September 29, 2018 — Adam Engst and Jeff Gamet

In a very special encore episode, we present writer/editor Adam Engst, of TidBITS, both of whom talk about their different approaches to watching TV. Gene actually cares about the technology, while Adam will more or less accept anything that works. The Apple TV isn’t treated well by Gene, who suggests that at least some sets with built-in smart features are more or less just as useful. There’s also a discussion about the HomePod, and its tendency to sound a little bassy. And what about Siri? Has it truly reached its potential or does it need work? What about a published report that some of the original Siri employees at Apple were unhappy with its direction and how Apple handled its development. Or would it take an improved scheme to handle its higher and higher load on Apple’s servers? Gene suggests an error correcting feature, where you inform Siri when it makes a mistake and give it permission to allow Apple to record the problem.

You’ll also hear from Jeff Gamet, Managing Editor for The Mac Observer, who also focuses on the so-called Siri follies. Gene repeats his suggestion about setting up an error-correcting feature to improve its accuracy. Jeff mentions the recent auction of a job application from Steve Jobs, as Gene wonders why anyone would actually care about such a thing, while Jeff reminds us of Jobs’ influence on society. There’s also a pop culture discussion that includes well-known character actors and how they enhance the value of a film or TV show. Focusing on 4K TV, Gene and Jeff discuss the confusion and incompatibilities of HDR. Even if a TV or set-top box supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, not all sets will be able to present content in both formats. To make matters all the more confusing, not all sets support HDR from all HDMI ports, even the ones that are supposed to support these formats.

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September 22, 2018 — Carlos Perez and Stephen Baker

This week we return to cybersecurity with Carlos Perez, principal consultant and head of APT (advanced persistent threat) research at TrustedSec. Carlos is tasked with investigating the latest hacking techniques and tools being used by sophisticated cyber-criminals  from around the world. As part of his work, he also trains the DoD’s “hunt teams” known as Cyber Protection Units, or CPTs, which are like the rapid response teams for national security cyber incidents. The CPTs are flown out on C130s. There will also be a heavy focus on common sense security tips that you can use to help protect yourself from online danger.

In a special encore segment, 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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September 15, 2018 — Darius Norman and Bryan Chaffin

This week we present a thorough look at tech, microchip credit cards, and identity theft with credit repair specialist Darius Norman, author of “Rewriting Financial Rules.” Following the introduction of microchip equipped credit cards in 2015 in the United States, which make the cards difficult to counterfeit, criminals focused on new account fraud. We are also seeing thieves going after our children’s social security numbers to do this, so our children are in danger and may never know until they are old enough to apply for credit themselves. What do we do? Darius also focuses on what you should do in the event your credit history or identity are compromised, as Gene reveals some of his personal experiences.

You’ll also hear from tech editor Bryan Chaffin, co-founder and co-publisher of The Mac Observer. During this segment, Bryan will talk at length about Apple’s September 12th media event, in which three new iPhone X variants were demonstrated. Bryan covers his experiences in ordering one of the new smartphones, plus an Apple Watch Series 4. As a long-time user of luxury watches, Bryan relates his experience with an Apple Watch Series 2 and his expectations for the Series 4, which includes more health-related features, such as an ECG to measure the health of your heart. There is also some talk about the forthcoming iOS 12.

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September 8, 2018 — Jason Lang and Stephen Baker

This week we present a very special encore episode that features 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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September 1, 2018 — Josh Centers and Rene Ritchie

This week we feature commentator Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, and author of “Take Control of Apple TV” and other titles, who focuses on the new product and service announcements expected at Apple’s media event set for September 12, 2018 at their new Cupertino, CA campus. In addition to the rumored iPhone introductions, will there be a Series 4 Apple Watch, perhaps with a slightly larger display in a slightly slimmer case? What about new iPads, or will they join new Macs later this year. And why doesn’t Josh think that his Apple Watch is that good a product? You’ll also hear a discussion about the prospects for Apple TV’s success, and about the 55-inch TCL TV, with Roku, which he bought when his 2015 Sony TV suddenly failed. You’ll also hear a discussion of iOS 12, which is also the subject of a book from Josh, entitled “Take Control of iOS 12.”

In a very special encore segment, you’ll 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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