diglloyd Mac Performance Guide
Speed To Create, Capacity To Dream

Apple Mail Security: Viewing Mail Headers

Reader Kit L asks:

In your article Don’t Get Scammed / Phished by Look-Alike Emails (PayPal Example), you suggested:

Configure the mail program to show Return-Path and X-Mailer and other fields; these sometimes show obvious scammer information.

Can you add an addendum to that article to explain how to do this, please?

MPG: See Apple Mail Security: Viewing Mail Headers.

Boot and Master volumes
Adding / removing custom messages headers in Apple Mail
SSD Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina

OWC Thunderbay 4: Now up to 40TB Capacity

It had slipped by my radar, but I just notice that OWC now offers the OWC Thunderbay 4 in capacities up to a whopping 40TB. The 40TB model uses Seagate Enterprise hard drives.

In RAID-5 or RAID-4 mode, the capacity of of 1 of the 4 drives in the Thunderbay 4 is used for parity information for fault tolerance, so 40TB becomes 30TB of usable capacity (but with fault tolerance). Still, 30 TB is a lot of space.

MPG has been using five Thunderbay 4 units for a couple of years now (see review of the Thunderbay 4 and review of the Thunderbay 4 mini). The Thunderbay 4 units just run and run without a hitch.

See also OWC Thunderbolt cables in 4 colors, the OWC Drive Dock and the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock for port expansion.

DANGER: phishing email purporting to be from PayPal
Which Camera System / Lenses Should I Get?
✓ Get the best system for your needs the first time: diglloyd photographic consulting.

Don’t Get Scammed / Phished by Look-Alike Emails (PayPal Example)

Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Clicking on email links or attached files is risky: merely clicking on a link to go to the claimed site can result in compromising the computer for some users. While Mac users are generally better off, a Mac is no guarantee of safety, and all sorts of nasty tricks can be played on the desgination sites.

Phishing relies on “social engineering”, particularly an emotional reasponse (greed, fear, loyalty, irritation, friendship, authority, desire for help, etc). Often the phishing emails are difficult to distinguish from a legitmate email from the company being imitated and frequently even use the company’s own images from a legitimate server. If a link is clicked on, the destination web site may be a clone of the real one, which makes it even more “real” for the victim.

What you may lose: username and password, security codes, credit card numbers—anything you can be tricked into entering on a phishing site. Or you may have your computer encrypted and subjected to ransom-ware. No fun at all.

Example — phishing for PayPal information

See also the Amazon phishing example and the security topics page.

This is a good way to lose your money, particularly if linked to your bank account.

  • NEVER click on links in emails that you are not 100% certain of from a trusted party beforehand. Particularly on a Windows PC, though Mac users are at risk too.
  • Did I mention NEVER CLICK ON LINKS in EMAILS, NO MATTER WHAT? It’s just not worth it.
  • Configure your email program so that images do not automatically load in your mail program. If Mail loads images automatically, you’re essentially telling the sender (the criminal sending the email) that s/he’s got a “live one”: you. Ditto for mail on the iPhone or iPad.
  • Pay attention to spelling and grammar errors. This example below is unusually good; it has only two obvioius errors in grammar/spelling (but “Valnecia” is another).
  • Configure the mail program to show Return-Path and X-Mailer message headers; these sometimes show obvious scammer information.
  • Check the "To" address. In this case, the "To" is not an email I use for PayPal—a very common red flag.

The source code to this email tries to disguise itself a bit; it uses http://bit.ly links to hide the true destination of anything clicked upon. This helps it evade some blacklist filters.

DANGER: phishing email purporting to be from PayPal
Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

No New Macs at WWDC

In a first (as far as MPG knows), Apple did not announce any new Macs at WWDC.

The lack of announcements may reflect current chipset limitations (such as the inability to drive a 5K external display with one cable), or similar inelegant limitations. Or it may reflect some convergence among Macs that for MPG brings both hope and unease about what chickens might come home to roost given Apple design fetishes, such as the distasteful prospect of a MacBook Pro with a single port similar to the MacBook, in the name of elegance but delivering the opposite.

The next likely announce/launch time is September, in time for school season and the holidays.

Which actually suits me (Lloyd) just fine: my old beater 2013 Apple MacBook Pro Retina is still going strong. Barring a slew of 'killer' new features*, buying another $3K laptop and a $5K Mac Pro is an unappealing prospect. So in that regard (cost), MPG is more than happy to see the hardware changeover to Thunderbolt 3 pushed off until (one hopes) it can be done right and proper.

* What I want in a MacBook Pro: 32GB memory option, 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, 2TB SSD option, wide gamut P3 display.

OWC Easy SSD Upgrade Guide for MacBook Pro/Air/Retina, iMac, Mac Pro, MacMini, more!

OS X Sierra

Coming this fall: macOS Sierra. That’s right “macOS Sierra”. I wish I could get paid the big bucks to rebrand this brilliantly, or to design that web page that is 90% blank space (scroll down) and thus difficult to read comprehend. Maybe it is a preview of the poor quality of the release to come? That is, in keeping with the past 5 years of Apple tradition.

From what I can tell, macOS Sierra is almost entirely flashy features that I would never use. So in essence it will just destabilize my work environment while adding no value. And maybe worse.

Front and center is Siri, which has a nearly 100% failure rate for anything I’ve tried with it. I long ago abandoned it as a science fair project. It cannot even be fully turned off on the iPhone (even if the setting says it is off), popping up at odd times from some something done inadvertantly.

Setting aside Siri and other fluff that is sure to destabilize the usability experience for non-casual users, the main thing of interest to nerds is the new file system, the low level OS code that stores and organizes files. [No, not the “offload to iCloud” feature, which if it has the robustness of current iCloud feature set may be data suicide].

The new APFS file system brings with it all sorts of new features, some very modern such as being optimized for SSDs. And it may well bring compatibility problems. As yet, MPG doesn’t know how diglloydTools might or might not work, or whether key APIs for the current HFS+ files system might vaporize.

Jim G writes:

Based on the way that Apple has been doing things recently I am seriously thinking of going to Windows. Thought I would never say it but between hardware issues with the MacPro when it went to the tube, the lack of consistent support for the duel graphics cards, the buggy OS versions (I'm still on 10.9 even though some software requires 10.10+), their insistence on adding more bling over stability in the OS (can we just have a pro OS with no bling) and their obsession with iDevices, maybe it's time to look elsewhere. I have used Macs since the original 128k right up to the 2009 MacPro so this is both saddening and a bit intimidating. They have gone from Apple Computer to Apple iConsumer. I find no fault in them expanding their business but it shouldn't be at the cost of what got them here.

