Space Javelin

Space Javelin
By The Space Javelin crew
About this podcast
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.
Latest episodes
Nov. 20, 2017
This week, Charles is back from New York but it's Mike that's broadcasting from different quarters; however, this will not stop them going over the big tech news of the week as usual. There was actually not a lot usual about this week, what with Tesla springing a surprise alongside their semi-truck announcement, the disappointment of the HomePod missing its December debut, and the shockingly good benchmark scores from the iPhone X. Also discussed on the ship this week is the nice reviews for the Xbox One X and Nintendo Switch, the mostly-good reviews for the Google Pixel Buds, and kids' smartwatches being destroyed in Germany. All this plus a DirecTV deal, the Apple TV 4K for Xmas, Apple's iconic new TV ad, our changing usage habits, Vimeo adding support for HDR, a mini-rant about FireFox, a new Sonnet TB3 graphics box deluxe, and how to fend off a shark attack with your Apple Watch LTE. All this and more, cadets, so grab a size larger helmet -- your brain is gonna be a size larger once we've exploded this info-bomb inbetween your earholes!
Nov. 13, 2017
Charles is away in various bits of New York, and Mike is otherwise occupied, so this week sees the escape from the airlock of intrepid reporter Malcolm Owen and the ship's bosun William Gallagher as they take the helm. We salute the US Navy for taking us on board, discuss Walmart's alternative figures against Apple Pay, bring up some reports of screen issues with some iPhone X units (but never fear, Apple is on it), and William sings the praises of the forthcoming version of productivity app Workflow. Also discussed are the Photos app, anti-spammer email bots, Photos, KFC, and super savings on iPhone X battery life with the new Dark Mode. As befits the former hosts of One More Thing, the pair also resurrect the much-loved App of the Week segment, discuss examples of greater use of automation in software, take a peek at the new deals to be found in the debut of (by the time you hear this) Last Weekend Only, and geek out a bit over Star Wars-inspired backgrounds and effects in the new Clips 2.0. Things are a little different this week, cadets, with gentler accents, more decorum, and a full 20 percent less ranting (but a lot more sighing). All this and more, so tune in!
Nov. 6, 2017
To the surprise of only the highly-paid "analysts" on Wall Street, Apple beat expectations again, had no problems selling lots and lots of iPhone 8s, and even the iPhone X appears to be more plentiful than last year's highly constrained iPhone 7. Mike and Charles go over the company's frankly stupendous fiscal Q4 numbers, but also remind users that all of Apple's platforms have now reached that mature "point-one" stage and it is time to upgrade if you can (for no other reason than to ensure you are no longer vulnerable to the KRACK Wi-Fi vulnerability, because you can't wait for a router fix -- it's probably not coming). Qualcomm stumbles, Google's Pixel XL 2 fumbles (again), Amazon doesn't do its homework, and Best Buy got their rear end handed to them -- all in a string of stories about being dumb. This week, Charles welcomes D. Proni of Econ Technologies on to talk about super-syncing and backup utility Chronosync; Mike gives the Internet a stern talking-to about the freakout over a native (and not hidden) Photos auto-cataloging feature; both drool over the latest spotting of iMacs Pros in the wild; Apple makes a great change for iCloud users, and next month you'll be able to bid on Steve Jobs' old car. All this and much more covering a big week in tech, cadets, so get in line early and bring your sleep pods -- you're going to be out there a couple of Rels early to secure your very own copy of Space Javelin X -- er, Season 2 Episode 34!
Oct. 30, 2017
Mike and Charles are back in their command seats with a big bag of brickbats to deliver to all and sundry, from bad headline writers, to stock pundits, to phone sellers, and beyond. The tour of the tech news galaxy starts with the big story of the week -- the launch of the iPhone X and all the usual hysteria that accompanies that, along with news that the iPhone 8 is actually selling just fine (and a theory about why we were told otherwise last week), and a warning about buying your iPhone from Best Buy. Also discussed are Apple's new leather sleeve for the MacBook, a new rant from Mike about entitled Mac owners, balanced with some good news for Mac owners -- new super-fast SSD expansion options from OWC. Also covered in this episode: the latest legal wranglings, from the University of Wisconsin to a re-re-retrial of patent damages from the first Apple vs. Samsung trial (yes, eight years on); the FBI being whiny babies; Apple's smackdown of the "Face ID accuracy reduced" lie; Microsoft kills off the Kinect, and Google needs to work on its QA; and the Amazon CloudCam and (the ill-thought-out) Key idea. The return of the Lightning Round sees more insight on the Cochlear Nucleus 7 hearing implant, Walmart becoming more friendly to Apple products in their IT, Honda's new CarPlay-compatible Gold Wing motorcycle, and news that NYC is replacing the Metrocard with contactless payment systems at last. Last but not least, Mike and Charles take a closer look at insurer John Hancock's offer for a cheap Apple Watch ... and what's behind that. All this and more, cadets, so make sure you have your truth detectors tucked into your utility belts -- the space junk is thick on this orbit!
Oct. 23, 2017
With Charles in Wichita and Mike right where we left him, a very slightly shorter episode to cover all that's shady, suspicious, or make us snarky in the past week, cadets. Of course the first discussion is give you the latest on the very serious KRACK Wi-Fi hack and what you can do to protect yourself (take this one super-seriously, please), and Mike owes an apology to Senator Al Franken (though he took his sweet time about it). Other senators, however, are up to shenanigans, and the crew call them on it, plus they point out the flaw in having a Thunderbolt Mac and FW800 peripherals. Not only that, but Mike and Charles judge Microsoft's latest claims about the new Surface Book 2 unlikely to pass the official sniff test. Also included at no extra charge is a review of yet another Thunderbolt dock; good news about the Mac mini; a clarification about the "head start" Apple is giving some iPhone Upgrade Program members (tl;dr -- it's been widely misreported), and go on to further debunk recent speculation about Apple COO Jeff Williams' trip to Taiwan to meet with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou. All this and more, cadets, so get out your BS detectors -- it's gonna be a bumpy ride!
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 (, 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:
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