Insight and analysis of Apple-centric topics of the week from the previous MacNN team, published weekly. Space Javelin's team has well over a century of Mac and Apple experience divided between them.
Oct. 16, 2017
We're traversing both space AND time this week, cadets, starting in the present with the latest news on the Qualcomm saga (it's not going well), and the discovery of OnePlus phones spying on their users. We revisit the recent past to annotate our praise for the Pixel 2 with caveats about its value versus cost (based on some scathing reviews, but we stand by it overall), and segue nicely into a great deal from Sprint on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (basically the same deal they had a year ago), and we also repeat a recent rant about how installment loans work, for those in the back. Back to the future to talk about the long-overdue Movies Anywhere digital service, the forthcoming GeForce Now streaming service (currently with a free Mac Beta) and what that will eventually cost you, and we take a peek at the future world of mainstream VR with the help of the $199 Oculus Go.
Speaking of theoretical things, Gartner claims that Mac sales are way down (alongside the rest of the industry). They're just guessing and so are we, but Apple has traditionally done far better than the industry as a whole, even if it does trend the same way, and Gartner has a VERY mixed record on their predictions. Also in this episode: an Apple TV show project we're actually excited about, the bizarre "Google Buys Apple" fake news from Dow Jones, and the real news that Apple has almost totally conquered America. We also go off the news path to recall the history of Apple connectors, and point out a great pair of articles about the history of FireWire (http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/06/22/apple-was-both-best-friend-worst-enemy-of-firewire-in-tumultuous-deployment-history), plus we end up attending the funeral for Windows 10 Mobile and where the Redmond Giant goes from here, not to mention much more. A total of 14 stories in under 60 minutes, by gum! Man the space oars, cadets, we need to row double-time to hit warp speed for this one!
Oct. 8, 2017
This week, the crew of the Space Javelin have to start off with some scary news regarding security issues, and they put it right up front to stress how important it is. Yet *again,* it is time to change your Yahoo (and associated services, like Flickr) password, or better yet invoke your own personal "three breaches and you're out" rule, because security and Yahoo haven't been on speaking terms for at least the last three years. The new revelations are actually about the 2013 security breach, but it's now apparently that all three billion accounts were compromised. Even if you haven't used your Yahoo account in years, change the security questions, change the password, delete it entirely (if you wish), and be sure to change the password on other sites if you used the same password anywhere else (and slap yourself on the wrists for that).
In related head-slapping news, it turns out that High Sierra *introduced* a vulnerability in Keychain. Apple fixed it pretty quick, but you need to update it for the protections to take effect, so if you haven't, grab the "Supplemental Update" from the Mac App Store -- and also see Adobe Indesign start working properly again (Illustrator is still borked for the moment, however). Also tackled: a flat-earther type theory that older iPhones are slowed down is myth-busted; the scattered and few reports about swollen batteries in some iPhone 8 Plus units; Google's latest new toys, and a spec-sheet matchup between the Home Max, Apple's Homepod, and the Sonos 1.
But wait, there's more! Samsung's incredibly profitable relationship with Apple! Netflix jacks prices again! The Apple 5c and the FBI! Parallels 13 is out! Office ... um ... 2018 probably ... coming soon! The Edge browser comes to iOS! MLB's Apple Watch non-scandal resolved! Bert Berns and Clive Davis documentaries on Apple Music (what?), and of course all this and more, cadets, so prepare to enter the wormhole of tech news on this week's episode!
Oct. 2, 2017
Still yet more about the Apple TV 4K this week, in the context of comparing it to the FireTV 4K (and why it's not an obvious win for either device), but before all that Charles and Mike rant about the terrible reporting on the "hidden FM radio" inside iPhones, blasting both FCC Chair Ajit Pai (who should really do some reasearch) and the media for not questioning this nonsense. Senator Al Franken also gets lightly toasted for not retracting his "concerns" about Face ID after Apple's white paper answered all his questions. See? Space Javelin can be bipartisan!
Speaking of epic battles, also discussed are Star Trek: Discovery and CBS streaming, plus the alternative known as The Orville (which is on free TV); getting to know the Files app (aka iCloud Drive) on iOS 11; the Apple community raising money for hurricane relief; and Apple Music hits 30 million paid subscribers. From there we cover a couple of trouble spots, including some APFS conflict with some games, and a possible (but unlikely) EFI vulnerability on some older or un-upgraded Macs. Then and only then do the crew get to the Apples vs. Amazons comparison, including all the new Echo stuff just released; Nvidia's new drivers for eGPUs and the Mac Pro; and Twitter's probably-bad idea of expanding the number of characters allowed in tweets. All this and a free rant about obnoxious product branding on stuff you've already bought, cadets, so tune in your interocitors and get ready to rumble!
