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About that Dual 6K Display Support on the Apple 2019 MacBook Pro 16"

Apple discusses the display support of the 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch model:

Apple: Use multiple displays with your MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

The failure to discuss the huge performance hit of two displays makes the discussion poorly done in MPG’s view—who in their right mind with dual 6K displays can tolerate Thunderbolt 3 speed dropping to USB speed?

Understanding Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth

Most users needing displays like that surely need serious I/O bandwidth along with it, although perhaps stock market watchers or gamers might just need a big display. But the Apple Pro Display XDR would be total overkill and the need for dual 6K for anything but video processing or similar seems dubious.

Understanding Thunderbolt 3 bandwidth

Bottom line is that adding a 6K display to a Thunderbolt 3 bus chews up about 30 Gbps of the 40Gbps write bandwidth, reducing the TB3 bus write speed to USB speed (10 Gbps). However, read bandwidth is largely unaffected since the display is a write-sink. That might make it acceptable for some uses most of the time.

If only one 6K display is used, then the other Thunderbolt 3 bus operates on the bus without the display, so that neatly solves the issue for most all uses. Which is why the 2019 iMac 5K is a lousy choice if you plan on getting a 6K display.

CLICK TO VIEW: Deals on MacBook Pro

Below, recommendations for professional use when a single computer is desired for home and travel:

CLICK TO VIEW: 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch Recommendations with 64GB, top CPU, GPU

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Deals on Apple MacBook Pro

See recent posts on the Apple 2019 MacBook Pro 16-inch model:

2019 Apple MacBook Pro with 16" Display: the Single Computer Solution At Last

More about 2019 Apple MacBook Pro...

Some great deals are out there now, and not everyone needs or wants the 16-inch model.

The 2018 MacBook Pro 2.9 Ghz6-core / 32GB / 2TB is a great deal and a very fine machine.

Below, recommendations for professional use when a single computer is desired for home and travel:

View all handpicked deals...

Dell Vostro 3470 Small Desktop Computer
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Apple iOS 13.2.3 Breaks Bluetooth Pairing for my Mercedes Sprinter Van for all my iPhones

I just got the iPhone 11 Pro Max three days ago. I had numerous problems but iOS 13.2.3 fixed the audio issues. But the key issue is that it will not pair with my 2017 Mercedes Sprinter van.

The iPhone 7 Plus has worked flawlessly with my van for 2.5 years (paired once, never needed to do anything again). Now, like the iPhone 11 Pro Max, it has also stopped pairing once updated to iOS 13.2.3. So now I have two expensive phones which will not work with my vehicle.

This all started with the latest iOS (13.2.2, and now 13.2.3).

What Apple says

Update: I forgot to include key prior context when I wrote what follows. The night before, I had visited the Apple Store in the Stanford mall. An extremely helpful employee tried to solve my problem. We figured out 2 of 3 issues but not the Bluetooth pairing issues. He suggested that perhaps he could come out with me to my vehicle to see if his iPhone would pair with it. For that, he had to ask managerial permission, which was refused. The result? In my eyes, that employee is a Big Winner. But... Apple goes to pains to present a public image of being helpful , but when it comes to really wanting to help a customer, the charade is revealed for what it is: an unwillingness to do what it takes.

Even a failure to solve a customer issue can be a success, because it is as much psychological as technical. That Apple employee succeeded brilliantly on the psychological/empathy plane. But the manager... why is someone with the unwillingness to make the effort to help a customer running the blasted store? That manager is a Big Loser who failed to realized that s/he was sending a frustrated customer away with not only no solution, but a psychological resentment towards Apple for not making an effort that cost nothing but 10 minutes of an employees time (while 20 other idle employees stood around).

This incident and the next day phone conversations made it clear as day—no efforts beyond politeness and the heres-what-we-tell-dummies-to-do suggestions were offered. Rather, blame was placed on Mercedes (which could be true, but if so, Apple still broke iOS in 13.2.2!).

I’ve spent over an hour with Apple support including senior support, with no solution. In addition to time at the Apple Store.

The final answer I got from Apple is to take my vehicle into Mercedes. Any Sprinter owner knows that getting Mercedes to update vehicle software (if an update even exists), is like pulling teeth, because Mercedes pays its shop mechanics for about half the time it takes to do the update*. And that means hours of my time driving to/from the dealer.

