Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Director, Vatican Observatory Br. Guy Consolmagno - TMO Background Mode Interview

· · Background Mode Podcast

Br. Guy Consolmagno earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Planetary Science from MIT and his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. He’s been at the Vatican Observatory since 1993 and is currently the director there where his research explores connections between meteorites, asteroids, and the evolution of small solar system bodies. Br. Guy has co-authored two astronomy books as well as popular books such as Would you Baptize and Extraterrestrial?” He is a Jesuit Brother.

We chatted about Br. Guy’s post-graduate work, how he came to be at the Vatican Observatory—and then become the director. He explained why the Vatican has an observatory and how the Catholic Church is not anti-science. Actually he is just part of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences that advises the Pope. And there was much, much more.

A Very Understandable Primer on Blockchains [with Video]

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BBC News has published a very readable/viewable explanation of biockchains. (Something you should know about.)

Enthusiasts say blockchain could become as disruptive as the internet, comparing the technology to the World Wide Web in the 1990s. At that time, many people were clear it would become important – but few really understood it, or foresaw its potential and limitations.

 

A Bill Gates Regret: How It Cost Microsoft $400B

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Bill Gates Microsoft

At Roughly Drafted, Daniel Eran Dilger, diagnoses a recent assertion by Bill Gates regarding Microsoft, iOS and Android.

As Apple prepares the release of iOS 13 and splits off the new iPadOS 13 for specialized mobile tablets, Microsoft’s former chief executive Bill Gates mused this week that it would have been the “natural thing” for Microsoft to have been the “standard non-Apple phone platform.” But he’s wrong, here’s why.

Founder, Bombich Software, Mike Bombich (#2) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· · Background Mode Podcast

Mike Bombich is the founder and president of Bombich Software, the developer of Carbon Copy Cloner. That’s a backup app for the Mac that has saved the day for many users. He’s a former Apple employee.

In this timely post-WWDC show, Mike joins me to explain the structure of APFS drives and the new read-only System files in macOS Catalina. He explained new features of volumes in macOS 10.15, especially how the System is isolated from the Data volume (which contains /Users). He also explained the new firmlinks that tie these two volumes together, making them appear as one. Finally, Mike explained how Carbon Copy Cloner external drives can no longer be HFS+ in Catalina but must become APFS.

Apple Takes Another Step Towards ARM-based Macs

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Apple's Mac family with macOS Mojave

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman and Ian King report:

Apple Inc. hired one of ARM Holdings Inc.’s top chip engineers as the iPhone maker looks to expand its own chip development to more powerful devices, including the Mac, and new categories like a headset.

The company hired Mike Filippo in May for a chip architect position, according to his LinkedIn profile.

For Apple to divest the Mac of Intel CPUs while maintaining X86 compatibility will require some serious engineering skill. This looks like one step in the process.

Saving the Planet with a Mac

· · Editorial

There are popular products in Apple’s lineup of consumer products. But the resurgence of the Mac suggests that Apple realizes that scientists won’t be doing research that changes the world on an iPad.

U.S. Might Ban 5G Tech Made in China

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5G graphic (mesh)

It could be a political move, a ploy, amidst tariff tensions between the U.S. and China. Or it could be something else. USA Today reports:

The U.S. is considering a requirement that next-generation 5G cellular technology for domestic use be made outside of China, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing sources.

TMO Contributor John Kheit (#3) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· · Background Mode Podcast

John Kheit on Background Mode.

John Kheit is a New York attorney and a regular contributor to The Mac Observer. We share many common interests, including the 4K/UHD/HDR TV revolution, 8K TV and displays, Wi-Fi/5G technologies and the state of Apple.

In this special post-WWDC show, we chatted about author Kheit’s view of the new Mac Pro. He believes that while the 2019 Mac Pro will meet the needs of most technical and creative professionals, Apple also betrayed an important group of influencers, the Mac enthusiasts by not offering a lower cost model. We discussed various ways Apple could have achieved that goal, and that might suggest a future variation of the current model. John K. has strong feelings about this Mac and wasn’t shy about expressing them.

A 'Smart' Light Bulb Turns Out to be Ridiculous

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Gizmodo writes:

…if you really want a reminder of just how dumb everything is in 2019, check out this video from GE, which recently went viral on Twitter. GE even had the audacity to call it a “smart” light bulb.

A video from GE demonstrates some really bad design decisions. Really bad.

Pro Users Tell What They Think of the New Mac Pro

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AppleInsider writes:

Apple aimed the new Mac Pro at the most demanding of all high-end users, so we went to users like that and asked what they thought. Video editors, medical experts and the Department of Defense are all considering this new Mac closely.

Hearing the reactions and purchase plans from pro users carries enormous weight.