Discussions

Storage discussion talks about fusion drive SSD upgrades, an important Samsung EVO 970 Plus firmware fix, Intel’s fusion-type Rapid Storage Technology, and APFS performance issues.

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

SoftRAID

SoftRAID (from Other World Computing Inc.) is a Mac disk formatting, partitioning, testing and management app with full RAID capabilities (RAID 0, 1, 1+0, 4 and 5) on any combination of Thunderbolt, FireWire, eSATA, SCSI, USB, SAS, and Fibre Channel hard drives and SSDs.
Features include bootable mirror volumes, bootable SoftRAID DVDs, fast rebuilding of mirror volumes, a very useful disk certification (testing) feature, SMART data monitoring, email notification of problems, SSD TRIM support (for OS X 10.7 and up), a command-line program (with help), workarounds to protect against Apple macOS kernel bugs, and much more.

SoftRAID 5.8.1 is priced at $179 for OS X 10.7 and up, with a fully-functional 30-day free trial available.
Note that SoftRAID doesn’t currently support Apple’s Core Storage volume format, for FileVault and Fusion drives, and macOS 10.13 (High Sierra)/APFS also needs special workarounds for startup volumes. See also: SoftRAID Compatibility Notes and FAQ.

The latest SoftRAID release follows an Apple bug fix:

New features in version 5.8.1:

• Removes the test to see if the user is running macOS 10.15 with SIP enabled. You can now run the SoftRAID application on macOS 10.15 with SIP enabled. The bug, in macOS 10.15, which caused SIP to be incompatible with SoftRAID, is fixed in macOS 10.15.1.

SoftRAID Lite is a personal version of the app, with RAID-0 and RAID-1 capabilities, disk health monitoring and many of the other features of the professional version, but not support for higher RAID levels (4, 5 and 1+0), email notifications nor Terminal commands. Customer support is via the Internet for SoftRAID Lite, while the professional version includes direct phone support.
SoftRAID Lite is priced at $49 with a free trial available. Direct phone support is a $99 option for the Lite version.

Full SoftRAID functionality for Apple’s new APFS file system (which was introduced in an undocumented version with macOS 10.13 and then revised and made mandatory with macOS 10.14 Mojave) is due in 2020:

SoftRAID 6.0 will be fully compatible with APFS disks and volumes. You’ll be able to create and manage APFS volumes and SoftRAID 6.0 will also offer extra functionality to allow you to further manipulate APFS volumes. At the same time you’ll still get all SoftRAID’s great existing functionality, whether you’re working with APFS or HFS formatted disks. If you are interested in finding out more about SoftRAID 6.0 beta please contact support@softraid.com.

CalDigit Thunderbolt docks

TS3 Plus (Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus) is a Thunderbolt 3 dock from CalDigit Inc. that features dual Thunderbolt 3 ports, DisplayPort 1.2, Gigabit Ethernet, audio in, audio out, USB 3 ports, a 10Gbps USB-C port, a 5Gbps USB-C port, and S/PDIF digital audio output, along with an SD card reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II) and a bundled Thunderbolt 3 cable, with up to 85W power delivery.
  Display support includes 5K at 60 Hz (via the Thunderbolt 3 port) or dual 4K monitor capability (plus support for HDMI and DVI via optional adapter cables).
  CalDigit TS3 Plus is priced at $279.99 [Amazon] with a 0.7m 40Gbps Thunderbolt cable.

Thunderbolt 3 mini Docks are CalDigit’s bus-powered devices with a built-in Thunderbolt 3 cable and either dual HDMI 2.0 or dual DisplayPort 1.2 connectors (supporting 4K 60Hz displays) plus Gigabit Ethernet, and a USB 3.0 port (plus USB 2.0 on the HDMI version).
  Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock Dual DisplayPort is priced at $129.99 ($119.99 at Amazon when checked).
  Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock Dual HDMI is priced at $139.99 ($129.99 at Amazon when checked).

OWC Ministack

OWC Ministack is the latest iteration of a Mac Mini-matched storage system from MacSales.com that has the same dimensions to fit neatly beneath the computer, connecting via 5Gbps USB 3 and holding a single SATA drive internally – either 2.5″ or 3.5″ (hard drive or SSD). The aluminum enclosure contains a “whisper quiet” fan.

