Today’s updates to our COVID-19 information and resources page bring continued refinement and organization plus additional items about groceries and packages, virus spread, Icelandic data, smartphone tracking, security issues, deadly misinformation, political power grabs, and more.
Carbon Copy Cloner is an essential Mac app from Bombich Software Inc. that offers reliable backup, restore, cloning and integrity-checking capabilities for the Mac. Features include bootable backup clones, network and disk image support, incremental backups (with optional archiving), scheduling, built-in help/guidance, graceful handling of I/O errors, task history, editing of scheduled tasks, task-chaining for creating more complicated backup schemes, the ability to add a Recovery partition and much more. Version 5 brought APFS support for macOS 10.13 High Sierra and later, along with improvements to SafetyNet, scheduling, task management, restore and more.
Carbon Copy Cloner 5.1.16 is priced at $39.95 for OS X 10.10 and up, with a 30-day trial period and upgrade discounts. (Older downloads are available for earlier Macs.) The latest release addresses some problems with Apple’s macOS 10.15.4 update, among other changes. (See also macOS Catalina Known Issues.)
EtreCheckPro is an essential Mac troubleshooting and security app from Etresoft (John Daniel) that analyzes many hardware and software details and prepares a report (with personal information removed) detailing configuration information and potential problem areas, such as adware infections (which it can remove), potential malware, third-party kernel extensions and launch daemons; Internet plug-ins; processor and memory hogs; virtual memory usage and more.
Features include specific problem reports, categorized as serious or minor, plus extensive information grouped into multiple categories, including things like software installs, Safari extensions, launch agents and daemons, software crashes, etc., plus a report to flag 32-bit apps that will not run in macOS 10.15 Catalina (including Apple’s own QuickTime Player 7 and DVD Player, for example, among many other Mac apps).
EtreCheckPro 6.2.3 is a free download for OS X 10.9 and up. An optional Power User package is available for $14.99, providing richer reports and built-in troubleshooting aids (see below). The latest release includes more macOS Catalina accomodations and other changes.
EtreCheck also provides a Power User in-app purchase that goes beyond the text-based report. It displays a rich, interactive interface that provides links to additional information, charts and graphs, and information to help you learn more about the details of your computer. If you don’t want to post your EtreCheck report publicly, the Power User package can also generate solutions to your computer problems using our AI-driven diagnostic engine. A Solution will include solutions for each major and minor issue, and, in most cases, one or more step-by-step instructions to help you fix your computer problems yourself.
I’ve completely reorganized our COVID-19 page, adding more sections to make information easier to find and process:
Content is also being added and updated frequently, with additions today about face masks, mental health resources, IRS taxes/stimulus, viral spread, and more.
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 …
Discussion topics include the following, among others:
- Apple security – VPN, Bluetooth vulnerabilities
- App Store – updates unreliable
- File systems – foreign filesystems; APFS versions
- Fonts – clean-up fixed crashes
- Internet services – performance tests, wiring issues
- iPads – new LIDAR iPad Pro teardown
- iTunes – app updates broken with iTunes 12
- Mac Pro (classic) – compatibility issues (firmware, CPUs, graphic cards et al)
- MacBook Air – display defects, new model teardown
- Networking – microwave interference; drop-outs, etc.
- macOS Catalina – problems after 10.15.4 update
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.)
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 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 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.)
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 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.
Today’s updates to our coronavirus information and resources page include recommended videos from Dr. David Price and from Dr. Fauci; statistics and data issues; a US stimulus check calculator; free resources; travel restrictions; and more.
In addition to Apple’s security patches for macOS, iOS/iPadOS 13, Safari 13, watchOS 6, tvOS 13 and Xcode, the company also has issued security patches for iOS 12 and watchOS 5 (for devices that don’t support iOS 13), as well as Apple’s Windows software: