Current topics of discussion include the following:
Recent discussions include the following topics:
- Adobe – font problems and Catalina
- Apple – future Macs getting Apple (ARM) CPUs
- Apple security – Message text bomb; Apple Mail zero-day
- iPhone SE 2020 – documentation, reviews, teardowns etc.
- Linux – Ubuntu 20.04 LTS brings ZFS
- MacBook Pro – left side charging heat/CPU overload
- MS Office – Autoupdate issues, Silverlight plugin
- macOS Catalina – kernel extensions, Mac Mini
- Quicken – experiences, bloat, securities, etc.
- Storage – SMR (“shingled”) hard drive details
- Web conferencing – Doxy.me (HIPAA compliant)
Darktable is a photo processing app from the open-source Darktable team that presents a virtual light-table and darkroom, along with a database for managing digital images, raw conversion and non-destructive editing.
Other features include a modular extension system, geotagging and map views, metadata editing, labels and ratings, slideshows, printing, Lua-based scripting, tethered shooting, and much more. (See the Darktable manual, camera support and FAQ pages for more information.)
Among the new major features (the list is huge):
- A brand new GUI, more modern, fully redesigned and customizable via GTK+ CSS rules. There is no more size, color, fixed position in the Gtk C darktable code. This version already comes with several themes.
- A new culling mode on the lighttable. It displays a fixed number of consecutive images starting from the first selected (or a set of selected images), and allows you to pan & zoom them. The number of displayed images can be set by the user, and they can be navigated with the mouse wheel and keyboard. Finally, it provides a comparison mode of images often requested.
- A new timeline view, making it possible to select a date range to display related images
balenaEtcher is a cross-platform utility from Resin.io for installing (“burning”) disk images onto USB flash drives and SD cards (e.g. for building bootable Ubuntu or Elementary OS Linux systems). Features include integrity checking, quick operation and a friendly interface.
• A MacBook Pro probably can’t boot from its built-in SD card slot, but an SD card can be inserted into an external USB card reader for booting.
• Some Linux distributions (e.g. Elementary OS, Ubuntu) may work, while others may not.
• The terminal command diskutil list may be helpful for getting info about a Linux drive that’s invisible to the Mac Finder.
• Related/alternative utilities include Fedora MediaWriter , UNetbootin, ImageBurner and the dd Unix program, plus rEFInd and rEFIt.
MacInTouch discussions include the following topics today:
MuseScore is a professional music notation program that’s cross-platform and open-source. In addition to a full set of notation and formatting feature, text support, and MIDI import/conversion, MuseScore offers playback capabilities with a mixer, MIDI output, synthesizer, and SoundFont samples. For getting started, there’s a Startup Wizard Tour feature along with a library of video tutorials. Other features include support for MusicXML files, early music, fretboard diagrams, keyboard shortcuts, and much more. (See the MuseScore 3 Handbook for more information.)
Linux discussion includes Chromebook conversion issues, better alternatives (new and used), issues with a new Dell Inspiron, and Linux workarounds with MacBook Pro graphics failures.
MacInTouch Community updates also discuss the following topics (among others):
- 2019 Mac Pro – weak graphics (and gaming) vs. iGPUs
- Adobe/alternatives – font issues, Affinity Publisher IDML import
- Audio – Sonos “recycling” issues, sandboxing
- Apple Messages – sync follies and confusion
- Competition – Intel NUC 9 Extreme (“Ghost Canyon”)
- Input devices – great, old Contour Mouse, alternatives
- iPhones – battery charge indicator bugs
- macOS Catalina – Dymo software, Finder-related problems
- Photography – SmugMug, hosting alternatives/issues
- Tax software – macOS version compatibility confusions
- Thunderbolt – Bluetooth interference with long Thunderbolt cable
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):
- 2019 Mac Pro – real-world performance tests
- Apple Mail – PostCheck plug-in
- Apple Messages – sync/sound problems
- Audio – Sonos follies
- Benchmarking – Geekbench changes score confusion
- Displays – Apple Thunderbolt Display failures workaround
- Competition – new Dell laptops
- iPhones – GPS failure, replacement iPhone, setup problems
- Linux – introduction/tutorial; photo software (GIMP, Darktable etc.)
- Migration – 2009 iMac upgrade
- PDF issues – security/update problems; compatibility issues/options
- Photography – web hosting options?
- Safari – style sheet bugs
- Security – more IoT camera security problems (Xiaomi, Google Nest)
- Tax software – sale prices
Reaper is a cross-platform app from Cockos Inc. for multi-track audio and MIDI recording, editing, processing, mixing, and mastering. Features include multi-source recording, non-destructive editing of audio “in almost any imaginable way”, track layering, hundreds of audio and MIDI effects, support for all kinds of hardware and plug-ins, track metering, automation, pitch shifting, a project management “bay”, customizable user interface, and “the highly flexible ReaSurround plug-in – apply rotations, transformations, and diffusions, and even automate the positions of the speakers themselves.” (See Reaper user guide [PDF], Quick Start [PDF] and other resources for more details.)
Reaper 6.0.2 is priced at $60 for personal use ($225 for commercial use) and downloads support Mac OS X 10.5 (!) through macOS 10.15, as well as Windows and Linux (“experimental builds”) and the WINE environment. The download is “a free, fully functional 60-day evaluation. No registration or personal details are required.”
Shairport Sync is software from Mike Brady (building on the original work of James Laird and others) that functions as an AirPlay wireless audio player – “it plays audio streamed from iTunes, iOS, Apple TV and macOS devices and AirPlay sources such as Quicktime Player and ForkedDaapd, among others.” (It does not support video or photo streaming, however.)
Features include full audio synchronization – “it stays synchronised with the source and hence with similar devices playing the same source. In this way, synchronised multi-room audio is possible for players that support it, such as iTunes and the macOS Music app.” The software also handles Apple ALAC decoding, high bit rates and frame rates, metadata delivery, and more.
Shairport Sync is freely downloadable open-source software for Linux, Raspberry Pi, OpenBSD and other Unix-based systems. A Mac HomeBrew package is available but lacks synchronization capability.
Adobe and alternatives discussion continues with lots more about scripting and related issues, plus InDesign document conversion and archiving.
MacInTouch Community updates touch on the following topics, as well:
- 2019 Mac Pro – rack-mount model, accessory/upgrade pricing
- Apple Mail – bug apparently fixed by Catalina update
- Apple quality/security – more bad documentation
- Data recovery – accidental RAID erase sans backup…
- Help please – 2009 MacBook and High Sierra?
- iOS 13 – forced, unwanted updates
- Linux – iPad remote/terminal options; security issues
- macOS Catalina – AppleScript/resource fork issues; bug fix; TechTool Pro
- Old systems – Pascal, compilers, interpreters, etc.; hard drive heads
- Raspberry Pi etc. – VPN server, Arduino, glory days
- Security – solar systems