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    Coming May 29: On this week’s all-star episode, we feature author/editor Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles. After discussing the 27th anniversary of TidBITS, Gene and Josh talk about the controversial moves from ride-sharing giant Uber and the prospects for its main rival, Lyft. Gene provides personal experiences with both, but will Uber’s plans to add self-driving vehicles someday put their human riders out of work? What about Apple’s promised commitment to professional users, with assurances that a new Mac Pro is being developed, and that they will continue to improve Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X?

    In an encore presentation, you’ll take a romp through the world of social networks with Cella Lao Rousseau, a reporter with iMore. During this segment, Cella will talk about the Snapchat IPO, its impact, and how the network plans to leverage its large user base to earn money.The discussion moves to profiles of the most popular social networks and how they meet the needs of their members. Snapchat’s unique slant is to allow you to send photos and videos that self-destruct shortly after they are viewed. The discussion includes Facebook, which Gene says has become too bloated for him except for the Messenger app, which he uses regularly because most of his contacts are on the service. Has Twitter outlived its usefulness despite becoming the medium of choice for high-profile people, such as the President of the United States, to make announcements? What about WhatsApp, Instagram, Mashable and Reddit? What happened to one of the original social networks, MySpace?

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    Grasping for Straws About the Mac Pro

    April 28th, 2017

    As you might expect, Apple has been relatively tight-lipped about the next Mac Pro. That they’ve said anything at all clearly demonstrates the pressure they confronted as pros made it clear they didn’t believe they had the love.

    I do believe Apple is telling us the truth, such as it is, as to what they are working on. The next Mac Pro will be modular and allow for easy upgrades. But it’s not as if it will resemble the cheese grater design of the original. I’m expecting something more decorative, in keeping with Sir Jonathan Ive’s design sensibilities. When I suggested it would be smaller and weigh maybe half what the Mac Pro minitower weighed, one engineer suggested I hadn’t considered the thermal limitations.

    Since this is Apple, so expect something innovative when it comes to a cooling system. It won’t have lots of fans.

    But it may be more than that, at least based on a published report about Apple trademarks for the Mac Pro that mentioned “augmented reality displays.”

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    Some False Assumptions About Apple

    April 27th, 2017

    In recent columns, I’ve covered at length the attempts by the tech media to present the just-released Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone as not only superior to the iPhone 7 but more advanced than the unannounced iPhone 8. The latter is obviously an absurd comparison.

    But what bothers me most is that the Galaxy S8’s known flaws are being largely overlooked by reviewers. Consider the flawed biometrics, key components to enhance the handset’s security. Consumer Reports initial review came close, mentioning the inconvenience of putting a fingerprint sensor at the rear and the limitations of its slow iris detection system that cannot handle darkness and bright sunlight. It’s not as flexible as the ones you see on TV, but there’s nothing said about the flawed facial recognition that can be fooled by a photograph.

    Well, you get the picture. Imagine if an iPhone had similar flaws. You’d never hear the end of it.

    The critics want to tell you that Apple is in deep trouble and there’s no way the iPhone 8 can possibly compete. But what about other Android  competitors, such as the LG G6, which is being touted as a cheaper alternative to the Galaxy S8?

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    The Silly Warnings About iWork

    April 26th, 2017

    The silly things I read about Apple or an Apple product boggle the mind. The other day, I ran across a perfectly absurd piece suggesting there was something harmful or nasty about Apple’s iWork software.

    I’m waiting for the mind to boggle!

    Now in the real world, Apple has been producing consumer-level productivity suites for years. It dates back to the launch of AppleWorks for the Apple II platform. Mac and PC versions existed ClarisWorks before becoming AppleWorks.

    Apple stopped selling AppleWorks in 2007, two years after its successor, iWork, was introduced.

    iWork consists of three apps. Pages provides word processing and simple page layout functions. Numbers is the spreadsheet, and Keynote is the presentation component.

    When iWork debuted for the iOS platform in 2013, the critics attacked Apple for releasing comparable Mac versions that lost some key features, such as multiple selection, linked text books, bookmarks, mail merge, the ability to import and export RTF files, page count, and, most important to some, AppleScript support.

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    A Paranoid Theory About the Source of Apple Criticisms?

    April 24th, 2017

    If you look at the media meme these days, the just-released Samsung Galaxy S8 is the bee’s knees. Apple’s unannounced successor to the iPhone 7, which may include a high-end iPhone 8, must be an inferior product. Apple has lost its taste for innovation, and the executives are sitting back and drinking Frappuccinos or some other overpriced beverage counting their blessings. Or the value of their stock options.

    Samsung has announced that it has received record orders for the Galaxy S8, 30% above the underperforming Galaxy S7. However, that boast means little since Samsung doesn’t exactly release sales figures. At least when Apple released iPhone sales for its first weekend, you’d get real numbers. All right, Apple didn’t do that last fall amid expectations of lower sales, perhaps fed by severe constraints on supplies of the iPhone 7 Plus.

    Despite the favorable press, the Galaxy S8 ships with some known problems, such as a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that’s awkward to reach, a facial recognition system that can be fooled by a photograph. The Consumer Reports review suggested you could use the iris scanner instead, but it, too, has some shortcomings. “The iris scanner, however, takes about a second longer to unlock the screen and doesn’t work very well in sunlight or very dark rooms.”

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