diglloyd Mac Performance Guide
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NEC PA302W + Spectra View II $1849
My daily workhorse, fantastic gamut, friendly pixel density.
Price as if 18 October

Apple iPhone 7 Caution Was Warranted: GSM-only model has Inferior LTE Performance

Get NewerTech NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at MacSales.com.

About a month ago, I wrote several pieces on the iPhone 7:

Now it turns out that the Apple sales policy that I had called “anti customer” (Apple refusing to sell an unlocked carrier-free phone for the first 30 days) was indeed a lot more unfriendly than I ever suspected, for a completely different reason: poor LTE performance when signal strength is low.

Since I often am in areas of weak to unusable signal strength, the ability of a phone to function with a poor signal is a major issue for me (I ordered an iPhone 7 S Plus Jet Black, but it’s showing as mid-December delivery). I imagine that I am not alone.

Cellular insights reports that LTE performance with the Apple iPhone 7 GSM-only phone (Intel modem) degrades badly when signal strength is less than optimal. Emphasis added:

Both iPhone 7 Plus variants perform similarly in ideal conditions. At -96dBm the Intel variant needed to have Transport Block Size adjusted as BLER well exceeded the 2% threshold. At -105dBm the gap widened to 20%, and at -108dBm to a whopping 75%.

As a result of such a huge performance delta between the Intel and Qualcomm powered devices, we purchased another A1784 (AT&T) iPhone 7 Plus, in order to eliminate any possibility of a faulty device. The end result was virtually identical. We are hoping that this sudden dip in performance at a specific RSRP value will be further investigated by the engineering and hopefully resolved. At -121dBm, the Intel variant performed more in line with its Qualcomm counterpart. Overall, the average performance delta between the two is in the 30% range in favor of the Qualcomm variant.

In all tests, the iPhone 7 Plus with the Qualcomm modem had a significant performance edge over the iPhone 7 Plus with the Intel modem.

Band 4 is the most commonly deployed LTE spectrum band in North America


That’s a black eye for Intel and for Apple. While Apple has hardly Samsung'd people, it sure looks like Apple sold millions of people a bill of goods. There is absolutely no way I would accept this gross performance inferiority—I would demand an exchange. Perhaps a software fix is possible, but Apple foisted this problem on all buyers for the first 30 days by dint of Apple sales policies (no AT&T or T-Mobile customer had a choice in the matter), so holding Apple’s feet to the fire seems appropriate.

Bryan V writes:

I bought an iPhone 7 Plus GSM (T-Mobile) and received it the first week of October. I have experienced signal levels on AT&T that are worse than with an iPhone SE or 6 Plus. This morning I processed the iPhone 7 Plus return and will be picking up a SIM-free iPhone 7 today. I knew there was an issue but it was hard to quantify with anecdotal evidence. I'm glad a report confirms this. I'm also purchasing the Jet Black version based on your comments about better grip. Thank you.

MPG: well, Apple has hardly Samsung'd people but the actual evidence points to a massively inferior modem in the GSM-only phones.

OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Deal: OWC Neptune 480GB SSD only $117.75

MacSales.com has the OWC Neptune 480GB 6G SSD on sale for only $117.75.

This is a SATA drive suitable for any external enclosure or laptop or older model Mac Pro that takes SATA SSDs. See Making an Old Dog of a Laptop Run Like a New One: Wow!.

See all OWC SSD upgrades.

Deal: OWC Neptune 480GB SSD only $117.75

New Macs Coming?

Dare we hope for a new Mac Pro with Thunderbolt 3?

The rumor mill is saying that Oct 27 is the date Apple announces new Macs. That is very likely to include a new MacBook Pro and siblings, and possibly a revised iMac 5K.

Personally I’m hoping for an iMac 6K which would be a ~24 megapixel display device. Of course an iMac 8K would be jaw dropping, and able to display almost in their entirety images from the vast majority of cameras on the market. But 8K is not likely, nor is 6K—yet.

And then there is the sad old 2013 Mac Pro. Mine is still going strong. But maybe Apple will just cancel it instead of releasing a new Mac Pro?

Potential Security Issue: Google Chrome Update Mechanism Broken, Erroneously Claims up to Date for Any/All Versions

Chrome has a serious version update bug.

Side-by-side machines claim that “Google Chrome is up to date”, but as shown below, three machines have radically different versions, all claimed “up to date”.

With all machines running macOS Sierra:

  • iMac 5K shows version 44.0.2403.157 (64-bit).
  • 2013 Mac Pro shows version 48.0.2564.116 (64-bit)
  • 2013 MacBook Pro shows version 54.0.2840.59 (64-bit), which is the latest version.

It is ironic that a “web browser built for... security” is so insecure that it cannot properly update itself.

Also, color management remains broken using Google Chrome 54.0.2840.59, as tested both on my Mac Pro and on my iMac 5K.

Google Chrome version bug: erroneously claims any/all versions are “up to date”

Reader Question: can Siri be disabled on an iPhone?

Apple’s Siri is useless to me, having failed 100% of the time at the most basic task I try—and I’m just not interested in using it for any reason; it’s a solution in search of a problem for me, at least until it stops being a science fair project.

So how does one really disable Siri on an iPhone? Siri is turned off as shown below, but every day it harasses me with the Voice Control window at right. It seems I press the home button just 1/10 of a second too long or whatever.

I’ve tried “Siri, turn yourself off and go away”, but all Siri does is dial some number in Belarus or Pakistan.


Siri won’t shut up and go hide itself

Disabling Siri as per above ought to work, but reader Michael W writes with a possible solution: go to Settings => General => Restrictions and disable Siri & Dictation.

Except that it does not work—I just tried it, restrictions are in force as shown, and Siri still pops up when I press the home button a little too long. And it disables dictation too.

Apparently, Apple is so intent on marketing and foisting Siri on users that it cannot be turned off. While I realize that Siri users are out there, I am not one of them. I just want disable that what for me is crapware.

Well, que Siri, Siri.


Siri won’t shut up and go hide itself



iPhone 7 in Jet Black: MUCH Better Grip in the Hand + SIM-Free iPhone 7 Now Available

Apple is now selling SIM-free iPhone 7 models that work with any carrier. Background.

I had now desire for the Jet Black finish, but now it’s the only model I will consider—see discussion below.

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus available SIM-free for any carrier

Finish and grip

(!) Grippy or not, I drop my iPhone 6s Plus regularly; see NewerTech NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 / iPhone 7 Plus (saved my iPhone 6s Plus several times).

Reader Serko A had written me about a week ago stating that the iPhone 7 in Jet Black was “really grippy”. I did not really understand how this could be, so I visited an Apple retail store and compared the Jet Black model to all the other finishes.

Indeed, the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus in Jet Black has much more friction to the hand than the other finishes—rather counterintuitive given its ultra-shiny finish. I had not considered the Jet Black model, but I found the difference so compelling that this is the only finish I will consider now. Why? Because I think the risk of dropping the phone is greatly reduced versus the finish of other models.

The only problem is availability, which is terrible.

iPhone 7 Plus Availability as of 13 Oct 2016

John W writes:

I’ve had my iPhone 7 Plus, Jet Black, for some weeks now and solidly agree about the improved grip of this finish. I’m picky about grip security, as there are many times where I have exclusively one hand available, e.g. on a crowded metro bus. This is the first iPhone since the 3G that I’ve felt comfortable using without a case. No problems with scratches thus far, but I expect it will acquire some mild patina of wear over time.

