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May 19, 2018 (DOWNLOAD — GCN Version/a>): Each week, Gene speaks directly to the industry’s movers and shakers, including corporate leaders, industry analysts, and regular panels that feature the most respected journalists who cover personal technology.

This week, we are joined by tech journalist Derek Kessler, managing editor of Mobile Nations — who also leads their coverage of the Tesla. The owner of a Tesla Model S luxury sports sedan, Derek offers sage insights into recent reports of problems with self-driving vehicles, such as Tesla’s Autopilot. He cites cases involving a Tesla and an autonomous driving test vehicle from Uber, the ride hailing company. Are self-driving features ready for prime time, or will it take longer, much longer, for them to become fully dependable? What about drivers being lulled into a false sense of security when exposed to such systems? Derek also discusses his experiences with his Model S, and the prospects for the company’s Model 3 mid-sized vehicle. Will production hit acceptable targets before the company runs out of cash? What about widespread charging stations, and what about all the incompatible systems?

You’ll also hear from commentator Rene Ritchie from iMore.  During this episode, Rene will talk about the recent Google I/O event, focusing mainly on a controversial AI demo. What about the fact that Google seems more focused on flashy demos than user privacy? What about published reports that the AI demo may have been faked? He’ll also talk about Apple’s ongoing problems with Siri, which hasn’t advanced all that much since its introduction in 2011. What does Apple have to do to make it comparable to digital assistants from Amazon and Google? Did the introduction of the HomePod reveal Siri’s limitations in a way that convinces Apple to fix what’s broken? You’ll also hear Rene’s reaction to all those fake news stories that the iPhone X was a huge failure, even while it became the best selling smartphone on the planet for two straight quarters. He’ll offer a possible reason why investors have continued to spread false rumors about iPhone sales over the years.


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Download NOW PLAYING! May 19, 2018 — Derek Kessler, and Rene Ritchie

This week, we are joined by tech journalist Derek Kessler, managing editor of Mobile Nations — who also leads their coverage of the Tesla. The owner of a Tesla Model S luxury sports sedan, Derek offers sage insights into recent reports of problems with self-driving vehicles, such as Tesla’s Autopilot. He cites cases involving a Tesla and an autonomous driving test vehicle from Uber, the ride hailing company. Are self-driving features ready for prime time, or will it take longer, much longer, for them to become fully dependable? What about drivers being lulled into a false sense of security when exposed to such systems? Derek also discusses his experiences with his Model S, and the prospects for the company’s Model 3 mid-sized vehicle. Will production hit acceptable targets before the company runs out of cash? What about widespread charging stations, and what about all the incompatible systems?

You’ll also hear from commentator Rene Ritchie from iMore.  During this episode, Rene will talk about the recent Google I/O event, focusing mainly on a controversial AI demo. What about the fact that Google seems more focused on flashy demos than user privacy? What about published reports that the AI demo may have been faked? He’ll also talk about Apple’s ongoing problems with Siri, which hasn’t advanced all that much since its introduction in 2011. What does Apple have to do to make it comparable to digital assistants from Amazon and Google? Did the introduction of the HomePod reveal Siri’s limitations in a way that convinces Apple to fix what’s broken? You’ll also hear Rene’s reaction to all those fake news stories that the iPhone X was a huge failure, even while it became the best selling smartphone on the planet for two straight quarters. He’ll offer a possible reason why investors have continued to spread false rumors about iPhone sales over the years.

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Download May 12, 2018 — Major General Earl D. Matthews and Joe Wilcox

This week, we invite you to meet Major General (Ret) Earl D. Matthews: He spent three decades at the nexus of big budgets and cybersecurity, including stints as Director, Cyberspace Operations and Chief Information Security Officer at HQ, U.S. Air Force, and VP for Enterprise Security Solutions at Hewlett-Packard. In his current role as Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Verodin, Inc., he champions the concept of security instrumentation, a process that continuously validates the effectiveness of each security element in place. During this episode, he’ll cover a gamut of cybersecurity issues that include the privacy issues at Facebook, the DNC hack, along with managing your personal privacy at a time when tens of millions of Americans have had their credit reports hacked. Major General Matthews will also reveal two episodes of ID theft that impacted his own family.

You’ll also hear from tech columnist and former industry analyst Joe Wilcox, who writes for BetaNews. During this episode, Joe will explain why he regards Apple’s Siri voice assistant as worse than Microsoft’s Skype, despite all the connection glitches with the latter. Will hiring former Google executives help Apple make Siri more responsive and accurate, without sacrificing your security? You’ll also hear about Google I/O and Android P, and about all those fake news reports that the iPhone X was unsuccessful. For two quarters straight, however, Apple reported that the iPhone X was not only its best selling smartphone for each week it was on sale, but the hottest selling smartphone on the planet. Gene shares his 20 years experience with the iMac, which began with the original Bondi Blue model that he beta tested for Apple as part of the former Customer Quality Feedback (CQF) program. You’ll also hear about the Apple Watch and whether it makes sense for Apple to switch Macs from Intel to ARM CPUs.

