January 28, 2017 — Steve Guttenberg and Bryan Chaffin

On this week’s all-star episode, we feature writer Steve Guttenberg, CNET’s “Audiophiliac.” Steve covers the home audio beat, and on this episode he’ll focus on such things as the death of FM radio in Norway, whether it’s on the endangered species list in the U.S., and what about HD radio, a digital add-on for AM and FM that delivers enhanced sound? Have broadcasters and audio equipment makers done enough to make you realize this technology — which comes on many new cars — even exists? Indeed, do people really listen to music anymore? Gene and Steve will also discuss the so-called vinyl resurgence, as Steve suggests a cheap way for you to begin to hear records again.

You’ll also hear from “cranky” commentator Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer. And why is Bryan in “cranky” mode? He is concerned over the relative lack of new products from Apple in 2016, specifically the Mac platform, where only two models, the MacBook and the MacBook Pro, received refreshes. Bryan will also express his concerns over the fact that Apple is evidently no longer developing AirPort Wi-Fi routers, and what about the decision to ditch the display lineup and offer an ugly LG display for users of the new MacBook Pro?

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January 21, 2017 — Kirk McElhearn and Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus

We feature outspoken commentator and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, also known as Macworld’s “iTunes Guy,” After Gene discusses a curious virus-style documents he was receiving from his Brother laser printer — and his solution — Kirk explains why he is bullish on Apple, despite the problems he has with recent products. Kirk continues to complain about Apple’s inability to ship products on time, using the MacBook Pro and the AirPods as recent examples.

You’ll also hear from author Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, who joins Gene in reminiscing about Apple’s past, in the mid-1990s, when they actually licensed the Mac OS to such companies as Power Computing, who then produced low-cost clones. The discussion moves to Consumer Reports’ controversial tests of the Late 2016 MacBook Pro. At first, due to inconsistent battery life ratings, CR refused to recommend the new notebooks. Once they worked with Apple to trace the problem, where their peculiar testing scheme activated an obscure Safari bug, the rating was changed to recommended. Bob calls it hit bait. He also discusses his first self-published book, “Working Smarter for Mac Users” and how the solutions he discovered helped him deal with his own ADHD symptoms.

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January 14, 2017 — Jeff Gamet and Russell Holly

We feature Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. In addition to a brief pop culture segment where Gene schools Jeff on the correct pronunciation of the wacky DC Comics character, “Mister Mxyzptlk,” the discussion focuses on the MacBook Pro and the controversy over the battery tests from Consumer Reports, in which Apple’s notebooks were at first not recommended until retested. And what about all the great gadgets introduced at the CES in Las Vegas? According to Jeff, there were more products that appeared to be ready to sell, rather than to show off an idea that may never make it into production.

You’ll also hear from Russell Holly, managing editor of VRHeads. After a brief focus on smartphone sales, and whether the market can continue to grow quickly, the discussion moves to the upcoming Nintendo Switch gaming console. Nintendo is trying to get a leg up on the competition from Microsoft and Sony by including a small embedded tablet that can be used for gameplay on the road. You’ll also hear about popular gadgets at the CES, but the main focus is Russell’s special introduction to VR technology. Are those goggles poised to take over the consumer electronics market in a big way? What about shared experiences among more than a single player? Are there any downsides other than the relatively high price of admission for the best VR gear?

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January 7, 2017 — Josh Centers and Joe Wilcox

We feature tech journalist Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles. The discussion begins with Gene’s strange story of the problems he encountered installing macOS Sierra on a 2010 17-inch MacBook Pro. The segment moves on to reports that Apple is giving the Mac short shrift, and whether such stories have any credibility. Josh brings up the question of whether innovation in the tech industry began to slow down after the death of Steve Jobs in 2011. Or is that just the way the industry was destined to evolve?

You’ll also hear from independent tech journalist Joe Wilcox, who writes for BetaNews. He’ll tell the curious tale of the two Late 2016 MacBook Pros that he owns, and the battery life issues he has confronted on both. Yet when he gave one of those notebooks, the 13-inch model, to his wife and reconfigured it with her apps and settings, battery life was normal. What about the erratic battery life tests reported by Consumer Reports magazine, which decided not to recommend the new MacBook Pros? The discussion moves to the pressing topic of whether Apple’s quality control has nosedived in recent years, as Gene cites the long-term problems with the macOS’ “forgetful” Finder.

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