It did not seem to register with either tech support rep at Apple that if a phone is working for 2.5 years then iOS is updated and the phone stops working, then the culprit is almost certainly iOS. I said this explicitly to both, and both reps were unable or unwilling to acknowledge the point, as if I could not be heard. Both immediately wanted to push it off on Mercedes. Apparently they are trained for to agree with the customer, except when the customer has compelling logic that reflects badly on Apple.

That response from Apple is unacceptable (though all that the customer service reps could do, be clear that I am not criticizing their individual efforts), given that iOS 13.2.3 was supposed to fix such problems, and given that the iPhone 7 Plus never had any issues the past 2.5 years.

So Apple breaks things that were working, and foists off the problem on Mercedes, wasting hours of my time already, and more time to come and leaving me without any functional GPS/maps for my vehicle (noise level means that the iPhone speaker doesn’t cut it).

This is my business phone, not some god-damned music player and video-watching toy.

So now I have a $1900 phone unusable with my vehicle, along with an iPhone 7 Plus also rendered unusable for my vehicle, so not even a backup phone. There is no way to revert to the previous iOS version, which at least worked flawlessly with my iPhone 7 Plus. Is that incompetence or arrogance that there is no revert?

All of this is just another example of Apple Core Rot, and rushing products to market without testing adequately—the prima facie proof of that being a stream of updates to fix bugs that customers should never had had to encounter (both iOS and macOS). Ship it not when ready, but when the scheduled date has been reached.


  • The iPhone 7 Plus worked flawlessly with my van for 2.5 years. It abruptly stopped working with iOS 13.2.2 and 13.2.3 does not fix that.
  • Both the iPhone 7 Plus and the iPhone 11 Pro Max are unable to detect my van at all.
  • The van can see the iPhone 7 Plus, but since the iPhone 7 Plus cannot see the van, no passkey can be entered, making it impossible to pair.
  • The iPhone 11 Pro Max was flaky; with 13.2.2 the van could see it sometimes, though the phone could never see the van. After 13.2.3, neither can detect the other.
  • I did everything asked of me by Apple support: rebooted both phones, reset network settings, did everything Apple support asked except (not yet) factory reset.

* E.g., mechanic takes an hour to do an update, but gets paid for half that time (piecework payment system), so mechanics HATE doing software updates, rightly so.


Why I Might Have to Abandon the 2019 iMac 5K

The 2019 iMac 5K is a terrific machine that will serve most all users extremely well. Most users will never hit the limitations I describe here. So I still highly recommend the 2019 iMac 5K for most users, including myself when traveling my Mercedes Sprinter van.

2019 iMac 5K

But alas, its one shortcoming is coming back to bite me in the ass, that is, the single Thunderbolt 3 bus with only two ports:

  • A single Thunderbolt 3 bus means that I can never run a 6K display like the Apple Pro Display XDR without hugely degrading performance of all other Thunderbolt peripherals (see Understanding Thunderbolt 3 Bandwidth). That is, a 6K display eats 30 Gbps of the 40 Gbps available on the Thunderbolt 3 bus, leaving a sluggish 10 Gbps available for data—USB speed.
  • My standard work setup already has three Thunderbolt 3 devices on the bus {OWC Thunderblade, OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock, LaCie Bolt}, leaving only 3 peripherals possible. If I were to add a Thunderbolt 3 display or any other peripheral, only 2 others would be possible.
  • With only two ports, cabling is a mess. And it means I can never just plug in a USB-C anything without crawling under my desk and rooting around in the dark with a flashlight.
  • Thunderbolt 3 bus disconnects are increasingly bad with only two ports on one bus. It makes the whole system unreliable when connecting 5 or 6 devices—I”m afraid to breathe near any of the cables.
  • I like to to do multiple backups at once, but I can never turn on a chain of Thunderbolt devices, because none will show up if there is one too many on the bus. So I have to decable and recable to backup to all my backup drives.

The 2019 iMac 5K is such a strong machine that this limitation just stinks, a whopper of a design failure that need not have been. If this is Apple’s way of forcing people to the iMac Pro, then shame on Apple—every other pro and semi-pro Mac has dual Thunderbolt 3 busses with 4 ports!

Most likely I will have to move to whatever the next generation of iMac Pro is and sell the 2019 iMac 5K, as much as I otherwise adore it. The 2019 Mac Pro looks superb, but it is hugely expensive, and unsuitable for use for travel in my van (no display, power hungry, bulky, etc).

Protect Your Phone
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads.
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Plus, excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc.

One Possibly Way to Fix Thunderbolt Problems

Apple has been hard at work adding more and more bugs, as has been the case for years. Including Thunderbolt 3 bugs, particularly with respect to display. Getting a video signal to my NEC PA271Q still gives me fits on the 2019 Mac mini.

When I returned home from a long trip, my 2019 iMac 5K, all items and cabling totally unchanged/undisturbed would not drive the second screen (“no signal”) using the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Swapping in a 2nd dock, the display would work, but thr 2nd Thunderbolt 3 port on the dock was dead—no matter the cable or device nothing would work. Rebooting did nothing.

Apple keeps breaking things in macOS and this I deem one more example of sloppy software engineering (I don’t think I am unfairly blaming Apple since this kind of stuff regularly happens after Apple software updates, like the most recent security update).


Having to unplug stuff from the wall to make it work is just insane but I’ll take it.

This suggestion came from OWC: remove power from all devices (unplug), wait at least a minute, plug all back in and reboot.

This cured the dead Thunderbolt 3 port and the display works too! All is back to normal.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Ideal for any Mac with Thunderbolt 3

Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports
Gigabit Ethernet
5K and 4K display support plus Mini Display Port
Analog sound in/out and Optical sound out

Works on any Mac with Thunderbolt 3

Apple iOS 13: Can the Privacy Mode Banner be Dispensed With?

Upgrading to iOS 13.2.2, I don’t know why 1/3 of my screen must be continually blocked out by this Private Browsing Mode banner.

I cannot find any way to make it go away. Maybe there is a secret swipe or something.

Obnoxious privacy mode banner in iOS 13.2.2

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Cameras: Protruding Lens Design Captures Crud, Risks Scratching

I just got the iPhone 11 Pro Max with AppleCare, and I will soon evaluate raw image quality with the three cameras.

The iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras, and they protrude, but with a high quality ballistic rubber case on the phone they were reasonably well protected.

Without a case however, the exposed lenses on the iPhone 11 Pro Max concern me as to scratches or just crud. Perhaps the lens surfaces are sapphire glass, or so I hope.

So it looks like I’ll need to buy some case for the phone, one whose primary function (protecting the phone when dropped) will likely disappoint.

Few if any cases are likely to protect my phone like the NewerTech NuGuard KX case with its ballistic rubber. Sadly, it is not being made for the iPhone 11—and that NuGuard KX case saved all my iPhones many times on concrete and hard floors.

Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

Apple iPhone Face Recognition: Amazingly Seamless but Fails in Dim Light (UPDATED with ideas to try)

I just got the iPhone 11 Pro Max with AppleCare, and loss/damage protection too*.

* The fantastic NewerTech NuGuard KX case which has saved all my iPhones many times on concrete and hard floors is not being made for the new iPhone 11 phones.

Never having used face recognition before, I was initially shocked at how good face recognition can be most of the time—totally seamless, so very impressive.

BUT... Apple iOS face recognition utterly fails in dim light, forcing me to enter a passcode.

Update: I think I know the answer: face too close to the phone. Even though the scanning part says "10 to 20 inches”, that does not work. Problem is, at night without my contact lenses, I cannot see the phone at 10 inches away, let alone 20 inches—just a blur. It's fundamentally sucky tech compared for usage in bed when my lenses are out.

UPDATE: see discussion towards end; there are several settings to try.

I suppose I can turn off the passcode as I long have done.

Face ID settings in iOS

Entering a passcode is harder than it sounds in many working conditions for me: wet/damp hands such as when hiking/cycling/fishing (touch fails), gloves (I work in the cold a lot). Or simply one-handed operation—I just want to use the phone, not stop what I am doing for a passcode demand.

Since the iPhone shuts/locks itself in short order, having to enter a passcode becomes a major usability headache that can hurt me all day long, particularly with gloves on in cold conditions (just got back from a 7-week mountain trip in the cold!), or sweaty hands while cycling.

Why does face recognition fail in dim conditions?

I thought that face recognition used infrared emission, so why it fails is dim conditions is a puzzler. Yet face recognition is having a 100% failure rate for me in dim conditions. Typical failure scenario is trying to use the phone at waking, bedtime or similar.

Like most people, I sleep in dim or dark conditions. But I like to check on things when I wake up or at bedtime or at 3:30 AM due to a post-concussion terminal-sleep disturbance. I can understand a failure in the dark of night, but in dim daylight when I wake?

Also, being a photographer, I work at dusk and dim conditions a lot. If face recognition is going to fail even 10% of the time, it’s an abject design failure for me, because the other 90% of the time, the demand for a passcode is an untenable hassle.

Passcodes for what value?

I long ago considered the use of a passcode for my phone and rejected it—I just don’t have sensitive enough stuff on my phone, so I’ve saved myself a million keypresses over the life of my iPhones—good tradeoff.

I don’t need the hassle of entering a passcode 5000 times per year. Problem is, unlike the iPhone 7 Plus, I cannot find a way to disable the passcode requirement, as I’ve done literally forever since the dawn of the iPhone v1. Maybe I’m missing it, or maybe this is a “feature” which Apple assumes is pure genius combined with face recognition.

Reader Franklin K writes:

I own an iPhone XR since last january. It never fails on “non light conditions”.

How can you explain such a difference ?

MPG: I cannot explain it, and that’s not my job. The thing ought to work right. But one guess: maybe it cannot deal with any shadows on the face? Which makes no sense if it is using infrared.

I even turned on some supplementary light this morning and it still would not work.

Jim R writes:

I’ve noticed the Face ID needs to see your face / chin, and many times if you try in bed, your face / chin are not in the same orientation as when you initially setup Face ID.

So, I’d try the following: Reset Face ID, and make sure it’s taken from the position you normally unlock the phone, above, horizontal to, or below your face.

Then When trying to unlock when lying in bed, make sure your chin is out and the phone is straight out from your face. If you normally unlock while lying down, wearing other outfits, whatever, setup an alternative appearance.

And I think you can turn passcode off below all that, unless you have an Apple Watch and/or use Apple Pay.

MPG: I don’t want to reset it for normal use, which is working great—has to work both ways.

This morning, I did try orienting my face straight on while in bed (to give the camera a clear straight on view), but maybe I did not try hard enough, which in and of itself is a problem—should just work.

Things to try for Face ID

I found preferences in Settings => Face ID & Passocode, as shown below.

There are serveral things to try including Set Up an Alternate Appearance, disabling Require Attention for Face ID (are my light blue eyes were too dark in dim light?), and as a last resort, Turn Passcode Off.

Face ID settings in iOS

Get up to 16x more storage and 2x the speeds of the original drive

Audio Shut-Off Problems in Safari on iPhone 11 Pro Max (iPhone 7 Plus continues to work fine)

I just got the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Stunning display, but a mixed usability bag making me consider returning it, what with the headaches more than the benefits. For example

UPDATE: iOS 13.2.3 fixes the audio problems described below. But Bluetooth pairing is still broken for all my phones.

Audio shut-off problems with Safari

UPDATE early afternoon: after repeatedly having all these issues, they went away. Could it be related to time of day and Do Not Disturb? I’m looking into that. Hopefully the problem is gone for good.

Update 2, 10 minutes later: the problem is baaaaack. Is this just a nasty bug? Is it related to some Face ID bug?


I often listen to web site audio on my iPhone, frequently while driving. This is my #1 use of my phone these days (in terms of time spent), so the issues here are major problems (to me).

All of the following worked and continue to work without issue on my iPhone 7 Plus. These behavioral changes affect the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Using iOS 13.2.2:

  • While playing a web site audio clip in Safari, as soon as the phone sleeps or I click it off, the audio stops.
  • While playing a web site audio clip in Safari, switching to any other app immediately stops the audio. So I cannot use Maps or Settings or anything without losing my audio.
  • If I am listening to the Audible app, but then switch to a web site to listen to an audio clip there, both audio tracks play on top of one another. So I have to manually pause Audible first.

But wait, there’s more: the iPhone 11 Pro Max will not pair with my Mercedes Sprinter van bluetooth; the van finds the phone, but the phone does not see the van, and so won’t provide the code to pair it. I tried repeatedly, including restarting both the van and the phone. The iPhone 7 Plus is paired just fine. What a situation—no music or audio or Maps while driving with this fancy new expensive turd phone.

So I spent $1900 on a phone that doesn’t work properly.

Does Apple just hire sloppy engineers these days, or just not bother to test anything or just have the worst design judgment ever? I can’t tell.

Fix or workaround?

I found one workaround: manually download the audio clip.

No big deal? I did not spend $1900 on an iPhone for make-work clunkiness caused by poor design. I buy iPhone because I expect it to suck less than the competition.

How to Stop macOS from Urging You to “Upgrade” to macOS Catalina

See also how to set software update preferences in Caution on Upgrading to macOS Catalina — Could Cost You Money and Functionality.

MPG recommends avoiding any new macOS major revision for at least 6 months. Past fiascoes including severe security bugs have proven that advice to be rock solid for years now.

“Upgrading” to macOS Catalina means loss of all 32-bit application functionality. For me, that “upgrade” means a cost of at least $500 to upgrade some older but critical apps (e.g., accounting software, my #1 editor too). Not appealing, not at all*.

Disabling the daily suggestion for macOS Catalina upgrade

I got tired of the daily hassle of seeing an available upgrade flagged—macOS Catalina. Here is how to disable that visual annoyance, and one-click risk of screwing yourself.

Open a Terminal window and paste this line:

sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --ignore "macOS Catalina"

Should you want to install macOS Catalina in the future:

sudo /usr/sbin/softwareupdate --reset-ignored

That’s it.

* This is classic Arrogant Apple — a longstanding disregard and apparent ignorance of the needs of business and professional customers, which first manifested with the Final Cut Pro transition. Or maybe just a decision in the line of “who cares” — one phone with one Mac with a single drive is The World, and it’s all for games and music —an entertainment platform. What good is a fancy new Mac Pro if you cannot count on a rock solid OS that will run the software you need?

Seeing which of your apps are 32-bit (not 64 bit)

See also the 2nd and more thorough method that follows.

  1. Start up all your apps of concern.
  2. Open Activity Monitor, and choose View => All Processes
  3. Click on the Kind column so that it sorts by 32 bit on top (click on the column heading to reverse the sort order). If Kind is not already showing, right-click (control-click) to add the column.
Viewing 32-bit applications in Activity Monitor

Listing all 32-bit application using System Report

As better and more thorough way is to use About This Mac => System Report and list 32 bit applications.

Select Applications as shown, then click on the 64-bit column header to sort so that 32-bit apps ("no") show up at top, as shown.

This is also a good way to clan out old cruft you didn’t know was there!

Viewing 32-bit applications in Activity Monitor


OWC Unleashes the All-New Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock for Extreme Workflows

I hope to have the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock for testing in December.

Get the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock at MacSales.com.

OWC Unleashes the All-New Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock for Extreme Workflows

The ultimate combination of extreme-performance networking, high bandwidth media support and peripheral docking for professional creative workflows

WOODSTOCK, Ill., Nov. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ --OWC®; a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company and one of the world's most respected manufacturers of hard drives, SSDs, PC & Mac docking solutions and performance upgrade kits, today announced the availability of the all-new OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock. Designed by professionals for professionals, the newest addition to OWC's lineup of connectivity solutions was built from the ground up to meet the rigorous demands of today's professional video production, image processing and extreme performance data workflows.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock

High Bandwidth and Flexibility for Demanding Hi-Res Needs

Pro-level docking stations must be equipped to handle any situation in a production workflow. The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock is the ultimate on-location, post production "mission control" solution, with an unrivaled combination of super-fast 10Gb Ethernet, CFast and SD card readers, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, three USB 3.1 ports, and full support for eSATA devices and drives. For maximum efficiency for multiple card transfers, the CFast and SD 4.0 card readers are conveniently accessible on the unit's front side. And while big on pro-level features, OWC's new Pro Dock sports a compact footprint roughly the size of a single external drive enclosure.

