Speed To Create, Capacity To Dream
Storage Wishlist…
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

OWC Weekender specials

OWC has some great deals on iMac 5K models as well as various other goodies as part of their OWC Weekender Specials.

Check out the iMac 5K deals and the MacBook Pro too.

See all OWC Weekender Specials.

Hand-Picked OWC Weekender Specials

Caution on Upgraded Apple Remote Desktop

Apple recently issued a minor bug fix upgrade for Apple Remote Desktop (client and server portions). MPG recommends caution in upgrading ARD for this update.

With the usual Apple Core Rot software incompetence, the “upgrade” destroyed my ability to get to one server, made getting to a 2nd server flaky, and the 3rd server has lucked out somehow—but I suspect problems will crop up just when I need to use ARD, a scary thought. But there seems to be a fix, see further below.

For the problem server on 10.8, I rebooted twice and reinstalled the latest applicable client—no go, that server is now unreachable. The built-in firewall is disabled. Searching the web, I see that Apple has been breaking things like this for some years now—pure incompetence.

This is stuff that until the update has worked for 7 years. The nitwits at Apple seem to think everyone runs only the latest OS; my servers run 10.8, 10.10, and 10.11. Apple does not respect its users enough to actually test its “upgrades”, a pattern worsening year by year.

Update: my iMac with Apple Remote Desktop 3.8 works fine with the problem server. But as soon as I updated to Apple Remote Desktop 3.9, the iMac also fails to be able to connect. Clearly Apple has BROKEN Apple Remote Desktop 3.9.

Update 2: the user comments on the App Store confirm these problems in spades.

The fix — check a box

Found by scanning the numerous complaints. Why does Apple Remote Desktop make no effort to warn of older clients and inform the user of this change, rather than mysteriously hanging on any/all attempts to connect? ARD darn well knows the OS version from the configuration and/or prior connection. Two hours of my time wasted due to Apple’s contemptible contempt for its users.

The weird thing is that this fix was not needed for one of the servers also running 10.8. It suggests yet more bugs.

Check the box to connect to older versions of macOS clients such as 10.8
Cycling

Will the next Apple Mac Pro (if any) be the Final Straw that Puts the Nail in the 'Pro' Coffin?

Pro users need pro machines:

  • An option for at least 128GB memory.
  • Ability to use the latest and greatest PCIe video cards.
  • Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.
  • Rock solid reliability.

Of the above, the PCIe slot issue is the #1 issue that makes the 2013 Apple Mac Pro an overpriced laughingstock for video professionals. This has been building as an issue for years now.

Quotes below from Marco Solorio of OneRiver Media in NVIDIA’s GTX 1080: The Tip Of The Iceberg?. The NVIDIA announcement referred to was May 2016; video cards are only going to become more powerful, already vastly outpacing the CPU for many tasks, at least when the GPU works properly (Apple’s GPU choice of AMD is hugely unpopular among pros). Emphasis added.

The announcement of the GTX 1080 is so big, that this card alone will most likely cause a shift in computer workstation ownership. Last year I wrote an article about how I upgraded our Mac Pro Tower with new CPUs, RAM, flash-based boot drives, and of course, the Titan X. The system still churns through heavy tasks, including working with 4.6K RAW footage, edited in real-time in DaVinci Resolve in 4K UHD timelines (even basic node structures play in real-time without the need for rendering).

But as good as that juiced up Mac Pro Tower is today, I know at some point, the time will have to come to an end, simply because Apple hasn’t built a PCIe-based system in many years now. As my article described, the alternative Mac Pro trashcan is simply not a solution for our needs, imposing too many limitations combined with a very high price tag.

The NVidia GTX 1080 might be the final nail in the coffin. I can guarantee at this point, we will have to move to a Windows-based workstation for our main edit suite and one that supports multiple PCIe slots specifically for the GTX 1080 (I’ll most likely get two 1080s that that new price-point).

I’m no stranger to working on Windows systems (I’ve built my own Windows boxes since Windows 3/NT) and have Windows systems running now in our facility. But with that said, I do prefer Apple OS X when possible. But with no support of a modern PCIe-based workstation from Apple, our hands are tied to move to Windows (we may get an HP Z840 system, something similar, or a custom build we’ll do in-house). Even if the GTX 1080 could be flashed for OSX, we wouldn’t be able to take full advantage of what the 1080 has to offer, due to The Mac Pro Tower’s older PCIe bus technology.

... With all that said, I see (and have already seen) a huge migration of longtime Apple users (such as me) going to Windows systems for their main workstation needs. The sheer power and lower cost is just too huge at this point. The NVidia GTX 1080 just compounded that point exponentially stronger.

...

