Uninstall Iriun Webcam
Iriun Web Camera on the Mac is a bit of a pain to uninstall. Utilities like AppCleaner will not completely uninstall all the Iriun as it doesn't know about the services that run in the background, which will continue to run the background of your computer regardless if it's uninstalled or not.
Fire up Activity monitor, and search for iriun, and force quit any tasks it has operating (there should be at least two).
Next, you'll need to delete the following (this will be from the library located at the root of your boot volume, not in your /Users/ ):
These will likely require your admin password to delete. That's it. Enjoy your Iriun free life as it'll stop popping up as an input option.
The Definitive Trashcan Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013) Upgrade Guide
- Know your Mac Pro Models
- CPU Upgrades
- GPU Upgrades
- OS Upgrades & OpenCore
- Firmware Upgrades
- Storage Upgrades
- RAM/Memory Upgrades
- ThunderBolt 2 to PCIe
- Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1c
To mark the first anniversary of my wildly successful blog post (garnering tens of thousands of views), The Definitive Classic Mac Pro (2006-2012) Upgrade Guide, I'm proud to announce a sequel. The Definitive Trash can Mac Pro 2013 upgrade guide started in jest on social media as the guide no one wanted, but there is a surprising depth the upgrades. The 2013 Mac Pro is a tale of hubris for Apple, as it over-promised and under-delivered and is considerably less upgradeable than its predecessor. Is there a need or demand for such a guide? I don't know, but here we are, and while the origins are jocular, the rest of this guide is serious. While most users (and Apple engineers) probably prefer moniker "cylinder," the trash can title stuck due to its obvious physical characteristics.
The Mac Pro 2013 has the dubious honor as the longest-produced Macintosh, besting the Macintosh Plus produced from 1986 to 1990 without an upgrade. The 2013 Mac Pro was conceived as the original Mac Pro's successor, eschewing the modularity for a (debatably) stylish and radical redesign. After a few positive reactions by publications for its foreign looks, it quickly became snubbed for its lack of upgradability, stability, and Apple's complete and absolute antipathy (verging on enmity) towards it.
The Mac Pro 2013 has been prone to an abnormal rate of failures due to heat, with a nameless Apple exec quoted as saying, "think we designed ourselves into a bit of a thermal corner if you will". Apple also took steps to extend its repair program, but problems persist. Despite the naysayers, the Mac Pro 2013 isn't without its fans (no pun intended), as at the time of its unveiling, it was a powerful, quirky computer in a diminutive form factor. Despite its limited upgradability, the computer is a modular design, and nearly ever significant part can be replaced. Only the 2019 Mac Pro since it has allowed for the range of user serviceability of the 2013 (although the iMac 5k is a close second). It's the bridge to a bygone era where CPUs and storage, and even GPUs were removable.
Perhaps the 2019 Mac Pro a return to PCIe, but more than likely, 2013 will be the template.. Edit: The Mac Pro 2019 marks an expensive return to PCIe.
Know your Mac Pro Models
The Mac Pro line debuted in 2006 and has had seven major iterations by Apple's nomenclature, 1.1, 2.1, 3.1, 4.1, 5.1, 6.1 and the mighty 7,1. These are also generally referred to by the year 2006 (1.1, 2,1), less commonly 2007 (2,1), 2008 (3,1), 2009 (4,1), 2010-2012 (5,1), 2013 (6,1) and the 2019 (7,1). The other terms for these computers are divided between "Cheesegrater" (2006-2012), "Trash can" (late 2013) or "Cylinder," and "expensive" likely the most attached adjective to the Mac Pro 2019. For this guide's purpose, I will refer to the Mac Pro as "trash can" as the 2013 (as does much of the internet). Please note This guide only covers the 2013 Mac Pro.
Please note This guide only covers the 2013 Mac Pro. For all other models, I've written a massive guide, The Definitive Classic Mac Pro (2006-2012) Upgrade Guide and a budding Mac Pro 2019 Upgrade Guide.
Apple has only shipped a grand total of 3 base configurations with a fourth build-to-order option for the 12-core CPU. Apple has only made one minor change in the past six years to the Mac Pro 2013 by removing the original base configuration and lowering the remaining models' prices.
- Apple Mac Pro "Quad Core" 3.7 GHz, 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB SSD, and dual FirePro D300 2 GB of GDDR5 (4 GB total). Discontinued April 4, 2017,*
- Apple Mac Pro "Six Core" 3.5 GHz, 12 GB of RAM (16 GB after April 4th), 256 GB SSD, and dual FirePro D500 3 GB of GDDR5 (6 GB total). Discontinued April 4, 2017,*
- Apple Mac Pro "Eight Core" 3.0 GHz, 12 GB of RAM (16 GB after April 4th), 2256 GB SSD, and dual FirePro D500 6 GB of GDDR5 (12 GB total).
- Apple Mac Pro "Twelve Core"* 2.7 GHz, 12 GB of RAM (16 GB after April 4th), 256 GB SSD, and dual FirePro D500 6 GB of GDDR5 (12 GB total). This is a build-to-order option only.
Apple has never acknowledged the upgradeability of the Mac Pro CPU, but the Mac Pro 2013's CPU is not soldered, thus making it upgradeable. Only four CPU configurations were offered by Apple, E5-1620v2, E5-1650v2, E5-1680v2, and the E5-2697v2, but users soon discovered that the E5 v2 family was compatible. Unlike the previous Mac Pros, the Mac Pro 2013 was only offered in a single CPU configuration.
From personal observation, the E5-2697 can be found cheaper on eBay, and local used markets (in the US) vs. the E5-2695 is considerably cheaper on aliexpress. This varies based on your local markets, as the European markets tend to be much more expensive than North America.
Credit to the CPU list goes to Mac Rumors forum member ActionableMango.
Architecture Cores CPU-Model GHz Turbo RAM Watt Ivy-Bridge 12 core E5-2697 V2 2.7 3.5 1866 130W Ivy-Bridge 12 core E5-2696 V2 2.5 3.3 1866 130W Ivy-Bridge 12 core E5-2695 V2 2.4 3.2 1866 115W Ivy-Bridge 10 core E5-2690 V2 3.0 3.6 1866 130W Ivy-Bridge 10 core E5-2680 V2 2.8 3.6 1866 115W Ivy-Bridge 8 core E5-2687W V2 3.4 4.0 1866 150W Ivy-Bridge 8 core E5-2667 V2 3.3 4.0 1866 130W Ivy-Bridge 8 core E5-2673 V2 3.3 4.0 1866 110W Ivy-Bridge 8 core E5-1680 V2 3.0 3.9 1866 130W Ivy-Bridge 6 core E5-1660 V2 3.7 4.0 1866 130W Ivy-Bridge 6 core E5-1650 V2 3.5 3.9 1866 130W Ivy-Bridge 4 core E5-1620 V2 3.7 3.9 1866 130W
Yes, the Mac Pro's GPUs can be swapped out, but only three different GPUs were ever produced for it, the AMD FirePro D300 2 GB, D500 3 GB, or D700 6 GB. Apple has kept tight control on these (any official repairs require the GPUs to be returned to Apple), and thus few-to-none exist on the aftermarket, and the two higher GPUs are prone to failures thanks to a wattage ceiling. For most intents and purposes, it is cheaper to buy a Mac Pro 2013 than to track down two GPUs. Apple discontinued the entry-level Mac Pro 2013 that sported the D300. All-new Mac Pros sold after April 4th, 2017, have either a D500 or D700.
For other GPU options, see the eGPU section.
The Mac Pro 2013 was supported on macOS 12 Monterey. It does not support Sidecar. Currently,
OpenCore is a work in progress, fairly stable to get the Mac Pro 2013s up and running macOS 13 Ventura. For the latest information see, OpenCore Legacy Patcher and MacRumors: macOS 13 Ventura on Unsupported Macs Thread
The Mac Pro 2013s do not support AVX2 CPU instructions which may create some incompatibilities with certain software.
The Mac Pro 2013 has had a few firmware upgrades. Unlike previous Mac Pros, where a firmware upgrade allowed for faster CPUs/RAM, AFPS, and NVMe booting for certain models, the Mac Pro 2013 has been meager. The MP61.0120.B00 boot ROM included support for NVMe booting (found in the High Sierra update). Most recently, the boot ROM version 188.8.131.52.0 was included in the 10.14.4 Developer Preview. With some firmware upgrades, some users found 4k displays no longer supporting 60 Hz, which requires an SMC reset and removing the offending PLists. See the useful links below. Previously the updates were distributed separately from the OS , but in 10.13+. they have been distributed with OS.
- 10.14.2: 127.0.0.0.0
- 10.14.4: 184.108.40.206.0 - removes requirement for Apple SSDs to perform firmware upgrade
- 10.14.6: 220.127.116.11.0
- 10.15.3: 18.104.22.168.0
- 10.15.4: 22.214.171.124.0
- 10.15.5: 126.96.36.199.0
- 10.15.6: 188.8.131.52.0
- 10.11.1: 4184.108.40.206.0
- 12.4 4220.127.116.11.0 - Sleep wake panic fixed
Notable, some users cannot update the bootrom without the Apple SSD. It's recommended to hang onto the original SSD with a copy of MacOS to perform Firmware updates.
To check your firmware version, go to About This Mac -> System Report. It will be listed on the first screen under Boot Rom.
- Apple.com: Mac Pro EFI 2.0 (released Dec 19, 2013) - This update improves system reliability during reboot, resolves an issue with memory self-test, and improves graphics power management when using Boot Camp.
- Apple.com: Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update 2.0 (released Feb 26, 2014) - This update enables Mac Pro to enter Power Nap without running the fan for most Power Nap activities, and addresses a rare issue where a low-speed USB device may not be detected at boot.
- MacRumors: Fixing Monitor no longer does 4k@60 High Sierra
There's a large number of external storage upgrades for the Mac Pro 2013, from USB 2.0/3.0 to ThunderBolt 2.0, and listing them all would be an exercise in futility. What's important to understand is that there are many multi-drive enclosures, spanning everything from RAID to multiple SSDs. External SSDs perform well in Thunderbolt 2, able to achieve roughly 1.2 GB/s depending on the storage solution in various tests.
Internally, The Mac Pro does feature one SSD slot, using a custom Apple SSD running at PCIe 2.0 x4, capable of a maximum of 2 GB/s. Very few native third-party solutions exist, but they are out there by makers like OWC and Transintl.
