Durable and fast, up to 1800MB/s

Beware of Phishing — Fake “Apple Limited”

See previous security tips and previous phishing posts.

Nearly all phishing uses bait (and you’re the fish). Bait can be subtle, threatening or insulting. Don’t bite. All bait is designed to provoke a reaction: fear, anger, an appeal to your innate decency to help with or solve a problem, etc. Appeals to decency and honesty work because most people want to set things right, even if they did not cause the problem—it’s the desire to help.

Don’t let emotions be baited into helping someone HACK you.

Below, the attached screen shot shows a relatively crude attack, but more real looking than a very crude phishing email I received last spring.

NEVER CLICK on LINKS or ATTACHMENTS in EMAILS!!!

Never means never unless you gain the technical competence to verify the email. Even so, that can sometimes take several minutes to be sure—and the more sophisticated the phishing, the easier it is to overlook a crucial detail. Hackers are doing a better and better job of making fake emails look real.

Details on the risks of this particular email further below.

Phishing email exploiting worry, purporting to be from Apple

Apple’s risky approach in Mail is unacceptable

Why does Apple Mail EVER allow this level of exposure to risk? It is security malfeasance for an email program to present users with such risks.

Safari has active detection of malware sites, but Apple Mail blithely enables outgoing links, making them clickable and thus a serious risk.

It’s about time Apple fixed such security practices in Apple Mail. Users should not have to be aware of such risks—the risks should be eliminated. We get new emojis with every OS release with top billing in Apple press releases, but Apple cannot be bothered to fix a core Apple Mail security risk? You can’t make this stuff up.

The proper first step that Apple should take is to disable all outgoing links in all emails so they are no longer clickable as links. Bonus points for showing the actual destination URL instead of the title. In terms of security, 99% of users would be well served by this . And would bitch and moan about the loss of convenience, but it is the smart thing to do by default.

Next, allow the user to downgrade the security from there, e.g., allow clickable links to (1) only sites previously visited and (2) known-good sites and (3) enable all sites as is allowed now for those who like to take the risk. A bonus feature would be to change the links so that clicking on one presents a dialog showing the actual destination URL and a rating as to safe, unsafe, unknown, then allow the user to take the risk by choice. I deem this a useful thing for technically skilled users, inadvisable for most.

Why hasn’t Apple fixed this dangerous practice right in Apple Mail, and done it two years ago? My view is that the Apple Mail development team surely has been badly damaged over the past few years, because Apple Mail is rife with bugs.

See also:

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

Data Integrity Over Time, and with OS Changes

Whether it is macOS or Windows or Linux or other, diglloydTools IntegrityChecker provides a highly efficient and reliable means to validate data integrity on all your original drives and backups.

Detecting Corruption / Validating Data Integrity Over Time and Across Drives and Backup/Restore

In the digital age, the integrity of your data (photos, videos, spreadsheets, word processing, etc) is always at risk. Professionals should not rely on the storage medium as being reliable over time! Moreover, bugs and/or malicious software are always a risk. At the least, archived data of any commercial or personal value should be validated at least once a year. IntegrityChecker makes that possible on virtually any storage medium.

diglloydTools

Late last year, diglloydTools was updated to include an optimized version of icj, the Java version of IntegrityChecker, which runs on any platform that has a JVM (Mac, Windows, Linux, etc). As yet, the other tools remain native to macOS only but I plan to move all relevant features to Java*. Usage is at the command line (Terminal, not a GUI), but there is not much to learn; see the examples in Cross-platform Integrity Checker (Java version) .

The value of IntegrityChecker increase over time: once hashed, files can be checked on any drive, any operating system supporting java, including DVDs and BluRay and other read-only devices. This is important for validating the integrity of long-term storage, particularly for professionals with data having long-term value, like image files, video footage, professional records, etc.

* macOS has been in the process of destroying API performance and/or outright removal for several years now. Rewriting would have to be in POSIX to have any hope of continuity, requiring a major rewrite and test cycle sure to introduce bugs by having to rewrite a bunch of low level threading code. Plus POSIX makes certain capabilities impossible (no APIs to do certain things). Java provides a cross-platform functionality that with native I/O support is equally performant for disk testing while being cross platform and ideal for anyone who might migrated to another operating system, or who wants longer-term stability in software (in MPG’s view, Apple has a proven track record of negligible respect for pro users, and a disdain for compatibility).

diglloydTools v 2.2.15 Now Includes Java IntegrityChecker with up to 50% Speed Improvement

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:

Guy G writes:

I trust you are doing well and thank you for continuing such a high quality website.

I am interested in purchasing the IntegrityChecker software. Although most folks feel that copying files for archiving purposes is trivial, I have had an experience where a number of my RAW files were silently corrupted - only could tell when opened in Lightroom. Luckily I had backups. I have been using ExacFile but it appears to be unsupported and for such software my main concern is about the quality of the software and ongoing support.

