Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Apple’s March 21 Event Will Have a Surprise Announcement

4:00 PM, Mar. 18th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

March 21 Apple Event surprise

For several weeks now, most every Apple observer has written the same thing about Apple's March 21 event: A new 4-inch iPhone and a new 9.7-inch iPad. No new Apple Watch 2. But if that's all we get (and don't get), the event is going to be fairly boring. What might Apple have up its sleeve? John Martellaro thinks he knows.

The Volocopter: A Different Approach to a Flying Car

5:40 PM, Mar. 16th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Flying cars have been an unfulfilled fantasy for many decades. On the other hand, small jet-powered helicopters, the kind TV stations use for traffic monitoring, are still fairly expensive to buy and retain a trained pilot. But what if one could super-size an electric drone, make it large enough to seat two humans, and take advantage of the flight stability and easy of flying of a drone? Then you'd have the Volocopter. Here's an article and embedded video that shows the flight tests from late last year. I can think of all kinds of things one could do with such a machine, assuming it's not outrageously expensive. Farmers could monitor and treat remote crops. Emergency services could deliver food and medicine to places cut off by floods. You name it. It's not the classic flying car, but a whole new kind of thinking ... with zero emissions.

Apple vs FBI: Does the Government Have the Authority to Grant Itself Absolute Power?

3:40 PM, Mar. 15th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Editorial

The current legal conflict between Apple and the FBI has proponents on each side. The issue seems almost impossible to resolve. However, John Martellaro has been pondering the larger problem and casts the current arguments in a broader perspective. The real question is not fighting terrorism; rather it's an issue of how much authority a modern American government has to grant itself absolute power.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Cult of Mac’s Publisher Leander Kahney

3:20 PM, Mar. 14th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Leader Kahney is the editor and publisher of the website Cult of Mac. He's also famous for a series of books about Apple, including the recent "Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products." We talked about Leander's early career as a newspaper reporter in the UK. Right out of college, Leander got a job with a local newspaper which sent to write about the war in (the former) Yugoslavia. That wasn't for him, and so, via some friends, he moved to San Francisco and started freelancing for tech magazines, and that brought him into the Apple world. Soon, Leander realized the Apple followers were really a kind of cult, and that led to a blog called the Cult of Mac. Fans of Leander's books will want to hear all the details from this lively, personable author.

It’s Time For a New, Highly Secure OS from Apple That Hosts Both OS X and iOS

5:30 PM, Mar. 11th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

A new supervisor OS from Apple?

Apple's OS X, derived from the legacy BSD UNIX, was born in the mind of Steve Jobs and engineers at NeXT more than 20 years ago. It came to fruition at Apple in March 2001. It was a product of its time. iOS was launched for the iPhone in 2007 and designed for hardware that was one percent the speed of Apple's modern A9(X) SoC. Perhaps it's finally time to move on to a hybrid OS that can run both with a high security AI wrapper. John speculates.

This One Thing Will Make Your iPhone and Mac Passwords More Secure

5:30 PM, Mar. 10th, 2016 · John Martellaro · How-To

Password quality techniques

You have probably seen suggestions on how to construct a more secure password. But times are changing, and those bad guys who would break into your device now have advanced algorithms and so much computing power, they can easily outsmart your most devious passwords. Nevertheless, there is one thing you can do to ensure the quality of, if you must, your human chosen password. John Martellaro explains.

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.