Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

What You Need to Know About SSD Layer Configurations

· John Martellaro · Analysis

SSD

Not all SSDs are the same. Some are enterprise class and some are at various levels for the consumer, trading speed for size and cost. John found an excellent source that explains.

TMO UK Associate Editor Charlotte Henry (#4) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Charlotte Henry on Background Mode

Charlotte Henry is a London-based technical journalist. A self-described media junkie, she writes about Apple — and now for the Mac Observer as well as our UK Associate Editor. She has also written for City A.M. (London’s daily business tabloid,) Computer Business Review, the Independent on Sunday and CapX. Her new book is: Not Buying It.

In this special episode, Charlotte and I discuss the various streaming TV services: Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, CBS All Access, Britbox, Peacock, and Quibi. We chat about our favorite shows, our experiences viewing, the pricing, and the prospects of success for the new guys on the block. Charlotte loves The Bold Type (Netflix). John waxes poetic about The Mandalorian and Star Trek: Picard.

7 Metrics of Success For a New TV Streaming Service

· John Martellaro · Analysis

Couple watching TV

New TV streaming services are popping up frequently these days. What do they need to do to succeed? Knowing will help us all, as viewers, pick the winners.

Science Communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford (#8) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Kiki Sanford on Background Mode

Dr. Kiki Sanford makes her eighth appearance on Background Mode. Kiki is a neurophysiologist with a B.S. in conservation biology and a Ph.D. avian neurophysiology from the University of California. She’s a popular science communicator and creator/co-host of This Week in Science (TWIS) podcast and radio show.

In this episode, we spend the entire first segment discussing the coronavirus. Kiki fills us in on the details you don’t hear about on the nightly news. In segment #2, Kiki tells us the real reason why people under stress get grey hair, how Mars used to have surface water, how the Earth’s sea level is rising faster than expected, and how zebra strips seem to provide good protection against biting insects. As always, Kiki makes science fun and interesting.

A Brilliant Discussion of iPadOS Design Problems

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

iPad Pro with USB-C Port

There are some major weaknesses in the human interface to iPadOS. In a very readable essay, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber explains in awesome detail.

Questions I Would Have Asked During Apple's Earnings Report

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Apple and a Big Pile of Cash

Apple conducted its Q1 2020 Earnings Report on January 28. After the opening statements by CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri, the session was opened to Q&A with financial analysts. But there were some questions that didn’t get asked.

Eclectic Light Company Founder Dr. Howard Oakley - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Howard Oakley on Background Mode

Dr. Howard Oakley is currently a developer of Mac software and is the founder of The Eclectic Light Company. Howard started life keenly interested in medicine, attended Oxford, and spent most of his career with the British Royal Navy as a doctor, ascending to the rank of Surgeon Commander. Along the way, he became heavily involved with computers and programming. His first encounter with a Mac SE and MPW hooked him for life.

We chatted about his life and times as a navy physician, his parallel evolution as a Mac developer, his amazing blog, The Eclectic Light Company, his writing for Mac Format, and some of his amazing free software: Aquiline Check, Consolation and SilentKnight, tools he wanted for himself. Howard delves into security issues, like XProtect, in a way that few other developers do.

Apple to Re-energize the Idea of Lovable Products

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

woman hugging computer

Apple will likely release two exciting, potentially lovable products in the first half of 2020. John examines what we know so far.

How TV Streaming Services Seduce Consumers

· John Martellaro · Analysis

NBCUniversal Peacock Logo

Many of the TV streaming services use tried-and-true marketing techniques to lure customers into subscriptions they can’t fully use. John examines the techniques used by NBCUiniversal’s Peacock.

TMO Contributor Kelly Guimont (#9) - TMO Background Mode 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 9th appearance, Kelly and I chat about our favorite TV shows and movies of late. We open in segment #1 with a shared favorite: The Mandalorian (Disney+). In segment #2: Kelly: Dr. Who (BBC), The World According to Jeff Goldblum (Disney+). John: Star Trek: Discovery (S2) (CBS), Virgin River (Netflix) and Downton Abbey – the movie (iTunes). Also: some honorable mentions. Join us as we explore together what’s great about these shows.

Apple Stumbles With its Obtrusive Apple TV+ Ads

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

We’ve always expected just a little more from Apple when it comes to treating the customer with respect and delivering best-of-class products. That’s been called into question with one Apple service.

Tidbits Managing Editor Josh Centers (#6) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Josh Centers on Background Mode.

Josh Centers is the Managing Editor of Tidbits.com and has published many Take Control (TC) books. He’s the author of Take Control of Apple TV and Take Control of Home Automation. He’s been writing the Take Control books for iOS since version 8, and his latest book is Take Control iOS 13 and iPadOS 13.

In his sixth appearance on the show, Josh and I explored what’s in store for Apple in 2020. We started by looking at the iMac Pro and its possible fate. Then we turned to the mythical xMac, and continued with the MacBook Pro line. In part II of the show, we took a look at the HomePod. Is it a dead product? Then we looked at iPhone (2020) 5G wrinkles. We finished by wondering what new thing Apple might do in 2020.

When an Apple Macintosh Isn't a Macintosh Anymore

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

John looks at the week’s curated news that didn’t make the TMO headines. This collection of news debris, however, is as juicy as ever. iPhone 11 trickery. HDMI 2.1 details. And a cute robotic cat.

How to Sign Up For Disney+ and Bill to Your Apple ID

· John Martellaro · Quick Tip

Disney+ logo

The nominal way to sign up for Disney+ is to go to disneyplus.com and create an account. But it’s also possible to sign up from within the tvOS or iOS app and bill the subscription to your Apple ID. John explains how to do it—and the advantages.

Best of BGM - Emmy Winning Music Composer John Lunn

· John Martellaro · Link

John Lunn on Background Mode

One of my favorite Background Mode podcasts was with TV and movie music composer John Lunn. He’s probably best known for scoring the TV drama Downton Abbey — for which he received two Primetime Emmy awards. His recent work includes the scoring of the feature film Electricity and the hit TV shows: The Grantchester Mysteries, Shetland, and The White Queen—for which he received a Primetime Emmy nomination. Near the end, I played some sound snippets from two of his scores, and John (a Mac user) explained the instruments used. This episode is worth revisiting, especially now that the Downton Abbey movie is available for streaming.