Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Writer and Raconteur Bob 'Dr. Mac' LeVitus

· · Background Mode Podcast

Bob LeVitus

Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus is a writer, book author and raconteur. He writes for the Houston Chronicle and The Mac Observer, and he specializes in the “Dummies” books about Apple products like the Mac, the iPad and iPhone. But Bob wasn’t always a writer. Early on, he wanted to work in a recording studio and it just so happened, in high school, he had a good friend, Jermaine Jackson. That resulted in Bob touring with the Jackson 5. Later, he became a roadie with Shaun Cassidy. (Bob tells a secret.) Bob’s also worked in advertising, a story in itself, and also as the official evangelist for Power Computing in the 1990s. Speaking of Apple, he said “We were their worst nightmare.” Does Bob know how to tell stories? Oh, yes.

Apple AirPods: a Strategy of Ambience and Scarcity

· · Link

Apple family portrait

UBS financial analyst Steve Milunovich has presented an interesting theory about Apple’s Ambient strategy: “…different input/output methods that can be flexibly utilized depending on the situation (sitting, walking, running, driving). Collectively these devices offer the capability of earlier products … delivered as a seamless user experience.” In addition, the notion of created and evolving scarcity punctuates the Apple strategy. Particle Debris page 2 explains it.

Artificial Intelligence Research, Unintended Consequences and Sex

· · Particle Debris

AI Agent

Research into Artificial Intelligence will evolve into many more applications than asking Amazon’s Echo how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon. Or driving an autonomous car. As the technology expands in its capabilities and applications, we’ll be confronted with massive social change. How will Apple, for example, both serve us and meet competitive challenges?

The Most Important Reason to Upgrade to macOS Sierra: Security

· · Editorial

Cyber security graphic.

When Apple launches a new version of one of its OSes, say, macOS Sierra, the first thing users think about is the features. If they’re a bit more methodical, they’ll look at their mission critical apps and monitor for updates from those developers. But, above all, a decision to not upgrade (or do it soon) must be balanced against the security updates folded into the new version.  John explains.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Allegis Capital Partner Jean-Louis Gassée

· · Background Mode Podcast

Jean-Louis Gassée is currently a V.C. partner with Allegis Capital. He’s best known, however, for taking over the Macintosh division in 1985, his startup of Be Inc. and his highly respected Monday Note, a technical commentary. Jean-Louis tells the story about how, as a precocious youth in Paris he built crystal AM radios and vacuum tubes. Later, after some “interesting jobs,” he joined Hewlett-Packard (France) in 1968 to launch HP’s first desktop computer, the 9100A. Jean-Louis’s success as an electronics geek eventually led to a job at Data General then the lead executive job for Apple France. Jean-Louis then came to the U.S., and his time in Cupertino is legendary. Join me as this computer pioneer chats about Apple and Macs, past and present.

The New Apple Echo Chamber Arriving Soon

· · Link

Amazon Echo

Mark Gurman at Bloomberg is reporting that Apple is working on a smart home device, similar to the Amazon Echo, using the Siri voice assistant. Apple doesn’t have a vast product inventory to leverage from like Amazon, and other kinds of assistance depend on considerable, often creepy, personal information. So home automation seems to be Apple’s angle. Will that approach work? Page 2 of Friday’s Particle Debris explores.

Evidence is Mounting: Apple Will Convert the Macs to ARM CPUs

· · Particle Debris

RIP Intel Inside

The time since most of the Macs have been updated can now be described as geologic. Is that because Apple doesn’t care about the Macs? Or, more likely, could we be in for another major architectural change? Evidence is mounting that Apple will abandon Intel and take the Mac lineup to ARM. John looks at the evidence and makes the case.

My Fantasy Wish List for Apple's October Event

· · Editorial

Wish list.

It’s one thing to make sober, informed predictions about what Apple may announce next. But, this time, John just wants to have fun and provide his fantasy wish list for an Apple event in October. What would have John giggling with delight?  Read on to find out.

NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 Offers Superb Protection

· · Quick Look Review

NuGuard KX-wide.

The NewerTechnology NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 or 7 Plus features a hard outer shell integrated with a soft, energy absorbing inner shell. Despite that, it’s easy to get on and off and the volume and sleep/wake buttons are relatively easy to press through. It comes in three colors, and a plastic screen protector is included. This is a superb iPhone case.

iOS 10: Save a File as PDF to iBooks

· · Tips

In iOS 10, you can now Print to PDF, just as we’ve been doing with OS X/macOS. But there’s also another nice trick in the Sharing option. “Save PDF to iBooks.” It’s simple and fast. John likes this feature a lot.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with Founder & President of Bombich Software, Mike Bombich

· · Background Mode Podcast

Mike Bombich

Mike Bombich is the founder and president of Bombich Software, the developer of Carbon Copy Cloner. It’s a backup app for the Mac that has saved the day for many users. He started his career at Bowling Green State University studying aquatic ecology. But he also took computer science classes thinking that one day he would do scientific simulations of ecological systems. Soon, Mike discovered that he had a strong interest the software development process itself. Later, Mike worked for a tech support organization and discovered the real need for software that could back up the new Mac OS X launched in 2001. He created CCC. That got the attention of Apple and landed him a job working on technical solutions for professionals. Mike tells the story about how this app changed his life.

Apple's iPhone 7 Invitation Refused by Bloggers

· · Link

iPhone7 lineup - tops

Apple engages in relentless technical progress. But when the iPhone 7 design was leaked, many bloggers blinked, then seized the opportunity for rabble-rousing. It’s turning into a rinse-repeat cycle by the pundit sheep. Particle Debris page 2 takes a look at analysis by Jean-Louis Gassée who properly sizes up Apple’s invitation: “We’re going wireless, please join us.

This May be The 4K UHD Apple TV We've Been Waiting For

· · Particle Debris

4th gen Apple TV with Siri

An Apple filing with the FCC looks very much like it might be a new 4K UHD, 5th generation Apple TV just in time for the December holiday period.  It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that the old 4th generation Apple TV from October 2015 had been delayed. And now we may be getting what we really wanted all along just one year later.

iPhone 7 Review: My First Five Days

· · In-Depth Review

iPhone7 lineup - tops

John Martellaro has had his drop-dead gorgeous black, 128 GB iPhone 7 for five days now.  He takes a look at Apple’s official list of features, then delves into his initial reactions and technical observations about this remarkable iPhone. It’s hardly a yawner of an update.

The Complete Guide to a Clean Install of macOS Sierra

· · Link

macOS Sierra website

Apple’s macOS Sierra launches on September 20th. Last year. John wrote a detailed article on how to do a clean install of OS X El Capitan. That is, if one were highly motivated to do an awful lot of work. The article applies equally to a clean install of macOS Sierra this year. If John couldn’t talk you out of it and a clean install is what you really want to do with Sierra, here’s a link to his 2015 tutorial so you can make a decision.

TMO Background Mode: Interview with MyMac Founder and Publisher Tim Robertson

· · Background Mode Podcast

Tim Robertson

Tim Robertson is the founder and publisher of MyMac. He’s one of the pioneers in our business. Tim tells the story about how, in 1995, he was more or less a jock, but realized that his daughter was going to need to know about computers. After some research, he bought an Apple Performa 410. Learning how to use this computer, and wanting to be a writer, launched Tim into a lifelong love affair with Apple and publishing. Like many, he started writing about what he learned. But at that time, one had to create digital publications with Doc Maker, downloadable from a BBS. Soon thereafter, he was on the internet with the now legendary Mymac.com and a team of contributors. Come listen as we chat about the remarkable evolution of Tim’s publishing career.