The “juiced up Mac Pro” referred to is not a 2013 Mac Pro, but its predecessor. That is why used 2010/2012 Mac Pros are still strong sellers at OWC / MacSales.com.

The choice to embed non-upgradeable video cards in the 2013 Mac Pro and to omit PCIe slots spells the death knell for pro users looking to work with 4K/6K/8K video, 3D modeling and rendering, etc. A future Mac Pro (if any) that takes that same approach means that Apple has abandoned any pretense of offering pro machines.

Does Apple (Tim Cook) even “get” that the entire high-end pro market is going to abandon Apple over the next year because of a failure to meet the fundamental needs of professionals? His public statement that “great desktops” are coming must be seen as coming from the CEO of a phone and gadget company. MPG doubts that there is any 'pro' left in Apple, but hopes to be proven wrong.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Cables Now Shipping

macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 cable

OWC Thunderbolt 3 cables are now available, and shipping within a day or two.

OWC Premium Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cables are the perfect choice for your Thunderbolt 3 workflow. These premium quality cables are manufactured to the highest standard to deliver the incredible power of Thunderbolt technology, with models supporting data transfer speeds up to 40Gb/s and power delivery up to 60W and long cable runs.

That's enough throughput to drive two 4K displays simultaneously, or one 5K display. Experience the full high-performance capabilities of your Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C devices.

The cables come in two speeds, with the 40 Gb/sec cables substantially more expensive thn the 20 Gb/sec ones.

Thus it makes sense to use the 0.5 meter 40 Gb/sec cable if the devices is very close to the Mac. If the devices are to be daisy-chained and lack the need for more than 20 Gb/sec (few devices can even approach that speed), then place these last in a daisy-chain, and use the 20 Gb/sec cables.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 cable pricing
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Infographic

Intel has done a fine job of making USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 massively confusing (limitations based on cable length, cables that run at full speed or half speed, etc).

The infographic from OWC shown below might help in some ways, but there are various “gotchas”. MPG recommends generally buying full-speed Thunderbolt 3 cables, for maximum interoperability. However, lower speed cables intended for use with USB-C have their place also.

Missing/not noted in graphic: Thunderbolt 3 can drive one 5K display which supports Thunderbolt 3, or two 4K displays via Mini DisplayPort.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C Infographic

SoftRAID Updated to Version 5.5.6

SoftRAID, which is what makes RAID work for the OWC Thunderbay 4 RAID-5 edition, has been updated to version 5.5.6.

Known Bugs:

  • In the first release of Mac OS 10.12, the First Aid function in Apple’s Disk Utility application has a bug which prevents it from working on SoftRAID volumes. You can use a command in a Terminal window to perform this same function (Disk Utility calls this same command). For more information, see our compatibility page: https:// softraid.com/pages/support/compatibility_notes.html
  • There is a bug reported in Parallels Desktop 10 software which can cause data corruption in your Windows virtual machines whether running on SoftRAID or AppleRAID volumes. You must install Parallels Desktop 11 or later if you are running on a SoftRAID or AppleRAID volume.

New features in version 5.5.6:

  • Sometimes, when email notifications are sent through a yahoo.com mail account, the subject line gets garbled. This is the result of some, but not all, yahoo email servers being able to handle Q-encoded UTF-8 text. The work around in version 5.5.6 is to detect when the outgoing email account is on yahoo.com and then convert the subject to straight ascii text.
  • SoftRAID Lite and SoftRAID Lite for ThunderBay now allow you to delete all volumes created by SoftRAID and SoftRAID for ThunderBay including volumes with RAID levels 4, 5 and 1+0.

Bugs fixed in version 5.5.6:

