macOS Screen Savers by Johansson Design →

May 11, 2018 · 10:29

Johansson Design is probably the only company currently creating new screen savers for macOS, and my goal is to create (post)modern, pop-culture inspired screen savers that can be both practical and used as a form of self-expression.

They are all free and there are at least two in there that piqued my interest. You can get them for free and can donate to the author if you want to.


John Gruber Has Further Details On Project “Marzipan” →

May 1, 2018 · 09:25

John Gruber, for Daring Fireball:

This “Marzipan” rumor got a lot of people excited. But Gurman’s report is so light on technical details that the excitement is based mostly on what developers hope it could mean, not what’s actually been reported. The less specific the rumor, the easier it is to project your own wishes upon it. And, oddly perhaps, we haven’t seen any additional rumors or details about this project in the four months since Gurman’s original report.

I’ve heard a few things, from first- and second-hand sources. Mostly second-hand, to be honest, but they’re all consistent with each other.

Firstly, the details John posted shed more light on iOS and macOS in the coming years.

Secondly, since this is in regard to Gurman’s “Marzipan” leak, Mark isn’t as credible as he once was:

Gurman doesn’t mention that the meeting was leaked to Gurman himself — the person who leaked this story was caught and fired.


Are External GPUs for Macs Viable in macOS 10.13.4? →

April 20, 2018 · 11:05

Samuel Axon, writing for Ars Technica:

We tested an eGPU enclosure with a Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook Pro, and found that, in most applications, performance didn’t disappoint. Unfortunately, we also found limitations and software support inconsistencies that prevent the Mac eGPU dream from being fully realized at this time.

This is an extremely tempting solution. I imagine my current setup changing from a Hackintosh and MacBook Pro 13” to just a MacBook Pro 13” with a eGPU setup and external monitor. There would be a few caveats: I’d need a 2 TB SSD in the MacBook, at least a 4K monitor, preferably supporting Display P3 (my current 4K Eizo is sRGB), and I’d want one of those new quad-core Core i7s from Intel. They’re already available but Apple hasn’t yet ingested them into the lineup.

That and a reliable keyboard — my MacBook Pro is currently in for service for a new one.


Tim Cook: “Users Don’t Want iOS to Merge With macOS” →

April 20, 2018 · 10:48

Peter Wells, speaking with Tim Cook:

“I generally use a Mac at work, and I use an iPad at home,” Cook tells me, “And I always use the iPad when I’m travelling. But I use everything and I love everything.”

Later, when I ask about the divide between the Mac and iOS, which seems almost conservative when compared to Microsoft’s convertible Windows 10 strategy, Cook gives an interesting response.

“We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [The Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two … you begin to make trade offs and compromises.

This is nothing new — Tim Cook already made this statement a few years go.

I spent many days working solely with a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 the quickest summary I can come up with would be: it’s a good enough notebook, but a terrible tablet, at least in comparison to the iPad. The one situation I really liked it in, was editing photos in Lightroom, where I could detach the keyboard and focus on using touch. The iPad on the other hand, which I use every single day since it came out in 2010, is a great tablet and not a very good notebook. I guess it all depends where you’re coming from — Windows 10, as a desktop operating system, hasn’t yet evolved to be a great mobile OS1, while iOS is the exact opposite, even though iOS 11 helped a lot in that regard.

We’re currently at these strange crossroads between the past and future, while everyone is trying to figure out how to go forward, but it appears they don’t yet know which turn to take.

  1. It’s not a stellar desktop OS at the moment either — they still haven’t figured out HiDPI.

All of Apple’s OSes Should Get Comprehensive Instruction Manuals

April 9, 2018 · 11:24

This is but one example of the hundreds, if not thousands, of hidden features inside iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, and Siri. There are so many of these right now, that I don’t know a single person who would be aware of all of them. I read one of my own tips, which I published a few years ago, and was amazed that something like that was possible, and that I did not remember it1.

P.S. If you’re on macOS and don’t know the following keyboard shortcuts, make sure to memorise them — they’re really useful:

  1. I have since forgotten it again.

macOS May Lose Data on APFS-Formatted Disk Images →

February 19, 2018 · 13:31

Mike Bombich, creator of Carbon Copy Cloner:

This week we reported to Apple a serious flaw in macOS that can lead to data loss when using an APFS-formatted disk image. Until Apple issues a macOS update that resolves this problem, we’re dropping support for APFS-formatted disk images.

Note: What I describe below applies to APFS disk images only — ordinary APFS volumes (e.g. your SSD startup disk) are not affected by this problem. While the underlying problem here is very serious, this is not likely to be a widespread problem, and will be most applicable to a small subset of backups. Disk images are not used for most backup task activity, they are generally only applicable when making backups to network volumes. If you make backups to network volumes, read on to learn more.

Another day, another serious High Sierra bug.