That said... users have figured out how to shoe-horn NVMe drives in the Mac Pro, offering higher-tier performance and much better prices. Unfortunately, no one has taken the time to compile a list, so the known so far are: Samsung 960, Samsung 970 Pro, Toshiba XG3, and Crucial P1. Samsung released a firmware fix for certain models as well, including the 970 Pro.
The Mac Pro 2013 uses the same interface as the 2013-2015 MacBooks. There's a cottage economy of NVMe adapters now floating around. The first adapters that users tackled, such as the GFF M.2 PCIe SSD Card, required a bit of filing and tape to successfully mount the card, which users on MacRumors were able to pull off. NVMe with ST-NGFF2013-C; Vega Internal GPU; Mac Pro 2013 (6,1). Later adapters like the Sintech NGFF m.2 NVMe SSD adapter do not require modification. The quick summary is you'll need a Mac Pro running 10.13+, an adapter, and an NVMe SSD with a Sintech adapter. If you, for some reason, choose the GFF adapter, you'll need tape, a file, and some free time.
Currently, the only vector for multiple M.2 NVMe drives internally is the Amfeltec Angelshark Carrier Board. This keeps the original port intact and thus allows for three internal NVMe drives.
Working SSD list
This list is from MacRumors by the user maxthackray, so all credit goes to him. Generally, it can be assumed that NVMe drives will work long as they do not use 4k sectors by default.
- Adata NVMe SSD : SX6000, SX7000, SX8200, SX8200 Pro etc.
- Corsair NVMe SSD : MP500, MP510
- Crucial NVMe SSD : P1
- HP NVMe SSD : ex920, ex950
- OCZ RD400 (and all Toshiba XG3-XG4-XG5-XG5p-XG6 line)
- Intel NVMe SSD : 600p, 660p, 760p etc.
- MyDigital NVMe SSDs : SBX - BPX
- Kingston NVMe SSD : A1000, A2000, KC1000
- Sabrent Rocket
- Samsungs Polaris NVMe SSD : 960 Evo, 960 Pro, 970 Evo, 970 Pro
- WD Black NVMe SSD v1, v2 and v3
Drives in red require, NVMe drives with 4K sector sizes which require changing.
- Samsung PM981
- Samsung 950 Pro
- Samsung 970 Evo Plus*
*Firmware update fixes this particular SSD, it should be regarded as working unless buying used.
- ifixit: Mac Pro 2013 SSD replacement
- NVMe with ST-NGFF2013-C; Vega Internal GPU; Mac Pro 2013 (6,1)
- MacRumors: Upgrading 2013/2014 Macbook Pro SSD to M.2 NVMe
- Everymac: How do you upgrade the storage in the Gray Cylinder Mac Pro models? How many drives of what type are supported?
- Apple.com: Mac Pro (Late 2013): Removing and installing flash storage
Officially most sites list the maximum ram for the 2013 as 128. The Mac Pro 2013 uses PC3-15000 DDR3 ECC (1866 MHz) RAM, 4 RAM slots. The Maximum DIMM size is 32 GB. Maxing out the RAM can be a somewhat pricey endeavor, but sites like aliexpress and eBay.
Upgrading to 128, however lowers the bus speed so most users elect to use 64 GB.
ThunderBolt 2 to PCIe
There's a fair amount of options today on the market, like the Sonnet Technologies Echo Express SE1 - 1 PCIe Slot (roughly $200), and it scales up rather quickly.
The biggest modifications to the Mac Pro 2013 aren't internal but rather massive PCIe enclosures that generally cost in the $1500-4000 range, making them often as expensive as the computer itself. There are a few options on the market, like the Sonnet xMac Pro Server, which adds three full-length PCIe slots (you can see it on youtube), and the absolutely absurd JMR Quad Slot Expander adding 4 PCIe slots and 8 drive bay just to name a few. For the truly curious, you can see the JMR expansion system innards.
Not all PCIe enclosures support eGPUs. I've included in the eGPU section is a list of enclosures that support GPUs.
Additional Notes on Thunderbolt 2
There's a wide variety of Thunderbolt 2 products, chiefly storage systems (including RAID setups), and ThunderBolt 2 docks still on the market. Due to the sheer amount, I'm unable to list them all, but it's important to remember that a fair amount of functionality missing from the 2013 Mac pro can be recaptured with Thunderbolt 2 like previously mentioned, PCIe slots, eGPUs, and the like.
The Mac Pro 2013 to date includes six Thunderbolt ports, the most found on any Mac before or since. To obtain peak performance, it's recommended that displays be connected separately from other high bandwidth utilities like external storage.
The Mac Pro 2013 can drive three 4k displays or six 2560 x 1600 displays, and with the June 16, 2015 firmware update, three 5k displays (using two ThunderBolt ports and the HDMI port) internally.
Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1c
The Mac Pro 2013 can't be upgraded to Thunderbolt 3 bus speeds, but that doesn't mean it can't use Thunderbolt 3 / USB 3.1c devices (at the speed of Thunderbolt 2). Apple has a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) to Thunderbolt 2 Adapter, which is bi-directional, meaning the same adapter can also be used for Thunderbolt 3 Macs to use Thunderbolt 2 devices. Notably, not all Thunderbolt 3 devices are backward compatible, so you may want to check with the manufacturer for compatibility.
It's nearly impossible to talk about the Mac Pro 2013 without mentioning eGPUs. Mac OS now supports AMD eGPUs (almost) natively and macOS 10.14.x does not allow for modern nVidia support making it nearly a one-way path in eGPU. NVidia support for later eGPUs is limited to a maximum of Mac OS 10.13.x, and that does not appear to be changing due to a disagreement between Apple and NVidia. Unless this changes, this guide will not list Mojave incompatible NVidia eGPUs, despite the later GPUs being supported in Mac OS 10.12.x and 10.13.x. Currently, the RX (580x, 570x) line and the Vega (Vega, 48, 56, FE ) line by AMD are Mojave compatible, and the Keppler line by NVidia is Mojave compatible. The eGPU.io community has a searchable database. If going for an eGPU, I highly recommend upgrading to Mac OS 10.13+ as it includes more native support, thus much easier to set up, to the point of being (nearly) plug and play.
Note: All Thunderbolt 2 Macs require disabling SIP and running Purge Wrangler to enable eGPU support.
Lastly, Catalina requires some changes with eGPUs, and I highly recommend epgu.io - State of EGPU for Macs - Catalina 10.15, the short answer is PurgeWrangler continues to be the most common vector for support.
Note: Minimum OS list required may not be correct, please contact me if incorrect
AMD GPU Min OS Support Supports Metal R7 260X 10.12 - Curr Yes R9 270 10.12 - Curr Yes R9 280X 10.12 - Curr Yes R9 290X 10.12 - Curr Yes R9 380 10.12 - Curr Yes R9 380x 10.12 - Curr Yes R9 390 Requires hack Yes R9 Fury 10.12 - Curr Yes R9 Fury X 10.12 - Curr Yes Radeon 450 10.12 - Curr Yes Radeon 455 10.12 - Curr Yes Radeon 460 10.12 - Curr Yes Radeon 470 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 480 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 555 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 555x 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 560 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 560x 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 570 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 570x 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 580 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon 580x 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 2100 10.12- Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 3100 10.12- Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 4100 10.12- Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 4130 10.12 - Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 4150 10.12 - Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 4170 10.13? - Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 5100 10.13? - Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 7100 10.13? - Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 8100 10.13? - Curr Yes Radeon Pro WX 9100 10.13? - Curr Yes Vega 56 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Vega 64 10.12.6 - Curr Yes Vega Frontier Edition 10.13 - Curr Yes Radeon VII 10.14.5 - Curr Yes Radeon 5500 XT 10.15.2 - Curr Yes Radeon 5600 XT 10.15.3 - Curr Yes Radeon 5700 10.15.2 - Curr Yes Radeon 5700 XT 10.15.2 - Curr Yes
macOS 10.14 Mojave Supported NVidia eGPUs - Only Keppler series GPUs are supported
- GTX 650
- GTX 660
- GTX 670
- GTX 680
- GTX Titan
*eGPUs require Mac OS 10.12 or above.
Confirmed working Enclosures with Mac Pro 2013: Note there may be more.
- Akitio Thunder2
- AKiTiO Node
- Asus XG Station 2
- Blackmagic eGPU
- Mantiz Venus
- Razer Core X
- Sonnet Breakaway 350
- egpu.io: 2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,6C,E] + RP 580 @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Blackmagic eGPU) + macOS 10.13.6 [itsage]
- Barefeats: Pumping Up The 2013 Mac Pro
- eGPU.io setup guide: 10.9 to 10.12
- eGPU.io setup guide: 10.13+
- Troubleshooting eGPUs on macOS
Outside of the extreme JMR solutions PCIe slot Rackmount cases, Mac Pro 2013 cooling solutions remain pretty slim. Pro Cooling Base by SPEED Designs is the only other solution I'm aware of designed specifically for the Mac Pro. Most users elect to use various laptop cooling pads to place under Mac Pros (which do seem to help). If anyone has any information about physical mods or Mac Pro 2013 specialty cases, I'm all ears, and please reach out to me (see the bottom of this post).
The Mac Pro 2013 earns the distinction of sporting a modular design. There's not a lot to say here since iFixit gave it an 8 out of 10 for repairability and has pretty much every part in its Mac Pro Late 2013 Repair Guide. If you can do it, they probably have a beautiful step-by-step pictorial guide.
Mac Pro 2013 won't sleep
MacRumors members note that Hand-off can affect a 2013's ability to sleep. Disabling seems to be the fix.
Communities & Blogs
You're not alone. There are more people out there than you'd think who still love the Mac Pro 2013.
- MacRumors Mac Pro Forum - The center of the Mac Pro universe.
- MacProUpgrade - a private but very popular Facebook group, primarily classic "Cheesegrater" Mac Pro users with some 2013 users.
- Mac Pro Users - another major FaceBook group for Mac Pro users, smaller but still helpful, and it has the benefit of being public too (no sign-up process and can be browsed without a Facebook account).
- eGPU.io - The go-to place for eGPUs.