Sept. 25, 2017
There's a lot of detail out now about the Apple TV 4K and of course the iPhone 8, so Mike and Charles wade into the thick of it and pull out all the good stuff for you, even ahead of this week's special guest! Apple recently got the honor of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus being named the world's fastest smartphones (by a country mile, we might add), and that's before they've even tested the iPhone X. In addition, the new iPhones also got the best-ever marks given to smartphones from the revised DXO benchmarks (which, though widely regarded, are not scientific). There is also, as predicted, a teardown report -- but there's not much to say there, the innards (apart from the remarkable A11 Bionic) are largely the same, albeit with the notable fact that these new iPhones are doing so much more even with a (slightly) smaller battery. But wait, it's not *all* about the iPhone!
The crew also go over the facts on Intel's latest delay (the fourth) of the Cannon Lake chips and beyond (not great news, sorry to say), and look into a "caveat emptor" situation with regards to AppleCare+ costs (suffice to say, avoid breaking the back glass on these new iPhones). There's also some updates on Qualcomm versus Apple that are probably good news for Apple; some insight on Google's acqui-hire of HTC's Pixel engineering team (a key asset HTC were fools to let go of), along with the continuing benefits of Apple's ecosystem versus that of Android (or Windows, for that matter); and a caution about using non-MFi approved Qi chargers with your new Apple gear. And that's just the first half!!
We take a break from all the news to welcome our special guest Don Klees from Acorn TV, a streaming video service that focuses on the best TV (and some movies) from outside the US but primarily in the English-speaking world (the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and more). At $5 a month, if you enjoy PBS-type programming you should probably check it out.
From there, we have a lot of news related to the Apple TV 4K, starting with Google's decision not to support VP9 (their 4K codec) on the Apple TV 4K (or the Mac); good news that iTunes redemption codes (seen on some HD and 4K Blu-rays) work for streaming 4K versions of the film on Apple TV 4K (but no downloading); the very quiet change from Apple to allow iTunes movie renters to watch the films over (up to) 48 hours instead of the previous 24 once you'd started viewing it (you can hold on to the film for up to 30 days if you haven't gotten around to starting to watch it yet); and the surprising killing of the Videos app on iOS 11 in favor of the TV app, which finally has a purpose for non-Apple TV owners. There's also news that live news and live sports will be coming to the TV app in the near future.
Whew! We wrap up this super-dense hour with a quick look at some interesting ARKit-based app for iOS 11; a new payment system that uses your veins (what?!); and issue a shout-out to recent cadet recruit Horvath from Hungary, who wrote us a lovely fan letter. All this and (believe it or not) a bit more, so bust out the hip-waders, cadets, it's gonna get more than knee deep aboard the Space Javelin this time!
Sept. 18, 2017
This week, Charles and Mike cover the pre-order and imminent arrival of all the shiny new baubles, dig into the fine print on the new iPhones (take note, pundits: all THREE models!), get into the metric system, lambast crybaby ad industry apologists (and Apple's subsequent smackdown), Senator Al Franken's inquiry about Face ID privacy/security, the power behind the new A11 Bionic chip, and how not to have a hissy fit about the iPhone X's notch (which isn't even expected to be an issue for anyone until early next year). Also included (at no extra charge) are some new details about the Apple Watch, iTunes now rolling out 4K/HDR content early. This part wanders into talking about Star Trek: Discovery, the Orville, and the forerunner of The Orville, Quark. Strap on your nostalgia guards, cadets, this week we're looking forward *and* back at the same time! Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey!
If you'd like to hear Mike's recent appearance on WMAL (DC morning area), you can take a listen here: https://audioboom.com/posts/6300297-wmal-interview-mike-wuerthele-09-13-17.
Sept. 13, 2017
SPECIAL REPORT! Apple held its big event on Tuesday and we just couldn't wait until Monday for you to hear about it, so we rounded up all the big announcements, hidden details, surprise features, and a bunch of price changes and other stuff they didn't tell you about in the keynote in a tight 40 minutes. Everything you need to know, straight from the Steve Jobs Theatre, and yet Episode 27 will be waiting for you on Monday like usual anyway! Suit up, cadets, Mike and Chas are on double duty this week!