I am a PC user and have no intention as yet to delve into the world of the MacPro. So it is wonderful news that you have made your software tools available for those that use Windows!!

I am interested in purchasing the software over the longer term and was wondering what the best option would be? If I purchase download access for 5 years does that include upgrades to the software? Or should I be purchasing the download access for a month and then an upgrade option for the longer term?

MPG: IntegrityChecker (icj java version) runs on any computer that can run Java: macOS, Windows, Linux, etc. You will need to install the Java runtime environment or Java JDK for this cross-platform support, but that a trivial thing; download and run a simple installer.

The 5-year option offers a no fuss, and you can download any new version any time you like. It costs less in total, although the difference is modest amortized over 5 years.

It is my intention to expand the Java-based capabilities going forward, for cross-platform and long-term viability.

Cycling

MPG Recommendation on macOS Mojave

Given last year’s surge of very serious security bugs with macOS High Sierra, MPG recommends waiting at least 6 months to migrate to macOS Mojave.

There isn’t anything worthwhile for “upgrading” to—and software may break.

In particular, older programs I rely on (such as accounting) might not work at all, which would be a $500 cost to upgrade. I’m in no hurry to find out!

Eureka Dunes, Death Valley
f9 @ 1/160 sec, ISO 200; 2007-02-24 14:07:53
Canon EOS 5D + Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM @ 24mm

[low-res image for bot]

 

OWC Lauches the Thunderbay 6, a Six-Drive Thunderbolt 3 Enclosure, with RAID Options

Get OWC Thunderbay 6 at MacSales.com

I’ve been using the OWC Thunderbay 4 for many years now (both Thunderbolt 1, 2, 3 versions). It is my all-time favorite drive enclosure, and I currently have five of them.

OWC now introduces the OWC Thunderbay 6, which ought to appeal to anyone with requirements for huge capacity (up to 72TB with current hard drives) and/or reliability (various forms of fault tolerance). As a bonus, it includes an HDMI port.

MPG will be testing the OWC Thunderbay 6 in the next few weeks.

More info on Thunderbay 6 at MacSales.com.

OWC Thunderbay 6

Storage Maximizer for Multimedia Workloads

  • Works with 3.5" or 2.5" drives — no adapter needed.
  • Up to 1500MB/s of sustained performanc
  • Supports RAID 0, 1 via OWC's advanced SoftRAID engine
  • Optional ultra-fast M.2 NVMe SSD
  • Daisy chain up to six units together
  • 3 Year OWC Limited Warranty
  • Daisy chain up to six units
  • Rugged, field-tested enclosure.
  • Whisper-quiet fan and non-skid feet.
  • HDMI port

When it comes to big jobs and tight deadlines, you don't want anything to slow your workflow down. The content you create and edit tends to grow the more you work with it; your equipment needs to keep up. The OWC ThunderBay 6 provides an exceptional level of performance to help you meet the demands of your most complex projects.

OWC Thunderbay 6

Room to Move

Whether you're working with tons of small files or editing and streaming the latest 8K or VR footage, ThunderBay 6 enables you to complete your products faster, giving you more time to create. And with dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and a DisplayPort, integrating it into your workstation has never been easier.

ThunderBay 6 features six bays for hot-swappable hard drives or SSDs — or a combination — all housed in a rugged aluminum enclosure with an integrated power supply. Drives run quietly and are kept cool via a fan that operates quieter than a whisper.

Want even more storage?

To keep your workflow on the cutting edge, we've included an additional slot for an M.2 NVMe SSD to help future-proof your storage needs. NVMe is an incredibly efficient communications interface protocol to properly take advantage of SSD technology and high-performance connection buses. The result is exponentially faster and more efficient SSD storage, ideal for additional storage or a scratch disk.

The better and simpler way to RAID

ThunderBay 6 RAID Ready manages and protects your data with the advanced SoftRAID engine with RAID 0 or 1, depending on whether you need blazing fast performance or robust data protection. SoftRAID is also packed with features from active predictive disk failure monitoring to multiple array volume spanning; SoftRAID from OWC brings technology typically found only in data centers to your workstation or editing bay. It constantly monitors your disks, alerting you when a disk is becoming unreliable and is likely to fail. Replacing a failing disk before it fails saves you precious uptime.

Storage pools

ThunderBay 6, coupled with Windows Storage Spaces (available in Windows 10), allows you to create storage pools and simple, mirror or parity spaces based on the mix of data protection and performance you need. If you run low on capacity, just add more ThunderBay units to the storage pool.

Expand and connect as needed

Link up to six Thunderbolt units together with Thunderbolt's daisy-chaining capabilities. Combined with our SoftRAID technology, you can configure a storage solution tailored to your unique workflow. SoftRAID can create volumes that span multiple arrays or generate a nested RAID configuration for even greater performance and protection. As a member of the OWC external storage line, ThunderBay 6 eliminates bottlenecks in accessing, transferring or archiving your work. Use it with your Thunderbolt 3 equipped Mac or Windows PC to take your workflow to the next level.

