Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Astrophysicist/SciFi Author Dr. David Brin

3:30 PM, Apr. 11th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Dr. David Brin is an astrophysicist and well-known science fiction author. He's perhaps most famous for his Hugo Award winning Uplift SciFi series. He is also a famous futurist and public speaker who consults with the intelligence and defense communities. We chatted about his early career and how his first SciFi novel, Sundiver, financed his Ph.D. work. In the second half of the show, we got into the Kardashev scale of planetary civilizations, technical means to deal with climate change, "Brin's Corollary" which is related to iPhones, cameras and UFOs, possible interactions with extraterrestrial life and, finally, how human beings might partner with artificial intelligence agents to assist and literally leapfrog each other to new levels. If you're into space, astronomy, alien life and AI, you're in for quite a ride.

Technology is Enabling New Levels of Sexploitation

5:00 PM, Apr. 8th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Modern technology and sexploitation

Sexploitation. It's a word that we like to think is constrained to unsavory websites and isn't approved of in polite society. And yet. Just as with many other technology developments that can be misused, 3-D printing and robot technology have enabled the construction of, if you will, android sex dolls. There are few legal constraints on this, and we can probably expect see it escalate quite a bit before social forces learn how to deal with it. Buckle up.

Even the Federal Government Won’t Buy Apple Products That Don’t Meet Encryption Standards

3:25 PM, Apr. 7th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Analysis

Apple FIPS 140-2 certification

There's been much fuss lately about the desire by the FBI to be able to break into any iPhone it needs to. But the FBI is just one government agency. The interesting backstory here is that the Federal Government, in general, won't buy products that don't meet certain cryptographic standards. It's called FIPS 140-2 certification, and Apple has just announced that the cryptographic modules in iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 have obtained that validation. It's delicious irony.

The iPhone Security Flaw That Apple Intentionally Creates

3:45 PM, Apr. 5th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Editorial

Apple's iPhone convenience features are risky

Apple includes certain convenience functions in iOS that make life better. Then, as a result, inventive users find workarounds that expose private information using special techniques. This is often labelled a "Security Flaw."  Of course, it's nothing of the sort.  But the bigger question is, what is Apple thinking?

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Wirecutter’s Editor-in-Chief Jacqui Cheng

4:10 PM, Apr. 4th, 2016 · John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Background Mode Podcast

Jacqui Cheng is the Editor-in-Chief of The Wirecutter. She tells the story of how she arrived there starting with her mom who was an early inspiration, introducing her to computers as a child. Later at Purdue University, she specialized in networking and programming, C# and C++. After graduation and web-database work in Cincinnati, she and her husband made a bold decision to move to Chicago—neither with a job offer—but also as Jacqui had started writing for ars technica. She became a major contributor starting in 2007, specializing in Apple & Internet law. In 2013, Brian Lam, the founder of Wirecutter brought Jacqui on as EIC. Listen in as Jacqui fills in all the details and also delves into modern day Apple with me.

How Can Apple Possibly Compete with the Tesla Model 3?

4:15 PM, Apr. 1st, 2016 · John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Tesla Model 3 vs. Apple

Yesterday's announcement by Tesla of its Model 3 has ignited the industry. The company has received more than 200,000 pre-orders in less than 24 hours. Looking forward, Tesla's goal is to sell 500,000 cars a year in 2020. Suddenly, Tesla has poured on the coals, and Apple's rumored goal of 2020 (perhaps 2019), suddenly looks lethargic. In one fell swoop, the pure electric car is poised to explode onto the scene. Can Apple ever catch up? 

Pixar’s Director of Photography Wows the TED Audience

5:40 PM, Mar. 31st, 2016 · John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Last night on PBS, I watched the TED Talks, "Science and Wonder." The presentations started out with a bang as Pixar's Director of Photography, Danielle Feinberg, launched the show with a presentation on how her team uses sophisticated computer rendering, lighting and physics to create a world that connects with the audience and tells a story. Every young person who dreams of working for Pixar doing computer generated imagery (CGI) simply has to watch Ms. Feinberg tell her story about her quest to combine art, science and storytelling. It's just nine minutes, but it's nine minutes of OMG awesome - starting in Chapter 2 at about 1m:40s.