Vizio's Spying TVs, UAC iPhone Connectors - TMO Daily Observations 2017-02-07

Vizio just settled an FTC lawsuit for using their smart TVs to spy on customers. Bryan Chaffin and John Martellaro join Jeff Gamet to talk about Vizio collecting viewing data on users without permission and the settlement with the FTC. They also look at the UAC connector that’s going to let headphones connect to Lightning and USB-C.

Pay What You Want for the 2017 Superstar Mac Bundle [Updated]

We have a new pay-what-you-want deal for you called the 2017 Superstar Mac Bundle. It includes 12 different apps—you get all of them by beating the average price, which is $12.17 as of this writing. But you can pay anything—as little as a dollar—and get two of the apps, Mac Screen Recorder and NotePlan. Beat the leader’s price and get an entry into a giveaway for a 13″ MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Check out the details on the deal listing. [Updated with a new promo image. – Editor]

The Inside Story on Making Apple's 1999 Super Bowl Ad, 'HAL'

1999 was a good time to be a Mac user. Apple was coming back, baby! And unlike today, the company was releasing new Macs, too. 1999 saw the PowerMac G3 and PowerMac G4, multicolored iMacs to replace the Bondi Blue iMac, and the PowerBook G3 (Lombard). Those were good times. It was also the year Apple ran a spot called HAL in the Super Bowl. Ken Segall, who was then the Apple account manager at TBWA/Chiat/Day, gave us the inside story on how HAL was born and the convoluted steps HAL took to land in the Super Bowl. Spoiler: it almost didn’t happen. Quick nuggets include the voice actor who recreated the HAL voice because the original voice actor was reportedly too precious to do commercials; the painstaking process of recreating HAL’s look and feel; and securing permission from Stanley Kubrick and MGM to use the characters and imagery (respectively). I love reading Ken Segall’s stories about working with Steve Jobs, and this is another good one. Definitely check it out. Below is the beginning of the Macworld Expo keynote where HAL actually debuted.

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

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.

Target Offers Discounted Apple Watch Series 1 Models

Target is discounting its entire lineup of Apple Watch Series 1 models by US$70—that includes eight models of Apple Watch. With the price drop, 38mm models are $199, and 42mm models are $229. Both prices include free shipping. This is a great deal for customers who want an Apple Watch but not necessarily the latest model. The prime differences between Series 1 and Series 2 watches are that the Series 2 devices have a GPS sensor, water resistance, and a better display. (via MacRumors).

TMO Background Mode: Interview with with Tech Community Facilitator 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.

Here are the Best Super Bowl 2017 Commercials

If you’re only interest in the Super Bowl was the commercials, you don’t have to find a friend who recorded the game just so you can see them. The Super Bowl Commercials website has your back. They have all of the commercials, and they chose what they see as the top 9 ads from the game. Spoiler: car makers nailed it with their ads this year. You can watch all of the ads at the Super Bowl Commercials website.

You Scratch Your Head, I’ll Scratch Mine – Mac Geek Gab 643

Cool Stuff Found kicks off this week’s show, with email clients, Wi-Fi Widget(s), combo iPhone/Watch chargers, disk utilities and much, much more. Then, after a few additional tips from you, dear listeners, it’s time for your questions. Topics this week include comparing local vs. Cloud storage for things like your music, videos and documents; memory interleaving and when to use it; solving corrupt user accounts that won’t login; and solving the issues with web pages that are slow to load. Press play and enjoy!