May 26, 2018 — Rob Pegoraro and Ben Williams

This week, we are joined by tech columnist Rob Pegoraro, who writes for USA Today, Yahoo Finance, Wirecutter and other publications. At the beginning of this segment, Rob explains that he’s taken apart his vintage 27-inch iMac, from 2009, in order to replace the drive with an SSD from Other Word Computing. The process requires using suction cups to pry the glass from the chassis. Gene shares his experiences in upgrading a similar computer several years ago. In later iMacs, it’s held together with adhesive, making the disassembly and reassemble process far more complicated. There’s also a discussion about Siri’s voice recognition problems, and a recent report that someone’s Amazon Echo Dot, featuring Alexa, recorded a personal conversation and sent the file to a contact in another city. Can we trust these digital assistances to respect our privacy? Rob also talked about a meeting with security experts discussing changes and possible improvements in online security over the past 20 years.

In a special encore presentation, you’ll also hear a vintage segment featuring 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 by Adblock Plus.

Share
Click HERE to download

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.

Share
Click HERE to 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.

Share
Click HERE to 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.

Share
Click HERE to download