August 25, 2018 — Kirk McElhearn and John Martellaro

This week we feature outspoken columnist and podcaster Kirk McElhearn, who talks about reports that Google is still tracking people even after they have switched off that feature. So what is this all about anyway? Kirk will also explain why he seldom uses his Apple TV anymore, as Gene reminds listeners that he hasn’t touched his in nearly a year. Is Apple’s decision to allow pay-TV services to offer them as premiums for new customers help boost sales? Kirk will also explain why he recently canceled his Netflix account, but keeps Amazon Prime. There will also be a brief discussion about the potential of the next iPhone lineup from Apple, as Kirk answers the question of whether he’s going to buy one. Gene recounts his problems with an iPhone 5c that recently became unable to sustain a reliable connection in an area with a signal the carrier claims is average.

In a very special encore segment, you’ll also hear from John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer. The bill of fare this week includes Apple CEO Tim Cook’s denial that Apple plans to merge iOS and macOS into some sort of converged product. What about Amazon’s Fire TV Edition sets, and will they do what Apple TV can’t? Should Apple be licensing its set-top box technology to TV makers? John also discusses the reported struggles of the HomePod, and how the next Mac Pro, due in 2019, will be “fundamentally different” from previous models because Apple plans to focus heavily on making professional workflows run more efficiently. And what about Apple’s recent educational event, where a new $329 iPad was introduced? Could it be that Apple is attempting to regain traction in the educational market with an obsolete formula? Can they possibly turn things around, or are Chromebooks going to continue to stay ahead?

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August 18, 2018 — Jeff Gamet and Jason Glassberg

In a special encore episode, 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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August 11, 2018 — Jason Lang and Stephen Baker

This week we present ethical hacker Jason Lang  of TrustedSec, who reports on the goings at a major hacking conference known as Black Hat. It’s one of the top cybersecurity events where a ton of new vulnerabilities and hacker tricks are revealed. This year, as usual, they are revealing new attacks on smartphones, wearables, computers and other personal gadgets, along with IoT, cars and more. Also to be presented is new research on criminal trends in the Dark Web. Jason provides common sense details about the various tricks of the hacker trade, and how you can protect yourself from intrusions. Gene also recounts a recent attempt by a hacker to exact ransom from him for something he didn’t even do. Desperation?

You’ll also hear from industry expert Stephen Baker, Vice President for Industry Analysis at the NPD Group. Stephen will discuss Apple sales, particularly the saturation of the smartphone market. What about those outrageous claims that the iPhone X was a miserable failure, and that suppliers had received reduced orders from Apple even though sales hit record levels? Stephen will also talk about the state of the PC market, including the recent drop in Mac sales. Gene and Stephen discuss the prospects for the HomePod, which hasn’t been a big seller, and set-top streamers from Apple, Amazon and Roku. Is it true that Apple TV sales are much lower than the others? What about the efforts to move more product by offering an Apple TV with special sign-up offers from AT&T’s DirecTV Now, and reports that Charter, one of the larger cable companies in the U.S., will be offering Apple TV. Gene wonders if we even need one of these devices with more and more TVs offering a decent collection of “smart” features.

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August 4, 2018 — Peter Cohen and Jonny Evans

This week we feature irrepressible commentator/podcaster Peter Cohen, who focuses on Apple’s recent report of stellar sales for the June 2018 quarter, and becoming the first company to exceed a one trillion dollar market cap despite the skeptics saying Amazon would get there first. What about the extreme disconnect between the claims from some alleged industry analysts that the iPhone X was a huge failure, even after Apple CEO Tim Cook announced it was their top-selling smartphone (and the top selling smartphone on Earth) for three quarters in a row. Peter also expresses his concerns about the 13% drop in Mac sales for the last quarter, and whether Apple has dropped the ball in creating compelling new models that will restart sales.

In a special encore segment, you’ll also hear from outspoken columnist Jonny Evans, Computerworld’s “Apple Holic,” who talks about reports of an “iPhone addiction,” in which people supposedly pay too much attention to their smartphones. Gene mentions the well-known phenomenon of lines and lines of people walking about looking down at their mobile gear. Apple’s CarPlay is briefly mentioned, along with the 2018 CES in which, again, many of the announcements involved gadgets that will never see the light of day. Jonny brings up privacy in connection with Amazon’s Alexa, about the world’s largest online retailer’s interface turning up on some TV sets. After Gene lists the connection cables he needs for his TV and his iMac, Jonny makes a strong pitch for “cable free,” in which all your gear can be connected without the need for wires and endless wire clutter.

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