Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

OWC’s USB-C Dock Has a Complete Set of Ports and is Fully Powered

4:15 PM, Mar. 9th, 2016 · John Martellaro · In-Depth Review


There are now small, unpowered USB-C hubs or docks that are good for travel with a MacBook. They have extra USB-A ports and, typically, not much more. However, there's a real need for a full-featured dock that has it all: high-power USB-A ports for charging, SD Card, Ethernet, HDMI video, and audio. This OWC dock has all those ports, all combined into a beautiful piece of hardware.

An Amazing Apple Pencil Review Drawn With, Guess What, an Apple Pencil

3:15 PM, Mar. 7th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

The Apple Pencil is a great device, and one could write may words about it. But that's already happened. How about a visual review of it actually drawn with an Apple Pencil? That's exactly what Serenity Caldwell at iMore has just done, and we loved it. Take a look for yourself to see what this new breed of Apple stylus can do. By the way, Serenity was recently a guest on our TMO Background Mode podcast. Check out both very cool links.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With TransAstra’s Founder Dr. Joel Sercel

2:10 PM, Mar. 7th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Asteroid mining! When you think about that, science fiction stories placed many years in the future come to mind. But Dr. Joel Sercel, Founder and Principal Engineer at TransAstra Corp., has other ideas. And he knows what he's doing. Dr. Sercel earned his Ph.D. at the California Institute of Technology while working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in advanced propulsion systems. Today, he's at TransAstra developing the technologies and vehicles (space tugs) to mine asteroids and create refueling stations in space.  It turns out that with specialized spacecraft, propellant can be extracted, via optical mining, from certains kinds of asteroids. Things are moving fast in this industry, boosted by the high technology and funding available in Silicon Valley. Joel presents a fascinating glimpse of SciFi turning into reality. Today.

The iPhone’s Technology is Indistinguishable from Magic - That’s Now a Problem

3:40 PM, Mar. 4th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

The magical iPhone

Apple's iPhone is incredibly easy to use. So much so that its operation is indistinguishable from magic. Starting with extremely sophisticated silicon and working its way up through layers of abstraction, encryption technology and security and privacy measures in iOS, it is so complicated that few outside Apple understand its working principles.  That's turning into a big problem for governments.

Because One Absolutely HAS to Have a Levitating BT Speaker

2:00 PM, Mar. 4th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Levitating Bluetooth speakers are, well, the cat's meow. They wow your family, spice up the office, amaze friends, and make your den look like Geordi LaForge's personal science lab. The one I think is the coolest is the Crazybaby "Mars" for US$329. It looks like a flying saucer, has an 8 hour battery life, and then it has to come in for a landing. Mars comes in three colors: gray, black and white. On the other hand, If you're looking for a levitating speaker that's a quite a bit less expensive, The Mac Observer Deals has its own for sale called the "Lyrix Axis." It has multiple LED color settings and wireless charging for continuous operation. It sells for $139.95. (Product images shown are not to scale.) Either one of these amazing speakers will float your boat. 

OS X: Twelve South’s Amazing Dual-Screen Wallpapers Get Set #3

4:40 PM, Mar. 1st, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Twelve South has been building a collection of matched dual-screen desktop (wallpaper) images. Recently, the third in the series was released. The company says: "At Twelve South, we have a passion for amazing images, beautiful visuals, and great design. We love seeing our collections – Fall in San Francisco and Scotland Vacation – on dual-screens around the world. For our third collection, we partnered with the amazing photographer, Scott Gordon, to capture the San Francisco Bay during the golden hours - that time before sunrise and sunset when the light is perfect for shooting. The resulting images are magical – we're thrilled to share them with you." The webpage has links to the three the collections and how to install them. Of course, these beautiful images can be used on single display if desired.