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Download May 5, 2018 — Josh Centers and Bryan Chaffin

This week, we present commentator Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, who focuses a main part of his conversation with Gene on Apple’s record earnings for the March 2018 quarter. Despite all the unfounded rumors of poor iPhone X sales, which hurt the company’s stock price for several weeks, Apple reported that its flagship smartphone was its top-selling gadget for every week it was on sale — and thus the top-selling handset on the planet. You’ll also hear about Apple’s decision to discontinue AirPort Wi-Fi routers, why it may have occurred, and possible alternatives. And what about the announcement that, once again, T-Mobile and Sprint are attempting a merger. Will this play out this time with a different administration in Washington? Will customers receive better service, and how will prices be impacted? What about the fate of employees of both companies, and merging two incompatible cellular networks. Josh also explains why, for now, he’s basically stuck with Verizon Wireless in the rural area in which he lives.

You’l also hear from outspoken columnist Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, who explains why false rumors about alleged poor iPhone X sales got his dander up. Gene and Bryan will talk at length about such fake stories, and how Apple actually fared during the March quarter compared to last year. There are also discussions about the proposed T-Mobile/Sprint merger, and how the plan differs from AT&T’s plans to join forces with Time Warner. Will the political winds in Washington force AT&T to ditch CNN to get the merger approved by the Department of Justice? There’s also a discussion about the news that Twitter has asked its entire membership to change their passwords because of a purported error in storing them internally in plan text. Twitter claims outsiders were not impacted, but that didn’t stop Gene from immediately changing his password.

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Download April 28, 2018 — Jeff Gamet and Rob Pegoraro

This week, we present outspoken commentator Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, who briefly talks about the Slenderman urban legend, which is featured on our other radio show, The Paracast, before jumping full tilt into technology. There will be a detailed discussion about Apple’s decision to discontinue AirPort routers, and why, after pioneering that business, it decided to give it all up. What about reports that the HomePod smart speaker system isn’t selling so well? What about a thought piece. so to speak, in Macworld about products Apple ought to give up? Gene and Jeff point out that one of the items on the list, the Mac mini continues to get the love from Apple with positive statements from such executives as Tim Cook and Philip Schiller. The state of iTunes for Mac and Windows is discussed, plus the possibility that Apple might move the Mac platform to its customized ARM-based processors, or is there yet another option?

In a special encore presentation, you’ll also hear from columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Wirecutter and other publications. He discusses in detail his trip to Cape Canaveral to watch the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle, the most powerful rocket ship the company has developed so far. Rob will also explain what happened when he got lost. He briefly talks about his expectations for Apple’s smart speaker, the HomePod before discussing unexpected privacy issues involving an activity-tracking social network known as Strava, and the downsides of publicly revealing the location of its users, especially if that location is a secret U.S. military base. The privacy of connected cars is also discussed, particularly concerns about all that driving data a car collects, which can be used by insurance company, with a plugin receiver, to track your driving record. Gene and Rob also discuss whether car makers should make it easy for you to erase your data when you trade in the vehicle or it’s totaled.

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Download April 21, 2018 — Peter Cohen and John Martellaro

This week, we present outspoken commentator and podcaster Peter Cohen, who focuses on such topics as recent concerns about the alleged poor sales of Apple’s HomePod smart speaker system. You’ll also hear Peter explain why he loves his Apple Watch, what he uses it for, and about its ongoing success; it’s now the best selling wearable in he world. And what about the possibilities for the next Mac Pro, due some time in 2019 according to Apple? What about renewed rumors that Apple plans to move Macs from Intel processors to its own ARM-based designs? Are there pitfalls? What about emulating Intel apps, at least at the start, and running Windows apps as you can do now on a Mac? To be brief, Gene remains skeptical that it’s going to happen anytime soon.

You’ll also hear from John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer. The bill of fare this week includes Apple CEO Tim Cook’s denial that Apple plans to merge iOS and macOS into some sort of converged product. What about Amazon’s Fire TV Edition sets, and will they do what Apple TV can’t? Should Apple be licensing its set-top box technology to TV makers? John also discusses the reported struggles of the HomePod, and how the next Mac Pro, due in 2019, will be “fundamentally different” from previous models because Apple plans to focus heavily on making professional workflows run more efficiently. And what about Apple’s recent educational event, where a new $329 iPad was introduced? Could it be that Apple is attempting to regain traction in the educational market with an obsolete formula? Can they possibly turn things around, or are Chromebooks going to continue to stay ahead?

