Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Kanopi Studios WordPress Developer Julie Kuehl

· · Background Mode Podcast

Julie Kuehl

Julie Kuehl is an expert WordPress developer for Kanopi Studios. But there’s much more. She built her first website in 1994. She’s studied economics, statistics and web design. She’s written for publications like MyMac, Tech Lounge and The Mac Observer. She’s a popular speaker at conferences. She hosts the SciFi Tech Talk podcast. She’s into cars (Mustang), motorcycles (Harley-Davidson) and holds several black belts in Karate, primarily Soto Kan. She’s taught Martial Arts to police officers in Japan and learned Japanese in the process. Join me and Julie as we geek out and trade stories on our Martial Arts experiences, our first exposure to Unix and web servers in the 1990s, our car loves (more stories: Corvettes, Route 66), SciFi, and her own SciFi podcast. I was wowed. You will be too.

Is Apple’s iPhone Naming Scheme a Mistake or Genius?

· · Link

iPhone7 lineup - tops

It’s true that there are logical dilemmas with Apple’s iPhone naming scheme. Apple has never formally explained the reasoning for its nomenclature. And so, journalists have taken their best shot at explaining the logic of the “S” years and the presumed “tick-tock” cycle. But while some think it’s crazy, there may be genius behind the craziness.

The Art of Smacking Apple Around as Entertainment Pays Handsomely

· · Columns & Opinions

Numbers and facts are boring. Entertainment is fun. That’s true whether the subject is politics or technology.  If you can entertain people who are bored with facts, light them up in fact, your publication will do well. For example, crafty editors know that there’s money to be made bad-mouthing Apple. It will never stop. And it will never cease to amaze us. Jonny Evans ponders and John Martellaro explains.

Apple's Instincts About the Watch Buyer Mentality Prove Correct

· · Editorial

Apple Watch series 2

In May of 2015, when the Apple Watch first shipped, a few observers opined that it would be wise to buy the cheapest possible version, the Sport Watch. That’s because Apple would, they claimed, come out with a new model in 2016 that would callously make the original painfully obsolete. It looks like Apple’s instincts, in contradiction to that notion, have proved correct.

Even If You Don't Need a New iPhone 7, You Should Still Get One

· · Editorial

iPhone 7, black

The art and science of sizing up the new iPhone each year is a formidable one, given the time between the announcement and the window for ordering. Apple provides just enough information to whet the appetite. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the state of the art isn’t advancing and decide to save some money, passing on the iPhone 7. That’s probably not a good way to go, given Apple’s track record.

HDR & What You'll Need to Know About the Next Generation Apple TV

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Plain 4K vs 4K + HDR

There’s been a lot of exciting discussion about 4K UHD TVs with High Dynamic Range (HDR). This is something the next Apple TV will have to deal with, and so it’s time to read up. Page 2 of Friday’s Particle Debris points to a great HDR tutorial and explains why, when Apple finally announces a 5th generation Apple TV, you’ll want to look closely to make sure it supports HDR.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Thriller Novelist & Entrepreneur Joanna Penn

· · Background Mode Podcast

Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn is a best-selling thriller novelist. She’s published over 20 books and sold over 450,000 copies in 74 countries and five languages. She’s most famous for her ARKANE series described by readers as ‘Dan Brown meets Lara Croft.’ Joanna is also an entrepreneur who teaches writers how to hone their craft. I interviewed Joanna about her past which includes a Master’s degree in Theology from Oxford. Joanna spent years working on computer code before she realized that she wanted to write fiction. And she’s a self-admitted techie, using a Mac and Scrivener. Today, Joanna leverages her background in theology and psychology plus extensive travel to write her thrillers. We talked about the craft of writing fiction and finished up with whether AI agents will ever put us both out of work.

The Mac Hunger Games and the Rapidly Fracturing Computer Marketplace

· · Columns & Opinions

MacBook-iPad side by side

The personal computing industry is changing quickly. Again. Not long ago, there was a simple migration from Mac and PC desktops to notebooks. Then, Apple finally got the simple tablet right in 2010. However, basic tablets can’t do it all, and so Apple warmed to the iPad Pro concept. But the dust isn’t clearing. Rather the market is exploding in use cases and advanced technology. John tries to make sense of it all.