Buying used Mac Pro 2013s
Most forums when this question is posed is don't. The chief reasons are: price and stability. The updated Mac Mini may have a soldered on CPU and storage, but with the Core i7-8700B is much faster than the 12 Core Mac Pro in single-core performance and spitting distance of the multicore in Geekbench scores, and packs Thunderbolt 3, which is double the bandwidth for the inevitable eGPU, and comes with USB 3.1c support out of the box, and doesn't have a history of frying itself. Plus, it's new, comes with a warranty, and is even smaller. Then there's the iMac 5k, which has an upgradeable CPU making for faster than the base iMac Pro when tricked out too. I personally would not buy a Mac Pro 2013 with much better and cheaper alternatives. The 2009-2012 Mac Pros, which pack oodles more upgrades and stupidly better GPU options, or the aforementioned Mac Mini, even with an eGPU, would be roughly the same cost of a lower-end used 2013. Unless the used market prices drastically change, the Mac Pro 2013's shortcomings are too significant to make me ever consider one.
Always make sure the computer is able to output video before buying. Next to, the lower the AMD GPU model, the more chance it will remain problem-free. Unfortunately, Apple stopped selling the D300 Mac Pros long ago, so it may be better tracking down a D500 model. Next up, many users have placed their Mac Pro 2013s on laptop coolers to help with the thermals. Due to the exceptionally tiny case, there are no internal cooling hacks beyond turning the fan up using 3rd party software. Lastly, have an exit strategy, you may live a full problem-free existence with a 2013 Mac Pro, but you may also end up with its GPUs failing. Apple has closed its free replacement program as of April 2018 for the GPUs, and internet prices list anywhere from $700-$1200 from Apple or authorized service centers to replace the GPUs. At this price, it is effectively cheaper to buy a replacement Mac Mini. Working GPUs in the 3rd party sector are virtually impossible to find, and the rare ones that pop up fetch the price of Apple replacements. To be fair, this is the same problem laptop users face. While it is common sense, if you contract or freelance or work where you provide your own hardware, always have a plan that minimizes downtime. Despite being a modular design, the most failure-prone component is the absolute hardest to replace due to the lack of any inventory. Also, Apple quotes 3-5 days for a Mac Pro 2013 GPU replacement. This isn't to say it will fail, but there are plenty of horror stories on the internet. This could be the case relatively small, vocal group, but the general consensus is that the Mac Pro 2013 is not the most stable design.
Due to the ever-evolving list of possible upgrades and hacks, this guide is a living document. Thus the information contained may change. I've included a robust log of recent changes to help repeat visitors discover new content. Making and maintaining this guide takes a fair amount of work, and feedback from users is greatly appreciated to make this the most accurate/best guide possible. If you have new information not included here, suggestions, corrections, or edits, please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com. I get a fair amount of questions. I try to answer them as best I can. I'd recommend asking the MacRumors forum or MacProUpgrade group first, as I'm just one person vs. the collective intelligence of a community. Notably, I do not own nor have I ever owned a Mac Pro 2013 (not that I wouldn't take one, but it is cost-prohibitive), so anyone who can provide more accurate information, please do!
01/31/23 - OpenCore
01/23/23 - Typos corrections.
01/03/23 - Typos corrections, much needed updates to language around the Mac Pro.
10/11/22 - Typo correction 3.7 GHz. Added info about Ventura. Firmware update added.
01/22/21 - Added list of the firmware updates that have been released with notes about firmware. Added cooling base station info, slightly edited intro, and copy editing to remove typos.
05/12/20 - Massive GPU list updated. SSD updated. Catalina notes on eGPU updated. Minor visual update.
10/15/19 - Added note on Catalina and 32-bit + firmware versions. Badly needed copy editing.
10/07/19 - It's catalina time. Added OS Section, fixed an error about max RAM, included RAM specs, and included the link to the Amfeltec NVMe M2 adapter. Added another two links to eGPU section.
07/05/19 - Added notes on sleep issues, mild intro update.
05/07/19 - a second update, Thanks to the feedback of Brennan F and Daniel C for feedback on SSDs and eGPUs and some copy editing to boot.
05/07/19 - First release and one year anniversary of my first Definitive Mac Pro Upgrade Guide. Fun fact, this guide is over 2300+ words, whereas my other guide is 13,000+ words. Part of the amount of writing can be chalked up to having to discuss different models, five in total, spanning 6 years. This guide covers another 6-year span and only one model. It goes to show how upgradeable the previous Mac Pros were and how much less Apple has cared about them since.
Every OS X (macOS) 10.6 Snow Leopard Nature Desktop - in Glorious 5k Resolution
Recently, I converted every Abstract Desktop background that shipped with 10.6 Snow Leopard, in Every OS X Snow Leopard Abstract Desktop - in Glorious 5k and 8k Resolution after being inspired by the wonderful 512 Pixel's Every Default macOS Wallpaper – in Glorious 6K Resolution post. I hand touched up the photos besides upscaling, sharpening, smoothing/blurring, retexturing, denoising, graining depending on the photos. Some had weaker sources than others due to focus/compression etc. For a long explination of how I made these, scroll to the bottom.
The above is an excerpt on a video I'm working on about OS X Snow Leopard, the most beloved OS X/macOS release, but I have other opinions ;) If you are at all curious, you can check out the Apple related vids I've made on the YouTubes.
All the photos are in their original 16:10, in the 5k (if there's such a resolution) 5120 x 3200 as I wanted users to be able to position the desktops as they see fit. Also adding Light / Dark desktops as I have time.
The iPhone wallpaper versions are 2000 x 2778 which should give wiggle room to position the backgrounds, see Apple'sChange the wallpaper on your iPhone for instructions on how to set your iPhone wallpaper.
Download Earth Horizon (iPhone)
Download Evening Reflections (iPhone)
Download Gentle Rapids (iPhone)
Download Golden Palace (iPhone)
Download Leopard Aurora (iPhone)
Download Snow Leopard (iPhone)
Snow Leopard Prowl
Download Snow Leopard Prowl (iPhone)
Download Tranquil Surface (iPhone)
Pond Reeds (Light / Dark) Dynamic Wall Paper
Pond Reeds Dark Wall Paper
Download Pond Reeds Night (iPhone)
Aurora (Light / Dark) Dynamic Wall Paper
The Abstract Desktop Series from Snow Leopard
Check out Every OS X Snow Leopard Abstract Desktop - in Glorious 5k and 8k Resolution for the Abstract backgrounds from OS X 10.6.
About these images
I do not own these images and thus am providing these free-of-charge (as I do with everything on my blog). These are images that shipped with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and upscaled for modern computers.
One of the very frequent tasks computers do is upscaling raster images, aka zooming in or increasing the size of an image. This happens when you zoom in on an image in an application like Preview or Photoshop, or zoom in on a web browser or pinch and zoom on your iPhone. Upscaling has come a long way in the past few years, with machine-learning-assisted upscaling algorithms. These use tricks like taking into account the hue/luminosity (color and its brightness) of surrounding pixels and filling in what it believes the new pixels should be. Before machine-learning, upscaling meant duplicating pixels (nearest neighbor) or duplicating pixels and creating transitions between the hue/luminosity (bilinear). If you have a sharp line, perhaps a sharp mountain silhouette against a sunset (or in my case, a cat whisker against the ground), the machine-learning algorithm will "notice" the sharp contrast between the two areas as it has been "trained" to do so. It will then infer that it should try and keep the sharpness rather than lose the detail, when it creates new pixels to fill the space from upscaling.
While none of these upscales are nearly as good as a high-resolution photo, ML upscaling provides a much better result in a pinch. The ML upscaling is much better at preserving details in the image, such as Mr. Orange's whiskers, his fur, and his pet tag, while providing nice soft results on the areas out of focus. ML (machine learning) upscaling has become popular with modern GPUs. In Windows, AMD and NVidia GPUs can take a videogame rendered at 1440p and upscale it to 4k as it takes less effort for the GPU to upscale the image than it takes to render an image with a lot more pixels, enabling the GPU to churn out higher frame rates and keeping more visual fidelity than using bilinear upscaling. Of course, machine learning isn't limited to uspcaling (or even images).
Machine learning can also be used to provide other types of "best guesses" like denoising images that have artifacts from compression, like JPEGs which are a "lossy format", meaning to save data, they alter the photos to consume less space. Lossy compression is used extensively for media as you do not need a byte-for-byte accurate representation of the original data. Depending on how much compression and what sort of codec (compression type), it will introduce evidence of the compression. Everyone is familiar with the effects of lossy compression, be it an image of low quality, a video with blocky noise, or an audio file that sounds garbled. Machine learning can undo some of this, but it's highly imperfect as it's trying to guess what the original source was trying to convey.
I first tried Gigapixel but ended up just using Pixelmator Pro. Each background was individually treated, using the ML upscaling but with a combination of multiple layers with sharpening, blurs, denoising, grain, and old fashion brush tools on layer masks. As a UX Developer, I split my time between graphics applications and good ol' fashioned coding as my job is to take static pixel images and turn them into code for interfaces for web and mobile applications, although I do often do "full-stack," which is a nice way of saying "everything". I've gone away from Adobe products years ago, with Sketch / Figma / Pixelmator Pro / Final Cut Pro partly out of personal preference and following the industry.
A great example of the power of just a few simple masks is the Ladybug image. First, I nabbed the image from the Snow Leopard Parallels virtual machine on my Mac Pro. Then I imported it into Pixelmator Pro. I converted it to 16-bit, then I created two layers of the exact same image. One I left alone. In the second layer, I used the ML Denoise to get rid of the JPEG artifacting. I used ML upscaling, which upscaled both layers. I masked the non-denoised layer in the Ladybug and used a tiny bit of grain and sharpening, and painted in the hairs on the grass blade. Then I used the blur tool on the larger out-of-focus areas on the denoised image. I went back and lightly burned the Ladybug's antenna. Once I was happy with the result, I downscaled the image from 8k to 5k and left the same color profile same as the original. My goal was to recreate the original as much to the spirit as the original image rather than, say, create an HDR (high dynamic range) version.
Each image was hand treated, although some images had better sources than others. I'm sure another artist with more time could bring these even better to life as I tried to keep roughly an hour-ish per image (as a UX developer, time budgets are a harsh reality for me). If you create your own versions, please reach out to me, as I'll happily link them.
I hope you enjoy, and if you're an Apple nerd and like mediocre camera work, and awkward on-camera presence, you can find me on YouTube and this blog.