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Download April 14, 2018 — Chris Weber and Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus

This week, we present security expert Chris Weber, co-founder of Casaba Security, a Seattle-based ethical hacking firm that advises major tech, financial, retail and healthcare companies. They also work with companies to develop secure apps and software. He is the coauthor of the book, “Privacy Defended: Protecting Yourself Online.” During this session, Chris will discuss the growing brouhaha over Facebook privacy, and the kind of information they collect about their users. Its unexpected involvement with the 2016 Presidential campaign is also covered, and what about the appearance of Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg before Congress? You’ll also hear Chris talk in general about protecting your privacy, and making it harder for hackers to take control of your accounts by using strong passwords and two-step authentication, which involves adding a second method, often a smartphone, to provide extra security from hackers.

You’ll also hear from long-time Apple guru and prolific author Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, as Gene recounts yet another episode of his ongoing troubles with AT&T when he tried to take advantage of a cheap offer for DirecTV. Gene explains why he’s kept AT&T service for his iPhone even though there are other and possibly better alternatives. Bob says he switched from AT&T to T-Mobile. There’s also a brief discussion of “world backup day,” as Gene facetiously suggests that maybe the show ought to go back in time to honor the event in the proper fashion. And what about published reports that future versions of macOS and iOS might allow you to run the same apps on both? And what about recent speculation that Apple will someday ditch using Intel processors on Macs and make yet another processor move, to the same A-series ARM chips used on iPhones and iPads? Is this a reasonable possibility, or would the fact that many Mac users need to run Windows at native speeds make such a move unfeasible?

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Download April 7, 2018 — Josh Centers and Ben Williams

This week, we present author and commentator Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, who devotes a heavy portion of this segment to focus on the inconsistencies of the two HDR formats for 4K TV, HDR10 and Dolby Vision. He cites instances where it doesn’t seem to work even on sets where it’s supposedly compatible. Gene and Josh also discuss Apple’s recent decision to hire John Giannandrea, former chief of search and artificial intelligence for Google. Will this new employee help Apple fix Siri’s problems and advance its AI and VR efforts? Gene expresses his concerns about the quality of the first batch of TV shows reportedly scheduled for production by Apple as part of its expanded entertainment roster. And will it be a value-added feature of Apple Music?

You’ll also hear from Ben Williams of Adblock Plus. Ad blocking has experienced a lot of activity over the past year, especially since Google entered the fray with its ad filter for Chrome. There are still battles between publishers and ad blockers, and payment systems to publishers from users are being talked about with more frequency. Gene and Ben will engage in an extended discussion about the value of online advertising, and the long history of making it as offensive as possible. There will also be a pop culture discussion, about ads that build branding images based on using a well-known personality, such as Oscar winning actor J.K. Simmons, known for Farmers Insurance commercials and loads of movies and TV shows, including the recent comic book film, “Justice League,” where he played Commissioner Gordon. You’ll also learn how ad blockers can be configured to allow ads that have been approved for content and presentation.

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Download March 31, 2018 — Kirk McElhearn and Bryan Chaffin

This week, we present a very special encore episode, in which we feature outspoken podcaster and columnist Kirk McElhearn, who focuses heavily on his experiences with Apple’s HomePod. He explains the problems he’s found with the product, particularly a bassy response, and problems with Apple’s Siri voice assistant. Will future software updates allow you to adjust the frequency profile of a HomePod, other than with iTunes? What about improving Siri’s recognition accuracy? What about eliminating the problem where it leaves white rings on wood surfaces that are oiled or waxed? Kirk also covers possible future Macs, such as a new Mac Pro and whether there will be an upgrade to the Mac mini, which hasn’t been updated since 2014? Gene continues his suggestion that HP’s Z2 Mini Workstation is a potential future direction with the Mac mini, offering powerful performance at a relatively low cost.

You’ll also hear from commentator Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, He also talks about the HomePad, and his perception of its sonic quality and future prospects. What about the still-delayed AirPlay 2 feature that was first promised to Apple users in iOS 11 last year? What about the curious disconnect between unproven claims that iPhone X sales collapsed last year, compared to Apple’s own financials that indicated high sales and revenue for iPhones, and reports that the iPhone X was the highest selling model  on the planet during the weeks it was on sale? How do such false stories get started and why do they continue even after Apple revealed the truth? There’s also talk about the unexpected success of the Apple Watch which, in 2017, became the number one best selling wearable on the planet. This comes after the Apple Watch was regarded as a tepid performer in the marketplace for so long.

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Check out the Show Archives for earlier episodes.