Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

How Apple Might be Our Last Hope Before the Internet Dies

· · Particle Debris

Censorship

Companies exist to make money. But when wealth beyond dreams, at any cost, is the driving force behind internet business, chaos results. Big tech companies have great power. How they use that power and their own sense of what constitutes ethical, disciplined behavior might all that’s left before the free internet and its free people are no more. Apple is leading the way, but cannot do it all.

How Tribal Warfare Caused Apple’s Loss of Gloss

· · Editorial

Tribal flames.

Modern tribes are groups formed of one mind held together by their beliefs and easy, fast communication. They work to obtain a voice in the community and are often at war with each other or Apple over some technical topic. Apple tends to dismiss these tribes and focus on the customer, but tribes can have an influence too. Understanding Apple’s intentions and vision against the torch of the tribes is a tricky process. John explains.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with DynAgility CTO Chuck Shotton

· · Background Mode Podcast

Chuck Shotton.

Chuck Shotton may be the CTO of DynAgility today, but he’s legendary in the Apple community for having created the original web server for the Mac back in 1992. That was when technical pros were working with the private Internet, years before it went public. The equally legendary Peter Lewis delivered an FTP server, so Chuck took a week and put together a free web server, MacHTTP 0.1 for System 7. Quickly, he had a maling list near 100,000. In 1993, more refined, MacHTTP became shareware, and Chuck’s mailbox was overflowing with money, more than his day job. Join me and listen as Chuck tells the awesome story of his career, MacHTTP, and his decision to release a brand new version for macOS Sierra! A student’s dream come true.

2013 Mac Pro GPU Freezes Appear to be Fixed by macOS Sierra

· · Analysis

2013 Mac Pro.

A non-negligible number of 2013 Mac Pro owners have been, for some time now, experiencing intermittent GPU freezes no matter what remedial action is taken or the version of OS X installed. That is, until macOS Sierra was released. John provides his updated report on how Sierra solved the problem for him.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with the Founder of olloclip Patrick O'Neil

· · Background Mode Podcast

Patrick O’Neil grew up in a family of photographers, and so designing a portable, add-on lens set for the iPhone was a natural thing to do. It all started as a Kickstarter project over five years ago at his kitchen table. Immediately successful with the iPhone 4, Patrick, along with his partner, was able to launch the olloclip company and has built these amazing lens kits ever since. The olloclip lens system is designed to have different creative options in your pocket: macro, fisheye, wide-angle or telephoto. We talked about the optics and engineering of these lenses, the mobility emphasis, keeping up with Apple’s changes, and how the product has evolved. Here’s Patrick’s story: from kitchen table to a company with almost 50 people readying the new lenses for the iPhone 7 and (joy!) the 7 Plus.

The Surface Studio Reviews Have Arrived, and They're Very Positive

· · Link

Microsoft Surface Studio PC

According to CNET, “Microsoft’s ambitious love letter to creative professionals is the touchscreen iMac of your dreams.” That’s the Surface Studio, and the reviews, which are now starting to appear in print, back up the original assessment that this is a beautiful, functional, innovative computer for creative professionals. While not perfect in the first version, it has the capacity to cause these professionals to take Microsoft much more seriously in this market than before.  Page 2 of Particle Debris sizes up this challenge to Apple.

Late Show With Stephen Colbert Pokes Fun at Apple's New Book

· · Cool Stuff Found

Apple new coffee table book: Designed by Apple in California comes in two sizes, 13-inch at US$199 and 16-inch at $299, and both contain some 450 photographs of Apple products that look back over the years. What’s not to like? Still, these days, Apple’s self-conscious celebration of its past does open it up to some playful parody. Watch this glorious send up of the Apple book by the Late Show. All in good fun, of course.

Apple Has the Experience to Make an AR Bombshell Come True

· · Particle Debris

Augmented Reality (AR)

From time to time, we get really excited about some new gadget from Google. But then we discover later that there’s long way to go to make it a successful consumer product. On the other hand, Apple is the kind of company that can productize a great new technology. Perhaps the Apple Watch has given Apple new confidence that it can do the same for AR.

Brydge 12.9 Aluminum Keyboard for iPad Pro Exudes Class

· · In-Depth Review

Brydge 12.9 Keyboard for iPad Pro

Apple has waxed enthusiastic about keyboards for the iPad and now offers its own. But the design may not be for everyone. If you’ve been thinking about a sturdy, aluminum keyboard/case for your iPad Pro, one that makes it look (and function) very much like a MacBook, then you’ll want to read John’s review of the Brydge 12.9 model for iPad Pro.

Is the New 15-inch MacBook Pro THAT Much Faster than the 13-inch?