Certified, Tested and Backed by OWC

From the seamless aluminum enclosure and slip-resistant feet to the multi-hour drive "burn-in" performance certification procedure ThunderBay 6 is designed and built to the highest standards or reliability and performance. This ensures your ThunderBay 6 arrives operating properly, ready for demanding use.

Certified, Tested and Backed by OWC

From the seamless aluminum enclosure and slip-resistant feet to the multi-hour drive "burn-in" performance certification procedure ThunderBay 6 is designed and built to the highest standards or reliability and performance. This ensures your ThunderBay 6 arrives operating properly, ready for demanding use.

Quality You Can Trust

Our commitment doesn't end there. Along with our OWC Limited Warranty, you can rely on OWC's award-winning, 24/7, U.S.-based support for your ThunderBay 6.

OWC Easy SSD Upgrade Guide
MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
iMac, Mac Pro, MacMini, more!

The NuGuard KX Case Has Saved My iPhone 7 Plus even at Speed from my Bicycle

Get NuGuard KX for iPhone at MacSales.com

I’ve been using a NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 Plus on my iPhone 7 Plus for nearly two years now. In that time, I’ve dropped my phone onto hardwood floors, asphalt, and concrete, including a drop at 15mph from my bicycle. The phone bounced each time and has never been damaged by a drop—amazing!

During the entire lifetime of my iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone 7 Plus, I have used the NuGuard KX case and dropped the phones many times, yet I have never damaged the phone.

The NuGuard KX Case might not be as sleek-looking as a leather case, but it is a very practical case, that does not wear out or show wear like most other cases—nearly two years later it looks the same as when new. And it does what it ought: it protects the phone from damage.

Another safety factor is grip: a bare iPhone too easily slips out of the hand (a form-over-function design IMO, with very poor ergonomics in terms of risk of droppage). Witness my kids not using the case (I told ’em!) and all three of them cracking the glass on their phones as it slipped out of their hands! But with an iPhone installed in the NuGuard KX case, the grip is as sure as it can be with a nil risk of it slipping out of the hand.

NuGuard KX

Massive protection in a thin and light case design. Engineered to absorb and evenly distribute kinetic energy.

Thoughtfully Designed. No Bulk.

The NuGuard KX edge guard over-molding provides enhanced iPhone screen edge protection without interfering with edge-to-edge, touch finger accessibility. You’ll experience hassle-free touch keyboarding and the ability to drag and organize app icons from screen to screen. This case is also thin; you can easily fit your protected iPhone in your pocket.

Full Port Access + Great Grip

Precision cutouts allow for full access to the iPhone XS/X and iPhone XS Max ports and buttons, and the one-piece design makes covering your phone a breeze. A unique, cross-hatch texture design on the back and sides of the case ensures a sturdy and strong grip while smooth, front-edge rails allow for easy pocket removal.

Exceeds Apple Drop Spec

KX cases can help your iPhone survive some of the toughest tumbles, falls and drops to protect it well beyond Apple's three-foot protection minimum required of other cases. Exceeds Apple Drop Specs KX cases can help your iPhone survive some of toughest tumbles, falls, and drops to protect your iPhone well beyond Apple's 3 foot protection mimimum required of other cases. The Strongest Case. The Strongest Warranty. All NuGuard KX protective cases come with a best-in-class replacement lifetime guarantee and a no risk, no hassle 30-day money back guarantee.

Highlights

  • Revolutionary x-orbing gel technology absorbs, evenly distributes kinetic energy
  • One-piece design – hard shell integrated with soft interior core.
  • Exceptional protection without being bulky
  • Fast and simple affixing takes only seconds
  • Easy access to all ports and buttons.
  • Cross-hatch texture design offers secure hand grip, yet easy pocket/purse removal.
  • Compatible with iPhone XS/X and iPhone XS Max wireless charging.
  • Available in black, crimson and midnight
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

OWC Launches SoftRAID Version 5.7

Get OWC Thunderbay and SoftRAID at MacSales.com

I (Lloyd) use SoftRAID daily in RAID-5 mode for my main storage, using an OWC Thunderbay 4. Highly recommended.

OWC Launches SoftRAID Version 5.7

OWC announced today the release of SoftRAID 5.7 with support for the latest macOS 10.14 Mojave.

The new version of SoftRAID has been updated and tested to work with Mojave, which has made major changes to the kernel, security and third-party software requirements.

SoftRAID’s disk management tools, such as disk certification, verify disk and predictive failure, are fully compatible with Mojave and APFS formatted disks. This version also paves the way for the ability to create, modify or manage APFS volumes in SoftRAID 6, which is targeted for release later this year.