On MacRumors forum there was a poll (granted a small one) and 48% said they'd stay with Mac, 24% will go PC on their next computer and the rest are either transitioning or transitioned to PC. From what I have read, Apple is losing the video industry.

I have to wonder if the new AFS is more to promote file sharing between Mac and iDevices than it is about a better file system for their computers.

Jobs cared about the creatives and Apple thrived. I have to wonder if Adobe saw something in the 90's when they added Windows support.

Have you ever thought about leaving Mac?

MPG: Apple no longer values once-loyal pro users, or even semi-serious users and is a full-on consumer products company. MPG agrees that the new file system is almost certainly driven by “progress” in unifying iPhone/iCloud to desktops and future products. That is a good thing in concept, but could prove to have ugly side effects in execution—it shall be seen.

I’ll be sticking with Mac. I have way too much invested in it (workflow, software, web site, knowledge).

Cycling

MacSales.com June 'Garage Sale' + Deal on iMac 5K

See also OWC Weekender deals through June 6.

iMac DEAL: late 2014 Apple 27" iMac 5K 3.5 GHz / 24GB / 1TB Fusion for only $1650 (go to 32GB for only $98 more).iMac DEAL: late 2014 Apple 27" iMac 5K 3.5 GHz / 16GB / 1TB Fusion for only $1650 plus (go to to 32GB memory for only $98 more.

MacSales.com deal: late 2014 Apple 27" iMac 5K 3.5 GHz / 24GB / 1TB Fusion for only $1650

The MacSales.com June garage sale is now up (hard drives, SSDs, enclosures, RAID, cables, all sorts of stuff). Limited special quantities at low, low prices.

For many, this marks the first week of Summer. While not ‘official’ until June 21st, the kids have been released (this includes four of my own), graduations have and are happening all around, and we’ve remembered our fallen this past Memorial Day.

So - with June in the here and the now, we’re now kicking off the MacSales.com June GarageSale/Clearance. Lots of great stuff that’ll go fast!

This ‘bonus round’ starts with over 430 items including well over 350 only just turned on and listed. It’s first come, first served. Open box, used, replacement, even new priced to move.

As GarageSale/Clearance items are claimed/sell out, available quantities count down till they are no more. Items also remain in play until you checkout.

Free Delivery now on orders $49 & up within the 48 contiguous US states + discounted options to Hawaii, Alaska, & International destinations make it even better yet.

Some crazy deals are up, so have a look! It’s not just pricey things, there are a lot of useful things that cost under $10.

 

Deals: Rebates on Apple MacBook Pro Retina, Macbook, MacBook Air

B&H Photo has rebates up to $300 on a wide variety Apple MacBook Pro Retina, MacBook Air, MacBook. There are 27 different models with instant rebates.

Recommended add-ons: a sleek external SSD for backup or extra stage, as well as the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock and/or TRIPP Lite USB 3 hub.

Which Mac? Storage, Backup, RAID? Color Management?
✓ diglloyd consulting starts you out on solid footing.

Withered Apple: Whither Macs with Thunderbolt 3? WWDC Announcements?

Apple lags in the market for computers these days, as various PCs have appeared with Thunderbolt 3, even at the low end, like this one. Classy they are not, but it would be nice to have at least one Apple computer announced with Thunderbolt 3. Perhaps WWDC will bring some news.

It used to be that Apple would bring out the Cool Stuff first in new Macs. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

See also:

USB-C Dock for MacBook

4 USB3 ports, 1 USB-C port, SD card reader, gigabit ethernet, audio ports, HDMK 4K port!

What a Bad Hard Drive Fails Like when Running diglloydTools 'fill-volume'

diglloydTools

Purchase diglloydTools.

I received a 2009 Mac Pro with four internal 2TB hard drives from a friend whose computer systems I updated/replaced. That Mac Pro contained an SSD and 4 X 2TB hard drives, each with about 2.5 years of power-on time—realtively old and thus “suspicious”. He had been having strange delays and the drives might have been the culprit.

Accordingly, I decided to test all 4 of those fairly old hard drives for reliability. Generally an in-depth reliability test* is best done with the test-reliability command, but in this case I elected to do a fill-volume in order to be able to graph the results—and because fill-volume almost always kicks out a bad drive.

As shown below, -36 is an I/O error, which indicates a hardware failure of some kind.

What’s interesting about this particular test is that the failure did not occur during the write phase, but during the read phase, the implication being that a drive can be written, then later fail to be readable—a disaster for backups.

Recommendation: Users with hard drive backups might (always keep at least three) should probably make a practice of erasing a backup once a year (and one at a time), and then doing a fill-volume to see if the drive operates correctly through the entire write and read phases. If it passes, return it to backup duty.

Even brand-new hard drives can fail in this manner; most hard drives are not media-tested before being shipped. While bad blocks can be and are mapped-out, this shows up in the graph from fill-volume as erratic performance instead of a steady pattern.

* The test-reliability test is very thorough and can take several days if run fully.

Test excerpt

Shown below, an excerpt of the test log shows that the drive failed with a -36 I/O error about halfway through the read phase.

Scanning "/Volumes/bad1/disktester-blobs"...1000
1000 files in 1 folders.
---------------------------------- Iteration 1 ---------------------------------
Reading 1000 files totaling 1.81 TiB...
IO method: single synchronous read buffer of size 128 MiB
# Files     Amt Read MiB/sec(all)   MiB/sec(1)  MiB/sec(10)  MiB/sec(30)
0      768 MiB      inf           na           na           na    
0     1.50 GiB      inf           na           na           na    
1     2.23 GiB      156          130          130          130    
...
536    992.7 GiB      119          105          106          107    
536    993.3 GiB      119          105          106          107    
537    993.9 GiB      119          106          106          107    
537    994.5 GiB      119          106          106          107    
537    995.1 GiB      119          106          106          107    
FileReaderTask::ReadAll:  caught error: disk error (I/O error) [-36], file = "/Volumes/bad1/disktester-blobs/blob-0537.blob"
CatalogInfo for "blob-0537.blob":
Path: "/Volumes/bad1/disktester-blobs/blob-0537.blob"
CreatorCode:      BLOB
FileType:         BLOB
DataFork:         1987051520, 1987051520, closed
Locked:           false
TextEncoding:     0
CreationDate      2016-03-25 15:04:28
ContentModDate    2016-03-25 15:04:46
AttributeModDate  2016-03-25 15:04:46
AccessDate        2016-03-25 20:47:57
BackupDate        1903-12-31 16:00:00
Parent dir ID     113
Node ID:          652
FileReaderTask::ReadAll: exiting
Task FileReaderTask exited with error: disk error (I/O error) [-36]
Read 537 files totaling 995.4 GiB in 8584.08 seconds @ 119 MiB/sec

Some of the other capabilities in diglloydTools

Aside from testing hard drive or SSD or RAID performance and reliability with DiskTester, data integrity with IntegrityChecker is a must-have workflow tool for anyone with important data:

Envoy Pro mini - In Motion There Exists Great Potential

Memorial Day

On this Memorial Day, I am grateful to live where I do.

