Mercury Elite Pro Dock

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is an interesting new Thunderbolt 3 enclosure from OWC (macsales.com) that combines dual drive bays, a hardware RAID controller, and a number of connections – sort of a combination storage device and Thunderbolt 3 dock.

Connections include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort 1.2 (supporting up to 4K), Gigabit Ethernet, a front-mounted SD 4.0 (UHS-II) card reader, and two 5Gbps USB 3 Type-A ports. Both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA drives are supported, and the RAID hardware handles RAID-0, RAID-1, JBOD/independent, or span.

Mercury Elite Pro Dock is priced from $299.99 sans drives to $1,299.99 with two 14TB hard drives.

Mercury Helios 3S

Mercury Helios 3S is a PCIe enclosure from OWC (macsales.com) that connects to a host computer via Thunderbolt 3 and accomodates a half-length, full-height, single or double-width PCIe 3.0 card at x4 bandwidth (“with x16 physical slot”). Features include dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, with 85W power delivery, plus DisplayPort 1.4, and an external power supply.

Mercury Helios 3S is priced at $229.99 for Thunderbolt-equipped computers running macOS 10.13 and later or Windows 10 and later. The company’s product specifications note some limitations for the new enclosure:

  • PCIe cards that utilize a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface. PCIe cards that require a minimum of 8 or more PCIe lanes are not supported.
  • GPUs not supported
  • Cards that require more than 75W are not supported.
  • The DisplayPort does not support DP++
  • Full DisplayPort 1.4 capabilities including 8K resolution depends on host computer support of DisplayPort 1.4 specification through its Thunderbolt 3 connection, host computer GPU capabilities, and connecting cable capabilities.
  • You can use the Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple to connect this device to a Thunderbolt 2 computer. Power Delivery is not supported in this configuration and bandwidth will be limited to ~ 1375 MB/s.

KeePassXC

KeePassXC is a cross-platform password manager that features AES/Twofish encryption with a 256-bit key, a password generator, auto-type, csv import and database merging, website favicon support, SSH agent integration, and more, including YubiKey challenge-response support, TOTP generation, DEP and ASLR hardening, browser support, and a command-line program. (See EFF article, plus the KeePassXC docs and FAQ for more details.)

KeePassXC 2.5.2 is freely downloadable, open-source donationware for macOS 10.12 and later, plus Linux and Windows. The latest release brings a few fixes, changes and improvements.

KeePassXC-Browser is a plug-in for Google Chrome, Chromium, Firefox and Vivaldi that connects to KeePassXC.

Discussions

Apple migration/software update discussion traces a bizarre update loop back to a BOM bug, describes a bad Time Machine migration fixed by migrating from a clone, and discusses issues involved in migrating from an old iMac to Catalina.

macOS Catalina notes touch on virtualization, sleep bugs, 32-bit software elimination, forced update fiascos, a vexing file-open problem, and more.

MacInTouch Community updates also include the following topics (among others):

Anker USB-C Ethernet adapter

Anker USB C to Ethernet Adapter [Amazon] provides a Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 Mbps) connection for Macs, Windows and Linux computers with USB ports but which may lack Ethernet ports of their own. The device’s  built-in USB-C cable plugs into a host computer USB-C port or you can use it with standard USB 3.0 Type A ports via an inexpensive adapter (e.g Onvian USB C to USB 3.0 adapter). Other features include a compact enclosure with aluminum or space gray exterior and three helpful status indicator lights.

Anker USB C to Ethernet Adapter has a list price of $19.99 but is typically discounted at Amazon. Onvian USB C to USB 3.0 adapters were priced at $4.99 for two, when checked.

BBEdit

BBEdit is a professional HTML and text editor from Bare Bones Software Inc., aimed at web and software developers. Features include pattern matching (“grep”); search and replace across multiple files; the ability to edit columns (in “delimited (CSV, TSV) text files”); function navigation and syntax coloring for numerous source code languages; code folding; text and code completion; FTP and SFTP open and save; AppleScript support and a “text factory”; Unix scripting support and a complete set of HTML markup and clean-up tools.

Version 13 was a major update, first released last fall, that includes “Pattern Playgrounds … for learning, developing and testing regular expression search patterns (‘grep patterns’) in a safe environment” and “live display of both literal and regular expression matching while entering a search string in the Find window”, plus an “Apply Transform command, which provides a powerful, immediate means to apply any single text transformation to multiple files and folders”, among many other improvements.

BBEdit 13.0.3 is priced at $49.99 for macOS 10.14 and later. The BBEdit download runs for 30 days with all features enabled for evaluation and then continues with a reduced feature set free of charge. (The free BBEdit mode replaces BBEdit’s earlier TextWrangler app.)

TextMate

TextMate is a “powerful and customizable text editor” for the Mac from MacroMates Ltd. with support for “a huge list of programming languages”, HTML markup, and general use. Designed to bridge “Unix underpinnings and GUI” to “cherry-pick the best of both worlds to the benefit of expert scripters and novice users alike”, TextMate offers project grouping, window tabs, text folding, macros, text snippets, regular expressions, syntax highlighting, WebKit-based HTML previews, column editing, auto-completion, visual bookmarks, shell commands and much more (see the TextMate 2 manual and “TextMate 2 Basics” posts for more details).