MPG: aditional confirmation.

macOS Sierra: Apple Mail Continues to Have Sever Performance Issues, plus crashes

Apple Mail in macOS Sierra:
pegs CPU for 30 seconds or so

See macOS Sierra: Severe Apple Mail Performance Problems; these issues remain a time-wasting headache every day, and have no solution other than waiting for the incompetents at Apple to issue an OS X update that fixes them. Hope for improvement is a foold’s game in MPG’s view, but not imposssible, so waiting until OS X 10.12.1 is my plan, since I’ve been traveling and will travel again soon, and switching mail clients is a Big Deal what with all the emails I have.

I’ve done all the suggested fixes in the above linked blog post, to no avail.

Apple Mail also crashes regularly, though not frequently.

Apple Mail in macOS Sierra: crashes not too often, but regularly


Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

Yahoo’s Bulk Surveillance of Every Account under Government Coercion

Security expert Bruce Schneier writes:

Other companies have been quick to deny that they did the same thing, but I generally don't believe those carefully worded statements about what they have and haven't done. We do know that the NSA uses bribery, coercion, threat, legal compulsion, and outright theft to get what they want. We just don't know which one they use in which case.

So Yahoo secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information under government coercion. Marissa Mayer is not only incompetent as a CEO, but has no balls* but likes to play ball. Emphasis added:

Yahoo Inc last year secretly built a custom software program to search all of its customers' incoming emails for specific information provided by U.S. intelligence officials, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company complied with a classified U.S. government demand, scanning hundreds of millions of Yahoo Mail accounts at the behest of the National Security Agency or FBI, said three former employees and a fourth person apprised of the events.

Some surveillance experts said this represents the first case to surface of a U.S. Internet company agreeing to an intelligence agency's request by searching ALL arriving messages, as opposed to examining stored messages or scanning a small number of accounts in real time.

The idea that Yahoo alone engages in such practices is not credible. Any company served with a secret court order is not about to tell you what it is doing.

For now, Yahoo takes the hit, but other cases like this will almost certainly emerge. Electronic services are enablers of a monumentally powerful police state. Not just everything you do online, but out in the world (license plate readers, cameras on every street corner, cell phone tracking in real time, etc). The infrastructure is in place to blink a totalitarian state into existence overnight, given the right “emergency” decree. Meanwhile, people foolishly go about about posting every last detail of their lives and friends on Facebook and its ilk. See for example Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram surveillance tool was used to arrest Baltimore protestors.

I personally experienced government pressure about 24 years ago, when NSA personnel showed up asking for compression source code, with no court order. We complied, but I had deep reservations at the time about it. Also, how the heck would I know a fake NSA or FBI badge from a real one?

* Double entendre intended.

diglloydTools: Current version Works with macOS Sierra (no update needed)


diglloydTools works fine with macOS Sierra—no known issues, and no update needed.

Note that there is also now a cross-platform Java-based version of IntegrityChecker included (works on Windows, Linux, NAS OS, any operating system with Java). The existing native IntegrityChecker remains; the Java-based version is included in addition.

Get diglloydTools and consider subscribing to my photographic publications also.

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:


ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

macOS Sierra: Crashes Viewing Folders with Images (while selecting them)

As if potential data loss due to absurdly incompetent reporting of folder sizes is not enough, the Finder cannot display images properly. But first, a scathing editorial—

Why keep reporting such things? Because every day I encounter bug after bug. Every day my work is degraded by rainbow beachballs and delays up to 30 seconds opening a single mail message. File open dialogs that are still sluggish and with usability bugs (two years and running on that fiasco).

These bugs and dozens more are signs of a company in decline—rushed processes driven by timeline, not by quality. You read it here first back in 2013—feel free to call MPG mistaken 3 to 5 years from now, when the fan will need some serious cleaning from what hit it. For it is not even on the radar of the acolytes that fawn over Apple even as the dumbing down of the visionary genius of Steve Jobs* is manifest, Tim Cook being cut of a different cloth entirely.

The trend towards software manure is still easily correctable, but only if competent adults with a sense of pride in their work and a sense of perfectionism are put in charge of iOS and macOS—for macOS is mediocre now, and iOS is a rehash of the genius of its debut with nothing groundbreaking since its initial debut. The stock market rightly has its concerns, Warren Buffet notwithstanding. Freight trains 3 miles long carrying taconite pellets take a very long time to grind to a halt.

Hypothetical: given the bugs in macOS, would you trust your life to an Apple Car? At present, Siri can’t even tell me what 2+2 is (“no match found”).

How does a company ship a new iOS to hundreds of millions of customers with a security flaw that makes password cracking 2500 times faster (since fixed, so kudos to Apple for acting quickly). But when it comes to security, the rigor of software unit tests and code reviews and security reviews should be at least 10X more stringent. MPG thinks this is the tip of the iceberg; it likely points to internal leadership breakdown at Apple, due at least in part intensepressure to ship on a fixed schedule each year. When a company has a user base approaching a billion, the level of responsibility must necessarily rise, particularly witih security.

* Apocryphal, but likely true: manager: “It is supposed to do X”. Steve Jobs: “Then why the **** doesn’t it do it?’

Finder crash for windows containing images

Select more than a few images and no joy. Dual displays, icon view with large icons (list view does not crash).

It is unclear whether the bug lies within the macOS Sierra Finder, or (much worse) within CoreFoundation. I am unable to open this window and select more than a few images without inciting a crash. Yet Photoshop handles the images without a hitch—nothing wrong with the images themselves.

The high-level executive in charge of software development has a history of dilettantism in approaching software quality (based on a detailed private report that I cannot print here from someone who used to work for him). The same overpaid incompetent executive claims that Apple software quality has improved in recent years. So is it any wonder that basic operations like viewing a folder containing images crashes repeatedly? This after a fresh reboot no less.

macOS Sierra is a turkey, not an eagle: Finder crashes displaying a few selected images

Jim S writes:

Considering the market Apple seems to be catering to, professionals are becoming “edge” users.

Never thought I’d see Apple sinking to this level and I have my doubts that things will change given their recent history :-(

MPG: Apple is a mass-market cell phone company, with computers playing a supporting role, one necessarily dumbed-down to support phones (but only one phone properly and well). But we can hope that competition will bring Apple back on course and restore quality goals.

John S writes:

I can’t reproduce this bug at in in Sierra… I can pick 1, 10, 100 , 500 ( I gave up after that) images (DNG files in my instance at about 15mb each) with no issues whatsoever. Finder displays them just fine.

Clearly your problem isn’t universal as I can’t reproduce it.

No issues with Mail either. In fact I’ve never had any issues with mail and everything opens up just about instantly whatever the message or how many (sometimes lots) of attachments it has.

Maybe it’s something peculiar about your setup.

There’s only really two apps I have serious issue with.. Chrome is far less stable than i’d like and I am now experimenting with Brave which seems pretty good and likely will be my default from now on… and there there’s Softraid. I know love this thing but IT has caused me some serious grief when I had it on Mavericks and also when I tried it again recently on Sierra (v5.5.5) I had to quickly remove it.
Having raid capability back in Sierra means I don’t really need it…

I do get ‘bugs’ at times but it’s almost alway due to some third party software and typically things that tinker with the finder / system a recent example is ‘smart scroll’ which I’ve had to remove as certain parts of it’s functionality, if enabled, did cause some Finder glitches. Removed it and all good now. Now if the OS and a third party app don’ t get on… who’s to blame? Don’t know I just fix it if I can and move on.

MPG: the statements here are fraught with logical errors.

Did he try dragging them to Photoshop? Were they Sony RX100 IV files? How was it done exactly (probably differently than me). Were there dual displays (El Capitan would crash with Time Machine with 2 displays, but not just one). And all kinds of other potentialities: bugs often depend on (a) how much memory and/or how many CPU cores and/or single or dual displays, (b) system context (what other apps), (c) the actual actions, (d) size of images in the window, and a thousand other factors. As proof that particulars matter, the Finder does *not* crash in list view, but only in icon view. It does not crash on my MacBook Pro, either. But my Mac Pro has 8 cores, the MBP only 4 cores. Maybe it's a multithreading bug—hard to say.