To those who made and make it happen, to those and their families who gave all they could give, thank you.

America Bald Eagle
See also: Eagles Galore.
__METADATA__

Which Camera System / Lenses Should I Get?
✓ Get the best system for your needs the first time: diglloyd photographic consulting.

How to get a Better Idea of Memory Usage: Purge the OS X File System Buffer Cache

It can be confusing to evaluate available memory, because OS X can use many gigabytes for the file system cache. Thus, it can be useful to purge the OS X file system buffer cache for that reason, and another:

  • Before performing or repeating a performance test, for consistent results.
  • To assess system memory usage without a bloated disk cache.

In Terminal, use sudo purge:

diglloydMP:MPG lloyd$ sudo purge

Use of 'sudo purge' is harmless; it simply empties file system caches. The 'man' page states:

Purge can be used to approximate initial boot conditions with a cold disk buffer cache for performance analysis. It does not affect anonymous memory that has been allocated through malloc, vm_allocate, etc.

The results can be seen in Activity Monitor under memory usage. The cache will not go to zero because the system keeps some important file system structures cached.

15.6GB of cache used before sudo purge, 1.09GB after (toggle to compare).

Cached files before and after

More OS X Open-File Bugs: QuickLookSatellite, Apple Mail, Ghost Applications, Trash Will Not Empty

A few days ago, I wrote about a nasty bug in QuickLookSatellite that can bring the system to its knees, requiring a force kill of QuickLookSatellite or a logout or reboot. That page has now been updated with command line alternatives that make it instant to terminate the offending QuickLookSatellite processes.

Apple Mail fails to close files too

Apple Mail has bugs in failing to close open files as well: send an image in an email, then put the file in the trash. Even hours after the email has been sent, the file(s) may remain open, so the Trash cannot be emptied. Strangely, this did/does not happen when tested with 120 images in an email. So it’s a behavior that apparently depends on something.

Here is how to see open jpg files in Apple Mail (in Terminal). These two files are in the trash. Mail has long since sent the message, but it has failed to close the files, so attempting to empty the trash produces an error alert for every such open file—quite a nuisance over the course of the day. But in this case the solution is simple: quit Apple Mail and the files get closed. While only a nuisance since there is an easy workaround, it is yet more Apple Core Rot.

diglloydMP:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ lsof | grep Mail | grep jpg
Mail 23447 lloyd txt 885100 23720017 /Users/lloyd/.Trash/Sony28_135.jpg
Mail 23447 lloyd txt 889332 23720381 /Users/lloyd/.Trash/2-frame-f13.jpg

Ghost applications keeping files open

The case of “ghost applications” seems to be a feature, not a bug, that is, in the ghastly way Apple fails to consider side effects and implications that make the alleged benefits to some a bitter brew for others.

Chris K writes:

Not just files, but programs. I have noticed this problem for the last couple iterations of OS X. It seems all Apple programs themselves (Preview, Pages, etc.) remain “open” after the last file has closed, and the icon no longer appears in the dock.

When I try to empty the trash or do other functions, I first have to use the CMD+OPT+ESC to open the “Force Quit Applications” panel, force them shut. Perhaps the intention is to quickly hot load new files, making a computer feel zippy fast.

In reality, quite the opposite, a new time suck has been created by requiring my time. Not only a frustrating waste of time, but also a waste of CPU / RAM.

MPG: this seems to be a distinctly different case: applications that the user has quit, but remain open (vs open applications keeping open files long since not needed). However it’s possible some underlying lazy* garbage collection algorithm is responsible for both at some level.

MPG also regularly observes ghost applications in Activity Monitor and has seen these trash-emptying problems, particularly with Apple Preview—PDFs in the trash remain open long after quitting Preview.

A guess: ghost applications could be related the Power Nap feature (or some underlying facility that it requires). Since Power Nap is off on all MPG machines, that would not explain it—but that presumes Power Nap is not buggy like the rest of OS X.

* “Lazy” as used here is computer programming terminology, not a pejorative.

Power Nap in OS X Energy Saver Preferences
Is it responsible for ghost applications?

Arne E writes:

I can confirm that the still-open Mail sent attachment has been a problem for a long time. I remember having to deal with it on Yosemite and even Snow Leopard, and to deal with it is very easy:

diglloydMP:MPG lloyd$ rm -rf /Volumes/*/.Trashes/*/*

No sudo needed… it just sits in one of my BitBar plugins as "Force Empty Local Trash". No need to quit Mail; force empty works while Mail is still running.

MPG: Terminal is a useful tool indeed. Another way to do it for a few files is to type 'rm ' (without the quotes and with the following space), then drag any problem files into the terminal window, which will insert the file names with path. Press RETURN and they’re gone.

Zerene Stacker: Good Example of a Program that Uses all the CPU Cores

See the MPG computer wishlist at B&H Photo.

Focus stacking makes one image with unlimited depth of field (sharpness near to far) by merging multiple frames shot at different focusing distances. These shots of Shimano biking parts were done with focus stacking.

While four CPU cores may be plenty for many uses, photographers doing things like focus stacking can benefit hugely from 6/8/10/12 CPU cores, that is, when running programs that efficiently make use of the cores (e.g., 8 cores gets the job done in about half the time of 4).

Here, Zerene Stacker is doing a focus stacking job that takes a few minutes on an 8-core 3.3 GHz Mac Pro. It uses all 8 CPU hardware CPU cores very effectively.

See also: Photoshop CC 2015 Now Uses all the CPU Cores for RAW-File Conversion.