  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID Monitor which prevented it from reliably sending email notifications.
  • Fixed a bug in SoftRAID driver which could cause mirror volumes to rebuild instantly, leaving secondary disks with invalid data. This would only happen if more than one secondary disk was missing or out of sync. (SR-305).
  • Fix a bug in the SoftRAID driver which causes disk errors in mirror and RAID 1+0 volumes (SR-416).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID driver which could cause some RAID 1+0 volumes to fail early in the rebuild process with a disk error (SR-381).
  • Fixed problem which caused certifying 4 Kn disks (disks with 4 KB sectors).
  • The SoftRAID application no longer crashes when you attempt to create a volume with more than 16 disks (SR-399).
  • The volume tile now updates immediately when the user enables or disables the volume’s safeguard (SR-320).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID Monitor which could cause log entries to be corrupted or incomplete. This primarily affected the SoftRAID_Email.log file when SMTP logging was enabled.
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID application which caused big pipes connected to the volume tiles to be missing 2 pixels on their left side when displayed on Macs with Retina displays (SR-374).
  • Fixed a problem with the filename of the Japanese QuickStart Guide. The filename was causing DiskWarrior to say that the file was incorrectly encoded (SR-415).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID Monitor which caused it to display the “Disk is missing from a mirror volume” dialog even when this preference was disabled (SR-413).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID driver which caused the SoftRAID Monitor status indicator in the menu bar to go yellow whenever a mirror read-only secondary volume was attached.
  • Fixed several broken links in the SoftRAID On-line help (SR-386).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID Monitor which caused it to sometimes skip the SMART test on startup. This would happen if you configured email notification to send an email on reboot. (SR-303 & SR-299).
  • Fixed a bug which caused Tech Support Reports to sometimes be missing volume headers (SR-238).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID driver which prevented it from warning users if a volume was missing a disk. Older versions of SoftRAID would only warn a user once. This version warns a user every time the startup or restart (SR-68).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID Monitor which caused some log entries to be truncated. This especially affected the log entries for disks which are predicted to fail (SR-407).
  • Fixed a bug which caused mirror read-only secondary volumes to be identified as mirror volumes in the SoftRAID log (SR-262).
  • Fixed a bug which allowed users to attempt to convert AppleRAID RAID 1+0 volumes (SR-406).
  • Fixed several bugs which caused incorrect error messages to be displayed when sending test emails in the Email Notification window.
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID application which made the error count text in disk and volume tiles display incorrectly if there are 1 or more errors (SR-360).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID Monitor which caused the incorrect IPv4 address to be listed in email notifications (SR-392).
  • Fixed a bug in the SoftRAID applications which causes clipping of the text for the “Log SMT commands” preference button in the Servers tab of the Email Notification window. This clipping only occurs when the user is running with German as the chosen language.
  • Fixed two bugs in the SoftRAID application where the incorrect text was being displayed when the chosen language was Japanese. The incorrect text was displayed in the Preference and Quit menu items.
  • Fixed problem with the title of the Certify Disks dialog (SR-378).
  • Fixed a problem with the warning dialog which gets displayed if the user starts certifying an SSD with only 1 pass. The buttons were not translated (SR-379).
  • Fixed a typos in mirror dialogs (SR-362 and SR-349).
  • Fixed a bug in SoftRAID application which caused disconnected mirror secondary disks to become new volumes when reconnected. This occurred if an additional secondary disks was added to the volume while the first secondary disk was disconnected. (SES-348).
  • Fixed a bug which indicated that TRIM was enabled on an SSD when it was actually disabled in the SoftRAID preferences (SR-290).
  • Fixed a bug which caused the SoftRAID Monitor indicator to not appear in the menu bar if no SoftRAID formatted disks were attached (SR-386).
  • Fixed a bug which caused the SoftRAID Monitor to use a lot of CPU time when it first started up. This was accompanied by warning messages in the system.log file which said that SoftRAID Monitor was “inherently inefficient” (SR-318).
  • Improved the capture of volume headers in Tech Support Reports (SR-238).

Big Discounts on *Current Model* iMac 5K at OWC

If the iMac 5K display were offered as a display only, say at $1629, it would be worth it. So why not get one, and with a free iMac computer included?

I consider the late 2015 iMac 5K the best display on the market today at any price for viewing images. In this sense, consider it a fantastic display that includes a free computer.

See also the diglloyd DealFinder for iMac 5K as well as all 2015 iMac 5K. Or search for more used Macs.

Note that these Macs are factory sealed Apple refurbished with 1 year warranty.

B&H Photo WPPI deals

Thru Feb 12. Certain specials require promo code BHWPPI17.

 

OWC Now Has Thunderbolt 3 Cables

macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 cable

Thunderbolt 3 cables are now for sale at OWC.

OWC Premium Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cables are the perfect choice for your Thunderbolt 3 workflow. These premium quality cables are manufactured to the highest standard to deliver the incredible power of Thunderbolt technology, with models supporting data transfer speeds up to 40Gb/s and power delivery up to 60W and long cable runs.

That's enough throughput to drive two 4K displays simultaneously, or one 5K display. Experience the full high-performance capabilities of your Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C devices.

The cables come in two speeds, with the 40 Gb/sec cables substantially more expensive thn the 20 Gb/sec ones.

Thus it makes sense to use the 0.5 meter 40 Gb/sec cable if the devices is very close to the Mac. If the devices are to be daisy-chained and lack the need for more than 20 Gb/sec (few devices can even approach that speed), then place these last in a daisy-chain, and use the 20 Gb/sec cables.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 cable pricing

Missing/not noted in graphic: Thunderbolt 3 can drive one 5K display which supports Thunderbolt 3, or two 4K displays via Mini DisplayPort.

