Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

How to Start a Campfire With a Plastic Sandwich Bag and Water

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

This video isn’t conventional computer tech. And yet’s immensely technical, invoking a principle of physics. Gotta love that. And so, if you’re camping, don’t have matches, can’t find a flinty rock and can’t get your campfire started for a cold night to come, here’s a really cool demo. What you need is some pulverized wood, a clear plastic sandwich bag, and some water from a nearby stream. Or your cooler. Sound impossible, Mr. MacGyver? Check it out.

Consumers Trust Amazon More Than Apple

· John Martellaro · Particle Debris

Consumer trust

A recent survey showed that consumers have more trust in Amazon to keep their personal data safe than Apple. How can this be?

Behold: A Miniature, Working Apple II Replica With $9 Innards

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

If you thought the Raspberry Pi is small, take a look at this US$9 CHIP board from Next Thing Co. Game developer Chris Larkin combined it with a 12V battery, some 3D printing magic, and a wireless keyboard to host a fully working emulator of an Apple II computer. And just in time for the 40th anniversary of the Apple II from 1977. This video demonstrates how to build one yourself. Super cool.

How to Sell More iPhones - Build a Global Satellite Internet

· John Martellaro · Link

Satellite with an Apple logo

After selling a billion or so iPhones, Apple would love to sustain growth. One way to do that is to tap into its enormous cash reserves and work with a company that knows how to build a constellation of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, providing internet access. Say, Boeing. Many more locations on Earth would open up. In this potential partnership, Apple would manage the consumer side and fund a part of the satellite operations built by Boeing. This is looking more and more real. Particle Debris points to the story at Investor’s Business Daily.

Panorama of Park Meadows Mall Apple Store

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Apple’s old retail store in the city of Lone Tree, CO (Park Meadows Mall) was always shoulder to shoulder.  Late last year, Apple opened its new store, not far from the old location. The new design is gorgeous and spacious. The problem is getting a pano shot. Because the store is so big, it’s impossible to get a proper shot with a constant flow of foot traffic during business hours. So I got there early before the store opened and took this amazing photo. The store really shows off its beauty when empty like this. But, of course, the really beauty is when it opens and becomes, well, still very crowded. (iPhone 7, size reduced.)

Panorama of Park Meadows Mall Apple Store

TMO Background Mode Interview with Other World Computing Founder Larry O'Connor

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Larry O'Connor on Background Mode.

Larry O’Connor is the founder and CEO of Other World Computing. Also known as MacSales, it’s one of the most respected suppliers of Apple product upgrades and accessories. OWC started when Larry was in high school. Frustrated with the high prices of Apple II memory expansion, he found his own source and started selling on-line. His small company just kept growing. As growth continued, Larry resisted controlling partners or buyouts and stayed true to his vision: create a profitable, fun place to work for his employees, and take great care of his customers. I asked Larry about the challenges of managing a modern company with hundreds of employees. We also chatted about his concern that Apple has steered away from easily upgradable Macs. If you’ve thought about starting your own company, this episode is a must.

Everywhere From ozPDA: Fabulous iOS World Clock Done Right

· John Martellaro · Quick Look Review

Everywhere iOS app from ozPDA.

iOS World Clocks do require some attention to time zone fundamentals, but they mostly fall short in details. This iOS world clock from ozPDA, called Everywhere, fixes all that.

TMO Background Mode Interview with iOS & Android Indie Developer Graham Dawson

· John Martellaro · Background Mode Podcast

Graham Dawson on Background Mode.

Graham Dawson is an iOS and Android indie developer who specializes in meteorological and astronomical reference apps. He’s the founder and director of Ajnaware Pty, Ltd in Australia and publishes apps under the name ozPDA. Graham holds a B.Sc. in physics and meteorology, and a Ph.D. in oceanography. Graham told me about his early interest in weather thanks to extreme conditions, especially snow. That’s because, in his youth, he was skiing in Switzerland. Soon he had a weather observation station in his backyard, and he could think of nothing else as he entered his undergraduate years. Today, he publishes a wide range of apps related to the sun, moon, wind, weather and time. Some feature augmented reality. Thanks to his academic background, these apps have rock solid computational credentials. Graham told me how it all came to be.

4K Video Comparison between iPhone 7 Plus and Pro Gear

· John Martellaro · Cool Stuff Found

Starting with the iPhone 6s, the camera can shoot 4K video. But how good is that video? Surely, it can’t be as good as an $82,000 professional rig. And it isn’t. In this YouTube video, the Arri Alexa does a 4K video comparison between an iPhone 7 Plus and a pro rig with several side-by-side shots. While the iPhone does a decent job, the comparison and analysis plainly show why you wouldn’t use it for a major theatrical movie. Bottom line, the iPhone is pretty good, but the Arri Alexa records the scenes, especially in low light and warm colors, more like your eyes would actually see them. It’s fascinating, and because of the cost-differential, the take away should be how close iPhone 7 gets, rather than it not being as good.