Zerene Stacker CPU usage while focus stacking
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!

OWC Adds Apple 'BootCamp' (Windows Booting) Support for OWC Aura SSD and Others

OWC Aura SSD

Get OWC Aura and Aura Pro SSDs at MacSales.com (480GB and 960GB).

See the MPG review of the OWC Aura SSD for MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Retina.

Originally, the OWC Aura SSD would not support Bootcamp, but about a month after first release OWC announced the (free) OWC Dual Boot Enabler for Apple Boot Camp updater. Direct link: Aura SSD for Mid-2013 and Later MacBook Air MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The OWC Dual Boot Enabler provides Boot Camp support to a handful of OWC products, including the Aura SSD for mid-2013 and later MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display that we sent for review.

Boot Camp allows users to partition their drive and install Microsoft Windows directly onto their Mac, enabling the simultaneous use of Windows and providing a simple transition between operating systems. While many OWC products already support Boot Camp, a few solid state drives were previously incompatible with the utility once installed.

With OWC’s new enabler, consumers can now use Boot Camp to install Windows with the following products:

OWC Aura SSD for Mid-2013 and later MacBook Air and MacBook Pro with Retina display
OWC Aura SSD for Mac Pro
Mercury Accelsior S
Mercury Accelsior E2

NOTE: users can choose to uninstall the enabler afterwards as it is only needed for set-up, or leave it installed as it uses no memory or other system resources.

 

Which Mac? Storage, Backup, RAID? Color Management?
✓ diglloyd consulting starts you out on solid footing.

The Drive I Use for Backup in the Field

Get Envoy Pro EX at MacSales.com or get Envoy Pro EX at B&H Photo.

For a detailed look at how I work in the field (my photography), see Mechanics and Organization in DAP.

Out in the field, my daily routine after a long day’s shoot is like this:

  1. Grab a GT’s Kombucha from cooler (Gingerade preferred) because after hiking 12 hours, it hits the spot.
  2. Download all my camera cards using a fast card reader. A fast SDXC card helps a lot too. [When/while downloading more than one card, have a clone backup running simultaneously, this saves some time. Make one final clone when all are downloaded].
  3. Make one final clone backup after the last download. If further work is done after downloading, do another clone before shutting down the laptop for the night.
  4. Store the backup drive away from the computer (having a laptop plus its backup drive stolen is painful mistake).
OWC Envoy Pro EX SSD

See my review of the OWC Envoy Pro EX 1TB. This is the SSD I use for backups in the field as discussed above. Actually, I use both a 1TB Envoy Pro EX and 480GB Envoy Pro EX as well, for dual backups.

The Envoy Pro EX is very compact, bus powered by the USB cable itself, a very fast performer, and sleek looking too.

It fits in the palm of my hand or just about any pocket, and stows with its short USB cable in its own soft carry case. It’s the perfect high performance SSD for travel.

If backup is not the goal, the Envoy Pro EX is also ideal for additional storage while traveling.

Tip: at only 106 grams it is possible to stick a small piece of velcro on it and on the top of the laptop case, and then just stick it on while working, so it doesn’t just dangle there. Handy in airline seats and such where there is no desktop.

OWC Envoy Pro EX SSD
Cycling

OS X Bug: QuickLookSatellite Opens Files and Never Closes Them, Causing Wide-Ranging Errors

Update 27 May: Apple Mail has a similar bug.
Update 29 May: example listing and Finder dialog added.

A few days ago, my Mac Pro started acting funny: my testing java web server kept quitting. Other things started misbehaving too, with error messages about not being able to open a file, or ssh failing to open a socket.

The java web server could not get a file or socket to open, so it would quit. I would restart it, and it would die after a few pages had loaded. This was very puzzling, since OS X has an ample limit for file descriptors and sockets.

Here is what is happening: the background process QuickLookSatellite was opening every JPEG file that I created and keeping them all openforever! A newbie programming bug of failing to close a file after opening it. More Apple Core Rot.

With a monotonically increasing number of open files (see this listing for an example after just an hour or so), OS X runs out of file descriptors eventually, and then all sorts of weird things start happening. Servers quit, strange error messages appear, even command line tools like git and ssh abort. And so on. Why QuickLookSatellite does this is unclear—perhaps because they are new files and it is trying to be “smart” and take a peek at them for indexing. But it never closes the files, thus chewing up a file descriptor for every file.

One obvious symptom of the problem is that when these files are put into the trash, the Finder posts an error alert saying it cannot empty the trash because the file is open (an error alert for every file!).

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock , rear ports
When files are open (“in use”), Trash cannot be emptied

The when or why—what provokes it, is unclear. Newly created files? Using Spotlight in a certain way? Selecting and moving or copying? Simply opening a folder with the new files? Probably most users will not encounter this issue, or so MPG thinks. But there could be many other situations that cause it to happen.

QuickLook is so buggy that it even keeps temporary files and network files open. Temp files are files a program creates and disposes of (or thinks it has). These files are not displayed by the Finder, so you might not realize that 5 or 10 or 200 files are open. No wonder OS X runs out of file descriptors!

QuickLook 18320 lloyd   11r     REG               1,4     534938 23703321 /Users/lloyd/Desktop/crop_tmp1365237595
QuickLook 18320 lloyd 12r REG 1,4 534938 23703321 /Users/lloyd/Desktop/crop_tmp1365237595

Detecting and counting open files

To see all open files, use the lsof command in Terminal (use 'sudo' if you want to see all files, not just ones viewable by your login user). The lsof command will dump a fairly long list of open files, which is normal:

diglloydMP:MPG lloyd$ lsof

To show only the files are open by QuickLookSatellite, but excluding files expected to be open:

diglloydMP:MPG lloyd$ lsof | grep Quick | grep -v -e /System -e /Library -e /private -e /dev -e /usr -e KQUEUE -e cwd

To count the number of files open by QuickLookSatellite, but excluding files expected to be open:

diglloydMP:MPG lloyd$ lsof | grep Quick | grep -v -e /System -e /Library -e /private -e /dev -e /usr -e KQUEUE -e cwd | wc -l
# not as complicated as it looks; the -e arguments are to omit files that are normally open by QuickLookSatellite

In my case, I observed a huge list of JPG files that I recognized as files I had recently created as part of my work. The culprit keeping all those files open: QuickLookSatellite. Knowing this, I found a solution. For example, here is a list of 254 open files (via lsof | grep jpg) that QuickLookSatellite is keeping open after just a single page I was preparing (I do many more each day). It has other jpg files open for who knows what reason; just seemingly random open files.