OWC Ministack is priced from $79.88 for a bare enclosure sans drive to $599.99 with a 14TB, 7200RPM hard drive.

Discussions

MacInTouch Community discussions include the following current topics, among others:

 

Capture One 20

Capture One Pro, from Phase One A/S, is a cross-platform photography app designed with professional features that include optimized profiles for individual cameras and lenses, raw conversion, digital asset management (DAM), tethered capture, extensive image processing tools, plus performance optimizations (including OpenCL support), Photoshop “round-tripping” (with layered PSD files), masking, annotations, user interface customization, extended AppleScript support, and more. (See user guide and tutorials for details.)

Capture One 20, a new version, brings even better high-ISO noise reduction, a new High Dynamic Range tool, layer and mask copying between images, DNG file support, a new color editor, a variety of other improvements and support for additional cameras and lenses.

Capture One Pro 20.0.1 is priced at $299 for macOS 10.13 and up (or Windows) with a free 30-day trial, or as a $24/mo. subscription. Upgrades start at $159. (There are also $129 versions ($16/mo.) specific to just Sony or Fujifilm cameras, plus free Capture One Express versions for Sony and Fujifilm with fewer features.)

We’re on a new platform now.

I have now migrated MacInTouch to a new publishing platform (which hasn’t been at all easy…).

Please let me know right away if you encounter any problems.

We have seen browser security alerts with subdomains, e.g. www.macintouch.com, but not for macintouch.com, which should work OK.

Some browsers seem fine with the certificate situation (e.g. Chrome, Safari), while others (Firefox) are fussing over it.

I’ve now purchased a security certificate that’s supposed to cover all subdomains (*.macintouch.com). The certificates don’t seem to be completely operational yet, but I’m hoping they will get the job done soon.

Ric Ford

Discussions

Adobe security discussion warns of a nasty deception with Adobe Reader and Adobe Acrobat claiming everything is up to date and secure while users are actually exposed to critical vulnerabilities!

MacInTouch Community discussions also include the following topics, among recent updates and others:

Apple notarization warning

Apple warns about upcoming notarization demands in macOS 10.15 “Catalina” for third-party software:

Update to Notarization Prerequisites

In June, we announced that all Mac software distributed outside the Mac App Store must be notarized by Apple in order to run by default on macOS Catalina. …

If you haven’t yet done so, upload your software to the notary service and review the developer log for warnings. These warnings will become errors starting February 3 and must be fixed in order to have your software notarized. Software notarized before February 3 will continue to run by default on macOS Catalina.

As a reminder, all installer packages must be signed since they may contain executable code. Disk images do not need to be signed, although signing them can help your users verify their contents.

Sonnet M.2 4×4 PCIe card

Sonnet M.2 4×4 is a full-length, full-height PCIe card that can host up to four M.2 SSDs, which can be combined for extremely high performance. The card offers an X16 interface to the PCIe 3.0 bus with x4 bandwidth for each M.2 2280 NVMe SSD, promising extremely high performance via software RAID configurations in appropriate host systems, such as the 2019 Mac Pro. A single (non-RAID) SSD can function as a boot drive. The card is compatible with Thunderbolt PCIe expansion chassis, though maximum performance is restricted by Thunderbolt’s bandwidth limits, and similar restrictions apply to PCIe 2 slots.

Sonnet M.2 4×4 [Amazon link] is due to ship Jan. 2, 2020, list-priced at $399.99 (sans SSDs) for host computers with appropriate PCIe slots running macOS 10.13 and later, Linux Kernel 5 and later, or Windows 10.

Discussions

Apple discussion talks at length about possibilities and issues involved in Apple converting Mac hardware and software to ARM processors instead of Intel CPUs, including notes about issues with Windows on Microsoft’s new ARM-based Surface Pro X laptop, past Apple platform conversions and emulators, developer perspectives, and cloud computing, plus potential benefits for Apple in converting its data centers from Intel to ARM systems.

macOS Catalina notes offer tips about virtualization (for compatibility) and discuss QuickTime 7 elimination and alternatives, APFS and its performance problems with hard drives, broken camera software, and problems with clean installs.

MacInTouch Community discussions also include the following current topics, among others: