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    DOWNLOAD — Free Version: On this week’s all-star episode, we feature commentator/podcaster Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. Gene and Jeff do a pop culture segment, anticipating the movie version of “Wonder Woman,” the introduction of General Zod on the “Supergirl” TV show, and other movie and TV-related topics. The tech segment will cover expectations for Mac notebook upgrades at the 2017 WWDC in June, whether actor Jeff Goldblum might have become the voice of Siri, the Microsoft Surface Laptop, and whether you can trust the cloud.

    You’ll also hear from ethical hacker Dr. Timothy Summers, President of Summers & Company, a cyber strategy and organizational design consulting firm. Tim will offer a comprehensive look at the recent WannaCry ransomware attack that targeted hundreds of thousands of institutions and businesses around the world using Windows XP. This attack targeted a Windows flaw that has been patched by Microsoft. You’ll also learn more about the ongoing prospects of bitcoin, the controversial digital currency that is still regarded as a viable alternative payment method by some. The ransomware attack required bitcoin payments to free up compromised PCs.

    Click to hear our latest episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — May 20, 2017

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    What About a Mac mini Pro?

    May 12th, 2017

    The Mac mini arrived in 2005, several months after its potential existence was basically denied by Apple. So at a conference call with financial analysts, Apple was asked if they planned to build a low-cost Mac. The answer was no.

    At $499, the Mac mini was strictly no frills, without a keyboard, mouse or display. If you wanted to upgrade memory or change out the hard drive or other parts, you had to use a putty knife or a similar tool to open the case. I wonder, in passing, what the designers were thinking.

    Evidently the  message got through, for a time. A major revision to the form factor, priced at $599, included an easy-access slot at the bottom for RAM upgrades. But it went away in 2014, when Apple released a tepid refresh at $499 that followed through on the approach taken with notebooks. RAM was soldered to the logic board.

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    iPhone Sales and Cannibalization

    May 11th, 2017

    Despite the fact that iPhone sales in the March quarter were a tad below the year-ago quarter, Apple continues to lead the smartphone market. Now on the surface, that may not seem logical. Isn’t Samsung the world’s largest maker of mobile handsets? Doesn’t Android control over 80% of the market?

    So what, pray tell, is The Night Owl talking about?

    Yes, it’s true that, if you count mobile handsets rather than specific models, Samsung is on top. It’s not about profits, but volumes. But the flagship Galaxy smartphones don’t come close to matching iPhones. This despite all the hype that Apple can’t keep up with Samsung.

    So where’s that put Apple?

    Well, according to a survey from Strategy Analytics, the iPhone 7 took 6.1% of worldwide smartphone sales, making it number one. The iPhone 7 Plus received 4.9% for the runner-up slot. The only Samsung handsets among the top five were a handful of cheaper Galaxy handsets. No, not the high-end models, even though the Galaxy S8s are getting tons of promotion, and big discounts. There are plenty of two-for-one sales to be had. Sure, you’ll see some for the iPhone 7 too, but it’s been out for eight months, so it’s near the end of its original product cycle. The Galaxy S8 just shipped last month.

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    The 2017 WWDC: The Speculation Begins

    May 10th, 2017

    So Apple has done what’s needed to jumpstart speculation about what is coming from the company for the rest of the year. Invitations have been sent to selected journalists for the June 5th WWDC keynote. As the rumors about the next iPhone continue to take shape, talk about macOS 10.13 and iOS 11 will begin to assume prominence. Will they be major upgrades, or simple refreshes with improved performance and a few dozen enhancements?

    Regardless, Apple will make it seem as if there are going to be major changes, that Apple is poised to upend the technology industry yet again. But the real question is what sort of changes Apple really needs to make with its flagship system software. Is there anything seriously lacking on Macs that Apple needs to address, other than to make macOS faster and more stable? Unfortunately, releases have bred tons of criticisms about programming lapses, inconsistent performance,

    And why does the listing for macOS Sierra at the App Store not include user reviews?

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    iPhone 8 Production: Yes, It’s Late, No It’s Not!

    May 9th, 2017

    For several months, we’ve been hearing the same old refrain: Apple is running into trouble gearing up for production of the mythical iPhone 8. As a result, it may indeed by announced at a September media event as expected, but won’t ship for months. This is the result of alleged various and sundry difficulties setting up production lines.

    A corollary rumor is that Apple shares Samsung’s difficulty in getting a touchscreen-based version of its fingerprint sensor to work, and hence will place it on its backside, contradicting it’s user-friendly Touch ID approach. In other words, the same as the Samsung Galaxy S8. Indeed, some alleged schematics of this alleged iPhone design have been posted, but it’s obvious there’s no evidence they are genuine.

    True, if the iPhone 8 — or 10th anniversary iPhone — is what it’s rumored to be, a brand new glass-based design with an edge-to-edge OLED display and other goodies, it’s possible there will  be production difficulties. Indeed, Apple does run into product shortages for a time with new products. The AirPods represent a recent example. The iPhone 7 Plus was also constrained, but that’s supposedly because Apple misjudged demand, and maybe that’s also true for the fancy wireless earphones.

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