Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Simulation Curriculum’s SkySafari 5 for iOS: Impressive New Features

4:25 PM, Dec. 16th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Quick Look Review

SkySafari 5 for iOS

SkySafari is an excellent sky simulation and charting app for iOS. With it, you can view the sky at any date and time, identify objects in the sky, read about celestial objects, learn the constellations and even control an amateur telescope. On December 15, SkySafari 5 Pro was released, with the Basic and Plus versions to follow soon. The suite of apps has impressive list of new features.

How Netflix is Delivering Better Video with Less Bandwidth

3:30 PM, Dec. 15th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Analysis

Netflix's New Video Processing Technique

In the Netflix Tech Blog, the new per-title encoding optimization has been explained in some technical detail. What they're doing is very smart, and doesn't involve any new compression standards. Rather it's an adaptive bitrate that optimizes the video stream based on the kind of content and the customer's available bandwith.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With The Mac Observer’s Kelly Guimont

2:15 PM, Dec. 14th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Kelly Guimont is a Contributing Editor for The Mac Observer and Social Media Manager for Smile Software. In this episode, I asked Kelly about her career path and her recent tour at The Unofficial Apple Weblog. But long before Kelly became a force on the Internet, we chatted about how she grew up as, basically, a gifted computer expert, inspired by her mother who was a teacher. Kelly described how she has thrived in a world typically dominated by males and, later, fell in with TMO at the Macworld Expos. In the second segment of the show, we talked about how early computer magazines inspired her to learn programming and that eventually led to an amazing stint as a tech support agent for LaCie. Kelly sparkles in this interview.

Apple’s Grand Unified Theory of Products Has a Beautiful Explanation

3:30 PM, Dec. 11th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Apple's Grand Unified Product Line

Apple's product line has greatly expanded in the last five years to be, as one might say, grand. In fact, the explanation for Apple's Grand Unified Theory of Products has now been analyzed with the clarity of a physics presentation and in a way that's not been approached before. John Martellaro explores a remarkable analysis article that sheds great light in how Apple executives view their present and future products.

Need a Case for iPad Pro? UAG Has Thought of Everything

5:00 PM, Dec. 10th, 2015 · John Martellaro · In-Depth Review

UAG Composite case for iPad Pro

The Apple iPad Pro is a larger iPad than most users are accustomed to and, therefore, requires special handling. Any case for it should fit in with the intended use and be compatible with Apple's Apple Smart Keyboard and pencil. This iPad's extra weight and size make drop protection critical. John Martellaro reviews the Urban Armor Gear Composite Case for the iPad Pro to see how it measures up.

3 Reasons Apple’s TV Subscription Service Failed

6:00 PM, Dec. 9th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Editorial

Apple's subscription TV service: a threat

We now know that Apple has likely suspended its efforts, for the time being, to offer a TV subscription service. We don't know the intimate details of the negotiations, but it's possible to make some good guesses as to why Apple has come away empty handed. John Martellaro explains.

How I’d Like to See the Apple TV Evolve

3:45 PM, Dec. 8th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Editorial

Evolution of the Apple TV

There is the Apple ecosphere and there is the 4K UHD ecosphere. That creates tension. Right now, for technical reasons, it was fairly reasonable for the 4th generation Apple TV to dispense with 4K UHD support, but that will change in the next two years. Here are my best wishes for how Apple handles the transition.

Why the Science & Culture of Star Trek Beats Star Wars

6:45 PM, Dec. 7th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Fans love to discuss the relative merits of the Star Trek versus the Star Wars universe. This preference is highly subjective, and depends on one's own life evolution and experiences. But this article makes a great case, for the technically minded, that Star Trek is superior. Why? The short list: You'd never see a Jar Jar Binks character in Star Trek. Star Trek tries its best, within limits, to celebrate real science. Women are stronger characters in ST. And C-3PO is no match for the sophistication of Lt. Commander Data. The list goes to 20 items of analysis. Hey. I'm just the messenger. (But I also agree.)

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Andrew Stone From Stone Design

2:15 PM, Dec. 7th, 2015 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Andrew Stone is the founder of Stone Design, a company that has been enormously successful with apps like Create, iMaginator, Videator and, recently, the gigantic Twitter client hit Twittelator. Andrew tells the story of how he was first inspired by Star Trek, Apple's Bill Atkinson in 1987 then Steve Jobs. This interview is full of anecdotes about how Andrew hitched his star to Steve Jobs, NeXT, then Apple's iOS, never looked back and was richly rewarded. Will Shipley has described Andrew as "The Godfather of the Indie developers." Anyone who's thinking about becoming (or flourishing as) an app developer will find Andrew's story fascinating and inspiring.