I could spend all day trying to track it down to something: do a clean install on multiple machines, create a new user account, etc: This is not my job nor do I have the time to waste and I have to real work to get done, so I just will work around the problem.

As for ad-ons: I’ve advised here at MPG for years to never install anything that is not absolutely essential for workflow, so I never use Finder add-ons, and never have. I run a “clean” system with only the minimal set of software needed for my work.

After all these years, and at a company that could fill a landfill with $100 bills for all the cash it has, software development ought to have a massive volume of software unit tests which forestall regressions by testing (proving) the fix for every bug ever found, as well as a rigorous system of new unit checks for all new functionality. That is the way a well-run software development organization ought to work. Given all the bugs in macOS Sierra and previous releases (many of them obvious), this is clearly not the practice at Apple. Heck, the breakage of critical features in iOS such as personal hot spot shows that such testing is not done properly. That sort of thing should not happen if proper unit tests are in place, and when there are also public beta releases, it is inexplicable how software can ship with such issues.

As for the Apple Mail comment: no mention of how many mail messages, mailboxes, type of mail server, etc. Generalized “works for me” statements with no context are of no validity. Bugs occur mostly with “edge” cases, the cases that sloppy developers do not test, hitting the 90% mark. This is the distinction between quality and pride in one’s work and professional competence, and sloppy engineering. In the medical field, 90% or even 98% would be grounds for losing one’s medical license. Given the hundreds of millions of Apple devices out there, I am not inclined to cut Apple any slack—nothing less than 7 sigma on bugs will do. Apple does not need to ship like clockwork every year; ship when the quality is proven out, not when a fixed date has arrived.

Franklin K writes:

After installing Sierra on my MBP 2010 SSD 8 Go, SSD, my display was similar to what you show.

I tried many things. No change.
I ran in contact with Apple in Cork where a friend of mine works.
He adviced me 2 points.
1- create a new user and check if the coloring of images occurs. The answer was no.
2- trash entireley ~/Library/Preferences

and restart the computer. No more trouble.

MPG: doctor, my arm hurts. Response: cut your arm off.

This falls into the “we have no idea, so reinstall the OS” category and similar variants. Or in software support terms: our buggy software sucks, so throw everything away and start over and you might get lucky. Reinstall the OS. If it happens again (it often does), repeat as necessary.

Creating another user is a diagnostic tool, but unacceptable as a solution for many reasons. Deleting the entire Preferences folder is data loss, requiring hours of hassle to fix every last checkbox in every app I use. It is not an acceptable solution.

Any app with preferences should validate them, and it should have software quality unit tests to validate all preferences. There is almost never a valid excuse for an app crashing because of “corrupted preferences”; it is just sloppy engineering and/or a lack of defensive coding, the same reasons that so many security holes exist for software hackers to exploit. Code reviews by fellow engineers (real code reviews not just token ones!) are also proper. I doubt that either is done properly at Apple given the strict “ship on a calendar schedule” versus “ship when proven to be rock solid”.

I wrote software professionally for 30 years. I know how to mimimize bugs by defensive coding, and how to write a wide variety of unit tests to prove that all the “edge cases” work properly. Clearly Apple has not disccovered modern software quality practices. given the delivery of so many new bugs and breakage of old working code with every new software release.

macOS Sierra: Possible Data Loss Scenario

When I see a folder with zero (0) bytes, I have a tendency to hit cmd-delete to put it into the trash, and then cmd-shift-delete to empty the trash. A habit I must now unlearn, or possibly suffer data loss.

After 5 minutes or so, the Finder finally updated the folder size. If I am to guess, I’d say the same jackasses turning everything into a Spotlight search (as in Apple Mail and the File Open/Save dialogs) are responsible for this dangerous new behavior.

When will this rampant Apple incompetence, Apple Core Rot, end? The trend is only worse, never better. I have yet to see bugs introduced up to two years ago addressed. New bugs just keep piling onto the manure pile.

macOS Sierra, Finder: ~33GB folder shown as zero bytes

macOS Sierra: Cannot Copy/Paste Properly

I’ve seen this new bug now in at least two places:

  1. Copy something, even plain text.
  2. Paste it somewhere.

PROBLEM: what’s pasted is some old material, not what was copied. The problem seems to be only when Apple software is involved (Spotlight and Apple Mail so far).

Today, I saw the same problem trying to copy plain text again, but from another app. I also have seen the bug in Apple Mail trying to copy/paste between windows.

Shown below is the problem in one case; I copied a simple plain-text filename so as to paste it into Spotlight search (cmd-space). Instead, what is pasted is some file name or some such that I don’t think I ever even copied.

Spotlight search (cmd-space) cannot Paste the clipboard properly!

Shame on Apple: it takes severe coding and quality assurance incompetence to ship a new OS that cannot even copy and paste properly, a feature present since day zero of the Mac.

Is it any wonder that a macOS 10.12.1 beta was out within days of Apple shipping its ship-by-calendar-not-quality dreck to customers? Keeps things on the release scheduled and to heck with the bugs seems to be the modus operandi: that iPhone has to ship, so macOS Sierra has to ship, regardless of readiness. This isn’t just incompetence, it shows a fundamental disrespect for customers.

Don H writes:

Without digging too deep, I seem to recall that a new feature in the latest *OS is some form of ‘coherent’ copy/paste across devices (probably involves a cloud somewhere). That might be the root of what you’re seeing.

MPG: that must be it, although I turn off as much Cloud crap as I can, after years of disappointments. There does not seem to be any other reasonable explanation for breaking a core feature that has existed for decades.

Consider also the destruction of Apple Disk Utility in El Crapitan leaving users twisting in the wind, the destruction of Apple Mail in macOS Sierra and the grossly degraded performance of the File Open dialog in OS X Yosemite, just for starters. These things are NOT a coincidence: it’s Apple Core Rot, which I detected well before I first wrote about it in early 2013.

Jim G writes:

This is just another example of why it is not unreasonable to think that Macs are no longer the priority they once were at Apple. The updates are further and further apart and the software just keeps getting buggier.

Wonder how much Steve is rolling over...

MPG: absolutely. As a longtime Apple customer, I now view all Apple products with cynicism, a far cry from the day decades in which I was an enthusiastic fan.


iOS 10 Supports Color Spaces

Color gamut is going mainstream!

What does this mean for an average web use? More accurate color, more vibrant color, and particularly deep rich reds (think strawberries, bright red fabrics, sunsets, etc).

Far better color from an iPhone on a wide gamut display, the late 2015 iMac 5K, or any iPhone 7 model or presumably future iPad models.

But also on many printers that can print far wider range of color than any picture a previous iPhone could generate using the “sRGB” color space (laughably called “sad RGB”).

That’s because finally after years Apple now supports wide gamut color or simply “wide color”, via supporting the (moderately wide) DCI-P3 color space.

My workhorse display, the NEC PA302W, still has the best gamut and neutral grayscale out there.

For more, see iOS 10 Supports Color Spaces at diglloyd.com.

Brook Trout - Salvelinus fontinalis

Half a BILLION User Accounts Compromised

Side note: I’ve never like Facebook (in part because it is a system that a police state must adore) and in part because Facebook pages are invariably visual garbage heaps. But I’ve also wondered how they can make so much money charging for difficult to document ad-to-finished-sales and amorphous benefits. Well, it helps to greatly overestimate usage.


