Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Former Apple Sr. Manager & Entrepreneur Dan Burcaw

· · Background Mode Podcast

Dan Burcaw

Dan Burcaw is a former Apple Senior Manager and founder of several notable businesses. In 1999, Dan was the co-founder and CTO of Terra Soft Solutions, developers of the legendary Yellow Dog Linux. That Linux, running on PowerPC was well received by the U.S. Government, businesses and the U.S. Navy. Later, after graduating from college, he worked for Apple as a Senior Manager in retail. In 2008, he founded Double Encore in Denver, a company that specialized in producing iOS apps for clients such as The PGA Tour and Turner Broadcasting. Most recently, Dan was a Senior Director, Product Management at Oracle where he led efforts to build a mobile app marketing capability. Dan is currently working on his next big, secret project. Come listen as Dan describes his fascinating career arc.

Eventually, AI Agents Will Put Even Authors Out of Work

· · Columns & Opinions

AI Agent

Computers play better chess than humans. They can be instructed on how to do detailed manufacturing, beyond the abilities of humans. They shrewdly buy and sell stock. They can read medical literature and aid in the treatment of disease.  It won’t be long before even the last bastion of the human mind, creative writing, will be replaced by AI agents. John looks at the trend line.

New Hardware Could Complete Apple's 4K/UHD TV Future

· · Columns & Opinions

Apple TV driving HDTV

Apple has been nibbling around the edges of the TV experience for a long time. The Apple TV has been a good start, and the recent emphasis on the 4th generation Apple TV and apps has been good. And yet, Apple hasn’t really closed the loop for a complete viewing experience and has delivered only pieces of the needed hardware. John fantasizes a bit. But with logic.

Perseus Smart Mirror Interfaces to Your iPhone

· · Cool Stuff Found

The Perseus smart mirror is a Kickstarter project. It’s a hybrid mirror and display of the home screen of  your smartphone via Wi-Fi. The developers explain: “Imagine this: a weather alert pops up while you are brushing your teeth and reminds you to bring your umbrella. As you adjust your hair, a text message from your boss appears at the bottom of the screen. Best of all, there’s no need to put down that hair product – the mirror is controlled through simple voice recognition menus….  It looks like something right out of a sci-fi movie.” It really does. This Kickstarter project is almost halfway to its funding goal, and delivery is expected in April 2017. Early bird slots are filled, but you can get in now for US$219.

A Computer with Lights, Get Inside, See What's Happening

· · Cool Stuff Found

It’s 10 meters long and 2 meters high. It’s made of discrete transistors and LEDs. You can actually see what’s going on. Is it a real working computer? Yes. Can you program it? Yes. Why was it made? The developer, James Newman, says, “Computers are quite opaque, looking at them it’s impossible to see how they work. What I would like to do is get inside and see what’s going on.  Trouble is we can’t shrink down small enough to walk inside a silicon chip. But we can go the other way; we can build the thing big enough that we can walk inside it. Not only that we can also put LEDs on everything so we can actually SEE the data moving and the logic happening.” Behold, the Megaprocessor

A Computer with Lights, Get Inside, See What’s Happening

A Stinging Indictment of Apple Pay Paints a Dreary Future

· · Analysis

Apple Pay AMEX

Apple Pay is technically very cool. It has many devoted fans and is growing overall. However, despite its popularity in geek circles, it is not being embraced by the majority of those who are capable of using it. The problem has many aspects that, altogether, create a continuing challenge for Apple. A recent analysis of Apple Pay delves deeply into its slower than desired adoption.

Are Humans Becoming Robotic Faster than Robots Can be Human-like?

· · TMO Linked Teasers

I, Robot (the movie)

People are walking around, staring at their iPhones, mesmerized by messages and selfies. They’re reading lurid news, glued to YouTube videos and immersing themselves in Pokémon GO. Is this robotic behavior slowly replacing typical human behavior? Is it happening faster than robots can become more human? Could robots someday role reverse and become more human than we used to be? Page 2 of Friday’s Particle Debris expands the initial discussion and leaves us to ponder.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with SCC Director of Mobile App Development Tim DeBenedictis

· · Background Mode Podcast

Tim DeBenedictis-wide

Tim DeBenedictis is the co-developer of the astronomy sky charting app SkySafari. He’s now the Director of Mobile Application Development at Simulation Curriculum Corp. Tim was first inspired by the sky as a youth going on camping trips and being able to see the stars at night, something city dwellers seldom see. His dad was an avid bird watcher and always had a birding scope on the trips. One night, they pointed the scope at Jupiter and its moons. Tim described it as captivating and launched his interest in amateur astronomy. Later, that led to being a planetary science major at M.I.T. where he developed an extensive C++ code base for celestial mechanics. Years later, with that expertise, he co-developed SkySafari for the Mac, iOS and Android. Come take a grand celestial tour with us.

