Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Experiment: Go Without an iPhone For a Week. Apple Watch Only

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iPhone 8 and Apple Watch Series 3

Could you do it? Give up your iPhone and depend on just an Apple Watch? “Loup Ventures went phoneless last week. That is, some of the Loup team turned off our iPhones for a full week and only used Apple Watches for connectivity. It was freeing. And frustrating.”  There’s a lot of substance in this report, including a discussion of the “Eisenhower matrix” a “four-quadrant graph … meant to help people analyze where they’re spending time.” Fascinating stuff.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo Says A-series Macs Really Are Coming

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Apple iMac with ARM processor

The clues are all there. Apple has a mind to move its Macs to the A-series CPU. We discussed this at length on our TDO podcast recently. And now, Ming-Chi Kuo of TF Securities has confirmed it. Mike Wuerthele at AppleInsider reports: “Kuo also predicts that Mac models will adopt Apple’s A-series processor in some form starting 2020 or 2021.” So does that mean the 2019 Mac Pro will remain with Intel CPUs? And then make an abrupt jump in 2020?  The mind boggles.

A Tutorial: High Dynamic Range (HDR) for 4K TVs

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Plain 4K vs 4K + HDR

If you’ve been pondering a new 4K/UHD TV for the holidays (and an Apple TV 4K), you’ll want to check out this very easy to read introduction to the High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology used in modern TVs. You’ll learn about the basic tech and the similarities and differences between HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+, HLG and which ones each TV maker offers.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Planetary Scientist Dr. Pascal Lee

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Dr. Pascal Lee on Background Mode

Dr. Pascal Lee is a planetary scientist with the SETI Institute. He’s also Chairman of the Mars Institute, and Director of the NASA Haughton-Mars Project at NASA Ames Research Center. His research includes the history of water on Mars and planning future human exploration of Mars. Pascal has a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Space Sciences from Cornell University. We chatted about how he spent his very early years in Hong Kong, inspired by American and British SciFi TV shows. Later, he migrated to Paris where he continued his education and, inspired by Dr. Carl Sagan, made his way to Cornell in the 1990s. He was Dr. Sagan’s last teaching assistant. Next, we talked about his trips to the remote Canadian island, Devon, to study Mars-like conditions. We wrapped up with an introduction to his thoughts on SETI.

Introducing Salto, Another Terrifying Robot

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Robot technology often invokes sophisticated mechanisms, in order to perform a task, that mimic those of living creatures. When done right, the visual effect can be startling, even creepy. Mark Serrels writes: “Meet “Salto-1P” a robot being designed by the Biomimetic Millisystems lab at Berkeley, University of California. The work is being supported by an Army Research Office Grant, which makes me wonder if one of these things is gonna kill me one day.” Better check under your bed again, Mark.

Introducing Salto, Another Terrifying Robot

Plucky Google Reaches for the Golden Ring With Call Screen

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Google's CallScreen service

You have to hand it to Google. The company has a certain spirit of AI inventiveness, even if the result isn’t always iron-clad consumer ready.  In this case, it’s the recently announced Call Screen service for Pixel phones that puts an AI between the Pixel user and the telemarketers & robocalls.  Read about it in the link below. This may not do amazing things for Pixel sales, and it may still have kinks to work out, but it sets a bar and whets our appetite for what Apple could do when it’s in top gear. Alas, Siri, cannot do this. Yet.

Details of Apple's New iPad Pros Leaked

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9to5Mac has posted leaked details of Apple’s new iPad Pros. “Today, sources familiar with the development of the new 2018 iPad Pro have offered additional details about the device, its features, and more.” That includes Face ID, thinner bezels, a USB-C port for external 4K/HDR displays and a new Apple Pencil. Are we excited? Oh, yes.

This Robot Can Do Construction Work

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HRP-5P robot from Japan’s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology institute

Tech Crunch writes: “The HRP-5P is a humanoid robot from Japan’s Advanced Industrial Science and Technology institute that can perform common construction tasks including  — install drywall.” I wonder if this opens up a new career field: Robotics repair and servicing. Or, will other robots do that as well? Check out the video.

TMO Background Mode Encore #5 Interview with Science Communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford

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Dr. Kiki Sanford on Background Mode

Dr. Kiki Sanford makes her fifth appearance on Background Mode. Kiki is a neurophysiologist with a Ph.D. from the University of California. She’s a popular science communicator and creator of This Week in Science (TWIS) podcast and radio show. In this episode, we chat about some some recent topics discussed on TWIS that fascinated me. 1) Yale roboticists have developed skins with embedded actuators that can turn just about anything into robots. 2) A 127 million year old fossil was discovered in China that fills in another gap in the story of how dinosaurs became birds. 3) The new NASA exoplanet search mission, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), is operational. We talk about its mission and how it compares to the Kepler spacecraft. This is just a sample; we covered much more cool science stuff.

A Terrific Review: Apple Watch Series 4

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Apple Watch Series 4

Jason Snell, at Six Colors, has written up a very nice review of the Apple Watch Series 4.  Notable is the assessment of which previous generation owners should upgrade to Series 4. And he doesn’t forget to note: “Apple also won’t let you buy a Stainless Steel model unless you buy the cellular edition. That double penalty means you can’t get a stainless Series 4 for less than $699.” Check it out.

The Feds Will Have a Tough Time Blocking California's Net Neutrality Law

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Net Neutrality

As soon as Governor Jerry Brown signed California’s tough net neutrality bill, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit to stop it, claiming the state doesn’t have the legal authority, but this Verge article points out: “… telecom industry legal experts say that when the FCC dismantled its own authority over broadband ISPs (by rolling back their classification of ISPs as Title II common carriers under the Telecom Act), it ironically killed any authority it might have had to tell states what to do.” Oh, the delicious irony.