The yahoos as Yahoo have compromised at least 500 million (half a BILLION) user accounts by poor security, allegedly by a state-sponsored actor; potentially the biggest data breach on record.

Of course Yahoo is “not to blame”, since it was done by hackers, possibly from a foreign state. Right? WRONG.

Yahoo stored unenencrypted user data, including all sorts of personal data that should be stored encrypted, but was not—gross security incompetence to maintain a dossier on every user. According to the Wall Street Journal:

The internet company, which has agreed to sell its core business to Verizon Communications Inc., said Thursday that hackers penetrated its network in late 2014 and stole personal data on more than 500 million users. The stolen data included names, email addresses, dates of birth, telephone numbers and encrypted passwords, Yahoo said.

Yahoo said it believes that the hackers are no longer in its corporate network. The company said it didn't believe that unprotected passwords, payment-card data or bank-account information had been affected.


Yahoo said the stolen passwords were encrypted, but computer-security experts said a determined attacker could unscramble passwords—especially simple passwords—using commonly available “cracking” software. Once cracked, hackers could break into Yahoo accounts and—if the password happened to be reused on another web service—possibly other websites too.

MPG: “believes”? Is that faith-based and/or some evasive statement. Many people re-use the same password for many things, so “possibly other websites” is a huge risk.

When a name, date of birth, telephone number are stored unencrypted, that’s a very nice start to identity theft—core information all handy. Moreover, even the encrypted passwords were apparently done wrong, because using the same 'salt' and other factors can make password cracking far more difficult.

How about a $100 fine per user, plus unlimited liability for anyone who suffers identity theft as a result? Seems fair. This kind of flagrant security incompetence is unacceptable. Hackers break in, and always will. So even mildy sensitive data should never be stored unencrypted and should be compartmentalized (name and email are public and not worrisome, but if a dossier on a user is stored, those too should be encrypted to avoid having a nice complete record).

Password security

Which brings me to password security: get 1Password and use it religiously. NEVER re-use the same password for more than one purpose.

James G writes:

Yahoo apparently is run by utter morons. Maybe that's where Apple has been recruiting programmers of late. That none of this stuff was encrypted (or encrypted with a Captain Crunch secret decoder ring) is just unbelievable. And that it happened two years ago and we are just now hearing about it is even worse.

Bruce Schneier has not weighed in on this yet, but if the breach was done by "state actors" i.e. China or Russia then this enormous data trove has very serious implications for US national security. Imagine having access to a database that has personal information in the private accounts of tens of thousands of security-cleared NSA and CIA operatives, aerospace engineers, software and hardware engineers, employees of power plants and pipelines, and on and on. It may take awhile but with data mining and cross checking against other databases a serious entity with time and money can assemble a detailed profile of pretty much anyone they want. And the same process could yield hits that they otherwise would never have expected. It makes it all that much harder for the US to infiltrate those "state actors" and gives those state actors even more ability to phish and F&%$#K us all up.

I never had a Yahoo account as I found everything that company did to be complete drivel. But my advice to friends has been to go in to your account, change your password and then delete everything and never use it again.

MPG: It makes perfect sense that Apple hired yahoos for the destruction of Apple Mail. Humor aside, I also never had a Yahoo account because Yahoo was and is the biggest turd of an internet destination that I was aware of. The security implications are indeed immense.

ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

A Question for Readers: How to Print iPhone Photos

Here’s something that points out just how complicated computers and iPhones have made simple tasks—because I don’t know how to do it, not as described here.

An older friend of mine has used a compact point & shoot camera for years. His method of getting 4X6 prints is simple:

  1. Pull SD card from camera
  2. Hand SD card to camera store.
  3. Pick up prints later.

When I suggested using the iPhone 7 Plus as his sole camera (its image quality is better than his old P&S), the question immediately arose: how to make prints?

This is brilliant intelligent older gentleman, a true master at the top of his own field. But in terms of macOS or iOS competence, any 10 year old is far more advanced, and he is just not going to pick up the knowledge on macOS or iOS that we all take for granted, knowledge that seems trivial to us, but really is quite complicated. Heck, just doing a system update and updating apps or setting up a printer takes core knowledge that cannot be taken for granted. And Apple has failed miserably on iOS and macOS to make it easy, because it presumes a core competency on the part of novice users. [He has mastered messages on the iPhone, but that requires little training and few steps; email still flummoxes him].

So he wants a solution as simple as the above for printing iPhone photos. Maybe there is one, maybe a home printer that will never jam might work for direct prints from the iPhone (but then there is the tedious work of deleting them, just one more step). Or maybe there is a download/upload solution. But even getting the photos into the Photos app is a relatively complicated step, let alone mastering whatever process of selecting and uploading.

Get it? Nothing beats the trivial simplicity of pulling a small card out and just having it done. I’m stumped in finding anything that easy.

Suggestions welcome. But remember, what core knowledge and competency is required cannot be assumed. Review the steps above.


A number of users have suggested an AirPrint capable printer (I had thought of that, but I need to see it work for myself). But when I go into the Camera app or Photos app on the iPhone, I can’t find any print option. See the step-by-step list above: this is the whole point: a few steps is a few too many for some people (and me).

Charles E writes:

My Dad is like that, he’s 90 and has trouble even dialing his iPhone. I have done one-on-one training since the early 1980s. A good trainer knows the majority of the task is assessing the student and assigning tasks to their skill level.

The Print option is at the bottom of every photo in Photos.app. You look at the photo and tap the little square with the arrow going up. It’s at the bottom left. Yes, it’s not obvious that Print would be under Share. Yes, that is the #1 problem with the iOS interface, tasks are sometimes not easily discoverable. Someone has to tell you where it is.

MPG: looks like I need to test an AirPrint printer to see just how well it works.

The print choice is HIDDEN on my iPhone until (a) unless I swipe right and (b) that’s after I touch the Share icon. Two steps just to *see* the Print option. So minimum three steps to print. Still, that's acceptable and so I’ll have to get an AirPrint printer and see how it actually works (there are lots of printer deals at B&H Photo). Something like the Canon Selphy might be appropriate.

Kiso writes:

I know what you mean, for my aging parents the easiest is to use an app like Shutterfly or Smugmug which will ask to access the 'photos on the phone. Simply select the photos they want to upload/order and check out of the shopping cart from the app. A few days later the photos will arrive via mail. They also have the benefit of viewing their photos on their grandkids on their phone at any time.

You can print if select a photo, hit the ‘share’ icon and since i have an AirPrint printer there’s the print button in middle. However, i’d recommend a service over fiddling with inkjets.

I have seen 3rd party lightning to SD card readers/writers, but have no experience using them. The Apple branded lighting to SD card was 1-way only, a SD card reader not a writer.

MPG: Good ideas (Shutterly, etc), so long as its simple, and it looks reasonably so.

The Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive with Lightning connector might be an option, but I’m not sure how complicated the transfer is.

Greg J writes:

It’s actually really simple. The kiosks have built in cables for the iPhone. Once the phone is connect, the machines display all the photos on the device.
The user can select which photos to print using the touch screen. In many locations, the photos are ready within an hour. Many stores now allow the photos to be uploaded via mobile apps and picked up later making the process more convenient.

Most Walmarts now have these kiosks too. Lightning cables are provided at the kiosk. I know some of the Kiosks allow you to load only some of the images, ex. first 100, 200, or ALL.

It’s probably the easiest way to print from a camera phone. The kiosks are not meant for professional photographers who want to edit RAW images.

MPG: this might be a good solution.

Deals Updated Daily at B&H Photo

macOS Sierra: Compatibility Issues

The arrival of macOS Sierra is not problem free—some apps have issues and some serious.

This list is just a brief “for example”; presumably there are far more issues given the numerous apps out there.

