Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Apple Cash Holdings Could Lead to Emulating General Electric

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Apple and a Big Pile of Cash

At BetaNews, Robert X. Cringely writes:

But most importantly for those who are still looking for a headline, Apple will in 2019 greatly expand its profile in the finance industry. Tim Cook has already started in 2019 along the same path forged by GE’s Jack Welch back in 1981.

This strategic shift started to show just this week with Apple directly financing iPhone sales in China and announcing an Apple credit card with Goldman Sachs.

The theme here is wiser utilization of all that cash to make more cash. That’s what Big Companies do and what Apple seems poised to do now.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Echos Tim Cook on Privacy

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MacBook with a Spying Eye

At the Mobile World Congress 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella echoed publicly the notions of Apple’s Tim Cook on customer privacy. Computerworld’s Jonny Evans has the story.

Nadella’s Microsoft seems to be moving in a similar direction as the old guard of more responsible technologists join forces to combat the unintended consequences of tech firms who have moved fast and loose in their treatment and support for user privacy.

Evans concludes: “Ultimately, it’s all about trust.”

The One Job Exempt From Robots? Not Really

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Buddist robot

We know that robots will take jobs from humans. (We will adapt.) But the one job that seemed safe has been religious leaders: ministers, priests, rabbis, etc. But wait. The Telegraph writes:

400-year-old temple in the deeply traditional Japanese city of Kyoto has unveiled a robotic deity to deliver Buddha’s teachings in a bid to reach younger generations of Japanese.

Looks like I was wrong. (Image credit: The Telegraph via Japan Times)

TMO Background Mode Interview with Houston Chronicle Technology Editor Dwight Silverman

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Dwight Silverman on Background Mode

Dwight Silverman is the technology editor for the Houston Chronicle. He manages the TechBurger website, and writes about personal technology for HoustonChronicle.com, Chron.com and the print edition.

Previously, he was the senior web producer for premium products, managing HoustonChronicle.com, the Chronicle’s iPad app and E-edition. He also worked as the social media manager and technology blogger for the Houston Chronicle and Chron.com.

We chatted about becoming a technology journalist in the early days, his work at various newspapers, dealing with unusual writing assignments, how he fell into the Apple/Mac sphere, writing books about the Mac, and his evolution at the Houston Chronicle. We closed with a discussion of te streaming video business and how Apple will break into the business now dominated by Netflix and Amazon.

Apple to Launch TV Experience 'Dizzying in Scope'

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Family viewing TV

Digital Trends writes: “Apple is on the cusp of launching a major new product: A TV viewing experience that is dizzying in scope, and unlike anything on the market. Much more than just a streaming service, Apple’s new vision hopes to encompass both live TV and on-demand video, and be accessible on virtually any screen.”

This article is the most comprehensive exploration of Apple’s new TV service yet published and rumored to be launched on March 25. It’s a must-read.

Playing Fast and Loose with 5G Nomenclature

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5G graphic (mesh)

Some mobile phone carriers just can’t help themselves. They’re constantly fiddling with nomenclature to influence customers and gain a competitive edge. Wired writes:

AT&T is engaging in a marketing ploy—one it has used in the past. The 5GE symbol really means a phone is using advanced LTE technology, which is available on other carriers and is slower than the 10-gigabyte speeds 5G promises. When the company introduces actual 5G tech, it plans to call it 5G+ instead. Sprint is suing AT&T over the nomenclature, alleging it constitutes deceptive advertising.

Glimmers and Leaks: iOS 13

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iPhone XS lock screen

Rumors, speculation, wish lists and leaks are par for the iPhone/iOS course. In this note at BGR, Yoni Heisler takes us through some things we suspect about iOS 13.  Included is the elimination of one of the “most annoying things about the iPhone.”

Steven Spielberg Worried About How Streaming Will Affect Theatrical Movies

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Steven Spielberg

The Verge writes: “Over the weekend, in a speech at the Cinema Audio Society’s CAS Awards, director Steven Spielberg reminded listeners yet again that he’s specifically dedicated to a theater-based cinematic experience as ‘a firm believer that movie theaters need to be around forever.'”… and “for all the high-quality content streaming services are producing and regardless of the quality of people’s home theater setups, ‘there’s nothing like going to a big dark theater with people you’ve never met before, and having the experience wash over you.’” (Image credit: Gage Skidmore.)

What do you think?

TMO Background Mode Encore #6 Interview with Science Communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford

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Dr. Kiki Sanford on Background Mode

Dr. Kiki Sanford makes her sixth 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 of This Week in Science (TWIS) podcast and radio show.

In this episode, we chat about the science of rising sea levels, neural networks and vocoder technology trained to recognize brain patterns related to listening to human speech, how learning two human languages in childhood positively affects the brain, rebooting the human immune system, whether intelligence is sexy, and the colonization of Mars and whether it will be commercially exploited or preserved by all nations like the Earth’s Antarctic. Dr. Kiki is always a delight to listen to and learn from.

These AI-Created People Don't Exist

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AI generated face

Digital Trends writes: “While it’s been clear for quite some time that modern A.I. is getting pretty darn good at generating accurate human faces, it’s a reminder of just how far we’ve come…”  The face shown here is just one of many created by an AI, explained in the article. “The results … well, you can see them for yourself by checking out the website. Hitting refresh will iterate an entirely new face.”

Soon there will be artificial people on the internet writing AI created articles. (I am actually one of them.)

Do You Cover Your Webcam Lens With a Sticky Note?

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There is a certain practice, born, perhaps, of obsolete data and just plain paranoia. People place a sticky note over their Mac’s webcam when not in use. Is this a valid, efficacious practice? There are even commercial products that have a nicer look to them. John Gruber digs into the practice and the technology both old and new. There’s a lot to learn in this column by John. Check it out.

What's the Difference Between QLED and OLED TVs?

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Samsung QLED 4K TV wall mounted

In the process of writing about Samsung’s 2019 TVs, sizes and prices, CNET’s David Katzmaier also explains the difference between Samsung’s QLED TVs and the OLED technology from other makers. It’s an important distinction. The key is the ever so geeky Quantum Dots. (Image credit: Samsung.)