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

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

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

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

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

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

Disabling the daily suggestion for macOS Catalina upgrade

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

Open a Terminal window and paste this line:

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

Should you want to install macOS Catalina in the future:

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

That’s it.

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


Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock

High Bandwidth and Flexibility for Demanding Hi-Res Needs

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

Extreme Performance and Unprecedented Versatility

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

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock Delivers

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

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

Availability

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

OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock
OWC Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, rear
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Reader Question: diglloydTools IntegrityChecker Purchase Options

More about IntegrityChecker.

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

Pete O writes:

Quick question regarding the purchase tiers for Diglloyd Tools.

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

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

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

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

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

Purchase options for diglloydTools

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

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

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

Professionals Should Stay Away from macOS Catalina for Six Months

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

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

Recommended preferences for Software Update in macOS

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

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

[low-res image for bot]
Which Camera System 📷 is Best?
Which Lenses to Choose?🌈


Avoid costly mistakes and get the ideal system for your needs: diglloyd photographic consulting.

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

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

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

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

Some things I might use it for:

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

Thanks! I will share useful comments.


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

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

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

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

Recommended software update settings

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

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

Recommended preferences for Software Update in macOS

32-bit software will no longer run

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

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

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

Significant upgrade costs

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

Might be no update available

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

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

Major security bugs again perhaps?

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

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

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

Günther D writes:

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

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


Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Features Coming to IntegrityChecker java

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

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

Get diglloydTools.

For IntegrityChecker java (icj) only...

Better file modification date verification

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

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

Tracking of folders with no files, subfolders gone missing

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

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

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

Better status and logging and summary results

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

GUI

A Java GUI may become available.


Upgrade the memory of your 2019 iMac up to 128GB

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

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

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

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

Example of whacked file dates

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

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

Original on APFS volume

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

Copy on another APFS volume

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

Copy on macOS Extended volume

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

Simon N writes:

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

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

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

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


Up to 1527MB/s sustained performance

Apple Support Cost My Client Dearly

Consult with Lloyd on a robust backup and recovery strategy.

It took me four hours to diagnose and cure problems caused by Apple Tech Support for a consulting client of mine, who had called Apple after a power failure.

In a nutshell:

  • After a power failure, the iMac 5K would no longer boot.
  • Apple support failed to diagnose the problem: I found file system damage to the boot volume (APFS) on the internal iMac 5K SSD. It was non-repairable by Disk Utility. So much for APFS being resilient in the face of power failures.
  • Apple support left the client with a damaged file system on the internal SSD boot drive; the internal SSD remained unbootable and unused and useless.
  • Support directed the client to reinstall macOS, but reinstall of macOS occurred onto an old and slow USB3 hard drive. The install converted the hard drive to APFS (horrible performance on hard drives). When I got there the speed was horrible, with the hard drive making constant noise as APFS banged the drive heads around mercilessly with constant head-seeking.
  • The client lost some stuff because of this fiasco because Time Machine had not run for some days. Nothing major, but some stuff.
  • Adobe Lightroom was left unusable (could not find any files) since the macOS install shoveled everything into a subfolder on the hard drive which had been put into duty as the boot drive.

What a mess. The performance was so bad that hardly anything could be done without great patience. Ultimately I erased the internal SSD to create a clean file system, and got things back onto it and booting off it. I also set up the client with a better strategy should this happen again, with an external SSD for a boot clone, for fast bootable recovery.

A solid backup strategy is important—this client could have done a better job at it, but there need not have been such a godawful mess; Apple support screwed up at every step from what I can tell.

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How macOS Can Cause Data Loss: Spotlight Chooses on Backup (Clone) Volumes, Which User then Works on... Later Wiped Out by Backup

Yesterday I was writing some server code, but I had to run out for an errand. So I started a clone backup and left.

When I returned, I found my code was gone. I was baffled... what the hell happened?

It turns out that I had added a new backup drive, that macOS Spotlight had indexed that backup, and when I opened my source code files, Spotlight decided that instead of using the volume on which my original code resided, Spotlight would just willy-nilly show me files off the backup drive. So I had been editing my code on the backup drive.

The backup I had started had promptly wiped out all my work.

I’ve long loathed the “index by default” approach of Spotlight. Now I have a serious reason to dislike it—and this is not the first time I have suffered—today I spent half an hour debugging code... once again that was on my backup drive and therefore not compiling. Once I figured that out, I took the backup drives out of the Spotlight indexing but the damage had been done yet again (this time, my wasted time).

