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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 was 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.

    Newsletter Issue #1054 — A High-End Audio Attempt on the Cheap

    May 14th, 2024

    Before I get going with this review, I need to explain where I came from when it comes to home audio history. Back in the 1960s, my brother gave me an automatic turntable (make that a record changer), and one speaker. I made it the second speaker for a stereo system cobbled together from my vintage VM tape recorder. Chintzy, yes, but it worked well enough for my modest needs.

    In fact it was the system I used to listen to one of the greatest albums of all time, The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” It seems only yesterday when my wife and I opened a small package containing the album, and give it a spin. At the time, I was actually the morning disk jockey at a country radio station in Tuscumbia, AL. But we didn’t listen to the record at the radio studio; instead, I used my own paltry audio system. Clearly audio quality was not much better than that of a portable radios, but I relied on it for over a decade.

    I didn’t have the budget buy a proper audio setup until half a decade later, when I got a loan to finance a stereo setup that consisted of a Dual turntable, Dynaco build-it-yourself electronics and EPI speakers. Among audio components, it had decent quality audio. But the Dynaco amp, the ST-120, had a penchant for blowing out, thus taking out the tweeter on one of the speakers. After a few years, I found a repair shop willing to take the time to figure out the problem. In passing, they told me it was a design problem that they hobbled together a fix for.

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    Newsletter Issue #1053 — The Cheapskate Way: An Affordable Display for Your Mac

    March 16th, 2024

    In recent months, I’ve been looking for something affordable — or reasonably affordable — to replace my aging and obsolete Late 2014 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display. Let me tell you the process isn’t easy, especially if dollar signs are on your mind.

    So if you are seeking an all-in-one computer, your options are limited when it comes to Macs. Apple used to have two iMac lines. The basic model featured a 21.5-inch Retina display; the higher-end product had a 27-inch Retina display. While the original iMac was largely basedon portable computer parts, the newest models have come close to professional grade in terms of performance. Indeed, the short-lived iMac Pro featured an Intel Xeon CPU, same as older Mac Pros and high-end PC boxes.

    In switching to Apple Silicon, Apple has placed the iMac back at the low-end of the heap, the same position it occupied during its early years. You get a 24-inch display; actually it’s 23-inches, but Apple simply rounds it off. Also CPU horsepower is limited to the entry-level M-series chips. They are surely capable of performance levels that rise above their low grade, but for content creators, and those who crave big displays, they come up short.

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    Newsletter Issue #1052 — Apple Places You in Upgrade Hell

    March 6th, 2024

    Most of you are aware that I have been around the Apple universe since the 1980s, so maybe I know one or two things. I know, for example, that despite its claims or illusions to the contrary, Apple is not your friend. It is a multinational profit-making corporation that pays a little more than lip service to the environment, recycling and products that are more user friendly.

    Now when the first Macintosh personal computer was released in 1984, the critics pounced on it. Not just because a graphical user interface must be a toy, nothing to take seriously (they said), but it was offered as an appliance. You could use it, have it repaired, but upgrades just weren’t possible, unlike the do-it-yourself atmosphere in PC-land. Keep that in mind.

    Over the years, more and more Macs could be upgraded, until they couldn’t. One of the simplest was the Macintosh II series, where it was simple to lift the cover and replace RAM, hard drives and graphic cards. The floppy drive was dust prone because of its faulty layout on the chassis, so it often had to be removed for cleaning. So what could be better?

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    Newsletter Issue #1051 — So Has Apple Lost It?

    February 26th, 2024

    When I first started to use Macs in the late 1980s, I was the oddball. Most users of personal computers worked on traditional, text-based PCs, such as the ones from IBM. When I visited a computer store — yes there were many of those — to buy apps for my Mac, the clerks often gave me a sideways glance that smacked of derision. Sometimes they actually had a few titles stuck on a rear shelf catching dust.

    I actually reveled in the fact that computer viruses had mostly ignored Macs to my detriment. Weeks after my new Mac iicx was set up at my home, way back in 1989, it caught a virus. Worse, it was from an infected software floppy containing a screen saver utility from a firm known as Fifth Generation Systems. I ended up reformatting the Mac and reinstalling everything, except for that one. An online search introduced me to a solution to future problems of that sort, something known as VirusDetective (discontinued many moons ago). I wasn’t certain if it was best, but I liked the title and, besides, it was something you don’t find often these days — shareware. I didn’t have to pay if I didn’t like it, but nobody would disable it if I decided to just continue to use it. Yes I paid.

    As you might imagine, there was no online checking of serial numbers; access was just too slow in those days. Remember this was before broadband Internet was actually available in many parts of the country. That occurred beginning in 1996.

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