Key Features in SoftRAID 5.7:

  • SoftRAID 5.7 added technology that can help protect volumes from data corruption caused by Mac OS kernel bugs.
  • SoftRAID 5.7 changes the way that SMART statistics are collected in SoftRAID Monitor. The new code checks SMART every time a disk is inserted rather than waiting for the next scheduled time for checking SMART.
  • The SoftRAID Easy Setup application for 5.7 is now a 64-bit version, compatible with Mojave.
  • The ability to anonymously report SoftRAID status and disk reliability information. This new opt-in feature provides non-identifiable information the SoftRAID team will use to help prioritize future feature releases and give insight into drive issues.

“We have been very impressed by the power of crowd-sourced data lately for disk reliability,” said Tim Standing, Vice President of Mac OS Software Engineering at OWC. “In particular, we are excited to investigate predictive failure modes on SSD drives, so we can actively alert SSD users of impending failure before they experience catastrophic data loss.”

SoftRAID 5.7 is a free update to users of SoftRAID 5.0 and later. A free trial is available, and SoftRAID can be purchased at SoftRAID.com.

About SoftRAID

The SoftRAID team has been producing high-quality applications for over 20 years. SoftRAID has been first to market with many key features including: fast mirror rebuilds, full email notification, bootable RAID volumes, disk certification, RAID volume validation, TRIM support on all RAID Levels, disk failure prediction and more. SoftRAID has earned its reputation as a rock-solid product which comes with great technical support.

Important notes:

  • Mojave no longer supports starting up from RAID volumes, including Apple’s RAID and SoftRAID volumes. High Sierra is the final macOS release with support for starting up from SoftRAID volumes. If your startup volume is a SoftRAID volume, you will need to migrate to a Disk Utility standard volume before installing SoftRAID 5.7 or upgrading to Mojave.
  • SoftRAID 5.7 no longer supports Snow Leopard (10.6.x) or Lion (10.7.x). If you are running one of these older versions of SoftRAID, 5.6.7 will be your final version for these two Mac OS X releases.

Reader Comments: Configuring the 2018 MacBook Pro as as Desktop Replacement

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo and see my Mac wish list.

The 2018 MacBook Pro is Apple’s most powerful laptop ever, rivalling desktop systems when properly configured. See my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro. It has been out about 6 weeks and already is up to $300 off—see my discussion of what to get for a student.

See my video presentation of using the 2018 MacBook Pro as a desktop replacement. Unless laptop functionality is needed, MPG still recommends the iMac 5K or iMac Pro.

A 2018 iMac 5K should be in the works soon, so unless laptop functionality is needed, paying a premium for a small-screen laptop which just sits on a desk isn’t the optimal move.

Robin K writes:

Nice video. Some observations...

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my wife’s new 2018 MBP 13 seems much zippier than my 2013 Mac Pro 6-core. Hmmmm.

As a result I’m considering replacing my 2013 Mac Pro with a 2018 MacBook Pro 15 at 2.9GHz. But I wonder about potential compatibility with the rumored Apple Display. Of course, I am curious what Apple may have in store for a new Mac Pro.

I do a lot of financial modeling on my Mac Pro, currently using my trusty 30” Apple Cinema Display. Love the fact that it is not glossy as the iMac 5K. I’d love to find a good 30” 4K monitor. 27” is not quite large enough for my purposes. By the way, I don’t need the color accuracy you require for you photo work.

MPG: there are lots of large 4K displays at reasonable prices if one does not need professional color management: 30-inch and larger 4K displays.

Thing is, the 2017 iMac 5K display is really superb and with more working room (5120 X 2880 vs 3840 X 2160 for 4K). The glossy aspect is mostly a non-issue these days (much improved).

If going with the 2018 MacBook Pro, the LG Ultrafine 5K is a no-brainer—very nice display which I just tested and liked a lot. The image quality is very similar to the 2017 iMac 5K.

The best overall value is the 2017 iMac 5K or the iMac Pro: the iMac 5K (at least the entry-level model) can be thought of as an excellent display with a free computer inside.

For most or all of the 4K displays, something like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock will be needed in order to have a Mini DisplayPort video-out, which no Thunderbolt 3 Mac offers.

Continues below...

Continued...

I should have mentioned that an important reason for replacing my desktop Mac Pro is that I know live part time in two locales about 100 miles apart. I’ve been struggling with how to take my computing environment with me. USB drives and re-synching is getting really old.

A desktop class laptop is the ideal solution. I suppose that I could rely more on iCloud, but I am firmly averse to having confidential data not under my sole control.

On a completely different topic I’ll look forward to joining your mirrorless camera area once the new Nikons (probably Nikon Z6) are available and I make a decision between Nikon mirrorless and Sony mirrorless. Love that competition.

MPG: I just put my iMac 5K into the about $199 Gator Cases Creative Pro 27" iMac Carry Tote (see Travel Bag for iMac 5K — Works Great) and take it with me in my Sprinter van.

