Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

T2M2 Utility Sheds Light on Time Machine Operations/Errors

· · Cool Stuff Found

When macOS Time Machine works, it does so swimmingly. But when it goes wrong, it can be hard to diagnose the problem. Worse, according to the developer, “Before Sierra brought the new unified log, it was easy to check for problems using Console. But from Sierra on, that has become increasingly complex, and most users would rather undergo root canal treatment than try to make any sense of what they now see in Console.”

“My solution is a free tool, The Time Machine Mechanic, or T2M2, which I built to analyse Time Machine entries automatically in [macOS] logs.”

And it now looks great in Mojave’s Dark Mode.

T2M2 Utility Sheds Light on Time Machine Operations/Errors

Volocopter Coming To Your Location

· · Cool Stuff Found

I’ve written about Volocopter before. Now, progress is being made, and it’ll be undergoing autonomous trials in Singapore next year. The expectation, according to engadget, “If the Singapore tests go well, the technology progresses as planned and the company can get regulators on board, you could be hopping into a Volocopter for your commute in about five years.” The best part? You won’t have to tip the autonomous pilot.

Volocopter Coming To Your Location

Apple Has Been Doubling Down on HDR Video

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HDR - Dolby Vision example

This tidbit is from February, but it has some interesting facts. First, H.266 is in the works and will offer 30% better compression than the H.265 standard used for 4K TV. It’ll be needed for 8K TV.

Plus, “Jason Power, Sr Director of marketing/broadcast at Dolby Labs, said that the progress made by Dolby Vision was further boosted when the codec was accepted at CES by Apple for its portfolio of video products, and where Apple was aggressively promoting High Dynamic Range (HDR) as ‘the new normal’ for broadcasters. There were now more than 200 titles available in HDR from Apple.” No wonder the iPhone XS/Max and XR both fully support HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

Intel's 9th Generation Chips Confront Moore's Law

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Intel 8th gen Core.

Moore’s Law appears to be coming to a grinding halt, and Intel is confronting that reality with new ideas to speed up it’s 9th generation CPUs. The Verge writes: “But for the most part, the new chips have the same things last year’s chips had: more cores. And the reason is pretty simple: Intel still hasn’t managed to move on from its 14nm manufacturing node to the next step, its repeatedly delayed 10nm process.”

TMO Background Mode Interview with Science Fiction Writer & Biographer Alec Nevala-Lee

· · Background Mode Podcast

Alex Nevala-Lee on Background Mode

Alec Nevala-Lee is a science fiction novelist, essayist and biographer. He’s known for the scifi novels: The Icon Thief, City of Exiles, and Eternal Empire. He’s written for Analog Science Fiction, and he’s had essays and non-fiction published in the Los Angeles Times, Salon, The Daily Beast and more. We chatted about growing up in California, the influential book that inspired him to become a writer, his early career, life at Harvard, and quitting his job to become a struggling – then successful novelist. Alec also shared a bit about his writing tools and techniques. Finally, we explored his new biography entitled: ASTOUNDING, a critical look at the life, writing and mutual influences of four famous scifi authors: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard during the Golden Age of Science Fiction in the 1940s and 50s.

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

· · Background Mode Podcast

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

· · Cool Stuff Found

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