Apple Delays iOS Features to Focus on Reliability and Performance →

January 31, 2018 · 12:34

Ina Fried, writing for Axios:

On the cutting board: Pushed into 2019 are a number of features including a refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces, improvements to core apps like mail and updates to the picture-taking, photo editing and sharing experiences.

What made it: There will be some new features, of course, including improvements in augmented reality, digital health and parental controls. In addition, Apple is prioritizing work to make iPhones more responsive and less prone to cause customer support issues.

This is a very good decision. iOS and macOS are currently very buggy and they are in need of care and polishing.

Also, I have not found a single reason to use AR yet.


Measuring macOS Meltdown Patches Performance →

January 10, 2018 · 15:57

fG, writing for Reverse Engineering Mac OS X:

My tests demonstrate that the syscall interface is definitely much slower in High Sierra 10.13.2. This could lead to some drama, that in most cases, is not justified (I witnessed some minor drama because I released an early chart to see what happened). What my tests appear to point to is that some workloads will be slower but they are probably not relevant unless you are doing millions of iterations. Maybe a 10% impact on your build times is not reasonable at all or you don’t even notice it. The most important thing that users and systems administrators need to do is to measure their specific situation. It’s the only way to be sure if this patch is a problem or not, and build their threat case under this new assumption. One thing is sure, this appears to be here to stay in the medium to long term until all hardware is replaced.

Interesting and varying results, depending on the workload, tested on a MacBook Pro and Mac Pro, running Sierra and High Sierra.


I Cannot Disconnect From Wi-Fi Under macOS Sierra

January 4, 2018 · 13:12

Isn’t it ironic that so many people have issues connecting to Wi-Fi networks under various version of macOS on their MacBooks, while my issue is the exact opposite — I cannot disconnect Wi-Fi when tethering from my iPad.

Pressing “Disconnect” from the menu does nothing. Turning off Wi-Fi only reinstates the connection when I turn it back on. The only method that works for me is sleeping the computer1 — it’s disconnected after waking.

Frustrating, as is everything that doesn’t work correctly.

  1. For the record, it’s a 2016 MacBook Pro 13″ without the Touch Bar.

Apple Plans Combined iPhone, iPad & Mac Apps to Create One User Experience →

December 20, 2017 · 17:01

Mark Gurman, writing for Bloomberg:

The Mac App Store is a ghost town of limited selection and rarely updated programs. Now Apple plans to change that by giving people a way to use a single set of apps that work equally well across its family of devices: iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Starting as early as next year, software developers will be able to design a single application that works with a touchscreen or mouse and trackpad depending on whether it’s running on the iPhone and iPad operating system or on Mac hardware, according to people familiar with the matter.

If this is true, I’m guessing the road will be rocky for developers, but the benefit for users could be huge, especially those that use the same apps on both iOS and macOS, relying on iCloud or other services for the syncing of data. I do wonder how this will influence pricing, however.


Repair File Sharing After Security Update 2017-001 for macOS High Sierra 10.13.1

November 30, 2017 · 06:13

Apple pushed a security update for the huge High Sierra vulnerability yesterday, introducing a bug while they were at it. You should install the update as soon as possible and then do this, if File Sharing isn’t working:

Open the Terminal app, which is in the Utilities folder of your Applications folder.

  1. Type sudo /usr/libexec/configureLocalKDC and press Return.
  2. Enter your administrator password and press Return.
  3. Quit the Terminal app.

John Gruber summarized the problem, which seems to have been around for a few months now:

So the exploit was floating around, under the radar, for weeks at least, but it seems as though no widespread harm came of it.

Personally, I’d call this much too optimistic — people could have been hacked without them even realizing it.


Fixing Text Shortcuts Sync in iOS and macOS

September 27, 2017 · 07:15

One day, a few years ago, I got the runaround from Apple once again — my text shortcuts stopped syncing and they told me to wait for the next version of iOS. This was right after iOS 8.0 came out. Another year? No thanks. I found my own solution. I had to go through this again, after updating to iOS 10 last year. So that’s twice since the feature was added — not bad, not perfect.

Continue reading →


macOS Sierra & High Sierra — Apps Can Dump Passwords From Keychain

September 26, 2017 · 09:21

This applies to older versions of macOS too, as well as signed apps.

Patrick submitted everything needed for a fix to Apple. I wonder if they’ll also patch older versions of macOS. Hope they do, since I’m not planning on updating to High Sierra anytime soon.


APFS on SSDs Mandatory in macOS High Sierra →

August 30, 2017 · 09:58

Apple Support:

Apple File System (APFS), is the default file system in macOS High Sierra for Mac computers with all flash storage. APFS features strong encryption, space sharing, snapshots, fast directory sizing, and improved file system fundamentals.

When you upgrade to macOS High Sierra, systems with all flash storage configurations are converted automatically. Systems with hard disk drives (HDD) and Fusion drives won’t be converted to APFS. You can’t opt-out of the transition to APFS.

Please make sure to create a good backup (or three!) before upgrading to High Sierra, because Shit Happens™ when you don’t have one (or three!).


