Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Can You Build a “Toy” Top That Spins Forever?

5:45 PM, Jan. 4th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Recently, I ran across a video from NHK World about a competition between two Japanese teams to see who could build a small top that could spin the longest. In the competition, the top must spin on a pedestal just 2 cm in diameter. The physics, mathematics, engineering, machining and material research are phenomenal to watch. Each top must have a diameter of 5 cm or less and weigh 500 grams or less. Each team was allowed one month to design and fabricate. While the translation from Japanese into English is stilted, the engineering itself is not. Amazing stuff.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Bare Bones Software’s Rich Siegel

2:20 PM, Jan. 4th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Back on the Classic Mac OS, I was one of the early users of The Bare Bones Software text editor called BBEdit. It's been my go to editor for at least 20 years, and so I've been wanting to interview the mind behind BBEdit, Rich Siegel, for a long time. Rich tells the story about how in the late 80's, he was working for Think Technologies, a company that made its living building development tools for the Mac. During that gig, Rich, realized that there was a need for a standalone text editor for the Mac. In April 1992, a freeware version of BBEdit was released, and its success led to that always tense developer decision: quit the day job? Listen in to hear how it all turned out. Hint. Fabulous.

How Kids Can Learn to Code on an iPad, Part I

6:10 PM, Dec. 30th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Editorial

Kids, iPads and Programming

The dominant computing device of the last 30 years was the PC (or Mac). Almost every family had one, and any kid who wanted to learn to code could do so. Starting in about 2010, there was a distinct shift to mobility, smartphones and iPads. The very design of these devices weighed against software languages and learning to code. There are signs this is harming our youngest.  However, help is on the way.

It’s Time for Apple to Convert Dollars to Leadership

4:30 PM, Dec. 29th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Editorial

Apple, dollars & leadership

Apple has been enormously successful in developing products that solve customer problems by elegantly merging its software to amazing hardware. And so, in 2016, it'll be about time for Apple to start converting all that revenue and cash on hand into some serious, visible leadership roles, not just me too products, incrementally upgraded.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Apple World Today’s Steve Sande

2:30 PM, Dec. 28th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Years ago when I first met Steve Sande, I was amazed by our common interests. Macintosh, all things Apple, technical writing, astronomy, aviation and cats. You name it. We even had the same model car at one point. It was almost as if we were separated at birth. In fact, I first learned about Steve in 2009 when I read his excellent Take Control Book on iWeb (cancelled by Apple in 2011), and I thought, I need to get to know this guy. And there he was, right in the Denver, CO area along with me. Listen in as the very charming and smart Steve Sande, founder of Apple World Today, reveals how he got started with computers and writing.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With App Camp for Girls Founder Jean MacDonald

2:00 PM, Dec. 21st, 2015 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Like many in the high tech field, Jean MacDonald's career started out with an academic bent as she worked on a Ph.D. in Russian history at Princeton University. Her experience with foreign language literature naturally led to work in the book publishing world, which in turn led to considerable web development work. And then, as many know her, her nine years with Smile Software. But one day, at WWDC, she noted the dearth of young women writing commercial software. The idea for App Camp for Girls was born and launched in 2013 in Portland, OR. Today, App Camp for Girls has been so successful, it's expanding into Canada and other countries. Listen in as Jean tells her fascinating story.

You May Be Buying a New 5th Gen Apple TV Sooner Than You Planned

4:45 PM, Dec. 18th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

The Next Apple TV

The 4K UHD TV industry is a mess right now. Consumers are faced with treacherous technical decisions. Amidst the chaos, Apple is trying to improve and simplify the TV watching experience. Because the TV technology is changing so fast, it may be necessary to buy a new Apple TV every year, from now on, just to keep up.  Don't blame Apple for this.