If this blog looks familiar to you, you've probably seen, The Definitive Classic Mac Pro (2006-2012) Upgrade Guide or The Definitive Trashcan Mac Pro 6.1 (Late 2013) Upgrade Guide
Mac MAME Arcade emulation & NeoGeo using OpenEMU and SDLMame for Apple Silicon or Intel Native.
There are two main routes to get up and running with MAME under macOS, OpenEMU, and SDLMame. OpenEMU is the vector most users will want to use, but it isn't Apple Silicon native (but will still run fine in Rosetta). I've made a video, but if you're like me, you probably prefer the written version.
OpenEMU and Mame
OpenEMU is a beautiful core-based emulator (akin to RetroArch) that supports many game consoles. It's designed to be the one-stop-shop for Mac emulation, and it does a fantastic job. It's gorgeous and easy to use..
Step 1: Download OpenEmu Experimental
Regular OpenEMU does not support the MAME core, so you need to get the experimental version fromopenemu.org. I'm unclear as to why after years, the MAME version is still experimental. If I had to guess, it's likely because there are a few missing assets (the control menu for MAME doesn't have a skeuomorphic graphic, for instance), and it doesn't filter out BIOS files.
Step 2: Safelist MAME (Big Sur 11.x and above)
OpenEMU is open source but it isn't signed, you'll see an error if you try an execute it.
Right-click OpenEMU, and select open to bring up the prompt that will let you run the application.
Step 3: Install the MAME core
Launch OpenEmu, open preferences, and select cores. Click the install button next to MAME.
Step 3: Install games
Installing games is pretty straightforward. Drag the .zip files into OpenEMU under the Arcade tab. MAME games are file name specific, unlike most other emulators, so do not change the name. Also some games have dependencies.
If the game you are trying to play has a dependency, it'll display an error when you try and launch the game, with the name of the missing file. You'll need to install that file by dragging it onto the window. Do not decompress MAME game .zip files.
Please do not ask me for game files. They exist in a legal grey area. Try a popular search engine or archive site like Archive.org for information about ROMs.
Step 4: Optional: NeoGeo Emulation
Emulating NeoGeo games requires one extra step, you'll need to get the NeoGeo BIOS Rom. Drag the Neo Geo zip into OpenEmu. You'll see the NeoGeo ROM in your game list, but ignore it and double-click the games as you normally would. I had some difficulty finding one that worked in more modern distributions of MAME.
SDLMAME / MESS
SDLMAME is a macOS port of MAME and MESS that features both native Intel and Apple Silicon support and (previously) has been updated much more frequently than OpenEMU's MAME core. For years, OpenEMU was stuck at MAME version .149.1, from 2013. As of writing this, OpenEMU is currently in lock-step with SDLMAME as both feature version 0.235, but OpenEMU is not Apple Silicon native. SDLMame is a port of MAME by @sdlmame_osx. It also features MESS which emulates many retro consoles as well.
The downside is that SDL Mame's UI is pretty minimal, and it requires being launched from the command-line but works great.
Step 1: Download the SDL2 Framework
Go to libsld.org, and download SLD2 for macOS and decompress it. Next, install the SDL2.framework into (in your root)
Library/Frameworks. SLDL2 is a library for cross-platform development designed to provide low-level access to hardware such as I/O and graphics cards. Many Steam ports for macOS are based on this library.
Step 2: Download SDLMame/Mess
Go to sdlmame.lngn.net, and download Apple Silicon or Intel version depending on which type of CPU your Mac has. Decompress it into a folder of your choosing.
Step 3: Safelist SDLMame/Mess
This is where things get a little strange, as if you try and execute SDLMame, it'll give you the same warning as OpenEMU. Right like the
mameunix executable and click open. It'll open the terminal and crash. This is fine. Close this terminal. The application has now been safelisted.
Step 4: Install ROMs
Drag your ROMs into the ROMs folder within SDLMame (If it doesn't exist, create one). Just like OpenEMU games may require dependencies. NeoGEO games require the Neo Geo BIOS.
Step 5: Launch SDLMame using the terminal
YYou'll need to navigate to the directory that SDLMame is in (or locate it). The easiest way is to use the change directory command then drag the folder onto the terminal. It should look something like:
Now that we're in the directory, we can check to see if we see the mame executable using list.
If you see mame, you're ready to go. Launch the mame executable.
SDLMame's UI might seem a bit rough but it does support the mouse. Be sure to use the configure options with Device Mappings and General Input to configure your game controls.
Every OS X Snow Leopard Abstract Desktop - in Glorious 5k and 8k Resolution
Every macOS comes with some standout desktops, one of the better sets was Abstract series but they're from a bygone pre-retina/4k/5k/8k world. I really loved 512 Pixel's Every Default macOS Wallpaper – in Glorious 6K Resolution post. If you haven't checked it out, you should. I've used them and loved it. Feeling inspired, I decided to do the same to one of my favorite set of Mac desktop backgrounds, the Abstract series from OS X 10.6 - Snow Leopard.
I upscaled and denoised (originals had some JPEG artifacting) and hand touched up them tediously in 16-bit P3 (dithered down to 8-bit P3 JPEGs). I had to make the tough calls on cropping so rather than live with my choices, I've included the 8k originals in the 16:10 aspect ratio for those with 16:10 displays or looking to crop the desktops as they see fit. There's 8 total desktops and I'll probably do an iPhone update and possibly light/dark updates for a few. For now, enjoy!
Download Abstract 5k 16:9 Ratio - 26.6 MB
Download Abstract 8k 16:10 Ratio - 49.1 MB
Every OS X (macOS) 10.6 Snow Leopard Nature Desktop - in Glorious 6k Resolution
Oh hey, I also converted all the nature background from 10.6 to 5k too, check it out here!
The dillution of 1password
The tides are receding for one of my favorite software, and it seems that the high water mark for 1password was 2021. For years, 1password provided the most elegant solution for password management, largely through the power of a superior UX driven by both browser plugins and native applications. It was at the upper echelon of Mac software, in the same esteemed group as Mac software titans like Pixelmator Pro, BBedit, Audio Hijack, Djay, Omnigraffle, and pretty much anything out of Panic studios. Even Apple considered it among the best, honoring it as a finalist this year for an Apple Design award.
1password announced its subscription model in 2016. They quietly maintained a non-software subscription version for users a little too-wise. Then the past week or so, we've been hit with a double whammy: 1password 8 is ending it's stand-alone version for a non-native app and to pour salt into the wound, 1password is ending its native Mac application in favor of Electron.
As a developer, I appreciate the allure. Ideally, code is only written once. It's the holy-grail, writing code that doesn't need any tweaks for platform-specific, be it a particular web browser or OS. Electron delivers this (mostly) but with a decidedly non-native feel and at the cost of bloat. A stark example is BBedit is 54 MB vs. VS Code at 305 MB, and Electron eats more CPU cycles and RAM. I also understand writing for small-market like macOS isn't as enticing as maintaining one (mostly) singular codebase. Electron applications have creeped from Atom to power Slack, VS Code, Discord, and into surprising slots like Skype and the list keeps growing, never quite providing the native experience. The trend is a bit unnerving as the era of native applications for Mac OS feels tenious outside of a handful of apps.
It's sad to watch one of the most premier applications for the Mac fall prey to two of my least favorite trends. Perhaps there'll be a leaner, scrappier startup in this space to fill the void left by 1password. Or better, 1password is able to shift its course if/when UI Kit is able to fill the void. 1password is still 1password. I trust it's a great product but it feels like a dilluted version of many of the things I love about it. I'm not sure I will switch to version 8.
The end of the classic Mac Pro
Two nights ago, I decided to put my thoughts I've had for months now about the classic Mac Pro into a video. I've personally moved on and retired my Mac Pro 5,1 after spending the last 13 years using a cheesegrater Mac Pro as my primary computer. The Mac Pro enabled me to achieve a lot of my creative and professional achievements: recording two albums, contract work on a few TV shows, and a career change into web development full-time.
BBuying a new computer would be a fairly non-significant life event for most people, but I've spent the last three years updating and maintaining a guide on the classic Mac Pro. If you'd like, watch the video below or continuing reading as I'll provide a written summary below as I understand many prefer written words over video, as I'm one of those people too. My perspective is coming from a practical standpoint as I'd gauge most of my readers to be in the practical camp as opposed to the hobbyist camp where the utility isn't as important.
Leaving the classic Mac Pro behind...
A few short months ago, I bought a 2019 Mac Pro, replacing my classic Mac Pro, a 2010 dual CPU Mac Pro, outfitted with 96 GB of RAM, two NVMe drives, a Radeon VII, and two Sonnet pro series USB cards (USB-A and USBc), as well as a lot of internal storage. Originally, I really didn't think I'd ever been able to justify owning a 2019 Mac Pro. I could certainly afford one, but it's an irresponsible purchase as my needs for a computer do not require a Mac Pro 2019 as a UX/Web Developer. For nearly the last decade, I've used a slew of 15-inch MacBook Pros: 2013 (Retina), 2015, and still currently 2017. Then, the pandemic happened... and things changed for the classic Mac Pro.
Prices went wacky. During the pandemic, used electronics (and cars) skyrocketed in price. For reference, I bought my dual CPU Mac Pro 2010 in late 2017 for $800. I sold it (granted with better specs) for $900 in 2021. GPU pricing went through the ceiling, tripling in value. As I watched the prices climb, I had a crazy idea: if I sold my Mac Pros (two 5,1s, one dual CPU, and one single CPU), the Radeon VII and Vega 56 separately, quick back of the napkin math put me at roughly $1500 shy. I'd pull the NVMe drives and large SSDs and HDDs. I inventoried hardware I hadn't used in ages and added a semi-functional dual CPU tray for a 5,1, studio preamp, a set of Beyerdynamic headphones, an Oculus Quest 2, to name a few things. All said and done; it'd get me only a hundred dollars shy.... except I was about 15 years from my last eBay sale, I failed to calculate the eBay commission, which is heavy, roughly 18%.
I listed and sold my items, many extremely fast (I probably could have charged more for many items, but I was interested in a quick turnaround). I managed to be about $500-$700 short. With the money in hand, I balked several times ordering 2019 as $6000 is.... well... $6000. Inevitably I pulled the trigger.
