch Series 4 turned out to be the star of the show.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Continue Reading…


    A New Way To Deliver an Apple TV? Give Them Away!

    August 22nd, 2018

    It’s no secret that the Apple TV isn’t doing terribly well compared to similar gear from Amazon, Google and market leader Roku. While Apple was the pioneer in this space, it took far too long to modernize the product.

    Even when Apple introduced an all-new model in 2015, it made it much more expensive, yet still lacking 4K support at a time when tens of millions of TV sets featured the higher resolution capability. So it left the customers with a dilemma. If they still wanted to stick with the Apple ecosystem, the entry-level 32GB model was $149, compared to $99 for the third generation model before it was discounted.

    I suppose some might have found the new features, which included an enhanced remote, and Siri and app support, to be reasonably compelling, but did it really matter? How many people really strayed beyond iTunes and Netflix anyway.

    In 2017, Apple discovered 4K. Rather than keep the same price, or, better, reduce it, the entry-level unit was priced $30 higher. This may have been necessary to the bean counters who evaluated such matters as the price of raw materials and such, but it made even less sense.

    Continue Reading...


    Newsletter Issue #970: The Night Owl Takes a Cautionary Approach to macOS Mojave

    August 8th, 2018

    On the surface, it may seem that macOS Mojave is an extremely minor update. Other than Dark Mode and the reliance on Metal graphics, it doesn’t seem a whole lot different when you look it over, as I did starting last month. But the mere fact of choosing Metal means that Macs without support for that graphics technology have been made obsolete.

    Before Mojave was announced, I had planned (hoped) to test the betas on my 2010 17-inch MacBook Pro. Obviously that’s not possible, despite the fact that it has an SSD formatted with the APFS file system. That’s because its graphics hardware, state of the art eight years ago, preceded the arrival of Metal.

    A 2012 MacBook Pro,  where a Retina display debuted on Macs, works just fine. So do older Mac Pros with graphics cards that support Metal. So, my only option was the iMac. With a Fusion drive, it lost out on the APFS conversion last year, because Apple couldn’t make it compatible. It appeared on the early betas of High Sierra, but was soon pulled.

    Continue Reading…