Gator Cases Creative Pro 27" iMac Carry Tote
OWC Easy SSD Upgrade Guide
MacBook Pro and MacBook Air
iMac, Mac Pro, MacMini, more!

Tested: Mikegyver High-Speed USB-C Charger for 2018/2017/2016 MacBook Pro via Vehicle DC Power

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port of the Apple 2018 MacBook Pro (and 2016 and 2017 models) can charge at high speed in a vehicle with simple adapter. That’s because the USB-C specification allows for power delivery of up to 90 watts, far higher than the ~12 watts of USB 3.1 gen 2.

Most USB-C chargers are poor performers. Issues include low power charging, heat problems and sometimes noise/buzzing. Not the Mikegyver offering.

Shown below is the Mikegyver USB-C power adapter for high-speed charging via. A high-power USB-A port is also included for charging a device like an iPad or iPhone, as shown.

See also Mike McGyver’s blog, Mobile Connected Tech.

The Mikegyver USB-C power adapter takes its power from the 12V (to 24V) DC vehicle cigarette lighter socket, charging the MacBook Pro via a standard USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 cable (I used the cable that comes with the Apple power brick).

See the MPG test summary that follows the specifications below.

MacBook Pro with Mikegyver USB-C power adapter for high-speed charging via vehicle cigarette lighter socket

Specifications

You can charge your new Macbook Pro 15" touchbar from your Car at FULL Speed! Not to be mistaken for other lower powered USB-C (Type C) Car chargers. You will now also be able to charge your high powered devices (i.e. Macbook Pro 15" Touchbar) from external batteries that do not have true USB-C capabilities (all batteries on market today are not truly high powered USB-C PD). This will charge your Macbook Pro Touchbar without draining your internal batteries while you work on intensive applications! This versatile adapter has wide input range and can be used with any power source on the market.

Includes a standard USB port so you can charge both your USB-C Touchbar Macbook Pro 15" and iPhone/iPad at the same time!

  • World’s First True High Powered Car and External Battery USB-C (Type C) & USB-A PD QC3.0 charger adapter.
  • Unlike other Batteries or Car adapters that do NOT charge or partially powers, our USB-C solution is full powered with PD circuit which means you will expect your MacBook Pro Touchbar (or any other large devices) to recharge just like factory supplied AC adapter.
  • Connects directly to Car Cigarette ports. [MPG: super for travel, no power inverter!]
  • Also connects to most high powered external battery banks (set to at least 12v) and charges at full speed.
  • Charges USB-C devices like Macbook, Macbook Pro, HP, Dell faster then most on the market.
  • QC3.0 USB-A to fast charge your other devices at same time.
  • Wide input power range: 12-24vdc.
  • Includes cigarette cable and external battery cable connector.
  • Built in Safely and overload protection.
  • Compatible with all USB-C (Type C) devices like Macbook 12”, Macbook Pro 13”, Macbook Pro 15”, Lenovo Yoga, HP, Dell, Google, and also smaller devices like USB-C cell phones.
  • USB-C cable not included. [MPG: use the cable supplied with the Apple power brick]
  • Optional external battery sold separately and can be found here. Please choose "no device selection" during checkout process.

Specifications:

  • 60W + 18W (Total 78W)
  • Input: 12-24v, max 10A
  • Output: 60w USB-C: PD 5v3a, 12v3a, 15v2.4a, 20v3a.
  • Output: 18w USB-A: 3.6-5.5v,3a, 6.5-9v/2a, & 9-12v/1.5a.
  • Cigarette cable for car.
  • 5.5x2.5 to 5.5x2.5mm cable for external batteries.
  • Size: 3.3in x 1.9in x 0.9in, weight: 2.1oz

Tested

Get the about $49 Mikegyver USB-C Adapter/Charger at Amazon.

MPG tested the Mikegyver Macbook Pro Touchbar USB-C Car Adapter Charger using the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro. First the MacBook Pro battery was drained down to 17% charge so that there would be a high power draw for an extended period. The MacBook Pro was left on (not allowed to sleep).

The Mikegyver unit passed with flying colors: no noise, the charger unit barely got warm and the 2018 MacBook Pro charged rapidly even while in use.

The 60-watt power delivery is not rated as high as the Apple Power Brick (rated for 90 watts), but did appear to match the 60W over USB-C figure. Charging rate was subjectively rated as very fast given that there was an ongoing drain due to the MacBook pro being operated at the same time.

Given that MPG has to try really hard with artificial efforts to exceed a 60W power draw with the 15-inch 2018 MacBook Pro, it is unlikely that anything but CPU and GPU-intensive video processing of 4K footage or similar could exceed the power rating of the Mikegyver unit. The rare user with such a need should use the Apple power brick running off a pure sine wave power inverter (in my Sprinter van, I have dual 2000W pure sine wave power inverters, but 12V DC is a more efficient use of power).