Extreme Performance and Unprecedented Versatility

With this unique productivity configuration, creators can ingest and work with 4/8K RAW video and RAW photo files immediately at speeds up to 600MB/s. Collaborate in a shared workflow environment via the 10Gb Ethernet port to keep your projects streaming from file setup to final renders with headroom to spare. The new OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock shines with versatility, supporting either one or two 4K monitors, or alternatively one 5K monitor connected to the second Thunderbolt 3 port. Daisy chain up to five additional Thunderbolt devices like studio-level storage, RAID arrays, PCIe expansion, or Thunderbolt displays – all while powering a laptop and managing the typical USB 3.1 devices required to get the job done.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock Delivers

  • (2) Thunderbolt 3 ports delivering lightning-fast 40Gb/s transfer speeds, with backward compatibility for all Thunderbolt 2 devices
  • Blazing media transfer at speeds up to 600MB/s – (1) CFast 2.0 Card Reader and (1) SD 4.0 Card Reader
  • Bandwidth to edit from your server – (1) 10Gb Ethernet port
  • Power while working – 60W notebook charging
  • Connect your peripherals – (3) USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports
  • See your work – (1) DisplayPort 1.2 port for an additional monitor (up to 4K), or one 5K monitor via Thunderbolt 3 port
  • Securely powered – locking power connection
  • Multi-bay external drive access – (1) eSATA port with port multiplier support
  • Thunderbolt certified for Mac and Windows

"Many of the world's most talented content creators and producers have been loyal OWC customers for decades because pros know our performance and reliability is simply unmatched, and they won't settle for second best," said OWC founder and CEO Larry O'Connor. "We built the new OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock for them, and I am confident it will take their creativity and productivity to the next level in a world where speed, versatility and reliability are everything."


The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock is available now at MacSales.com and Amazon, MSRP: $339.99.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, rear

Reader Question: diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Purchase Options

More about IntegrityChecker.

2019-10-24 update note: diglloydTools has been 64-bit for years, and runs on macOS through macOS Mojave. Not yet tested on the not-recommended macOS Catalina, and the notarization requirement is a weeklong headache to solve. As well, Apple may have removed crucial APIs. All IntegrityChecker users should migrate to the cross-platform java version.

Pete O writes:

Quick question regarding the purchase tiers for Diglloyd Tools.

I recently encountered a couple corrupt files following a big import. Fortunately they were identified in Capture One, but I'd like to have more confidence in these transfers in the future.

It looks like Integrity Checker is just what I need, but I'm trying to decide which tier to purchase (i.e., 1 month, 1 year, etc.). Do the the different tiers just ensure I can upgrade to the latest version during the period purchased? Just want to confirm I'm interpreting this correctly.

MPG: corrupt files can occur at any stage (bit flips in the originals, bad copies, etc) but the key thing is once downloaded from the camera, using IntegrityChecker can flag any changes on any drive, any time, original or backups. The only prerequisite is to do an 'update' on any new or changed files once.

The hashes live in the folder with the files and thus can be checked any time on any drive. For example, checking a 23rd-generation copy of the original proves that all prior 22 copies were identical to the original (when copied).

As a pro photographer myself, I strongly recommend NOT converting to DNG format as the files get changed by Photoshop during editing for simple changes like exposure or white balance. In other words, Photoshop changes the DNG for simple metadata, which properly belongs in an XMP sidecar file. Other raw file formats do not suffer from this headache. Changing the DNG causes hugely increased backup times, and no ability to discern unwanted changes from those caused by editing. The workaround is to lock DNG files, forcing Photoshop to use XMP sidecar files. I have reported this workflow absurdity to Adobe and I hope to see a change made, at least an option to never modify DNG files, using XMP sidecar files always, just as with all other raw file types.

Purchase options for diglloydTools

The diglloydTools "tiers" are just a download privilege period—you can use the downloaded version forever once downloaded.

However, as a serious tool for long-term data integrity checking, most professionals purchase the 5 year option so they can download for five years including any updates any time, since they rely on it as part of workflow. Teams must purchase more than one license, but individual users may use it on all of their own machines.

Note that IntegrityChecker users are urged to move to the cross-platform Java version now.

Apple iPhone 7
Only $799 $295

MN9H2LL/A (USA/Global Unlocked)
Used, Mint Condition, Factory Unlocked

Professionals Should Stay Away from macOS Catalina for Six Months

See Caution on Upgrading to macOS Catalina — Could Cost You Money and Functionality.

Don’t break your workflow, don’t force upgrade costs—let the dusk settle on macOS Catalina—do not “upgrade”.

