Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

The Apple and Intel Affair. An Excedrin Headache

· · Link

Concept of Macintosh, MacBook Pro with OLED strip

History will probably record that the delay in Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro/Air involved the development of some new Apple technologies getting out of sync with Intel’s CPU/GPU roadmap. First, we know that Apple elected to skip a CPU generation, waiting for Skylake with Thunderbolt 3 support. Recently, a leaked Intel roadmap and some analysis of the integrated GPU cycle explains why Apple may have to wait again until 2018 for it’s next major refresh. Particle Debris page 2 explores Apple’s Intel headache.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach

· · Background Mode Podcast

Chuq Von Rospach worked for Apple for nearly 20 years, starting in 1989. In the mid-1980s, he landed first at Sun Microsystems and worked on the launch of early Sun workstations. Thanks to that work, and his boss going over to Apple, Chuq followed. At Apple, they developed Apple’s first paid technical support organization for Apple’s A/UX (Unix) system for the Motorola 68K Macs. Chuq has great stories to tell about Apple’s ill-fated but legendary Network Server, Mac executive Jean-Louis Gassée, the disastrous Apple CEO Michael Spindler, the failed attempt to sell Apple to Sun in 1996, the acquisition of NeXT and return of Steve Jobs. You want Apple stories? Chuq has ’em!

What Will We Do When Siri Picks Our Pocket?

· · Particle Debris

Hal9000 eye

A major problem with Artificial Intelligence (AI) development is that a time might come when AI’s are able to learn and teach themselves faster than humans can manage them. Recently, President Obama suggested AI’s that aren’t properly constrained and regulated could be unleashed on unsuspecting citizens and severely disadvantage them. Figuring out when to step in will be the great 21st century challenge for governments.

Technical Professionals Are Hanging on, Hoping For The Best from Apple

· · Editorial

Soon, we think, there will be fall Apple event that launches new Macs. The nature of this event and the kinds of Macs that Apple updates and those that are left to quietly die will tell us a lot about where Apple is heading with technical professionals. Many of those former Apple customers have already switched to Linux. Those who remain are dismayed and are not very hopeful.  Some readers weigh in.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Writer and Raconteur Bob 'Dr. Mac' LeVitus

· · Background Mode Podcast

Bob LeVitus

Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus is a writer, book author and raconteur. He writes for the Houston Chronicle and The Mac Observer, and he specializes in the “Dummies” books about Apple products like the Mac, the iPad and iPhone. But Bob wasn’t always a writer. Early on, he wanted to work in a recording studio and it just so happened, in high school, he had a good friend, Jermaine Jackson. That resulted in Bob touring with the Jackson 5. Later, he became a roadie with Shaun Cassidy. (Bob tells a secret.) Bob’s also worked in advertising, a story in itself, and also as the official evangelist for Power Computing in the 1990s. Speaking of Apple, he said “We were their worst nightmare.” Does Bob know how to tell stories? Oh, yes.

Apple AirPods: a Strategy of Ambience and Scarcity

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Apple family portrait

UBS financial analyst Steve Milunovich has presented an interesting theory about Apple’s Ambient strategy: “…different input/output methods that can be flexibly utilized depending on the situation (sitting, walking, running, driving). Collectively these devices offer the capability of earlier products … delivered as a seamless user experience.” In addition, the notion of created and evolving scarcity punctuates the Apple strategy. Particle Debris page 2 explains it.

Artificial Intelligence Research, Unintended Consequences and Sex

· · Particle Debris

AI Agent

Research into Artificial Intelligence will evolve into many more applications than asking Amazon’s Echo how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon. Or driving an autonomous car. As the technology expands in its capabilities and applications, we’ll be confronted with massive social change. How will Apple, for example, both serve us and meet competitive challenges?

The Most Important Reason to Upgrade to macOS Sierra: Security

· · Editorial

Cyber security graphic.

When Apple launches a new version of one of its OSes, say, macOS Sierra, the first thing users think about is the features. If they’re a bit more methodical, they’ll look at their mission critical apps and monitor for updates from those developers. But, above all, a decision to not upgrade (or do it soon) must be balanced against the security updates folded into the new version.  John explains.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Allegis Capital Partner Jean-Louis Gassée

· · Background Mode Podcast

Jean-Louis Gassée is currently a V.C. partner with Allegis Capital. He’s best known, however, for taking over the Macintosh division in 1985, his startup of Be Inc. and his highly respected Monday Note, a technical commentary. Jean-Louis tells the story about how, as a precocious youth in Paris he built crystal AM radios and vacuum tubes. Later, after some “interesting jobs,” he joined Hewlett-Packard (France) in 1968 to launch HP’s first desktop computer, the 9100A. Jean-Louis’s success as an electronics geek eventually led to a job at Data General then the lead executive job for Apple France. Jean-Louis then came to the U.S., and his time in Cupertino is legendary. Join me as this computer pioneer chats about Apple and Macs, past and present.

The New Apple Echo Chamber Arriving Soon

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Amazon Echo

Mark Gurman at Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is working on a smart home device, similar to the Amazon Echo, using the Siri voice assistant. Apple doesn’t have a vast product inventory to leverage from like Amazon, and other kinds of assistance depend on considerable, often creepy, personal information. So home automation seems to be Apple’s angle. Will that approach work? Page 2 of Friday’s Particle Debris explores.

Evidence is Mounting: Apple Will Convert the Macs to ARM CPUs

· · Particle Debris

RIP Intel Inside

The time since most of the Macs have been updated can now be described as geologic. Is that because Apple doesn’t care about the Macs? Or, more likely, could we be in for another major architectural change? Evidence is mounting that Apple will abandon Intel and take the Mac lineup to ARM. John looks at the evidence and makes the case.

My Fantasy Wish List for Apple's October Event

· · Editorial

Wish list.

It’s one thing to make sober, informed predictions about what Apple may announce next. But, this time, John just wants to have fun and provide his fantasy wish list for an Apple event in October. What would have John giggling with delight?  Read on to find out.

NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 Offers Superb Protection

· · Quick Look Review

NuGuard KX-wide.

The NewerTechnology NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 or 7 Plus features a hard outer shell integrated with a soft, energy absorbing inner shell. Despite that, it’s easy to get on and off and the volume and sleep/wake buttons are relatively easy to press through. It comes in three colors, and a plastic screen protector is included. This is a superb iPhone case.

iOS 10: Save a File as PDF to iBooks

· · Tips

In iOS 10, you can now Print to PDF, just as we’ve been doing with OS X/macOS. But there’s also another nice trick in the Sharing option. “Save PDF to iBooks.” It’s simple and fast. John likes this feature a lot.