There may be occasions when one wants to verify what OS X version is running on a Mac. We all know how to do it from the GUI with “About This Mac,” but John shows us how to do it from the UNIX command line when necessary.
Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]
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.
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.
The iPad launched with great enthusiasm, and just about everyone had to have one. It was boldly declared to be the harbinger of the Post-PC era. But then it faltered. Now, Apple is positioning the iPad to take up its long-intended role as the PC replacement. Here’s how Apple is going to return the iPad to glory.
Satechi has introduced the “60W 6-Port Multi-Port USB Desktop Charging Station.” It’s a pure charging hub that intelligently partitions up to 60 watts of power to four USB-A ports and two USB-C ports. Notable features include a great exterior design, a power LED and an on/off switch. John reviews it.
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?
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.
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.
The 4th generation Apple TV is a very nice device. It’s designed to fit seamlessly into a modern HDTV home entertainment system. But the total solution for the cord cutter, trying to make a transition, is very complex. One needs a multitude of resources, with only one component supplied by Apple. John examines the dilemma.
There may be times when you don’t want the OS X login screen saver to kick in. This might apply when, for example, the screensaver engine is acting up, and you don’t want it to activate, ever. John shows how.
The computers NASA used in the Apollo missions to the moon were very slow and primitive by today’s standards. It was necessary to write all the flight code and lunar module landing code in assembly language. Even then, code modules (flight phases) were paged in and out of memory. The software was written by IBM and worked, as we know, beautifully. What’s almost as amazing is the complete printout of the assembly code on paper which stands, in this article, about as tall as Director of Apollo Flight Computer Programming Margaret Hamilton. You can now see it all on GitHub.
Apple’s overall Macintosh sales are in decline, for how long we don’t know. The MacBook Pro is long over due for a refresh. Apple’s Mac Pro has languished. The Mac mini, last updated in 2014, was less than intoxicating. What’s happening? John takes a look.
just over a decade ago, Apple was very much into supercomputers. Organizations were building large supercomputers and small clusters with Apple’s Xserves. But Apple got out of that business and then discontinued the Xserve. One can only wonder what the impact would have been if Apple had decided to maintain its in-house expertise with supercomputers. Today, companies with the best supercomputer power will have a competitive edge. Page 2 of Particle Debris discusses.
James Thomson is the founder of TLA Systems, famous for the apps Drag Thing and PCalc. He tells the story of growing up in the 1980s in Scotland when the personal computer was on the rise. The 1982 movie Tron captured his imagination and inspired him to buy a Commodore 64. At age 12, his school got its first PC, but no one knew what to do with it! James and just three other students became the “Guardians of the Computer.” Later, his first Mac was at the university in 1990, and he spent a year learning it inside out. The original PCalc, written in Pascal, launched his career as a Mac programmer. Later James worked for Apple in Cork, Ireland. James chats about his development as an indie Apple developer with a host of charming stories.
There are certain Macintosh products that are carry overs from the past and there are top selling Macs that suggest the future of Apple. While some suggest that the transformation of the product line means the end of the Mac, John Martellaro suspects there could also be a glorious new beginning.
Sometimes it’s desirable to make sure one is looking at the very latest web pages, sometimes for casual use, often for news or development work. To do that means emptying the browser’s saved cache and reloading a fresh page. John shows how to do that for three popular browsers on the Mac.
Michael Gartenberg is currently the analyst in residence for iMore.com. However, before that, he spent three years as Apple’s Senior Director of Product Marketing, reporting directly to SVP Phil Schiller. Michael tells the story about how he got his gig with Apple. After years of working at various tech industry research firms, he was always on the periphery of Apple and working with Apple executives, especially Greg “Joz” Joswiak and Phil Schiller. Then, one day in 2013, he got phone call from Joz, and it didn’t sound like it was going to be a schmooze session. Michael was alarmed. What could he have done wrong? But Joz wanted to invite Michael to Cupertino for an interview. Listen as Michael tells me how he got hired and what he did at Apple for three years.
How much assistance do customers really need and want from AI agents? Will the very design of AI agents lend themselves to proving their worth? Or will companies who provide them see AI agents as powerful, undisciplined tools for their own advantage and profit. It’s not clear yet where the market is going, but if any company can do it right, it’s Apple.
So you thought the iPhone was just a cute, miniature telephone with a camera, music player and internet access. In 2016, that’s not really the right way to think about the iPhone. John Martellaro looks at how the iPhone has affected modern culture and how Apple, in turn, has responded. The evolution of iOS is put in perspective.
On June 30, an article was published at Computerworld claiming that Apple’s change from “OS X” to “macOS” will “do nothing for the Mac except accelerate its downward spiral as a fringe hardware product… and muddy the waters.” John Martellaro takes a look at this article with a critical eye and sets the record straight.