As usual MPG recommends WAITING AT LEAST 3-4 weeks for working professionals to make a major OS upgrade, with 3-4 months advised for production shops, testing the waters with just one machine to start. Those with “special needs” like a dedicated Mac for printing to large format should probably never upgrade the OS once a machine dedicated to that task is operating well—keep such Macs as “toasters”.

Broken software

  • Apple Mail: performance is so slow that MPG may be forced to seek out an alternative mail program. One reader suggests Airmail.
  • Fujitsu SnapScan has numerous problems.
  • Google Chrome (latest version as of 21 Sept) hangs frequently when quitting and sometimes crashes.
  • Dragging files to applications in the Dock sometimes goes DEAD—no response, the file cannot be dropped on the app to open it. I’ve never seen this bug before, but it’s terribly annoying.
  • Good 'ol Copy and Paste are BROKEN, at least with Spotlight (cmd-space invocation). Many, many times, I copy something to the clipboard, and Paste pastes something copied from some previous action into the Spotlight search. It is really frustrating when this starts happening. How Apple can break something this fundamental is mind boggling.
    Spotlight search (cmd-space) cannot Paste the clipboard properly!

Drawing problems

  • RawDigger has a minor drawing problem in its histogram. The developer says it will be fixed soon.
  • Adobe DreamWeaver has problems in its File Open dialog, as shown.
    Drawing problems in File Open dialog in macOS Sierra (Adobe DreamWeaver)

macOS Sierra: Severe Apple Mail Performance Problems

Apple Mail in macOS Sierra:
pegs CPU for 30 seconds or so

New Apple Core Rot, and in a key area of functionality, at least for MPG.

Apple Mail in macOS Sierra has severe performance issues (and continuing bugs), just as in El Capitan and Yosemite. But is is far worse now, which speaks to the continuing incompetence by the programmers working on Apple Mail. Performance was notably degraded with the arrival of El Capitan; it seems that Apple is trying to engineer in bad performance. I think it is related to badly done search algorithms, similar to the performance losses in save and open dialogs. Continuing Apple Core Rot.

Clicking on my Sent mailbox (and others) results in delays of up to 30 seconds in showing the mailbox, along with multiple rainbow beach balls. The system has had ample time to do whatever it is it does after a system upgrade. Then trying to open one message may take another 20 seconds. Apple mail pins a CPU or more during this time.

The mailboxes have thousands of messages... a trivial task for software to manage if designed competently. If the issues are indeed related to the number of emails, then one half-assed and unpalatable solution may be to archive older mails.

The behaviors are so troublesome that MPG may be forced to abandon Apple Mail and to seek out an alternative mail program. One reader suggests Airmail.

Other mail problems:

  • As usual, Apple requires non-reversible “updating” of stored mail. A not so nice move by Apple (every release!), since there is no going back.
  • Certain Apple Mail preferences get whacked, including ones useful for security, so re-check mail preferences. This Apple Mail behavior violates good mail hygiene in a security sense (e.g. enabling loading of remote content in messages, removal of the display of custom mail headers, etc).
  • The password for certain types of mail accounts get removed, and they must be re-done (this happened in El Capitan also).
  • VIP senders remain 100% broken (non functional), just as in El Capitan.
  • Unread mail icon shows 8 unread messages, but there is only one shown.
  • Apple Mail beeps sporadically for no apparent reason.
  • Switching between mailboxes can take 30 seconds.
  • Messages can take 10-30 seconds to draw (blank message window). These are messages on the local SSD, not remote messages (nothing to download).
  • Frequent rainbow beachball hangs, often for several seconds.
  • Half-second delays after deleting an email.
  • Search is almost unusable even for the simplest one: multi-second delays.
  • Half-second to a second or longer pauses while typing a short email.
  • Many more sluggish performance problems.
  • Unable to copy and paste with some types of content that I have done many times before. This is an all-new bug. Repeatable, even after quitting and restarting mail.

Apple Mail is a nearly unusable disaster in macOS Sierra aka clusterf**k. Perhaps it works fine with iCloud or diddling around with a few dozen messages, but it is too slow to be usable; everything I do is subject to multi-second delays. Just about everything in macOS Apple Mail involving selection or search or delete or so on has multi-second delays and pins a full CPU core at 100% during that time. Searches and/or examining my Sent mailbox can take up to 30 seconds to respond. This is not a one-off issue, but a constant problem. Never before has Apple broken Apple Mail this badly; It looks like I am going to have to abandon Apple Mail.

The sheer wanton incompetence necessary to code, let alone ship this excrement to customers is mind boggling.

The good news (should I have to switch), that Spam Sieve (which I consider essential) supports many mail clients. The bad news is there might not be any rock solid email clients to switch to, see comments below.

Apple Mail in macOS Sierra: frequent rainbow beachballs while pegging a CPU core

Possible improvement, suggestion by Arne E

Mail does seem to become laggy on its own after a certain time, and until now rebuilding the Mail index has always helped. It doesn't become OS9-snappy, but at least I don't have to wait 10 or 30 seconds for a message to appear. Don't know if this solution works in Sierra, but you should test it.

The vacuum command will rebuild the email database, not the mailboxes (see below). Makes me feel like I’m running Windoze or something, that is, having to crap like this that ought never need to be done by any end user.

  1. Quit Mail
  2. In Terminl, paste this command and hit return:
          /usr/bin/sqlite3 "$HOME/Library/Mail/V4/MailData/Envelope Index" vacuum
  3. Restart mail.

I’ve tried this. Still getting spinning beachballs, but it may be more responsive. TBD.

Daniel M writes:

That’s why I moved to Outlook for Mac since early this year. I can’t stand the poor performance of Apple Mail. I have an IMAP professional email hosting, and an Exchange Online Office 365 and both have a custom domain. Apple mail handles both accounts very poorly especially the exchange account. It doesn’t matter if the mailbox and folders contain tens of thousands of messages because if it is done correctly the system can handle this task very easily. I also encountering slowing down when loading folders, and at the same time, the unread counts are very unreliable.

Surprisingly, Outlook performs really well. It is fast responsive and handles various types of accounts very well.

MPG: I run my own mail server also, but it is POP3. One reader suggests Airmail as the client, see below.

Mark E writes:

I’m surprised you are still using Apple Mail. Maybe you could go into what features keep you in Apple Mail. It did get a lot better a few years ago, but then stagnated.

It seems obvious that the new Apple won’t put any serious development resources to freebie apps. If it sends and receives email, it’s good to go. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that Dev did the testing as well. :^}

I’m using Airmail and find it extremely robust.

MPG: looks I may have to move to something like Airmail.

Martin D writes:

The mail situation just keeps getting worse and worse and I don’t know what to do.

I’ve tried AirMail. It has lots of problems, too… different problems.

It’s as if there’s a global conspiracy to bury email unusable.

MPG: (I know Martin and trust his feedback)—I don’t know if I can tolerate AppleMail much longer, but if AirMail has issues I’m hosed.

Mike C writes:

I read your post regarding Apple Mail bugs and potential third-party mail apps. I've been using MailMate on Snow Leopard for several years and am mostly happy with it. As a default, it blocks external content links in messages, and the user has the option to load the content or not upon opening the message.

The developer is one guy against the giants; I think he's doing a pretty good job.

MPG: another potential replacement candidate for Apple Snail Mail. It’s useless to me however, because it is an IMAP client only, not POP3.


macOS Sierra: Stable Release

UPDATE: MPG now recommends waiting six (6) months to go to macOS Sierra. Key functionality has been destroyed, like Apple Mail and Copy/Paste. And some of it might not be fixed any time soon. And bottom line is that there is ZERO benefit to macOS Sierra.

