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Background Mode Podcast

Join The Mac Observer's 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 Former Apple Software Engineer James Dempsey

James Dempsey worked at Apple for fifteen years before setting out on his own in August 2011. As a software engineer at Apple, he worked on iOS, Aperture, and macOS releases Leopard through Lion, including half a decade on the Cocoa frameworks team. He’s the founder of Tapas Software, developer of iOS and Mac software. We talked abut his “aha” moments in life starting with his college roommate’s Mac Plus in 1986. His dream to work for Apple was eventually fulfilled in 1996, and James described what it was like to be an Apple evangelist in those days. But James is also an accomplished comedian, vocalist, ukulele player and has a published album. He’s also routinely written special songs for WWDC each year. If you ever wanted to work for Apple, this show is must listening.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Technology Journalist Ryan Faas

Ryan Faas is a technology journalist and author who has been writing about Apple, business, enterprise IT topics, and the mobile industry for over a decade. He also spent a large portion of the past 15 years in the systems/network engineering and IT management fields as an IT director and systems administrator. He’s worked for MTV Networks as well as being a former Apple Genius. Today, he is also a Contributing Writer for Computerworld. We chatted about how he became such an expert in enterprise matters as well as knowledgeable in multiple OSes. He told me why the wireless carriers decline to push Android updates as often as Apple, and he filled me in on what really going on with macOS Server. Finally, Ryan also predicted when Apple will go to ARM processors in the Mac.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Early Apple Podcaster Victor Cajiao

Victor Cajiao was born in Havana, Cuba, grew up in the U.S. and became well known in the Apple world for several different podcasts. He’s an Apple tech geek as well as a musician (saxophone) and hobby photographer. Victor told me the story about how he came to the U.S. via a special initiative started by President Kennedy. The fascinating story continues as he eventually worked his way into a job with AT&T rising to the level of IT Technical Director. He also told me the story about how he fell in love with the Mac and then launched his podcast, The Typical Mac User. Victor recently retired from AT&T after 26 years and now travels the U.S. in his Airstream trailer. Recently, he’s been sighted at Macstock, doing terrific demos of Mac technologies.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Academic Director of IT Bradley Chambers

Bradley Chambers has been managing Apple devices in an education environment since 2009. Currently he’s the IT director at a school in Chattanooga, and he’s also a contributor to 9to5Mac via his weekly column: “Making the Grade.” Bradley told me about his work as an IT administrator, how iPads and Macs are deployed, configured and repaired. There are some good tools for doing that, but they’re also supplemented with Google docs and JAMF tools. His kids are taught programming at an early age with Swift Playgrounds, and it turns out that the iPad offers just what his students need for a K-5 curriculum. We finished with a discussion of a few of his recent columns, including why digital textbooks generally failed in the market as well as thoughts about the state of Apple’s iBooks Author app.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Backblaze Director of Product Marketing Skip Levens

Skip Levens is currently the Director of Product Marketing at Backblaze, the cloud storage and backup company. He’s very experienced in brand marketing and technology evangelism. Skip is a former U.S. Marine. After leaving the Marines, Skip went to work for Alain Pinel, a real estate company that embraced the NeXT computer, and that launched his successful crusade to work for Apple. We chatted about Skip’s work at Apple in early internet technologies, then Developer Relations that involved him with supercomputers. We explored the rise and fall of Apple’s Xserve and Xserve RAID as well as the evolution of his expertise in storage technology at Active Storage, Quantum, Symply Storage and now Backblaze. You can’t have more geek fun than this show.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Sr. Mobile & Networking Developer Alf Watt

Alf Watt is an experienced software developer with expertise in macOS, iOS and wireless technology. He operates iStumbler Labs, most notably the Wi-Fi monitoring app iStumbler. He’s also a former Apple employee. As a youth, Alf’s first computer was a Commodore 64, and he leaned how to enter the code for computer games. Later, with a Mac plus, Alf learned HyperCard. Alf’s first serious language, however, was Perl. At Apple, Alf became deeply in involved with Wi-Fi and Apple’s AirPort technology, and that provided a foundation for his legendary iStumbler app. That app is now in Mac App Store. We finished with Alf’s description of his new tool called KitBridge which allows iOS developers to bring apps to macOS. Alf is an engaging personality in the Apple world, and you’ll enjoy his stories.

TMO Background Mode Interview with macOS Software Developer Sander Berents

Sander Berents has been fascinated by astronomy since childhood when he started using his older brother’s telescope. In his teens, he also became immersed in BASIC and assembly language programming with his TRS-80. Later, he earned an M.S. in astrophysics. His earliest jobs involved computer programming, and nowadays, he’s an independent, professional macOS software developer and the developer of the macOS app called Observatory. Version 1.0 was released in April 2016. We chatted about the development of Observatory, written in Objective-C and C++, which has several important features for astrophotographers: plate solving, image stacking and a digital blink microscope used for discovery. This app can also be used as a non-destructive photo library for astrophotos. Sander chatted about life as a developer and explained a little bit about how astronomers use his app.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Host of The Carson Podcast Mark Malkoff

Mark Malkoff is a comedian, filmaker, and the host of The Carson Podcast in which he talks with guests about legendary talk show host Johnny Carson. His guests include stand-up comics who debuted on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, individuals who worked on the show, and entertainers who were influenced by Carson. I chatted with Mark about his early jobs on various TV shows, sketch comedy, and video projects. As a comedian, he’d always been fascinated by Johnny Carson. It was Peter Jones (PBS) who encouraged Mark to do a podcast all about Carson’s Tonight Show. Mark told me about how he lines up guests and how he prepares. In 180+ podcasts, Mark has learned a lot about Mr.┬áCarson’s personal life and the details of show’s production. Mark enthusiastically shares it all.

TMO Background Mode Interview with NightCap Camera Developer Chris Wood

Chris Wood is the developer of the iOS photography app called NightCap Camera, an app that specializes in low-light photography, be it terrestrial or astronomical. Chris told me the story about his technial evolution as a developer, coming out of a M.S. degree and the IT, database and network world. It was the allure of the original iPhone’s graphics that whetted his appetite for programming in Objective-C . His big break came with the iPad 2 which had a fairly strong graphics processor (for its time). That led to the development of the acclaimed iPad app called Camera Boost. Later, the experience Chris gained led to the NightCap app and its descendant NightCap Camera. Chris and I chatted about the evolution and capabilities of this excellent app that even novice photographers should own.

TMO Background Mode Special Edition Chat with Kelly Guimont: TV Mysteries

Kelly Guimont is a Contributing Editor for The Mac Observer and Social Media Manager for Smile Software. She first appeared here in December, 2015 to tell her career story and has returned several times for interesting technical discussions. In this special edition, we chat about our favorite movie or two, and how, for some movies, the music has become a thing in itself, the soundtrack of our lives. Then we delved into the legendary BBC/CBC mysteries: Foyle’s War, Murdoch Mysteries, Shetland, Death in Paradise, and Broadchurch. For most of these mysteries, we look at their celebration of place that becomes an integral part of the show. Join us as we explore together what makes these shows so cool.