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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

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


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    More Encouraging Estimates of iPhone X Sales

    December 5th, 2017

    You might have expected this. Apple’s habitual critics were tripping over themselves attempting to paint the iPhone X — even when it was referred to mistakenly as the iPhone 8 — as a huge failure in the making.

    At first it was about the problems Apple allegedly encountered in designing the thing, and the critics used the Samsung Galaxy S8 as the model for those complaints. So Samsung put the fingerprint sensor at the rear because it evidently couldn’t embed the sensor beneath the edge-to-edge OLED display. Thus, Apple couldn’t do it either, and would follow the same tact, assuming there was a fingerprint sensor.

    But there had to be, since Touch ID is a significant factor in Apple’s ecosystem used for unlocking the phone, Apple Pay and for apps and services that also require similar levels of security. How could Apple build an iPhone without a fingerprint sensor?

    Continue Reading...


    Newsletter Issue #940: Apple and Home Audio

    December 4th, 2017

    Once upon a time, I had a fairly sophisticated stereo sound system, worth well over ten thousand dollars. It consisted of a set of classic flat panel ribbon speakers, the Carver Amazing Platinum, in piano black, and several components bearing the Carver and Sunfire labels. The preamplifier even had tubes in it, so call me retro.

    Alas, I sold it all in 2006 when I needed to raise cash. But I had reached the point where I seldom listened to it anyway. I spent more time listening to stuff on my TV set; I had a Bose home theater sound system in those days. True, the audio quality didn’t come close to matching that Carver/Sunfire system, but there was the added benefit of convenience. The main system was placed in the living room, and the family and I didn’t spend a whole lot of time there.

    Since the advent of digital audio, and the amazing and unpredictable success of the original Apple iPod, more and more people listen to music on tiny ear buds. Some will spend money on higher quality gear, perhaps a full-sized set of earphones. But for traveling about, convenience rates above audio quality.

    Continue Reading…


    Attention Lyft and Uber Drivers: GM Wants to Make You Unemployed!

    December 1st, 2017

    For several years, you’ve been reading about efforts by tech companies and the major auto makers to build fleets of cars that can literally drive themselves. Once the technology is perfected, you should be able to, in theory, enter the vehicle, state your destination to the presumed digital assistant, sit back and relax, and you’ll be taken to your destination, even with stops along the way, with comfort and safety.

    Nothing to think about; well, except if you have any latent fears that such a system can ever work successfully.

    In a published report, GM says it will be ready to put fleets of self-driving vehicles into a number of “dense urban environments” by 2019. Development is being spearheaded by Cruise Automation, a company GM acquired in 2016 to rev up development of autonomous vehicles.

    Add to that the self-driving vehicles already being tested by such company’s as Alphabet, parent company of Google, Apple and even the largest ride hailing firm, Uber.

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    An Apple Security Reality Check

    November 30th, 2017

    Without doubt the usual offenders among Apple critics are joyfully reporting about a serious security flaw that reared its ugly head in macOS High Sierra 10.3.1. It was a foolish mistake, the sort of mistake that might cause management to find the offenders and take some serious action.

    No, I’m not suggesting they should be canned. Stuff happens. But it would probably require finding out exactly how this mistake was allowed to happen, and make sure it doesn’t happen again, and it’s clear Apple is doing exactly that.

    What was the problem?

    Well, if you installed the very first macOS high Sierra update, this flaw would allow you, or someone who has access to your Mac, to enable root mode without a password. Just enable root access, and it would be little different from getting an email account with your cable provider that used the default password, “password.” Well, except for the fact that you could leave the password field blank.

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