Closing open files by killing QuickLookSatellite

Two methods.

Using Activity Monitor

To fix this problem without rebooting:

  1. Open Activity Monitor.
  2. Enter "quick" in the search box; this will list just the matching process names.
  3. Kill both QuickLookSatellite processes.

When a process is killed, the OS cleans up the mess (files, memory, sockets, etc). So instantly the absurd number of open files are closed—problem solved. Mysterious problems go away, the Finder can empty the trash, etc. However, if the system does get into this state, MPG recommends quitting and reopening any app that had misbehaved; it could have lingering issues because it did not handle the failure well (very unlikely to ever be tested for).

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock , rear ports
How to kill QuickLookSatellite in Activity Monitor

In Terminal

Terminal (command line) is easy and the solution can even be made into alias (shortcut) like killQL or similar. Shown below are processes before and after killing QuickLookSatellite:

diglloydMP:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ ps -ef | grep Quick
501 17488     1   0  8:13AM ??         0:00.45 /System/Library/Frameworks/QuickLook.framework/Resources/quicklookd.app/Contents/MacOS/quicklookd
501 18320     1   0  8:24AM ??         0:00.11 /System/Library/Frameworks/QuickLook.framework/Versions/A/Resources/quicklookd.app/Contents/XPCServices/QuickLookSatellite.xpc/Contents/MacOS/QuickLookSatellite
501 21160     1   0  8:58AM ??         0:01.27 /System/Library/Frameworks/QuickLook.framework/Versions/A/Resources/quicklookd.app/Contents/XPCServices/QuickLookSatellite.xpc/Contents/MacOS/QuickLookSatellite
501 24167 39289   0  9:45AM ttys003    0:00.00 grep Quick
diglloydMP:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ killall -9 -v QuickLookSatellite
diglloydMP:DIGLLOYD lloyd$ ps -ef | grep Quick 501 17488 1 0 8:13AM ?? 0:00.45 /System/Library/Frameworks/QuickLook.framework/Resources/quicklookd.app/Contents/MacOS/quicklookd 501 24208 39289 0 9:45AM ttys003 0:00.00 grep Quick

Or, make an alias in ~/.bash_profile file so the alias (shortcut) killQL can be typed in Terminal:

alias killQL="killall -9 -v QuickLookSatellite"

Or, use a short shell script (save as executable file) in your PATH:

#!/bin/sh
# save this as an executable in shell PATH
alias countDubiousQL="lsof | grep Quick | grep -v -e /System -e /Library -e /private -e /dev -e /usr -e KQUEUE -e cwd | wc -l"
alias showDubiousQL="lsof | grep Quick | grep -v -e /System -e /Library -e /private -e /dev -e /usr -e KQUEUE -e cwd"
function QL_DubiousCount() {
DUBIOUS_COUNT=`countDubiousQL`
echo $DUBIOUS_COUNT dubious files $1:
showDubiousQL
}
QL_DubiousCount "BEFORE"
echo ""
killall -9 -v QuickLookSatellite
echo ""
QL_DubiousCount "AFTER"

 

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

First Look: OWC USB-C Dock

Get OWC USB-C Dock at Macsales.com.

MPG takes a first look at the new OWC USB-C Dock, which adds ports to the Apple 2015 and 2016 MacBook, as well as charging the MacBook and providing high-power USB charging ports for devices like the Apple iPad. And more.

MPG review of OWC USB-C Dock for Apple MacBook

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock , rear ports
OWC USB-C Dock ports

Apple 2016 MacBook: Real-World Photoshop Performance + IntegrityChecker Speed

Get Apple 2016 MacBook at B&H Photo. MPG recommends MacBook models with 512GB SSD and ideally, MacBook models with 512GB SSD and 1.3 GHz CPU.

For travel: USB-C to USB adapter or Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. BEST for desktop use, √ OWC USB-C Dock.

In addition to the previous tests, diglloyd Photoshop benchmarks are now published:

diglloydSpeed1 Photoshop benchmark on 2016 MacBook 1.3 GHz / 512GB
diglloydMedium Photoshop benchmark on 2016 MacBook 1.3 GHz / 512GB
Must-have expansion: OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Thunderbolt 2, USB 3, Gigabit Ethernet, 4K Support, Firewire 800, Sound Ports

Apple 2016 MacBook: Real-World Photoshop Performance + IntegrityChecker Speed

Get Apple 2016 MacBook at B&H Photo. MPG recommends MacBook models with 512GB SSD and ideally, MacBook models with 512GB SSD and 1.3 GHz CPU.

For travel: USB-C to USB adapter or Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. BEST for desktop use, √ OWC USB-C Dock.

In addition to the previous tests, two performance tests for the 2016 MacBook versus the late 2015 iMac 5K and late 2013 MacBook Pro Retina are now published:

Real-world (daily task) in Photoshop: creating size variants from 42 megapixel images
Real-world task: verify file integrity using IntegrityChecker verify on 193K files totaling 125GB

Apple 2016 MacBook: CPU Utilization During Network File Copy

Get Apple 2016 MacBook at B&H Photo. MPG recommends MacBook models with 512GB SSD and ideally, MacBook models with 512GB SSD and 1.3 GHz CPU.

For travel: USB-C to USB adapter or Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter. BEST for desktop use, √ OWC USB-C Dock.

The OWC USB-C Dock was used to provide gigabit ethernet capability to the 2016 MacBook for a 240GB file copy. Performance is excellent, hitting the speed limits of gigabit ethernet when large files are being copied.

The OWC USB-C Dock delivers full gigabit ethernet speed, but there is a catch: with the fastest available 2016 MacBook CPU, the file copy consumes all available CPU cycles! [This CPU overhead has nothing to do with the Dock, at least a good portion of it seems to be inherent to Apple’s ethernet networking stack.]

Which means that when doing anything else with a network file copy is in progress, response will be sluggish, because the CPU load is shared between the file copy and whateve the user is doing and all background tasks.

Update: several readers reported seeing lower CPU usage on other machines. That’s quite possible: faster CPUs, different mix of files, something else involved—but note that nearly all the CPU is kernel time (red), which shows that whatever was happening, it is happening at a low level in the OS. During this same 240GB file copy, the CPU usage did drop to about half of what is shown at times, so there was some variability.