At present I (MPG Lloyd) do not own a 2018 MacBook Pro, but when/if that comes about, the Mikegyver charger will be the go-to power source in my Mercedes Sprinter photography adventure van.

MacBook Pro being charged via Mikegyver power adapter using vehicle cigarette lighter socket
MacBook Pro being charged via Mikegyver power adapter using battery power

Simple Things that Get in the Way

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

Apple keeps introducing hundreds* of small and large bugs along with dozens of workflow-damaging issues that have wasted me countless hours. All of which fall under the umbrella of Apple Core Rot, which MPG was the first to discuss and name publicly, back in 2013 (some of the press is slowly getting a clue but not really grasping the severity of the issue or how deep the rot goes).

Engineers at Apple, rushed to deadline, just don’t bother to write unit tests. This from the world’s richest company—software development sloppiness—it’s unprofessional and that is not hyperbole. I don’t blame the engineers—I blame Apple’s management structure, which values shipping by calendar goal over software quality metrics. That claim is re-proven with every new macOS release. It’s understandable to want to ship on time (huge profits are at stake), but it speaks to poor planning. To do it once is forgiveable, to do it for the past 6 years is a pattern of behavior.

* Realistically, I’d guess that the real bug count is 10,000 or more.

Little things

Minor issue? Yes, very minor—but not in the context of dozens of other bugs I run into. Together, they add up into a mess of wasted time.

Here’s one thing that stopped me in my tracks: all I wanted to do was to paste a string into a mail window to save it for temporary use, the string:

2018-0903-NEC-PA271Q-6200K-g2_2-140cd

Mail would only past this empty contact (even using modifier keys to paste as plain text failed):

Pasting “2018-0903-NEC-PA271Q-6200K-g2_2-140cd” results in a useless and inappropriate empty contact in Apple Mail

Video Presentation: Configuring the 2018 MacBook Pro as as Desktop Replacement

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The Apple 2018 MacBook Pro has been out about 6 weeks and already is up to $300 off—see my discussion of what to get for a student.

The 2018 MacBook Pro is Apple’s most powerful laptop ever, rivalling desktop systems when properly configured. See my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro.

This video is aimed primarily at photographers and videographers who need robust computing capability. For many it is worth considering the 2018 MacBook Pro as a full replacement for a desktop-class machine, at least if travel is involved where a laptop is sometimes needed—why not have top-end laptop that is also a desktop-grade machine? For the first time ever, I deem a laptop a viable desktop replacement.

Gear recommendations follow the video presentation. Play the video at 1080p, for on-screen clarity.

Configuring a 2018 MacBook Pro

Notes on the video

Shot in 4K but YouTube won’t allow streaming it in full quality.

This is an unscripted video. There are a few word-errors which I correct a bit later (e.g., “hard drive” instead of “SSD”). Makes me wonder if my concussion affected my recall vs speech—a little frustrating.

Sound track: I waited for the quietest part of the day. Even so, squawking birds nearby and noisy kids 1/4 mile away and overhead airplanes make me less than happy with the sound track. Today I have a shredder going just as I wanted to redo it. It’s hopeless without a soundproof studio or getting it done in the mountains where quiet, but I don’t own all the gear and can’t keep it out on loan any longer.

Mannerisms: I blink a lot because of contact lenses, particularly when dry or bright; I cannot consciously control very well, especially if my eyes are tired from too little sleep.

Recommendations: which MacBook Pro?

Think of the 2018 MacBook Pro has a 4 to 6 year investment—there is no reason that kind of lifespan should not be possible (be sure to buy AppleCare).

Key recommendation: MINIMUM configuration should be 16GB memory and 1TB SSD because memory, SSD, GPU and CPU are all soldered onto the logic board. And because anything else is almost certain to inadequate down the line.

The configuration that Lloyd would buy is the 2018 MacBook Pro 2.9 GHz / 32GB / 2TB / Radeon Pro 560X.

View all recommended 2018 MacBook Pro models for serious/pro usage.

Recommendations: port management

The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is the best choice for desktop use because of the extra ports and in particular if there is a need to drive a display that requires Mini DisplayPort. I use one at home, and one in my Sprinter van.

Recommendations: SSD

Solid state drives are expensive but noiseless and very fast.

The ideal scenario for any Mac with an internal SSD is to add an external SSD of capacity equal to or larger than the internal SSD. Keep this SSD separate from the laptop when traveling (in case of theft), and use it every day for a backup, particularly a clone backup.

Recommendations: hard drive and fault tolerance

Hard drives offer excellent value on a per-gigabyte basis.

Every user should have a bare minimum of two complete backups, with at least one of them stored well away from the computer. In addition, MPG recommends at least one always-attached Time Machine backup and one always-attached clone backup.

An outstanding value and simple approach is a large hard drive (12/10/8/6TB) in the OWC Mercury Elite Pro enclosure. OWC does not sell the 12TB configuration, so if 12TB is desired, buy the empty enclosure and add the 12TB hard drive yourself. Remember also that hard drives slow down as they fill up.