#1: The classic Mac Pros cannot boot the latest macOS
The Mac Pros have been in a hackintosh-like state ever since Apple dropped official support for the classic Mac Pros after Mojave. Installing Catalina required either using DOSDUDE1 or, better, OpenCore. OpenCore is an open-source bootloader that does many things. The Mac Pro's implementation of EFI is not UEFI as it predates UEFI by a few years. This means a few inconsistencies. Apple's EFI and UEFI use different basic drivers for the pre-boot menu/screen. For Mac Pro users, non-Apple EFI GPUs will not output video until the full drivers have been loaded, which is late in the boot process. OpenCore fixes this by loading the correct drivers. It also emulates other Mac's UEFI, meaning macOS runs transparently without requiring software hacks to the OS itself. This is preferable to patching like DOSDUDE1 as you apply OS updates as there isn't a patch that can be overwritten. OpenCore also allows for various drivers and low-level tweaks, thus making hot-swappable Thunderbolt 3 possible on the classic Mac Pros as well as enabling full video decoding/encoding support.
While all of these minor miracles have greatly benefitted the cMP, with Big Sur 11.3, the Mac Pro hit an unlikely impasse. Apple, in a point release changed the PCIe bus handling with downstream effects to the classic Mac Pro. The cMPs can and will boot above macOS 11.2.3, but the PCIe bus, under certain circumstances, will cause kernel panics. Eventually, it'll corrupt the boot drive and require restoring.
This singular change influenced more than anything else that the clock was ticking for the classic Mac Pro. Apple typically provides security updates for a year to previous releases, and many applications generally support at least the previous version of macOS. Pixelmator Pro, for example, supports 10.15 Catalina, but not 10.14 Mojave. Xcode and Final Cut Pro X generally only supports one OS behind the current. This means the Mac Pro will be left out on the latest versions of some popular/major apps in two years.
Another huge hit is that Big Sur 10.4 added support for the 6000 series AMD GPUs. While it may be somewhat absurd to think about sticking an expensive brand new GPU into such an old computer, an AMD Radeon 6800 was supposed $579, which is less than the Radeon VII was pre-pandemic pricing as the VII MSRPed at $700 (and usually sold on the aftermarket for more). The 6800 might not be fully realized in such an old computer, but it certainly would perform much better than the VII. Thus, today's best GPUs are still limited at the 5700 XT and the Radeon VII for macOS.
#2 Windows 11 requires TPM 2.0
Despite Microsoft calling Windows 10 "the last version of Windows", MS is releasing Windows 11. There's one monumental change that has many people upset and requires Trusted Platform Module 2.0, a security feature that requires late generation Intel and AMD CPUs. MS lists that 8th generation Intel or AMD Zen 2, although 7th Generation Intel CPUs are "partially supported". Microsoft hasn't made it very clear on such issues. You can install Windows 11 on unsupported hardware with a bit of hacking, but that places Windows 11 in a hacked state, and it's unclear if this is a maintainable route and puts any unsupported computer in a precarious unsupported state. MS could easily require later generation instruction sets like AVX, and this would effectively drop support for the classic Mac Pro. Windows 10 will be supported until 2025, so the timeline isn't nearly as imminent as macOS.
#3 The GPU crisis
The biggest selling point of the classic Mac Pro is that it can use GPUs natively in a PCIe slot, whereas all other Macs sans 2019 required eGPU solutions. While GPUs aren't severely bandwidth-intensive as PCIe 2.0 16x vs. PCIe 3.0 16x barely makes a difference, the bandwidth-restricted world of Thunderbolt 3 incurs a higher performance penalty. The outcome resulted in Mac Pros performing better in pure GPU benchmarks over an iMac Pro outfitted with the same GPU in an eGPU enclosure.
However, due to the pandemic/bitcoin/whatever, GPUs are still absurdly expensive (but dropping in price as I write this). This makes the most attractive feature of the Mac Pro out-of-reach or at least justifiable. The GPU crisis also has affected the used Mac Pro market. Most Mac Pros are sold with non-metal compatible GPUs, which are incredibly out-of-date, cannot run macOS 10.14 and above. For the cost of many GPUs, a user could buy the Mac Mini M1 and see better performance for many workflows. The M1's iGPU will run circles around the incredibly out-of-date GPUs like the pitiful GT 120 or more recent ATI Radeon 5770, which brings me to my final point.
#4 the Mac Pro 2019 and Apple Silicon
If you have the coin, Apple has a vector for people who need discrete GPUs, PCIe slots, or a metric assload of RAM. The 2019 Mac Pro took the wind out of the cMP sails as pros finally could retire their Mac Pros without compromise. The 2019 is better than the Mac Pro 5,1 in every single aspect except price. I don't feel like there's much of an argument here. The 2019 Mac Pro is easily the most elegantly designed and powerful computer Apple has ever designed, besting its previous most over-engineered computers like the PowerMac 9600 or the Mac Pro 4,1 2009. The only sad part is that Apple is ending x86 support at some point in the future, nor did it embrace AMD architecture.
It's also impossible not to talk about the Apple Silicon. While it's a tired argument, the M1 only represents the entry-level for the Apple Silicon universe, and it's already better in many workflows than the classic Mac Pros could ever hope to be, especially in the realm of 2D design, compiling code, and general use. It isn't a sure-fire win as there are plenty of limitations like the limited RAM, the limited I/O, the ability only to drive two displays, and of course, the integrated GPU isn't up to the task of competing with discrete GPUs. Still, the M1 is a better computer for many workflows than the classic Mac Pro. We're about to see what the first professional line of Apple Silicon looks like, and if you've been following the rumors, pretty much everything I listed sounds like it'll be addressed to some degree in the MacBook Pro. There won't be many use cases left when this happens where a classic Mac Pro is a better choice than Apple Silicon.
Closing thoughts: The Apple Silicon future
In my article about my thoughts on my M1 I noted that we're likely going to see a future where we see a schizophrenic performance divide between x86 and Apple Silicon. This even seems more true as I've spent more time with my M1. I fully expect to see iMacs able to edit 8k video flawlessly, fly through machine learning/tensor flow, but incredibly ill-suited for 3D modeling/animation, gaming, advanced compositing. I've always felt a bit constrained with laptops, and thus my classic Mac Pro remained my primary computer despite frequent laptop upgrades. The M1 was the first time I started using a laptop over my desktop for some of my creative pursuits, including writing and video editing. Some of this is raw convenience of a mobile writing and editing station, but it was also practical: The M1 was faster in Final Cut Pro X than my classic Mac pro despite the 2 TB Samsung 970 Evo NVMe drive, the 96 GBs of RAM, and a Radeon VII.
The Apple Silicon future still remains questionable for the desktops where thermal budgets are high, computers are modular, and the competition is tough, but if you're able to do everything professionally you want from a laptop, will you really care?
Am I advocating you sell your Mac Pro? Not really. For me, I'm low on hobbyist ambitions. I don't dream of owning a den of old computers spanning my childhood. I'd rather just have one nice desktop and one really nice laptop. I've always been less interested in the nuts and bolts of a computer than really what can it do for me? Though are fundamental to really getting to what a computer can do for the user, the nuts and bolts are fundamental to really getting to what a computer can do. Thus, I ended up self-educating myself and assisting others in the same journey. If you want one really nice computer and have several old Macs and GPUs lying around, selling sooner than later will benefit you.
The big shift though isn't necessarily the classic Mac Pros aren't workable machines, rather we've hit that point where investing further into them is probably not a wise move. At this point, I'd recommend doing the minimal upgrades and saving for a new computer, again from a practical standpoint.
I purposely avoided gaming in this even though I do play some games, and when I do, I prefer to do it on my computer. If you're hyper interested in gaming, the classic Mac Pro is still the best route without breaking the bank to be able to dual boot to Windows and use a dedicated GPU, and play the absolutely mind-boggling catalog of PC games from numerous services/stores.
Bonus: Check out the Reaction Video from several Mac community members, including Jay (House of the Moth) who I've leaned on heavily on in the Definitive Mac Pro Upgrade Guide.
Parallels: Network initialization failed - Your virtual machine will continue working normally but will have no network connection. How to Fix
If you are here you are probably seeing the following error in Parallels in macOS 11 Big Sur and you haven't found anything working:
Network initialization failed
Your virtual machine will continue working normally but will have no network connection.
- Go to Parallel's Network preferences and click "Restore to Default". This will update the entire config file which is important and remove errant configurations.
- Quit Parallels, and open up the Activity Monitor and search for any Parallels tasks and quit them as well.
- Go to /Library/Preferences/Parallels/network.desktop.xml with a text editor like Visual Studio Code, Atom, Sublime, BBedit, Webstorm etc that's permissions aware or use the terminal if you're comfortable, and use sudo nano /Library/Preferences/Parallels/network.desktop.xml. Locate the UseKextless entry and set its value to one. Save (depending on the application you're using it'll warn you that you need to use sudo to edit the filea and bring up a dialog. If using Nano, besure to ctrl + x and when prompted, answer yes to save changes).
Now relaunch Parallels. The eror should go away and networking should be restored.
- Go to Parallel's Network preferences and click "Restore to Default". This will update the entire config file which is important and remove errant configurations.
iOSification of features for macOS
As many users saw probably this week, macOS 12 (do we really want yearly OS updates... still?) Monterey was revealed to have Several macOS Monterey Features Unavailable on Intel-Based Macs. John Gruber of daringfireball cleverly observed these features all made use of the imaging pipelines or neural engine.
The chatter in the Mac groups is nail-in-the-coffin, or debating if the features really required an M1 (Spoiler: they don't, they really don't). However, what is truly revealing is how Apple will approach future iterations of macOS akin to iOS. Generally, this has (mostly) limited to iOS camera features that are one part lens but many, many parts software. Could the iPhone XS had night mode? My guess is most likely, but Apple will not spend the energy back-porting the feature to previous hardware configurations. Then, the features are intrinsically hardware related, like the iPhone 12's signal processor, used for Dolby Vision / Smart HDR 3 / temporal noise reduction.
What seems likely is that on macOS we could see old Macs left out of newer features, but not just the latest wifi protocol or faster storage like has always happened. Still, literal features, be it improvements to real-time color correction or perhaps a hypothetical ML library that quickly identifies and highlights elements in a photo.
An (albeit flawed) counterpoint to the M1
PC World published Apple M1 vs. Ryzen 5000: MacBook Pro and Asus ROG Flow X13, compared article. While this is entirely leaning on the GPUs found in x86 laptops, it’s also leaning entirely leaning GPUs found in X86 laptops.