Read more...

Apple 2016 MacBook: CPU utilization during network file copy
Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

FOR SALE: 2009 Mac Pro with NEC 30-inch display

FOR SALE: complete 2009 Mac Pro system as below. Works perfectly with no glitches—all drives tested, SMART status good, etc.

  • Excellent condition—no scratches, dents, etc. The Mac Pro and display belonged to a friend, used for web browsing only*.
  • 2.93 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
  • 12GB memory as 3 X 4GB.
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT120 512MB video card
  • 256GB Crucial SSD in lower optical bay (see details below).
  • 2 X Hitachi 2TB hard drives in internal bays (see details below).
  • NEC LCD3090WQXi 30-inch display (2560 X 1600), excellent condition (does not include NEC calibration kit).
  • Includes Apple keyboard, mouse, display cable, power cable.
  • OS X El Capitan installed on one drive, OS X 10.10.5 Yosemite installed on the SSD (can be booted either way).

Used Mac Pros without a display with similar configuration sell for over $1000.

Asking $950 / best offer. Local sale strongly preferred; this gear is heavy (the Mac Pro) and bulky (the 30" display).

Contact Lloyd

* Regarding “web browsing only”, one reader already wrote anonymously to call me a liar. Dishonest cowards assume everyone else is too! It is as stated: web browsing only. The machine was for an elderly friend who works in the financial area; I set up a robust system with a big screen 6 years ago. Cost was never a consideration, reliability was key. He is now using the latest iMac 5K, this system being a haul-away—hence I am selling it.

Which Camera System / Lenses Should I Get?
✓ Get the best system for your needs the first time: diglloyd photographic consulting.

Lightning Cable for iPhone/iPad Keep Breaking? Tudia Klip Might Help

Tudia Klip protection for Lightning cables

Get iPhone/iPad lightning cables at MacSales.com.

My teenage daughters break their iPhone cables about every 2 months. I had a bunch of extras—all gone now to replace breakage.

So I gave one Tudio Klip each to two of my daughters—so far so good!

TUDIA KLIP CABLE PROTECTOR SHIPS FOR IPHONES & IPADS

St. Paul, MN, April 21, 2016 – Aplars, leading e-commerce store for electronic products and accessories, announced today that it is now shipping the TUDIA Klip http://www.tudiaproducts.com/klip , a 2 piece clip made of silicone and polycarbonate that snaps onto all original Apple Lightning and 30-pin charging cables, reducing strain by 80% to protect your essential Apple cables from fraying and breaking, which often happens after just 6 months of use. TUDIA Klip also fixes already frayed or damaged cables so you can continue to use them without awkwardly fixing them with tape, throwing them out, or buying new expensive Apple cables or cheaper 3rd party generic replacement cables, which are often incompatible with Apple devices.

The TUDIA Klip is available now for $7 a pair at Amazon.com.

Great Father’s Day/Graduation Gift – Make Sure Cables Will Charge When You Need Them. Package Includes 2 Clips -- 1 for Each End of Cable. A thoughtful Father’s Day or graduation gift, the stylish TUDIA Klip protects and extends the life of expensive Apple charging cables by controlling bending at the most vulnerable points of the cable – the ends, ensuring that the cables will work when you need them the most – to charge your iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple Watch. Measuring only ½” long and weighing a scant .08 oz, TUDIA Klip adds very little bulk or weight and comes in 5 colors – blue, green, pink, gray, and yellow to fit your style. The TUDIA Klip package includes 2 clips (one for each end of the cable) to fully protect your essential Apple charging cables. To use, simply slide the color silicone base on the cable to the point where it meets the plug and then attach the white polycarbonate clip to lock the Klip into place for the ultimate in cable protection.

No More Broken Apple Cables

“After my iPhone died at an extremely important time and I was unable to charge it because of a broken Apple cable, I decided to create the Klip,” said Winson Teh, Founder of Aplars LLC. “Most people see their Apple cables start to fray within 6 months of continued use. Because of this, customers have been asking for a solution to the low quality charging cables that come with Apple devices. The TUDIA Klip is the essential solution to this problem.”

Tudia Klip Features:
· Protects Apple Lightning and 30-Pin charging/syncing cables for iPhone, iPad, iPod and Apple Watch.
· Extends the life of cables.
· Fixes already frayed or damaged cables.
· Stylish, doesn’t add bulk or weight.
· Easy to use, quickly snaps on.
· 2-piece design made of a durable silicone base and polycarbonate clip.
· Reduces the need to buy expensive replacement cables or cheaper incompatible third party cables.
· Available in 5 colors: Pink, Blue, Green, Gray, and Yellow.
· Priced at only $7 per pair.

TheTUDIA Klip is available immediately through Amazon.
For more information, see the TUDIA website: http://www.tudiaproducts.com/klip/,
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tudiaproducts , Twitter: @TudiaProducts,
YouTube video: https://youtu.be/NWpnU6lJuBs ,
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIjsjpSJluXhjneID9Qob8g.

Cycling

When Software Crashes It is Immensely Frustrating: Why is Lightroom Crashing?

See Memory: It’s Great to Have 64GB in the iMac 5K.

Hank M writes:

Three weeks ago I bought via the Premium Apple reseller Amac your advised iMac, see below. Since then I have a lot of crashes in Lightroom 6.5 a day. Black screen and restart of the Mac.

I asked for Apple Care, Adobe, Queen Lightroom for advice and send them my crash reports. Everybody think the problem is RAM related, in other words the RAM of 64GB you have advised. The QE of Amac thinks it is because the OWC RAM is made for 64bits while the iMac is 32 bits.

Though the best way to find out is to replace the 64GB RAM for 32GB “Apple” RAM, 32GB OCW RAM did not work either. Because I paid a lot of money 800 Euro for the OCW RAM for a fast working Lightroom I expected it to work. It cost me a lot of time to stop every time with my work and correspond with Adobe and others.

I trust you research this phenomena and that you warrant all your customers and readers that OCW 64GB does not work with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Also Google Chrome does not load sometimes and I have got glitches on my screen when I play a video.

[follow up]

As I stated before, I thought it could be wise to change the RAM from the OCW 64GB to OCW 32GB. That did not help.

Then I changed OWC 64GB to Crucial 32 GB that helped BUT other things occur. Everything became SLOW, Google Chrome did not load always.
Also I change again with the OCW modules. Much faster but crashing again.