· · Cool Stuff Found

Bare Feats writes: “Both with the best processor, 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB flash storage, but different GPU. Is the 15-inch with Quad-Core processor and discrete GPU really that much faster? Is it worth the extra $$$, size, and weight?” Their test results show that for “21% more, the extra $$$ buys you a bigger screen, an average of 40% faster performance running CPU intensive pro apps, and an average of 110% faster running GPU intensive pro apps.” Quad-Core and discrete graphics always wins. But if you had any doubts, check out these performance tests.

Is the New 15-inch MacBook Pro THAT Much Faster than the 13-inch?

Apple's Tradition of Always Building the Best Doesn't Fit with Current Apple TV

· · Editorial

4th gen Apple TV with Siri

Apple was, it seemed, somewhat late with the 4th generation 1080p Apple TV that shipped in October of 2015. Not delivering at 4K device at that time could be forgiven because High Dynamic Range (HDR) specs hadn’t been formalized during its development. But for the holidays of 2016, most all the 4K/UHD TVs have HDR. The new Roku has HDR. So what is Apple thinking?  John, as always, ponders the situation.

HP Exploits Apple’s Mac Pro Void with New Z2 Mini

· · Analysis

HP Z2 mini

Hewlett-Packard has announced the Z2 Mini, a powerful but compact desktop computer aimed at technical and creative professionals in CAD, finances, OEM and education. With the option for an Intel Xeon quad-core CPU, up to 32 GB of RAM, Linux/Win10 support and a model with support for six displays, the Z2 Mini can meet the needs of many professionals on the desktop who don’t need a high-end Z workstation. Most importantly, it’s part of HP’s concerted effort to exploit a vacuum Apple has created on the desktop.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Creator & Host of The MacCast Podcast Adam Christianson

· · Background Mode Podcast

Adam Christianson on Background Mode

Adam Christianson is the creator and host of the acclaimed MacCast podcast. Adam is also the very awesome webmaster for The Mac Observer. However, Adam didn’t start out in high tech. At an early age, he wanted to become a cartoonist, inspired by Garfield’s creator Jim Davis. In high school, somewhat wiser, he transitioned to graphic design. Later, Adam attended Cal Poly which has a fabulous art and graphics design program. Early in his career, Adam gained experience in eCommerce and web mastering with Upper Deck, Corp. learning HTML, Perl, CGI forms, Visual BASIC and C#. However, by 2004, he’d discovered that his true love was tech talk and podcasting, and The MacCast was born. Adam was able to use his career skills to follow his dream, and he’s still living it today.

Why Absolutely Secure Encryption is Essential for a Free People

· · Link

Cyber security graphic.

There’s a huge difference between a guaranteed secure communication and one that is feared to be compromised.  In the former, people and governments are truly free to share and negotiate. In the latter, suspicion and fear color all conversations and stymie progress. And it always seems that encryption compromises to catch the bad guys end up being justified against political enemies as well. This article at The Guardian makes the case for absolute privacy, using WhatsApp. It does so in a very direct, compelling way in the context of international diplomacy. It’s all on page 2 of Particle Debris.

How to Talk to Extraterrestrials: The Linguist Behind the Movie 'Arrival'

· · Cool Stuff Found

Extraterrestrials arrive. They don’t appear hostile, but the DoD has no idea what they want or how to communicate with them. That’s the premise behind the intelligent, highly praised movie Arrival. Amy Adams plays an expert linguist who’s called upon to assist with communication with the visitors.  In this interview, Dr. Kiki Sanford (who was recently on TMO’s Background Mode), chats with the actual linguist/consultant to the movie, Dr. Jessica Coon, an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics at McGill University. You’ll want to see the movie, and this interview sets the stage.

How to Talk to Extraterrestrials: The Linguist Behind the Movie ‘Arrival’

Why Is There So Much Pain Extracting Truth From Apple?

· · Particle Debris

Apple Media Invitation

Astonishingly, Apple creates unnecessary problems for itself. Locked in the old era, modern Apple executive thinking continues to focus on drama while excising important elements of its vision. That leads to pain, criticism, and disaffection with Apple.  It wouldn’t be hard to avoid all that these days. John explains.

The Story of Breaking the Sound Barrier, First Time

· · Cool Stuff Found

Until October 14, 1947, no human had piloted an aircraft faster than the speed of sound in level flight. At the time, some believed that it was a true barrier, hence the name, making it technically impossible. Others thought it might be possible, but aerodynamic forces would quickly break up the aircraft. And then, Chuck Yeager proved them wrong in the rocket propelled Bell X-1 on that glorious October day. (Jet engines were not yet powerful enough.) We learned a lot about supersonic flight in the coming years: the “area rule” concept, the advantages of a swept wing, and the all-flying tail. Here’s a very cool story of how it all happened by Popular Mechanics, a reprint from a 40th anniversary article. (Image credit: NASA)

The Story of Breaking the Sound Barrier, First Time