February 24, 2018 — Dr. Eric Cole, Ph.D. and Peter Cohen

In a special encore presentation, 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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February 17, 2018 — John Martellaro and Josh Centers

This week’s guests include commentator John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer. John’s talking points include the HomePod, and whether some of the critical reviewers, including Consumer Reports magazine, were expecting too much from it. He also brings up a possible sensitivity with nearby objects, where the presence of a salt shaker close to a HomePod seriously hurt sound quality. The discussion moves to 4K/UHD TV, which John says has finally come of age. In a slightly technical discussion, John explains how the expensive iMac Pro can exploit up to 18 cores and whether any of that holds any value for the typical Mac or PC user. There’s also a discussion about a blogger’s curious and overwrought reaction to a pair of visits to an Apple Store that, after some delays, had a favorable result. And why is Apple’s complex product lineup “perfect?”

You’ll also hear from Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, who explains how he got an Apple TV 4K at a big discount, and why he’s becoming disenchanted with the product and why he likes Google Chromecast  more and more. In turn, Gene reminds listeners that his VIZIO TV has an embedded Chomecast system known as SmartCast, and why he hasn’t used his Apple TV, an older model, in over two months. And what about the HomePod and the so-called scandal involving white rings being left on oiled or waxed wood surfaces by its silicone base? Should Apple have explained this limitation earlier? What about reports that the Sonos One leaves white traces from its silicone feet? Josh also explains why he’s about to give up on Apple Music.

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February 10, 2018 — Kirk McElhearn and Rob Pegoraro

This week’s guests include commentator and podcaster Kirk McElhearn. This week he focuses his discussion on reports that Apple has lost the services of a showrunner, Bryan Fuller, for its planned “Amazing Stories” reboot and whether that was due to taking an approach that’s too restrained, too family friendly. Kirk and Gene agree about a possible way Apple will distribute these new shows. They also talk about the potential value of ad blockers, or lack thereof,, which remove the ads from a site your viewing The discussion moves to Kirk’s concerns about the HomePod, not about its sound quality but whether Siri will be able to understand complicated requests to play music.

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 its totaled.

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February 3, 2018 — Jarrod Suffecool and Joe Kissell

This week’s guests include Jarrod Suffecool, Intelligence Team Lead for Binary Defense, who takes us on a fascinating journey through the Dark Web (darknet). You’ll learn about the unsavory activities that include “crime-as-a-service” — professional hacking kits and criminal services (created or offered by skilled hackers) that anyone can buy or rent online, and they’re often very inexpensive. This makes it easier for less skilled criminals to pull off sophisticated attacks and scams, and we’ll see a lot of this by tax fraud rings over the next two months. You’ll also learn about Tor, the browser used to access Dark Web. Binary Defense Systems specializes in monitoring and infiltrating criminal marketplaces on the Dark Web to protect businesses and uncover evidence of crimes.

You’ll also hear from author/publisher Joe Kissell, of Take Control Books. Joe talks about some of the problems he’s encountered with macOS High Sierra, and about the decline in the quality of Apple’s operating systems. What about reports that Apple is cutting back on planned features for iOS 12 to emphasize reliability? Also discussed: The apparent failure of Apple’s “underpromise and overdeliver” policy by postponing features in new products that aren’t ready for prime time, including the delays in expanding support for the APFS file system to Fusion drives and Time Machine. What about the complexities and reliability problems of iCloud, which is a cornerstone of Apple’s services? Joe mentions that he’s had to backup and restore his new Mac after owning it for less than a month, and Gene talks about the very worst Mac he ever owned, one that required constant repairs from Apple in the short time he owned it.

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