TextMate 2.0.6 is available as a free open-source download for macOS 10.12 and up (and older versions support Mac systems back to Mac OS X 10.4/PowerPC), or it can be purchased at $56.

Coda and Prompt

Coda is a website editing app from Panic Inc. that combines text and HTML editing and validation (with autocompletion, auto-indentation, code folding, dynamic placeholders, preview, etc.); integrated CSS and MySQL editors; site management (with SFTP, WebDAV, and S3 support, Git and SVN support, and one-click publishing); iCloud sync; reference materials; plug-ins and more.

Coda 2.7.5 is priced at $99 for OS X 10.11 and up. The latest version includes updates for macOS Catalina. (Older versions are available to support earlier Macs.)

Coda 2.2.15 is a mobile version, priced at $24.99 for iOS 10 and up, that offers text editing with syntax highlighting, an SSH terminal, SFTP support, file management/sync, find/replace, code clippings, and more.

Prompt 2.6.12 is an SSH client for iOS, priced at $14.99 for iOS 10 and up.

Atom

Atom is a “hackable”, cross-platform text editor from GitHub (now part of Microsoft), built on the Electron framework. Features include multi-pane views, GitHub integration, find/replace, “smart” autocompletion, a file system browser,  built-in package management, user interface themes and the ability to “tweak the look and feel of your UI with CSS/Less, and add major features with HTML and JavaScript.” (See Atom Flight Manual for more detailed documentation.)

Atom 1.42 is a free, open-source download for OS X 10.9 and later, Linux and Windows.

MacVim

MacVim is an enhanced version from Björn Winckler and others of the widely used text editor with its old Unix user interface that predates modern, graphical Macintosh “apps.” In fact, Vim is included in the macOS Unix command-line libraries accessible via Terminal, and MacVim may best serve as a training ground for learning Unix-style editing. Features from Vim include a bullt-in tutorial and a highly customizable/extensible environment, along with comparison and merging of files, extended regular expressions, scripting languages, network support, spell-checking, Unicode support, syntax highlighting, undo/redo history, and quite a bit more. (See the MacVim FAQ and reference manual for more details.)

MacVim 8.1.1722 (157) is freely downloadable charity-ware for OS X 10.8 and later, and Vim also runs on Windows, Linux, VMS, and other operating systems.

Discussions

macOS Catalina notes talk about Apple Books bugs, Dymo label software compatibility, QuickTime 7 elimination and virtualization workarounds, plus Thunderbolt sleep crashes and tips for installing Mojave (or High Sierra) on new Macs that can still run it while shipping with Catalina installed.

MacInTouch Community updates also touch on the following topics (among others):

BusKill

BusKill is a simple system/method from Michael Altfield for protecting your data from laptop thefts, etc.

Let’s consider a scenario: You’re at a public location (let’s say a cafe) while necessarily authenticated into some super important service (let’s say online banking). But what if–after you’ve carefully authenticated–someone snatch-and-runs with your laptop? Maybe you can call your bank to freeze your accounts before they’ve done significant financial harm. Maybe you can’t. Or maybe your laptop was connected to your work VPN. In less than 60 seconds and with the help of a rubber ducky, the thief could literally cause millions of dollars in damages to your organization. Surely there must be some solution to trigger your computer to lock, shutdown, or self-destruct when it’s physically separated from you! There is: I call it BusKill. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find a low-tech solution that implements a laptop kill cord, so I decided to build one myself for ~$20 and a simple udev rule.

Satechi Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard

Satechi’s Compact Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard offers a somewhat rare combination of features: Mac-style keyboard layout, backlighting, compact size with numeric keypad, rechargeable battery, USB-C charging port, and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity with the ability to switch instantly among three different host devices.

Satechi Compact Bluetooth Keyboard [Amazon]  is priced at $79.99 for “2019/2018/2017/2016 MacBook Pro, 2018 MacBook Air, 2018 iPad Pro, 2018 iMac, iMac Pro, iPhone 11 Plus Max/11 Plus/11, XS Max/XS/XR/X, 8 Plus/8, and most 2011 and later macOS devices.”

SpyderPrint

SpyderPrint is a product from Datacolor for creating print calibration profiles with the help of a spectrocolorimeter and cross-platform software. The process involves printing “targets” on your particular printer and paper then using the spectrocolorimeter to scan the printed patches to build an ICC color profile that you add to your system in order to accurately predict and optimize results with that printer/ink/paper combination, from editing and soft-proofing to final output (assuming your display is also calibrated). Other features include a SpyderProof function with “carefully selected” sample images and a variety of controls and options. (See Users Guide [PDF] for more details.)

SpyderPrint (S4SR100) lists for $349 ($344 at Amazon when checked) for OS X 10.7 through macOS 10.12 or Windows. SpyderX Pro is a monitor calibration system from the same company (but you can use a different monitor calibration system instead, if you choose).