Sept. 11, 2017
Captain Mike is back, cadets, and just in time to help us cover a ton of news. We start off with some PSAs for how to help the hurricane victims as well as a reminder that -- contrary to internet myth -- the Zello walkie-talkie is not an actual walkie-talking; it needs internet connectivity. Mike anc Charles also get into the Apple vs. Qualcomm mess, the Equifax hack and the company's subsequent PR stumbles, Disney's takebacks of its movies, Apple bids on Bond, Spotify bullying, no more Apple Music Festival (what?! why?!), Apple's surprising success in China, and using the Apple Watch to cheat at sportsball. All this and an update on William's Apple Watch, and of course more.
Please note that your trusty Space Javelin crew will be recording a special mid-week episode, out on Wednesday, that will go over what Apple announced at their special event from the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park. So much discovery we can't fit in all into our regular episodes, cadets, so be sure to subscribe or stream from Soundcloud or iTunes to be sure you get all our mission details. Stand by for adventure!
Sept. 4, 2017
It's the return of anarchy from the UK on Space Javelin this week, cadets, as Malcolm and William climb up from the lower decks to join Charles for news and analysis of the week's tech events, plus stories about heat, bats, three-armed iPhone buyers, and much more. The biggest headline as of Friday was the press invites to Apple's iPhone and software announcements on Tuesday, September 12, with (likely) additional formal unveilings of a new Apple TV, probably a new LTE Apple Watch, and possibly some surprises. Apple's new macOS version, High Sierra, has some caveats for people who aren't all-SSD and who might be using older OS versions or software, and we'll go over those as well. We also talk about Apple's dominance of wearables in two areas, all of Intel's latest chip refreshes, the return of Golden Axe to iOS, and much more. When the captain's away, the officers will play, cadets, so enjoy shore leave while it lasts!
Aug. 28, 2017
Captain Mike turns his back for two minutes, and suddenly we're all Samsung, all the time! After weeks of Apple leading the news, this time it's about Samsung: the introduction of the Galaxy Note 8, including an in-depth look at its features; the odd processor and color choices (and where to get what); the cost of the new device vs. the rumored cost of the "iPhone 8"; and the comedy of errors that is Linus Tech Tips' coverage of the rollout. If that's not enough Samsung for you, special guest Malcolm Owen and Charles talk about the company's plans for getting into the "intelligent home speaker" market as well. But it's not all rosy in Seoul these days; the upper management of the company are largely going to jail.
Also on tap, the retirement of Crashplan from the consumer market (and what to do about that); Tim Cook in Austin announcing more Swift programming classes; the dismissal of a texting-while-driving lawsuit against Apple; AccuWeather's super-squirrelly dirty data secrets; Epic Games guy puts food a bit into the general mouth region; and yes, some news about Apple -- including "iPhone 8" parts leaks, cost, and a new video pitting the iPad Pro 12.9-incher against a MacBook. The results may surprise you. All this and much more, cadets, so put your life on autopilot for an hour and warp out with the crew of Space Javelin!
Aug. 21, 2017
More than just recapping and analyzing the big tech stories of the week, we here on the good ship Space Javelin strive to bring you 60 minutes worth of depth, background, caveats, and color. We offer heads-up on good deals, warnings on bad headlines, and what we hope is genuinely useful information. This week alone, we debunk two alarmist stories about iPhone security, speculate on Android "O", follow-up on the growing Microsoft-Consumer Reports argument on reliability, and explore the value of Comcast's Xfinity Mobile and AT&T "free" Apple TV offer. Also in this episode: Ireland vs the EU vs Apple; Nonsense and half-truths about the next Apple Watch, expected this fall; the details on Thunderbolt cables and USB-C 3.1 compatibility; and finally, Mike and Charles go all Mythbusters on claims of a 60-inch Apple HDTV. All this and more, cadets, so strap in and get ready to spend 60 minutes on a mission to the best of technology news!
Aug. 14, 2017
We start off this time with Mike's crankiness about missing a three-game sportsball series between the Red Sox and the Yankees due to podcast recording, before heading head-first into a sizable tech news week. Microsoft had their world rocked by a withdrawal of a recommendation from Consumer Reports based on above-average number of issues reported by readers. Mike and Charles look into the numbers, the survey methods, and other data, finding that while the problem reports are higher than average, it's not nearly as alarming (at least in lieu of more evidence) as other media outlets have made out. They also analyze the decision of the developers of Ulysses to go subscription and the new value proposition; speaking of surprises, Disney announced that they will pull out (most?) of their products out of Netflix so they can start their own streaming service; and Mike's latest hardware reviews, including a new Thunderbolt dock, and yet another Thunderbolt eGPU breakout box, along with more insight on when it might be time to jump into these devices.