Go to the OWC Thunderbay for RAID-5 with SoftRAID and high-volume storage and fault tolerance. Fault tolerance is not a backup.

Recommendations: display and other stuff

To finish the “desktop as a laptop” system, a large display is needed and this necessarily requires a keyboard and mouse because there is no ideal way to position a MacBook Pro except to the side.

A laptop screen is too small and requires hunching over the keyboard—very poor ergonomics causing fatigue and eventually leading to physical injury.

A separate keyboard and mouse eliminates the 2018 MacBook Pro keyboard as an issue (it sucks) and a mouse bypasses the trackpad, which I find highly inefficient by comparison.

The ideal display for the 2018 MacBook Pro or for any Thunderbolt 3 Mac is one that plugs directly into a Thunderbolt 3 port. The LG Ultrafine 5K is lovely and 4K video easily fits. However, photographers like Lloyd require a wide gamut color managed conventional resolution display. See 2.5K or 4K or 5K Display for Image Editing and Viewing?.

* Displays with Mini DisplayPort or DisplayPort cannot be connected without something like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock that provides a Mini DisplayPort.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Checking drives before putting into “production”

diglloydTools

See also Even ”Enterprise Grade” Drives Fail.

According to Tim Standing of SoftRAID, initial verification of a drive can preclude a large percentage of relatively early drive failures.

While SoftRAID has a certify command, it does not graph the performance, and so I would add this point: in my experience, drives that show aberrant behavior are also more likely to fail, even if they pass certification.

The diglloydTools DiskTester fill-volume command can test 99% of the drive and graph the behavior, as shown below, where 5 samples were tested simultaneously, and then graphed together to verify consistent performance—important for RAID setups.

Over the years I have found that aberrant performance behaviors (obvious in a graph) are often an excellent predictor of flaky drives. The test-reliability command is good too, with the major benefit of being able to operate on in-use drives—no need to take a system down for days to certify (which means having to completely wipe) the drives.

Show below is drive performance for five samples of the HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8 hard drive. All samples deliver the same pattern of declining performance as the drive fills up—exactly as expected. Drives with excessive remapped sections tend to show weird spikes in speed in the wrong places. This is bad for RAID performance as well (when drives do not perform the same in the same area).

Performance across 8TB capacity of HGST 8TB Ultrastar He8, 5 samples

Tested (again on the 2018 MacBook Pro): OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD

Get OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 at macsales.com.

MPG tested the OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD in two flavors a few months ago using the 2016 MacBook Pro:

  • Consumer edition 500GB model
  • Video edition 2000GB (2TB) model.

Retesting with the 2018 MacBook Pro shows substantially improved performance with the VE Edition on the 2018 MacBook Pro vs the 2016 MacBook Pro.

OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD, Consumer Edition vs Video Edition

Both drives are very fine performers, and extremely well-built units and highly recommended. See also OWC Thunderblade.

OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD 500GB CE vs 2TB VE: sustained write and read performance
Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Amazing Deals on the Brand-New Apple 2018 MacBook Pro: What to Get for a High School or College Student

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The 2018 Apple MacBook Pro has been out about 6 weeks and already is up to $300 off. I cannot recall that deep a discount on a new Mac that quickly, ever—hence “amazing”. And yet the 2018 MacBook Pro is clearly the most capable laptop that Apple has every built and by far—see my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro.

One of my daughters is heading the university soon, with a planned major of Computer Engineering. She has an aging 7-year-old 13-inch MacBook Pro, which is not going to cut it for the next 4 years. Which MacBook Pro to get for her? Hard and soft requirements are:

  • She is adamant that a 15-inch screen is essential, the 13-inch just too small.
  • It is my view that 16GB memory is essential—8GB is just not enough, particularly for someone studying computer engineering. Or, rather, it might be enough, but there is no way to know for sure, and making the wrong decision means buying a replacement laptop. So it’s got to be 16GB, not 8GB (32GB is overkill).
  • Like memory, the SSD is also soldered-on, so while a 256GB SSD sounds good enough, what happens over 4/5/6 years? Hard to be sure, but it’s the same sort of problem: too little and one would have to plug in an external drive all the time, a hassle. So I deem 512GB a good safe bet. Like 16GB vs 8GB of memory it will probably be fine, but the downside is large of having 256GB fill up.
  • A lifespan of a minimum of 4 years and probably 6 years. Does it make sense to take a chance on that time frame of having to replace the whole computer for want of memory or storage?

Here then are the 2018 MacBook Pro models that make sense given the above (available in silver or space gray). The (current) discount gap means that the better-CPU machine is only $100 more costly, so it’s a no-brainer for the 16GB / 512GB model with 2.6 GHz CPU.

Note that I am NOT saying that the models above are needed for most students. But for a student studying Computer Engineering, I expect many a coding assignment and that raises some capability/capacity concerns.

