Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

Best of BGM - Emmy Winning Music Composer John Lunn

· John Martellaro · Link

John Lunn on Background Mode

One of my favorite Background Mode podcasts was with TV and movie music composer John Lunn. He’s probably best known for scoring the TV drama Downton Abbey — for which he received two Primetime Emmy awards. His recent work includes the scoring of the feature film Electricity and the hit TV shows: The Grantchester Mysteries, Shetland, and The White Queen—for which he received a Primetime Emmy nomination. Near the end, I played some sound snippets from two of his scores, and John (a Mac user) explained the instruments used. This episode is worth revisiting, especially now that the Downton Abbey movie is available for streaming.

Cosmologist Dr. Andrew Friedman (#2) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Andrew Friedman on Background Mode

Dr. Andrew Friedman is an astronomer, cosmologist, and data scientist. He’s currently an NSF funded Assistant Research Scientist at the University of California at San Diego Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences. He is also a Research Affiliate in the MIT Program in Science, Technology and Society. He holds a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Harvard.

We chatted about the apparent, seemingly contrived conflict between science and religion. We explored some of the sources of this conflict and how, with a good perspective, they are not really at odds. We looked at faith, both in science and religion, Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, proof of God’s existence, varying views about what God is, approaching the subject with humility, and how the Bible cannot really serve as a science textbook. Join us as we get our theology hats on.

What Apple Might Have in Mind for its Macs in 2020

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

2017 MacBook Air

There are some tantalizing opportunities for Mac upgrades in 2020. And even some opportunities to fill in holes in the lineup. John’s selected article of the week explore it all.

What the Sky Will Look Like When We Collide With Andromeda Galaxy

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Our Milky Way galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy are gravitationally bound and will collide in about 4 billion years. Because stars are so far apart in a galaxy, many light years, the term “collision” really means interleave and gravitationally interact. Still, it will light up our sky. NASA has done a simulation to show us what it will look like. That is, if anyone is around to watch!

What the Sky Will Look Like When We Collide With Andromeda Galaxy

What Shall Become of Apple's 2017 iMac Pro?

· John Martellaro · Editorial

iMac Pro with an Apple logo and a lock

Apple’s 2017 iMac Pro began shipping in December 2017. There have been no upgrades since. What can we now expect from Apple in 2020?

Smile TextExpander Evangelist Jeff Gamet - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Jeff Gamet on Background Mode

Jeff Gamet the former managing editor of The Mac Observer, a position he held for 13 years. He’s also a book author and noted podcaster. About a year ago, Jeff left TMO to become the Smile TextExpander Evangelist.

With a year at his new job under his belt, I asked Jeff about his accomplishments, challenges, and ongoing change in perspective being an evangelist for a major software company. We chatted about being deep on macOS, the TextExpander transition to macOS Catalina, the change being heavily involved in Apple developer relations and the change in work habits, especially being no longer immersed in every Apple product and service. We also chatted about his new 16-inch MacBook Pro at some length. Jeff was as he always is: charming and warm.

My Life and Times With a 2013 Mac Pro

· John Martellaro · Editorial

2013 Mac Pro.

The unloved, beautiful, black duckling of a 2013 Mac Pro has been a workhorse for John for almost six years. He tells its story.

TMO UK Associate Editor Charlotte Henry (#3) - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Charlotte Henry on Background Mode

Charlotte Henry is a London-based technical journalist. A self described media junkie, she writes about Apple – and now for the Mac Observer as well as our UK Associate Editor. She has also written for City A.M. (London’s daily business tabloid,) Computer Business Review, the Independent on Sunday and CapX. Her new book is: Not Buying It.

In this special holiday edition of BGM, Charlotte and I chat about our favorite Christmas movies and what makes them so great for us. There are also some honorable mentions. We finish with a diagnosis of Apple TV+ The Morning Show.

3 Cool Ways Apple Could Make Major macOS Upgrades Easier

· John Martellaro · Editorial

It’s getting to be quite a process to upgrade a Mac to a new version of macOS. Here are three things John thinks could make the process less nerve-wracking and increase user confidence.

Wall Street Journal Special Writer Gregory Zuckerman - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Gregory Zuckerman on Background Mode

Gregory Zuckerman is a Special Writer at The Wall Street Journal, a 23-year veteran of the paper and a three-time winner of the Gerald Loeb award—the highest honor in business journalism. At the Journal, Greg writes about big financial firms, personalities and trades, as well as hedge funds, the energy revolution and more. Greg is the author of The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched a Quant Revolution, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

Greg told me the surprising tale about how he got started covering business issues and how he finally landed at the WSJ. He told me how he develops his contacts and works with them to develop breaking stories. We talked about his award winning work and what kind of effort that takes. We finished with his latest book describing how Jim Simons and his team of physicist-analysts changed investing forever—and got rich in the process.

Fermilab Cosmologist Dr. Dan Hooper - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Dan Hooper on Background Mode.

Dr. Dan Hooper is a Senior Scientist and the Head of the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. He is also a Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Chicago. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin.

Dan told me about how his early aspirations as a youth were actually in music. It wasn’t until he took a class as an undergraduate in Relativity that the astrophysics bug bit him. Hard. Dan explained how he landed a post-doc position at Oxford and how he was later hired at Fermilab. Later, we chatted about his interest in the interface between particle physics and cosmology, Dark Matter and what neutrinos can tell us about the early universe. We finished with an overview of his new astrophysics book that explores the mysteries of the origin of the universe.

Apple: The intersection of Technology & Liberal Arts Doesn't Include Elevator Music

· John Martellaro · Editorial

Apple is known for tackling the grandest of human challenges: best-of-class computational tools, responsible manufacturing, equal rights and respect for all, powerful story telling, privacy, security, and great planetary stewardship. Elevator music isn’t a worthy endeavor.

Former Apple Director of Federal Sales David Sobotta - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

David Sobotta on Background Mode.

David Sobotta joined Apple in 1984. His career there lasted until July 2004. During that time David went from being an entry-level sales representative based in Halifax, Nova Scotia covering Atlantic Canada to the Reston, Virginia, based director of Apple’s federal sales group. He has gained an intimate knowledge of Apple, its culture and the leadership of Steve Jobs.

David tells a story that started with the Apple II, learning the technology, going to work for a mini computer shop in Canada, growing the business so much that he got to know the Apple rep and then the serious attention of Apple. David evolved through business and then education, working with resellers, and eventually rose to the position of Apple Director of Federal Sales. We also chatted about Apple’s brief foray into selling supercomputers in 2004.

Tech Columnist and Author Mike Elgan - TMO Background Mode Interview

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Mike Elgan on Background Mode.

Mike Elgan writes a popular weekly column for Computerworld, contributes news analysis pieces for Fast Company and SecurityIntelligence and also writes special features, columns, and think pieces for a variety of publications.

Mike tells a career story that started in newspaper publishing with QuarkXPress. Soon, he realized that what he loved was not covering local politics but rather the technology of the Mac, networking and printing. That launched his career writing about computer tech. In the 2nd segment we chatted about some of our favorite topics: dealing with information overload, Apple’s amazing U1 chip, Augmented Reality glasses replacing iPhones, and cars that sense driver emotions. Mike has an amazing vision of our tech future. Join us.