HP Announces a Drool Worthy Desktop PC: the Elite Slice

· · Cool Stuff Found

Hewlett-Packard has just announced a desktop PC to drool over. It’s about the size of a Mac mini but has many more features. First, it’s stackable. One can add modules like Bang & Olufsen speakers, an optical drive, an external drive module, and a VESA mounting plate. It logs on with an optional fingerprint sensor. Power and I/O is via USB-C, but it also has conventional USB-A ports, a port for Ethernet and DisplayPort video. There’s an Intel Core i7 and you can put a whopping 32 GB of RAM in it. There’s a lot to like about the way HP has approached this new, beautiful product. Available later this month, starting at US$429.

Is There Anything Apple Can't Do? That's Now a Problem

· · Editorial

Apple store logo

Once upon a time, Apple was famous for saying “no” to harebrained or even some legitimate product ideas.  That was an essential strategy for Apple to emerge from its troubles in the 1990s. Now, however, a much larger company is increasing its surface area to the customer. That, combined with Apple’s organizational structure, is creating some problems that we’re seeing today. John explains.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Omni Group Software Engineer Liz Marley

· · Background Mode Podcast

Liz Marley

Liz Marley is a software engineer for the Omni Group. Early in life, there never was a time when Liz didn’t have computers. At age four, she started with her dad’s Apple IIGS, and she was encouraged to use it freely. Later, she majored in Computer Science at Harvey Mudd college and soon thereafter landed a job as a software tester. Over the years, her career has taken a series of interesting twists. From software coding to testing to being a product manager and then back to coding. In fact, her work with App Camp For Girls led her to a remarkable career decision and turn of events at the Omni Group. This is must listening for everyone interested in computer programming as a career.

Parallels Desktop 12 Supports Windows 10 and macOS Sierra

· · Reviews

PD12 for Mac

On August 18th, Parallels updated its Parallels Desktop for Mac to version 12. This has been an annual tradition with Parallels, and each new version brings a host of new features and performance improvements. This year is no exception. And while the new features seem to be fairly modest on the surface, they always seem to strike the right balance and give customers what they’ve been asking for.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Electronic Frontier Foundation Executive Director Cindy Cohn

· · Background Mode Podcast

Cindy Cohn is the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Founded in 1990, the EFF is a nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. The EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism and technology development. It has won some important court cases that preserve our rights online, including the use of encryption. (Which wasn’t always a given.) Cindy and I talked at length about her career, notable cases she fought and the work of the EFF, especially in the Apple vs. FBI conflict last spring. Cindy starts with notion that “privacy is fundamental to human dignity and… we can’t have a free society unless people have a private space.” Even if that means law enforcement has to work a little harder. Cindy explains it all.

At CEDIA, Amazon Will Talk About Star Trek Inspiration for Voice Recognition

· · Cool Stuff Found

Amazon’s Charlie Kindel, Director of Alexa Smart Home, will be speaking at the CEDIA conference in Dallas on September 16. He’ll talk about the inspiration for voice recognition that came from Star Trek, the original series. This interview by CEDIA provides a foretaste of the presentation and includes an inspiring video of Captain Kirk voice querying the Enterprise computer. What’s also cool and interesting is Mr. Kindel’s description of how customer privacy is maintained with the blue and red indicator ring. He also points to the website a customer built to celebrate Alexa. This is nifty corporate messaging.

Here's the Not So Secret Roadmap for 4K UHD TV

· · Link

4K UHD TV

The old, unconsidered notion about 4K UHD TV is that it’s a gimmick by the TV industry. The assumption has been that 4K resolution can’t be utilized unless one sits really close, and the familiar HDTV is good enough. In fact, the industry is about the business of implementing a gradual, exciting technology roadmap. While this means that 4K UHD TV will be gradually including more advanced technology elements than simple resolution improvement, it also means buyers will have to be careful when and how they migrate away from older equipment. It’s all on Friday’s Particle Debris column, page 2.

Apple Intelligently Delves into Machine Intelligence

· · Particle Debris

It’s not surprising that Apple is warming up to the idea of machine intelligence and AI agents with its $200 million purchase of Turi. The company needs to do that to remain competitive with Google and Microsoft. But, over and above that, the beneficial side effects will have even deeper implications for Apple as a company and its future.

A Clever Microsoft Ad Gets to the Heart of Apple's Fuzzy iPad Message

· · Editorial

MacBook-iPad side by side

The early iPads were a sensation. It seemed that Steve Jobs had brought forth the successor to the Mac. However, things have not gone as planned with the iPad, and Apple is scrambling to construct a clearer branding and imperative for the iPad. Even Microsoft senses the difficulty and has poked fun at Apple’s newfound toaster-fridge mentality.