Many students will do just fine with a 13-inch model and/or 8GB / 256GB. Since the 2018 MacBook Pro has little to offer over the 2017 model, and I do not recommend the touchbar, I’d say consider saving the money and get the deeply discounted 2017 models. However, the 2018 model with touchbar is a faster and better machine—problem is its cost rapidly escalates to that of the 15-inch model so unless 15-inch is undesirable, move to the 15-inch model once the price approaches $1800 or so.

Some students might not need a laptop (probably not real common!). I heartily recommend an iMac 5K or iMac 4K as preferred over a laptop, for the large beautiful screen, and far more ergonomic setup.

 

Back to School: Solid Discounts on 2018 Macs

Get Apple iMac 5K and Apple MacBook Pro at B&H Photo.

The iMac 5K models are discounted; my work machine is the same as the one for $2899 below except that I have the iMac 5K with 2TB SSD (with 64GB memory from OWC).

These MacBook Pros below are the very latest 2018 model and are already $300 off. See my review of the 2018 MacBook Pro—it’s a performance winner, with the keyboard being the only real issue.

To make the 2018 MacBook Pro into a desktop-style machine (while at home/work), add the LG 5K display for an experience like the iMac 5K, along with a keyboard and mouse and for port convenience, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

For travel, consider the OWC USB-C Travel Dock.

 

2018 MacBook Pro: the T2 Chip Can Erratically Kernel Panic the System

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

I’ve not seen a kernel panic yet, but twitter user Bryan Jones looks to be unhappy about a problem that others have also reported.

The new MacBook Pros with T2 chips do indeed kernel panic randomly, as shown in the attached image. I'd hold off buying if you can; Apple has work to do. /cc @pschiller @tim_cook @Apple @AppleSupport

Why does it seem like Apple rushed a beta-quality product out the door? Because that’s what Apple did!

Shortly after release the firmware had to be updated to deal with a performance-throttling bug. The kernel panics are another issue. Is the 2018 MacBook Pro ready for prime time for a pro user depending on it to not go haywire?

NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

2018 MacBook Pro Reviewed: Fastest Apple MacBook Pro Ever and By Far—It’s a Winner

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

No, I still don’t like the toy keyboard in the 2018 MacBook Pro, but it is improved over the 2017 MacBook Pro and it is acceptable. But side by side with my 2015 MacBook Pro... the keyboard sucks.

REVIEWED: 2018 MacBook Pro

The 2018 MacBook Pro is a major advance in Apple laptop performance, easily the largest leap forward in a decade. Forgetting the small display (tiny compared to my favored 2017 iMac 5K), it can act as a real desktop-class machine. For some users, an excellent option would be to add a 5K external display, or two.

Do I want one? Yes. Will I buy one? No because (a) the configuration I want is hugely expensive and (b) the 2017 iMac 5K has an unbeatable display and I cannot work efficiently on a laptop display and (c) I expect a 6-core iMac 5K this fall.

See my recommended configurations below and recommended Macs wish list, and thank you for buying through those links.

Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Must-have expansion for 2017 iMac/ MacBook Pro
Thunderbolt 3 • USB 3 • Gigabit Ethernet • 4K Support • Firewire 800 • Sound Ports

2018 MacBook Pro: Large Improvement vs 2017 MacBook Pro for Sustained GPU Performance

Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).

See my in-depth review of the 2018 MacBook Pro:

REVIEWED: 2018 MacBook Pro

MPG did a 500 iteration test which is GPU intensive. The scatter plot below shows how performance declines somewhat within a minute or so, then holds steady at the reduced rate. It turns out that the decline is far less than with the 2016 MacBook Pro or 2017 MacBook pro (see

2018 MacBook Pro: Sustained CPU Usage vs Performance

2017 MacBook Pro: Severely Degraded Performance for More than Short Usage

2016 MacBook Pro: Model Cannot Sustain Performance

Kudos to Apple for delivering a desktop-class machine—the 2018 MacBook Pro is a winner.

GOOD DEAL! B&H Photo is already discounting the 2018 MacBook Pro by up to $150.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

OWC Drive Deals

Why buy drives from OWC? OWC adds-on a 90-day *replacement* warranty, meaning that a problem drive will be replaced with a NEW drive within 90 days. This is a BIG DEAL if you are making a RAID or depending on the drives; sending a drive in for warranty essentially means another one has to be purchased to fill the hole—not so with this OWC 90-day guarantee.

Load up on storage with these deals!

While MPG generally recommends purchasing the OWC Thunderbay with all 4 drives (so the entire unit is- pre-tested and warranteed together), it is possible to BYO (build your own) with multiple hard drives, consider an OWC Thunderbay enclosure, with an about $380 Thunderbay Thunderbolt 2 enclosure and an about $399 Thunderbay Thunderbolt 3 enclosure.

View all OWC August hard drive and SSD deals.

Durable and fast, up to 1800MB/s

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