What I do before when my Lightroom 6.5.1 crashes (suddenly stops and the Mac makes a restart), are:

1. Zooming using the F-key in the Develop Module.
2. Deleting spots. This I do very frequent because I am busy with scanning my thousands of Middle Format slides with a Nikon D810 and a Macro Lens. The results are fantastic. Better than Drum Scanning. There are lot of dust spots to remove. After I had removed 30 spots my screen goes black. LR Crashes.
Most of the time this happens with this kind of adjustments in the Development Module of LR.

... I am sorry to tell that after I updated OS X to 10.11.5 and busy with the Spotting Tool, after 6 times LR crashed AGAIN!

DIGLLOYD: Hank M is very frustrated, and rightly so. Not just because of the issues, but because of the bad advice from everyone from which he’s asked advice. The message is not entirely clear, but I’ve gone back and forth with him on getting more details.

I’ve used Photoshop with 64GB memory on the MPG late 2015 iMac 5K for many months now in demanding work—it has been 'bulletproof'. As a check, I loaded up the latest Adobe Lightroom on the MPG iMac 5K with 64GB OWC memory, imported 880 raw files totalling 48GB, exported all of them to JPEG, then spotted 30 times without any issues. Whatever the issue, it is not happening readily for the MPG system.

There is a lot of bad advice out there handed out in ignorance, the graping-at-straws approach, since few people are capable of saying “I don’t know” (the 64 bits vs 32 bits comment foisted on Hank M is just an expression of incompetence). Having a degree in computer science, and having been a professional software engineer for 25 years writing interrupt-driven code, multithreaded server code, device drivers, C, C++, java and assembly, I know a 'little bit' about crashes and debugging. It is not an answer to take a fairly vague problem and blame it on “bad memory”—at least not without some evidence.

Vague bug reports are impossible to diagnose, but some general things apply.

  • Yes, memory can be bad (one bad bit in one module is enough), but MUCH more common are software bugs. Moreover, changing memory configuration can provoke bugs that might otherwise lie hidden, because the OS and the apps behave differently with more (or less) memory.
  • GPU drivers (by Apple) haven been notoriously buggy. Witness the 2013 Mac Pro debacle in which Adobe had no option but to remove GPU support for sharpening, after adding it.
  • The software stack these days is extremely complex. Lightroom (or Photoshop) on top of GPU drivers in a multithreaded environment. It doesn’t take much to whack a pointer, the effects of which can show up seconds or minutes or hours later. Also, Adobe has had some reliability issues with Lightroom in the past year.

The fact so many problems occur and that the Mac also crashes with kernel panic (also seen) and with different memory (OWC vs Crucial) suggests a more general problem. There could just be something defective about this particular iMac.

Testing for bad memory

  • diglloydTools MemoryTester is one option for checking core reliability (ideally, use the command-line version in Terminal, quit the Finder and all other apps so as to free up as much memory as possible).
  • Run Apple Diagnostics. Run BOTH because sometimes problems are intermittent; diglloydTools MemoryTester can be left to run for a long period of time, sometimes detecting a problem.
  • Swap out 3 of 4 memory modules; if the theory is a bad module, this can isolate the module. Tedious, but effective if one bad module. Or, start with 2 modules, then add one.

Software bugs

MPG config for Adobe Lightroom

I don’t know for sure what is causing Hank M’s crashes. But I have some evidence-based guesses from the details he has provided. From what I see, there is a bug in code using a bad (invalid) pointer. That usually means that (a) code is overwriting memory, or (b) code is using pointers that have been deallocated to the free pool, or (c) some portion of the stack is overwritten, or similar. In other words, a plain 'ol software BUG. In other words, NOT bad memory and NOT a bad iMac. I’m speaking probabilities here; bad memory cannot be ruled out, but I see no evidence to support that.

For example, using Topaz InFocus (a sharpening tool) in Photoshop on a layer with a layername longer than 64 characters corrupts memory in Photoshop (Topaz refuses to fix this bug). Photoshop will crash 5-10-60 seconds later, depending. I’ve had to write a script to rename the layer to a short name, do the InFocus sharpening then rename the layer back to the original name!

Below, I don’t know what GetWarpedSourcePipe_A() isdoes but it looks to be in image processing code, and I know from personal experience that Adobe has had recent JPEG crash bugs inPhotoshop (fixed in latest release, at least the bug I encountered). So it would not surprise me that LR has crash bugs too, particularly with JPEG processing. But whether GetWarpedSourcePipe_A() is the culprit or it has been handed a bad pointer to work with cannot be aid from this stack crawl. Moreover, some bugs overwrite memory, and then the crash happens sometime later, when hapless code uses data that has been overwritten. So such things can be 'interesting' to track down.

Process:               Adobe Lightroom [900]
Path:                  /Applications/Adobe Lightroom/Adobe Lightroom.app/Contents/MacOS/Adobe Lightroom
Identifier:            com.adobe.Lightroom6
Version:               Adobe Lightroom [1067055] (6.5)
Code Type:             X86-64 (Native)
Parent Process:        launchd [1]
Responsible:           Adobe Lightroom [900]
User ID:               0
Date/Time:             2016-05-16 12:52:13.822 +0200
OS Version:            Mac OS X 10.11.4 (15E65)
Report Version:        11
Anonymous UUID:        44950BD0-1A4B-0CE2-ACCE-E955959A77A1
Time Awake Since Boot: 1800 seconds
System Integrity Protection: disabled
Crashed Thread:        43  GetWarpedSourcePipe_A (thread index 1)
Exception Type:        EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGSEGV)
Exception Codes:       KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at 0x00007ff8d6b8bc10
Exception Note:        EXC_CORPSE_NOTIFY
VM Regions Near 0x7ff8d6b8bc10:
MALLOC_TINY            00007fb8e2000000-00007fb8e3800000 [ 24.0M] rw-/rwx SM=PRV  
--> 
STACK GUARD            00007fff4c084000-00007fff4f884000 [ 56.0M] ---/rwx SM=NUL  stack guard for thread 0
Thread 43 Crashed:: GetWarpedSourcePipe_A (thread index 1) 
0 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x000000011736f464 0x116f90000 + 4060260
1 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x00000001170b5ac4 0x116f90000 + 1202884
2 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x00000001170a04b2 0x116f90000 + 1115314
3 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x00000001170b5e22 0x116f90000 + 1203746
4 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x00000001170a1635 0x116f90000 + 1119797
5 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x00000001171d3685 0x116f90000 + 2373253
6 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x00000001171d99a1 0x116f90000 + 2398625
7 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x00000001170b9915 0x116f90000 + 1218837
8 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x0000000117141ed2 0x116f90000 + 1777362
9 com.adobe.ag.AgImageIO 0x0000000117141de1 0x116f90000 + 1777121
10 libsystem_pthread.dylib 0x00007fff92b5699d _pthread_body + 131
11 libsystem_pthread.dylib 0x00007fff92b5691a _pthread_start + 168
12 libsystem_pthread.dylib 0x00007fff92b54351 thread_start + 13
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Apple 2016 MacBook: SSD Performance

Get Apple 2016 MacBook at B&H Photo. MPG recommends MacBook models with 512GB SSD and ideally, MacBook models with 512GB SSD and 1.3 GHz CPU.