MPG is contemplating downgrading back to El Crapitan, but this is difficult because at the least, AppleMail destroys (updates) mailboxes to some new format that is irreversible.


Unlike the past 3 or 4 releases, macOS Sierra is probably safe to go ahead with right away. Finally, relief from the Apple quality failure onslaught.

The macOS Sierra install has been running on the late 2015 iMac 5K and 2013 MacBook Pro Retina with no issues for 12 days now. Today I installed on the 2013 Mac Pro, based on stable results with those two machines.

There are at least some compatiblity issues with macOS Sierra; as usual MPG recommends WAITING AT LEAST 3-4 weeks for working professionals to make a major OS upgrade, with 3-4 months advised for production shops, testing the waters with just one machine to start. Those with “special needs” like printing should probably never upgrade the OS once a machine dedicated to that task is operating wel.

  • There was an install glitch and it happened on BOTH the late 2015 iMac 5K and 2013 Mac Pro: the install hangs with a dark screen, and the computer has to be forcibly powered off. Installation resumes after powering on and is was successful after that one glitch.
  • The usual issues crop up: Apple removes certain software such as the version of Java required for Adobe DreamWeaver to work, which requires reinstalling the legacy Java package.
  • diglloydTools works fine, with no obvious issues.
  • My daily tools including Photoshop, DreamWeaver, TextWrangler, RawDigger, Safari and so on, and all seem to be OK. Exception: Adobe software update window has drawing problems on one computer, and so does RawDigger. So there are some glitches.
  • Apple Mail has severe performance problems and other bugs.
Eastern Sierra Nevada

OWC Drive Dock Now Available in USB 3.1 Gen 1 for about $75

Get OWC Drive Dock at MacSales.com.

OWC Drive Dock

Back in late 2015 MPG reviewed the OWC Drive Dock. That version of the OWC Drive Dock offers both Thunderbolt and USB 3.1 gen 1 connectivity. But because of the high cost of Thunderbolt-based peripherals, its about $240 price tended to make it more of a product for professionals.

OWC has now released the OWC Drive Dock USB 3.1 gen 1 model for about $75. MPG has not yet tested the USB 3.1 gen 1 version, but performance should be identical when using the USB port (that is, almost as fast as the Thunderbolt port).

  • Two drive bays each accommodate 2.5 or 3.5-inch SATA drives
  • USB 3.1 Gen 1 port
  • Read up to 434 MB/s, write up to 406 MB/s
  • Supports drives up to 10TB or greater
  • Mac & PC compatible
  • Each bay features an independent power switch and LED activity indicator
  • Universal auto-switching internal power supply
  • Professional aluminum enclosure
  • Two year OWC Limited Warranty including award-winning technical support
  • Includes 24-inch (.6m) USB 3.1 Gen 1 cable

The OWC Drive dock accepts either 3.5" or 2.5" drives—SSD or hard drives in either size. Bare hard drives and fast high-quality bare SSDs are the least expensive way to expand storage, since there is no enclosure (case) or power supply or cabling involved. With the OWC Drive Dock, just insert the bare drive and go.

OWC Drive Dock: Thunderbolt + USB3 Connectivity Using Dual Bare Hard Drives or SSDs

The OWC Drive Dock is an excellent solution for anyone needing to work with bare hard drives or SSDs for backup or similar. For example, videographers who need to download and backup SSDs in a single portable solution.

Bare hard drives and fast high-quality bare SSDs are the least expensive way to expand storage, since there is no enclosure (case) or power supply or cabling involved. With the OWC Drive Dock, just insert the bare drive and go, swapping drives as needed. For example, inserting two bare 6TB HGSG Desktar NAS hard drives into the OWC Drive Dock delivers 12TB of capacity at low cost. Swap more drives as needed.

OWC Drive Dock
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

iPhone 7: Apple will not sell unlocked iPhone with both GSM and CDMA, but maybe in a a few weeks

NewerTech NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Get NewerTech NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at MacSales.com.

Update 13 October: SIM-free any-carrier iPhone 7 models can now be purchased.

MPG called Apple to try to buy an unlocked any-carrier phone (with both GSM and CDMA support) and was told that as of Sept 12, Apple does not offer an unlocked iPhone supporting both GSM and CDMA that is not tied to a carrier, but that it may be coming in a few weeks.

At present (12 September), Apple will only sell iPhones tied to a carrier (even unlocked ones!); see Apple iPhone 7: can an Unlocked Model Actually be Bought at Apple Store?. When I called, my attempt to purchase an unlocked Verizon model was refused because I am not an existing Verizon customer. Apple simply will not sell unlocked phones not tied to a carrier—not yet, but perhaps in a few weeks.

MPG doesn’t like or agree with this anti-customer approach, but there it is.

See Apple iPhone 7 Caution: GSM-only model lacks CDMA network support, precluding future use with Verizon or Sprint for why one might want to buy a iPhone 7 for Verizon when intending to use it with AT&T (for now).

Initial choice of iPhone 7 network may preclude use in the future on other networks
Apple iPhone 7 support for cell phone spectrum


Altitude on iPhone: ProAltimeter app

The barometric altimeter on iPhones is not exposed as a built-in app or other info feature, such as on the home page of the phone, so I didn’t realize that there is a barometric altimeter on the iPhone 6s Plus (and iPhone 6 and 7).

GPS elevation can be subject to errors of hundreds of feet or more, so I don’t like to use it. As shown below, the error is 28% as the actual altitude is 504 feet yet GPS says it is 358 feet—GPS can be much more in error in the mountains. Also, a good GPS signal may not be obtainable under tree cover or in a tight canyon. Finally, a barometric altimeter is an excellent cross-check.

When I hike, I often know the exact altitude at certain points, at least when I start a hike. So a barometric altimeter is a reliable way of tracking altitude, at least for some hours. And frequently I know the altitude of key points, such as lakes or summits, so exact recalibration is possible.

The Pro Altimeter app for iPhone can be calibrated from GPS automatically, or most critically, one can enter the known altitude. Perfect for my needs (manual entry) and the GPS altitude is a plus for when there is a good constellation of satellites, as shown below.

At fixed altitude, the barometer is useful for showing air pressure, which can hint at weather changes. Too bad the app doesn’t graph the pressure every 30 minutes or so. It has two choices of display as shown, one better for day and one better for night.

Update: I’ve used Pro Altimeter in the mountains now, and it is has one major bug: it doesn’t say when the GPS altitude was last obtained. So it will show an altitude a day or a week old, with no indication of current status. The only clue that the reading is wrong is the barometric reading. The app sometimes has to be left on for several minutes to get a GPS reading (and in canyon it might never get one), yet there is nothing that indicates that the GPS reading is hours or days old and completely utterly wrong.

Barometric pressure and altimeter: one inaccurate and one accurate reading, same location
ProAltimeter iPhone app for iPhone

macOS Sierra: Uneventful Upgrade for MacBook Pro Retina

I wrote about relatively trouble-free upgrading on a late 2015 iMac 5K a few days ago. Another in-place upgrade with the MacBook Pro Retina also went smoothly.

It has almost been a non-event: in comparison to previous OS releases the transition to macOS Sierra has been the most seamless update in years.

While issues could arise, MPG attributes this at least in part to a relatively minor upgrade that looks to be a major macOS upgrade as a marketing event only. Siri is just an app that could have been tacked on to macOS El Capitan and ditto for the new APFS file system support.

MacOS Sierra is thus a minor release, which is a godsend to users sick and tired of constant feature distruption and new bugs that have characterized previous macOS major releases. By disabling Siri on macOS Sierra, MPG can (gratefully) hardly tell any difference with OS X El Capitan.

