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  • Listen to The Tech Night Owl LIVE

    DOWNLOAD — Free Version All good things must come to an end. After 17 years as a pioneer in online radio and podcasting, this will be the final original episode of The Tech Night Owl LIVE. For this show, we’ve gathered some of our favorite guests to reminisce and talk about the present and the near-future of or favorite fruit company, Apple Inc.

    Guests for this very special episode include tech commentator and publisher Adam Engst, Editor and Publisher of TidBITS, outspoken veteran tech commentator Peter Cohen, cutting-edge commentator and podcaster Kirk McElhearn.

    Click to hear our special wrap-up episode: The Tech Night Owl Live — July 6, 2019

    For more episodes, click here to visit the show’s home page.


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    Newsletter Issue #1020: The Old Apple Complaints Mostly Fade Away

    September 23rd, 2021

    I wrote part of this article ahead of the September 14th media event where Apple introduced the iPhone [lucky] 13 and the Apple Watch 7. Although the former, days from shipping, garnered the usual favorable reviews, some were not so impressed. To them, the changes were largely “incremental” compared to the iPhone 12. It has a beefier battery, better camera performance, a slightly smaller notch and a little faster performance. It looks nearly the same, but will require a different case because it’s a tad thicker and has a larger camera bump.

    Except for battery life, I rather doubt most of you would notice much of a difference, and it’s likely people upgrading will be switching from Android or replacing a much older iPhone. Otherwise, paying more for some models may not make a whole lot of sense with discounts to be had on the iPhone 12.

    Some might suggest that this is an example of Apple losing its competitive edge. But it’s more about the fact that such a high level of performance has been achieved that it becomes harder and harder to improve things. Compared to all the expected possibilities, the complete elimination of the still-controversial notch would be the most effective move. Apple could sell an iPhone without one and it would probably succeed as much or more than most any other improvement.

    Continue Reading…


    Newsletter Issue #1019: The Road to Becoming Obsolete

    July 17th, 2021

    No, this article is not so much about electronic gadgetry than a personal observation, something that one might regard as inevitable. But I’ll pull through it.

    So over the years, I was always more or less at the front of the line in buying new computing hardware. Not that I had lots of money to burn, but I was able to juggle my finances in such a way as to be able to finance the latest and greatest gear from Apple.

    Now having current gear really didn’t help all that much with my productivity. After all, the actual performance boosts from year to year were generally fairly slight. Indeed, the 1994 introduction of the PowerPC chip was, for a while, a step behind. Almost all of the apps I used had to be run in emulation mode till they were updated — if they were updated. That meant existing basically two processor families behind. Apps launched slower, everything ran slower, and it wasn’t the chip matured, and apps came along, that things were improved noticeably.

    Continue Reading…


    Newsletter Issue #1018: Random Thoughts on the Upcoming Apple Silicon Macs

    May 25th, 2021

    As you might expect, the skeptics are looking hard to find problems with Apple’s first generation Macs with the M1 chip. They need something to do, but other than app developers who haven’t upgraded their goods to the new silicon, and a few glitches here and there, the rollout has been quite seamless. What’s more, high Mac sales clearly indicate customers are pleased, or at least the changes aren’t impediments to buying new gear.

    Now I’m sure most people who purchase new Macs aren’t concerned so much about the fine details of a new processor architecture. That’s all about we geeks getting involved in the nuts and bolts and Apple’s design choices.

    For the first release of the M1 Mac mini, MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, Apple followed the same tact used in the transitions from Motorola to PowerPC and from PowerPC to Intel. The external designs were virtually identical to the models they replaced except for the new hardware. As a practical matter, most everything you did to make the new Macs run was the same as the older Mac. The 24-inch iMac represents the first change, to a thinner, lighter form factor — and they come in colors, which makes it sort of a throwback to the second generation iMacs from over 20 years ago.

    Continue Reading…


    Newsletter Issue #1017: Apple and the Right to Repair Dilemma

    May 22nd, 2021

    When I recently brought in the VW for some major front-end work, I didn’t seek out the nearest dealer, which is located some 15 minutes from here. Instead I went to a Firestone shop, a six-minute drive, but no it wasn’t just the convenience of distance. It was because the price was much lower for the same level of work.

    Now I grant the possibility that the parts Firestone’s tech used were not OEM, that perhaps they were made by other companies. But so long as they met the proper specs, why not? It’s not that the dealer to whom I eventually trade the car will examine the branding of each part to be sure they have the VW logo on them.

    But most of you know this, that, except for specialty or costly luxury vehicles, independent mechanics can usually work on your vehicle quite as well as the authorized dealers. So once the warranty expires, I look for the combination of service quality and price in making my maintenance decisions.

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