Thus far the biggest concern with my M1 is the GPU, I can edit 4k video and its fast long as I stay on the happy path, using Final Cut Pro X. It's easy to scoff at the PC World article for not including web browsing benchmarks, compile times, and other CPU bound tasks but the fact remains Apple's fight for total performance supremacy will be much tougher on the GPU front.
You've been programmed to believe conspiracy theories
It's been awhile since I've linked a single article, but I absolutely loved the Popular Mechanics article, "How You've Been Conditioned to Love Conspiracy Theories"
"In addition to xenophobia, O’Leary fell victim to “proportionality bias,” the logical fallacy that believes the cause of an event should feel as important as its impact. Proportionality bias lies behind many of the most popular conspiracy theories. For instance, it feels disproportionate that JFK, the so-called most powerful man in the world, could have been assassinated by one disturbed individual, or that Princess Diana,—a powerful, famous, real-world princess—was killed in a car accident."
I wish I could say I had "proportionality bias" as part of my lexicon prior to this as I certainly intuitively understood that many conspiracies are a desire to assert order in a chaotic world and an artifact of the "Tiger in the brush" scenario". It stipulates that it was evolutionarily advantageous to spot false patterns than none at all. If you believed there was a tiger in the brush, then regardless if there is actually a tiger in the brush, you'd still be rewarded with a continuous existence. Thus, evolution tolerates, if not rewards, a baseline paranoia, and overactive imagination. It's this same process that allows many to find meaning in the noise, be it the infamous Virgin Mary in peanut butter to believing that 9/11 was an inside job.
About the only thing missing is that from my (albeit somewhat limited) observations, conspiracies act as currency among the indoctrinated which is its own chaotic agent and generally any rebutal is met as further evidence of the conspiracy as it's just that much deeper. It many ways, conspiracies have filled the void as Americans become increasingly less religious although clearly no more logical.
After a year of being stuck, tethered to social media, the claws of conspirancies turn family members into born-again believers and we're all the worse for it.
If you're wondering what the next x86 Mac Pro specs will be...
Largely ignored by the media outside of a few tech journals, the 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Processors were announced. Operating under the pretense that Bloomberg's reporting was accurate after predicting the latest Apple event, we can expect at least one more iteration of x86 Mac Pros along side Apple Silicon Mac Pros. Many Mac Pro enthusiasts lamented the Mac Pro's lack of PCIe 4.0, even if there isn't a massive point to it beyond future-proofing. There also was a bit of a disconnect. Intel has not had a PCIe 4.0 chipset until very recently, and Mac users were expecting the impossible out of Intel. GPUs simply do not benefit from PCIe 4.0 as the bandwidth requirements just do not require the increased bandwidth (AMD has shipped 8x PCIe 4.0 GPUs, which is equivalent to 16x 3.0), and there's barely a speed penalty still running the latest GPUs in PCIe 2.0. That leaves mostly SSDs as the sole component that benefits from PCIe 4.0, although I'd argue two things:
- While not ideal, ASM2428 chipsets have allowed NVMe SSDs (based on the 4x standard) more bandwidth by address more lanes. Currently, in the PCIe 2.0 realm, users can achieve 3.0 speeds using an 8x or 16x slot (as well as multiple SSDs on motherboards that do not support bifurcation). It's likely we'll see similar chipsets allowing PCIe 3.0 cards that address more PCIe lanes to attain PCIe 4.0 speeds in regards to SSDs.
- Latency and random read/write and caching mechanisms will have more perceivable benefits for daily use than increased bandwidth at this point, considering 3000 MB/s is only going to be a prohibited speed in extreme transfers.
The interesting specs
So what will the new Mac Pro specs look like?
- 10 nm, "up to 40 cores per processor" - This is using the Sunny Cove instead of the Cypress Cove variant, which is 14 nm.
- "46% more performance" - As of late, Intel has taken to dubious stats, and it is sad to see. Considering they're moving from 28 -> 40 core maximum, roughly 40% more cores, this isn't a surprising or impressive claim.
- " 8 channels of DDR4-3200" - Same as previous Xeons.
- "64 lanes of PCIe Gen4 per socket" - There's a lot of ways that PCIe lanes can be handled, but this is a beast amount of bandwidth, and with bandwidth switching certainly enough for workstations (servers are a different beast). Each CPU can negotiate a theoretical 128 GB/s of throughput via PCIe, although that might not be entirely accurate.
It's pretty easy to extrapolate that we're going to see a PCIe 4.0 Mac Pro with up to 40-Cores, roughly the same memory ballpark max-memory cap that'll still have the blistering prices we've seen before. I don't expect Apple to expend much energy redesigning the case, but we'll see the (likely) the final x86 Mac Pro setting a very high bar for Apple Silicon to follow. Still, mostly, the consensus is users want PCIe + upgradable memory and storage to continue.
Foolproof way to update the 2010 - 2012 Mac Pro 5,1 to the 18.104.22.168.0 firmware
Updating the firmware on a Mac Pro isn't difficult, but it is possible to "miss" firmware upgrades. This guide is for anyone looking to get to the latest (and most likely last) firmware released for the Mac Pro 5,1s, without having to install Mojave 10.14.x, or if you already have installed Mojave, or are looking to install Mojave. My first try, my firmware was stuck at 22.214.171.124.0.x even when running Mojave 10.14.6. Updating the firmware adds key funcitonality to the Mac Pro 5,1s, most notably native NVMe m.2 boot support. To learn more about Firmware and the Mac Pro 5,1s, see the Firmware Upgrades section of my Mac Pro Upgrade Guide.
These aren't the only instructions on the web, as MP5,1: What you have to do to upgrade to Mojave (BootROM upgrade instructions thread) for firmware upgrading. However, this the method I've found most reliable for users who are having firmware troubles.
Step 0: Remove unsupported GPUs
The biggest change for macOS Mojave is the deprecation of OpenGL and OpenCL. OpenGL has been a thorn in Apple's side for quite some time, as it's been nearly dead for years. Vulkan, the OpenGL successor, wasn't quite ready for primetime when Apple originally created Metal for iOS and thus decided to port it macOS. Despite the annoyingness of having to meet the requirements, it was a necessary evil. Mojave will not install if you have a non-metal supported GPU.
Note: some users are reporting they had to remove all PCIe cards sans their storage controller (SATA card) and GPU to install the firmware update. I did not. If you encounter issues, try removing additional PCIe cards.
Step 1: Have a 10.13 drive
Unfortunately, this is the biggest pain if you've already updated. You'll need a separate volume to boot into 10.13. Amazon and Newegg each have 120 GB SSDs for under $20 USD if you need a temporary drive to install macOS 10.13 on. (upside is you can buy a USB case and turn into a very fast USB 3.0 drive afterward or return it). You can get old versions of macOS via the Mac using DosDude1's installer if you can't access it. If you have no intention to upgrade to Mojave or already have it installed., don't worry. We won't be installing Mojave.
Step 2: Boot 10.13
The next step is pretty straight forward, boot into your install of macOS 10.13 if you haven't already.
Step 3: Download 10.14.6 Combined installer
Fortunately, firmware flashing does not require updating in a particular order. I went from 126.96.36.199.0 to 188.8.131.52.0 without any problems. There's several avenues for this, including the Mac App store, but when I used the Mac App Store route, I didn't get the combined OS installer (The Mojave installer + all the updates to Mojave). The easiest way to obtain the final combined update for Mojave is to use Dosdude1's installer. Much like before, download the OS DosDude1's installer, even though we have supported hardware but with the patcher for 10.14.
Clarification: You do not need to use the DosDude1 installer, as you can grab the update via the App store or other sources but I found this easier. Apparently this link was posted this on MacRumors and a few posters didn't read the full instructions and suggested that I was advocating using DOSdude1 on the OS. I am not. The Mac Pro 4,1/5.1 does not need DOSDude1, so do not run the patcher on Mojave. The Patcher just happens to be extremely reliable about fetching the correct version, and skips the hassle of the App Store.
- Go to DOSdude1 Mojave patcher and download it
Launch the patcher.
Depending on your security settings, your mac may suggest it's from an unverified developer. Go to the system prefs, Security and Privacy (general), and allow the app to open.
You'll be bugged one last time.
The patcher should warn you that you are on supported hardware.
This is fine, ignore the message. Within the patcher, select the download Mojave from the Tools menu.
- Once the download has completed, quit DOSdude1's patcher.
Step 4: Launch the installer and click shut down
The installer should bring up a message about firmware and a shutdown message. This will not start the Mojave installer, only the firmware.
Step 5: Boot the Mac
Using the instructions in the previous image, press and hold the button until it blinks. If you do not have an EFI enabled GPU (see more about EFI in my Mac Pro Upgrade guide), you will not see any video output.
I trimmed down the video, as it took about 15 seconds of holding before the button flashed. After the button flashed, the internal speaker emmitted a long lowfi "boop" sound.
Step 5: Verify
Go to About this Mac, and click system report. Under the first screen, look for the "Boot Rom" text. This should list your firmware version. From here, you can continue using 10.13.6, upgrade, or boot to your 10.14 volume.
The 184.108.40.206.0 firmware works with any version of macOS your Mac Pro supports.
Updated: November 13th, 2019 MacRumors feedback
Updated: November 4th, 2019 based on Feedback from Mac Pro Users user group on Facebook.
AmorphousDiskMark is CrystalDiskMark for macOS; lets all stop using BlackMagic Disk Speed Test and AJA Disk Test
Benchmarking a MacBook Air M1's SSD.
Awhile back, I made a video about USBc and the classic Mac Pro but lamented yet ago the terrible benchmarking on macOS. The first commenter on FaceBook pointed out that we finally have a good disk benchmark utility AmorphousDiskMark. While it isn't a direct port, it's heavily inspired by the famed and loved Windows utility, CrystalDiskMark.
So why am I always complaining about BlackMagic Disk Speed Test
BlackMagic's Disk Speed Test only tests one thing, continuous throughput. This is useful but only measures one aspect of an SSD, and doesn't necessarily mimic accurately how most disk interactions occur. Random Read and Write tests are as important, if not more so, as many SSDs can deliver fast maximum continuous read and writes but much less so for random small data blocks. CrystalDiskMark tests random reads and writes both as queued requests and single requests. The default depth is pretty high for the test. Usually, an OS wouldn't have that deep of a queue, but the Q1T1 does mimic a singular request. Also, CrystalDiskMark measures IOPS (Input/Output Operations-per-second), which is similar but also a different measure of disk speed.
