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Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Another Mac developer gives up, thanks to Apple's changes and lack of support (e.g. APFS documentation):
Coriolis Systems
Changes to the Mac, beginning with the adoption of SSDs, saw sales of the company's core products, iDefrag in particular, enter a slow decline. The final nails in the coffin were the decision of Apple to switch to its new filesystem, APFS, the volume format for which was totally undocumented until the week before macOS Mojave shipped, and the increasingly draconian security controls that made it harder for third-party utility software to function in a manner end users would find acceptable. In early 2019, Alastair finally took the decision to shut down the company he'd founded nearly 15 years previously.

Below you can find copies of Coriolis Systems' software, together with working license keys. Hopefully this will prevent the work we did at Coriolis from disappearing altogether.
 


Another Mac developer gives up, thanks to Apple's changes and lack of support (e.g. APFS documentation):
If you are Mac only and you work close to the bone with Apple, your situation is always on the knife's edge. Back in the day of when I worked for Now Software, Now Utilities was an extremely popular product, but most of it literally patched the OS. Any update to the OS always brought with it significant worries. Depending on who was in control at the time at Apple, we'd go back and forth between being considered indispensable to being an annoyance. You don't survive long being an annoyance.
 


If you are Mac only and you work close to the bone with Apple, your situation is always on the knife's edge. Back in the day of when I worked for Now Software, Now Utilities was an extremely popular product, but most of it literally patched the OS. Any update to the OS always brought with it significant worries. Depending on who was in control at the time at Apple, we'd go back and forth between being considered indispensable to being an annoyance. You don't survive long being an annoyance.
I loved Now Utilities, had it on every system I used.
 


I loved Now Utilities, had it on every system I used.
What is funny also is that some had parts of it but didn't realize it. When Apple shipped a bunch of consumer Macs (like the much maligned Performas), they had a subset of NU that was pre-installed. When some customers did a system restore, they were surprised when some of their special menu items strangely disappeared.

But then Apple copied several of the key bits of coolness from NU and put them into Mac OS 8.5. Very strange times, along with publish & subscribe, OpenDoc and the like.
 


When Apple shipped a bunch of consumer Macs (like the much maligned Performas), they had a subset of NU that was pre-installed. When some customers did a system restore, they were surprised when some of their special menu items strangely disappeared.
And that wasn't the only time. When I got my Power Mac (a Quicksilver 2002 model), Apple pre-loaded several things, including Graphic Converter and ten songs (in the iTunes library).

This bonus content is not part of the system software installers that came with the computer (Mac OS 9.22 and Mac OS X 10.2) but is only on the set of system-restore CDs (containing the hard drive's original image).
 



According to Linus Tech Tips, WalMart has released a surprisingly upgradeable, port-rich, capable Ryzen 3 laptop at a $250 price point. (It was at $279 when I checked a few minutes ago.)
I guess it depends on what you are expecting to do with a laptop of those specifications. It is only a Ryzen 3, but it does compare with a 2015 or 2016 dual-core 13" MacBook Pro in multi-core performance according to Geekbench 5. So it is not totally lacking. The screen seems to be the biggest trade-off.

For comparison, that is the price of a 10" iPad at Best Buy at the moment, which would likely outperform the Walmart laptop in many tasks, and it comes with some useful software. I might also be more interested in a three- or four-year-old laptop with a better display and specifications. You can find many grade "A"-quality units for a fraction of the price of something new. Or, I might even consider spending a few dollars more to get the Ryzen 5 model of the same laptop.

While I would not rule out purchasing a laptop for so little money, I guess I am just a bit concerned about the reliability for something costing so little and from a company with little history in this market, though I am a bit intrigued about the true relationship with THX, based on their web site. And while the device uses many common parts, I would be a bit concerned about the ability to replace the battery, which I consider almost a consumable part these days.
 