Luna Display →

August 23, 2017 · 14:42

Craig Hockenberry:

What if I told you that you could add a Retina Display to your MacBook Pro for under $100? And what would you think when I showed how it plugs into your computer?

The only use that I can see, for me personally, is for Lightroom. But only because Lightroom for iOS isn’t an exact equivalent of its desktop counterpart.

This also raises a few questions in regard to touch screens and Macs. Should Apple introduce touch to the Mac? Is this a niche product/need? Will the iPad with iOS 11 kill that need? Or with future releases, making iOS on iPads fully featured? Will there be a laptop with iOS in the near future? Will “the next big thing” arrive, replacing our need for smartphones and tablets, before iOS matures?

These are truly interesting times in tech, ones which I could not have imagined 30 years ago, sitting in front our IBM PC XT.


Hyper Key with Karabiner Elements →

June 16, 2017 · 12:21

A Hyper Key simulates the pressing of four modifier keys at the same time — Shift + Control + Option/Alt + Command. Brett Terpstra explained this back in 2012:

I’ve had my Caps Lock key remapped to an escape key for some time now. I’ve become quite used to it — to the point where using other people’s keyboards is inconvenient. Given that I’ve already ruined my muscle memory, I figured I’d take it a step further. The end result is that hitting my Caps Lock key once still gives me “Escape,” but holding it triggers a “Hyper” modifier key (simultaneous Control, Shift, Option and Command). I can map the Hyper key using any of an assortment of utilities to do all kinds of fun things.

Due to changes in macOS Sierra and Karabiner being rewritten as Karabiner Elements, we lost the Hyper Key, until the latest update:

Yesterday I posted excitedly about full Hyper key functionality being available in macOS 10.12+. I included a snippet of a config file that has apparently led to some confusion, so I’m elaborating here on the full configuration.

My current MacBook Pro config file, after adding Brett’s suggested changes, looks like this:

Everything works perfectly, but please do remember to set Caps Lock to No Action in Sierra’s System Preferences → Keyboard → Modifier Keys.

Thanks Brett!


Quick Thoughts on WWDC 2017

June 13, 2017 · 21:44

I haven’t had enough time to think about all the WWDC 2017 announcements yet — there were so many — so I’ll most likely voice my thoughts and perhaps even come to some conclusions on a future podcast episode, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some of my thoughts and worries.

Continue reading →


Making More Outside The App Store →

February 11, 2017 · 13:48

Paul Kafasis, on Rogue Amoeba’s blog:

I certainly won’t state that every developer will have this same success if they remove a product from the Mac App Store and distribute it exclusively through their own site. Your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

In our case, however, it’s clear that we were serving Apple, rather than Apple serving us. By removing Piezo from the Mac App Store, we stopped paying a commission to Apple for the many customers who had found Rogue Amoeba on their own. Better still, we were able to improve the quality of the product while simplifying our work considerably. Ultimately, that alone was enough to convince us that leaving the Mac App Store was the right move. The subsequent revenue increase we’ve seen is merely a nice bonus.

Paul’s whole analysis is worth taking a look at — the results surprised me. Personally, I theoretically prefer purchasing through the Mac App Store, mostly due to the fact, that if I ever need to reinstall or re-download a program, I just pull up the Mac App Store list and click one button. No need to register, no need to find my registration details. Having said that, I actually purchase software directly from developers if possible, because I know that they earn more this way, at no any real cost to me, and I also usually get more timely updates.

Most of the new software that is submitted to the Mac App Store is garbage — I don’t remember when I last found something of true value from an unknown developer that I don’t follow. I can’t help but wonder when it will be forsaken by developers completely.


Mac Malware of 2016 →

January 4, 2017 · 19:47

Patrick Wardle:

Due to sheer volume, Windows malware generally dominates the malicious code and news scene. Of course, Macs are susceptible to malware as well and 2016 saw a handful of new malware targeting Apple computers.

In this blog, I wanted to discuss all Mac malware that appeared this year. While each sample has been reported on before (i.e. by the AV company that discovered it), this blog aims to cumulatively cover all in one place. Moreover, for each, we’ll identify the infection vector, persistence mechanism, features/goals, and describe disinfection.

You will also find all the locations of where the malware installs itself.

P.S. I have never been infected in the decade or so as a Mac user.1.

  1. *knock on wood*

Apple Removes the ‘Time Remaining’ Battery Estimate in New macOS Update →

December 14, 2016 · 14:29

Sean O’Kane:

Apple has picked a rather interesting way of dealing with the unpredictable (and underwhelming) battery life on its newest MacBook Pros: the company is eliminating the “time remaining” estimate that shows up when you click the battery icon in the status bar. The change is being made in the newest version of macOS Sierra — 10.12.2 — which hit the Mac App Store today.

This is like removing the average fuel consumption mode from the trip computer of a car, because it uses more fuel than the manufacturer specifies in its lab controlled tests.