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.

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.


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!


Jason Snell on the New iCloud Features →

September 21, 2016 · 11:16

Jason Snell:

Now, I may not be the perfect user for this feature, but I wanted to give it to try. And I definitely saw it in action, but I can’t call it a success. It was, in fact, the single most frustrating moment I spent with macOS Sierra.

Here’s what happened: I was editing a podcast in Apple’s Logic Pro X, and my project was stored on the Desktop. All of a sudden, the voice of one of my podcast panelists simply vanished from the mix. I quit and re-launched Logic, only to be told that the file in question was missing. Sure enough, a visit to Finder revealed that Sierra had “optimized” my storage and removed that file from my local drive. I’ll grant you, the file was a couple of weeks old, and very large as most audio files are. But I was also actively using it within a Logic project. Apparently that didn’t count for anything?

So that’s bad. That’s enough for me to turn off that feature and never use it again—or at the very least, never keep my project files on the Desktop or in the Documents folder.

To add insult to injury, at the time my files were deleted, my hard drive had approximately 80GB of free space. Why were the files deleted? I have no idea, but I suspect a bug in how Sierra was viewing the stock internal SSD of my iMac, because it’s also warned me that it didn’t have enough space to back up a 64GB iPhone with more than 100GB free, and gave me a “you’re about to run out of disk space” warning with 60GB free. So not only did Sierra remove files that I was using, it did so without any necessity.

At this point I downloaded all my files from iCloud, copied them to a file server just in case, and turned off both the Manage Storage feature and iCloud syncing of my Documents and Desktop folder. It’s a nice idea, but I’m not willing to have the place on my Mac where I keep key projects and documents to be a place I can’t count on. Think twice before enabling this feature.

I use BitTorrent Sync Pro to synchronise my Desktop and Downloads folders between my Macs. I can’t see myself moving away from this solution in the near future and switching to iCloud.


macOS Sierra Is Available to Download on the Mac App Store

September 20, 2016 · 19:11

The new macOS Sierra 10.12 is ready to download and install from the Mac App Store. Before you do the latter, please remember to backup your drive — I suggest two backups at the least. Personally, I always make sure my Time Machine has a fresh backup and I also clone my system drive with Carbon Copy Cloner. Better safe than sorry.

macOS Sierra

P.S. The Dev GM 2 and final build numbers are the same — both are 16A323. The public beta GM is an older build.


Rogue Amoeba on macOS Sierra and Gatekeeper Path Randomization →

June 30, 2016 · 23:35

Jeff Johnson:

At their recent Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced macOS 10.12 (Sierra), the next major version of the Mac operating system. Sierra is scheduled for official release in the fall, and we’re hard at work on getting our software ready for it. For now, however, we recommend that if you can’t live without our software — which we love to hear! — you should stick with 10.11 (El Capitan) or lower. We’ll be releasing fully compatible updates for 10.12 as soon as possible. For more detailed information, please see our Status page.

I’d like to take a few minutes now to talk directly to fellow software developers about Sierra, specifically about a new Sierra security feature called “Gatekeeper Path Randomization” (GPR) that has serious implications for software delivered outside of the Mac App Store.