Better but not perfect
There's plenty of aspects that aren't covered, such as latency, burst performance, power consumed, and mixed random read/writes, but this is a massive step in the right direction for gauging SSD performance on macOS. Oh yeah, and it's free.
Let's retire BlackMagic's Disk Mark and embrance Amorphous Disk.
Gulp 4.x and .Kit work flow
Codekit has its own very simple templating language, .kit that's actually quite useful when you're not looking to spin up something like PHP or Python or in the Pug/Jade vain (which latter two I've never been able to commit to). The documentation is straightforward. You can find it here but passing off a project with CodeKit dependency probably isn't viable for many situations. Also, Gulp 4.0 is much easier to read and much more pleasant to work with. You'll need, of course, a current-ish version of Node to run this.
Rather than post a git repository, I've created a GitHub Gist for anyone looking to make .kit files work with Gulp. It features a really basic simple set for compiling .kit, Sass, JS and uses BrowserSync for both streaming CSS changes and live reloads after JS/Kit changes. The readme has the default directory structure. All the files land, and in a /dist directory, that's likely something you'd ignore in your .gitignore.
gulp- runs all the compiling processes once
gulp watch- launches browsersync server with live compiling/processing
Apologies to anyone using RSS as the embed won't work, but you can view the gist on github.
Oculus Quest 2 vs classic Mac Pro 5,1 (2010/2012)
The Mac Pro 5,1, despite its age, still can run many modern GPUs, so it shouldn't be a big surprise that the Mac Pro can use VR headsets for gaming (under Windows 10). The Oculus Quest 2 is probably the most attractive option as it's inexpensive at $300, includes VR controllers, now supports higher refresh rates/hand controls, and functions as a stand-alone game console. There are a few considerations that you need to be aware of.
- Windows 10
- Oculus Link Software
- Steam VR
- SteamVR Performance Test: Before taking the plunge, you can test your computer to see if it is VR capable in Windows using the free SteamVR Performance test software.
- USB 3.0 card that provides enough bandwidth: Cards with one controller for four ports may not provide enough bandwidth. The Oculus Link software will continue to work (with warnings), but you will experience blurred visuals due to higher video compression
- Proper USBc Cable: This might seem trivial, but USBc cables are not created equally. Many USBc cables use the charging spec but run at USB 2.0 speeds. Finding the correct cable is a huge issue. Oculus recommends its own $80 cable or the Anker Powerline+ USB C to USB 3.0 Cable.
- Active USB extension cable: Longer cables experience signal degradation over long distances. Active USB cables draw power from the USB bus to amplify the signal so data rates can be maintained. I personally used the CableCreation Active USB Extension Cable, but there are other options.
- GPU: Higher-end = better. I have a Radeon VII, but the Radeon 5700 XT is an equally viable option. The Vega 56/64/FE are also decent. Some people have posted usable results with the RX 580. If/When macOS is updated to support later model AMD GPUs, those will be the preferred option
Tethered VR feels like a big step back from untethered, and regardless, VR still feels like it's in its infancy/gimmicky. This is partly because of the low resolution, and I imagine even when we get to 120 Hz and 8k per eye, it'll still feel low resolution. The Quest 2 works pretty well and is easy enough to set up, but with the space considerations, cost, and limited titles, it's hardly a must-have. I tried Skyrim VR, and I have to say, I found it nauseating trying to navigate the world to really bother trying to play it at length. The nausea effect differs person-to-person, and I seem to experience it worse than the average person. Games that do no feature 1:1 real-world movement are almost a no-go.
One of the most exciting features of VR is the ability to exercise while gaming. Boxing games are a huge workout. I found myself hitting 170 BPM while dancing around and swinging wild haymakers. When VR gets better, I can easily imagine many VR gamers being relatively fit.
Apple 2020 Report card
Every year Jason Snell puts together a round table of opinions from Mac pundits called the Apple Report Card. I particularly look forward to it as I inevitably play the game "How would I score it?" I probably should never be asked by anyone as a panelist for something like this as I'm much too dower.`
The M1 is wildly exciting. I've written about it as I'm an early adopter, but there are some curious limitations that aren't appropriate for many mid-tier users, 16 GB of RAM, lack of eGPU support, or more than two displays. These are all things certainly to be addressed (except maybe eGPUs), but it does look like the death of user serviceability. The iMac will be the big canary in the coal mine for the Mac's future.
A computer is nothing without its OS, and Big Sur wasn't nearly as bad as Catalina, but I'd rather see a focus on "when it's done" than yearly OS releases.
The rumors for the Mac laptops sound amazing. No longer feeling the holy crusade against ports or thinness at the expense of everything else gave us in 2019 both the Mac Pro 2019 (even if its absurd) and the MacBook Pro 15 inch 2019. With Magsafe and SD card slots, rumored the Mac laptop will be at a new all-time high, besting the 2015 MacBook Pro as the best design/feature set. If I can get a 13 inch Mac Pro with 4 USBc ports, SD card slot, one more external display, MagSafe and more RAM in 2021, I'm selling off my m1 Air and dropping serious coin as this has been my dream and may finally be the first time a laptop as my primary computer in my entire life. That said, this in the future and not today and while the Apple Silicon Macs are very impressive, its not enough to ballast the software shortcomings. Also, for the millions of Intel Mac owners, I worry about long tail support.
Desktops? Much less so. Apple's GPU performance is scattershot, and a desktop without the ability to upgrade its RAM or GPU sounds horrible.
The return to hard edges is wonderful, but Apple doesn't offer a pro mini, so yet again, I ended up with a larger phone that I want. As someone who lives an active life, I'd value some even easier to tuck away, but I also want the latest and greatest. There seems to be no compromise. I still miss the headphone jack, and I worry Apple will go portless to no-one's benefit. I have accessories that rely on the iPhone 12 beyond just charging, data, and audio, such as the Shure MV88.
Also, my iPhone XS had syncing issues with iOS14, which never were resolved no matter what I tried until I received iPhone 12. My mom had the same exact issue. The Apple support pages are flooded with people with this issue. If you're not on the receiving end of this, I'm sure you'd score it higher, but it is pretty frustrating that I was hit with some wacky battery issues and syncing in 2020.
The lightning port needs to go. It's a USBc world now. The lightning port is one Apple standard that I begrudgingly admit was a good idea for its time as it was a much more pleasant experience than mini/micro USB. Now we have USBc. The lightning cable standard should have died two years ago.
It still feels utterly suicidal to go caseless on an iPhone. I rolled caseless on the iPhone 4 and 5 without breaking my phone. The iPhone 6 was a different story. While I didn't expect to feel the speed bump from my XS, I did but I'd of traded it for longer battery life and durability.
In what's bound to be my most controversial take, iOS 14 beyond its privacy features, did not impress me. iOS 14 is still a mess. App organization is still the most tedious experience on mobile. The dashboards feel more gimmicky than useful. I relegated the few I like to the feed instead of anywhere on my screen.
It is kinda a stagnate year for the iPad, although I still wonder if the iPad Pro will be able to run macOS or a modified version of it when using a keyboard mouse combo.
I'm not a tablet person as it's too compromised, and the iPad Pro struggles to really be a pro device outside of its beautiful drawing capabilities. I constantly wonder "Who wants to make these sort of compromises?" Perhaps someone who's life is majority writing but creative professionals to developers, the iPad is a dead end still.
Apple also still has the bizarreness of a device that offers one set on Lightning port (kill already) and USBc (embrace it).
Despite my naysaying, the iPad still remains the best tablet by miles, and I wouldn't lie if I didn't want one for sidecar so I could draw. When I had an iPad 2 I found that I really didn't ever do anything beyond consumption and simplistic games and to this day, it still seems best suited for this. The limitations found on the iPhone are tolerable due to the contraints but nearing a laptop's size, the iPad still feels like a "big iPhone". There's certainly appeal in that but the iPad Pro feels more like a high end consumer device than anything professional beyond its beautiful pencil. Plenty of people love this product, and I do not. Perhaps we'll see the convergence of iPad OS with macOS with the ability to launch macOS apps on the Pro.
Watch: 4, Headphones: 1.5
I still hate that Apple has a virtual monopoly on its headphones by locking out other headphones makes from reading text messages and not licensing its pairing chipsets. The Airpods remain one of the most mediocre sounding headphones on the market. I have a pair of the PowerBeats, which I use a lot more out of convenience than actually loving the product. Killing the headphone port meant switching to a lesser bluetooth experience and Apple knew it and thus served up a way to de-suckify Bluetooth without letting anyone else have it. If I sound jaded, I most certainly am as its the Apple tax at its worst as Apple actively blocks people from having a superior experience. I bought a pair fo the AirPods Pro and returned them as they sounded worse than the Powerbeats, and worst than my JVC Marshmellows. I was stunned as I figured I'd be buying into moderately better audio quality. As product, they're exceptionally well designed. As headphones they're bad. The Airpods Pro are only incredible if you're willing to ignore that if on a level playing field, the Airpods would be just "eh".
The Airpods Max is the product that'll certainly have its proponents, and the wireless over-the-ear noise canceling bluetoth market is filled with mediocrity. I've tried and returned Momentum 3s and Sony WH-1000XM4. Thus far I've yet to find over-the-ear headphones that justify the money. For them to be called the best sounding wireless noise-canceling headphones, is a low bar to clear as wired, non-noise canceling headphones will best them at 1/5th the price of the Airpod Max. Apple likely has the best pair, but the price is absurd for the quality as it suggests to an audio connoisseur such as myself the truly high end, but it's clearly not. Then the case? Oy, bafflingly bad, and top it off, heavy and not IPX rated for working out. These are office headphones in a world without offices. If this had been priced even at $400 or truly matched their price class at least with less expensive headphones in the wired world perhaps I wouldn't be as bitter if Apple allowed others to its proprietary pairing. These very much feel like a product waiting for a revision.
The Apple Watch is in a class of its own. As a personal health device, it's unmatched. The blood oxygen sensor isn't medically accurate which makes it more novelty than anything else. It's kept me active during covid, with my 820 calorie a day goal. I also pretty much use my watch minimally outside of exercise or while driving but I still love it even if I use only about 3-4 apps on it. I'd be inclined to give the Watch a 4.5 if it weren't for the syncing issues that plagued it.