OWC Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C Infographic
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Macular Degeneration Linked to Blue Light (sunlight and most forms of LED lights)

Love that iPhone or iPad or other phone or tablet or computer display? Long term, the blue light from cell phones and tablets and computer displays might have serious implications, and that’s no laughing matter, even if it takes 50 years for it to happen. It is particularly concerning since children from a very young age stare at cell phone or tablet screens for many hours. Excessive blue light is also linked to eyestrain and various health problems.

Observation: the iMac 5K display can be run extremely bright, and looks to contain a lot of blue light.

Macular degeneration (retinal cell death) has been linked to blue light (380nm to 500nm). The term HEV (high energy visible) might also be heard. A sampler:

To be clear, there is no scientific evidence yet that blue LED light will cause macular degeneration (leading to loss of vision) the same way sunlight does. It is a matter of intensity, duration of exposure, and almost certainly a complex interplay of personal factors (overall health, diet, genetics, etc).

From White Light–Emitting Diodes (LEDs) at Domestic Lighting Levels and Retinal Injury in a Rat Model (emphasis added):

LED (or solid-state) lighting sources are designed to emit all energy within the wavelength range of human vision, making LEDs the most energy-efficient commercially manufactured light. However, many current “white-light” LED designs emit much more blue light than conventional lamps, which has a number of health implications, including disruption of circadian rhythms (Holzman 2010).

The most popular LED lighting product, a phosphor-conversion (PC) LED, is an LED chip that emits blue light, which passes through a yellow phosphor-coating layer to generate the ultimate white light (Spivey 2011). Although the white light generated from LEDs appears normal to human vision, a strong peak of blue light ranging from 460 to 500 nm is also emitted within the white light spectrum; this blue light corresponds to a known spectrum for retinal hazards (Behar-Cohen et al. 2011). Some epidemiological studies have suggested that short-wavelength light exposure is a predisposing cause for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (Wu et al. 2006). Animal models have also been used to determine that excessive exposure to blue light is a critical factor in photochemical retinal injury targeting photoreceptors and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) (Hafezi et al. 1997).

Things are often more complicated; tangled up in all this is the age factor: too little blue light can also be a problem, and age can be a mitigating factor of sorts because the lens of the eye yellows with age (yellow filters out blue). But if the damage accrues from youth to middle age, the yellowing lens is not of much help:

With age, the lens becomes more yellowish, and thus, the spectrum of blue light transmission dramatically decreases through the years. It is suspected that one reason older individuals experience sleep problems is the lack of blue light during the daytime.

Spectral transmission graphs

The closer the light wavelength is to ultraviolet (UV), the more damaging it becomes in general. This is true in general for skin cancer or killing viruses in water or degradation of plastics or paint or anything over time (just find any can or bottle that has been sitting in the sun for a long time). That’s because shorter wavelengths contain much higher energy levels (go beyond UV to X-Rays and killer gamma rays).

To assess UV/violet/blue exposure with a sunglass or contact lens, one would need a spectral transmission chart. Yet when I request spectral transmission charts no vendor has them, even first-class sunglass vendors like REVO. Statements like “blocks blue light” are presumably true, but ought to be backed up by hard 3rd-party evidence, that is, a spectral transmission chart showing just what is blocked—and this varies by the tint and coating of the lens used. Accordingly, I hope to actually measure the spectral transmission of sunglasses that I actually wear sometime soon.

Spectral transmission graph

The link between blue light and macular degeneration

In Macular Degeneration Linked to Sunlight and Low Antioxidants:

Some cases of age-related macular degeneration may arise from a combination of low plasma levels of antioxidants and exposure to blue light from the sun, a multinational European study suggested.

The combination more than tripled the risk of the eye disease among individuals with the lowest combined levels of antioxidants, Astrid E. Fletcher, Ph.D., of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues reported in the October issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

...

I’ve also spoken to an optometrist who regularly snapshots the retinas as part of eye exams, and he states (for my eyes and in general) that he has not observed any change in retina health in recent years. Thus theoretical lab tests are no subsitute for real-world scientific evidence as per retinal cells in human eyes, particularly given outdoor light exposure. That said, many of us spend many hours staring at bluish LED displays (cell phones, tablets, computer displays) and/or under LED or CFL lighting in the home or office.

The blue light from LEDs is now associated with retinal cell death. How much is too much is as yet unknown, but the evidence leaves little doubt that blue light kills retinal cells:

The relation between macular degeneration-retinal damage and exposure to light has been known since the middle of the 20th century. Nevertheless, in the last 5 years, the advent of new technology LED along with its massive use in screens of electronic devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops…) has made phototoxicity the main field of our research.

The studies conducted by the Complutense University of Madrid have shown that LED devices emit 5 times more toxic light than light reflected by paper or emitted by the older-style CRT monitors.

