Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Astrophysicist Dr. Ethan Siegel

3:00 PM, Jun. 6th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Ethan Siegel has a Ph.D. in astrophysics, is an educator at Lewis and Clark College, and is a prolific writer about all things astronomy and cosmology. In college he had a triple major, one of which was astrophysics, but he still wasn't sure what he wanted to do in his career. It was only later when he was teaching physics in highschool that he awakened to his passion for learning astrophysics. Carl Sagan's Cosmos series on TV also had a major impact on him, and all that led eventually to a Ph.D. in astrophysics. Then, we talked about laser astronomy with adaptive optics, gravitational waves, quantum entanglement and possible hidden mysteries of quantum mechanics. Those who love—or are considering a career in—astrophysics will want to hear this story about Ethan's career.

Apple’s New Batttlefield: Rise of the Artificial Intelligence Agents

12:45 PM, Jun. 6th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Link

The Rise of the AI Agents

Our ability to communicate with computers is constrained by the technical level of the hardware and software. In the early days, we used cryptic UNIX and DOS commands. Then came the graphical user interface (GUI) with mice, windows, and the still obligatory keyboard. We're now entering a new phase in which we can reliably converse with computers that use artificial intelligence (AI). The players are Amazon, Apple and Google.  Game on.

2013 Mac Pro Freezes Continue - Owners Have Little Recourse - Apple is Helpless

4:55 PM, Jun. 1st, 2016 · John Martellaro · Analysis

Mac Pro freeze-ups wth AMD D300's continue

A non-negligible number of 2013 Mac Pro owners are experiencing intermittent freezes no matter what remedial action is taken or the version of OS X installed. Apple launched a repair program in February, but only for Mac Pros with the AMD FirePro D700 and D500 graphics cards. The D300 isn't covered, but it also experiences freeze ups. One workaround that does not solve the problem but assists with handling the freeze-up is often cited in the MacRumors forum. John Martellaro confirms that it works.

The Evolution of iPhone Means Cultural & Technical Trade-offs

5:20 PM, May. 31st, 2016 · John Martellaro · Link

The iPhone trade-offs

The iPhone evolution isn't just about technical advancements. It's also about technical and cultural trade-offs. Bigger displays create inconvenience. Smaller is inconvenient for others. There's a trade-off between law enforcement and consumer privacy, security and safety.  Electronic wallets trade convenience for potential problems in emergencies. As the iPhone evolves, these trade-offs will become more noticeable. Page two of Friday's Particle Debris looks at just a few.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Time, Fortune & Now Apple 3.0 Journalist Philip Elmer-DeWitt

2:15 PM, May. 31st, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Philip Elmer-DeWitt worked for Time Magazine for 30 years as a technical editor and was, recently, a blogger at Fortune. In this interview, we go way back to find his early inspirations. In Philip's case it was a computer programming class in highschool in the late 1960s. It seems innocent enough, but when he later joined Time Magazine and was looking to make his mark, it turned out that he knew more about computers than anyone on the magazine staff. That moved him up quickly as a reporter-researcher. In the second half of the show, we spent some time discussing the iPhone 7, its future and more. Now, Philip has launched his new project, Apple 3.0, a website that delivers on his vast expertise as a technical journalist who has covered Apple for three decades.

It Could Happen - Universally Autonomous Cars Could Fail in the Marketplace

5:45 PM, May. 27th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Future of Autonomous cars

Companies that must employ drivers and pay them, even without customary benefits, would like to replace them with computers that can drive autonomously. This makes such vehicles candidates for taxis, buses, and trucks.  But what about customers who actually enjoy being in control of a car that they own?  Is that an enduring or dying part of American culture? John Martellaro looks at the issues.

The Display You’ve Always Wanted For Your Mac: HP Z34c

1:00 PM, May. 26th, 2016 · John Martellaro · In-Depth Review

HP Z34c Display review

The Hewlett-Packard Z34c is a 34-inch (diagonal) VA LCD display that is attractively curved.  It has a native resolution of 3440 x 1440 and sits firmly on a sturdy, detachable metal stand. It's drop-dead gorgeous, has an anti-reflective coating, stereo speakers, has a built-in USB 3 hub and multiple video inputs. It is a glorious display to behold, and will work with any modern Mac or PC. John Martellaro fawns over this display in his in-depth review.

4K UHD TV: Samsung and Sony Are Passing on Dolby Vision - Why It Matters

5:00 PM, May. 23rd, 2016 · John Martellaro · Link

Competing HDR standards

Page two of last Friday's Particle Debris explores an important CNET article about how, with the latest in HDR technology, Samsung and Sony have elected to pass on Dolby Vision. However, their current 4K UHD TVs still support the HDR10 standard. Why they're doing that and why you should be aware of it is showcased, and an important summary chart from CNET is shown. "But with two rival [HDR] formats, some TVs will have a leg up -- and the brand you buy could make all the difference."  You've been warned.