July 28, 2018 — Bryan Chaffin and Peter Cohen

This week we feature commentator Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer, who covers Facebook’s ongoing woes, which resulted in a substantial loss of its market cap and a huge drop in co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth. Will Facebook regain its glory, or are too many people suspicious of its apparent lack of concern for your privacy? Gene and Bryan also talk about the throttling problem with the 2018 MacBook Pro, which Apple largely fixed with a software update. But does its thin and light design still prevent the powerful Intel Core i9 processor from reaching its full potential? What about reports of a kernel panic bug that impacts some of the new MacBook Pros and the iMac Pro? Bryan also explains why Ultra HD Blu-ray players, which support 4K video, may not be needed because of the growth of 4K streaming.

In a special encore segment, you’ll also hear from commentator/podcaster Peter Cohen, who also focuses on “Right to Repair” and the upsides and downsides. Peter offers his personal experiences as the employee of an authorized Apple dealer some years ago and how it influenced his opinion about whether Apple and other companies need to allow more repair freedom. There’s also a brief discussion about the concept of states’ rights and how it affects customers where such laws vary from state to state. The discussion also focuses on the HomePod and its possible value as a smart speaker. Both Gene and Peter explain, at length, why a HomePod is not on their shopping lists right now, and whether Apple could sell more copies if it loosened its dependence on Apple’s ecosystem when it comes to being able to listen to your stuff.

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July 21, 2018 — Jeff Gamet and Jason Glassberg

This week we feature commentator Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, who joins Gene in an extended pop culture chat. After a brief talk about the first female Doctor Who, as portrayed by Jodie Whittaker, the focus moves to comic book movies, and the dark approach taken by DC Comics compared to the lighter fare from Marvel. Gene provides a detailed report about SHAZAM, a character that once competed with Superman, which will be featured in a movie next year. You’ll also hear about the new MacBook Pro, and whether Apple addressed the concerns over the previous model. There is also talk about whether there will be an update to the iPhone SE, the next Apple Watch, the pending merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, and the problems Netflix encountered in boosting subscriptions in the last quarter.

You’ll also hear from  about election hacking risks and the uproar over the Helsinki summit. Featured on this segment is Jason Glassberg, co-founder of Casaba Security. Last fall, Casaba and his company explored possible voting system vulnerabilities for a couple of national groups, and the potential problems exhibited by different machines. What about the electronic voting units that do not offer paper backup? What about the chances of hacking returns and altering the results? Gene and Jason engage in a lengthy discussion about the flaws, particularly involving older equipment with obsolete embedded operating systems that can no longer be patched to fix security flaws.

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July 14, 2018 — Josh Centers and Joe Wilcox

This week we feature commentator Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, who covers Apple’s surprising release of a major update for the MacBook Pro. The refresh features 6-core processors, solid state drives as large as 4TB and up to 32GB RAM, twice as much as Apple has previously offered. Is this the professional  notebook that many users have craved after expressing disappointment with the models offered over the past two years? Josh will also provide speculation about a possible future successor to the Mac, using an ARM-based CPU instead of Intel. Will this be a sort of convergence machine offering features derived from the iPad and Mac, or something altogether new? There will also be a discussion about health and fitness privacy, where Gene wonders if anyone would care if it got out that he’s just shy of six feet one inch tall and weighs 178.5 pounds?

In a special encore presentation, 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.continued to spread false rumors about iPhone sales over the years.

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July 7, 2018 — Derek Kessler and Rene Ritchie

In a special encore episode, 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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