Oneida Lake, Just Past May Lundy Mine
f/11 @ 1/125 sec, ISO 100; 2016-08-17 12:56:00
Sony A7R II + Zeiss Batis 18mm f/2.8 Distagon


Startup Key combinations for Intel-Based Macs

A nice summary I found at Apple. I can’t remember all these myself

Press and hold the keys immediately after powering on, and keep holding down until the described behavior occurs. These combinations work with Intel-based Mac computers.

  • Shift ⇧ = start in Safe Mode.
  • Option ⌥ = start to Startup Manager (allows booting from any connected bootable volume).
  • C = start from a bootable CD, DVD, or USB thumb drive (such as OS X install media).
  • D = start to either Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics, depending on which Mac you're using.
  • Option-D = start to either Apple Hardware Test or Apple Diagnostics over the Internet.
  • N = start from a compatible NetBoot server.
  • Option-N = start from a NetBoot server using the default boot image.
  • Command (⌘)-R = start from OS X Recovery.
  • Command-Option-R = start from OS X Recovery over the Internet.
  • Command-Option-P-R = Reset NVRAM. Release the keys after you hear the startup sound again.
  • Command-S = Start up in single-user mode.
  • T = start in target disk mode.
  • X = start from an OS X startup volume when the Mac would otherwise start from a non-OS X startup volume.
    Command-V start in verbose mode.
  • Eject (⏏), F12, mouse button, or trackpad button = Eject removable media, such as an optical disc

See other general Mac keyboard shortcuts.

What I Want in an iPhone: Dual Carrier Support Simultaneously

NewerTech NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Get NewerTech NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at MacSales.com.

See Apple iPhone 7 Caution: GSM-only model lacks CDMA network support, precluding future use with Verizon or Sprint for background.

What I (Lloyd) really want in an iPhone is simultaneous dual-carrier support. Specifically:

  1. Internet connectivity (cell phone hot spot) on either or both phone networks simultaneously, ideally using bonding for increased bandwidth. Reason: I travel where cell phone coverage is spotty and often weak, a serious challenge for years now.
  2. Dual phone numbers live at the same time on the same cell phone: one AT&T and one Verizon. Reason: spotty coverage where I travel, but also to separate types of calls and callers.

Most of the hype and hooplah is about 4G and LTE and such. What I care about is real-world coverage, that is, any coverage in the areas I frequently travel in. Coverage maps, even the best, are phony baloney where I travel—useless.

This idea seems so obvious that I don’t know why business travelers don’t demand it. I already take dual iPhones with me when traveling, because I cannot risk the loss of connectivity.

Apple iPhone 7 support for cell phone spectrum

Reader Question: diglloydTool IntegrityChecker to address “had an experience where a number of my RAW files were silently corrupted”


Guy G writes:

I trust you are doing well and thankyou 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.

The value of IntegrityChecker comes over time: once hashed, files can be checked on any drive, any OS, including DVDs and BluRay and other read-only devices. This is important for long-term storage, particularly for professionals with data having long-term value, like image files. IntegrityChecker (icj) can also find duplicate files.

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.

See also: diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Java Version: Finds Duplicates, Saved me 100GB!

Excellent Search Tool: HoudahSpot


HoudahSpot is a powerful file search tool for OS X. A trial version is available. Single-user, family license and site licenses are available.

I (Lloyd) use Spotlight a great deal via its cmd-space shortcut. But Spotlight has degenerated in various ways, including not being able to find file names at times, and finding wholly irrelevant things when all I want is source code. It is also a messy business to find specific things in Spotlight without jumping through hoops with qualifiers and such.

Enter HoudahSpot, which offers all sorts of features for searching, including default search settings (a big deal for me), templates for specific types of searches, and much more. Simple as it is, the dialog below works like a charm every time without the mess Spotlight generates for me with the same search. Here, I want to find source files with a certain name. Or, it might be a function name within those source files. By using HoudahSpot, all the other gunk is filtered out (binary files, jar files, log files, etc) simply by requiring files of type java (Spotlight does not do this correctly with name:.java as tedious experience shows).

So as simple as this example is, it already is a big deal for finding what I want. Summary as per the developer:

Find important documents, mail messages, photos, image files and more:

  • Start with a simple search
  • Refine it by adding and combining criteria
  • Search several folders at once. Exclude others
  • Add and sort by any of the hundreds of columns available
  • Preview files and text matches
  • Find files by name, text, content kind, file extension, author, recipient, pixel count, etc.
  • Combine criteria to quickly zero in on the files you need
  • Customize columns in the search results list
  • Filter the results to see only relevant files
  • Set up templates for recurring searches

HoudahSpot is a powerful file search tool. It uses the Spotlight index ‐ which comes preinstalled with OS X ‐ to get you to your files in no time.

HoudahSpot search window
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.

An uncomfortable 2 Days with Amazon Dash Buttons

The Amazon Dash Button is a Wi-Fi connected device that reorders your favorite product with the press of a button. That it exists is proof that the iPhone with an app doesn’t solve everything.

And that convenience can become very, very specific, and also exceptionally wasteful of resources (how many millions of these things and their batteries will end up in landfills?). But I use hardly any of these consumer products, so what do I know.

Amazon Dash Button is a Wi-Fi connected device that reorders your favorite product with the press of a button.

Personally I think it’s going to be a very uncomfortable two days.

A very uncomfortable 2 days

Apple iPhone 7: can an Unlocked Model Actually be Bought at Apple Store?

Get NewerTech NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at MacSales.com.

NewerTech NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Update 12 September: I called Apple to try to buy an unlocked any-carrier phone (with both GSM and CDMA support) and was told that at this time Apple cannot/will not sell an unlocked carrier-free phone supporting both GSM and CDMA, but that it may be coming in a few weeks.

Update 13 October: SIM-free any-carrier iPhone 7 models can now be purchased.


See Apple iPhone 7 Caution: GSM-only model lacks CDMA network support, precluding future use with Verizon or Sprint for why one might want to buy a iPhone 7 for Verizon when intending to use it with AT&T (for now).

The Apple web store blocks purchase of an unlocked paid-in-full contract-free iPhone 7, because it demands existing account information, making it impossible to proceed unless one already has an account with that carrier.

So, for example, I have AT&T currently (and intend to use the iPhone 7 on AT&T, but I want an all-carrier model, as per the above link).

Since Apple demands existing Verizon customer info, I am not able to buy the unlocked paid-in-full contract-free iPhone 7 for Verizon. Ditto for any other carrier choice except T-Mobile (why?), but that doesn’t help if the goal is a phone with GSM and CDMA support.

Maybe an unlocked Verizon phone can be bought by purchasing via telephone?

UPDATE 10 September: Apple’s own sales force was ignorant of the online stuff below. I was unable to get an answer/confirmation when I called Apple business sales.

Unable to buy paid-in-full contract-free iPhone 7: not an existing Verizon customer

Here’s the other reason I wanted the Verizon model: it can be had in about a week. AT&T models are all 2-3 weeks.

Verizon 256GB model readily much better availability

Don H writes:

You mention that you can't buy an unlocked phone via the Apple online store. This may be frustrating, but not unprecedented. In the past the fully-unlocked models of each new phone weren't available for purchase for the first few weeks immediately following the product announcement. While this (again) isn't spelled out on Apple's site, it's something that that the Apple rumor/news sites discuss each time a new iPhone comes out.

I'm guessing that Apple is supply-constrained and may even have sales obligations to the carriers that takes precedent over the unlocked models until things settle down.

MPG: MPG doesn’t know the timing or details.


Apple iPhone 7 Caution: GSM-only model lacks CDMA network support, precluding future use with Verizon or Sprint

Get NewerTech NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at MacSales.com.