Also on tap for this week: Twitch launches a desktop app for the Mac; the sounds of silence (#seewhatididthere) are climbing up the iTunes charts (and we'll tell you why and an old-school alternative); our own Space Javelin Back-to-School hardware guide (and sponsor-free advice); and the incredibly strange tale of the crowdfunded submarine and the missing woman -- and if that doesn't sound like the title of a Hardy Boys thriller, we don't know what does. All that plus vaguely inappropriate jokes, our usual cynical stink-eye, and more. it's an hour well wasted, cadets, so climb aboard!
Aug. 7, 2017
Naturally, the tech week that was last week was dominated by news of Apple's surprisingly strong June quarter -- another record-breaker in nearly every respect. Charles and Mike also take a hammer to some of the iPhone 7s/7s Plus/"8" speculation and how the High Sierra beta is a little *too* good at blocking ads (and yes, that's a bad thing); an exploit in first-gen Amazon Echo hardware that poses a small but serious security risk; and the endorsement of the iPhone 7 Plus from a former Google and MS exec. There's also news of a free video editor for Macs, along with a remastering for 4K of the venerable Bioshock for Mac; Mike's review of the Vinpok USB-C "Magsafe" type cable; and a money-saving guide to the Mophie USB-C mega-battery and its rivals. Now how much would you pay? But wait, there's more!
Also stuffed into the program this week: some new (and kinda sweet) AT&T deals that either nab you a (second) iPhone for free, or free DirecTV for new iPad buyers; Spotify mis-reporting, and Bluetooth Low Energy Audio under-reporting; and a new Rumor Roundup where we rain on the magical-thinking parade of (first) a pair of Apple Watch rumors that can't both be true, and (second) when there might actually be another iPhone SE update. Some kudos are given out for Apple's forestry program (psst Apple -- we're having a "fire sale" on our forests up here in British Columbia ...), and finally a story about pilots trading photos of each other at 35,000 feet, with bonus algebra questions. Put your thinking caps on and strap in, cadets, it's an action-packed hour aboard the Space Javelin!
July 31, 2017
Well, that's more like it! A nice beefy news week -- so chock-full of interesting items that we frankly didn't get to everything we wanted to, cadets, but never fear: they'll be room for more next week! Among the topics Charles and Mike cover on this orbit of Planet Technews are the untimely death of the iPod shuffle and the iPod nano (but we haven't lost our Touch); the mysterious appearance of movies labelled (but not actually) 4K and HDR in the iTunes Store; scotching some rumors about the iPhone SE; the Walkback of the Week from iRobot (makers of the Roomba); and new restrictions on electronics larger than a smartphone from the TSA. There's also the misreporting about the Foxconn plant in the US; why you need to take any Macs still running 10.6 or 10.7 offline; Apogee's war on latency with their Thunderbolt audio gear; Apple helping out hearing aid manufacturers with high technology; and just a mention of the University of Wisconsin judgement and the Nokia patent-licensing settlement.
All this and plenty of armchair advice to Nintendo about how to stop screwing up their business, the forthcoming USB 3.2 making for faster RAID arrays, and we rhapsodize over the music of Oslo band a-ha (and their video in ARKit). Remember: the Space Javelin is your best entertainment value in nerdy tech podcasts, cadets, so spread the word!
July 24, 2017
This week, Mike and Charles welcome back newswriter Malcolm Owen, "accidentally" trapped in the airlock for quite some time. Among the discussions are shenanigans from Verizon against Netflix and YouTube; Intel and the entire rest of the tech industry vs. Qualcomm; a free deal on the updated Shadow Warrior game; a report on the Destiny 2 beta, and the feds taking a look at Amazon. Also on tap is a report about adding Mesh technology to Bluetooth LE, State Farm suing Apple because why not, and a lot of laughs before we drag Malcolm back to the airlock. Stick around for the hidden "bonus track!"
July 17, 2017
It is now the dog days of summer, cadets, and the trusty crew of the Space Javelin is having to scrape out the bottom of the barrel and look behind the couch for news stories we can really get excited about. This week, Charles and Mike look at a trio of attacks on your privacy from the new FCC chair, Australia, and US customs; cover a host of smaller stories that should get mentioned but aren't of huge importance; talk about the guerrilla editing of the film Baby Driver; analyze the plans of Oculus VR for new cheaper face masks; ridicule Amazon's "me too!" sudden interest in making Echo suck less; scoff at most of the recent iPhone rumors, and geek out about Sunday's announcement of the next actor to play the Doctor on Doctor Who, along with the latest Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer. All this and an Android phone with 11 original herbs and spices on this episode of ... SPACE JAVELIN!
