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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 #1033: Will Tim Cook Tear Down this Wall?

    March 27th, 2022

    Followers of history might remember the historic words spoken by President Ronald Reagan during a speech he delivered in Germany in 1987, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

    Now it doesn’t matter your political persuasion. Those six words remain highlights to convey a heartfelt message about a country’s freedom. But the concept of a wall doesn’t have to be physical to be potentially harmful.

    Take Apple Inc.

    Apple has always been an outlier in the PC industry. When other computer makers choose MS-DOS and, later, Windows, perhaps because they didn’t have the talent or wherewithal to build their own operating systems, Apple went its own way. For better or worse, it also meant that you were forced to buy an Apple product to use Mac OS, as it was known in those days.

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    Newsletter Issue #1032: Too Much Mac?

    March 14th, 2022

    It took several decades for Macs to catch up. I mean, you could type text quickly enough, even if you were a speedy typist. But it would often seem to take forever to save even a small word processing file. Dealing with multimedia files, rendering, converting or saving, sometimes meant long minutes — or hours in some cases.

    Apple’s 1994 transition from Motorola 680×0 CPUs to the PowerPC was meant to put your Mac on steroids, more or less, or at least that was the promise. But it took a few years to realize its potential, because apps were slow to update. Thus, you had to run most of your software in emulation, which was actually slower than the previous Macs.

    With the arrival of Mac OS X, you’d think a tried and true Unix platform managing the operating system would have meant better performance. But Apple’s focus on eye candy, the legendary Aqua interface, meant that everything proceeding slowly. You’d feel you were stuck in a tub of molasses until Apple sorted things out. In the early days, even hardware acceleration via the graphics card wasn’t supported according to what one Apple developer told me at the time.

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    Newsletter Issue #1031: Apple and the Money Machine Journey

    January 30th, 2022

    When I first began using a Mac in the 1980s, I didn’t look at the company as a potential money machine. For well over a decade, my decision was often attacked by PC-using critics. They told me there wasn’t any useful software for a Mac, at the same time I was generating content with Adobe Illustrator, QuarkXPress and Microsoft Word. They told me that Macs weren’t easy to use at the same time they were struggling with their DOS and Windows boxes trying to manage what were, to me, simple tasks.

    By the mid-1990s, you might have thought, with a fair amount of justification, that Apple was on the ropes and a possible takeover target for another company that would quickly merge and kill its unique character. You might have thought that Apple’s executives weren’t really sure what made Macs different as they introduced more and more models with insignificant differences you could barely tell apart. The aging Mac OS was becoming increasingly unstable. With the arrival of the first really usable version of Windows, Windows 95, more and more app developers decided to ditch the Mac and embrace what they felt to be a platform with more potential.

    Through it all, Windows didn’t strike me as any better actually. The interface was sort of Mac-like in a clumsy way, and performing even basic setups took at least twice as many steps with less predictable results. But since apps available on both platforms more or less worked the same, though looking less pretty on a PC, I suppose most people wouldn’t notice so much of a difference once things were set up properly.

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    Newsletter Issue #1030: An Unfortunate Close Encounter with Android

    January 17th, 2022

    As most of you know, Apple — make that Steve Jobs — first demonstrated the iPhone 15 years ago at a Macworld Expo. While the company had long been rumored to be working on a cellphone, the exact configuration was expected to be something in line with existing gear, except for the integration with iTunes. Apple had tried to have its embedded in a Motorola device, the ROKR, which ended up being a perfectly dreadful product for which ease of use was a dirty word.

    In any case, before the iPhone arrived, the common form factor for a smartphone was best typified by the Blackberry, featuring a tiny physical keyboard, with a small display above it. I tried them once or twice, but decided that I’d rather use such a device for making and receiving phone calls, not for text or suffering though a dreadful mobile app. Or just stick with my deep red Motorola RAZR.

    Until the iPhone arrived.

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