NewerTech NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Update 12 September: I called Apple to try to buy an unlocked any-carrier phone (with both GSM and CDMA support) and was told that at this time Apple cannot/will not sell an unlocked carrier-free phone supporting both GSM and CDMA, but that it may be coming in a few weeks.

Update 13 October: SIM-free any-carrier iPhone 7 models can now be purchased.


If you think you might use your iPhone on Verizon or Sprint in the future, which carrier support is chosen initially matters, even if you do not intend to initially use that carrier.

Here’s the deal, which is a change from the iPhone 6 and 6s Plus. It involves the cell phone wireless technology, which is GSM (AT&T, TMobile, European countries and most of the rest of the world) or CDMA (Verizon and Sprint, and not much overseas).

  • Buying an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus for AT&T or TMobile means that it can never support Verizon or Sprint.
  • Buying an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus for Verizon or Sprint allows use on any of the carrier networks.

It appears that the model sold as for Verizon is actually a model supporting all networks, whereas the AT&T/Sprint model supports only AT&T and Sprint (GSM). The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus supported either type of network.

For those buying an unlocked phone, what this means is that it might make more sense to buy the Verizon/CDMA iPhone 7, even if planning to use it on an AT&T or TMobile network in the short term, since the iPhone could then be used on Verizon/Sprint in the future.

At least that’s what it seems; the Apple statement contradicts itself in saying that “it will use CDMA technology for voice and data” (conflating ostensible choice of carrier vs actual) and then says “it will work on AT&T and TMobile”: but it cannot work on AT&T if it uses CDMA for voice and data. Very poorly written.

All this may be for naught: the Apple Store page won’t let you buy an unlocked Verizon or Sprint iPhone without providing existing account information! Ditto for AT&T and TMobile. It’s non-functional, since one may want to *add* (not replace) a phone (“You'll keep your existing number and rate plan, Your current phone will work until you set up your new iPhone”).

The information on this is right on Apple’s sales page in fine print but only on the sales page FAQ (at least as this was written it was not on the iPhone 7 info page), and only if you expand the hidden information and only if you then expand the right question/answer:

Initial choice of iPhone 7 network may preclude use in the future on other networks
Apple iPhone 7 support for cell phone spectrum

This is bad of Apple to hide critical information so well, as it may be a real issue for users looking to switch carriers in the future, effectively forcing purchase of another phone. It’s one thing to have a pretty and simple sales page, it’s quite another to hide information of great import to some prospective customers*. Maybe Apple saves a little money by making this distinction with the AT&T/TMobile model, which is why the information is so carefully put in tiny text in hidden footnotes?

* This reminds MPG of the soldered-on memory fiasco in the Apple MacBook Pro (Apple later made that information visible)

Don H writes:

I have no intention of ever using Verizon or Sprint myself (in the past they have locked phones to their network and locked out US GSM carriers while still functioning overseas), but on general principles I would just as soon have a single phone that works under all circumstances if there are no other compromises to its design or performance. It also opens up more possibilities for future resale.

To Apple’s credit, they do seem to strive for a more simplified product matrix (at one point Samsung had 97 different SKUs in their phone lineup), but this schism with GSM/CDMA is puzzling. If the CDMA phone already has *all* the radio technology needed to handle every carrier in the US/world market (except for China who is their own special case), why make a non-CDMA model at all?

I can only think of the added licensing costs associated with CDMA technology, but that certainly isn’t reflected in the retail price of the different models. Perhaps enabling CDMA does cost a few bucks more, but Apple is willing to swallow that for those customers because many others don’t want that feature for their GSM-specified phones.

MPG: probably a savings of a few dollars per phone for the GMS model by leaving CDMA out (parts and licensing), which might add billions to the bottom line.

Don H writes again:

Apparently Apple is now using Intel as well as Qualcomm modems (to diversify vendors) for their GSM model. Unfortunately, the Intel modem doesn't include CDMA compatibility, so that complicates marketing, support, etc. Here's an explanation:


I'm sure more will be verified after the inevitable teardowns. So while we may not like the end results (or ambiguity when purchasing), this does make sense from a business viewpoint.

MPG: If the limitation were stated upfront, who in their right mind would choose a phone effectively locked to AT&T or TMobile? Particularly since it will be a phone with lower resale value, since it works only on GSM networks. The only reasonable conclusion here is that Apple buried the difference in a hidden Q/A question in a hidden FAQ by design, for, as noted, solid business reasons. It smells bad, at the least. But since the vast majority will be happy, who cares at Apple, since no one will be able to do anything about it very long after purchase, and those for whom it matters later will be a minority— let ’em just buy another phone—ka ching!


macOS Sierra: Some Small Issues, but Mostly Good So Far

The 'production' system (2013 Mac Pro) can and should wait at least a few weeks as a precaution, but I’ve installed macOS Sierra GM (Golden Master) on the late 2015 iMac 5K using an in-place upgrade. There was only glitch: the install hung and the iMac had to be forcibly powered off. Installation resumed and was successful, though taking quite a very long time as usual.

The usual issues crop up: Apple removes certain software such as the version of Java required for Adobe DreamWeaver to work, which requires reinstalling the legacy Java package.

diglloydTools works fine, with no obvious issues. My daily tools including Photoshop, TextWrangler, RawDigger, Safair and so on all seem to be OK.

Apple Mail has some issues, just as in El Capitan and Yosemite, speaking to the continuing incompetence by the programmers working on Apple Mail:

  • As usual, Apple requires non-reversible “updating” of stored mail. A not so nice move by Apple (every release!), since there is no going back.
  • Certain Apple Mail preferences get whacked, including ones useful for security, so re-check mail preferences. This Apple coding choice violates good mail hygiene in a security sense (e.g. enabling loading of remote content in messages, removal of the display of custom mail headers, etc).
  • The password for certain mail accounts get removed, and they must be re-done (this happened in El Capitan also).
  • VIP senders and other features not yet tested (it was broken in the past two OS X releases).
Saddlebag Lake, eastern Sierra Nevada near Yosemite

Apple iPhone 7: New Features I Like

NewerTech NuGuard KX case for iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Get NewerTech NuGuard KX Case for iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus at MacSales.com.

The whole blogosphere is alight with iPhone 7 stuff, so I’m going to focus on what is of interest to me personally.

  • Dual cameras: when shooting iPhone panoramas, a longer focal length is hugely helpful for image quality (when not so wide a field of view is needed). Ditto for closeups without the problems of perspective distortion or shadows that come from getting too close to the subject. Too bad Apple did not include an infrared camera option.
  • Wide Color support: vast improvement with the P3 color gamut. Better images taken, and better display of those images. See iPhone 7 Sports Retina HD Screen with DCI-P3 Color Gamut and “Wide” Color Capture
  • More powerful speakers: I listen to audiobooks for hours when driving to the mountains for trips, and the iPhone 6s Plus speaker has been barely adequate in my car while driving (older car has no USB connector and the FM transmitter dongle often gets interference).
  • Splash and water resistance: well, see the trout below for an idea of where (besides a toilet or a cup of coffee) that liquid could be an issue. Still, it’s one reason the much superior grip of the Nuguard KX case comes in so handy.
  • Barometer: I’m hoping this means that a barometric altimeter app is included (GPS is notoriously poor for altitude). UPDATE: heck even the iPhone 6s Plus has a barometer, a carefully hidden feature (why can’t it show up on the lock screen?).

A longer focal length lens will be very helpful when making closeup shots like this image of a Brook Trout. The trout appears to bow outwards with a too-small tail and head; this is partly due to the close-range of the camera to the subject aka “perspective distortion”.

Brook Trout - Salvelinus fontinalis
Deal Zone, Great Deal Every Day

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