Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

H.S. Principal Dr. Amy Fast - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Amy Fast on Background Mode

Amy Fast is a high school principal in the McMinnville School District in Oregon. She holds a Ed.D. degree. Previously, she’s been an elementary teacher, instructional coach, and assistant principal. She is also an education commentator and author of the book, It’s the Mission, Not the Mandates.

After a brief overview of Amy’s career and a discussion of her book, we dug into the issues facing educators amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We covered planning for remote vs. in-person classes, the technology of remote classes, teacher concerns about in-person class safety, funding for cleaning, effectiveness of remote teaching, mental health issues, and long-term changes to education in the post-pandemic era. Parents with schoolchildren and educators will find this interview enormously helpful.

IT Security Manager, NIST, Bob Gendler - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Bob Gendler on Background Mode

Bob Gendler is an IT Specialist in the Apple world and a Jamf guru. He holds a B.S. degree in Information Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is now part of the Mac Management team at NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, in Washington, D.C.

From a very early age, Bob fell into the world of Apple starting with an Apple IIgs and, as a teenager, a Power Mac 6100. Quickly, as an undergraduate, his specialty became system administration, and, later, that served him well landing the job at NIST. Bob filled me in on his latest project, the “macOS Security Compliance Project,” and the security problem the community faced with macOS. Basically, the new GitHub project leverages a library of scriptable actions which are mapped to compliance requirements in existing security guides or used to develop customized guidance. Bob nicely explains this crucial tool, his team, and who would benefit.

Apple's Next iPhone Vision: Up Periscope

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Apple's Next iPhone Vision

This week, P.D. opens with an exciting change to the iPhone telephoto camera—a periscope lens system. It’s Apple’s next iPhone vision.

NBC Peacock Review

· John Martellaro · Editorial

NBCUniversal Peacock Logo

John has mixed feelings about this new TV streaming service in his NBC Peacock review.

TMO Contributor Kelly Guimont (#12) - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Kelly Guimont on Background Mode.

Kelly Guimont is a long-time podcaster, Contributing Editor for The Mac Observer, the host of the Mac Observer’s Daily Observations podcast, and a tech support guru.

In her 12th appearance, Kelly and I chat about our favorite movies and TV shows of late. I open segment #1 with an extended review of the Tom Hanks movie Greyhound (Apple TV+). Next we turn to a Kelly favorite Black Monday (Showtime). I then talk about two favorite murder mystery TV shows Death in Paradise S9 (Amazon) and The Mentalist (Amazon). Kelly tells us about Romancing the Stone (DVD) and Billions (Showtime). Join us as we explore together what’s great about these shows.

Physics Professor and Jazz Musician Dr. Stephon Alexander - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Stephon Alexander on Background Mode

Dr. Stephon Alexander is a theoretical physicist specializing in cosmology, particle physics and quantum gravity (String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity). He received his BSc from Haverford College and Ph.D. from Brown University. He also explores interconnections between music, physics, mathematics and technology though recordings, performance, teaching and public lectures.

Stephon tells his story about growing up in the Bronx amidst a very diverse group of students. Encouraged by his parents and teachers, he showed great curiosity and intelligence. Still, as person of color, he faced many challenges as he worked towards his Ph.D. We chatted about the mind of the physicist, physics intuition, music, the role of mathematics, String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity as well as events before the Big Bang. If you are a young student, dreaming of becoming a physicist, this show is a must – full of inspiration and insights.

Apple TV+ 'Greyhound' Review

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Greyhound

Tom Hanks explained the concept behind his film Greyhound, but critics still didn’t get it. John offers his review.

The Real Story Behind Apple TV+ 'Greyhound'

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Tom Hanks Greyhound Apple TV+

Greyhound is an exciting movie on Apple TV+, designed to make a splash. But, as with any historical presentation of war, there’s a lot more behind the scenes to know about.

How to Look Up Your Apple Warranty Status

· John Martellaro · Quick Tip

Apple Warranty

There’s an easy way to look up your Apple warranty status for any product you own. And then proceed if you need assistance.

Partner, Many Tricks Software Rob Griffiths - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Rob Griffiths on Background Mode

Rob Griffiths worked for Apple (1990-95), founded macosxhints.com in 2000, went on to write for Macworld Magazine, has done some podcasting, and is currently a partner at Many Tricks Software, makers of great Mac utilities such as Moom, Witch and Name Mangler.

Rob recalled his early years with the T.I. Silent 700, Commodore PET, and Apple II. At Colorado State University, Rob realized programming was not for him and followed a business track. Later, after graduate school, he landed a job with Apple. We chatted about his career, moving on to great years at Macworld Magazine, and then his current partnership at Many Tricks Software. We then delved into WWDC 2020, challenges as an Apple developer, the transition of Macs to Apple Silicon, and the evolution of macOS as a partial touch-screen OS. Good stuff here!

A New iMac Seems Imminent

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

We’ve been expecting a new iMac with an Intel 10th generation CPU, Comet Lake. It wasn’t announced at WWDC, but reports suggest this new iMac seems imminent.

Best iPhone 11 Price

· John Martellaro · Quick Tip

If you need an iPhone 11 right now, here are the places that have the best iPhone price.

Former Apple Senior Director Michael Gartenberg (#11) - BGM Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Michael Gartenberg

Michael Gartenberg spent three years as Apple’s Senior Director of Product Marketing, reporting directly to SVP Phil Schiller. He is currently a freelance writer and has become a regular guest here on Background Mode. This BGM Interview is his 11th appearance.

We explored the WWDC 2020 Keynote in detail. We started with the production values and layout and how some elements of this new kind of presentation might show up in future events. Then we turned to the Mac on Apple Silicon transition and some of the considerations for users. Later, there was a healthy discussion of iOS 14, Scribble and then macOS 11 Big Sur’s design language and how that differs from the nature of the Mac for UNIX users. Michael always delivers keen insights on how Apple markets its products and always helps us better understand the WWDC Keynote.