In-vitro experiments in which human donated retinal pigmentary epithelium cells were exposed to 36-hour circadian cycles of direct LED light of different intensities have been forceful: without protection, cell death amounted to 93%. However, when a protective element was placed between the cells and LED light, the survival rate of cells increased by 90%... Dr Sánchez-Ramos acknowledges that it may take another 10-15 years for research to demonstrate conclusively that LED light causes macular degeneration in the same way that sunlight does.

See also The Lowdown on Blue Light: Good vs. Bad, and Its Connection to AMD.

Nowadays, there's an increase in the use of digital devices and modern lighting—such as LED lights and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)—most of which emit a high level of blue light. CFLs contain about 25% of harmful blue light and LEDs contain about 35% of harmful blue light. Interestingly, the cooler the white LED, the higher the blue proportion. And by 2020, 90% of all of our light sources are estimated to be LED lighting. So, our exposure to blue light is everywhere and only increasing... Who's going to need the most protection? Those who have high exposure to white LED or fluorescent light bulbs in offices and homes, frequent users of LED computer monitors, tablets, or smart phones, and those at risk for AMD, particularly those at high risk, (those with family history, smokers, etc.).

UV-blocking contact lens

Assessing the risks, protection

Given the lack of nailed-down scientific evidence, one has to make a personal assessment weighing the factors. But there are reasonable precautions to take, even ignoring the macular degeneration theory—sunglasses and blue-light-cut eyeglasses in particular.

Many companies are pushing solutions such as eyeglasses with blue-light-cut coatings, so the vested interests involved need to be considered. That said, blue light filtering eyeglasses might reduce eyestrain and this is easy enough to assess for anyone working at a computer for hours every day. Such solutions are thus appropriate to try, particularly if there is any evaluation period offered.

In my personal case, 10-12 hours daily computer usage seems to put me at high risk, which concerns me greatly. However, I don’t know how much blue light my LED computer displays emit, and I have no basis for knowing whether the risk is zero or something very significant.

Nor do I understand if configuring my NEC professional displays to run slightly warm (yellow) would reduce the risk (I would expect it would).

While I wear UV-blocking contact lenses* as well as sunglasses when outdoors, it’s not clear to me that my contact lenses block blue/violet light at all as when using a computer display. If they did so effectively, it would interfere with my assessment of color balance for photographs. So I suspect that I have no protection for computer work using just contact lenses.

* The Accuvue web site states that “UV-absorbing contact lenses are NOT substitutes for protective UV-absorbing eyewear such as UV-absorbing goggles or sunglasses because they do not completely cover the eye and surrounding area”.

I do a lot of cycling, and high quality sunglasses are very important to me. Hiking at extreme altitude is also considerations. At the least, high quality sunglasses are no-brainer for both comfort and eye protection. See my experience report with the Revo Guide S sunglasses at WindInMyFace.com.

Revo Guide S polarized sunglasses, Open Road lens

Change the display

Professional displays offer the option of custom calibration, so that a display can be set to, say, 5000°K instead of the typical 6500°K. This is one solution that should greatly reduce the amount of blue light.

Security: Phishing Email Purporting to be a Password Reset Notification

Playing off the now-common practice of companies sending emails for logins from new IP addresses and so on, this latest type of phishing email is very dangerous.

Do NOT click on links in emails (in general), particularly ones like this.

See also other security topics.

Evil phishing email purporting to be a password reset request notification

NEVER (well, almost never) click on links in emails. Well, almost never; if it arrived right after you yourself requested a password reset—that’s a reasonable case. Otherwise, if you were born yesterday and actually think it is legit, go to the claimed site by entering the web address manually, e.g., apple.com or whatever.

In MPG’s view, Apple Mail is remiss in not adding technology to counter such emails, if only popping up a little display with the URL when the link is moused-over. It’s just insanely discourteous to users that features like that are not there, at least as an option.

Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Must-have expansion for 2016 MacBook Pro
Thunderbolt 3 • USB 3 • Gigabit Ethernet • 4K Support • Firewire 800 • Sound Ports

Apple’s Time Machine Obliterates my Data When It is Most Needed (Restore)

macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

MPG has long advised NOT relying on Time Machine for a primary backup, and instead using multiple clone backups. It has had bugs before, and I ran into a doozy over the weekend.

I had mangled a bunch of html files as part of a major site overhaul, and I just wanted the top-level folder back as of 12 hours or so prior—that’s the type of thing perfect for Time Machine.

  1. Enter Time Machine.
  2. Restore Folder.
  3. Observe that the restored folder now has ZERO files in it (empty). Time Machine WIPED OUT everything. No error message, no indication of any issue (that folder has had files for many years, and thousands of them).

Given this observed behavior MPG strongly advises not relying on Apple Time Machine. Except perhaps for restoring a file or two due to user mistakes—that at least works well enough.

It doesn’t matter what the explanation is when backup software fails in its most critical purpose (restoring), it must be considered garbage. It doesn’t matter that it has worked for me in other situations (single file restore). That is, it just cannot be relied upon for a primary backup.

Envoy Pro mini - In Motion There Exists Great Potential
SSD Wishlist…

Finder Hangs While Copying

macOS Sierra 10.12.3.

Apple’s macOS just keeps getting more and more unreliable, and for basics—Apple Core Rot.

I was just trying to copy about 900 files from one volume to another (both SSDs). The first couple of tries, the Finder hung when most of the way done, as shown. Copying those same files in Terminal (cp src/*.html dest) works instantly with no issues, proving there is no drive problem.

I gave the Finder several chances: first I force-quit it—same problem. Then I rebooted—same problem. In each case, 'cp' at the command line copied all the files in under a second without any issues whatsoever. The rest of the system is totally stable.

This is not the first time I’ve seen Finder file-copy problems—I’ve seen worse issues with silent failures and files not copied—very dangerous stuff. If I had to guess, I’d say some nitwit got his or her threading code wrong and never bothered to write any proper tests.

Finder hangs during file copy
Finder hangs during file copy
Upgrade Your Mac Memory
At much lower cost than Apple, with more options.
Lloyd recommends 64GB for iMac or Mac Pro for photography/videography.

Isolating/Blocking Hard Drive Vibration, Especially on a Hardwood Desk or Floor

Hard drives (“spinners”) typically rotation at 7200 rpm, and this generates vibration. Placed on surfaces like concrete flooring, this is of little concern. But placed on a hardwood desktop or floor, those vibrations can resonate into the material in a quite annoying way (a low humming vibration typically). Or not, depending on the material. While the enclosure can eliminate much of the vibration, certain frequencies are not attenuated.

MPG has both a hardwood desk and hardwood floors, so these types of vibrations are very unwelcome, hence a search for a solution.

Sorbotthane stick-on bumpers

Even the best drives have some vibration, and if you have 4 or 8 drives in a RAID, it gets worse. If you have a vibration problem, try 1.25 sorbothane bumpers . They work well to detach any vibrating something from a hardwood floor or wooden desk or similar.

Isolation pads

The Auralex MoPAD Monitor Isolation Pads do the job. While designed for audio monitors (speakers) they do a great job of blocking vibrations from spinning hard drives. The pads include wedges that allow the hard drive(s) enclosure to sit perfectly level on desk or floor.

Auralex MoPAD Monitor Isolation Pads
(leveling inserts not shown; can sit level too)
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

Intel 'Kaby Lake' Processors for MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook, etc: Already Way Behind the Curve?

Apple released the 2016 MacBook Pro starting in November 2016 utilizing processors that had some limitations, including a 16GB memory limit (or at least that limit given power consumption considerations).

In January 2017, Intel announced many additional new 'Kaby Lake' CPUs. These new CPUs offer more range of power and clock speed options, and some incremental improvements.

B&H Photo already shows a wide range of Intel Kaby Lake PCs.

A product 'bump' might occur in 2017 for the 2016 MacBook Pro, though this seems unlikely until at least June. But it may include a MacBook Pro with a 32GB memory option (!), perhaps as early as June, perhaps as late as Q3. Having 32GB goes a long way towards making the MBP 'pro' again.

MPG advises pro uses to defer purchase of a MacBook Pro if not immediately required. There is not much 'pro' in the current MacBook Pro lineup, the 2016 model being actually slower than the 2015 and 2013 models in some cases.

More likely is a new MacBook relatively soon—hopefully not one crippled again by having only a single USB-C/Thundebolt 3 port.

What’s possible in a laptop?

While Apple dithers and makes a non-pro MacBook Pro, vendors of high-end true professional-grade laptops just shut up and deliver.

It’s just that Apple won’t step up to the plate and do it. Few professional users care about marketing-bozo ideas on reduced battery life or “it’s not pretty enough” rationalizations for pro machines that are really just overpriced dilettante consumer toys. Imagine if a machine of this power were offered by Apple (but with a Retina display and PCIe SSD). It would be snapped up by pros for all sorts of reasons. Which leads us to crux of the issue: Apple does not build computers for professionals any more, hence the odds of getting one are modest at best.

Available PC Laptops Make a Launghinstock of Apple MacBook (non) Pro
NuGard KX Case for iPhones and iPads
Outstanding protection against drops and impact!
Excellent grip for wet hands, cycling, etc!