Recommended preferences for Software Update in macOS

MacOS Mojave was a security and usability disaster for months. For now, stick with the right geography.

Autumn color in High Sierra
f8 @ 6.0 sec electronic shutter focus stack 3 frames, ISO 100; 2019-09-26 19:09:52
Sony A7R IV + Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG DN Art @ 14mm
ENV: Twenty Lakes Basin, altitude 10300 ft / 3139 m, 53°F / 11°C
RAW: LACA corrected, +100 Shadows, -73 Highlights, +57 Whites

[low-res image for bot]

Best Speech to Text App for Dictation, for Other Uses?

Readers might help me and help other readers decide what is the best speech to text app (dictation).

I want to save myself some typing, and be able to "write" while I hike or walk or am out and about when an idea pops into my head. Or to save the strain on arms and hands (typing).

I’d prefer a simple interface, I don’t need multi-language support and most important of all: it absolutely must work without any internet connection and in airplane mode. That’s because I anticipate usage frequently when I do not have internet.

Some things I might use it for:

  • Dictation for blog posts, articles (sometimes with technical words).
  • Dictation for editorial purposes.
  • Notes, reminders, how-to for myself or family.
  • Texting or emailing someone on iOS, where typing is incredibly tedious (I suspect that this purpose may require a different app).

Thanks! I will share useful comments.

Apple iPhone 7
Only $799 $295

MN9H2LL/A (USA/Global Unlocked)
Used, Mint Condition, Factory Unlocked

Caution on Upgrading to macOS Catalina — Could Cost You Money and Functionality

MPG strongly recommends NOT installing macOS Catalina, which is due out within weeks. Wait at least 3 months and probably more.

There is no reason to “upgrade” and make your life a hassle. Apple’s calendar driven releases have proven themselves to be untested bug-ridden messes for the past 4 or 5 releases. It’s a clear and compelling track record. You don’t need the hassle! Mojave did not one good thing for my work and workflow and to this day has continuing hassles—and I waited a full 6 months before installing it.

But wait—it gets much worse32-bit software will no longer run, see below.

Recommended software update settings

Turn off (uncheck/disable) the Install macOS updates preference. Otherwise, Apple may foist macOS Catalina on you one morning quite unexpectedly.

Turn off Download new updates when available: if you travel as I do, losing gigabytes of my cell phone data to unwanted and unimportant (and outright destructive) software updates is a major downer when things slow to 12KB/sec with AT&T (AT&T blatantly lies about throttled speed, it’s around 12K/sec not 128K as claimed, proven over a week of suffering through it).

Recommended preferences for Software Update in macOS

32-bit software will no longer run

Apple just doesn’t 'get' the pain macOS Catalina will cause some of us.

This pattern of disregard for professional in the Mac user base is nothing new, unfortunately. Researchers, professionals, business people, custom software in R&D/science/universities, etc—lots of people out there are going to be VERY unhappy if upgrading to Catalina.

There is absolutely no good reason that 32-bit software has to be abandoned; it is purely a decision of Apple management. Apple provides BootCamp which can run Windows, but cannot support its own platform’s 32-bit software? This shows gross disrespect for its users. While a virtual machine can be used to run another version of macOS, that’s a hassle and a memory hog—and if so, Apple ought to provide the VM.

Significant upgrade costs

Upgrading to Catalina might prove costly $$$ to upgrade. In my case, I face a $500 cost to update software just for compatibility with no benefit to me—software crucial to my business (accounting). Just a friggin total waste of money when I could buy something useful.

Might be no update available

Or there might not be any update at all, so if the software matters to you—ooops!

In my case, a crucial piece of software I use for hours a day doesn’t have an upgrade to 64-bit version at all. Upgrading is thus a nightmare proposition as there is no good alternative, and moreover I am used to the software.

Major security bugs again perhaps?

The last two macOS releases had major security bugs and many other bugs. It took six months to stabilize the release.

  • There will be (as usual) changes that disrupt workflow, and rarely are these improvements.

In short, and especially if you are a professional, see your mental health professional if you feel an urge to upgrade.

Günther D writes:

I totally agree with you. I usually wait 6 months or sometimes even longer before installing a major OS upgrade (it applies to Windows as well). All based on experience since 1990 when I started using Mac professionally. ”If it works don't fix it”.