I guess it depends on what you are expecting to do with a laptop of those specifications. It is only a Ryzen 3, but it does compare with a 2015 or 2016 dual-core 13" MacBook Pro in multi-core performance according to Geekbench 5. So it is not totally lacking. The screen seems to be the biggest trade-off.
Fair points. Walmart's Motile M-141 laptop is not a good fit if you do heavy duty video processing, gaming, and so on. I think the larger point is that the model demonstrates what is possible to achieve at a $250 price point: a very reasonable CPU (perfectly adequate for general purpose business tasks), easily upgradeable RAM and SSD, two USB 3 ports, a USB 2.0 port, a USB-C port, HDMI, an Ethernet port, a headphone jack, apparently good quality construction, and a one-year warranty, with the only major compromise being a relatively dim display.

Compare that with a more expensive, out-of-warranty 2015/2016 MacBook Pro that has a keyboard with a significant probability of becoming maddeningly flaky if it sees dust or a breadcrumb, and the ~$250 Walmart/Motile laptop is an impressive accomplishment. Worried about the M-141's reliability? You can buy two of them and still spend less than you would for a used 2015 MacBook Pro with a 90-day warranty from a reputable reseller.

Again, I think your points are quite valid and appropriate, but I also think there is a lot to be said for the value that seems to be packed into this machine, especially compared with other machines at entry-level price points.
 


DFG

According to Linus Tech Tips, WalMart has released a surprisingly upgradeable, port-rich, capable Ryzen 3 laptop at a $250 price point. (It was at $279 when I checked a few minutes ago.)
I saw this around the beginning of the year, having generated a few favorable blog posts after going on sale before the end of last year. I am referring here to the Ryzen 5 model, which early buyers could snatch for an incredible $299 with rebates. The combination of slick design, a modern CPU, and Radeon Vega 8 GPU makes it attractive when compared to low-price offerings from the likes of Acer, Lenovo, HP, etc., which often come with Core i3 (in the best of cases) and integrated Intel graphics. You can checkout detailed specs at notebookcheck.com.

Alas, the price is now $420 (and the black color has been unavailable since I first looked it up). And after reading the online reviews at walmart.com, it became apparent that many buyers had serious hardware issues. What's worse, support appears to be non-existent. At least, you can order one online and pick it up at a local brick-and-mortar store, where you could presumably return it should it have any serious issue (not sure what the return policy is). In the end, I decided against it.
 


Apple buys Dark Sky...
Apple/Dark Sky said:
Figures...my favourite iOS app for weather (second runner up is windy.com website) is Dark Sky. According to their blog, Dark Sky was purchased by Apple. I am sure many NDAs were signed (both prior as an Apple developer, and then as seller). The good thing is that I purchased it, so if Apple integrates this into their iOS, that would be great. The bad news is I paid for this, and it's unclear about future support.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Apple hasn't come out with a Mini LED display yet, but MSI's latest laptop has one, 4K and 17.3 inches in size (which is really appealing).
MSI said:
MSI Creator 17
The True Pixel Mini LED display provides brilliant visuals, with 1000 nits of brightness to emphasize the brightest whites and deepest blacks. True Color Technology and CalMAN verification insures your needs are met with a standard. And the 100% DCI-P3 wide color gamut with 4K and precise calibrated Delta-E < 2 accuracy...
Specifications include up to Core i9 10th-generation CPUs, GeForce RTX2080 with 8GB GDDR6, two slots of DDR4-2666 RAM (64GB max), dual M.2 combo SSD slots, 802.11 ax Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth v5.1, Thunderbolt 3, plus 10GHz USB-C/DisplayPort, along with HDMI, Micro SD, three USB 3 ports, and a "space gray" finish. It's heavy, though, at 2.5 Kg.

Pricing varies by configuration, $2,999 for:
MSI Creator 17​
UHD HDR1000 Mini LED​
i7-10875H​
RTX2070Super​
32GB​
1TB SSD​
Windows 10 Pro​
 


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