Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

You Can Never Be Too Thin. Unless You’re a MacBook Pro

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MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

MacBook Pros have been getting thinner and thinner. From an aesthetic, handling, weight and evolutionary standpoint, thinner is better. However, when does an unhealthy obsession with thinness interfere with great engineering? Is a MacBook Pro that’s too thin get in the way of features, performance and adequate ports? Would two extra millimeters of thickness enhance battery life enough to make the pro customer smile with enthusiasm?  When does the obsession stop? John elaborates on page 2 of Particle Debris.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with with Tech Community Facilitator Jonathan Bernstein

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Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is an attorney. He’s an Apple product expert. He’s worked for the Federal Election Commission. He’s on the board of directors of the legendary Washington, D.C. Apple Pi Users Group. He’s involved with the Silver Spring, Maryland Citizens Advisory Board where he’s active in facilitating communication between citizens and local government. Oh, my. After Jonathan told me a little bit about his background, being the son of a rabbi father and pediatrician mother, it soon became clear where his roots of public service originated. Out of law school, he clerked for a judge in the U.S. Claims Court, and that eventually connected him to the FEC. We chatted about Jonathan’s unique gift for bringing people together utilizing technology. He’ll inspire you with collaboration methods you never realized were possible.

Apple Applies for Patent: Wearable Apple Watch Battery

· · Cool Stuff Found

Depending on usage and the watchOS version, most Apple Watch users find themselves routinely charging their watch every night out of caution or necessity. But what if one is camping and has no access to electrical power? Or otherwise unable to charge the Apple Watch as expected. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an interchangeable Apple Watch band that could provide backup power? A good collection of bands means one could wear the AW all the time, says our Bryan Chaffin, and that means opportunity for sleep tracking, says our Jeff Gamet. Patently Apple (thanks guys) has the story. This would be great news if Apple pursues it.

Apple Applies for Patent: Wearable Apple Watch Battery

Tim Cook: The iPhone Hasn't Reached Tech Maturity, Has Room to Grow

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iPhone7 lineup - tops

Some observers have suggested that the smartphone is at the end of its technical life. They say it’s time to move on to the Next Big Thing. During Apple’s Q1 2017 Earnings Report, an analyst asked Tim Cook about the future of the iPhone. Has it reached technical maturity? Will we continue to see new features? Here’s how Tim Cook responded. Plus John’s analysis.

Apple's Tortoise Races Amazon's Hare for Home Automation Dominance

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Home automation

Apple has chosen to take a steady, if slow, approach to home automation focusing on licensing, security, and no high-profile, fixed device like Amazon’s Echo & Dot. As a result, Reuters author Stephen Nellis observes: “Still, it’s not clear whether Apple’s elaborate but slow-to-develop system will have enough advantages to overcome Amazon’s widening lead.” The discussion starts on page 2 of Friday’s Particle Debris.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Science Journalist and Author Maryn McKenna

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Maryn McKenna is a science journalist and author. Her undergraduate degree was in 16th century theater and 20th century poetry. That led to a small theater company, but after a few years, she realized that a paying job would be a very good idea. When Maryn realized she really wanted to be a writer, she was off to graduate school and journalism. After graduation, she discovered that the only jobs in journalism were business related. That led to a career in investigative journalism and eventually, she landed with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering the CDC. In time, Maryn became an expert on bioterrorism, the over use of antibiotics with both humans and animals, superbugs, food policy and the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service. (Yes, that’s real.) Her stories, at times, were scary, so brace yourself.

How Can We Tell if Our Love for Apple is Logical or Biased?

· · Particle Debris

Apple is our most favored company for perfectly good reasons. Or so we think. And yet there are people who despise the company. How can both attitudes be right?  The reason for this duality may depend on a particular kind of thinking called cognitive bias. John Martellaro explains. Or, at least, he thinks he’s explaining.

Apple's Solar Power Plants Igniting U.S. Clean Energy Economy

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A solar power farm.

Apple is very much into solar power. The company has made a commitment to clean energy and has been building many solar power plants both in the U.S. and China. John looked into Apple’s efforts with solar energy and its new and notable installations. The physicist in him puts what Apple is doing in perspective.

When Should a Robot just Say "No!"

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I, Robot (the movie)

Should there be occasions when advanced AI’s, especially robots or androids, refuse a command by a human being?  Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics (mostly) dictate the rules, assuming the robot has been programmed with that in mind.  However, there are nuances worth further discussion, and they depend some very sophisticated, nuanced thinking (and predictions) by the robot. It’s all on page 2 of Particle Debris.

 

TMO Background Mode: Interview with 9News/KUSA TV Anchor/Reporter Kyle Clark

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Kyle Clark

Kyle Clark is a 9News TV news anchor and reporter in Denver. His parents were both teachers and, early on, inspired him to learn and then explain to others. When Kyle was in grade school, his father gave him an Apple IIGS and encouraged him to learn about it. By and by, Kyle learned to use computers not as a pastime but as a tool. He majored in journalism and politics as an undergraduate, and, later, work at a small radio station convinced him he wanted to be in broadcasting. Today, in addition to being a Channel 9 news anchor, he’s launched a 30 minute news analysis show called Next. His show brings understanding, context, and a sense of community to the news. Listen in to hear how he convinced his station to embrace his successful, Next idea.

The Devil Box Enables Solid Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Expansion

· · Cool Stuff Found

The promise of Thunderbolt has always been to eliminate the need for internal expansion slots. But it wasn’t until Thunderbolt 3 and its 40 Gbps speed that having a second, external, high end graphics card would become a practical reality. For example, if you’d like to augment your new 2016 MacBook Pro with a Radeon RX400 series or an Nvidia Geforce GTX 10, now you can do that with this $379 TB3 expansion box from PowerColor called the Devil Box. Here’s a review to whet your appetite for some serious graphics power.

The Devil Box Enables Solid Thunderbolt 3 Graphics Expansion

Apple's Multiple OS Family Used to Be a Good Idea

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The new Microsoft Surface family

When all we had was Mac OS X (now macOS), our Mac life was simple on Intel-based Macs. Then came iOS with Cocoa Touch, a derivative of macOS for touch devices using ARM CPUs. That seemed so very sensible in 2010. Then, of course, came tvOS and watchOS which means Apple has even more code bases to maintain. While perhaps only a mild burden, the biggest problem may be the future development of Apple devices. John explains.

A Broad, Consensus Critique of Apple in 2016

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Apple CEO Tim Cook during Mac

At sixcolors, Jason Snell writes: “As we close the door on 2016, I thought it would be useful to look back at the year gone by and ask a panel of my peers who pay attention to Apple and related markets to take a moment and reflect on Apple’s performance in the past year.”  What’s interesting about this report is that these are some of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic writers covering Apple. And the consensus grades, except for the iPhone and Apple Watch, aren’t all that great. Check it out on page 2 of Particle Debris.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Innovation Fellow for the TechCongress Dr. Chris Soghoian

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Dr. Chris Soghoian is an expert on the technology and politics of privacy. Most recently he’s been the Principal Technologist with the ACLU. In 2017, he’s one of three Innovation Fellows for the TechCongress where he’ll assist in federal policymaking. Chris earned his Ph.D. with a research focus on the role internet and telephone companies play in enabling government surveillance, and he’s also known for his work with the FTC and the Do Not Track initiative. Chris started life as a tech geek, and computers were always a part of his life. That led to an undergraduate degree in computer science. Then he interned at Apple and IBM. But a significant event changed his direction in life, and he gained a newfound appreciation for attorneys. Chris makes some interesting observations about today’s assaults on our privacy.