July 10, 2017
Lots on our plate this week, ranging from finding Beats 1 programs we like to mourning the end of this season of Doctor Who (it's SO GOOD you guys). We cover the spate of recent lawsuits (Qualcomm vs Apple, the war of words between Imagination VR and Apple, and Kanye suing Tidal), go over new reports about Red's intention to put out a holographic Android phone next year, iFixit's new kit for replacing the battery in Retina MacBooks (uh oh), and Jawbone's fishy collapse. We also talk gaming season, with the lame Switch iOS chat app, the great free Mac port of Shadow Warrior in all its retro glory, Steve Jackson's Sorcery (now free) and the forthcoming remastered Starcraft (in 4K for $15). Finally, this week we have a special guest: Wes Platt from OtherSpace, a MUD/MUSH game now surviving the collapse of Telnet over on Slack. Platt was also involved with Fallen Earth, and has an offbeat (and wild) traditional game called Knee Deep you should check out. More news and rumors coming next week, cadets, so stay tuned!
June 30, 2017
A special episode with two main parts to it: first, Charles and special guest William Gallagher discuss their mutual experience with first-day-of -availability buying the original iPhone, 10 years ago to the day of recording (Thursday, 29-June). The second half is a collection of still-relevant items that had to be cut for time out of recent episodes, so what better time to recycle than the Canada Day/Fourth of July celebrations? Enjoy this special episode, play safe out there, and we'll be back to what we call "normal" next week.
June 26, 2017
Welcome to a very slightly extended (by four minutes) episode of Space Javelin, where (as it turns out) we not only dissect the week that was in tech, we also share interesting aspects of your humble co-pilots' lives. Charles having mentioned his incredibly low gamer cred last week, Mike tells tales of life aboard a submarine, and how he's recreated that in his house (insert joke about being underwater on the mortgage here). The two eventually remember that this is supposed to be a tech podcast, and talk about YouTube TV's expansion (which -- naturally? -- leads into a nerd-out about Star Trek: Discovery), Gmail's pledge to stop spying on your email, and a rumor about Tesla planning its own music service.
Also covered are the latest iMac Pro rumors, warnings about running the latest betas if you're not going to do the work required, Virgin Mobile USA's switch to iPhones only (and a sweet deal if you switch), that misreported claim of Italy planning to ban iPhones (spoiler: nope), Apple Pay loyalty cards on the horizon, and a modified Delorean car owner who has turned the center of the dashboard into an iPad-ified info center (including a speedometer). All that and more, cadets, so strap in for (a little) overtime on board the Space Javelin this week! And stay tuned for a special episode on Friday, June 30 -- the 10-year anniversary of the iPhone (we're not doing a regular episode next week due to the Canada and USA holidays, but we think you'll enjoy this).
June 19, 2017
Both Charles and Mike are back at their respective home bases, and that means it's time for a really meaty, in-depth argument -- er, discussion. Along with more news about eGPU support in macOS High Sierra, a lack of Target Display Mode in the latest iMacs (not a surprise), the hiring of Sony TV programming whizzes (a slight surprise), and the XBox One X (a surprisingly banal name), Charles and Mike get into it over the Whole Foods acquisition by Amazon. Mike thinks its great, while Charles worries about the financials. Don't worry, mom and dad don't fight for long: they join forces to condemn jump-the-gun reporting on Nest and HomeKit, and they agree that Apple's AirPort appears to be the most hack-resistant router on the market (so go get one while you still can).
All that plus Charles' pathetic gamer status, Mike's pyramid of Wi-Fi power, nearly nothing about that Uber CEO that stepped down (and good riddance), plus 50 percent more cantankerousness than usual. Get on board, cadets -- this Space Javelin is plowing into the Neutral Zone!
June 12, 2017
Mike and Charles, now back on the regular schedule again, go over a few loose ends from WWDC, caution users on the latest betas, get into some iMac teardowns and the forthcoming iMac Pro in great depth, say "meh" to Planet of the Apps. They also discuss Apple's rejigging of iCloud storage plans (with a comparison to Amazon's retreat from "unlimited"), and chat a bit about the return of the numeric keypad (and lack of touchbar) in the latest Apple keyboard (also discussing a few others). All this and more, cadets, so climb on board for another adventure in modern recording!