I don’t know any foolproof way to not encounter this nasty bug yet again—it’s a manual operation to remember to exclude a volume when adding or erasing one. A shell script using mdutil would work, if/whenI get time to do that.

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How to Show or Hide Hidden Files in macOS Finder

To show hidden files in macOS Finder, open Terminal and paste this line:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES

To hide hidden files in macOS Finder (default behavior):

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

You will have to logout and login again for the change to take effect.

Update: much better solution from reader Don H:

I don’t know how far back MacOS supports this key combination, but in Mojave typing command-shift-. (period) toggles the visibility of hidden files instantly. Give it a try.

Sometimes cleanup jobs make showing hidden files useful (easy to find/delete), and sometimes seeing them is a nuisance. It’s OK to show and hide whenever needed. The Finder should just build this into the View menu, alas.

Hidden files in home folder
Fast and cost effective way to backup!

OWC Upgrades the USB-C Travel Dock , Solves Hassles for Laptop Users with SD Card Reader, USB-A Ports, 100W Charging, HDMI Port

OWC has improved upon its original USB-C Travel Dock with an upgrade model utilization a built-in cable storage at bottom and a more robust design including up to 100W of power delivery.

Read about the new OWC USB-C Travel Dock and purchase for about $55.

OWC USB-C Travel Dock
  • 5 ports of connectivity: (2) USB-A 3.1 Gen 1, (1) HDMI, (1) SD card, (1) USB-C power pass through
  • Power options: bus powered or use existing USB-C power adapter
  • Charge while working: up to 100W pass-through power for a notebook or other devices
  • Neat and tidy: Built-in cable storage
  • Compatibility: notebooks, tablets, Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows and Chrome

The Travel Dock solves several issues on a MacBook Pro or MacBook/Air which would otherwise require dongle adapters. By attaching it to one of the Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C ports, the Travel Dock makes a lot possible:

  • Plug in up to two USB-A devices like a mouse or external drive
  • Read a digital camera SDXC card.
  • Connect a display.
  • Pass through charging power on the same port as all of this!

Desktop users can also use the USB-C Travel Dock. For example, a 2018 Mac mini lacks an SDXC card slot, and two extra USB-C ports are always handy. While MPG recommends the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock as preferable for desktop use, it costs more for its increased functionality (and requires AC power).

Weight (172 grams), but that is perhaps unavoidable for such a solidly-built item. Also I’d prefer beveled edges to the case, but even Apple doesn’t do that.

OWC USB-C Travel Dock ports

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

Beware of Phishing — Fake Chase Bank

See previous security tips and previous phishing posts.

Back in February I showed one example of a fake Chase Bank phishing example. Below is another, just as badly done, but many people are fooled. See also:

What is phishing?

Phishing is an attempt to induce you to click on something that directs you to a fake web site containing malware. The truly unwary will then be persuaded to enter their banking credentials. Or it might just be that you get malware hijacking your machine (Mac users are not immune to this).

Nearly all phishing uses bait (and you’re the fish). Bait can be subtle, threatening or insulting. Don’t bite. All bait is designed to provoke a reaction: fear, anger, an appeal to your innate decency to help with or solve a problem, need to respond to your bank or whatever.

RULE: ***NEVER*** click on links or attachments in email!!!

Never means never unless you gain the technical competence to verify the email. Even so, that can sometimes take several minutes to be sure—and the more sophisticated the phishing, the easier it is to overlook a crucial detail.

Below, the attached screen shot shows a relatively crude attack but for most people.

Continues below...

Phishing email purporting to be Chase Bank

Apple’s sloppy approach in Mail is unacceptable

Some of the parts of an email that would immediately flag the email as risky are in fact hidden. In other words, Apple puts you at risk to make emalis look neat and tidy.

Specifically, "Return-path:" is hidden by default (and sometimes “To:” also. See Apple Mail Security: Viewing Mail Headers. MPG considers it an unacceptable security issue—if you cannot see the obviously bogus header, you might not know the email is a phishing attack. Apple is irresponsible in not flagging such issues.

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

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

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

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

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

Why hasn’t Apple fixed this extremely dangerous practice right in Apple Mail, and done it two years ago? My view is that the Apple Mail development team is a skeleton crew, because Apple Mail is rife with bugs.


MacPerformanceGuide.com

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