The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast

Join John Martellaro every week for fascinating interviews with tech industry pros and luminaries. It's more than a show about what they do; it's about who they are.

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TMO Background Mode: Interview with Co-Founder of Brydge Technologies Nicholas Smith 4:02 PM Dec. 5th, 2016

Brydge Technologies makes outstanding aluminum, color matched keyboards for most iPads. Co-founder Nicholas Smith took over the original, failing company founded on Kickstarter and breathed...

Podcast Archives

  1. Dec. 5th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Co-Founder of Brydge Technologies Nicholas Smith

    Brydge Technologies makes outstanding aluminum, color matched keyboards for most iPads. Co-founder Nicholas Smith took over the original, failing company founded on Kickstarter and breathed new life into it. That was in the form of an outstanding customer relationship and order fulfillment systems. In this episode I chat with Nick about how he turned the product around, moved his company, with 15 people, from SIngapore to Park City, Utah (more consumer focus), decided not to use Apple's Smart Connector and flourished in a market that now embraces iPads with keyboards. Nick also talks about what prepared him for this kind of venture, his turn-around artistry, and his vision for keyboards on our beloved iPads. He also provides a glimpse of his next new keyboard project. Bonus: we talk about skiing.

  2. Nov. 28th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with DynAgility CTO Chuck Shotton

    Chuck Shotton may be the CTO of DynAgility today, but he's legendary in the Apple community for having created the original web server for the Mac back in 1992. That was when technical pros were working with the private Internet, years before it went public. The equally legendary Peter Lewis delivered an FTP server, so Chuck took a week and put together a free web server, MacHTTP 0.1 for System 7. Quickly, he had a maling list near 100,000. In 1993, more refined, MacHTTP became shareware, and Chuck's mailbox was overflowing with money, more than his day job. Join me and listen as Chuck tells the awesome story of his career, MacHTTP, and his decision to release a brand new version for macOS Sierra! A student's dream come true.

  3. Nov. 21st, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with the Founder of olloclip Patrick O’Neil

    Patrick O'Neil grew up in a family of photographers, and so designing a portable, add-on lens set for the iPhone was a natural thing to do. It all started as a Kickstarter project over five years ago at his kitchen table. Immediately successful with the iPhone 4, Patrick, along with his partner, was able to launch the olloclip company and has built these amazing lens kits ever since. The olloclip lens system is designed to have different creative options in your pocket: macro, fisheye, wide-angle or telephoto. We talked about the optics and engineering of these lenses, the mobility emphasis, keeping up with Apple's changes, and how the product has evolved. Here's Patrick's story: from kitchen table to a company with almost 50 people readying the new lenses for the iPhone 7 and (joy!) the 7 Plus.

  4. Nov. 14th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Creator & Host of The MacCast Podcast Adam Christianson

    Adam Christianson is the creator and host of the acclaimed MacCast podcast. Adam is also the very awesome webmaster for The Mac Observer. However, Adam didn't start out in high tech. At an early age, he wanted to become a cartoonist, inspired by Garfield's creator Jim Davis. In high school, somewhat wiser, he transitioned to graphic design. Later, Adam attended Cal Poly which has a fabulous art and graphics design program. Early in his career, Adam gained experience in eCommerce and web mastering with Upper Deck, Corp. learning HTML, Perl, CGI forms, Visual BASIC and C#. However, by 2004, he'd discovered that his true love was tech talk and podcasting, and The MacCast was born. Adam was able to use his career skills to follow his dream, and he's still living it today.

  5. Nov. 7th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Science Communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford

    Dr. Kiki Sanford is a neurophysiologist with a Ph.D from U.C. Davis. She's a popular science communicator and creator of This Week in Science podcast and radio show. She grew up in the country, and that ignited her interest in wildlife preservation. Early in her career, she obtained her B.S. degree in conservation biology, a field that covers animals, their environment and how humans impact them. Finding post-doctoral research unappealing, she shifted to her current role as a brilliant science communicator. We chatted about her prior research into the brains of small birds, how they store memories, and how they navigate during migration. We also delved into neuro-gaming as well as the perils of being exposed to sophisticated AI agents. After hearing this show, you'll want to become a scientist too!