Single USB-C port on the Apple MacBook a problem? Get the OWC USB-C Dock.

How fast is the SSD in the Apple 2016 MacBook compared to the 2015 MacBook? Quite a bit faster on writes than the SSD in the 2015 MacBook, and marginally faster on reads.

But that comes with a caveat: performance improvements are modest until very large transfers occur, and such transfers are not common. The left 1/2 of the graph is what matters for nearly all real-world use (X axis up to ~4MB). So the 2016 model is assuredly better, particularly for writes, but perhaps not much better in real world tasks.

The 2016 MacBook SSD is a far slower performer than the SSD in the 2015 MacBook Pro Retina (the red and green lines at top).

Below, the 2016 MacBook uses the lines with heavier darker green (reads) and thick orange (writes), both with squares for data points.
The 2015 MacBook lines use circles for data points.

2016 MacBook 1.3 GHz 512GB SSD vs 2015 MacBook 1.3 GHz 512GB SSD and 2015 MacBook Pro Retina 2.8 GHz 1TB SSD

SSD/Flash Drive Sequential transfer speed
Apple 2016 MacBook • Apple 2015 MacBook • Apple 2015 MacBook Pro

Tested: SanDisk Extreme Pro 512GB SDXC Camera Card

SanDisk ExtremePro 512GB SDXC

See diglloyd deals on camera memory cards.

See also reviews of other camera memory cards.

The SanDisk Extreme Pro 512GB SDXC offers 512GB of storage capacity for digital cameras—terrific for 4K video recording.

Another potential use is to make an ultra-compact backup of up to 512GB that fits easily into a wallet for a personal backup, or to stash or hide 512GB of data in a hard to find location if there is a fear of theft (say from a car or similar).

Tested: SanDisk ExtremePro 512GB SDXC camera card.

At about $299.95 as this was written, the SanDisk 512GB SDXC offers the best performance + price mix on the market (see Similar Cards, below). Check the diglloyd deals page for deals on camera memory cards as it was available for a time at $249.

  • 512GB Data Storage Capacity
  • Class 10 Speed
  • Ultra High Speed Class 3
  • Max. Read Speed: 95 MB/s
  • Max. Write Speed: 90 MB/s
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty
SanDisk Extreme Pro 512GB SDXC camera card in fast Lexar USB3 card reader
Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

OS X: How to Fix Hang in Image Capture Utility

Beginning with OS X El Capitan (“El Crapitan”), Image Capture often hangs waiting for the scanner on my Epson Workforce printer to respond. Same scanner as for ~2.5 years, new OS X bugs.

The message is typically “Waiting for printer to respond...” or some such thing. The wait is forever (a “hang”), unless the machine is rebooted (logging out might work), or this shortcut fix is used.

How to force-kill the 'Image Capture Extension' process

A force-kill of the hidden process Image Capture Extension makes things work again*.

  1. Quit Image Capture (this is the app you’re trying to use to scan something).
  2. Open Utilities => Activity Monitor, then make sure that View => All Processes is checked.
  3. Enter “image” into the search box as shown below (not strictly needed but it filters out most process names).
  4. Select Image Capture Extension, then click the X near upper left to force-kill it.
  5. Relaunch Image Capture.

Scanning should now work again.

* This nonsense is part of kudzu-like Apple Core Rot. The next OS X release should be name OS X Roquefort, for the mold that runs through the entire software stack. But unlike stinky cheese, OS X doesn’t taste good.

Activity Monitor: finding Image Capture Extension in order to force-kill it
Which Mac? Storage, Backup, RAID? Color Management?
✓ diglloyd consulting starts you out on solid footing.

Photoshop CC 2015 Now Uses all the CPU Cores for RAW-File Conversion

For a long time, Photoshop ACR batched conversion was poorly engineered: it processed one file at a time (serially), so that a fast 4 core trounced a slower clock speed 6/8/12 core Mac.

But that has changed; at least in the ACR batch convert process, Photoshop uses ALL the CPU cores by keeping more than one raw conversion in progress simultaneously.

Even so, it shows just how fast the 4-core iMac 5K is, since the 8-core 3.3 GHz 2013 Mac Pro used here is the fastest Mac Apple won’t sell you with a CPU upgraded by OWC. The fast GPU in the late 2015 iMac 5K might also be factor, as well as its nearly twice-as-fast SSD (later 2013 Mac Pro builds might have a faster SSD than the March 2014 machine used here).

tConvert 160 42-megapixel Sony A7R II fileso very high quality JPEG (view settings):
2013 Mac Pro 8-core 3.3 GHz: 04:09
  Late 2015 iMac 5K 4.0 GHz: 05:43 (37% longer, impressive given only 4 CPU cores)

Bottom line: a modern CPU and GPU in a Mac Pro are sorely needed, since the late 2015 iMac 5K bridges the gap by a considerable amount given only 4 CPU cores.

It appears that Photoshop ACR batch convert keeps at least 4 images in progress on 4 core machines, possibly 6 on 8 core machines. This suggests that a 12-core Mac Pro might do even better.

On an 8-core machine, 800% CPU utilization means all CPU cores are in use; values over that (up to 1600%) are virtual cores, which are all smoke and no fire, having no meaningful performance value. On a 4-core machine, it is 400% and 800% respectively.

3.3 GHz 8-core 2013 Mac Pro: convert 160 42-megapixel Sony A7R II files to very high quality JPEG
4.0 GHz 4-core late 2015 iMac 5K: convert 160 42-megapixel Sony A7R II files to very high quality JPEG
Cycling

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