MPG: absolutely. My advice for any pro using a Mac on any reasonably recent macOS is to treat it like a toaster: keep using it for its value and avoid all major OS upgrades.

Fast and cost effective way to backup!

Features Coming to IntegrityChecker java

Several changes are coming to IntegrityChecker (part of diglloydTools), but only the Java version, which is cross-platform (any OS that can run Java).

All users are encouraged to migrate to the Java version of IntegrityChecker. The native version will not be carried forward into macOS Catalina.

Get diglloydTools.

For IntegrityChecker java (icj) only...

Better file modification date verification

MacOS has a bug that truncate the file modification date/time. The issue becomes a noisy hassle when verifying files (warnings about changed file dates ). In IntegrityChecker java (icj), the following behavior will occur:

  • At present (before I publish the updated version), icj does not warn about the file dates because it only records the file modification date to the second.
  • Going forward, icj will record the file modification date to the millisecond, but how it is used will vary.
  • The file modification date will be compared to the millisecond if and only if both the actual file modification date has non-zero milliseconds, and the recorded file modification date in the hash file also has non-zero milliseconds. Otherwise, milliseconds are ignored. In this way, files that have non-zero millis will be strictly compared, which will be the case for the same type of file system, e.g., the original volume or a backup using the same file system.

Tracking of folders with no files, subfolders gone missing

IntegrityChecker has always been file-based—no files meant no hashing. This left open one ugly possibility which I rant into myself once: some kind of copying or backup error that prunes off folders.

The change will that now icj will record all subfolder names within a folder, whether or not there are also files in that folder. Warnings will be issued when subfolders go missing.

Summary of subfolder changes:
/Volumes/Scratch/test/junk/a/aa subfolders missing:
{2019-0704-TripPictures, 2019-0714-Birthday}
End summary of subfolder changes.

Better status and logging and summary results

The goal is an HTML summary report with appropriate linking and formatting to make the results more approachable and understandable. Possibly it will be updated in real-time as the operation progresses. This feature may start simple and then improve steadily.


A Java GUI may become available.

Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Copying Files in macOS Can Truncate File Date/Time to One-Second Granularity

A user of IntegrityChecker reported that verification of backups was resulting in claims of changed file dates. Investigating, I found that copying files from an APFS file system to macOS Extended changes the file dates by truncating the time to the second (truncating, not rounding).

Since macOS Extended supports file times to the millisecond, there is no good explanation for this behavior other than yet one more macOS bug.

It’s a hassle to have files reported with changed dates when verifying data, so I’m making a few changes to IntegrityChecker java version (icj) to handle this situation better, such as not flagging a date change if the new date has a zero millisecond component.

Example of whacked file dates

I used the dgl finfo command to print out this information. It uses 'Carbon' APIs.

This example from one file for brevity; it happens for all files I tested (thousands).

Original on APFS volume

DataFork:         53529, 57344, closed
CreationDate      2019-05-20 22:19:19.80359873 0.3641260759.57184
ContentModDate    2019-05-20 22:19:19.80359877 0.3641260759.57444

Copy on another APFS volume

DataFork:         53529, 57344, closed
CreationDate      2019-05-20 22:19:19.80359873 0.3641260759.57184
ContentModDate    2019-05-20 22:19:19.80359877 0.3641260759.57444

Copy on macOS Extended volume

DataFork:         53529, 57344, closed
CreationDate      2019-05-20 22:19:19.80359000 0.3641260759.0  <== millis truncated
ContentModDate    2019-05-20 22:19:19.80359000 0.3641260759.0

Simon N writes:

Are you sure HFS+ supports milliseconds? As far as I know, the date resolution on HFS+ is 1s, so it seems to be inevitable that the milliseconds from APFS-originating files get cut off. One might argue Apple could have implemented rounding instead of truncating, but the outcome would (essentially) be the same.

MPG: I see that Wikipedia shows "Date resolution" as "1s", so perhaps my assumptions are invalid.

Because macOS Extended (HFS Plus) uses a 48 bit number for date/time (16 bit each for High/Low/Fraction), I had assumed that non-zero values in the fraction part of the number were milliseconds.

Since many files have non-zero values in the fraction part, it only made sense that this represents milliseconds. But if the file system only does time to the second, then these values are essentially garbage, or being used for oddball purposes by Apple.

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