Apple’s Attitude Towards the TV Industry Is Well-Founded

· · Columns & Opinions

Apple & TV

It’s a battle between two corporate giants. In one corner we have Apple. In the other corner is the networks. Neither side needs the other. Each side would like to gain, by agreement, from the other’s strengths. Neither side wants to give in much, thinking they know a lot about their own industry. How will it end? Which side is better prepared for the future?

Apple, Accustomed to Skating to the Puck, Now Also Guiding the Puck

· · Columns & Opinions

Apple CEO Tim Cook Interviewed by RTE News

When Apple was struggling to gain acceptance in the marketplace, it was profitable to surge relentlessly forward, leaving the enterprise behind and mesmerizing the consumer. Nowadays, Apple tends to nurture the markets it has while seeking new avenues for growth. This makes it harder to estimate Apple’s future prospects. Yet, investors are starting to appreciate the nuances.

Tim Cook: 'Think of Apple TV as a Foundation for Broader Business'

· · News

Apple TV (4G)

It might be tempting to think about the Apple TV as a hardware device, and its associated revenue combined with apps that deliver content and the associated revenue collected by Apple. But, during Apple’s 2016 Q3 earnings report, CEO Tim Cook said that we should think about the Apple TV in a different way.

The Case For a Shatterproof iPhone

· · TMO Linked Teasers

iPhone 6s

The iPhone’s display is made of Corning’s gorilla glass. It’s durable, but not indestructible. As a result, most iPhone customers (try to) protect their investment with a case. Should Apple try to make the iPhone shatterproof?  Is it possible? Will a case be, someday, unnecessary? Or is an iPhone that can be damaged preferable in some respects?  Page two of Friday’s Particle Debris explores.

TMO Background Mode: Interview With Ken Ray, Host and Producer of ‘Mac OS Ken'

· · Background Mode Podcast

Ken Ray

Ken Ray is the host and producer of several notable podcasts, including the Mac OS Ken shows. It’s not surprising that Ken started out in radio broadcasting. Early on, he was a behind the scenes person at a small radio station in Boston. There, he became operations director and learned a lot about radio tech without the on-air disc jockey pressure. He learned the station’s digital editing suite, and that led to producing some commercials and radio shows. Later, at ZDTV radio, he had the opportunity to interview some high-profile people: Jesse Jackson and Ray Kurzweil. It’s not hard to see how, after he fell into the world of Apple, he brought all his skills to bear into a whole suite of modern-day podcasts, including work with Rod Roddenberry, Gene’s son.

If a Black Box in Apple's Autonomous Cars Recorded Everything, Would You Care?

· · Analysis

Autonomous car concept

One of the most important issues with the autonomous driving cars of the future is the partitioning of liability. To that end, new legislation proposed in Germany would require a data recorder to log when the car is under autonomous or driver control to aid in the assignment of responsibility. But such a box has privacy considerations. And it might be hacked. Would such a data recorder deter buyers? Could Apple overcome all this?

Apple Customers Seeking 'iPhone Stress Relief'

· · TMO Linked Teasers

Stressed woman

Despite the evolution of the iPhone, with its ever increasing sophistication, the replacement rate by customers is systematically stretching out. Why is this happening? It’s likely based more on economics, technical maturity and customer stress analysis than a waning appetite for technology. A research chart shows the reality.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Rogue Amoeba Software Co-founder Paul Kafasis

· · Background Mode Podcast

Paul Kafasis

Paul Kafasis is the co-founder and CEO of Rogue Amoeba Software. His company specializes in stellar audio products for the Mac such as Audio Hijack, Loopback, Piezo and more. His early work with colleagues (2001) was with MacAmp, an MP3 player. That led to the founding of Rogue Amoeba in 2002 and Audio Hijack 1.0. Paul and his co-founders realized that audio was emerging as an important niche where his team had special talent. Paul starts off with the story about how they chose such a memorable name for the company and then explains the evolution of Audio Hijack, then the pro version, and now Audio Hijack 3. We chat about challenges for the Mac developer and why an app like this, and its siblings, are not found in the Mac App Store.