  6. Oct. 31st, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Serial Entrepreneur Mark Fuccio

    Mark Fuccio has had a distinguished career in tech. He started with an B.S. in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T. After graduation, he joined Philips Labs in Briarcliff, NY. He's been a marketing manager at Silicon Graphics, Inc. and a senior director at Drobo, Inc. for Products and Markets. We chatted about the evolution of Unix workstations, the early days of Unix GUIs, how CPU and GPU technology advanced, how Apple moved to (BSD) Unix and Intel and turned the tables on the workstation industry (along with Microsoft). We also chatted about the philosophy of marketing as well as technical issues related to storage—and how Drobo solved those problems. Mark tells the story about a career in which he followed his vision, worked with startups, and created his own path to this day. Geekfest!

  7. Oct. 24th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Author and Podcaster David Sparks

    David Sparks is a business attorney, Macworld author, podcaster and all around Apple product expert. He's one of those people who started on one path—an aerospace engineering student—then changed gears to become a law student at Pepperdine University. David tells the story of his law school years and how people often think of law school as more onerous than it really is. His original plan was to be a prosecutor, but then he found that business law for small companies was much more satisfying. We chatted about his interest in all things Mac and the dawn of his Mac Power Users podcast with Katie Floyd in 2009. Today, David is a popular speaker and a fixture in the Mac Community with 346 podcasts and several books. Come take a career journey with me and David.

  8. Oct. 17th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Developer Community Manager Chuq Von Rospach

    Chuq Von Rospach worked for Apple for nearly 20 years, starting in 1989. In the mid-1980s, he landed first at Sun Microsystems and worked on the launch of early Sun workstations. Thanks to that work, and his boss going over to Apple, Chuq followed. At Apple, they developed Apple's first paid technical support organization for Apple's A/UX (Unix) system for the Motorola 68K Macs. Chuq has great stories to tell about Apple's ill-fated but legendary Network Server, Mac executive Jean-Louis Gassée, the disastrous Apple CEO Michael Spindler, the failed attempt to sell Apple to Sun in 1996, the acquisition of NeXT and return of Steve Jobs. You want Apple stories? Chuq has 'em!

  9. Oct. 10th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Writer and Raconteur Bob ‘Dr. Mac’ 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.

  10. Oct. 3rd, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Allegis Capital Partner Jean-Louis Gassée

    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.

  11. Sep. 26th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Founder & President of Bombich Software, 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.

  12. Sep. 19th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with MyMac Founder and Publisher 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.

  13. Sep. 12th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Kanopi Studios WordPress Developer Julie Kuehl

    Julie Kuehl is an expert WordPress developer for Kanopi Studios. But there's much more. She built her first website in 1994. She's studied economics, statistics and web design. She's written for publications like MyMac, Tech Lounge and The Mac Observer. She's a popular speaker at conferences. She hosts the SciFi Tech Talk podcast. She's into cars (Mustang), motorcycles (Harley-Davidson) and holds several black belts in Karate, primarily Soto Kan. She's taught Martial Arts to police officers in Japan and learned Japanese in the process. Join me and Julie as we geek out and trade stories on our Martial Arts experiences, our first exposure to Unix and web servers in the 1990s, our car loves (more stories: Corvettes, Route 66), SciFi, and her own SciFi podcast. I was wowed. You will be too.

  14. Sep. 6th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Thriller Novelist & Entrepreneur Joanna Penn

    Joanna Penn is a best-selling thriller novelist. She's published over 20 books and sold over 450,000 copies in 74 countries and five languages. She's most famous for her ARKANE series described by readers as 'Dan Brown meets Lara Croft.' Joanna is also an entrepreneur who teaches writers how to hone their craft. I interviewed Joanna about her past which includes a Master's degree in Theology from Oxford. Joanna spent years working on computer code before she realized that she wanted to write fiction. And she's a self-admitted techie, using a Mac and Scrivener. Today, Joanna leverages her background in theology and psychology plus extensive travel to write her thrillers. We talked about the craft of writing fiction and finished up with whether AI agents will ever put us both out of work.

  15. Aug. 29th, 2016
    The Mac Observer's Background Mode Podcast
    TMO Background Mode: Interview with Omni Group Software Engineer Liz Marley

    Liz Marley is a software engineer for the Omni Group. Early in life, there never was a time when Liz didn't have computers. At age four, she started with her dad's Apple IIGS, and she was encouraged to use it freely. Later, she majored in Computer Science at Harvey Mudd college and soon thereafter landed a job as a software tester. Over the years, her career has taken a series of interesting twists. From software coding to testing to being a product manager and then back to coding. In fact, her work with App Camp For Girls led her to a remarkable career decision and turn of events at the Omni Group. This is must listening for everyone interested in computer programming as a career.