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.
Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]
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.
Some say, the iPhone 7 will be a yawner. What’s forgotten is that our appetite for new (useful) toys and being state-of-the art always outweighs the cynicism of skeptics and critics. John’s going to have a new iPhone 7, and states why you should think seriously about one too. Ignore the voices that seek control.
Flat panel display technology continues to evolve. A decade ago, we had Plasma and LCD TV sets. LCDs were adopted for use in iPhones and iPads, but they require backlighting. Then we had OLEDs (used in the Apple Watch). Now there’s Quantum Dots and microLEDs. John provides a primer.
Reliable sources are suggesting that Apple really will remove the 3.5 mm audio headphone jack from the iPhone 7 this fall. The community seems evenly split about the prospect, with some shrugging and one notable author declaring that this is a hostile and stupid idea. The notion that this isn’t really a worthwhile technical advance seems balanced with the prospect of better and enabling digital technology moving forward. Plus: a more waterproof iPhone. Particle Debris page 2 asks the question: has Apple gone too far?
Alex Grossman is the co-founder and president of Symply, Inc. His new company makes high-performance storage devices for content creators. I asked Alex about his start in storage technology, and it goes back to his EE degree in college and his first job with the Digital Equipment Corp (DEC). Early on, he developed a passion to build great hardware and understand how data got stored. Years later, Alex ended up at Apple focusing on the small and medium business needs for easy to manage mass storage. He tells a great story about Apple giving him the go ahead to change the world with Xserve RAID. Today, Alex carries his years of experience with elegant, easy to manage storage into his new company, Symply, Inc. Alex told me one amazing story after another.
On June 23rd, Apple announced that the aging, obsolete, overpriced Thunderbolt Display is being discontinued. No replacement display was announced, and customers have been directed to 3rd party products. What does this mean for the Mac Pro?
When monitoring your health and fitness, the Apple Watch and iPhone both have ways of setting your preference for either Calories or kilojoules (kJ) burned. Here’s a Quick Tip on how change the preference.
Lynktec has continued to evolve the Apex line of electronic styluses. In late May, the company released a sleek, new version called the Apex Fusion. It’s slimmer, better looking, and is available in black, silver, gold and rose gold. It’s drop-dead gorgeous and features a fine point for accurate drawing and a rechargeable battery. John takes a close look and reports.
It wasn’t discussed in the WWDC keynote. But Apple’s has been developing a new file system for all its devices called Apple File System. It’s been a hot topic of discussion over the last week. Here are some of the notable things we’ve learned since the first day of WWDC along with some context.