Touchbar MacBook Pro not Rated for Colder than 50°F — Serious Design Flaw for Active Users?

I’ve had my iPhone act dead when I camp overnight in the mountains (unresponsive or dead battery indicator). I put it into my pocket or in the airflow of a heater vent, and it comes back to life.

Update: my assumptions were wrong: even the 2015 MacBook Pro specifications state 50° to 95°F as well as the 2013 MacBook Pro specifications— same as the 2016 models. But it is also rated for humidity of 90% or less... I don’t know how any New Yorker or Bostonite can use a Mac in the summer!

...

Frigid Dusk, 11,000' elevation

What about the Macbook Pro? My trusty 2013 MacBook Pro served me over three years, including in conditions down to 0°F (32 degrees F below freezing) as well as many an enjoyable snowstorm. I now have a brand-new 2015 MacBook Pro, opting for that instead of the flawed and already out of date late 2016 MacBook Pro.

Over at blog.MacSales.com there are some good tips in Tech Tip: Keep Your Electronics Warm During Cold Weather: TEST

Not Sure If It’s Too Cold? Check the Specs

One final word of caution. If you’re not sure whether your device will work outside in cold weather, check the manufacturer specifications. Most specs include minimum and maximum temperatures both for storage and for use, and as long as you keep those limits in mind while either storing or using your device, you should be able to prevent damage.

The new 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, for example, can be stored in temperatures from -13° to 113°F (-25 to °C), but only used in temperatures between 50° to 95°F (10° to 35°C). An iPhone 7 or 7 Plus can operate in a wider range — 32° to 95°F (0 to 35°C), and can withstand non-operating temperatures between -4° and 113°F (-20° to 45°C).

As I often travel in the mountains where temperatures frequently approach 32°F (and often drop into the teens), the 50°F minimum temperature specification is a bad joke. Basically, most of the year and most of the time I’m in the mountains, the MacBook Pro technically is inoperable, according to Apple. But here’s the thing: once the MBP is warmed up, its internal temperature is much warmer, and it should be fine. So once I heat up the cabin of the SUV, I’m good. Still, it’s hardly instant.

Fortunately most of the time I am working in my SUV when on my laptop, so I can warm it up given a little patience (running the engine and sealing the cabin).

See also:

Hole in the Clouds, Early Morning at 0°F
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Dana M writes:

My suspicion is that the operating temperature range is mostly noted for the battery. The polymer batteries that Apple uses in all their devices fail within minutes in the bitter cold.

We routinely use all versions of the MacBook Pro at temps from -10˚ to 30˚ F as long as they are plugged into power source (usually a generator or lead acid car battery). I know, I know… not always available for everyone especially when using a computer designed for portability. Also, when in the cold, I keep a hand warmer rubber banded to my iPhone in the cold and it works as well as on a 72˚F sunny day (hand warmer goes on the backside of the phone against the battery).

MPG: that makes sense. On the other hand my Lupine batteries work fine in extreme cold, and for the Iditarod.

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Intel “Baby Canyon” NUCs with Kaby Lake and Thunderbolt 3 and Lots More

Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is a small-form-factor personal computer designed by Intel.

Sorry, it’s too nice for Apple to offer. It needs at least 80% of its features ripped out, so that Jony Ive can design something useless to make it look cool in a product shot. For starters, it needs those cooling vents removed to look cool so it can overheat, along with screws that take a tool no one has, to screw you know who. And memory that is not soldered on? Egads!

When I find myself getting excited about a non-Apple computer, it is proof of just how sucky the range of Apple product offerings has gotten.

I’d love to have one of the Intel Core NUCs as an option for a compact little server. Alas, I don’t want to run Windows or Linux.

The latest Intel NUC offerings have everything I’d want for a mini server or a terrific ultra-compact home computer. It makes the Mac Mini look like the cheap shitty overpriced plastic toy it is.

Now imagine super-sizing this NUC into BUC (big unit of computing) and let’s call it the 2017 Mac Pro. Don’t get me started on rhyming in exasperation with either of those.

If Apple made this product, I’d call it insanely great. But Apple doesn’t, because Tim Cook probably thinks the Mac Mini is a great desktop computer because it is a shitty non-upgradeable cheap white semi-sealed plastic toy.

Seriously, if Tim Cook allowed this NUC to be made, fools like me would buy one for $500 more just to run macOS Apple Core Rot™ on it. Read it and weep.

