Little Snitch

Little Snitch is privacy/firewall software for the Mac from Objective Development Software GmbH that monitors network activity and gives you control and visibility for data leaving your computer via network connections. Features include connection alerts with flexible blocking of outgoing traffic, including on-the-fly control, rules-based configuration (with several aids) and configuration profiles (e.g. for different locations or networks); DNS name based traffic filtering; network monitoring displays and snapshots (with details about traffic, history, hostnames, ports, geographic locations, etc., plus packet capture in PCAP format); an inbound firewall; a “research assistant” database to help identify networks and activities; and much more.

Little Snitch 4.5 is priced at $45 for OS X 10.11 and up. A demo mode functions for three hours at a time, for 30 days. (Little Snitch legacy versions support Mac OS X 10.2 and up.) The most recent release “brings new features and improvements requested by users, after a few months of focussing on compatibility with macOS Catalina.” (Install the current version before updating to Catalina.)

Redesigned Research Assistant in Connection Alert …
Improvements in Network Monitor …
Improvements in Little Snitch Configuration …
General improvements and fixes …

Discussions

Discussion topics include the following, among others:

Jitsi

Jitsi is open-source, cross-platform video conferencing software from 8×8 Inc. that offers an alternative to Zoom, Skype, etc. Features include encryption, password protection, chat, desktop sharing, simple meeting invitations, telephone dial-in/dial-out, recording, simulcasting, WebRTC support, plus “lower latency, better quality and, if you are running your own service, a much more scalable and inexpensive solution” and more. (See Jitsi FAQ, Jitsi Projects, a news post and an installation guide for more details.)

Jitsi is free, open-source software with a Jitsi Meet online service that supports Chromium-based browsers (e.g. Google Chrome), as well as clients for macOS, iOS, Linux, Windows, and Android.

Jitsi Meet server software is available in open-source downloads for Debian/Ubuntu systems and also for Docker.

 

Cyberduck

Cyberduck is a cross-platform file transfer program from David Kocher with support for FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, Rackspace and Google clouds, OpenStack Swift, and more. Features include resumable uploads and downloads, file deletion and renaming, permission setting, Cryptomator vault support, Quick Look previews, external editor support, file synchronization, bookmarking, international language support, SSH features, OS X Keychain support, Gzip compression and more. A Transcript window lets you select a previous operation and easily repeat it (e.g. synchronizing local and remote folders), which can save time and trouble.

CyberDuck 7.3.0 is freely downloadable, open-source donationware for OS X 10.8 and up, as well as Windows, supported by donations and a $23.99 Mac App Store version. (See also: Mountain Duck, a product for mounting server and cloud storage as a virtual disk in the Finder.)

The latest version of Cyberduck brings support for Cryptomator Vault 7 format and for TLS 1.3, bookmark labels and other improvements.

macOS Catalina Patcher

macOS Catalina Patcher is a Mac app from Collin Mistr (dosdude1) that makes it possible to run macOS Catalina 10.15 on some older Macs that Apple does not support for its new operating system: Early-2008 or newer Mac Pro and Xserve, iMac, or MacBook Pro; Late-2008 or newer MacBook Air or Aluminum Unibody MacBook; and Early-2009 or newer Mac Mini or MacBook.

The app needs an Apple macOS Catalina installer (about 7 Gbytes) to start, which it can download, then it offers to install directly on a Mac drive or create a bootable installer (on a USB flash drive, DVD-R or as an ISO image for a virtual machine), and it automatically patches the installer to work on the Apple-abandoned hardware. (See tutorial video for more details.)

macOS Catalina Patcher 1.3.5 is freely downloadable donationware for the specified hardware, with certain caveats.

AMD/ATI Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx series graphics acceleration: Currently, it is not possible to achieve full graphics acceleration under Catalina on any machines that use a Radeon HD 5xxx or 6xxx series GPU. If you have a machine with one of these GPUs installed, I’d advise upgrading it if possible (can be done in 2010/2011 iMacs, iMac11,x-12,x), disabling the dedicated GPU if using a 2011 15″ or 17″ MacBook Pro (MacBookPro8,2/8,3, instructions to do so can be found here), or not installing Catalina. Running Catalina without full graphics acceleration will result in extremely poor system performance.

QEMU

QEMU is a high-performance, cross-platform “machine emulator and virtualizer” that can emulate PowerPC systems, among others, launch a variety of operating systems (including classic Mac OS and modern OS X), emulate FPU and MMU hardware, as well as multiprocessors, and take advantage of in-kernal accelerators (e.g. KVM in Linux). (See QEMU documentation and links plus OSX-KVM for more details.)

QEMU 4.2.0 is open-source software, freely downloadable for OS X 10.7 and up, Linux, or Windows. (Version 5 is also available in “release candidate” status.)

When used as a machine emulator, QEMU can run OSes and programs made for one machine (e.g. an ARM board) on a different machine (e.g. your own PC). By using dynamic translation, it achieves very good performance. When used as a virtualizer, QEMU achieves near native performance by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU. QEMU supports virtualization when executing under the Xen hypervisor or using the KVM kernel module in Linux. When using KVM, QEMU can virtualize x86, server and embedded PowerPC, 64-bit POWER, S390, 32-bit and 64-bit ARM, and MIPS guests.

BitLocker Anywhere & NTFS for Mac

BitLocker Anywhere For Mac, from China-based Hasleo Software (née “EasyUEFI”) promises to “encrypt drives with BitLocker Drive Encryption, decrypt BitLocker-encrypted drives, change password for BitLocker-encrypted drives, export BitLocker Recovery Key & Startup Key, mount and unmount BitLocker encrypted drive, open, read and write BitLocker-encrypted drives or BitLocker To Go drives in macOS & OS X.”

BitLocker Anywhere For Mac is priced at $39.95 (currently $29.95) for OS X 10.7 and later, with an unsigned installer offered as a free 15-day trial.

Hasleo NTFS for Mac is software for full access to the standard Windows filesystem to “mount, unmount, read and write NTFS drives easily, safely and seamlessly in macOS & OS X.” (Apple only offers read access to NTFS volumes.)

Hasleo NTFS for Mac 3.4 is a free download for OS X 10.7 and later.

Logic Pro X

Logic Pro X is Apple’s professional music production app, which includes multiple recording tracks with a mixer and automation and punch in/out; collections of instruments, effects and loops; pitch and tempo manipulation; iPad remote control; a score editor; MIDI support; virtual drummers; sampling; arpeggiation; a guitar/bass amp designer; Audio Unit plug-in support; XML import/export to Final Cut X; export to Sound Cloud; and more.

Logic Pro X 10.4.8 is priced at $199.99 and requires macOS 10.13 or later. The latest release brings more bug fixes, and Apple is currently offering a free 90-day trial period in return for your name and email address.

Final Cut Pro X

Final Cut Pro X 10.4.8 is Apple’s flagship video post-production app for Macs (but not iPads), priced at $299.99 for macOS 10.14 or later and optimized for Apple’s 2019 Mac Pro. Apple is currently offering a 90-day free trial in return for your name and email address.

Compressor 4.4.6, a $49.99 companion app, provides encoding, compression, conversion and packaging features, also optimized for the 2019 Mac Pro, with its 28-core CPU option and Radeon Pro Vega II graphics hardware.

Motion 5.4.5 is another $49.99 companion app, used for creating motion graphics, and is also optimized for the new Mac Pro.