The embargo of custom watch faces remains one of the pain points. The iPhone received (mediocre) customization, so why not the Watch? The number of analog watch faces flummoxes me as it feels silly to me on a digital face. Custom faces would be nice for me.
Apple TV: 0.5
Overpriced. Bad Remote. No updates in 3+ years. Yeah, there's the Apple Health app, but that is a tough pill to swallow. I haven't owned an Apple TV since the Apple TV 2, so I can't comment on the OS improvements or lack there of. The remote is still trash. If Apple wants to convince anyone its serious about gaming on the Apple TV, then it should come with a remote.
iCloud is pretty good. I mean really, it is. Apple News more expensive than it needs to be, Apple Arcade turned out to be just ok. Apple TV had a few pretty good TV shows that I enjoyed at no cost with my new iPhone. I really want though Apple to encrypt my iCloud backups.
Apple News' design is still pretty bad but the rest of it is fine to good.
Hardware Reliability: 3.5
Now that we're past the butterfly keyboard, the self-inflicted wounds are over. The iPhones still feel built to break, which is funny as the Apple Watch does not.
I saw plenty of issues in the wild this year, like display issues, but the MacBook Air M1 feels like a mature product despite being a first-gen product.
Software Quality: 3
I'm at the avant-garde, so I tend to find the hard edges being someone who is web developer/UX engineer, which means a large toolset that spans everything: development tools (Docker, Webstorm, VScode, Xcode, Android Studio, Homebrew, Node, Ruby, Git, React, Webpack, Gulp), Visual Design (Sketch, Pixelmator Pro, Photoshop, Adobe XD, Figma, Axure, Illustrator), Video (Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Motion, Compressor, After Effects), Audio (Cubase, Ableton, Logic, too many plugins).
Catalina was utter chaos. Big Sur is much better, although prone to nebulous errors when trying to install or run certain applications like the infuriating "app doesn't have permissions," which requires, at best, chmodding or, worse, self-signing code. I can generally navigate these issues, but I also operate outside of most people, and to require my skillset to just get things to go seems absurd.
As locked down as Catalina was and tossing out legacy like it was going out of style, Big Sur seems content with the field burning and doesn't require much more land. I have many thoughts on Apple's out with the old as Windows 10 can still run on 2006 Mac Pros and run applications written for Windows 98.
Big Sur has been hell to pay as Serato still doesn't have a solution for Big Sur. Adobe doesn't really have workable solutions still for some of its Apps on the M1. Apple seems contented to punch developers of both macOS and iOS in the face repeatedly.
Big Sur works extremely well on M1s and is a mild improvement over Catalina, which is all kinds of impressive.
iOS14 was moving in the right direction but still doesn't address how terrible app organization is on iOS or how bad folders are.
That said, the meaningful updates to Logic Pro and a lesser extent, Final Cut Pro were very welcome. Logic represents the best deal in music production, hands down. It can score a blockbuster movie or record, mix and master an album, and is now encroaching on Ableton. Final Cut Pro X still isn't for Hollywood and has some annoying features like the librarying as opposed to per-project assets, but it's a pleasure to use. Motion needs more TLC as essentially, and it's the same app it was eight years ago. Motion is very good but desperately needs more. Also, the educational bundle at $199 for FCPX, Logic, Motion, Compressor, and MainStage is the best deal in software today.
I still wish Apple would reboot Aperture with tight integration with Photos or at least make a "Photos Pro" app.
Developer Relations: 2
Xcode is still a monstrosity. They gave devs a break for the first $1,000,000 for 15%, which is wonderful. Wildly changing the OS to break app support is frustrating just from the perspective of a user.Social/Societal Impact: 3
Pledging money to help fight racism was nice, and while problematic for free speech, de-platforming Parler was another win for common decency.
Trying to force App transparency for privacy and also causing the cold war with FaceBook to become hot suggests Apple is on the correct side of history. Without Apple, who would champion privacy in the SV? It seems like no one else.
Still, iCloud isn't encrypted, and developer relations aren't great, which mars a solid year with Apple dancing the 2020 shuffle without blundering hard, and Tim Cook was out in front to talk race (even if stifled) in a way none of the other big tech firms were willing to do. It's not perfect, but engagement counts for something in a year where the fabric of reality has been politicized.
Apple's software the weakest link for Apple, and the feeling of macOS as a walled garden still persists even if it's more the hardware. After years of Windows playing catch up and offering better performance and longer tail support, its nice to see Apple toss out a beautiful transition to M1, but it also leaves a lot of asterisks around the legacy hardware and upgradability. It feels like the iOSfication of the hardware across the board. What was once only acceptable for MacBook Air is now standard for all Macs.
2021 is going to be one hell of a year for the Mac. The renewed focus on the Mac makes me happy as my professional and creative expression is entirely tied OS X's legacy as the mix of power and the polish of ease of use. I buy Apple computers for macOS entirely.
Running Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X 10.0 - 10.4 on Apple Silicon (M1) & Intel via QEMU
The info this guide is valid but I written a new one about QEMU screamer which emulates Mac OS 9 - OS X 10.14 with sound.
QEMU is an open-source emulator for virtualizing computers. Unlike VMWare, it's able to both virtualize CPUs and emulate various CPU instruction sets. It's pretty powerful, free, and has a macOS port. There are alternate versions and different ways to install it. Still, in this example, I'm using Homebrew, a package manager for macOS/OSX that allows you to install software via the CLI and manage easily.
Now, this post wouldn't be very exciting if I tried this on my Mac Pro, but I decided to try it on my MacBook M1. Thus far, the community has succeeded in getting QEMU to install the ARM version Windows, so I decided to do the more silly path and get PPC and X86 working on Apple Silicon. I encountered very little resistance, which surprised me as I haven't seen/read anyone trying this route. It's surprsingly very usable but the usefulness is going to be limited. I was able to play Sim City 2000 on Mac OS 9.2 at a fairly high resolution. For the sake of brevity, I'm going to skip over installing Homebrew on an Apple M1, but you'll want to use the arch -x86_64 method, which requires prepending. I've gotten OS 10.0 and nearly gotten Windows 10 working on my M1.
When I originally wrote this guide, there wasn't a native version of QEMU for Apple Silicon, I've updated this guide so it is now correct
Included below is the instruction for both Apple Silicon and Intel Macs.
- Basic understanding of the terminal in OS X/macOS
- Apple Silicon (M1) computer (or Intel) Mac
- xcode-select (CLI Tools)
Step 1: Install QEMU
Now that there's a universal binary for QEMU for x86 and Apple Silicon, we can install it using the same commands on both architectures. Yay!
Step 2: Create a disk image
You can specify a path in fron to fthe image, but I just used the default pathing. The size is 2G which equals 2 GB. You can get away with much less for OS X OS 9. If you'd like more space, change the size of the simulated HDD.
Step 3: Launching the emulated computer and the tricky part: Formatting the HDD
Now that we have a blank hard disk image, we're ready to go.
Let's break this down so it's not just magic. The first command is the qemu core emulator, you can use things like 64-bit x86 CPU
qemu-system-x86_64or a 32-bit CPU
qemu-system-i386, but we're using a PPC, so we are using
Next, we're declaring PC bios with
-L pc-bios, I'm unsure if this is necessary. This seems to be the default even in Mac QEMU. After that, the
-bootflag declares the boot drive. For those who remember the days of yore, C is the default drive for PCs, D is the default for the CD-Rom like a PC. It's weird, I know.
-Mis the model flag. It's pretty esoteric, but QEMU uses OpenBIOS, and mac99 is the model for Beige G3s. The lowercase
-mis memory, expressed in megabytes, but you can use 1G or 2G for 1 or 2 gigabytes like the format utility.
-hdais the image we're using. Finally,
-cdromis the installer image
Step 3.5: Special considerations between operating systems
I discovered that OS X 10.0's installer has a significant flaw: It doesn't have a disk utility. The disk images are black disks thus have no file system. If you want to run OS X 10.0, you'll need to first launch an installer that can format HFS like OS 9 or later versions of OS X, run the disk utility, format the image and then exit out of the emulator. The process would look like this:
Then format the drive from the utility, quit the emulator (control-c on the terminal window).
Tiger and Leopard requires USB emulation so you'll need to add
-deviceflags for a usb keyboard and a usb mouse, also both like a few extra -prom-env flags.
Power PC Leopard I can get to boot but it crashed twice during installs, this could be
Step 4: after the installer fininshes
You will end up seeing a failed boot screen after the installer finishes. This is normal. Either quit the QEMU instance or use control-c in the terminal to close it. Now that it's installed, we want to boot off the internal drive.
MacOS 9 seems to do slightly better when adding the via=pmu and specifying the graphics.
Step 5: mounting disk images
There's not a lot to do with an OS without software. You can mount plenty of disk image formats
Bonus round: Trying for x86 64 Windows 10
Step 6: Multi CD-Rom Installs or swapping Disk Images
Older applications and OS installers require mutliple disk images. This can be done from via the CLI inside QEMU.
On the QEMU window press:
- Control-Alt-2 to bring up the console
change ide1-cd0 /path/to/image
- Control-Alt-1 to bring back the GUI
Thus far my Windows 10 experiment has been a lot less successful, I've gotten through the installer (it's unbearably slow) but it seems to hand on booting. It looks very feasible. I might have better luck using the 32 bit verison of windows.
QEMU with Sound
Check my guide on QEMU screamer which emulates Mac OS 9 - OS X 10.14 with sound.</section>
A Threat To Democracy Part II.5
I feel yet again compelled to post again about politics after doing some weekend reading.
A Reuters photographer on the scene said he heard at least three different rioters say they wanted to find and hang Pence, who supported certifying the results of the election. - "It was supposed to be so much worse", The Atlantic
Some of the MAGA mob rioters who stormed the US Capitol smeared their own feces throughout the building and left brown 'footprints' in their wake. - MAGA mob rioters smeared their own feces in US Capitol", Dailymail.com
There's a weird schism where reality has been politicized. There's a non-trivial number of people who believe that top democrats run a "secret" child-trafficking ring, liberals "hate America," even moderates like Biden are somehow both communists & socialists, that wide-scale voter fraud was committed and that COVID-19 is a hoax, Obama was either a secret Muslim/born aboard, and these beliefs lead people to storm our National's capitol. It's a literal shit-stain on democracy as we know it.