December 30, 2017 — Dr. Eric Cole and Peter Cohen

We feature cybersecurity expert Dr. Eric Cole, Ph.D., who served as Cybersecurity Commissioner for President Obama, the personal cybersecurity advisor for Bill Gates and his family, is a former Senior Vice President at McAfee, and was the Chief Scientist at Lockheed Martin, where he specialized in secure network design advising the Dept. of Defense, the FBI, and the Dept. of Homeland Security. A leading expert on cybersecurity, Dr. Cole will discuss consumer protection, major corporate hacks, such as the large-scale intrusion into Equifax that impacted tens of millions of people, and cybersecurity best practices. Dr. Eric Cole’s newest book is “Online Danger: How to protect yourself and your loved ones from the evil side of the internet.”

You’ll also hear from outspoken commentator and podcaster Peter Cohen, who has a lot to say about the recent revelation that Apple deliberately throttles iPhone performance when the battery is deteriorated. Confronted with class-action lawsuits, Apple has not only apologized for not informing customers in advance of what it was doing, but is offering to replace batteries on the affected models for $29 beginning in late January of 2018, and release an iOS update that will allow you to check battery health. The difficulty in improving battery technology to make them hold a charge longer and handle more charging cycles is also discussed. Gene brings up the Apple TV 4K, and whether smart TV sets, such as the 2017 VIZIO M-Series display that he’s reviewing, which contains Google Chromecast, lessens the need for a separate streaming box.

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December 23, 2017 — Kirk McElhearn and Bryan Chaffin

On this week’s all-star episode, we feature outspoken commentator/podcaster Kirk McElhearn. Front and center is the ruckus over reports that Apple was deliberately throttling performance of older iPhones. Even though Apple admitted to the practice, claiming it was only done to allow units with deteriorating batteries to function properly, several class action lawsuits have already been filed against the company. Kirk gives you his unvarnished opinion of the practice; does Apple deserve to lose those cases? The discussion also focuses on Apple in 2017, and the costly iMac Pro all-in-one computer, which is now shipping.

You’ll also hear from tech publisher/editor Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, who also offers his opinion on Apple’s actions over what Gene calls “Throttlegate.” What about previous so-called Apple scandals, such as “Antennagate,” where connectivity would sharply decline on an iPhone 4 if you held it the “wrong way,” and “Bendgate,” where some users reported that the iPhone 6 Plus would bend when placed in the rear pockets of their pants? Gene and Bryan also talk about the value of Apple TV. In offering a brief report on the Vizio M-Series TV he’s reviewing, which comes with Google Chromecast built in, Gene wonders about the future prospects for Apple’s streamer. In pop culture mode, the duo talk about Apple’s reported billion dollar move into TV production, which includes a new sci-fi show produced by Ronald D. Moore, of Battlestar Galactica fame. And does Tom Cruise really do most or all of those death-defying stunts in his movies?

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December 16, 2017 — Rob Pegoraro and Jeff Gamet

On this week’s all-star episode, we present tech commentator Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Consumer Reports, Wirecutter and other publications. During this episode, Rob will put the FCC’s decision to abandon net neutrality into perspective. Will ISPs begin to prioritize net traffic, or will the possibility of negative publicity and potential lawsuits postpone — or prevent — any changes for the near future? Rob will also discuss the end of AIM, and how this pioneer instant messaging app influenced an entire industry? And do we really need lots of messaging apps to stay in touch with our contacts? Gene laughingly refers to Rob as a turncoat as the guest explains why he, a longtime Mac user, recently purchased a PC notebook to replace his aging MacBook Air.

You’ll also hear from tech journalist Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. As the segment begins, Jeff complains that his copy of Skype 7 for the Mac was upgraded to Skype 8 without his approval, and he doesn’t like the all-new interface. In an extended discussion of net neutrality, Gene points out that more and more cable companies are embedding Netflix into their set-top boxes, perhaps as a move to help reduce cord cutting. As the pair move into pop culture mode, Gene mentions the latest reported move by Apple to add original TV content, with a direct-to-series order for a new sci-fi series from producer Ronald D. Moore, whose previous shows include Battlestar Galactica. Jeff explains in great detail why the fabled Star Wars lightsaber would be impossible to use in a real world setting. Gene suggests that the DC Comics super heroes on TV are better than their movie counterparts. And what about having different actors portray such characters as the Flash and Superman?

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December 9, 2017 — Kirk McElhearn and Larry O’Connor

In a special encore presentation, 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?

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December 2, 2017 — J.D. Levite and Jeff Gamet

This week’s guests include J.D. Levite, senior editor of Thrifter.com. Thrifter is a consumer site focused on tracking hot deals on tech and other products, special holiday promotions, etc. This discussion focuses on finding the best deals for the holidays, including top grade 4K TVs and the key features that will maximize your enjoyment. Gene and J.D. will also discuss the top gaming consoles, media streamers, such as Apple TV and Roku, Bluetooth speakers, and even drones and gear for the connected home. You’ll also hear why Gene remains skeptical about the Internet of Things.

In a special encore segment, you’ll also hear from Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer. In pop culture mode, Jeff mentions The Shadow before moving to a pair of Fox TV genre shows, “The Orville,” a sci-fi series reminiscent of Star Trek with comedic elements, and “Gotham,” the Batman prequel. After Jeff admits he hasn’t kept up on the super hero shows on The CW, he explains how he got up early in the morning to place an order for an iPhone X at AT&T’s site. Although he says he appears to have been successful in placing that order, it appeared there might be glitches in AT&T’s ordering system. After a brief discussion about the iPhone X’s most controversial features, such as the “notch,” the conversation moves the future of the Mac mini. Just what sort of upgrade is Apple working on? Will it offer more powerful components to make it more suitable for use as a web server or a low-cost workstation? Does the delay in updating a product last refreshed in 2014 mean that Apple is working on a major redesign?

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