Intel NUC7i7BNH Highlighted Features:

  • 7th generation Intel Core i7-7567U Processor (3.5 GHz Dual Core, 4GHz Turbo, 4MB Cache, 28W TDP)
  • Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 650
  • 4GB DDR4 (1.2V) 2133MHz Memory Pre-Installed, up to 32GB
  • 128GB SATA or PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive (SSD) Pre-Installed, up to 1TB (64GB available Contact Sales)
  • M.2 22×42/80 (Key M) slot for SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen3 NVMe or AHCI SSD
    Support for 2.5” SSD, HDD, or SSHD up to 9.5mm SATA3 (6Gbps) drives Pre-Installed up to 2TB
  • Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready
  • Thunderbolt™ 3 (40 Gbps), USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) and DisplayPort 1.2 via Type-C connector
  • Supports USB 3.1 devices directly
  • Supports external PCIe chassis
  • Supports Thunderbolt DisplayPort (DP) monitors
  • Supports Thunderbolt devices (some adapters may be required)**
  • HDMI 2.0 supporting 8-channel digital audio (7.1 surround sound)
  • DisplayPort 1.2 via USB 3.1 Type-C connector, supporting 8-channel digital audio (7.1 surround sound)
  • Up to 4096×2304 (4K) monitors supported on both HDMI and DisplayPort (Type-C) Ports
  • Intel I219-V Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) (10/100/1000)
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265, 802.11ac 2×2, Bluetooth 4.2, Intel Wireless Display 6.0
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps) via Type-C connector on back panel
  • (2) USB 3.0 ports on the front panel, including one charging port
  • (2) USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
  • Intel HD Audio via Headphone / Microphone jack (3.5mm TRRS)
  • Dual Array Microphones built in (front panel openings)
  • Consumer infrared sensor on front panel
  • Micro SDXC Slot with UHS-1 support, on side panel
  • Back panel DC power connector (12V-19V)
  • Kensington lock support
  • Product size 4.55″ x 4.4″ x 1.85″ (2″ at rubber feet)

Additional Features:

  • VESA Mount bracket with screws included
  • 65w “wall-mount” style AC/DC Power Adapter with Multi-Country AC Plugs (US, UK, EU, and AU)
  • Support for user-replaceable 3rd-Party lids.
  • Internal NFC and AUX_PWR headers
  • Internal two USB 2.0 ports via header
  • Low-acoustics active cooling design
  • OS Certs Windows 10
  • OS Compatibility: Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora, OpenSUSE
    Extended Warranty available

Product Overview:

The Simply NUC7i7BNH System is equipped with Intel’s newest architecture, the 7th generation Intel® Core™ i7-7567U processor. The Intel® Iris™ Plus Graphics 650 with 4K display capabilities provides brilliant resolution for multi-monitor desktops, digital signage, gaming and home theaters. And with both HD Audio for personal audio support, and 8-Channel Digital Audio available on the HDMI and DP (Type-C) connectors supporting 7.1 Surround Sound, you can support an immersive audio experience.

Both the SATA and PCIe versions of the M.2 SSD are supported to give you a range of cost effective to extreme performance SSDs. The 2.5” 9.5mm drive bay supports SATA 3 (6Gbps) drives. Simply NUC offers high-performance choices of SSDs and HDDs up to 2TB and a 1TB SSHD. Intel® Optane™ Memory Ready.

With Thunderbolt 3, you can support external Graphics Cards (eGFX) through external expansion boxes, as well as future expansion. For those with Thunderbolt 2 or Thunderbolt devices, you may need an adapter to convert to the Type-C connector.

Designed for Windows 10, the Simply NUC7i7BNH has the performance to stream media, manage spreadsheets, or create presentations. There’s also a high-speed USB 3.0 charging port that lets you easily charge your tablet or Smartphone quickly. And for peace of mind you’ll get embedded security that helps keep threats out, user identities and credentials safe, and your data protected.

Operating Systems offered by Simply NUC have been modified for proper operation with Solid State Drives and have performance tweaks. Microsoft Windows was designed for operation with Hard Disk Drives and omitting these changes can shorten the life of the SSD significantly.

** = Refer to Intel’s Baby Canyon Support page for tested Thunderbolt devices. Thunderbolt 3 supported on Type-C connector only. Thunderbolt 2 supported through TB3 Type-C to TB2 mDP Active Adapter. Not all Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 2, or Thunderbolt 3 devices have been tested by Intel or Simply NUC and in some cases tested results are provided by end customers.

A reader writes:

I have a NUC running VMware ESXI at home. I had to break the Apple EULA to run OS X VM's on it, but with 500GB internal and 500GB USB3 SSD and 32GB RAM, I have four VMs running with free backup.

I could have put an old MacPro in at home, but the power usage is silly compared to the NUC. They're great little machines.

MPG: the acronyms alone make this a challenging proposition, let alone violating the EULA and dealing with the complexity and risk of future macOS breakage—but it might be worth it for some.

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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
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Envoy Pro mini - In Motion There Exists Great Potential
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